Archive for the ‘U.S.A.’ Category

Noam Chomsky at United Nations: It Would Be Nice if the United States Lived up to International Law

October 24, 2014

noam chomsky

World-renowned scholar Noam Chomsky was asked what the single most important action the US can take on the issue of Israel and Palestine. He answered that the US can live up to its own laws and not send any military units to a place where there are consistent human rights violations.

After world-renowned scholar Noam Chomsky gave a major address on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly last week, Amy Goodman interviewed the world-renowned linguist and dissident before an audience of 800 people. Chomsky spoke at an event sponsored by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. “One important action that the United States could take is to live up to its own laws. Of course it would be nice if it lived up to international law, but maybe that’s too much to ask,” Chomsky said.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return toMIT professor Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author. Last week, he spoke before over 800 people in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly, before ambassadors and the public alike, on the issue of Israel and Palestine. After his speech, I conducted a public interview with Professor Chomsky.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is the most—the single most important action the United States can take? And what about its role over the years? What is its interest here?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, one important action that the United States could take is to live up to its own laws. Of course, it would be nice if it lived up to international law, but maybe that’s too much to ask, but live up to its own laws. And there are several. And here, incidentally, I have in mind advice to activists also, who I think ought to be organizing and educating in this direction. There are two crucial cases.

One of them is what’s called the Leahy Law. Patrick Leahy, Senator Leahy, introduced legislation called the Leahy Law, which bars sending weapons to any military units which are involved in consistent human rights violations. There isn’t the slightest doubt that the Israeli army is involved in massive human rights violations, which means that all dispatch of U.S. arms to Israel is in violation of U.S. law. I think that’s significant. The U.S. should be called upon by its own citizens to—and by others, to adhere to U.S. law, which also happens to conform to international law in this case, as Amnesty International, for example, for years has been calling for an arms embargo against Israel for this reason. These are all steps that can be taken.

The second is the tax-exempt status that is given to organizations in the United States which are directly involved in the occupation and in significant attacks on human and civil rights within Israel itself, like the Jewish National Fund. Take a look at its charter with the state of Israel, which commits it to acting for the benefit of people of Jewish race, religion and origin within Israel. One of the consequences of that is that by a complex array of laws and administrative practices, the fund pretty much administers about 90 percent of the land of the country, with real consequences for who can live places. They get tax-exempt status also for their activities in the West Bank, which are strictly criminal. I think that’s also straight in violation of U.S. law. Now, those are important things.

And I think the U.S. should be pressured, internationally and domestically, to abandon its virtually unique role—unilateral role in blocking a political settlement for the past 40 years, ever since the first veto in January 1976. That should be a major issue in the media, in convocations like this, in the United Nations, in domestic politics, in government politics and so on.

AMY GOODMAN: The role of the media, can you talk about that, and particularly in the United States? And do you think that the opinion in the United States, public opinion, is shifting on this issue?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the role of the—the media are somewhat shifting from uniform support for virtually everything that Israel does to—and, of course, silence about the U.S. role—that’s not just in the case of Israel, that’s innumerable other cases, as well—but is slowly shifting. But nevertheless, about, say, Operation Protective Edge, one can read in news reporting, news reporting in The New York Times, major journal, a criticism of Hamas’s assault on Israel during Protective Edge. Hamas’s assault on Israel—not exactly what happened, but that’s what people are reading, and that’s the way it’s depicted. Israel is—over and over it’s pointed out, “Look, poor Israel is under attack. It has the right of self-defense.” Everyone agrees to that. Actually, I agree, too. Everyone has a right of self-defense. But that’s not the question. The question is: Do you have a right of self-defense by force, by violence? The answer is no for anyone, whether it’s an individual or state, unless you have exhausted peaceful means. If you won’t even permit peaceful means, which is the case here, then you have no right of self-defense by violence. But try to find a word about that in the media. All you find is “self-defense.” When President Obama rarely says anything about what’s happening, it’s usually, “If my daughters were being attacked by rockets, I would do anything to stop it.” He’s referring not to the hundreds of Palestinian children who are being killed and slaughtered, but to the children in the Israeli town of Sderot, which is under attack by Qassam missiles. And remember that Israel knows exactly how to stop those missiles: namely, live up to a ceasefire for the first time, and then they would stop, as in the past, even when Israel didn’t live up to a ceasefire.

That framework—and, of course, the rest of the framework is the United States as an honest broker trying hard to bring the two recalcitrant sides together, doing its best in this noble endeavor—has nothing to do with the case. The U.S. is, as some of the U.S. negotiators have occasionally acknowledged, Israel’s lawyer. If there were serious negotiations going on, they would be led by some neutral party, maybe Brazil, which has some international respect, and they would bring together the two sides—on the one side, Israel and the United States; on the other side, the Palestinians. Now, those would be possible realistic negotiations. But the chances of anyone in the media either—I won’t even say pointing it out, even thinking about it, is minuscule. The indoctrination is so deep that really elementary facts like these—and they are elementary—are almost incomprehensible.

But to get back to your—the last point you mentioned, it’s very important. Opinion in the United States is shifting, not as fast as in most of the world, not as fast as in Europe. It’s not reaching the point where you could get a vote in Congress anything like the British Parliament a couple days ago, but it is changing, mostly among younger people, and changing substantially. I’ll just illustrate with personal experience; Amy has the same experience. Until pretty recently, when I gave talks on these topics, as I’ve been doing for 40 years, I literally had to have police protection, even at my own university, MIT. Police would insist on walking me back to my car because of threats they had picked up. Meetings were broken up, and so on. That’s all gone. Just a couple of days ago I had a talk on these topics at MIT. Meeting wasn’t broken up. No police protection. Maybe 500 or 600 students were there, all enthusiastic, engaged, committed, concerned, wanting to do something about it. That’s happening all over the country. All over the country, Palestinian solidarity is one of the biggest issues on campus—enormous change in the last few years.

That’s the way things tend to change. It often starts with younger people. Gradually it gets to the rest of the population. Efforts of the kind I mentioned, say, trying to get the United States government to live up to its own laws, those could be undertaken on a substantial scale, domestically and with support from international institutions. And that could lead to further changes. I think that the—for example, the two things that I mentioned would have a considerable appeal to much of the American public. Why should they be funding military units that are carrying out massive human rights violations? Why should they be permitting tax exemption? Meaning we pay for it—that’s what a tax exemption means. Why should we be paying, compelled to pay, for violations of fundamental human rights in another country, and even in occupied territories, where it’s criminal? I think that can appeal to the American population and can lead to the kinds of changes we’ve seen in other cases.

AMY GOODMAN: Final question, before we open it up to each of you: Your thoughts on the BDS movement, the boycott, divest, sanctions movement?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, BDS is a set of tactics, right? These are tactics that you employ when you think they’re going to be effective and in ways that you think will be effective. Tactics are not principles. They’re not actions that you undertake no matter what because you think they’re right. Tactics are undertaken, if you’re serious, because you think they’re going to help the victims. That’s how you adjust your tactics, not because I think they’re right in principle, but because I think they will be beneficial. That ought to be second nature to activists.

Also second nature should be a crucial distinction between proposing and advocating. I can propose now that we should all live in peace and love each other. I just proposed it. That’s not a serious proposal. It becomes a serious proposal when it becomes advocacy. It is given—I sketch out a path for getting from here to there. Then it becomes serious. Otherwise, it’s empty words. That’s crucial and related to this.

Well, when you take a look at the BDS movement, which is separate, incidentally, fromBDS tactics—let me make that clear. So, when the European Union issued its directive or when the—that I mentioned, or when, say, the Gates Foundation withdraws investment in security operations that are being carried out, not only in the Occupied Territories, but elsewhere, that’s very important. But that’s not the BDS movement. That’s BDS tactics, actually, BD tactics, boycott, divestment tactics. That’s important. The BDS movement itself has been an impetus to these developments, and in many ways a positive one, but I think it has failed and should reflect on its, so far, unwillingness to face what are crucial questions for activists: What’s going to help the victims, and what’s going to harm them? What is a proposal, and what is real advocacy? You have to think that through, and it hasn’t been sufficiently done.

So, if you take a look at the principles of the BDS movement, there are three. They vary slightly in wording, but basically three. One is, actions should be directed against the occupation. That has been extremely successful, in many ways, and it makes sense. It also helps educate the Western populations who are being appealed to to participate, enables—it’s an opening to discuss, investigate and organize about the participation in the occupation. That’s very successful.

A second principle is that BDS actions should be continued until Israel allows the refugees to return. That has had no success, and to the extent that it’s been tried, it’s been negative. It just leads to a backlash. No basis has been laid for it among the population. It is simply interpreted as saying, “Oh, you want to destroy the state of Israel. We’re not going to destroy a state.” You cannot undertake actions which you think are principled when in the real world they are going to have a harmful effect on the victims.

There’s a third category having to do with civil rights within Israel, and there are things that could be done here. One of the ones I mentioned, in fact—the tax-free status for U.S. organizations that are engaged in civil rights and human rights violations. And remember, a tax exemption means I pay for it. That’s what a tax exemption is. Well, that’s an action that could be undertaken. Others that have been undertaken have had backlashes which are harmful. And I won’t run through the record, but these are the kinds of questions that always have to be asked when you’re involved in serious activisms, if you care about the victims, not just feeling good, but caring about the victims. That’s critically important.

AMY GOODMAN: MIT professor, world-renowned linguist, dissident, Noam Chomsky, speaking last Tuesday in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly before 800 people in an event hosted by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. If you’d like a copy of today’s show, you can go to our website at democracynow.org.

We wish a very happy birthday to our video producer, Robby Karran. For all our New York viewers,Democracy Now! co-host Juan González will be one of the journalists questioning the New York gubernatorial candidates in tonight’s debate. The debate will be broadcast live at 8:00 p.m. onPBSstations across New York. I’ll be speaking in Vienna, Austria, Friday at an event hosted by ORF, Austria’s public broadcaster, then on Saturday speaking at the Elevate Festival in Graz, Austria. Again, you can go to democracynow.org for more details.

The Anatomy of the Deep State

October 22, 2014
On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:24 PM, John Steiner/ Margo King <steiner_king@earthlink.net> wrote:

 

Would be most interested in how you think this article (and its accuracy) relates to our cross spectrum work and the possible arising of new leadership!
John
February 21, 2014
by Mike Lofgren
 
Selections and worth the whole read!
 
During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system…
 
…Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose…
 
…That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand; and on the other, the ordinary, visible parliamentary institutions of self-government declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure.
 
…The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction…
 
..The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.” “Living upon its principal,” in this case, means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion…
 
..We are faced with two disagreeable implications. First, that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. Second, that just as in so many previous empires, the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future. Iraq was a failure briefly camouflaged by the wholly propagandistic success of the so-called surge; this legerdemain allowed for the surge in Afghanistan, which equally came to naught. Undeterred by that failure, the functionaries of the Deep State plunged into Libya; the smoking rubble of the Benghazi consulate, rather than discouraging further misadventure, seemed merely to incite the itch to bomb Syria. Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself, despite its huge reserves of human and material capital, is slowly exhausted? The dusty road of empire is strewn with the bones of former great powers that exhausted themselves in like manner…

 

Ebola: Genetically Modified Organism developed in US Biowarfare Laboratories in Africa.

October 21, 2014
Ebola-USA

 As I read this notice from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the US National Institutes of Health, the US Government and Pharmaceutical corporations have been conducting ebola tests on humans. http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02041715

This is official confirmation of Dr. Boyle and Dr. Broderick’s reports that the US government has conducted ebola experiments. Perhaps the vaccine was not effective, and those on whom the experiment was conducted came down with ebola and perhaps also employees in the US bio-warfare laboratories located in Africa where the experiment was conducted. 

It appears that the test consists of giving an ebola vaccine and then exposing the unaware person to ebola, apparently an engineered version for bio-warfare. Whatever the tests are, it is clear that Boyle and Broderick in their articles below are correct that experimentation with ebola by the US government is underway.

Two Scientists Say Ebola Originated In US Bio-warfare Lab

Experts have brought to the public’s attention that ebola is a genetically modified organism developed in US biowarfare laboratories in Africa.

In the two articles below reproduced from Tom Feeley’s Information Clearing House (a good site worthy of your support), Dr. Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois and
Dr. Cyril Broderick of the University of Liberia and the University of Delaware provide their fact-based assessments. Dr. Boyle drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the US implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

For speaking out, both Boyle and Broderick will be viciously attacked by the US print and TV media. Remember the case of Gary Webb who exposed the CIA’s drug-running that supported the Contras in Nicaragua. The cocaine that launched the War on Drugs was brought in by the CIA. http://www.opednews.com/articles/WPost-s-Slimy-Assault-on-G-by-Robert-Parry-CIA_Cocaine_Gary-Webb_Journalism-141018-836.html

These are the URLs for the articles by Dr. Boyle and Dr. Broderick:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40012.htm

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40013.htm

See also:  http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/10/no_author/its-the-worse-strain-of-ebola-ever/

 

One-Third of Americans at or Near Poverty

October 21, 2014

Poverty and inequality are on the rise. (photo: file)
Poverty and inequality are on the rise. (photo: file)

ALSO SEE: UK’s Poverty Commission Warns Britain
May Be Permanently Divided Between Rich and Poor

ALSO SEE: 21 Cities Already Restrict Sharing
Food With Homeless, 10 More Cities Planning to Do So

By Matt Bruenig, Demos

21 October 14

 

ome people think of poor people as a small, especially degenerate class of people. I and others have tried to push back against this understanding by pointing out, among other things, that 60% of poor people are children, elderly, disabled, or students, that poverty rates differ significantly across the life cycle (with the oldest, non-elderly workers having about half the poverty rate of the youngest), and that the ranks of the poor are much more fluid than many imagine. In this post, I raise another issue with this understanding, which is that it puts too much weight on the poverty line and ignores the number of people who are near poverty but not in it.

The poverty line, which is defined in dollar terms, is a useful construct, but also a limited one. A person who is $1 below the poverty line is not that much worse off than a person who is $1 above it, $2 above it, or $3 above it. The poverty line and the poverty rate that goes along with it makes it easy for people to conceptualize the poor as a standalone bucket of people. But, in fact, many of the poor are essentially indistinguishable from a much larger mass of people who do not find themselves in the poverty bucket.

For example, the supplemental poverty data that was released last week showed 15.5% of people (49 million people in total) to be below the poverty line. This is a small enough group that you could maybe cast them off as especially bad or inferior or whatever. But sitting just above the poverty line is another 53 million people who aren’t in poverty but are near it. That is to say, 32.5% of Americans are below 150% of the poverty line, a total of 102 million people (the same figure under the official poverty metric is 24.3%). If the poor are an especially bad underclass of people, who are the 53 million people who are in their midsts but not quite poor? Is it really the case that a rotating class of one in three Americans is full of mainly garbage human beings? It seems unlikely.

The 150% of the poverty line figure is also, in a sense, arbitrary. It also involves picking some income line and putting everyone beneath it in a bucket. But the income distribution, especially at the bottom, moves up at a fairly gradual (as opposed to punctuated) clip. When you look at the entire income distribution rather than picking lines, there is never any especially large gap that demarcates the poor from the rest. It’s a sliding scale all the way up. So where on that sliding scale would you say the bad people end and the good people begin? Which are the people who need Paul Ryan’s life coaches and which are the people who don’t?

(Note: In this graph, 100 refers to the the poverty line, 150 refers to 150% of the poverty line and so on. As you can see, nearly half of Americans are within 200% of the poverty line under the supplemental poverty measure.)

 

Reality of National Security State Trumps ‘Delusions’ of U.S. Democracy

October 21, 2014
Published on
by

In the halls of U.S. government, “policy in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions,” political scientist argues in new book

On the morning of President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, America was ready for a change. Tufts political scientist Michael Glennon explains why that change never came. (Photo: Eddie Codel/flickr/cc)

“I think the American people are deluded.”

So says Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon, whose new book, National Security and Double Government (Oxford University Press), describes a powerful bureaucratic network that’s really pulling the strings on key aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

The ‘double government’ explains why the Obama version of national security is virtually indistinguishable from the one he inherited from President George W. Bush.

“I think the American people are deluded… that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy. They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change,” Glennon told the Boston Globe in an interview published Sunday. “Now, there are many counter-examples in which these branches do affect policy… But the larger picture is still true—policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.”

Glennon argues that because managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies operate largely outside the institutions meant to check or constrain them—the executive branch, the courts, Congress—national security policy changes very little from one administration to the next.

This explains, he says, why the Obama version of national security is virtually indistinguishable from the one he inherited from President George W. Bush. It’s also why Guantanamo is still open; why whistleblowers are being prosecuted more; why NSA surveillance has expanded; why drone strikes have increased.

“I was curious why a president such as Barack Obama would embrace the very same national security and counterterrorism policies that he campaigned eloquently against,” Glennon said. Drawing on his own personal experiences as former legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as conversations with dozens of individuals in U.S. military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies and elected officials, Glennon drew the following conclusion: “National security policy actually bubbles up from within the bureaucracy. Many of the more controversial policies, from the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors to the NSA surveillance program, originated within the bureaucracy.”

To dismantle this so-called “double government”—a phrase coined by British journalist and businessman Walter Bagehot to describe the British government in the 1860s—will be a challenge, Glennon admits. After all, “There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can’t affect, policies that you can’t change.”

But he is not hopeless. “The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people,” he said. “The people have to take the bull by the horns.”

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Is The US Government The Master Criminal Of Our Time?

October 21, 2014
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Reprinted from Paul Craig Roberts

From youtube.com/watch?v=_8JWUDqEeNc: Ebola, Complete Chaos
Ebola, Complete Chaos
(image by YouTube)

UPDATE: As I read this notice from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the US National Institutes of Health, the US Government and Pharmaceutical corporations have beenconducting ebola tests on humans.

This is official confirmation of Dr. Boyle and Dr. Broderick’s reports that the US government has conducted ebola experiments. Perhaps the vaccine was not effective, and those on whom the experiment was conducted came down with ebola and perhaps also employees in the US bio-warfare laboratories located in Africa where the experiment was conducted.

It appears that the test consists of giving an ebola vaccine and then exposing the unaware person to ebola, apparently an engineered version for bio-warfare. Whatever the tests are, it is clear that Boyle and Broderick in their articles below are correct that experimentation with ebola by the US government is underway.

Two Scientists Say Ebola Originated In US Bio-warfare Lab

Experts have brought to the public’s attention that ebola is a genetically modified organism developed in US biowarfare laboratories in Africa.

In the two articles below reproduced from Tom Feeley’s Information Clearing House (a good site worthy of your support), Dr. Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois and Dr. Cyril Broderick of the University of Liberia and the University of Delaware provide their fact-based assessments. Dr. Boyle drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the US implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

For speaking out, both Boyle and Broderick will be viciously attacked by the US print and TV media. Remember the case of Gary Webb who exposed the CIA’s drug-running that supported the Contras in Nicaragua. The cocaine that launched the War on Drugs was brought in by the CIA.

These are the URLs for the articles by Dr. Boyle and Dr. Broderick.

See this also.

US Bio-warfare Laboratories in West Africa Are The Origins Of The Ebola Epidemic

Professor Francis A. Boyle interviewed by Aggeliki Dimopoulou

Could Ebola Have Escaped From US Bio-warfare Labs? American law professor Francis A. Boyle, answers questions for tvxs.gr and reveals that USA has been using West Africa as an offshore to circumvent the Convention on Biological Weapons and do bio-warfare work.

Is Ebola just a result of health crisis in Africa — because of the large gaps in personnel, equipment and medicines — as some experts suggest?”

“That isn’t true at all. This is just propaganda being put out by everyone. It seems to me, that what we are dealing with here is a biological warfare work that was conducted at the bio-warfare laboratories set up by the USA on the west coast of Africa. And if you look at a map produced by the Center of Disease Control you can see where these laboratories are located. And they are across the heart of the Ebola epidemic, at the west coast of Africa. So, I think these laboratories, one or more of them, are the origins of the Ebola epidemic.”

US government agencies are supposed to do defensive biological warfare research in these labs. Is there any information about what are they working on?

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente’s Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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October 18, 2014

Broken Policy
America may never have a draft again. But we’re still punishing low-income men for not registering
More than 40 years since America’s last draft, failing to register for selective service can mean missing out on crucial benefits.

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By Tina Griego October 16 Follow @tinagriego

Draft Director Curtis W. Tarr spins one of the two Plexiglas drums in Washington on Feb. 2, 1972, as the fourth annual Selective Service lottery begins. Inside are capsules containing birth dates and orders of assignment for men born in 1953. (Charles W. Harrity/AP)
The last time Danieldevel Davis got out of prison it was 2012 and he was 38.

“I ain’t going back into no man’s prison again,” he vowed.

He’d been locked up for six years, which was the longest he’d ever lived in one place. Davis grew up in foster homes, dropped out of school in the 11th grade and then hit the revolving door: streets, juvenile detention, streets, prison. He’s never possessed a driver’s license. He’s never had a bill in his name.

“I’ve never had anything in my name,” he says.

So, this is what happened when Davis went to fill out his financial aid paperwork at a Virginia Beach technical college.

“Have you registered for the Selective Service?” the financial aid officer asked.

“What do you mean?” Davis said.

“Did you register to be drafted?”

“Huh?”

This may be a nation with an all-volunteer military, one that ended conscription more than 40 years ago, but federal law still requires men ages 18 to 25 to register for a draft that does not exist. There are few exemptions and no second chances.

Davis never registered with the Selective Service System and so learned that he was looking at potentially lifelong consequences. No access to federal student loans or grants. No federal job training money or certain government jobs. And, in Virginia, no driver’s license.

“I didn’t know I had to register and now I can’t get anything,” Davis says. “I can’t do nothing.”

The odds of this country returning to a draft are almost zero, but the price for failure to register is high and is largely born by the men who can ill afford to pay it: high school dropouts, disconnected inner city residents, ex-offenders and immigrants — legal and unauthorized — who do not know that failure to register can jeopardize citizenship. In other words, those precisely in need of the type of job training, education and citizenship opportunities that could help move them from the margins to the mainstream.

In California, the Selective Service System estimates, men who failed to register were denied access to more than $99 million in federal and state financial aid and job training benefits between 2007 and April of this year. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts saw $35 million in combined lost benefits between 2011 and spring 2014.

“Why are we setting up these barriers?” says Regina Tyler, director of Virginia State University’s Upward Bound program and the Education Opportunity Center, which helps adults return to school. “Why are we attaching them to financial aid? We don’t have a draft, so what is the point?”

The point, supporters of registration long have argued, is that almost-zero odds of conscription are not zero odds.

“You can never say never,” says Lawrence G. Romo, director of the Selective Service System. “We are a deterrent. We want to make sure our adversaries understand that if we had an extreme national emergency, we would have the draft.”

A fair and equitable draft, which would include alternatives to military service, requires 100 percent compliance, he argues. “We need to have some type of penalty in order to help us get that compliance.”

The agency grants few exceptions, but, Romo emphasizes, it is ultimately up to the financial aid officer or the workforce specialist – the agency dispensing the benefit – to decide whether someone “knowingly and willfully” violated the law and therefore should be denied.

“The door may have closed, but the window may still be pried open,” agency spokesman Matthew Tittmann puts it.
A majority of men do register – 2.5 million in 2013 alone. The agency casts a huge, largely effective dragnet in high schools, motor vehicle departments, post offices and elsewhere. The average compliance rate nationally among 19-year-olds who registered last year was 89 percent.

So, how many run into the sanctions as Davis did? There’s no good way to track, but the Selective Service System estimates it’s in the tens of thousands every year. Men such as Davis also make up part of a larger group of suspected violators of the law whose names the agency turns over every year to the Department of Justice, which hasn’t prosecuted anyone for the offense since 1986. The potential for punishment is there, however: A fine of up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison.

The federal sanctions are just the half of it. According to the Selective Service System, 32 states now have made registration a prerequisite to a variety of benefits, from state financial aid to state jobs to tuition breaks. Tennessee requires males who failed to register to pay out-of-state tuition to attend the University of Tennessee system – even if they are state residents and citizens.

Selective Service registration raises two separate but related issues, the larger of which is whether it is necessary in the absence of a declared war or national emergency, and if so, whether it is discriminatory in an age of expanded roles for women in military combat. (Short and hotly-debated answers: Maybe and yes. Neither of which will be decided by the Selective Service agency itself.)
But the concerns of Davis and men like him are more immediate: how to move forward when his education path is blocked. Davis is working part-time as a janitor for $7.50 an hour and cannot pay for school without help.

“The job part I understand because I put myself in this position, that’s the bed I laid in,” he says. “But as far as the Selective Service goes, I don’t feel as though I should be punished. I am someone trying to rehabilitate myself and go to school.”

By far, the agency’s most successful tool to enforce compliance lies in the issuance of state driver’s licenses. Forty states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories now tie issuance or renewal of driver’s licenses to Selective Service registration. Most of those have moved to an automatic registration. Other have opt-in or opt-out provisions. Agency spokesman, Mr Tittmann, indicated that Selective Service strongly favors state laws for automatic registration when getting a driver’s license because it helps those most in need of the benefits linked to registration – young men out the mainstream, the disadvantaged, minorities, and immigrants.

“This is absolutely unfair,” Rep. Mike Coffman, a veteran of both Iraq wars, says of the sanctions. Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, is among the most outspoken critics of the system. Earlier this year, he co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would abolish the $23 million agency, suspending registration – and sanctions — except by executive order in a time of national emergency.
“The Selective Service is a bureaucracy that needs to die because it no longer serves a viable purpose,” he said in an e-mail. “Even during the height of the War in Iraq and Afghanistan the Department of Defense never considered using the draft.”

Says Romo, “You have 435 congressmen and so you have 435 opinions on the Selective Service.”

One of them, he notes, belongs to Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who earlier this year introduced two bills related to the draft. The first would require women to register with the Selective Service. The second calls for all citizens and residents between 18 and 25 to perform two years of military or community service and would reinstate the draft only when a clear threat to the nation is present and Congress formally has declared war or the president proclaims a national emergency.

Rangel has long argued that the burden of fighting war has fallen unfairly on the shoulders of a few, and that a more-inclusive draft “would compel everyone in the nation to stop and think about who we sent to wars, how we fight – and why we fight them at all.”

But, Rangel says, until the day comes that the United States is engaged in a declared war and the nation’s security is violated — or Congress passes his National Service Act — there is no reason for the Selective Service System. “Having people penalized for not registering is a fraud,” he said.

Rangel emphasized that registration is current law and should be followed, but said he now intends to introduce a draft-related bill — one abolishing the service.
Romo argues that if the system were abolished, the nation would lose time it could not afford in reactivating it in the event of national emergency. “It would take a minimum of two or three years to get the system going,” he said. It’s about readiness, he says, “and the Selective Service is a very inexpensive insurance policy.”

The agency, he says, is engaged in constant public outreach, particularly to those most in danger of falling through the cracks. That includes education sessions in inner-city neighborhoods, the Bureau of Prisons, halfway houses and groups working with immigrants and minorities. “We are trying to ensure that a man does not ace himself out of potential opportunities down the road because he was ignorant of the fact he had to register,” Romo says.

Until a few days ago, Davis did not realize that in the phrase “knowingly and willfully” lies his hope. He thinks he can prove to a financial aid officer that he did not deliberately evade his duty. He’s calling his former probation officer to get his juvenile and adult criminal records and is trying to figure out how to get his school records. Davis is building his case.

Tina Griego is a reporter for Storyline. Previously, Tina was a city columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post for a combined 12 years.

The 64 Countries that Require GMO Labeling: US Buckles Under Biotech Pressure  

October 15, 2014

GMOLabelingWorld101514

More and more countries are requiring GMO labeling of some kind on their food, but the U.S. isn’t one of them. Is it because companies and food manufacturers really don’t want you to know what’s in your food?

Monsanto, Dow, Cargill, and many dozen food manufacturers are trying to fight the imminent passage of labeling bills in both Colorado and Oregon, claiming that GMOs’ are ‘safe,’ and that labeling will only lead to food hysteria. But the fact is, much of the modern world requires labeling of GMO foods, or downright bans them. What about the United States? No labeling here!

Companies like Safeway, Target, and Starbucks don’t want to tell you what is in your food, and neither do Kraft, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and more, but its time to stop these corporate monsters in their tracks. The U.S. is the land of plenty – or used to be, but corporations given personhood and the biotech industry have taken over. Why does the U.S. even have to fight this fight when 64 other countries already label or completely ban GMOs?

The fact is that Americans eat lots of processed food – food that is full of GMO corn, soy, rice, and sugar beets – four of the biggest GMO money-making crops on the planet.

In the book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Michael Moss exposes how the unregulated food industry has developed unhealthy ways to get consumers hooked on their brands. They know many of us are hooked on ‘fake-foods’ like drug addicts on crack, but that is all about to change.

We don’t need to eat their RoundUp-drenched crap anymore, but we also need to require labeling so that even ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ foods are safe from biotech meddling. (Though many argue that GMO labeling isn’t enough, that even with labeling, organic crops will be contaminated with GM crops and biotech giants will continue to plant GM crops.)

The following 64 countries require GMO labeling of some kind:

(Courtesy of The Center for Food Safety):

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belarus
  4. Belgium
  5. Bolivia
  6. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  7. Brazil
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Cameroon
  10. China
  11. Croatia
  12. Cyprus
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Denmark
  15. Ecuador
  16. El Salvador
  17. Estonia
  18. Ethiopia
  19. Finland
  20. France
  21. Germany
  22. Greece
  23. Hungary
  24. Iceland
  25. India
  26. Indonesia
  27. Ireland
  28. Italy
  29. Japan
  30. Jordan
  31. Kazakhstan
  32. Kenya
  33. Latvia
  34. Lithuania
  35. Luxembourg
  36. Malaysia
  37. Mali
  38. Malta
  39. Mauritius
  40. Netherlands
  41. New Zealand
  42. Norway
  43. Peru
  44. Poland
  45. Portugal
  46. Romania
  47. Russia
  48. Saudi Arabia
  49. Senegal
  50. Slovakia
  51. Slovenia
  52. South Africa
  53. South Korea
  54. Spain
  55. Sri Lanka
  56. Sweden
  57. Switzerland
  58. Taiwan
  59. Thailand
  60. Tunisia
  61. Turkey
  62. Ukraine
  63. United Kingdom
  64. Vietnam

The Neoconservative Hit List: Iraq, Libya and now Syria? A Plan for Global US Military Supremacy

October 15, 2014

Region:
In-depth Report:

1997 witnessed the birth of one of the most pivotal American think tanks in modern times, whose ideas and objectives would come to shape the foreign policy of the United States (U.S.) for decades to come. The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) was founded by William Kristol, the chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the Bush senior administration, and Robert Kagan, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The PNAC group’s stated objectives included the desire to “shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests” along with challenging “regimes hostile to U.S. interest and values”.

Prominent individuals who belonged to the think tank include some of the most influential politicians in America’s recent history, including the former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Vice President of the U.S. during the George W. Bush administration, Dick Cheney, the ex President of the World Bank and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs under Ronald Regan. In September 2000, the PNAC group released a document titled: ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’, in which the group discusses the need for the U.S. to assert its military authority around the globe to secure its strategic objectives:

“Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future (p.8).”

Premeditated Wars

The report then continues to advocate an increase in military spending to enable this “military capability” as well as asserting one year before 9/11 that all this would be unlikely to manifest unless there was a “new Pearl Harbour” event (p.63). In addition, the document lists a number of regimes that the group viewed as “deeply hostile to America”. “North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria” (p.63 & p.64) are all pinpointed as enemies of the U.S. well before the illegal war in Iraq in 2003, as well as the illegal 2011 war in Libya and the ongoing proxy war in Syria.

Further evidence was revealed in 2007 that supports the thesis that wars are premeditated by the Anglo-American elite for years prior to them being launched. This was when retired four star general and former NATO commander, Wesley Clark, disclosed a plan circulating around the Pentagon in 2001 to attack 7 countries in 5 years. The countries named mirror the ones targeted by the PNAC group, as Iraq, Syria, Iran and Libya were all listed in addition to Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan.

The reality is that all the wars of the past and the future are planned well in advance of the public ever hearing our morally repugnant politicians demanding action. Countries that resist being absorbed into the Anglo-American-European international order and allow multinational corporations to exploit their resources, are targeting for regime change well in advance of the pretext they give to intervene.

Israel is also set to benefit if the government of al-Assad is replaced with a client state of the West. A study group led by neocon Richard Perle prepared a policy document in 1996 for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, titled: ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’, in which it outlines the strategic importance of removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as well as the desire to weaken the regime in Syria:

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

Russian FM: Airstrikes on Islamic State could be used to Weaken Assad

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the world last month that the US-led airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria could also target Syrian government forces in an attempt to “weaken the positions of Bashar al-Assad’s army”. U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Samantha Power, recently reiterated that Washington’s objective in Syria is the removal of al-Assad from power in Damascus and that the “moderate Syrian opposition provides the best alternative to the al-Assad regime”. What Power omits from her statement though is that IS is a key part of the “Syrian opposition” and has been battling the Syrian government – with the financing and support of the west – for years now. The reality is that the al-Assad regime will remain in power for decades to come unless the Western elite is able to justify military strikes against key military and energy targets inside Syria.

A History of Turkish False Flag Attacks on Syria

 An article by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in April of this year titled: ‘The Rat Line and the Red Line’, argues that the gas attack last year in Ghouta was an attack carried out by the Syrian rebels with the planning of Turkish authorities as opposed to the Syrian government. In the article Hersh quotes a former intelligence official as stating: ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line’. As soon as the gas attack hit the mainstream press in the West, the calls for war went into overdrive. War was only averted due to massive public opposition to the move which forced the British parliament to vote against intervention in Syria, as well as the Russian government brokering a deal to place the Syrian government’s chemical weapons supplies under international control.

The notion that Turkey is capable of planning such a malevolent attack was strengthened when officials from the top echelons of the Turkish government were caught red handed discussing a false flag attack on their own territory, in order to justify a war with Syria earlier this year. The officials are heard discussing the possibility that they could arrange an attack on the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman Shah, which is situated in a Turkish enclave in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish intelligence is heard saying in the leaked audio tape: “We can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah’s tomb if necessary”, Fidan continues, “Listen, listen commander if it’s a pretext we’ll give you one. I’ll send over four men and have them fire right rockets on an empty lot. That’s not the problem, pretexts can be arranged.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The US and Israel are the Main Sponsors of The “Islamic State” (ISIS)

October 14, 2014

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Iran basji Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi globalresearch.ca

Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi lashed out at the US and Israel for sponsoring the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The criminal US created, equipped and armed the ISIL terrorist group with the help of the wicked Britain and the child-killing Zionist regime as well the petrodollars of oil-rich countries and they ordered it (ISIL) to carry out crimes and large-scale massacre of Shiites and Sunnis and disrupt their tranquility on the pretext of a sectarian Sunni war on Shiites,” General Naqdi said, addressing a gathering of thousands of Basijis in Lorestan province.

He noted that the western countries wanted to introduce a tainted image of Islam to the world by displaying horrible crimes and savage wickedness against children, women and innocent people with extreme brutality and savagery in a bid to harness the huge waves of Islamism and tendency for Islam in the world, specially the western countries.

General Naqdi reiterated that the arrogant powers have created the ISIL and every now and then they attack the terrorists to portray that they are fighting terrorism while the American, British and Israeli military advisors are supporting them in the battlefield.

“The outcome of the actions of this terrorist current in Syria was unprecedented as it caused people’s high turnout in that country’s presidential election, which set as yet another example of the inefficiency of weapons and the victory of the resistance movement against the global arrogance,” he added.

Also, in similar remarks in August General Naqdi took the US and certain European states responsible for providing logistics for the terrorist ISIL to find an alibi to boost its buildup in the region. “American’s intangible presence in the region has been a major cause for the creation of the terrorist ISIL group,” Naqdi said, addressing people in a city near Tehran last month.

He also condemned the US Congress for approving an aid budget for the ISIL, and said, “The European countries, including France, arm the ISIL and the US and the West’s attempts are not aimed at any goal but getting closer to Iran” borders.

On Monday, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri warned of the enemies’ plots to spread Islamophobia, and said the terrorist groups in the region have been created by the spy agencies of the US and its allies.

“The world public opinion is aware that the phenomena such as the al-Nusrah Front, the ISIL, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the region, have been created by the intelligence services of the US and the White House’s allies and have a mission to defame the dear Islam to prevent the people’s conversion to the real Islam and to spread Islamophobia and weaken the regional resistance front,” General Massoud Jazayeri said.

He referred to the US attempts to stir chaos in the region and its support for the terrorists, and said, “The vigilant and resistant people in Iraq and Syria should force their enemies, specially the Americans, to understand that they won’t allow the White House to create new poles in their countries through lies and deception.”

 

Articles by:Fars News Agency

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