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4 MORE YEARS!!! CONGRATULATIONS BARRY OBAMA! November 7, 2012

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This is it! Now people get ready for what’s about to confront you next ! With Joey holding the VP position, that gives democrats control of the senate.

I’m about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.

I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen.

You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn’t easy, you pressed forward.

I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.

But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.

Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.

There’s a lot more work to do.

But for right now: Thank you.

Barack

However, people you gotta remember what transpired to get us all here together and that means as brother Al Green would say”Let’s stay together”

Bernard

STAY TUNED! THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS!

Presidential Debates!, PLEASE!!! October 27, 2012

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God help them if Obama and Romney ever had to participate in a real debate about a real issue at the Oxford Union. They would be massacred. Paul Roberts.

The “debates” revealed that not only the candidates but also the entire country is completely tuned out to every real problem and dangerous development. For example, you would never know that US citizens can now be imprisoned and executed without due process. All that is required to terminate the liberty and life of an American citizen by his own government is an unaccountable decision somewhere in the executive branch.

No doubt that Americans, if they think of this at all, believe that it will only happen to terrorists who deserve it. But as no evidence or due process is required, how would we know that it only happens to terrorists? Can we really trust a government that has started wars in 7 countries on the basis of falsehoods? If the US government will lie about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in order to invade a country, why won’t it lie about who is a terrorist?

America needs a debate about how we can be made more safe by removing the Constitutional protection of due process. If the power of government is not limited by the Constitution, are we ruled by Caesar? The Founding Fathers did not think we could trust a caesar with our safety. What has changed that we can now trust a caesar?

If we are under such a terrorist threat that the Constitution has to be suspended or replaced by unaccountable executive action, how come all the alleged terrorist cases are sting operations organized by the FBI? In eleven years there has not been a single case in which the “terrorist” had the initiative!

In the eleven years since 9/11, acts of domestic terrorism have been miniscule if they even exist. What justifies the enormous and expensive Department of Homeland Security? Why does Homeland Security have military-equipped Special Response Teams with armored vehicles.

Who are the targets of these militarized units? If eleven years of US government murder, maiming, and displacement of millions of Muslims hasn’t provoked massive acts of domestic terrorism, why is Homeland Security creating a domestic armed force of its own? Why are there no congressional hearings and no public discussion? How can a government whose budget is deep in the red afford a second military force with no defined and Constitutionally legal purpose?

What is Homeland Security’s motivation in creating a Homeland Youth? I’ve worked with FEMA during its’ formulation, my questions now are; Is the new FEMA Corps a disguise for a more sinister purpose? Perhaps a Hitler youth type. Are the massive ammunition purchases by Homeland Security related to the raising of a nationwide corps of 18- to 24-year-olds? How can so much be going on in front of our eyes with no questions asked?

Why did not Romney ask Obama why he is working to overturn the federal court’s ruling that US citizens cannot be subject to indefinite detention in violation of the US Constitution? Are the massive ammunition purchases by Homeland Security related to the raising of a nationwide corps of 18- to 24-year-olds? How can so much be going on in front of our eyes with no questions asked?

Why did not Romney ask Obama why he is working to overturn the federal court’s ruling that US citizens cannot be subject to indefinite detention in violation of the US Constitution? Is it because Romney and his neoconservative advisers agree with Obama and his advisers? If so, then why is one tyrant better than another?

Why has the US constructed a network of detainment camps, for which it’s hiring “internet specialist”

Why does the US Army now have a policy for “establishing civilian inmate labor programs and “civilian prison camps on Army installations”

How did the presidential debates avoid the fact of Predator Drones flying over us here in the domestic United States of America? What is the purpose of this? Why are the smallest police forces in the most remote of locations being equipped with armored cars? I have seen them. In these small lilly-white communities north of Atlanta, Georgia, communities of sub-million dollar MacMansions have militarized police with armored cars and automatic weapons. SWAT teams in full military gear are everywhere. What is it all about? These small semi-rural areas will never see a terrorist or experience a hostage situation. Yet, they are all armed to the teeth. They are so heavily armed that they could be sent into combat against the Third Reich or the Red Army.

Any such questions run afoul of the assumption of America’s moral perfection. No such debate will ever happen. But if “it is the economy, stupid,” why is there no economic debate?

Last month the Federal Reserve announced QE3. If QE1 and QE2 did not work, why does anyone, including the Federal Reserve chairman, think that QE3 will work?

Yet, the utterly irrational financial markets, which haven’t a clue about anything, were overjoyed at QE3. This can only be because what rules the equity market is propaganda, spin, and disinformation, not facts. The vaunted stock market is incapable of making any correct decision. The decisions are made by the fools in the market operating on a short-run basis. The only safe path to take is to run with the lemmings. This strategy insures that a portfolio manager is always in the middle of his peers and, therefore, he doesn’t lose clients.

How wonderful it would have been for Obama and Romney to have confronted in a real debate how QE3, designed to help insolvent “banks too big to fail,” can help households operating, with two earners, on real incomes of 45 years ago, which is where the current real median household income stands.

How does saving a bank, designated as “too big to fail,” help the family whose jobs or main job has been exported to China or India in order to maximize corporate profits, executive performance bonuses and shareholders’ capital gains?

Obviously the working population of the US has been sacrificed to the profits of the mega-rich.

An appropriate debate question is: Why has the livelihood of working Americans been sacrificed to the profits of the mega-rich?

No such question will ever be asked in a “presidential debate.”

“In the 21st century, US citizens became nonentities. They are brutalized by the police whose incomes their taxes pay. They, for protesting some injustice or for no cause at all, are beaten, arrested, tasered and even murdered. The police, paid by the public, beat up paralyzed people in wheel chairs, frame those who call them for help against criminals, taser grandmothers and small children, and shoot down in cold blood unarmed citizens who have done nothing except lose control of themselves, either through alcohol, drugs, or rage said Roberts”

Brainwashed Americans pay large taxes at every level of government for protection against gratuitous violence, but what their taxes support is gratuitous violence against themselves. Every American, except for the small number of mega-rich who control Washington, can be arrested and dispossessed, both liberty and property, on the basis of nothing but an allegation of a member of the executive branch who might want the accused’s wife, girlfriend, property, or to settle a score, or to exterminate a rival, or to score against a high school, college, or business rival.

The Dumbing Down of America: Creating Mass-Produced Ignorance October 25, 2012

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“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”—William Arthur Ward

What goes on in America’s schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads.

In Ward’s words: “In the 1980s, I came across a little book entitled Master Teachers and the Art of Teaching. This unpretentious little book, written by John E. Colman of St. John’s University, not only enlightened me as a young educator but proved to be invaluable. In it, about a dozen different teaching methods are described along with some information about the master teachers who designed them. Each of these methods was used successfully to teach some subjects to some students. None was used successfully to teach all subjects to all students. Throughout my teaching career, I found opportunities to utilize many of these methods when the right situations arose. The lesson I learned from this little book is that there is no one teaching method that works for teaching all subjects to all students. Finding the right method for the students at hand is at best an art, never a science, and is never easy.”

Few people understand this. In fact, teacher training suppresses it. Teaching methods are taught to prospective teachers as fixed, reliable procedures that never fail when in reality, they rarely succeed. And although carried out in numerous variations, the predominant way of teaching in America’s schools at all levels has been the teacher’s lecture and the student’s need to memorize it. Today the lecture is often presented in various ways. The student listens to a teacher speak, or reads a teacher’s words in a textbook, or watches a televised presentation or a computerized video. And students are asked to memorize some portion of the presented material. Furthermore, the memorization of presented material is the most boring way of teaching anyone anything. No one likes having to memorize stuff. Some teachers, like orators, are better at lecturing than others which leads many to conclude that the quality of the presentation is what really matters and that that quality depends on the teacher’s talent. But it doesn’t. Teaching is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for learning. Human beings have been teaching themselves and others for millennia before what we know as a “teacher” ever existed.

The history of education in America makes this transparently clear. Even the Puritans had ways of teaching their children, but the first normal school, a school to train students to be teachers, didn’t come into being until 1839, less than two centuries ago. It resulted in building a school system modeled on an industrial, manufacturing model that still controls thinking about education today. Unfortunately is was faulty then and still is today.

Using this model, our schools are thought of as factories, the teachers are thought of as factory workers, and students are thought of as raw material. Each student enters the school system as a tabula rasa and exits as a book engraved with “knowledge.” The engraver, of course, is the teacher who is responsible for what is written on the tabulae. The system is devoted to mass producing educated people, and even anecdotal observations of people clearly demonstrate that it has never worked. Had it worked, everyone who attended school would have been equally educated, just like the buttons produced in a button factory are all alike. Two and a half centuries of graduate counterexamples absolutely refute the theory.

But so does the experience of most students. It is the rare graduate of any school on any level who can’t name a teacher s/he considers exceptionally good. Yet even those teachers never taught every student in their classes equally well. Some learned a lot, some learned less, and perhaps some learned nothing. No teacher can be responsible for such disparate results. Something other than the teacher’s ability must be accountable for them, because each student in each class was subjected to the same presentations. Mill’s method of difference must be used to identify the other, but no reformer is attempting to use it. Blaming the teacher is so much easier, and putting the blame there proves that the improvement of education is not the aim of reformers.

Even though we routinely ask children what they would like to be when they grow up, except in trivial ways, our schools rarely make attaining their goals possible, because the system is designed to make products not educated human beings. Prospective college students are always being told, even by the President, to study subjects that the commercial community needs to carry out its enterprises. Lindsay Oldenski, Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, writes that the need is to match graduates to the areas where labour demand is growing. Students are not told to study the subjects needed to become what they want to be because unless the commercial community wants people who want to be what they want to be, this society has no place for them in it, which proves that this society does not exist for people, but that people exist to fulfill the purposes of the commercial community.

The President says more scientists are needed. No one asks him why. No one points out that we don’t pay any attention to those we already have. Why are more scientists who are not going to be paid attention to needed? What the commercial community wants is not scientists, but scientists who fulfill the commercial community’s needs. So the schools need not produce environmentalists or climatologists or anthropologists.

What schools need to produce are scientists like Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun who was quite content to use slave labor to produce weapons of mass murder. Our commercial community needs scientists like that and apparently quite enough of them are being produced. The educational system exists to produce factory fodder, and educational reformers are concerned not with improving education but with producing factory fodder better. But it won’t work!

Recent studies show a list of the 16 colleges in the country that produce the highest paid graduates. Princeton University was first on the list; yet only 49% of its graduates considered their jobs to have merit. Preparing or training for work is not  even remotely close to education for living,  even if you’re amongst the highly paid. The average rate of meaningful work for the 16 colleges  involved is a mere 51%. Can you guess what was the average for all workers, especially the lowest paid? What does this say about the quality of life Americans enjoy?

Our legislative body of reformers’ love affair with technology has also shown itself to be ineffective. American love for science and technology is grounded in religious-like faith, not reality. This love produces a deeply held belief that science and technology will solve all problems. That it may not is never even considered, so reformers go from one technology to another in an endless search for the holy grail of learning. Television was introduced into college classrooms in the early 1960s. It enabled one professor to “teach” hundreds of students, but they never learned very much. Two decades later, computers were introduced into the public schools.A lot of computers were bought; little increase in learning was observed. Now the classroom is being shifted to the Internet.

But test scores keep dropping. Despite decades of reforms and billions of dollars spent the American education system badly needs improvement;  yet there’s been no relevant improvement in sight. “Most of the nation’s high school graduates of 2012, like those of yesteryear, aren’t ready for college; hell their reading skills continue to decline reaching their lowest level in four decades ” (Johnathan Kozy). In fact, piles of evidence reveal that Americans are getting dumber. People who have graduated from high school since the pocket calculator was invented can’t calculate in their heads, not even simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Many people addicted to the Internet have difficulty reading anything more complicated than a tweet, and the technical constraints imposed by the internet are making it impossible to teach spelling and the nuances of grammar. What can seriously be written about in 140 characters? Articles become mere headlines and headlines become mere soundbites.

America is, and always has been, an anti-intellectual society. It is a conservative nation with deeply held conservative views. This conservatism stems from its widespread fundamentalist religious values. Numerous progressive attempts to change this have failed and are failing again. When the Republican Party of Texas recently approved its 2012 Platform, it included the following paragraph:

Knowledge-Based Education

“We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills or HOTS (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education or OBE (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

The Alabama Legislature considered a bill to stop the teaching of evolution as a fact. That even a part of America’s governing elite tries to enact such reactionary views into law means that they are attempting to make improving the American schools impossible. The American elite does not want anyone to improve the American schools. America’s schools will never be reformed because the culture impedes it. The reform movements are not about education. They, like everything else in America, are about money. Both the American political and economic systems rely on a thoughtless, unintelligent, uneducated populous. Einstein said that it is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. In America, it hasn’t. To become learned, a person, especially a child, must be imbued with curiosity. But marketing to children and entertaining adults are based on mindless activities. How does watching a sporting event, a televised situation comedy, a music-video, or a cartoon awaken curiosity? What does any of this make a person want to learn? The culture doesn’t make Americans want to learn anything about anything. Such people do not make willing students. Schooling to them is something being forced upon them; they naturally resist it. Students who don’t want to learn won’t, and the society has developed no means of awakening curiosity. For educational purposes, the lack of curiosity is fatal. It cannot be cured.

A healthy curiosity is the only weapon against ignorance. Teaching is nothing but the art of awakening the natural curiosity of students, but learning what is taught is not enough. Learning whether what is taught makes sense is ultimately essential. Unfortunately that aspect of educating people is not part of American education.

“Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.”—Dalai Lama

Public Education: The Republican Football July 14, 2012

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The following story appeared in the online version of the Tampabay Times. It just goes to show how public education continues to be the football of the Republican Party. The “goal” is to divert your taxpaying dollars, not just in Florida, but nationwide, to privately-owned and Republican-connected charter schools. The students aren’t on the winning team as there is no proof that charter schooled students perform any better academically than their regular public school counterparts. It is the corporate owners of these charter schools that walk away with the win, in terms of your tax dollars. Read on…

A Times (Tampabay Times) Editorial

FCAT farce just gets worse.

No wonder Gov. Rick Scott and Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson have suggested in recent weeks they are ready to reassess the FCAT. After more than a decade of leading the national charge on school accountability, Florida on Wednesday released 2011-12 grades for public elementary and middle schools that were largely meaningless. The grades have been tweaked, adjusted and tweaked again. Even ardent supporters of the A+ plan appeared willing to concede that the process, which began with the ill-conceived grading of the state’s FCAT writing test, has been a complete mess.

Now leaders in Tallahassee should begin the serious discussion about what is next. Florida’s plan to jettison the FCAT for end-of-course exams is still two years away. That’s too long to wait to overhaul the A+ Plan if there’s any hope of restoring faith with teachers, parents and the public that Florida’s school accountability program is actually fair.

Wednesday’s results would have looked even worse if the state Board of Education had continued on its original track, backed by Scott and Robinson, to dramatically raise requirements for student passing scores on the FCAT, on which school grades are largely based. By May, it was clear the state was moving too fast and risked labeling thousands of additional students and their schools as failures.

Results from the FCAT writing exam — which included tougher grading and a higher passing score — suggested that in just one year Florida schools went from teaching 81 percent of fourth-graders to write at grade level to just 27 percent. Robinson and the education board quickly recalibrated the scores. But the massaging didn’t stop there.

The school grades released Wednesday also — compared with a year ago — de-emphasized the performance of a school’s lowest achievers on the FCAT and prevented any school from dropping more than a single letter grade in one year. In Pinellas County that second provision meant 12 schools — including seven schools that received A’s last year — otherwise would have dropped to a C or lower. And in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, more than 40 schools were saved from an even lower grade because of the change. In Hillsborough, West Tampa Elementary, would have dropped from and A to an F under the tougher formula before it was tweaked. How is that possible?

The results will obviously fuel the growing backlash against the FCAT. Even Republican state Sen. Don Gaetz, a former Okaloosa County school superintendent and the incoming Senate president, distanced himself from the results. He issued a statement reminding parents that by 2014-15 the FCAT will be gone, replaced with end-of-course subject tests that can be compared with national results.

But that’s two years away, and the question Tallahassee should be deciding is what to do now. School grades and FCAT scores play a role in both school funding and teacher merit pay. Will that now be based on the faulty formula used Wednesday? And will the Legislature and Scott accept some responsibility? The new grades, after all, measured a school year in which per student funding dropped 8 percent. For that, voters should hold them to account.

*******************************************************************

Guest blogger: Bridget Foster

As a Florida educator, this comes as no surprise to me. I can remember when the FCAT was first rolled out as part of Florida’s 1990’s education reform program, Blueprint 2000.  As we field tested hundreds of ninth graders on a meaningless test, the inside cover of the test manual stated that the test was not meant to be an exit exam but rather an assessment tool for teachers to identify student weaknesses. Within five or so years, under Jeb Bush, it did become an exit exam, with Neil Bush and his company becoming the benefactor as they provided the practice materials adopted by the state. The stakes have become higher and higher, as evidenced by the large number of 15 and 16 year old students still in middle school due to failure to pass the FCAT Reading test in 3rd grade, resulting in repeated years of retention. Additionally, 50% of a teacher’s evaluation is now based on the FCAT reading and math scores of assigned students…no matter how students perform throughout the year, the performance on a single test on a specific day of the year determines how “effective” your instruction is and whether you are eligible for merit pay. Worse still, those of us who have no direct instructional responsibility have 40% of our evaluation based on the grade assigned to the school as a whole with a “value-added” score designed to reduce the impact of the school grade. Either way, when you combine a change in the format of the test (6th grade reading is now computer-based) with an increase in the required passing score,  as well as a new teacher evaluation system all in the same year, there are bound to be problems. But it’s all a smokescreen…consider that our illustrious governor “increased” the spending on education by 1 billion dollars in the SAME YEAR as the aforementioned changes, the cry will now become: “We increased spending on public education and look! student scores plummeted, school grades dropped and none of the teachers or administrators were evaluated to be “Highly Effective”!  Public education doesn’t work! We need to divert the dollars to opportunity scholarships so parents can send their children to private schools…we need to fund more charter schools, etc. etc. etc.” This so-called “increase” in spending on public education is another farce, as it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars that have been cut from the education budget over the past six or eight years.

Our children’s education is not a game, folks. It’s time to elect people who really support public education and that includes people who will hold PARENTS responsible for how their children perform and for their readiness (or lack thereof) for school.  Educating children is like baking a cake: you can have the finest ingredients to make the batter, but if you pour that batter into a dented pan, you will have a dented cake!

Stalin and Hitler didn’t do what America has done… April 22, 2012

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Americans associate lawlessness with unaccountable governments and view China’s government as unaccountable. However, Unz points out that it is the Bush/Obama Regime that has declared itself to be unaccountable to both US and international law. The problems facing American society is an unfortunate assumed definition of democracy.

The demise of the War Powers Act and the Geneva Conventions, and the asserted power of the executive to imprison without trial or charges or to assassinate any American whom the executive thinks might be a “national-security threat” are indicative of a total police state masquerading as an accountable democracy. In America six-year old little girls who misbehave in school are handcuffed, jailed, and charged with felonies. (see, 10 Disgusting Examples of Very Young School Children Being Arrested, Handcuffed and Brutalized By Police ). Not even Hitler and Stalin went this far.

Americans have lost control of the government, and governments that are not controlled by the people are not democracies. In America today, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and the entire social safety net are threatened by the vociferous desire for war profits by armament plutocrats and by financial institutions determined that ordinary citizens bear the cost of the banksters incompetence and fraud.

Unz’s comparison of how the Chinese media and government handled the melamine or infant formula scandal and how the American media and government handled Merck’s Vioxx scandal is especially damning. It was China’s controlled media and unaccountable government that punished the infant formula wrongdoers, while America’s free press and accountable government allowed Merck to walk.

Unz’s conclusion is that it is in America, not China, where life is regarded as cheap.

Ron Unz is an American hero, and a very courageous one. As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

It is an even more courageous act when no one wants to hear the truth. As Frantz Fanon said, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

Or as it is explained to Neo in the film, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

Most of the people I know personally are not willing to be unplugged. I assume my readers are, so seize the opportunity to be further unplugged and read Ron Unz’s comparison of America and China. Then do what you can to unplug others. Be courageous and dare to be different, question authority show some independence in your ability to think.

Wall street+Politics+Economic Crisis+Racism+foreclosure bubble=Al Qaeda March 28, 2012

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There is something disturbing in the nature of post 9/11 public discourse. Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events. Occurences of a significant political, social or strategic nature –including the US presidential elections campaign– are routinely categorized by referring to Al Qaeda, the alleged architect of the September 11 2001 attacks.

What is striking is the extent of media coverage of  “Al Qaeda related events”, not to mention the mountains of op eds and  authoritative “analysis” pertaining to “terror events” in different part of the World.

Routine mention of Al Qaeda “fanatics”, “jihadists”, etc. has become –from a news standpoint– trendy and fashionable. A Worldwide ritual of authoritative media reporting has unfolded. At the time of writing (March 24, 2012), “Al Qaeda events” had 183 million entries on Google and 18,200 news entries.

A panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

In turn, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.

Human Consciousness: Al Qaeda and the Human Mindset

How does the daily bombardment of Al Qaeda related concepts and images, funnelled into the Western news chain and on network TV, affect the human mindset?

Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With Al Qaeda, however, there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because Al Qaeda has evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.

The American Inquisition

The notion of Al Qaeda –“the outside enemy” which threatens Western civilization– is predicated on “an inquisitorial doctrine”. The Homeland Security State personifies what might be described as the “American Inquisition”.

As in the case of the Spanish Inquisition, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) consensus cannot be challenged.

Reference to  Al Qaeda as a central paradigm used to understand the world we live in is ultimately intended to instil fear and insecurity. In the words of Britain’s comedy group Monty Python:  “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope….”

Unconditional submission to the Homeland Security State in today’s America is not dissimilar from the process of “fanatical devotion” prevailing under the Spanish feudal order. What is at stake in our contemporary World, in the words of Monty Python, is “fear and surprise” and the unconditional compliance to the “ruthless efficiency” of a dominant political, economic and military order.

The American Inquisition redefines the entire legal and judicial framework. Torture and political assassinations are no longer a covert activity as in the heyday of the CIA, removed from the public eye. They are “legal”, they are the object of extensive news coverage, they are sanctioned by the White House and the US Congress. Conversely, those who dare confront the “War on Terrorism” consensus are branded as “terrorists”. Upholding true justice by challenging America’s “holy crusade” against Al Qaeda becomes an outright criminal act.

A new threshold in US legal history has unfolded. High ranking officials within the State and the Military no longer need to camouflage their crimes. In fact, quite the opposite. Torture of Al Qaeda suspects is a public policy with a humanitarian mandate:

“Yes we did order torture, but it isn’t really torture, its not really war, because these people are terrorists and “we must fight evil”. And the way to uphold democracy and freedom is to “go after the bad guys”, “wage war on the terrorists”. “Its in the public interest.”

Moreover, anybody who questions our definition of “fighting evil” (which of course includes torture, political assassination and concentration camps directed against “the bad guys”) is by our definition also “evil” and can be arrested, tortured and sent to concentration camps. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Spanish Inquisition, Made in America, Global Research, 2004,

Al Qaeda is presented to public opinion as the terror instrument of “radical Islam”, which threatens the Homeland, undermining Western civilization and moral values. Everybody must comply; nobody dares to question “the American Inquisition”.

Al Qaeda and the “Big Lie”

The Al Qaeda Legend sustains the “Big Lie”. It turns realities upside down. It creates both a perception and a belief which cannot be questioned. It permeates US foreign policy and the conduct of international diplomacy. Al Qaeda and the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) constitute a central component of US military doctrine.

“Al Qaeda did this”, “Al Qaeda did that” statements provide a simple and trouble-free elucidation of complex events, while disguising and concealing “the real reasons”, namely the unspoken and forbidden truth behind these events.

Nobody seems to take the time to examine “who is this elusive enemy Al Qaeda”, which has succeeded, with limited military means, in confronting America’s multibillion dollar war machine.

The Al Qaeda blanket explanation not only overshadows the normal channels of human comprehension, it also precludes a move to the next step of rational explanation, which consists in saying: if Al Qaeda is “the cause” as stated in numerous press reports, then: “What is Al Qaeda?” and “Who is behind Al Qaeda?”

But these are questions which in the post 9/11 era are rarely addressed. To investigate “Who is behind the terrorists” has become unmentionable, a political taboo, despite evidence pertaining to the historical role of  US intelligence in creating and promoting the Islamic jihad.

Today, if Al Qaeda were to be revealed for what it really is, –e.g  in the context of a specific false flag terrorist attack– the legitimacy of the “war on terrorism” and those officials in high office who support it, would collapse like a deck of cards.

While the identity of Al Qaeda is fully documented, including its links to US intelligence, the truth has not trickled down to the mainstay of public opinion.

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

Al Qaeda and the Role of Western Intelligence [to be continued in Part II]

Acknowledged by the CIA, the Islamic jihad  “was” a US sponsored “intelligence asset” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989).

The intelligence community admits, yes we created the Mujahideen, we set up the training camps and the koranic schools together with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was involved in the recruitment, training and religious indoctrination of the “jihadists” described by President Ronald Reagan as “Freedom Fighters”.

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 to the present, various Islamic fundamentalist organizations became de facto instruments of US intelligence and more generally of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

Unknown to the American public, the US spread the teachings of the Islamic jihad in textbooks “Made in America”, developed at the University of Nebraska:

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)


The role of Western intelligence agencies in support of Al Qaeda affiliated organizations will be outlined in Part II

PART II: “WHO IS BEHIND AL QAEDA”


Who is behind Al Qaeda,  documented in Michel Chossudovsky’s 2005 international best-seller

Wall street+Politics+Economic Crisis+Racism+foeclosure bubble=Al Qaeda March 28, 2012

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There is something disturbing in the nature of post 9/11 public discourse. Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events. Occurences of a significant political, social or strategic nature –including the US presidential elections campaign– are routinely categorized by referring to Al Qaeda, the alleged architect of the September 11 2001 attacks.

What is striking is the extent of media coverage of  “Al Qaeda related events”, not to mention the mountains of op eds and  authoritative “analysis” pertaining to “terror events” in different part of the World.

Routine mention of Al Qaeda “fanatics”, “jihadists”, etc. has become –from a news standpoint– trendy and fashionable. A Worldwide ritual of authoritative media reporting has unfolded. At the time of writing (March 24, 2012), “Al Qaeda events” had 183 million entries on Google and 18,200 news entries.

A panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

In turn, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council. 

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World. 

Human Consciousness: Al Qaeda and the Human Mindset

How does the daily bombardment of Al Qaeda related concepts and images, funnelled into the Western news chain and on network TV, affect the human mindset?

Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis. 

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With Al Qaeda, however, there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because Al Qaeda has evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.

The American Inquisition

The notion of Al Qaeda –“the outside enemy” which threatens Western civilization– is predicated on “an inquisitorial doctrine”. The Homeland Security State personifies what might be described as the “American Inquisition”.

As in the case of the Spanish Inquisition, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) consensus cannot be challenged.

Reference to  Al Qaeda as a central paradigm used to understand the world we live in is ultimately intended to instil fear and insecurity. In the words of Britain’s comedy group Monty Python:  “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope….”

Unconditional submission to the Homeland Security State in today’s America is not dissimilar from the process of “fanatical devotion” prevailing under the Spanish feudal order. What is at stake in our contemporary World, in the words of Monty Python, is “fear and surprise” and the unconditional compliance to the “ruthless efficiency” of a dominant political, economic and military order.   

The American Inquisition redefines the entire legal and judicial framework. Torture and political assassinations are no longer a covert activity as in the heyday of the CIA, removed from the public eye. They are “legal”, they are the object of extensive news coverage, they are sanctioned by the White House and the US Congress. Conversely, those who dare confront the “War on Terrorism” consensus are branded as “terrorists”. Upholding true justice by challenging America’s “holy crusade” against Al Qaeda becomes an outright criminal act. 

A new threshold in US legal history has unfolded. High ranking officials within the State and the Military no longer need to camouflage their crimes. In fact, quite the opposite. Torture of Al Qaeda suspects is a public policy with a humanitarian mandate:

“Yes we did order torture, but it isn’t really torture, its not really war, because these people are terrorists and “we must fight evil”. And the way to uphold democracy and freedom is to “go after the bad guys”, “wage war on the terrorists”. “Its in the public interest.”

Moreover, anybody who questions our definition of “fighting evil” (which of course includes torture, political assassination and concentration camps directed against “the bad guys”) is by our definition also “evil” and can be arrested, tortured and sent to concentration camps. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Spanish Inquisition, Made in America, Global Research, 2004,

Al Qaeda is presented to public opinion as the terror instrument of “radical Islam”, which threatens the Homeland, undermining Western civilization and moral values. Everybody must comply; nobody dares to question “the American Inquisition”. 

Al Qaeda and the “Big Lie”

The Al Qaeda Legend sustains the “Big Lie”. It turns realities upside down. It creates both a perception and a belief which cannot be questioned. It permeates US foreign policy and the conduct of international diplomacy. Al Qaeda and the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) constitute a central component of US military doctrine.

“Al Qaeda did this”, “Al Qaeda did that” statements provide a simple and trouble-free elucidation of complex events, while disguising and concealing “the real reasons”, namely the unspoken and forbidden truth behind these events.

Nobody seems to take the time to examine “who is this elusive enemy Al Qaeda”, which has succeeded, with limited military means, in confronting America’s multibillion dollar war machine.

The Al Qaeda blanket explanation not only overshadows the normal channels of human comprehension, it also precludes a move to the next step of rational explanation, which consists in saying: if Al Qaeda is “the cause” as stated in numerous press reports, then: “What is Al Qaeda?” and “Who is behind Al Qaeda?”

But these are questions which in the post 9/11 era are rarely addressed. To investigate “Who is behind the terrorists” has become unmentionable, a political taboo, despite evidence pertaining to the historical role of  US intelligence in creating and promoting the Islamic jihad.

Today, if Al Qaeda were to be revealed for what it really is, –e.g  in the context of a specific false flag terrorist attack– the legitimacy of the “war on terrorism” and those officials in high office who support it, would collapse like a deck of cards.

While the identity of Al Qaeda is fully documented, including its links to US intelligence, the truth has not trickled down to the mainstay of public opinion. 

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives

Al Qaeda and the Role of Western Intelligence [to be continued in Part II]

Acknowledged by the CIA, the Islamic jihad  “was” a US sponsored “intelligence asset” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989).

The intelligence community admits, yes we created the Mujahideen, we set up the training camps and the koranic schools together with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was involved in the recruitment, training and religious indoctrination of the “jihadists” described by President Ronald Reagan as “Freedom Fighters”.

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 to the present, various Islamic fundamentalist organizations became de facto instruments of US intelligence and more generally of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

Unknown to the American public, the US spread the teachings of the Islamic jihad in textbooks “Made in America”, developed at the University of Nebraska:

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)


The role of Western intelligence agencies in support of Al Qaeda affiliated organizations will be outlined in Part II

PART II: “WHO IS BEHIND AL QAEDA”

 


 

Who is behind Al Qaeda,  documented in Michel Chossudovsky’s 2005 international best-seller

“Get Ready”…MOAB “The Mother Of All Bombs” March 28, 2012

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Most people would have you believe, that all is well down on the home front, which can’t be further away from the truth in regards to “WAR” and I mean in the worst way, since the Americas has been the “The Americas”. What we are about to experience now as I have written about before; predicting this would come. Well, It’s here, and Israel started it with the aid and cooperation of the United States, has manufactured nuclear weaponry without informing or accounting for their actions to anybody. Not admitting their possession of these weapons, they have hundreds of them. To prevent the development of research in neighboring Arab countries, they attacked and destroyed reactors in Iraq and Syria. They have also declared their objective of attacking and destroying the production centers for nuclear fuel in Iran.

In a letter by Fidel Castro, you can surmise for yourself as to what is inevitably going to be.

 

Fidel Castro ‘s latest reflections hints to the danger of a looming US Iran war. Fidel Castro warns that a war with Iran war would  be the worst mistake in US history.

This Reflection could be written today, tomorrow or any other day without the risk of being mistaken. Our species faces new problems. When 20 years ago I stated at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro that a species was in danger of extinction, I had fewer reasons than today for warning about a danger that I was seeing perhaps 100 years away. At that time, a handful of leaders of the most powerful countries were in charge of the world. They applauded my words as a matter of mere courtesy and placidly continued to dig for the burial of our species.

It seemed that on our planet, common sense and order reigned. For a while, economic development, backed by technology and science appeared to be the Alpha and Omega of human society.

Today, everything is much clearer. Profound truths have been surfacing. Almost 200 States, supposedly independent, constitute the political organization which in theory has the job of governing the destiny of the world.

25, 000 nuclear weapons needed to defend the changing order ?

Approximately 25,000 nuclear weapons in the hands of allied or enemy forces ready to defend the changing World order, by interest or necessity, virtually reduce to zero the rights of billions of people.

I shall not commit the naïveté of assigning the blame to Russia or China for the development of that kind of weaponry, after the monstrous massacre at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordered by Truman in August 1945 after Roosevelt’s death [April 1945].

Nor shall I fall prey to the error of denying the Holocaust that signified the deaths of millions of children and adults, men or women, mainly Jews, gypsies, Russians or other nationalities, who were victims of Nazism. For that reason the odious policy of those who deny the Palestinian people their right to exist is repugnant.

Does anyone by chance think that the United States will be capable of acting with the independence that will keep it from the inevitable disaster awaiting it?

In a few weeks, the 40 million dollars President Obama promised to collect for his electoral campaign will only serve to show that the currency of his country has lost its value, and that the US, with its unusual growing public debt drawing close to 20 quadrillion, is living on the money it prints up and not on the money it produces. The rest of the world pays for what they waste.

Nor does anyone believe that the Democratic candidate would be any better or worse than his Republican foes: whether they are called Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. Light years separate these three characters from Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King.

It is really unheard-of to observe such a technologically powerful nation and a government so bereft of both ideas and moral values.

Iran has no nuclear weapons. It is being accused of producing enriched uranium that serves as fuel energy or components for medical uses. Whatever one can say, its possession or production is not equivalent to the production of nuclear weapons. Dozens of countries use enriched uranium as an energy source, but this cannot be used in the manufacture of a nuclear weapon without a prior complicated purification process.

However, Israel, with the aid and cooperation of the United States, has manufactured nuclear weaponry without informing or accounting for their actions to anybody. Not admitting their possession of these weapons, they have hundreds of them. To prevent the development of research in neighbouring Arab countries, they attacked and destroyed reactors in Iraq and Syria. They have also declared their objective of attacking and destroying the production centres for nuclear fuel in Iran.

International politics have been revolving around that crucial topic in that complex and dangerous part of the world, where most of the fuel that moves the world economy is produced and supplied.

The selective elimination of Iran’s most eminent scientists by Israel and their NATO allies has become a practice that motivates hatred and feelings of revenge.

The Israeli government has openly stated its objective to attack the plant manufacturing Iran’s enriched uranium, and the government of the United States has invested billions of dollars to manufacture a bomb for that purpose.

On March 16, 2012, Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham published an article revealing that “A top US Air Force General has described the largest conventional bomb – the re-invented bunkers of 13.6 tons – as ‘fantastic’ for a military attack on Iran.

“Such an eloquent comment on the massive killer-artefact took place in the same week that President Barack Obama appeared to warn against ‘easy words’ on the Persian Gulf War.”

“…Herbert Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for US Air Force operations […] added that probably the bomb would be used in any attack on Iran ordered by Washington.

“The MOP, also referred to as ‘The Mother of All Bombs’, is designed to drill through 60 metres of concrete before it detonates its massive bomb. It is believed to be the largest conventional weapon, non-nuclear, in the US arsenal.”

“The Pentagon is planning a process of wide destruction of Iran’s infrastructure and massive civilian victims through the combined use of tactical nuclear bombs and monstrous conventional bombs with mushroom-shaped clouds, including the MOABs and the larger GBU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) that exceeds the MOAB in destructive capacity.

“The MOP is described as ‘a powerful new bomb that aims straight at subterranean Iranian and North Korean nuclear facilities. The giant bomb –longer than 11 persons shoulder to shoulder, or more than 6 metres from end to end’.”


The Mother of all Bombs (MOAB)

I ask the reader to excuse me for this complicated military jargon.

As one can see, such calculations arise from the hypothesis that the Iranian combatants, numbering millions of men and women well-known for their religious zeal and their fighting traditions, surrender without firing a shot.

In recent days, the Iranians have seen how US soldiers occupying Afghanistan, in just three weeks, urinated on the corpses of killed Afghans, burned copies of the Koran and murdered more than 15 defenceless citizens.

Let us imagine US forces launching monstrous bombs on industrial institutions, capable of penetrating through 60 metres of concrete. Never has such an undertaking ever been conceived [and carried out].

Not one word more is needed to understand the gravity of such a policy. In that way, our species will be inexorably led towards disaster.

If we do not learn how to understand, we shall never learn how to survive.

As for me, I harbour not the slightest doubt that the United States is about to commit and lead the world towards the greatest mistake in its history.

Fidel Castro Ruz

March 21, 2012


WWIII Scenario


“The Mother of All Bombs”: a “great weapon” to use on Iran, says US air force chief

– by Michel Chossudovsky, Finian Cunningham – 2012-03-10

Women Be Warned: Silence Gives Consent March 22, 2012

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Republicans running for elective office at the state and national levels infuse their campaign rhetoric with cries to “Get government out of the way!”  They decry the Affordable Healthcare Act,  derisively referred to as “Obamacare”, claiming that it puts government between you and your doctor. Yet, state legislature after state legislature  is introducing bills that puts state government between women and their doctors, like the ultrasound bill recently introduced and signed into law in Virginia. Granted, legislators backed off the transvaginal ultrasound mandate and revised the bill to require  the “less intrusive” abdominal ultrasounds, but the fact that an ultrasound is MANDATED still makes the law intrusive…it takes away the woman’s right to make that decision with her doctor. Is this not putting government between a person and their doctor?

The House Oversight Committee in Congress recently held a hearing on the Affordable Care Act focusing on the requirement for employers to provide contraception as part of their healthcare plans and they deliberately excluded women from testifying in the process. There were four Congresswomen on that panel and only two of them took a stand and walked out…why did the other two stay? No female witnesses were allowed to testify yet two women stayed on that committee…did they not feel the same outrage that Eleanor Holmes Norton and Carolyn Maloney felt?

White Republican males are engaging in warfare against women’s health at all levels of government and women, as a group, are strangely silent. Many of these republicans (lowercase letter used deliberately) are presumably married to women, have daughters and most importantly, were carried for nine months in the womb of a woman…how could they be so disdainful of women? What makes them think that it’s ok for them and the government they so eloquently rail against when undermining Obama, to make these decisions for women?

The way to put an end to all of this nonsense is for the wives (and girlfriends) of these anti-women legislators to “hold an aspirin between their knees” and refuse  access to their vaginas! Let’s see how long they continue this assault on women’s health when they’ve gone a few weeks without p****, including that which they pay for!

Posted by guest blogger, Bridget Foster

 

 

 

 

 

Merchandising, Branding, for profit and military expansion in AFRICA!!! March 21, 2012

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Edward Bernays believed that society could not be trusted to make rational and informed decisions on their own, and that guiding public opinion was essential within a democratic society. Bernays founded the Council on Public Relations and his 1928 book, Propaganda cites the methodology used in the application of effective emotional communication. He discovered that such communication is capable of manipulating the unconscious in an effort to produce a desired effect – namely, a capacity to manufacture mass social adherence in support of products, political candidates and social movements. Nearly a century after his heyday, Bernays’ methodology is apparent in almost every form of civic and consumer persuasion. The platform of social media is being used in unprecedented new ways, one such example is a new online documentary about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an extremist rebel group operating in Central Africa.

 

The documentary is unprecedented, not for its educational attributes but for its capacity to use visual branding, merchandising and highly potent emotional communication to influence the viewer to support US military operations in resource rich Central Africa under the pretext of capturing the LRA’s commander, Joseph Kony. The Lord’s Resistance Army was originally formed in 1987 in northwestern Uganda by members of the Acholi ethnic group, who were historically exploited as forced laborers by the British colonialists and later relegated by the nation’s dominant ethic groups following independence. Together with the Holy Spirit Movement, the LRA represented the armed wing of a resistance faction aiming to overthrow the government of current Ugandan President and staunch US military ally, Yoweri Museveni.

 

The LRA was originally formed to combat ethic marginalization, but soon became dominated by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed spiritual messenger of the (Christian) Holy Spirit. Kony utilized his messianic persona to lead a syncretic spiritual movement based on Acholi tribal beliefs’ and extremist Christian dogma. It is claimed that LRA seeks to establish a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments, however its inner ideological mythology is largely unknown. In an effort to mobilize a large scale armed resistance, the LRA routinely recruited child soldiers and forced them to commit heinous acts such as cannibalism and mutilation on others who resisted to join the rebel group during their extensive twenty-five year campaign.


KONY 2012 is directed by Jason Russell and runs just thirty minutes; the video has received over twenty million views on YouTube and Vimeo and it’s national support group on Facebook is said to gain 4,000 members each hour. The highly produced feature is narrated from the perspective of Russell and his attempt to explain the Lord’s Resistance Army to his infant son, Gavin. The video features footage from Russell’s trip to Uganda (prior to 2006, when the LRA was still operating in the region) and introduces the viewer to Jacob, a Ugandan boy who was formally recruited by the LRA as a child soldier. Russell presents various montages of ethically diverse groups of students raising their fists in the air, sporting KONY t-shirts, and scenes of mass celebration in response to President Obama signing the S. 1067: Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009.

 

The bill was passed without congressional approval, and allows the US to deploy military forces in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan (at the consent of those nations) in pursuit of LRA rebels.  The film further advocates the requirement of public support for US military operations in the region through forms of street activism, encouraging viewers to purchase Action Kits ($30.00) and posters ($10.00) featuring images of Joseph Kony. Russell then targets specific celebrities and US policy makers and pressures them to endorse the campaign against Kony. Perhaps most absurdly, Russell suggests that without mass public support from the American public, the US would withdraw its military presence from the region.

 

This is the first large-scale campaign to mobilize social medialites to aggregate public support for what would otherwise be, controversial pro-intervention US foreign policy. The production relies on highly charged and often unrelated emotional triggers, which ultimately rely on the viewers sense of compassion in tandem with a lack of prior information on the subject to produce a desired result – explicitly, the villainous mythification of Kony and the mainstream acceptance of US presence in Africa through a proposed archipelago of AFRICOM military bases in the region.

 

The production targets an age group between thirteen and twenty-one, and uses a level of academic vocabulary appropriate for a young adult audience with a limited attention span; the narrator at one point even insists the viewer pay attention. The viewer is encouraged to form an emotional connection to Russell, as we witness unrelated footage of his child’s birth. The viewer is then subsequently associated with Russell’s role as a nurturer to his young son, before shifting to scenes of Russell nurturing the Ugandan child soldier, Jacob. Russell is shown prophetically pledging to stop the LRA to the traumatized and crying young boy. The intimate portrayal of emotion in these scenes work to further incite an reactionary response from the viewer, towards the preordained conclusion suggested in the narrative – a mass mobilization of support for the US military in their efforts to stop Jacob’s source of trauma. Bernays’ would be beside himself.

 

KONY 2012 is produced like any other sleek marketing campaign – instead of stimulating elements of self-satisfaction like advertisers would do to promote a product, US military intervention is justified to end an atrocious humanitarian catastrophe. The film also plays on an underlying theme of the White Man’s Burden, a notion that persons of European descent inherit a quality of guilt for their ancestors’ inclination for slavery and colonialism, requiring an activist response to finally correct the situation by “saving Africa.” During the Nigerian civil war in 1967, western media successfully used images of starving children for the first time to strengthen public support for military aid to the secessionist Republic of Biafra before rebel forces were defeated. This film attempts to purportedly “change the conversation of our culture,” however it remains a highly sophisticated refurbishment of pro-military interventionist foreign policy propaganda, dependent on dangerous subliminal messaging.

 

 

Furthermore, the film was produced by an organization called Invisible Children, Inc.,

Invisible Children has partnered with two other organizations, Resolve and Digitaria, to create the LRA Crisis Tracker, a digital crisis-mapping platform that broadcasts attacks allegedly committed by the LRA. On its list of corporate sponsors, Resolve lists Human Rights Watch and the International Rescue CommitteeDigitaria’s website boasts commercial clients such as CBS, FOX, MTV, ESPN, Adidas, NFL, Qualcomm, NBC, National Geographic, Hasbro and Warner Brothers. While KONY 2012 attempts to portray itself as an indigenous activist movement bent on bringing justice to African children, its parent organization is affiliated with the upper echelon of the US corporate media and a network of foundation-funded pro-war civil society groups with a long history of fomenting pro-US regime change under the banner of democratic institution building.

 

According to Invisible Children’s own LRA Crisis Tracker, not a single case of LRA activity has been reported in Uganda since 2006. The website records ninety eight deaths in the past year, with the vast majority taking place in the northeastern Bangadi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a tri-border expanse sharing territory with the Central African republic and South Sudan. Since December 2009, the eastern Djemah region of CAR has seen occasional LRA activity; the western Tambura region of South Sudan has experienced even less. The LRA has been in operation for over two decades, and presently remains at an extremely weakened state, with approximately 400 soldiers. Due to the extreme instability in northern DRC after decades of rebel insurgencies and Rwandan/Ugandan military incursions into the nation, it remains highly unlikely that cases of violence in the region can be sufficiently investigated before concluding LRA involvement.

 

 

The whereabouts of Joseph Kony are completely unknown; he was last seen in crossing between Sudan and CAR in 2010, according to unverified reports. The US military currently has one hundred military officers training and overseeing the Ugandan military in anti-LRA operations. Due to the complete absence of LRA activity in Uganda, it becomes feasible that the US may be planning further operations in the resource rich DRC. Over six million Congolese nationals have been killed in war since 1996, largely with US complicity. The regimes of Paul Kagame in Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda have both received millions in military aid from the United States. Since the abhorrent failure of the 1993 US intervention in Somalia, the US has relied on the militaries of Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia to carry out US interests in proxy.

 

Paul Kagame of Rwanda has been given free reign by the US to conduct military operations inside DRC in the on-going ethnic conflict in that region following the 1994 Rwandan genocide. For Ugandan participation in the fight against Somalia’s al Shabaab, Museveni receives $45 million dollars in military aid. The US has contributed enormous sums to these nations and now is beginning to consolidate its presence in the region under Barack Obama and AFRICOM, the United States African Command. The LRA has contributed to less than one hundred unverified deaths in the past twelve months. Considering that the United States completely ignored events in DRC and Rwanda that collectively resulted in nearly seven million deaths, their participation against the ailing Lord’s Resistance Army is completely absurd by comparison.

 

Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. DRC is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony. The US may further mobilize group forces, in addition to the use of predator drones and targeted missile strikes, inevitably killing civilians. In a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward stated that AFRICOM will further its regional presence by “operating under the principle theatre-goal of combating terrorism”. 


 

During an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared AFRICOM’s guiding principle as protecting “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests.The crimes of the Lord’s Resistance Army have been documented in the past and they are truly despicable actions. Presently, the operations of the LRA have nearly dissolved and their presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is difficult to verify. While the pro-war filmmakers behind KONY 2012 naively call for the US military to assert its place in the conflict, an independent fact finding mission would be far more effective in assessing the seriousness of the LRA threat in the present day. 

 

 

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc)

Nile Bowie is an independent writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; he regularly contributes to Land Destroyer Report and Global Research Twitter: @NileBowie

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