[sticky post]Remember Sirte! by Thomas C. Mountain
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Heroism and Apocalypse in the Libyan Desert

by Thomas C. Mountain

The month of October 2011 stands as an historical monument to heroism and apocalypse in the Libyan desert as the people of Sirte, hometown to Col. Gaddafi, staged a desperate, doomed fight to protect their families and homes from the might of NATO and its allied bands of Libyan rebels.

With history all to often written by the victors, the tragic tale of how unknown thousands of the residents of Sirte, men and women, fought house to house until the bitter end is the 21st Century's first saga of doomed heroism, a tragic historical drama that brings to mind the Jews of Warsaw, Ireland's Easter Uprising or the Paris Communardes.

With multiple international news channels carrying 24 hour coverage the whole world saw a few glimpses of how ruthless the NATO crusade in Libya was, how nowhere was safe, not hospital, school or apartment complex. With missiles raining down an apocalypse from the heavens, night and day, thousands of tons in a few months of high explosive hell, still, the people of Sirte refused to surrender.

Maybe they knew all to well what their fate would be if they laid down their arms, for the preceding months had shown just how murderous their victors were, as town and village alike after falling to the NATO empowered militias were put to the sword, literally in many cases.

First the rebels would approach Sirte as close at they dared and fire armor piercing and high explosive antiaircraft rounds by the tons worth. 23 mm rounds can penetrate up to 4 inches of armor plating leaving little protection by concrete walls for Sirtes people.

When the murderous high explosives fire became to much to bear, the Sirteans would charge out from their homes and bomb shelters and drive the rebels into a hurried flight, looking all to much like dogs whipped in a fight, fleeing with their tales between their legs glancing fearfully over their shoulders.

Then an apocalyptic fire and brimstone would rain down upon their heads via NATO warplanes circling at 30,000 feet and more Sirtean heroes would lie burnt or blasted under the fierce Libyan desert sun. Once, twice, thrice, some ten or more such cycles were repeated with the dwindling defenders of Sirte retreating to smaller and smaller neighborhoods.

The week of the final defeat saw one last counter attack, one last whipped dog scramble for safety by the rebels and one last high explosive onslaught by NATO in revenge and Sirte lay on the verge of total destruction.

Then came that last sally forth, what was a successful fighting retreat until NATO missiles incinerated the column of trucks as they made their way to freedom breaking through the encirclement of Sirte.

Amongst those who survived NATO's final apocalyptic fury was Col. Gaddafi himself and his end remains a most horrific documentation of savagery and barbarism found almost no where else in historical records

Those Sirtean fighters left behind were rounded up from their homes and neighborhoods, bound, tortured and shot in their thousands for the rebels knew no laws of war or protection of prisoners. When the rebels were finally finished in their murderous orgy of looting and plunder Sirte remained a ghost town, with only the rats and vultures left, well fed off the bodies of the unburied dead.

Today, as the Libyan Democratic Party calls for international peacekeepers to invade and occupy Libya to protect its people from the former rebel militias turned warlords and bandits, Sirte remains a monument to NATO, an apocalyptic vision of shell, shot and bomb blasted ruins. Where thousands of Sirteans remain buried under the remains of their homes and apartments, hospitals and schools, where ever they futilely sought shelter from the vengeance of NATO hurling fire and brimstone down upon them from the heavens.

Remember Sirte! every October from now and forever, a tale of heroism and apocalypse in the Libyan desert.


The White Savior Industrial Complex (a letter)
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Date: 05 April 2012

To: Jeffrey Sachs

Subject: Criticism more valid than "Sachs' shock therapy" nonsense

 

Hi, how are you,

There is at least something valid and well-meant in the tweets here:

1- From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex.

2- The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.

3- The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm.

4- This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah.

5- The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege.

6- Feverish worry over that awful African warlord. But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. Worry about that.

8 Mar 12

7- I deeply respect American sentimentality, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on it, for you know it is deadly.

8 Mar 12


Perhaps you've already read them. And perhaps you'd also say that your whole record is a sufficient reason to not be put in the same camp with much more questionable humanitarians.

In that case, I'd draw your attention to the following two moments in your record:

a) This Charlie Rose show http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/8680

When I watched it (being interested in the subject), I had to stop. It was unbearable. It became obvious that the participants were obviously more interested in themselves than in those they help.
You were the least guilty, to tell the truth (with your just going with the flow).
But some people have to wonder at the social phenomenon of this excessive self-regard and especially its effects.

b) BBC Radio 4’s program Start The Week on 05 May 2008 *. You said in response to this book

Jeffrey Sachs: " .....I do find the overall narrative absolutely wrong I’m afraid, which is the idea that in 1940 the right action would have been to sue for peace, and as Hitler invaded Russia and would have turned who knows where, that this was somehow the right action - I think its just horrendously off track, actually, in historical context.  [...] This narrative, that there was some future based on peace with Hitler I find horrendously wrong....."


And now, as the US stages several war theaters at once, and, with its 830 military bases in 130 countries, *may turn who knows where* - how should responsible people respond to its threat?

Let us assume there was one extremely dangerous madman in 1940 (though the insanity thesis is deeply controversial). Today, there is a whole nation, empire or civilisation acting like crazy - regardless of who's in power. Largely as a consequence of that, billions of people live in poverty, very often in conditions no better than those in the Nazi concentration camps. As a more direct consequence, a country by country is being bombed and left in ruins. The case for war now may be even clearer than in 1940.
...
It should be kept in mind that that is the backdrop of western humanitarian action. The Millennium villages are a real success. I am confident. But I ask myself how do they get support in an otherwise pretty ruthless world? Perhaps they serve as ornaments, as 'fig leafs' for insidious powerful interests?

I hope you found at least some of these comments interesting.

Thank you,

JR

( * I recorded your Radio 4 statement because it made me feel ashamed of my indecision on whether the war should have been pursued. I presumed that you may have some moral wisdom that has escaped me. )


General crises in civilisations, by Carroll Quigley
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This was originally a lecture presented on December 29 1972, by this clever Georgetown professor.

It deals with the causes and chief characteristics of a general crisis in any civilization, and with some of its consequences if the crisis is allowed to run its course.


GENERAL CRISES IN CIVILIZATIONS

Carroll Quigley

 

   Human life is constantly experiencing crises, that is, acute problems which require immediate remedial action, but a general crisis in a civilization is quite a different matter.  A general crisis has unique characteristics because a civilization has unique characteristics, in comparison with other kinds of social groupings.  We cannot understand the nature of a general crisis unless we understand the distinctive nature of a civilization, because the unique character of a civilization rests in its structure and the general crisis of any civilization is an organizational crisis in that structure.

 

   A civilization is the highest level of social aggregate.  As such it has four inferior levels of such aggregates below it:  (1) collections of persons, whose only significant relationship is that they are in the same place at the same time (like passengers in a bus);  (2) groups of persons, whose relationships are sufficiently patterned for members of the group to be able to identify who is, and who is not, a member of that group;  (3) societies, which are groups whose patterns serve to satisfy most of the members basic needs, with the result that the members of a society have most of their relationships with each other, and their mutual, reciprocal adjustments while doing so make a society an integrative social aggregate;  and (4) producing societies, which are societies whose economic patterns serve to increase the amount of food in the system, in contrast with non-producing societies, whose activities reduce the amount of food in the system and in its natural environment since they are simply parasites on nature.  A civilization (5) is a producing society whose patterns include an organization of expansion.

 

   This last definition means that a producing society becomes a civilization when it is organized in such a way that its patterns of relationships and behavior provide three things:  (a) an incentive to innovate new ways of doing things; (b) an inequitable distribution of the social product so that there accumulates within the society a surplus of wealth (that is, wealth which its possessors do not wish to consume immediately); and (c) that the society be organized in such a way that the surplus being accumulated is used to mobilize resources to exploit the innovations being made.  Such a triplex of organizational patterns is what I call “an organization of expansion”.  Any producing society which develops such an organization of expansion is a civilization; accordingly, it will expand as all civilizations do, but as non-civilized societies do not.

 

   By “expansion” here I mean that the civilization grows in four ways:  (a) in population; (b) in geographic area; (c) in production of wealth per capita; and (d) in knowledge.  When a civilization is expanding in these ways, we say that it is in its “Stage of Expansion”, which is Stage III of the seven distinct stages in the life of any civilization.  This stage of growth follows the logistical curve of growth found in the curve of any growth process.  This is the familiar elongated S-curve, whose slope, as shown by the tangent to the curve, reflects the rate of growth.  As we move in time from left to right along this curve, the rate of growth increases to a certain point, after which the rate ceases to increase and soon begins to decease.  In the early stages of a civilization, the rate of growth is close to zero, and the slope of the curve is almost horizontal (that is, zero); as growth begins, this slope of the tangent begins to turn in a counter-clockwise direction as the rate of growth increases.  The civilization enters Stage III of its civilization process as soon as the tangent to the curve begins to turn, and it continues in this State III until the rate of growth begins to decrease, as indicated by the fact that the tangent ceases to turn in a counter-clockwise direction and begins to turn in a clockwise direction.  At this point, although growth continues for a considerable period, the rate of growth is decreasing, and the civilization has entered upon Stage IV in its life-span; that is, it enters its Age of Conflict or General Crisis (Stage IV).

 

   The Age of Conflict of any civilization can be identified by the fact that it has four characteristics different from the four characteristics of the Age of Expansion.  These four indicators are:  (a) decreasing rate of expansion;  (b) increasing class-conflicts;  (c) increasing imperialist wars among the political units which make up most civilizations; and (d) growing irrationality. As we shall see in a moment, other characteristics are also to be found in an Age of General Crisis, which help to identify it.

 

   The reason for the decreasing rate of expansion is that the organization of expansion ceases acting as an instrument of expansion and becomes an institution.  The tendency for all organizations to begin as instruments and to end as institutions is a general characteristic of all organizational patterns of any kind.  It can be recognized from the fact that there appears to be a drastic decrease in the effectiveness with which the purpose of the organization is achieved, a decrease which arises from the fact that the organization and its members begin to assume other purposes different from the goals of the organization as a whole.  The members of the organization and its operational patterns become vested interests more concerned with defending their own interests and their own methods of operation as elements in the organization than they are with the organization’s macro-goals.  There are may reasons for this situation which cannot be explained here, but we might mention two:  (a) each part of the organization has a subsidiary function which is distinct from the function of the organization itself and the egocentricity of all human actions tend to make this micro-goal of the individual part take priority over the macro-goal of the whole organization;  and (b) even if a part of it continues to achieve its micro-goal with continuing effectiveness, the social context of the organization changes, requiring modifications of the micro-goals and micro-functions of the parts, but such changes will be resisted, or simply not observed, by those parts long enough to reduce the effectiveness of the achievement of the macro-goals and macro-functions of the organization in the new social context.

 

   It is a basic rule of social processes that instruments tend to become institutionalized and that institutionalization leads to decreased effectiveness in achieving macro-goals.  When this occurs, not only are macro-goals underachieved, but a dichotomy of interests (and potential conflict) emerges between the desires of the society for the fulfillment of macro-goals and the desires of the organization and its parts to fulfill their macro-goals.  This phenomenon can be observed in any society in all its activities, from churches where religion is replaced by clericalism, through schools where the struggle for credits, curriculum, and examinations become obstacles to real education, to the military aspect where weapons, inter-service animosities, SOP, and thirst for promotions become threats to defense and even to national security.

 

   This process of the institutionalization of organizations is the chief cause of the decreasing rate of expansion and of class and group conflicts as Stage III of any civilization passes into Stage IV.  Somewhat more remotely it is also the chief cause in the onset of imperialist wars.  This third characteristic of an Age of General Crisis is but one example, though a major one, of the general tendency of this Stage to seek to increase its rate of expansion by the use of force and of political action, as this rate ceases to be maintained at an adequate level by organizational processes based on accepted structural patterns.  The most obvious manifestations of this general tendency are to be found in three phenomena:  (a) a tendency, as the disappointing rate of growth in the whole social product is recognized, for the diverse parts of the system to seek to maintain or to increase their own shares of the dwindling total at the expense of the shares going to other parts of the system;  (b) a growing tendency to use conscious political action and power to force continued growth; and  (c) a tendency for the chief entities of group action in the civilization (usually states, but sometimes other groups or communities) to attack other such entities in imperialist warfare.

 

   The nature of this process and the tendency to move toward imperialism as a response to decreasing rates of growth can be seen most clearly in economics, although it takes place in all aspects of civilized life.  The purpose of economic activity is to obtain economic goods which can be consumed or otherwise enjoyed.  All such activity takes the form of application of tools and patterns of action to resources.  If we designate such artifacts and patterns as “an organization”, we can indicate a productive relationship thus:  an organization (O) applied to resources (R) yields Goods (G), thus O + R ] G.

 

   In this relationship, G can be increased in either of two ways:  (a) by applying the same O to an increased R; or (b) by applying a more effective O to the same or even a reduced R.  We call the former “extensive expansion” and the latter intensive expansion”, a contrast which is most easily seen in agriculture, where intensive expansion has been prevalent for decades, if not centuries, so that we now get greatly increased output of G with decreased use of land and labor, by the use of new methods, organizations, and techniques.  This is in sharp contrast to other aspects of economic, such as transportation, where we are constantly told that private, individual, mobility by the internal combustion engine is the ultimate achievement in transportation organization, so that organization changes are thus excluded, and expansion of transportation as an economic good G cannot be achieved by any changes in O, but must be sought through more R, that is, increased vehicles, horsepower, and highways.  Similarly, experts in education or in national defense almost unanimously and automatically exclude new organizations or methods and insist that they must have more resources – more money, personnel, buildings, hardware, etc.

 

   The general tendency to seek more G by increasing R, rather than by reforming O, is simply a part of the general tendency for instruments to become institutions.  In any social process, O tends to become a way of life, the patterns of thought, feeling, and action which is “our way of doing things.”  Accordingly, vested interests accumulate around O, but not around R (which are simply resources to be used and even used up).  There is always, in social activities, a tendency for intensive expansion to be transformed into extensive expansion.  When that shift of emphasis takes in the organization of expansion of a civilization, that civilization passes from its Stage of Expansion into its Stage of Conflict or General Crisis.  This leads almost inevitably to conflicts of classes, groups, generations, and states, and thus imperialist wars.  Such wars could be defined as conflicts arising from efforts to obtain by force or power an increase in R, as a means for continuing growth in G without conscious or deliberate reform of O.  These imperialist wars of Stage IV of a civilization are quite different from the conflicts which may have appeared in Stage III; in the latter, such conflicts arose from the growth of the civilization itself from its improvement of its organizational patterns (that is, of O).

 

   A fine example of this whole process can be seen in the history of the defeated powers of WWII.  Before the war, Germany, Japan, and Italy refused to consider any significant reforms of their political, financial, and economic organizations, insisting that higher standards of living for their citizens could be obtained only by increased resources, even if those could be obtained only by force from their neighbors.  The efforts of these fascist states to obtain more resources by force led to World War II.  As a result of the defeat of these aggressors in 1945, all three countries suffered a sharp reduction in resources:  land, population (counter-balanced, to some extent, by repatriation of nationals), of monetary resources (such as foreign exchange balances), and raw materials.  Yet in all three cases, as a result of the actions of the United States, the fascist organizational structure which had made the war was replaced by a different and more effective organizational structure, in economics, in government, and in finance.  In each of the three countries, this new organization, after 1952, achieved a spectacular increase in standards of living and did so on a smaller resource base than had existed in 1938.  As a result of the defeat, which was essentially a defeat of the fascist organization itself, a new O with a reduced R achieved an output of G which astonished the world and which gave the inhabitants of all three countries a higher standard of living than they had ever had in history.  In all three the rate of expansion is now slowing down, as the post-1950 O becomes institutionalized.

 

   This process of institutionalization of social instruments (or the shift from intensive to extensive growth) in a constant in all human life and in all processes of historical change.  As I have explained in detail in another place (my EVOLUTION OF CIVILIZATIONS, Macmillan, 1961, pp. 49-65, 74-78), this tendency gives rise to three possible responses which I called reform, circumvention, or reaction.  In the first case, the institutionalized organization is reformed and growth resumes; in the second case, the institutional organization is left many of its privileges and emoluments, but its social functions are given to a new parallel organization, which serves as a new instrument so that growth resumes; and, in the third case, the institutionalized O is able to become a fascist structure which uses power and force to prevent either reform or circumvention, thus condemning the people of the society to a reduced or declining level of satisfaction of their needs and desires for an indefinite future.  In this third case, the Age of Conflict continues, and the civilizational process continues into growing frustration and weakness, until a single political unit, a Universal Empire, conquers the whole area of the civilization.  At that point, Stage IV ceases, and replaced by Stage V.  It is, of course, possible in theory for the civilization to fail to achieve a Universal Empire and to continue in conflict and general crisis, as the society declines slowly to disintegration, with mixed patterns of reform, circumvention, and reaction.  In such a case, which is quite rare, Universal Empire will be omitted from the civilizational process, and the society will move from Stage IV, Conflict, to Stage VI, Decay, without experiencing Stage V.

 

   General Crisis affects all aspects of life from intellectual, religious, and artistic, through social (concerned with human gregarious and emotional needs) and economic, to constitutional, political, and military.  Efforts to deal with all these aspects by political action, or even by force, means that all aspects tend to be become politicized, even such “private” matters as relationships between the sexes, between the generations, within families, etc.  In the Age of Conflict this culminates in a great effort to fuse into a single system three quite distinct social organizations:  the community, the state, and the civilization itself.  The last two of these usually do reach a point where they obtain coterminous boundaries (as a Universal Empire), but the effort to pretend that this huge social aggregate is a community is always a failure.  There are two reasons for this failure.  A community is a social aggregate (group, society, or civilization) whose members trust each other until they have explicit reasons to distrust a particular person; such reasons for distrust can be found very easily in an age of general conflict and general politicization, in which power intrudes into all human relationships.  More important than this, however, is the second reason, the fact that human emotional needs can be satisfied only by contacts with nature and with other humans on an existential, unique, face-to-face basis in which individuals know each other personally.  An institutionalized society is too cluttered up with artifacts, institutions, and power factors to permit the achievement of any “global village,” a McLuhan myth which is typical of McLuhan’s efforts to please the contemporary institutionalized establishment.  Any large social aggregate, especially a highly politicized one as a Universal Empire must be, has to operate through artifacts, general rules, abstractions, permanent status, and generalized, non-personal (that is, not “face-to-face”) behavior.  All these things are obstacles to the unique, existential relationships among persons and with nature required by human emotional needs.  The effort to make a Universal Empire into a community, or to pretend that it is, is bound to fail from the cumulative frustration of unexpressed emotional energies.  Contemporary student hatred of the IBM card as a symbol of what is wrong, in their minds, with today’s world is a notable example of this reaction.

 

   Eventually, in the course of the Age of Conflict, individuals begin to reject the effort to make the state and the civilization into a community and begin to seek emotional satisfaction by what I call “misplacement of satisfactions” or by opting out of the system.  The first of these responses is too complex a problem to be dealt with in any adequate fashion here.  It includes a general tendency to seek satisfaction of human needs on the wrong levels:  to seek security in the acquisition of property, or in sex, or in unquestioning allegiance to an ideology as a secular religion; or to seek emotional satisfaction in power, in violence, in status, or in artifacts; and so forth.  The second of these responses, opting out of the system, includes the use of narcotics, alcohol, or other irrationalities, as well as the effort to lose oneself in a niche of the system, but it is most notable as a renunciation of any ambition to create a community from the whole society or the state, in favor of an effort to find emotional and social satisfactions in some voluntary “little community” or commune.  Such efforts appear in the Stage of Conflict and have a fluctuating history until they finally become so pervasive (usually late in the Universal Empire) that the whole system disintegrates.  This “opting out of the system” involves a shifting of allegiance and emotional attachments from the state to small communities.  It is clearly seen, for example, in the Greek-speaking Classical world after it reached it reached its Age of Conflict about 450 B.C.  The first famous case is Epicurus, who renounced allegiance to the state, to war, and to military service, and invited men to find their true satisfactions by sitting with their friends, eating and conversing “in a quiet garden.”  Later, the Cynics, the “hippies” of the ancient world, sought similar “anti-social” but inter-personal satisfactions.  This trend continued, vigorously resisted by the state, (especially by Rome after the Latin world entered its Age of Conflict about 250 B.C.) but with decreasing success after the time of Augustus Caesar.  By that time, Lucullus had abandoned all politics to devote himself to feasting, while men like Apollonius of Tyana and Christ pointed the way to the satisfaction of human social and emotional needs in religious communes.  However, only in the Second Century A.D., when the Universal Empire of Classical Civilization was almost two centuries old, did this trend become a torrent.  At that time, tens of thousands joined the church, finding in its catacombs the emotional, religious, and intellectual satisfactions which had been left frustrated by the Classical over-emphasis on military, political, and economic concerns.  After A.D. 311 Constantine and his successors tried to regain the political and military allegiance of the Christians by adopting Christianity as the religion of a new Imperial system centered on the Persian doctrine of Providential Empire.  This effort created a new civilization, Byzantine, in the east, but in the west, civilized life collapsed into invasions and the Dark Age of a new Western Civilization.  Classical Civilization died everywhere.

 

   General Crisis, Stage IV, of a civilization can be viewed from other aspects.  It is the central stage of a process by which society shifts from an organization of kinship groups and local communities (clans, extended families, villages, parishes) to an organization of atomized and alienated individuals, many of whom are vainly seeking community in a universal brotherhood of man within a universal state.  In Stage II most human behavior controls and many human rewards of behavior are internalized, in neurological and hormonal patterns resulting from social and religious training in face-to-face local groupings.  In the latter parts of Stage IV (Conflict) and in Stage V (Universal Empire), most controls and rewards are externalized, the controls from organized forces of “law and order” (that is, organized power and force, as police, government, and military units), and the rewards equally externalized as possessions of wealth and power status.  The civilization, as it passes from Stage II to Stage V, finds that individual relationships are based, successively, on processes of socialization (Stage II), commercialization (III), politization (IV), and ultimately, militarization (V).

 

   This process marks a shift in emphasis downward from the higher levels of human experience (religious, intellectual, artistic, and emotional) to the lower (economic, political, military, and physical).  As a result, the civilization faces acute problems in its higher manifestations, so that fundamental cognitive assumptions and value priorities which prevailed in the earlier stages are challenged and replaced by cognitive and symbolic patterns of a more atomized and less social character.  From these changes emerge powerful emotional frustrations which give rise to growing misplacement of satisfactions and an increasing tendency for individuals to opt out of the system.  At some point these frustrations and shifts of loyalties create a situation in which the civilization as a functioning entity can no longer continue, and especially can no longer defend itself, from lack of support from its members.  This leads to wholesale collapse of its military, political, and economic structures.

Civilizations' ages:

1. Mixture - different societies come into contact and produce a society with an outlook different from any of the parts.

2. Gestation - the period of time between the mixing of the different societies and the expansion of the civilization.

3. Expansion

4. Age of Conflict

5. Universal Empire

6. Decay - lack of belief in the civilization's outlook or inability to meet needs of the people leads to people opting out of the system.

7. Invasion - external forces disrupt the civilization's social organization and it is unable or unwilling to defend itself. That spells the end of the civilization.


Ron Paul's potentials
out_of_beirut
The only political option open in the US is revolutionary. The electoral process no longer serves to create the flimsiest illusion of consent, whether Obama, Santorum or Paul is elected is inconsequential. But the nature of public debate is important, and that is why Paul's isolationism serves a very useful purpose.
The only important matter is to use every opportunity to prevent the US from extending its wars. Nothing else matters because if the wars can be ended and the arms races damped down, the system will collapse. Its only purpose is war as an escape from economic (including environmental) reality.
The idea that Paul could put any of his policies into effect is laughable; the idea that Obama or any other candidate can "save" social security or medicare is equally wrong. The battle is between the imperial oligarchs, who own the political class from cub reporter to President, and most of the intelligentsia in between, and the masses. Opposing the war on Paul's grounds offers an opportunity of unshackling not the Liberal intelligentsia (they are at the core of national corruption) but the increasingly disillusioned masses, from the ghettos to the backwoods, from lazy jingoism. It has been done before, US patriotism is a mile wide and a millimetre deep, and when it happens next it will happen quickly, all of a sudden and the entire structure will collapse.
The wars are America's Achilles heel: the truth is so clear, the oligarchy profits and the poor suffer; the capitalists make billions, the working people are heading into hopeless poverty. That is why nobody but Paul (who lives in a political dream world) questions the war, they know that it is a question with only one answer, the true 'third rail' of politics.
The USA is the most vulnerable of all countries to sudden change and revolutionary upheaval, for the simple reason that it is the one country that doesn't have a US Embassy to worry about.
In a state like the USA in 2012 the lesser evil Obama offers is that of using less offensive language, projecting a saner image and wrapping up fascism in a tidier way, but the policies are exactly the same, war against poor abroad and at home, barbarism.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 4, 2012 12:05:58 AM | 15 , Moon of Alabama blog

Understanding Islam
out_of_beirut
Posted by Summer on 12/03/11 07:13 PM on The Daily Bell.

The Western mind has long been manipulated to misunderstand Islam and what an 'Islamic' country means. Through warped historical accounts, media and the war on terror. It continues...

The first step would be for someone not to cast a judgement until they have actually found out about the religion 'from the horse's mouth' - ask Muslims what they believe. Maybe even get to know a Muslim - scary as that may be for some!

I am a Muslim. I don't want to conquer any nation. I don't want 'Sharia Law' implemented in other countries. Anyway the model 'Islamic state' is always secular and affords equal rights to all its citizens. I like all moral people from any faith. I do not hate 'the other'. I see beauty and goodness in all peoples.

Unfortunately, people have tossed away the importance of morality - this is why the whole world is falling apart, enslaved and corrupted; not because of 'evil Islam'.

Islam was the first religion to give women the right to divorce, the right to inheritance, the right to keep all their wealth for themselves, the right to a dowry (rather than womens' families giving a dowry), the right to custody of their children upon divorce. Islam said: 'the best among you is he who treats his wife best', 'respect your elders and be kind to the young' and 'there is no compulsion in matters of faith'.

From the last sermon of the prophet:

"... O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers... "

True Islam not extremist political movements manipulating the faith it is about harmony and co-existence:

'All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action.' (The last sermon of the prophet.)

These historical words of equality of race were never before heard and first stated in Islam. Is this a religion of war or peace?

Now, certainly I would agree with AW that radical Islam is in cahoots with western elites as are traitor 'Islamic' leaders/leaderships. In my view, just as Christianity was the enemy under the Roman Empire so is Islam under the Western empire. The result will be the same.

After much turmoil, breaking of the arrogance of Western elites (plans for world dominance will backfire/cease) then will the collective psyche be malleable to a new world order of morality - where usurping someone else's rights for the benefit of oneself will be abhorrent (at every level and sphere of society).

The Muslim Brotherhood seems to be such a group that is funded by elite interests to destabilize and politicize Islam to various ends, quite possibly as AW suggests.

However, far more importantly in my view, Islam is an ideological threat to the bread and butter of elite power and control i.e. NO USURY(INTEREST) = NO CENTRAL BANKING, or even reason for it ever coming into existence and creaming off wealth from everyone into the hands of the powerful corrupt few. The Islamic Zakat system is the exact antidote to interest based exploitation. It discourages the hoarding of wealth into the hands of a few and, promotes the effective circulation of money through the economy (see Islamic economic success in the Islamic empire and more recently the Worgl experiment during the great depression). And even more importantly, Islam is a moral code that is the complete antidote to corruption which makes people easy fodder for leaders to manipulate. Without a fixed direction or code to uphold and prevent a large enough number of people to reject corruption in all spheres of life, people are truly lost - controlled slaves.

This is why we are rapidly headed towards a third world war...

 
Posted by Summer on 12/04/11 10:50 AM:

..... Well Ingo, you being a constitutionalist, I could say to you: why is the USA - a constitutional republic, not following its guidelines??? Why politicians and the populace at large ignore and degrade those standards? Why anyone would ever aspire to have such a constitution when it is blatantly and repeatedly misinterpreted and misapplied?! Obviously, because even those who claim to follow it or live in a society that seemingly follows it, do not. This does not mean that it was never followed or that it has no merit or value, it simply means that people must go back to the original standards it espoused. Where, it was evidently and obviously implemented to the benefit of society. Therefore, It is illogical to say that just because Thomas Jefferson's notion, vision and version of a constitutional republic did not last long it is irrelevant. Nor should his vision be skewed by false implementations thereof. The same is the case with Islam.

  • "As to morality, a religous code which advocates the killing of apostates, is hardly equal to, much less superior to any other religous teachings."


Here again it is the extremist (false) interpretation of Islam that has marred perceptions. There is no physical punishment for apostasy in Islam.

It is a universally held precept in all Islamic schools of jurisprudence that the Quran and Sunna are THE primary sources of the faith. The problem is poor commentaries and ignorant low level Muslim 'scholars' 'insights' have been pounced upon and hurled into the spotlight as norms of Islam; they are not. In fact, unfortunately, many masses among Muslims are ignorant of Quran and Sunna as corrupt clergy seek to use the religion for lining their pockets and keeping power via ignorance.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel - Quran and Sunna having the importance of overriding any other sources demolishing false interpretations. Quran: "there is no compulsion in matters of faith" and in Sunna it is evidenced that no one was permitted to be killed on the basis of apostasy (i.e. it may have been an incidental issue where for example someone killed and happened to be an apostate and was killed for the crime of murder).

  • "Regardless, of what one thinks of Western materialism, it is still a fact that 4 million Finns outproduce 300 Million islamic Arabs in the Middle East."


This fact is a legacy of the colonialist world of the past which gave the west its current economic and political power. Compare this to the Islamic power of Muhammad's time and you will note that his methods were infinitely more benign and humane and the real Muslims of his time were infinitely more productive than the Europeans of that time - a complete non-argument.

My point about the Islamic economic system was supposed to allude to the fact that many so called 'Muslim' countries (if there is such a thing) have interest based systems thus they are subjected to the same enslavement as everyone else. Materialism it is a global disease that many peoples suffer from but those of a moral disposition tend to be less affected (whatever religion it may be) as they aspire to other goals.

  • "As to morality, a religous code which advocates the killing of apostates, is hardly equal to, much less superior to any other religous teachings."


A clear and simple (and deliberate?) misrepresentation of the Islamic faith. The killing of apostates is clearly forbidden in the Quran (see above). Where is your point? Religious superiority is a point that has lead to jealously, theft and even war. In my view, if there is one God it is illogical that He would send competing faiths and prophets. It is evidenced in the Bible, Quran and all monotheistic faiths that prophethood is a tradition not a series of isolated religions. This is demonstrated by the fact that prophets prophesize reformers to come in the future - other prophets. Jews, still await a Messiah. Christians await the second coming of Jesus. Muslims await the Messiah and Mahdi. They are all the same person from a TRADITION of prophethood and an evolutionary development of religion.

All religions were codes that helped man to achieve peace. Justice is impossible without morality, peace is impossible without justice. The Prophet of Islam in his final sermon touched upon the pillars of attaining peace: domestic peace (kindness to one's family), economic justice (no usury), social justice (do not seize other people's rights) and spiritual development (seeking the Creator).

Thus, as the final monotheistic faith Islam claims to be the same religion as previous religions but having reached the pinnacle of religious evolution. Islam's primary sources, most importantly the Quran is free from corruption - still in its original form - unfortunately other respected scriptures are not in this pristine form. Therefore, it is not a question of superiority it is acknowledging the summit of religious development whilst respecting all monotheistic faiths giving man paths to God.

I want the shortest route!


The UN report on Syria: response to Caitlin Fitz Gerald
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Caitlin Fitz Gerald wrote: "This UN report, by collating such an extensive amount of credible evidence on the Assad regime's human rights abuses, has made it clear that the severity of the current methods of repression are a match for anything done in 1982"

Madam, the UN report on Syria collates an extensive amount of material, but not a single piece of it is allowed to be seen by the public - as the report explicitly states on page 5, section C9. Not a bit of it was written in Syria. Instead, like the Frankenstein tale, it was composed on the shores of the Geneva lake, and, also reminiscent of Frankenstein, it’s made of pieces by all kinds of people with apparently dodgy credentials. Its authors include a Washington DC corporate think-tank director, which presents a conflict of interests, and a score of NGO globalist types, who would have no say in any investigation on US soil - probably rightly so.

Such people tell us they have interviewed journalists; they have not interviewed an American journalists currently on a fact-finding mission in Syria, and his report and video are here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L49L6iZSSg&feature=player_embedded

Quote from him:  What average Syrians of all ethnic groups say about this is that they are being shot at by snipers. People complained that there are terrorist snipers who are shooting at civilians, blind terrorism simply for the purpose of destabilizing the country. I would not call this civil war – it is a very misleading term. What you are dealing with here are death squads, you are dealing with terror commandos; this is a typical CIA method. In this case it’s a joint production of CIA, MI6, Mossad, it’s got money coming from Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Qatar,” he explained.

"Is Homs 2011 Hama 1982 in slow motion?"

In Homs, as reported above, ordinary people can hardly wait for the army and police to clear the terrorist snipers.

A more thorough debunking of the UN's Geneva folk-tale can be read here.

Finally, I hope you'll forgive my grammar: English is my second or third language.

Thank you


P.S. You, as everyone, have a right to your own opinion; but as the saying goes, who saws wind, reaps the whirlwind.


A Good American in Syria
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Journalist Webster Tarpley addresses the Syrians in Al-Hijaz square


The Libyan war - a summary [part 1]
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Of all organisations in the world, it was the United Nations that virtually created the war in Libya. It's documented in this film: http://www.laguerrehumanitaire.fr/english and this accompanying article: http://www.voltairenet.org/Lybia-Human-rights-impostors-used
 
In specific detail:

* Russian satellite images contradicted media claims that Libyan military was bombing its own people.
* Numerous independent fact-finding mission reports contradicted mainstream media and NATO narratives: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
* The support for the official Libyan government by the conference of over 2000 elected leaders, their diversity in appearance and relaxed attitude, were virtually completely ignored by the media. 
* There was overwhelming evidence that the Libyan people demonstrate affection for their leaders and celebrate their society in mass demonstrations of millions ("good-humoured" at that).
* The identity of the “protesters” is partly the so-called al-Qaeda, and there is a film of the history of the crisis composed of eyewitness videos.
* Gaddafi was demanded by the great powers to "step down," though he has held no official position since 1977.
* A thirty-year old plan to overthrow the Libyan regime was revived, and followed verbatim. Historically, it started with demonisation of Libya which culminated in framing Libyans for the Lockerbie tragedy.
* For what it's worth, before the UNSC Res 1973, the UN praised Libya for its human rights record or Libya’s impressive human development indicators.
* The UN had not substantiated insurgent claims through a fact-finding mission prior to approving NATO intervention.
* The official Libyan government representatives were barred from the critical UN meetings and were forbidden to speak or present evidence on their own behalf.
* The official Libyan government’s numerous requests for fact-finding missions were turned down.
* The official Libyan government’s repeated attempts at peace negotiations were overturned by the UN and ignored by “the rebels” and NATO.
* The official Libyan government were in the process of holding peace negotiations mediated by the African Union when NATO bombardments began.
* The official Libyan government’s repeated requests for ceasefires were ignored by the insurgents and NATO.


(Special thanks to Alexandra Valiente in helping in the composition of this post.)

I’ve got no personal, financial or other material ties with Libya. But with the war against it I fell in a proverbial rabbit hole and radically changed my notions about the modern world.


Forthcoming period
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I was in the middle of writing an appeal to V.V. Putin to save Libyan lives, when I checked the Information Clearing House site, and saw the claim that Qaddafi has been killed. Better said, martyred.

I closed the page and decided to keep working as if nothing has happened. I also decided to stop following all news media for a while, to avoid all the horrible commentaries. For, nothing is more sickening than deeply negative events combined with bad people's responses to those events.

Since there are no forthcoming refutations of that news report, it's increasingly likely true. Then, here is my response:

If he died, I'm glad that he died like a hero, fulfilling his moral criteria as well as, incidentally, my own.

I'm also glad that he lived the way he wanted to*, often like an arrow of fire merely passing through this miserable world.

Viva Gaddafi, in each and all of us!

Now I really should work more intensely, as many of us should, to compensate for his absence.

Two things I should carefully avoid:

- sinking into moroseness, depression, brooding.

- abandoning critical / analytical thought, in a false belief that a person with a righteous cause can safely rely on his emotions solely

Two things I'll do, and I'm already doing:

Spread the truth about the banking families and people's lack of culture as the sources of the evil that befell dear Libya.

Write appeals to whoever, to save Libyan lives.

(*) The tragedy of life is what dies inside the man while he lives. Gaddafi does/did not suffer such tragedy.

Gaddafi is no saint - Oh, yes he is

Webster Tarpley - Alex Jones talk , 3 October
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Informal transcript notes of Infowars show

The PROTESTERS, who are they?

Webster Tarpley:

Their brief psychological profile:

They don't like Obama, don't like Michael Moore,

Alex Jones: anti-globalists, but the media give voice to Sorosian Obama people...

Tarpley: ....not interested in Ron Paul, Austrian school of economics (Daily Bell types),

The protesters are into group-think: insist on consensus for any decisions - very strange!

like "What shall we order for lunches" (which they get for free somehow)

Yet *have not decided for any concrete demands*

Which are crucial: a program of demands - to set them apart from the Democratic party (tired left liberal warmongers and mush-heads who brought-inflicted Obama upon the people, - without ever apologising for it.)

PROGRAM DEMANDS:

"Taxing the rich" is fine in theory, but the number of rich is very small, you don't get much money that way.

Alex Jones: And the ultra-rich are exempt, off-shored, can't tax them.

Tarpley: Real thing is to tax sales transactions on Wall Street, implement so-called Tobin Tax.

These sales transactions are 3+ quadrillion dollars a year. With 1% of that you get some real money to pay for the economic depression.

US Student debts are 1 trillion dollars. 40 years ago young people who avoided Vietnam war draft have been amnestied. Now these young people who are financial slaves of their schooling debts should be amnestied as well.

If you're against Wall Street, you want to break economic and political power of Wall Street.

Another suggestion:

Attack, nationalise the Fed(eral reserve), which is run by cliques of gangsters acting in secret.

The Fed chief Bernanke could be forced to create a credit facility to give 1 trillion dollars to federal states, to build their infrastructure, like railways. Like Lincoln did.

Alex Jones; Hey, wait a minute, that's Socialism! We gotta give 30 trillion to foreign banks and never see those money again!

Tarpley:

One Don't:

Don't demand the top official to leave. Behind him are in line of 20 people, each worse than the one in front of him. Getting rid of the top man as in Egypt and Tunisia makes things actually worse.

Alex Jones:

Youtube is expected to purge videos and make the place nice and tidy.

The elites want to keep the depression, to bring a eugenics- post-industrial world.

Tarpley: Right.

Alex Jones: In the "Obama Deception" you predicted they'll bulldoze entire cities rather than allow them to go to people. Now they're doing it with one third of Detroit. Now we've got such poverty it's gonna be a world war, rioting, collapse.

Tarpley: One more thing about the demands: *Austerity doesn't work!*

"Cut budget to balance budget"? No. That's the way to *raise* budget deficits, as shown in Schwarzeneger's California and Greece - because they cut the vital and only activity that remains.

Alex Jones:

Let's cite Cameron: Terrible some guys refuse bailout, we have to extoll tyranny.

Tarpley: Trick is: the Brits are not in the euro zone. They and the Americans want to destroy the euro and prey on the divided euro countries. By their plan, the pound should resurrect like Frankenstein's monster.

2nd wave of Depression: EU banks crisis will roll on. What needs to be done is the euro needs to be defended,speculators to be fought, Tobin Tax put, crediting agencies offices raided for they're guilty of insider trading.

3rd wave of Depression is beginning: on the NY markets, Banks of America and Citybank are down.


Alex Jones: Where do you see all this going?

Tarpley: There's interesting website: primaryobamanow. They prepare for his re-election. Dem party is kind of brain-dead, , can't produce a challenger to Obama, who is selling out left and right and will have a hard time to get re-elected.

Alex Jones: He's plainly blackmailed and acts like a political minion, like a panicked gazelle.

And they revealed, the [White House] strategy is *racial division* if things go bad. As was done by his relatives in Kenya.

Tarpley: Right.

How do you neutralise that, Webster?

Tarpley: To the extent there is mass fervent: The Big Question is: What are the protesters going to demand & fight for?

Look at the NYC protesters, they were led to march across Brooklyn Bridge, absurd, what's in Brooklyn?

Alex Jones: Let me say, ... that was staged, so that Sorosians can get attention...

WT: And What you want needs to be something that expresses that needs of this entire society.

- break political power of the rich,
- make them pay for the depression,
- save American people's jobs livelihoods


Jones: Thank you.

Thank you too and let me congratulate you for the idea of showing some activism where it's needed, in front of Federal Reserve buildings.


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