Archive for the ‘karma (past/present physical/verbal/mental action/habit)’ Category

Know Thy Enemy as Thyself

December 15, 2015

 

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds 12/14/2015 at 15:28:41

By Marcello Rollando (about the author) Permalink (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): America; Change; Climate; Denial; Exxon; Food; Food; Freedom; Glaciers; History; (more…) Add to My Group(s)
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/14/15
Translate Page


Become a Fan
(5 fans)

 

Looking to the Skies for Help
(image by Marcello Rollando) DMCA
Long after Master Race and decades before Extremism and Terrorism labels , I spent every August driving around Europe, as an inquisitive history explorer.
In the little town of Hallenberg, I met an old farmer lady, who schooled me in how Germans survived WWII: most came from the destroyed cities to little countryside villages, for food. We spoke of Patron Saints and cows and chickens hidden inside on the ground floor of her little farm house.

Seventy years later, the lesson remains, Tara — perhaps our best hope to survive humankind’s planetary history of slavery, lynching, internment and concentration camps — if we can but replenish and restore that which we’ve raped.

Now, on our shared planet of weather extremes, we are engaged in a great global war between cultures, with hope for survival, our only victory — a victory made possible by recognizing the enemy:

Really Big One along the SAF

Sinking of lower Manhattan

Flooding lowlands of America’s south east regions

 

Climate changed mid-west

Moral decay of The Golden Rule and Statue of Liberty promise

Confused and disappearing Nature

A Constitution smeared with the excrement of denial, stupidity and prejudice.

If we continue to imprison each other with lockdown thinking, I want my Country back, we’ll forever lose the sunrise of, in the Home of the Brave, the Land of the Free is everyone’s country, and can never be conquered by those who choose to fail the lessons of Evolution, Herstory and Global Warming. It is not Free Will, but folly, not to reason why, but to deny and die.

 

Our salvation: victory over Corporatism & Consumerism’s concrete climate changing us into crumbling infrastructure, Food Deserts and a regurgitated KKK, McCarthyism, WWII treatment of African-Americans in uniform, Japanese-Americans confined in internment camps even as their sons wore something Trump, Cruz and Cheney would never: an American military uniform in time of war.

Truth is, few can match the service of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, U. S. Army Bronze Star, Purple Heart, killed in Iraq, or son of Syrian immigrant Steve Jobs, or the sacrifice of military, civilians and President who died for the 13th Amendment.

For those still mistaking superficial gossip for in depth investigative reporting or trumped by non-presidential fear mongering as The American Way — think of what we’re leaving the children:

Iraq, innocent of 9/11 attacks, invaded by freedom loving society – us

Climate Change caused by Cows, Fossil Fuels and Corporatism’s Global pollution

Perpetual Religious Cultural war with Bush/Cheney induced ISIS

A Military Industrial Complex funded by Corporatism with the blood of American citizens of every hue and background

ISIS has no monopoly on Religious Zealots. Every day, America bleeds from fearful white zealots fighting for the past and money hungry Wall Street zealots fighting to leave us behind, in the future.

Our Enemy is war, greed and, like Grenada, unjustified invasion. Our weakness is in becoming Guantanamo instead of reflecting the Gettysburg Address.

Our Middle East enemy is the self-serving deal of Shell Oil. Our environmental threat is an Exxon that knew, and for decades, threw us between them and melting glaciers.

 

History has proven that when We Built That CEOs convince our American lawmakers to convince those who bother to vote, to vote against themselves, we accrue ever increasing damage from Empire Building Conservative implementations of foreign leaders, policies, and domestic gun violence, all while failing to preserve the human necessities of clean water, safe food and long range consideration for planet earth and all living upon it.

If we want the Paris Climate Accord to be an all-inclusive reality — if only one window box at a time — we best start planting rooftop gardens, backyard trees and wind turbines on the plains — because there is no automatic Climate Justice in evolving Climate Change.

We need be more like San Bernardino’s Shannon Johnson, and wrap our arms around our melting rainbow pot, with I Got You and Yes We Can, before life as we know it, is Poe’s Nevermore.

As Greek-American Louie Psihoyos suggests: Startwith1Thing

 

 

 

http://www.ThereasonableVoice.com

 

Marcello Rollando is both seasoned political writer and critically acclaimed Performing Arts Director. Taking a sabbatical from his beloved NYC to work on a number of political campaigns as communications director and/or consultant in 2008, he remained in the DC area for the mid-term elections in 2010. He now lives in our nation’s capital and is currently radio news anchor and producer for Charlottesville’s Monticello Media. This is just the latest addition in a series of hats worn with distinction in his thirty year career that embraces Media, Communications, Politics, Theatre and Edutainment Education.

Owing a great deal of its inception to America’s reactions to September 11, 2001, Marcello became the voice of The Reasonable Voice LLC, serving as Head writer, Creative Director and on camera spokesman for this American organization with an international mission. The Reasonable Voice is a passionately independent and well balanced group of culturally diverse, Media, Political and Artistic Advocates whose mission is to herald, promote educate and inspire “We The People” to embrace a Renaissance of Freedom, Honesty and Rule of Law, through the power of their right to vote and to receive the highest and best education possible. The responsibility of all members of The Reasonable Voice is to convince all Americans of their limitless value & potential via Education, Informed Political Participation and the Arts.

As the primary media arm of TRV, The MBR Group is a team of artists and writers who are the multi-cultural community outreach voice of hands on Advocates/Activists/Consultants for Political Public Relations & Events as well as Media/Performing Arts Productions. The MBR group both produces and helps others to produce the highest & best quality of meaningful, timely, thought provoking and uplifting Live & On Camera Performances, as well as Political events. In 1990 the MBR Group bought New York’s Show-People in order to add a specialization in the discovery & development of new/unpublished/unknown playwrights, resulting in the production of their original/new works. Through The MBR Group, The Reasonable Voice chooses to produce, most often, projects that emphasize and provoke political involvement and encourage a hunger in American audiences for education & historical truth.

The mission of The Reasonable Voice and the community outreach work of The MBR Group have involved Marcello in many meaningful joint ventures with a wide spectrum of political and artistic organizations, even if it means performing on stage to bring focus to the mission of The Reasonable Voice. For example, although, a Director of Theatre from NYC, to Philadelphia, to Washington DC and West Palm Beach Florida, at the request of good friend and Artistic Director of Heritage Theatre Festival Bob Chapel, Marcello accepted, and performed to critical acclaim the Charles Boyer role of Victor Velasco in Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park,” for the UVa Summer 2010 season.

Just prior to this rare exception to his preferred on camera career, Marcello Directed a revival of “NIXON’s NIXON” at The Hamner Theatre in Nelson County, for the Walton’s Mountain Theatre audience. In 1993 American Playwright Lanford Wilson asked Marcello to direct the play’s premiere, then titled “Nixon and Kissinger” at the Talley plays legend’s NYC Circle Rep Theater in lower Manhattan. This masterpiece script by Russell Lees was then optioned and published, in large part due to the original Wilson and Rollando collaboration, a direct consequence of The MBR Group’s mission.

As both Writer & Director, Rollando has been commissioned to transform an interactive operatic school presentation, into a Multi-media, One Woman Musical on the life of Marian Anderson, which involves much productive travel and artistic collaboration between NYC TV associates and Baltimore and DC Opera friends reigniting working relationships that were launched both in his vocal student days at The Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he was also the assistant stage director for the renowned institution’s Opera Department, and also his tenure as the Director of the Rehearsal Department of The Juilliard School’s American Opera Center.

Although as a performing talent, he prefers on camera work, his signature piece of Victor Velasco was only his most recent trek on the boards. In 2007 he agreed to take a break from teaching on camera talent in New York to winter in Washington DC, playing the combined roles of Cardinal and Bishop in Shakespeare’s Richard III at the famed Shakespeare Theatre just blocks away from the Capitol building. With the close of RICHARD III, he immediately stepped in to cover TV actor Denis Arndt at The Studio Theatre as the twisted Colombo like detective in The Pillowman.

Now, after an NBC and ABC daytime drama career that spanned the better part of three decades, Marcello spends most days consulting with and writing for political organizations, their policy makers and political candidates in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country, with no thoughts of retiring ever, his mission is to help put America back together again.

www.ThereasonableVoice.com

OpEdNews Member for 258 week(s) and 2 day(s)

69 Articles, 0 Quick Links, 99 Comments, 4 Diaries, 0 Polls

Articles Listed By Date   List By Popularity

Page 1 of 2    First   Back  Next  2     View All

Looking to the Skies for HelpMonday, December 14, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Know Thy Enemy as Thyself Who is the real enemy in Global Warming and Clmate Change

Most are Missing the PointMonday, December 7, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Most Murders Are Terrorism Encouraging reason, for violence only begets more violence.

Being Left Behind?Monday, December 7, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Questioning: Are We There Yet? At least Epiphany if not Resurrection: it’s not too late to save our home.

The Miracle Bird of IceWednesday, November 25, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
I Remember It Well The true story of Exceptionalism and Thanksgiving.

Kindness like Mother and ChildMonday, November 16, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Last Time I Saw Paris As we counter the profanity of Freedom Fries, by joining our French allies and friends in mourning the loss of life in Paris, let us consider what connects all on earth to this tragedy.

Protect Power over PeopleWednesday, November 11, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Have I told you Lately that I Love You? Are we developing Young voters the way theatres develop new audiences?

The Forgotten GenderMonday, November 2, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
It’s about the First Woman to Chair It’s about time we welcomed the contributions of women.

Left BehindSunday, October 18, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
American History: Winners — Losers — Labels — Decisions – Traditions! Examining American history through our tradition of making choices and decisions by labeling each other, winners and losers.

Bullies and FrienddsTuesday, October 6, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Damn, Bullies and Gun Violence have breached our Nation Trouble is, those who live by the sword take too many of us with them, when they choose to die.

Just Stay to the LeftTuesday, September 29, 2015 (3 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
From Pope to Putin, the answer is simple: No Labels The whirlwind visit of Francis I wasn’t to be Made in America with The People’s Pope label. He came to touch our hearts and open our minds so we see the injustice of Climate Change, war, ignorance, and yes, the shame of sexual child abuse. He came so we could see beyond America, to Global Citizenship.

We may silence the Huming Bird's WhisperSunday, September 20, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The View & Nurses — Bigots & Candidates — Pope Francis & Cow Gas What’s the whole story about Climate Change and how much time do we really have?

Surrendering EnviornmentMonday, September 14, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Fueling the American Dream Begins with Freedom of Choice at the Pump There is life after oil at our fingertips, if we will just open our eyes and see with our imagination — and software.

Working Voters on Labor DayTuesday, September 8, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Growing Labor Pains: Religion — Guns – Victim Mentality Understanding, like drought in California and Labor pains in Wisconsin, any state’s pain is America’s pain, and all Americans need to be solutions to our collective growing pains.

The Hanging Tree, Lest We ForgetMonday, August 31, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
New Orleans and other Forgotten History Allowing the nightmares of our past to help formulate the dreams of our future.

Wonder where Character and Honor went?Tuesday, August 25, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Wild Wipeout Character Ride, Roars: Honor! Do you suppose somewhere in the darkness, Karl Rove is laughing at us, or crying over spilt Trump milking it?

All Lives MatterSunday, August 2, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Bigger Thomas vs. Rove Dirty Tricks & Koch Heads The thrill of the kill and Mob Rule once again prove, two wrongs do not make a right.

Gone With The WindMonday, July 27, 2015 (7 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Slow Down, I’m Conservative Still think Atticus Finch is the problem? Donald Trump the hero? Father’s teaching their sons how to be snipers, the solution?

Mother of Child Lost to BullyingWednesday, July 22, 2015 (5 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Domestic Violence – Corporate Terrorists – Justice Denied Fear and anger are the parents of violence; bullying its sibling; and the aura of guns, the steroids on which hate and jealousy thrive.

Marcello as Nicky ArnsteinThursday, July 16, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Cuba & Iran — Da Vinci & Finch — Rees & Omar Enjoy the fantasy of fiction. Even learn from it. But know the difference between what’s on the screen and our true reality.

Taking America BackSunday, July 12, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Allegory: Infrastructure — Immigration — Earth II Spoken from the 1% POV “After the Ball is Over”

We Are The 99%Sunday, June 21, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Dawn to Dusk – Ashes to Dust Change and transformation have always frightened some Americans, but hopefully a realization of the diversity of those who are the 99%, may help us embrace some unity of purpose.

HopeSunday, June 14, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Transforming Hope Hope is transforms us when nourished by faith in ourselves, minus hero worship.

Taming the KingdomsTuesday, June 2, 2015 (6 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
When Death Knocks Twice Dealing with the dealers of death, destruction and decease.

Heroic LifeMonday, May 25, 2015 (3 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Death of A Nation Death comes in many forms, especially for those who cannot look it in the eye with recognition. Memorial Day is not for those who fear truth, but for those with the courage to embrace it.

Investigative ReporterWednesday, May 13, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Corporate PACs Projecting Poison on Planet & People We choose either to be all the King’s Horses and all the King’s men who can’t put America back together again, OR we unite in all-inclusive solutions, beginning with believing Climate Change is here!

we Need a Moment of SilenceSunday, May 3, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
May Day, May Day: Dancing In the Street Asking why we believe so much in denial: racism & rape, Alzheimer’s & aging, marriage & equality

The Hanging Tree - Lest We ForgetMonday, April 20, 2015 (7 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Lost Wars: Poverty, Drugs, Slavery Having the wisdom to listen especially when choosing on what to declare war, let us retire provacative rhetoric and cease or war on each other.

Photograph of 1965 Appromattox painting by Thomas LovellSunday, April 12, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Bullying: Race, Religion, Rape and Police Can we all just get along enough to move forward, or must we fall back with The Right

Church as Central Point for POVSunday, April 5, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Religion OMG! A reminder to those who believe in a great power, that in which we believe makes us servants to all the people, especially those who most need our love, and their equality.

Only Chickens Fear the RainbowMonday, March 30, 2015      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Finding Hope in Tornadoes, Indiana and the French Alps How can we find hope in 2015?

University of Virginia RotundaTuesday, March 24, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Elephant in the Coffee Shop Time to make the time to think before speaking. Conversation is the first step away from becoming a nation of herded non-thinkers in a police state.

Disconnect of over connectionSunday, March 15, 2015 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
ISIS — Iran/Netanyahu GOP — Fundamentalists – End Times Exercising our Free Will to think for ourselves and choose whether we are a nation of Fergusons or a nation of renewal.

Women Vote TooFriday, March 13, 2015 (4 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Bridge from King to President, & Emails “Established by the State” A call for a return to maturity and professionalism in broadcast media: Prejudice, whether clothed in white hoods, red neck Frat Houses, blue uniforms, Media suits or Tea stained House of Representatives, WE hold this truth to be self-evident: There is no Exceptionalism in hate, media hyperbole, miss-representation of facts or oppression of those who do not look, act, think, speak or marry as WE.

Dress Debate Classical TragedyMonday, March 2, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
To Be Blue & Black or White & Gold is NOT the question Examining our priorities and national focus. There is more to us than some of the things on which we choose to debate.

War Torn WorldSunday, February 15, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Murderers Row: Hate, Ignorance, Lying Exposing War as product of enduring hate, ignorance and institutional dishonesty

Bullies and FriendsTuesday, February 3, 2015      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Bullies and Friends Saving Children from committing Bullicide in reaction to Bullies, by supporting Documentary “Bullies and Friends.”

The Human BeingTuesday, December 16, 2014 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Sweet Land of Liberty, Cromnibus and Torture I sing! Giving Voice to those who have been muted in an age of death by police shooting and torture by government, all sponsored by the Wizards of Wall Street who disappeared our global economy: The Too Big to Jail!

Coalition of Immokalee WorkersMonday, November 24, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
State of our Union: Racism, Rape Yes; Immigration Reform, Hell No!?! Remembering and embracing our melting pot morality.

You're What You EatSunday, November 9, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Choosing to Harvest Dignity in Life, Death and Electoral Politics A call to see all humanity as human too.

Congressional Candidate Lawrence GaughanMonday, November 3, 2014 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Actor, Spaceman, Isolationist, Potted Plant vs Obama A wake up call to wake up and VOTE!

Must Show Voter IDSunday, October 12, 2014 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Beheading Voter ID and Ebola Panic Media induced panic breeds mob rule.

White House 3/2011Sunday, October 5, 2014 (6 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Dear Rachel Maddow, My one and only encounter with The Secret Service.

Depending on your POVTuesday, September 30, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Love Canal Connecting Our Roots Where our national POV needs to be focused

Confused VoterMonday, September 22, 2014 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Pulling Election Rabbits out of our Voting Hat A plea for voters to help others register 9/23, acquire Photo IDs and Vote 11/4/14

War Torn WorldSunday, September 14, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Turning Point? The beginning of wisdom is acknowledging our contribution to a world seemingly gone mad: Guantanamo Torture. Then begins healing, international communication and thanksgiving for rational leadership, after eight years of man’s inhumanity to man. This can be our Turning Point toward reason.

Watching the WatchersTuesday, September 2, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Mr. No Strategy President, Really!?! If by now we can’t recognize that Obama, Media and Koch Brothers each have a strategy but GW didn’t, then how will we recognize the light at the end of the tunnel when it appears on the horizon?

Hands Up or I shootMonday, August 25, 2014 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
We Are Ferguson: Blood in the Water, Sand and Streets Ferguson is not new but our reflections come back to haunt us from an old forgotten mirror

Heaven "Not by Fire"Monday, August 11, 2014 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Ebola — ISIL Iraq — Virginia Board of Elections Ebola in America Bombing again in Iraq Jim Crow back for Virginia 2014 elections.

Progressives raising Kaine on Capitol HSunday, July 27, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
On The Hill with Heroes and Tap Dancers A report on a meeting with Senator Tim Kaine Thur 7/24/14 to ask him to co-sponsor Udall Amendment SJ Res 19

Friday, July 25, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Lessons from Political Thugs and Corporate Bullies We can learn valuable lessons from political thugs and corporate bullies.

//www.opednews.com/populum/uploaded/guns-58005-20110124-3.jpg: Until Second Amendment protects human life moreSunday, April 14, 2013 (3 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
The Strength of Butterflies is in Their Wings Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn happened four months ago this weekend. We forget at our own peril and shame.

Monday, February 11, 2013 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Don’t DRONE Me Bro! Drone Reality Check from historical perspective and 21st-century priorities.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Organizing for ACTION Appreciating jpast Presidents and Obama Inauguration

Thursday, July 12, 2012      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
2012: Aristocracy or Democracy What are we really voting for in 2012? It’s as simple as American desire to have cake and eat it too. For instance, if you don’t want trees falling on power lines during storms and cutting off your power, you’ve got to trim trees back away from power lines. Lesson: learning to live with the choices we make, especially in voting booths.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Public Opinion Power: Free Choice A look at the power of public opinion.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Raw $ewage Politics Voter suppression is just the roof of the outhouse. Wait tip see what GOP money bags are brewing in the cellar.

Saturday, June 2, 2012 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Too Many Lies — Too Few Facts — Too Much to Lose Romney’s still into failed businesses. Edwards free to swing. GW back in the WH, AND Jesus is passing by.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Embracing the Power of the Crowd Recognizing the true power of “United We Stand,” we need to end the Civil War between Right & Left and launch a united peaceful Revolution

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
A True Red, White and Red State aspirin packin’ cowboy fearin’ same sex probes From the POV of those who brought you our great recession

Friday, April 6, 2012 (1 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
What We Don’t Know Hurts If we are to move forward with any semblance of the exceptional ideal of our beginning, we must realize that, at least since the end of WWII, we have been programmed by an ever-increasing powerful few. Then, we must reject their puppet strings, begin thinking again for ourselves, and resume our international leadership role in invention, education, humanity, and peace.

Page 1 of 2    First   Back  Next  2     View All

Advertisements

Terrorists or “Freedom Fighters”? Recruited by the CIA

February 28, 2015
Che_pathi_ox

The barbarous phenomenon we recently witnessed in France has roots that go back to at least 1979 when the mujahedeen made their appearance in Afghanistan. At that time their ire was directed at the leftist Taraki government that had come into power in April of 1978. This government’s ascension to power was a sudden and totally indigenous happening – with equal surprise to both the USA and the USSR.

In April of 1978 the Afghan army deposed the country’s government because of its oppressive measures, and then created a new government, headed by a leftist, Nur Mohammad Taraki, who had been a writer, poet and professor of journalism at the University of Kabul. Following this, for a brief period of time, Afghanistan had a progressive secular government, with broad popular support. As I pointed out in an earlier publication, this government “. . . enacted progressive reforms and gave equal rights to women. It was in the process of dragging the country into the 20th century, and as British political scientist Fred Halliday stated in May 1979 (1), ‘probably more has changed in the countryside over the last year than in two centuries since the state was established.’”

The Taraki government’s first course of action was to declare non-alignment in foreign affairs and to affirm a commitment to Islam within a secular state. Among the much needed reforms, women were given equal rights, and girls were to go to school and be in the same classroom as boys. Child marriages and feudal dowry payments were banned. Labour unions were legalized, and some 10,000 people were released from prisons. Within a short time hundreds of schools and medical clinics were built in the countryside.

The landholding system hadn’t changed much since the feudal period; more than three-quarters of the land was owned by landlords who composed only 3 percent of the rural population. Reforms began on September 1, 1978 by the abolition all debts owed by farmers – landlords and moneylenders had charged up to 45 percent interest. A program was being developed for major land reform, and it was expected that all farm families (including landlords) would be given the equivalent of equal amounts of land. (2)

What happened to this progressive government? In brief, it was undermined by the CIA and the mujahedeen, which triggered a series of events that destroyed the country – and ironically led to the disaster of September 11, 2001 in the USA and to the present chaos and tragedy in Afghanistan.Even before the CIA got involved, as would be expected, the rich landlords and mullahs objected to not only land reform but to all the reforms. Most of the 250,000 mullahs were rich landlords who in their sermons told people that only Allah could give them land, and that Allah would object to giving women equal rights or having girls go to school. But the reforms were popular, so these reactionary elements left for Pakistan, as “refugees.” With assistance from Pakistan, they proceeded to conduct raids on the Afghan countryside where they burned clinics and schools, and if they found teachers teaching girls, they would kill the teachers, often disembowelling them in the presence of the children – to instill fear and panic in the population.Although having no right to interfere in another country’s affairs, the USA viewed the new government as being Marxist and was determined to subvert it. At first unofficially, but officially after July 3, 1979 with President Carter’s authorization, the CIA, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, began to provide military aid and training to the Muslim extremists, who became known as the mujahedeen and “freedom fighters.”

In addition, the CIA recruited Hafizullah Amin, an Afghan Ph.D. student in the USA, and got him to act as a hard-line Marxist. He successfully worked his way up in the Afghan government and in September of 1979 he carried out a coup, and had Taraki killed. With Amin in charge, he jailed thousands of people and undermined the army and discredited the government. To ward off the thousands of well-armed mujahedeen invaders, many being foreign mercenaries, Amin was forced by his government to invite some Soviet troops.(3) Shortly afterwards, Amin was killed and was replaced as president by Babrak Karmal, a former member of the Taraki government who had been in exile in Czechoslovakia. Although still clouded by cold war politics and uncertain history, Karmal “invited” the USSR to send in thousands of troops to deal with the mujahedeen forces. What’s not widely known is that the USA through the CIA had been actively involved in Afghan affairs for at least a year, and it was in response to this that the Soviets arrived on the scene.

As I stated some years ago: “The advent of Soviet troops on Afghan soil tragically set the stage for the eventual destruction of the country. Zbigniew Brzezinski, president Carter’s National Security Advisor, afterwards bragged that he had convinced Carter to authorize the CIA to set a trap for the Russian bear and to give the USSR the taste of a Vietnam war.(4) Brzezinski saw this as a golden opportunity to fire up the zeal of the most reactionary Muslim fanatics — to have them declare a jihad (holy war) on the atheist infidels who defiled Afghan soil — and to not only expel them but to pursue them and “liberate” the Muslim-majority areas of the USSR. And for the next 10 years, with an expenditure of billions of dollars from the USA and Saudi Arabia, and with the recruitment of thousands of non-Afghan Muslims into the jihad (including Osama bin Laden), this army of religious zealots laid waste to the land and people of Afghanistan.”

Sending in troops to Afghanistan was acolossal blunder on the part of the USSR. If the Soviets had simply provided weapons for the Afghan government, they may have survived the “barbarians at the gates” – because ordinary Afghan people were not fanatics and most of them had supported the government’s progressive reforms.

Being unable to entice enough Afghanis for this war, the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan recruited about 35,000 Muslim radicals, from 40 Islamic countries to conduct the war against the Afghan government and the Soviet forces. The CIA covertly trained and sponsored these foreign warriors, hence the fundamentalism that emerged in Afghanistan is a CIA construct. Although the mujahedeen were referred to as “freedom fighters,” they committed horrific atrocities and were terrorists of the first order.

As reported in US media, a “favourite tactic” of the mujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their noses, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another,” leading to “a slow, very painful death.” The article describes Russian prisoners caged like animals and “living lives of indescribable horror.” (5) Another publication cites a journalist from the Far Eastern Economic Review reporting that “one [Soviet] group was killed, skinned and hung up in a butcher’s shop”. (6)

Despite these graphic reports, President Reagan continued to refer to the mujahedeen as “freedom fighters” and in 1985 he invited a group of them to Washington where he entertained them in the Whitehouse. Afterwards, while introducing them to the media, he stated, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” (7)

Surely Soviet soldiers were every bit as human as American soldiers – just suppose it had been American soldiers who had been skinned alive. Would President Reagan in such an instance still refer to the mujahedeen as “freedom fighters” . . . or might he have referred to them correctly as terrorists, just as the Soviets had done? Indeed, how these actions are portrayed depends on whose ox is gored.

 

President Reagan meets Afghan Mujahedeen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives )

The Soviets succumbed to their Vietnam and withdrew their troops in February of 1989, but the war raged on, with continuing American military aid, but it took until April of 1992 before the Afghan Marxist government was finally defeated. Then for the next four years the mujahedeen destroyed much of Kabul and killed some 50,000 people as they fought amongst themselves and conducted looting and rape campaigns until the Taliban routed them and captured Kabul in September of 1996. The Taliban, trained as fanatic Muslims in Pakistan, “liberated” the country from the mujahedeen, but then established an atrocious reactionary regime. Once in power the Taliban brought in a reign of Islamist terror, especially on women. They imposed an ultra-sectarian version of Islam, closely related to Wahhabism, the ruling creed in Saudi Arabia.

The US “communist paranoia” and their policy to undermine the USSR was such that they supported and recruited the most reactionary fanatic religious zealots on the earth — and used them as a proxy army to fight communism and the USSR — in the course of which Afghanistan and its people were destroyed. But it didn’t end there. The mujahedeen metastasized and took on a life of their own, spreading to various parts of the Muslim world. They went on to fight the Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo, with the full knowledge and support of the USA. But then, ironically, having defeated what they called Soviet imperialism, these “freedom fighters” turned their sights on what they perceive to be American imperialism, particularly its support for Israel and its attacks on Muslim lands.And so a creation of the USA’s own making turned on them – the progeny of Reagan’s wonderful “freedom fighters” lashed out and America experienced September 11, 2001. But what have the US government and most American people learned from this? From their inflated opinion of themselves as the world’s “exceptional” and “indispensible” nation, as President Obama arrogantly keeps reminding the world, neither the American government nor its people have ever connected the dots. Is there anything in their recent history that could explain 9/11 to them? In a nutshell, it never occurs to them that if the USA had left the progressive Afghan Taraki government alone, there would have been no army of mujahedeen, no Soviet intervention, no war that destroyed Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, and hence no September 11 tragedy in the USA.Instead of reflecting on the possible causes of what occurred, and learning from this, the USA immediately resorted to war, to be followed by a series of additional wars, which brings to mind Marx’s sardonic comment in which he corrected Hegel’s observation that history repeats itself, adding that it does so “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”In response to the USA’s demand for Osama bin Laden, the Afghan Taliban government offered to turn him over to an international tribunal, but they wanted to see evidence linking him to 9/11.(8) The USA had no such evidence and bin Laden denied having anything to do with 9/11.(9) To corroborate bin Laden’s denial, the FBI has in its records that “. . . the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”(10) Right till the present time, the FBI has never changed its position on this.As became known later, the 9/11 plot was hatched in Hamburg, Germany by an Al-Qaeda cell so the 9/11 attack had nothing to do with Afghanistan. Despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and that the USA had no evidence linking Afghanistan or bin Laden to the 9/11 attack, the US launched a war on Afghanistan, and of course without UN approval, so this was an illegal war.

Even if the USA wanted to depose the Taliban government, there was no need for a war. In rare unanimity, all the anti-Taliban Afghan groups pleaded with the US government not to bomb or invade the country. (11) They pointed out that to remove the Taliban government all that the USA had to do was to force Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to stop funding the Taliban, and shortly after the regime would collapse on its own. So the USA could have had its regime change without destroying the country and killing hundreds of thousands of Afghanis as well as thousands of its own troops, and having the war continue from 2001 into 2015 . . . America’s longest war. If this is not farce, what is it?

And the farce continued. Once in war mode, in 2003 the US launched another illegal war, this time on Iraq, a war based on outright lies and deception – a war crime of the first order. This war was even more tragic. It killed over a million Iraqis, basically destroyed the country, and destroyed a secular society, replacing it with on-going religious fratricide. In the course of this war, the Afghan al-Qaeda moved into Iraq and served as a model for young Iraqis to fight the American invaders. Although the American forces conquered Iraq quickly, they were faced with unrelenting guerrilla warfare, which eventually led to their departure in 2011. During these years the Americans jailed thousands of young Iraqi men, and inadvertently turned most of them into fervent jihadists. Prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Bucca had an incendiary effect on the ongoing insurgency, but now these jihadists weren’t called “freedom fighter” – they lost this endearing appellation in Afghanistan when American soldiers replaced Soviet soldiers.

As if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq weren’t enough, in the spring of 2011 the US surreptitiously launched the beginnings of a further war, long in planning, and this one was on Syria. Somehow “spontaneously” there was an uprising of “freedom fighters” whose objective was to overthrow Syria’s secular government, which displeased the USA. Right from the beginning it was suspected that the USA was behind the uprising, since as early as 2007 General Wesley Clark stated in an interview that in 2001, a few weeks after 9/11, he was told by an American high ranking general about plans “to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” Also in 2007, Seymour Hersh, in a much cited article, stated that “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad of Syria.”

The so-called “Free Syrian Army” was a creation of the US and NATO, and its objective was to provoke the Syrian police and army and once there was a deployment of tanks and armored vehicles this would supposedly justify outside military intervention under NATO’s mandate of “responsibility to protect” – with the objective of doing to Syria what they had done to Libya. However, with Russia’s veto at the UN this didn’t work out as planned.

To resolve this setback, the CIA, together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, proceeded to do exactly what had been done in Afghanistan – hordes of foreign Salafist Muslim “freedom fighters” were brought into Syria for the express purpose of overthrowing its secular government. With unlimited funds and American weapons, the first mercenaries were Iraqi al-Qaeda who, ironically, came into existence in the course of fighting the American army in Iraq. They were then followed by dozens of al-Qaeda’s other groups, notably al-Nusra, with its plans to change Syria’s multi-racial secular society into a Sunni Islamic state.

Right from the beginning of the uprising in Syria, the US was telling the world that “Assad had to go” and that they were intervening by helping “moderates” in the Free Syrian Army to overthrow the Syrian “regime.” However, to no one’s surprise, the ineffective “moderate” Free Syrian Army was soon inundated with Salafist Muslim groups who proceeded to launch a series of terrorist attacks throughout Syria. The Syrian government correctly identified these attacks as being the work of terrorists, but this was dismissed by the mainstream media as propaganda. The fact that the country was beset by suicide bombings and the beheading of soldiers, civilians, journalists, aid workers, and public officials was simply ignored.

Despite these reports, the USA insisted it was only providing “assistance” to those who identified themselves as being part of the Free Syrian Army. As reported in June 2012 by the New York Times, “CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government… The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.”

In addition, after the Gaddafi Libyan government was deposed in August 2011 by al-Qaeda forces, supported by NATO bombing, the CIA arranged for the transfer of Libyan weapons to Syrian rebels. As reported in the UK Times and by Seymour Hersh, a Libyan ship docked in Turkey with 400 tonnes of armaments, including forty SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and other munitions. Then in early 2013 a further major arms shipment, known as the Great Croatian Weapons Airlift, consisted of 3,000 tonnes of military weaponry from Croatia, Britain and France, coordinated by the CIA. This was flown out of Zagreb, Croatia, in 75 transport planes to Turkey for distribution to “worthy” Syrian mercenaries. In a further report, the New York Times (March 24, 2013) stated that it was Saudi Arabia that paid for these weapons and that there were actually 160 military cargo flights.

Despite all the efforts of the USA, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to support the various groups that formed the Free Syrian Army, Syrian government forces continued to rout and defeat them. Moreover, many of these ‘moderate’ forces were defecting and joining militant jihadist groups. Then in early 2014 an apparently unknown military force appeared on the scene, seemingly from “out of nowhere” and began to make spectacular military gains. It had a number of names, one being the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but then it became simply the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in Arabic. It got worldwide attention when in a matter of days it took over a quarter of Iraq, including the second largest city, Mosul – caused the Iraqi army to flee and disintegrate, and threatened to attack Baghdad. Shortly after, the beheading of two American journalists baited the US to once again send forces to Iraq and to begin a bombing campaign on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria.

Before its attack on Iraq, ISIS already had a strong base in Syria, and then with tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army in Mosul, ISIS now controls almost a third of Syria. Hence at present it covers an area almost the size of Britain, with a population of about six million. ISIS does not recognize the borders of Syria and Iraq and considers the area under its control to be the frontiers of a Caliphate state with a militant vision of Islam. This is the direct result of the desert storm of Saudi cash that has been spent on global Wahhabi proselytizing and indoctrination, resulting in a reactionary medieval, toxic “religion” – that has nothing to do with legitimate Islam.

At the beginning, the “Islamic State” was nothing more than an appendage of al-Qaeda – with al-Qaeda itself being directly armed, funded, and backed by stalwart US allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the full support Turkey. And behind all this was the desire of the USA and NATO to undermine and destroy the secular government of Syria. As Patrick Cockburn stated in a recent perceptive article, ”The foster parents of Isis and the other Sunni jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey.” He cites the former head of MI6 saying that ‘Such things do not happen spontaneously.’ Cockburn states further that “It’s unlikely the Sunni community as a whole in Iraq would have lined up behind Isis without the support Saudi Arabia . . . . Turkey’s role has been different but no less significant than Saudi Arabia’s in aiding Isis and other jihadi groups. Its most important action has been to keep open its 510-mile border with Syria. This gave Isis, al-Nusra and other opposition groups a safe rear base from which to bring in men and weapons. . . . Turkish military intelligence may have been heavily involved in aiding Isis when it was reconstituting itself in 2011.”

Following its policy of trying to have full spectrum dominance in the world, the US has not hesitated to support terrorist groups when it was in their interests, e.g., the creation of the mujahedeen and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. While they fought the Soviets they were “freedom fighters,” but then came the blowback of 9/11 . . . and they instantly became terrorists, resulting in America’s “War on Terror.” The illegal war of aggression on and military occupation of Iraq resulted in the creation of a resistance movement – a new variant of al-Qaeda, viewed of course as terrorists. Then came the “attack” on the Assad government in Syria, launched by American, NATO, Saudi, Qatar and Turkish campaigns. At first it was in the guise of indigenous “freedom fighters”, the Free Syrian Army, but when they made little headway, additional “freedom fighters” appeared, in the form of al-Qaeda, in all its varieties, culminating in ISIS. These erstwhile terrorists now became allies in the campaign to depose Syria’s Assad government. Although Syria viewed them correctly as foreign terrorists, their claims were largely ignored . . . until two American journalists were beheaded.

At about the same time that the American journalists were beheaded there was fierce fighting going on in Syria and wherever Syrian soldiers were captured they were summarily executed, with many being beheaded, all this being meticulously filmed. A large number ofwebsites show this but one in particular, entitled “Syrianfight: Documenting War Crimes in Syria” shows dozens of gruesome execution scenes, including the mass execution in August 2014 of 220 Syrian soldiers near the Tabqa airbase. Just imagine if 220 American soldiers had been executed and beheaded what an outcry there would have been. Instead, the mainstream media concentrated solely on the two beheaded journalists, which indeed was an outrage, but where was the outrage for the hundreds of beheaded Syrian soldiers? Basically, nothing was said about what ISIS was doing in Syria.

Although there was outrage in the USA about what ISIS had done to two American citizens, there was practically no soul searching about the cause of this religious extremism and the possibility that this was just another case of blowback from what the USA had done to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Not surprisingly, the USA’s response was to announce a series of air strikes to “degrade” the capability of ISIS, but there were also to be “no boots on the ground” so actually the military defeat of ISIS was left unresolved – perhaps purposefully. In reality, the sudden military power of ISIS left the West and its regional allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – with a quandary: their official policy is to depose Assad, but ISIS is now the only effective military force in Syria so if the Syrian government is deposed, it would be ISIS that would fill the vacuum. So, was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the assault on Syria in 2011 going to result in the creation of a powerful jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria? Under such a fanatic Wahhabi regime, what would happen to the multicultural and multi-religious society of Syria?

In the face of this stark reality, as summed up by Patrick Cockburn: “. . . the US and its allies have responded to the rise of Isis by descending into fantasy. They pretend they are fostering a ‘third force’ of moderate Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and Isis, though in private Western diplomats admit this group doesn’t really exist outside a few beleaguered pockets.” Moreover, as soon as such forces are trained and equipped great numbers of them proceed to join al-Nusra or ISIS, e.g., 3,000 of them this past January. But is there method behind this obvious delusion? Is it really the intent of the US and its allies to bumble along and let ISIS proceed to defeat the Syrian army? And once this fanatic Sunni Wahhabi regime takes over Syria, is the next stage to be an attack on Shiite Iran, the next Muslim country to be destroyed? The boots on the ground in such a venture would be those of ISIS.

To counter this Machiavellian possibility, there has recently been evidence that perhaps at some level there is the realization that the permanent establishment of a fanatic Caliphate state with a militant vision of Islam is perhaps not such a good idea. What until recently has seemed to be a matter beyond the realm of possibility, there now appears evidence the US may be prepared to actually deal with President Assad of Syria. As reported in the New York Times (Jan. 15 and Jan. 19, 2015) the UN envoy for the crisis in Syria is trying to convince the Syrian government and ISIS to “freeze” the fighting on the ground, in area by area, and then somehow try to end the war. President Assad has been receptive to the idea, but there has been no response from ISIS. Also, on Russia’s initiative, a meeting is taking place in Moscow to prepare for a conference that will try to resolve the Syria crisis. The good news is that the US has become supportive of both courses of action.

Another sign of encouragement has been the publication in Foreign Affairs (Jan 27, 2015) of a lengthy wide-ranging interview with President Assad. This is important for both the members of the US government and the American public in general. Assad has stated that he would be prepared to meet with anyone but not with “a puppet of Qatar or Saudi Arabia or any Western country, including the United States, paid from the outside. It should be Syrian.” Also he stated that any resolution that comes from a conference would have to “go back to the people through a referendum” before it would be adopted. What could be more democratic than such a procedure? Through such a course of action Syria could retain its secular status and evolve into a true democratic state.

Hence despite the viciousness of the ongoing war in Syria, these events offer a glimmer of hope that might end this foreign-inspired conflagration that has left over 220,000 dead, a million wounded and millions more displaced. But if it turns out that ISIS will refuse to end its attacks on Syria, the rational thing for the US to do would be to stop its campaign to overthrow the Syrian government and to then cooperate with Syria to defeat the ISIS forces. With coordinated US and Syrian air strikes, the Syrian army would provide the necessary “boots on the ground” to defeat Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi gift to this area. But is this simply beyond the realm of possibility?

A short summary is in order. First, to what extent are the US and its allies responsible for the creation of ISIS and its co-partner al-Qaeda as well as its various spin-off groups? At the very beginning, we must recall that it was the USA that created the mujahedeen and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, and later got the blowback of 9/11. It was the US invasion of Iraq that created al-Qaeda as a resistance movement. It was the USA that fomented the uprising in Syria and when their Free Syrian Army was facing defeat, to the rescue came Iraqi al-Qaeda, with unlimited financial support and direction from the USA’s allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and tactical assistance from Turkey. And it’s this al-Qaeda that metastasized into ISIS. Also, the US has generated additional enemies through its drone campaign, especially in Yemen and Pakistan.

But is this all there is to this story? An offshoot from it is the recent attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo magazine that left 12 people dead, including its editor and prominent cartoonists. It was apparently done by men connected to al-Qaeda who had been outraged by the magazine’s derogatory cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. The attack sparked a massive outcry, with millions in France and across the world taking to the streets to support freedom of the press behind the rallying cry of “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”

It’s instructive to put this matter in historical context. In Nazi Germany, there was an anti-Semitic newspaper called Der Stürmer, noted for its morbid caricatures of Jews. Its editor, Julius Streicher, was put on trial at Nürnberg and hanged because of his stories and cartoons about Jews. In 1999 during its bombing campaign on Serbia, NATO deliberately bombed a Radio/TV station in Belgrade, killing 16 journalists. The US bombed the Al Jazeera headquarters in Kabul in 2001 and in 2003 Al Jazeera was bombed in Baghdad, killing journalists. In its attacks on Gaza, Israel has deliberately killed a large number of journalists.

The issue of “freedom of the press” was hardly raised in the above instances – certainly there were no mass street protests. In the case of Charlie Hebdo, this was not a model of freedom of speech. In reality, Charlie Hebdo’s political pornography of Muslims is hardly any different from the way Jews were portrayed in Der Stürmer.

The US and its various allies have launched wars, death and destruction in many Muslim countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Gaza, Yemen, Syria. To add to this, Saudi Arabia has apparently spent more than $100 billion trying to propagate its fanatical Wahhabism, a relatively small sect that is despised in the Muslim world at large, but which has nevertheless tarnished the Muslim image. And because of this, for some people in the West it’s somehow become acceptable to degrade, demean, humiliate, mock and insult Muslims. It was in this spirit that the cartoonists chose to mock Mohammad, under the guise of freedom of expression. It’s noteworthy that Charlie Hebdo had once fired a journalist because of one line he had written that was criticized by a Zionist lobby, but when it comes to Muslims, it was open season on them. In a judgment issued by US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, freedom of speech does not give one the right to “falsely shout fire in a crowded theater.” Also there is a provision in the US constitution that prohibits publishing “fighting words” which could result in violence. All this was ignored by the editors and publishers of Charlie Hebdo. The penalty should not have been death but they bear considerable responsibility for what happened. Sadly, the West’s uncritical embrace of the Charlie Hebdo caricatures was because the drawings were directed at and ridiculed Muslims. There is no question that the “desperate and despised people” of today are Muslims.

When ISIS beheaded two American journalists, there was outrage and denunciation throughout the West, but when the same ISIS beheaded hundreds of Syrian soldiers, and meticulously filmed these war crime, this was hardly reported anywhere. In addition, almost from the very beginning of the Syrian tragedy, al-Qaeda groups have been killing and torturing not only soldiers but police, government workers and officials, journalists, Christian church people, aid workers, women and children, as well as suicide bombings in market places. All this was covered up in the mainstream media, and when the Syrian government correctly denounced this as terrorism, this was ignored or denounced as “Assad’s propaganda.”

So why weren’t these atrocities reported in the western media? If this was reported it would have run counter to Washington’s proclaimed agenda that “Assad has to go,” so the mainstream media followed the official line. There is nothing new in this. History shows that the media supported every Western-launched war, insurrection and coup – the wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and coups such as those on Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, and most recently in Ukraine.

And so when terrorist acts are carried out against “our enemies” they are often viewed as the actions of “freedom fighters”, but when the same types of acts are directed at “us” they are denounced as “terrorism.” So it all depends on whose ox is gored.John Ryan, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Geography and Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg.jryan13@mymts.net

Notes:

  1. Fred Halliday, “Revolution in Afghanistan,” New Left Review, No. 112, pp. 3-44, 1978.
  2. I was in Afghanistan in November 1978 working on an agricultural research project while on sabbatical leave and all these reforms and government measures were explained to me at considerable length by the Dean of Agriculture and some of the professors during a lengthy session at Kabul University. Halliday (cited above) also reported on the land-redistribution program.
  3. Washington Post, December 23, 1979, p.A8. Soviet troops had started arriving in Afghanistan on December 8, to which the article states: “There was no charge [by the State Department] that the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan, since the troops apparently were invited.”
  4. “How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen”: Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76http://www.counterpunch.org/brzezinski.html
  5. Washington Post, January 13, 1985.
  6. John Fullerton, The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan, (London), 1984.
  7. Eqbal Ahmad, “Terrorism: Theirs and Ours,” (A Presentation at the University of Colorado, Boulder, October 12, 1993)http://www.sangam.org/ANALYSIS/Ahmad.htm; Cullen Murphy, “The
  8. Gold Standard: The quest for the Holy Grail of equivalence,” Atlantic Monthly, January 2002 http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200201/murphy
  9. “Taliban repeats call for negotiations,” CNN.com, October 2, 2001, includes comment: “Afghanistan’s ruling Taiban repeated its demand for evidence before it would hand over suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Ladin.”http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/10/02/ret.afghan.taliban/; Noam Chomsky, “The War on Afghanistan,” Znet, December 30, 2001http://www.globalpolicy.org/wtc/targets/1230chomsky.htm
  10. “Bin Laden says he wasn’t behind attacks,” CNN.com, September 17, 2001.http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/inv.binladen.denial/
  11. Ed Haas, “FBI says, it has ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11’,” Muckraker Report, June 6, 2006. http://www.teamliberty.net/id267.html
  12. Noam Chomsky, “The War on Afghanistan,” Znet, December 30, 2001http://www.globalpolicy.org/wtc/targets/1230chomsky.htm; Barry Bearak, “Leaders of the Old Afghanistan Prepare for the New,” NYT, October 25, 2001; John Thornhill and Farhan Bokhari, “Traditional leaders call for peace jihad,” FT, October 25, 2001; “Afghan peace assembly call,” FT, October 26, 2001; John Burns, “Afghan Gathering in Pakistan Backs Future Role for King,” NYT, October 26, 2001; Indira Laskhmanan, “1,000 Afghan leaders discuss a new regime, BG, October 25, 26, 2001.

Karma Of Dissent: An Interview With Ann Wright

June 7, 2014
General News 6/5/2014 at 21:24:48

By  (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ;;

Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Become a Fan
(31 fans)

opednews.com

In late 2013, I was interviewed by two editors of Inquiring Mind, the semiannual Journal of the Vipassana Community. The interview will be published in the Spring 2014 issue, and is reprinted here with permission.

 
From youtube.com/watch?v=rOaDqtEQIvU: Soldier, Statesperson, Peace Activist Ann Wright was a soldier for 26 years, and many years in the State Department before resigning in opposition to the Iraq War.
Soldier, Statesperson, Peace Activist Ann Wright was a soldier for 26 years, and many years in the State Department before resigning in opposition to the Iraq War.
(image by YouTube)

After many years in the U.S. military followed by the Foreign Service, Ann Wright is now a peace activist whose pivotal resignation from the U.S. State Department was influenced by Buddhist teachings. She is a unique voice on issues of war and peace. Wright served 13 years of active duty in the U.S. Army and 16 years in the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel. After the army, she served 16 years in the State Department in countries from Uzbekistan to Grenada and as Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador) at the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia.In March 2003 she was one of three federal government employees, all State Department officials, who resigned in protest against the war in Iraq. For the past 10 years, Wright has courageously spoken out on a wide variety of issues including nuclear power and weapons, Gaza, torture, indefinite incarceration, Guantanamo Prison and assassin drones. Wright’s activism, including talks, international tours and civil disobedience, has been of particular power in the peace movement.

Fellow activists bolstered by her advocacy can assert, as she puts it, “Here’s somebody that’s spent a lot of years of her life in the military and the diplomatic corps and is now willing to speak about peace and challenge the rationale that America needs to have war in order to be the dominant power in the world.” Wright works with organizations such as Veterans for Peace, Code Pink: Women for Peace, and Peace Action. But drawing on her background both in the military and in the U.S. diplomatic corps, she speaks as an independent voice. Inquiring Mind editors Alan Senauke and Barbara Gates interviewed Ann Wright via Skype in November 2013.

INQUIRING MIND: Your resignation from the U.S. State Department in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War coincided with your beginning study of Buddhism. Tell us about how you got interested in Buddhism and how the study of Buddhism influenced your thinking.
ANN WRIGHT: At the time of my resignation I was Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia. I had begun to study Buddhist texts in order to better understand the spiritual underpinnings of Mongolian society. When I arrived in Mongolia, it was 10 years after the country had come out of the Soviet sphere. Buddhists were digging up relics that their families had buried decades earlier when the Soviets destroyed Buddhist temples. I had not realized before I arrived in Mongolia the extent that Buddhism had been a part of the life of the country prior to the Soviet takeover in 1917. Before the twentieth century, the interchange of Buddhist thought between Mongolia and Tibet was substantial; in fact, the term Dalai Lama is a Mongolian phrase meaning “Ocean of Wisdom.”
While most lamas and nuns were killed during the Soviet era, in the 15 years since the Soviets loosened their hold on the country, many Mongolians were studying the long-prohibited religion; new temples and strong Buddhist medicine and art schools were established. Ulan Bator, the capital city and where I lived, was one of the centers for Tibetan medicine. Whenever I had a cold or flu I would go to a temple pharmacy to see what the doctors there would recommend, and in my conversations with the monks and the Mongolian civilians who helped run the pharmacy, I learned about different aspects of Buddhism. I also took an evening class on Buddhism and did the recommended readings. Probably not surprising to most Buddhists, it seemed like every time I would open up a booklet in one series of readings, there would be something that was like, oh, my goodness, how incredible that this particular reading is speaking to me.
IM: What were the teachings that spoke to you?
AW: Various Buddhist tracts had great relevance for me during my internal debate on how to handle my policy disagreements with the Bush administration. One commentary reminded me that all actions have consequences, that nations, like individuals, ultimately are held accountable for their actions. In particular, the Dalai Lama’s September 2002 remarks in his “Commemoration of the First Anniversary of September 11, 2001” were important in my deliberations on Iraq and even more relevant in our approach to the Global War on Terrorism. The Dalai Lama said, “Conflicts do not arise out of the blue. They occur as a result of causes and conditions, many of which are within the antagonists’ control. This is where leadership is important. Terrorism cannot be overcome by the use of force, because it does not address the complex underlying problems. In fact, the use of force may not only fail to solve the problems, it may exacerbate them; it frequently leaves destruction and suffering in its wake.”
IM: He was pointing towards teachings on cause…
AW: Yes, the cause-and-effect issue that the Bush administration dared not acknowledge. The Dalai Lama identified that the United States must look to the reasons why bin Laden and his network were bringing violence to America. After Gulf War I, bin Laden had announced to the world why he was angry with America: U.S. military bases left in Saudi Arabia on the “holy land of Islam” and U.S. bias toward Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These are causes that are still unacknowledged by the U.S. government as reasons why people continue to harm Americans and “U.S. interests.”
It is a blind spot in the American government’s look at the world, and tragically I’m afraid that it’s a blind spot in the psyche of many Americans that we don’t recognize what our government does that causes such anger around the world and causes some people to take violent and lethal action against Americans. I do believe America had to respond in some manner to the violent methods used by al-Qaeda. The destruction of the World Trade Towers, part of the Pentagon, the bombing of the USS Cole, the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the bombing of the U.S. Air Force Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia could not go without a response. That said, until the U.S. really acknowledges that America’s policies — particularly the invasion and occupation of countries — cause anger in the world, and changes its manner of interacting in the world, I’m afraid that we’re in for a much longer period of reprisals than the 12 years we’ve suffered through already.
IM: As a member of the armed forces and as a diplomat and now as a politically engaged civilian, you’ve indicated that you believe it’s sometimes appropriate to draw on military force. When is that?
AW: I think there are some specific situations in which military force may be the only way to stop violence. In 1994 during the Rwanda genocide, nearly a million people were killed during one year in the fighting between the Tutsis and the Hutus. In my opinion, a very small military force could have gone in and could have stopped the slaughter by machete of hundreds of thousands. President Clinton said his biggest regret as president was not to have intervened to save lives in Rwanda and this terrible failure would haunt him the rest of his life.
IM: Wasn’t there a United Nations force in Rwanda?
AW: Yes, there was a small United Nations force in Rwanda. In fact, the Canadian general who was in charge of that force requested authorization from the UN Security Council to use force to end the genocide but was denied that authorization. He has post-traumatic stress and has attempted suicide because of his regret that he did not go ahead and act decisively, using that small force to attempt at the very beginning to stop the massacre. He now feels that he should have gone ahead and used his small military force anyway and then dealt with the aftermath of possibly getting fired by the UN for not following orders. He is a strong supporter of the Genocide Intervention Network. I still feel the world is better off when unlawful, brutal actions against civilian populations are stopped, and generally, the fastest, most effective way to end these brutal actions is by military operations — operations which unfortunately also may result in loss of life in the civilian community.
IM: Since your resignation from the State Department in opposition to the Iraq War, as a responsible and sometimes outraged citizen, you have been traveling around the world articulating your views as a critic of the policies of the administrations on various international issues, including the use of assassin drones. From the point of view of Buddhist commitment to Right Action, to awareness of, and a sense of responsibility for, the consequences of one’s actions, the use of drones is particularly reprehensible.
AW: The issue of assassin drones has been a big focus in my work over the last two years. I’ve made trips to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen talking with the families of victims of drone strikes and speaking about my concerns on U.S. foreign policy. It’s important to travel to those countries to let citizens there know there are millions of Americans that totally disagree with the Obama Administration on the use of assassin drones. The U.S. now has the ability for a person at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to sit in a very comfortable chair and, with a touch on a computer, assassinate people halfway around the world. Little kids are learning killing technology from the time they are four or five years old. Computer games are teaching our society to kill and to be immune from the emotional and spiritual effects of remote-controlled killing. People on a screen are not human beings, our computer games say.
Every Tuesday, known in Washington as “Terror Tuesday,” the president gets a list of people, generally in countries with which the U.S. is NOT at war, that the 17 intelligence agencies of the United States have identified as having done something against the United States for which they should die without judicial process. The president looks at brief narratives describing what each person has done and then makes a checkmark beside the name of each person he has decided should be extra-judicially killed. It’s not George Bush, but Barack Obama, a constitutional lawyer no less, who as President of the United States has assumed the role of prosecutor, judge and executioner — an unlawful assumption of powers, in my opinion.
Americans, as a society, think we are good and generous and that we respect human rights. And yet we are allowing our government to use this type of assassination technology to destroy people half a world away. That’s why I have felt compelled to try to educate more people in the United States and in other parts of the world about what’s going on, because certainly the technology is going from country to country to country. Over 80 countries now have some kind of military drone. Most of them are not weaponized yet. But it’s just the next step to put weapons on their drones and then perhaps even use them on their own countrymen and women as the United States has done. The United States has killed four American citizens who were in Yemen.
IM: Then there’s the blowback, the extent to which this technology, which is immediately accessible to everybody, can easily be used against us by others. That’s cause and effect. Or you might call it karma.
AW: Yes, the whole issue of karma is one of the things that has been a motivating factor for me. What goes around comes around. What we, the United States, are doing to the world is coming back to haunt us. The Buddhist readings I did while in Mongolia certainly helped me see this. At many talks that I give, one of the questions that I get from the audience is, “Why did it take you so long to resign from the State Department?” I spent virtually all of my adult life being a part of that system and rationalizing what I did in the government. I didn’t agree with all of the policies of the eight presidential administrations I worked under and I held my nose to plenty of them. I found ways to work in areas where I didn’t feel like I was harming anybody. But the bottom line was, I was still part of a system that was doing bad things to people all over the world. And yet I didn’t have the moral courage to say, “I will resign because I disagree with so many of these policies.”
When you really look at how many people ever resigned from our government, there are very few — only three of us who resigned over the Iraq War, and others who resigned over the Vietnam War and the Balkan crisis. I never would have imagined that the readings I did in Buddhism, and particularly on karma, would have had such an influence in making my decision to resign and led me to advocate for peace and justice in the world.
IM: Thank you. It’s important for people to know your journey. Many people come to Buddhism as they grapple with suffering in their lives. But these teachings spoke to you at the exact intersection of your personal life and the urgent issues of society. And you were moved beyond contemplation to action. That’s a valuable lesson for us.
__________“Karma of Dissent” is reprinted by permission from Inquiring Mind: The Semiannual Journal of the Vipassana Community, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Spring 2014). 2014 by Inquiring Mind www.inquiringmind.com.

KarmaTube: 7 Billion Others

August 20, 2013
August 18, 2013By Meryl Ann Butler

 

We share this planet with seven billion others. What is our relationship with them? Are we a single unity? Do we belong to one of many tribal divisions? Are we individuals in a planet full of individuality? The way we conceive of our place among the people of the world has profound social, environmental, political, and ethical implications. The GoodPlanet Foundation asked people from all over the world a series of standard questions about the things they value. In bearing witness to the answers, the project allows us to explore the depth of our human commonality against the superficial visual and linguistic signs of difference. These sound-bites provide points of connection between ourselves and others.

Submitters Website: http://www.merylannbutler.com

Submitters Bio:

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had been a student of Norman Rockwell. Her art in a wide variety of media can be seen on her YouTube video, “Visionary Artist Meryl Ann Butler on Creativity and Joy” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcGs2r_66QE A NYC native, her response to 9-11 was to pen an invitation to healing through creativity, entitled, “90-Minute Quilts: 15+ Projects You Can Stitch in an Afternoon” (Krause 2006), which is a bestseller in the craft field. The sequel, MORE 90-Minute Quilts: 20+ Quick and Easy Projects With Triangles and Squares was released in April, 2011. Her popular video, How to Stitch a Quilt in 90 Minutes with Meryl Ann Butler can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrShGOQaJQ8 She has been active in a number of international, arts-related projects as a citizen diplomat, and was arts advisor to Baltimore’s CIUSSR (Center for Improving US-Soviet Relations), 1987-89. She made two trips to the former USSR in 1987 and 1988 to speak to artists, craftpeople and fashion designers on the topic of utilizing the arts as a tool for global wellbeing. She created the historical “First US-Soviet Children’s Peace Quilt Exchange Project” in 1987-88, which was the first time a reciprocal quilt was given to the US from the former USSR. Her artwork is in collections across the globe. Meryl Ann is a founding member of The Labyrinth Society and has been building labyrinths since 1992. “Creativity and Healing: The Work of Meryl Ann Butler” by Burl Hall is at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Creativity-and-Healing–T-by-Burl-Hall-130414-18.html Burl and Merry Hall interviewed Meryl Ann on their BlogTalk radio show, “Envision This,” at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/envision-this/2013/04/11/meryl-ann-butler-art-as-a-medicine-for-the-soul She has written for Opednews since 2004. Archived articles http://www.opednews.com/author/author1820.html Older archived articles, from before May 2005 are here.,

Animals and Humans: A False Divide?

June 7, 2013

June 5, 2013 — We don’t just share our lives with animals; we are animals — a reality that we often choose to forget in modern Western culture. Research published in the June special issue of SAGE journal, Social Science Information (SSI), delves deeper into our relationship with other creatures, critically examining our own animal nature, and looking at how animals profoundly influence our culture — perhaps more so than we had initially thought.

We have often been told in Western thought that the human species is one that is highly developed, above that of the animal kingdom, a division that is clear cut and one that clearly sets the human species apart. Yet Dominique Lestel, a highly influential researcher studying animality (our animal nature), opposes the separation of human and animal life. Lestel ask us to reframe the question of animality, asking us to view humanization as an ongoing performative practice, rather than an historical threshold that was crossed long ago.

Looking at the relationship between animal and human, Lestel argues that species loss has both an ecological and symbolic consequence on our culture, as every species contributes to our very being, our meaning. He warns that “each species that disappears is a part of our imagination that we amputate perhaps irreversibly.”

According to Lestel, the question is “not that of knowing how I share my life with others, but how others shape me and how I shape others,” The work focuses on the interrelatedness of all animals (humans included), where more usually we tend to highlight the boundaries between us.

In addition to humans’ place in the animal kingdom at a scientific level, Lestel also highlights our essential, existential animality in his opening comments with fellow editor, Hollis Taylor. “A key question now is to know how the human of the 21st century can reactivate his animality and animalize himself anew when all Western thought since the Greeks tells him that he is human precisely because of this rupture with animality,” Lestel suggests, building on his critique of the very philosophical foundations of the ethological tradition. “To be human does not mean to have fled animality, but on the contrary to live within it and to let it live within us…we are animals and animals are us.”

Share this story on FacebookTwitter, andGoogle:

Tail Chasing in Dogs Resembles Obsessive Compulsive Disorders in Humans

August 21, 2012

ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2012) — A new research led by Professor Hannes Lohi at the University of Helsinki, Finland, revealed several similarities between compulsive behavior in dogs and humans: early onset, recurrent compulsive behaviors, increased risk for developing different types of compulsions, compulsive freezing, the beneficial effect of nutritional supplements, the effects of early life experiences and sex hormones and genetic risk.

The genetics research group, based at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center and led by Professor Hannes Lohi, has in collaboration with an international group of researchers investigated the characteristics and environmental factors associated with compulsive tail chasing in dogs. A questionnaire study covering nearly 400 dogs revealed several similarities between compulsive behavior in dogs and humans: early onset, recurrent compulsive behaviors, increased risk for developing different types of compulsions, compulsive freezing, the beneficial effect of nutritional supplements, the effects of early life experiences and sex hormones and genetic risk. The study shows that dogs offer an excellent animal model for studying the genetic background and environmental factors associated with human obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD). The study has been published in the journal PLoS ONEon July 27, 2012.

Stereotypical behavior in pets has not been studied extensively, even though several different types of compulsive behavior occur in different species including dogs. A dog may recurrently chase lights or shadows, bite or lick its own flank, pace compulsively or chase its own tail. Different environmental and genetic factors have been suggested to predispose to compulsive behavior. Many stereotypes are breed-specific, which emphasizes the role of genes. Compulsive tail chasing occurs in several dog breeds, but worldwide it is most common in breeds such as Bull Terriers and German Shepherds. The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of tail chasing in dogs, to identify possible environmental risk factors, and to find out whether a previously discovered gene region associated with compulsive behavior is also linked to tail chasing.

Could vitamins have an influence?

Nearly 400 Finnish dogs participated in this study, including Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, German Shepherds and Staffordshire Bull Terriers respectively. Blood samples were taken from the dogs participating in the study, and their owners filled out a questionnaire about their dogs’ stereotypic behavior. The questionnaire included questions about different stereotypic behaviors, as well as aspects of each dog’s puppyhood and the routines of the dog’s current daily life. In addition to this the owners evaluated their dogs’ personality based on the questions in the questionnaire.

The study included dogs that chased their tails daily for several hours, dogs that chased their tails a few times a month, and dogs that had observably never chased their tails. With most of the dogs, the tail chasing had begun at the age of 3 to 6 months, before reaching sexual maturity.

One of the most interesting findings of this study is the connection with stereotypic behavior and vitamins and minerals. Dogs that received nutritional supplements, especially vitamins and minerals, with their food, chased their tails less. “Our study does not prove an actual causal relationship between vitamins and lessened tail chasing, but interestingly similar preliminary results have been observed in human OCD” says researcher, Katriina Tiira, PhD. Follow-up studies will aim to prove whether vitamins could be beneficial in the treatment of tail chasing.

Early separation from the mother and the mother’s poor care of the puppy were also found in the study to predispose dogs to tail chasing. Early separation from the mother has been discovered to predispose also other animals to stereotypic behavior, but this is the first time this connection has been made with dogs.

The amount of exercise the dogs received or the number of activities they engaged in did not, however, seem to have a connection with tail chasing. This could be comforting news to many owners of dogs with compulsive behaviors, since often the owners themselves or the dogs’ living environment may be blamed for these behaviors. Although frustration and stress are likely to be significant causes of the occurrence of stereotypic behavior in for example zoo animals, they may be of lesser significance when it comes to Finnish dogs that are walked regularly.

Tail chasing in dogs can be used as an animal model for studying the genetic background of OCD in humans

Compared to the control dogs, tail chasers suffered more from also other stereotypic behaviors. In addition, tail chasers were more timid and afraid of loud noises. “Different types of compulsive behavior occur simultaneously in humans suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder or other diseases such as autism” explains the head of the study, Professor Hannes Lohi. Dogs may turn out to be of significant use in investigating the causes of human psychiatric diseases. “Stereotypic behavior occurs in dogs spontaneously; they share the same environment with humans, and as large animals are physiologically close to humans. Furthermore, their strict breed structure aids the identification of genes.”

The gene region previously associated with compulsive flank licking and biting in Dobermans was not found to be associated with tail chasing in any of the breeds in this study. The next aim of this research project is thus to discover new gene regions connected to tail chasing. The study is part of a larger DOGPSYCH project, funded by the European Research Council, in which the genetic background of different anxiety disorders, such as timidity, compulsive behavior and sound sensitivity are investigated, as well as their similarities with corresponding human diseases.

Share this story on FacebookTwitter, and Google:

My Earth Day wish: A better human brain

April 20, 2012

1

Comments

20 Apr 2012 12:22 PM

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?action=like&api_key=172525162793917&channel_url=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic.ak.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter.php%3Fversion%3D5%23cb%3Df443ddb84%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fgrist.org%252Ff1ba02ce5%26domain%3Dgrist.org%26relation%3Dparent.parent&extended_social_context=false&font=arial&href=http%3A%2F%2Fgrist.org%2Fclimate-change%2Fmy-earth-day-wish-a-better-human-brain%2F&layout=box_count&locale=en_US&node_type=link&sdk=joey&show_faces=false&width=55http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.1334389481.html#_=1334946092251&count=vertical&counturl=http%3A%2F%2Fgrist.org%2Fclimate-change%2Fmy-earth-day-wish-a-better-human-brain%2F&id=twitter-widget-0&lang=en&original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fgrist.org%2Fclimate-change%2Fmy-earth-day-wish-a-better-human-brain%2F&size=m&text=My%20Earth%20Day%20wish%3A%20A%20better%20human%C2%A0brain&url=http%3A%2F%2Fgrist.org%2Fclimate-change%2Fmy-earth-day-wish-a-better-human-brain%2F&via=grist

Share on redditShare on stumbleuponShare on emailShare on print

By David Roberts

For Earth Day, Treehugger asked several green types what one wish they had that might make the world a better place. The answers were interesting and diverse — you can read them all here.Here’s mine:

I would change the human brain. Thanks to millions of years evolving in small groups on the savannah, our brains are rather maladapted to being part of a single human tribe of billions, most of whom we will never see or know, with collective effects on our global habitat that play out incrementally over centuries and are irreversible and possibly unadaptable.

Because we spent millions of years as creatures whose lives were short and brutal, we are designed to recognize threats with faces—proximate threats that we can see and touch and smell, that affect our own families and social groups. We have a great deal of intellectual difficulty understanding threats like climate change, where the cumulative effects of our actions today shape the lives of people far away or not yet born. But we have even more difficulty translating that somewhat abstract knowledge into motivation for action.

Today, we are on a course that is likely to render our planet unsuitablefor human civilization—if not by 2100, by 2300. Morally, it ought to make no difference. Each human being living in 2300 has as much right to the conditions of a decent life as I do. If there is such a thing as being a good person, surely being a good ancestor is part of it. It’s unfortunate that our brains do not well suit us to the task.

__________________________
Comment: Brains are brought up for self-survival by karmas (past/present physical/verbal/mental actions/habits), which are increasingly  ignoring the wholly wholesome world. The only principal and practical way to stop it to stop karmas, that is, to sit solid, still, serene (zazen: sitting meditation) as the Buddha (Awakened One) and all the buddhas (awakened ones) and bodhisattvas (awakening beings) did and will do.