Comparing Current Draft of Egypt’s 2013 Neo-liberal Constitution to that of the Publicly Approved Constitution of 2012
In order to show various so-called “alternative” and “anti-globalist” activists what the real cause of the State Department sponsored coup in Egypt back in July of this year was all about, I have put together just a few comparisons of the publicly approved Egyptian constitution of 2012 and their respective counterparts in the new draft constitution being put together by the illegal junta run by their new dictator, al Sisi.
As many of the fake alternative journalists have often raged against the “Islamist” nature of the previous constitution without ever linking their readers to the document so they could read it and judge it for themselves, I resolve to provide links to both the translated Egyptian Constitution of 2012 and the current draft version written by the technocrats and advisers on behalf of Big Global Business and the financial elites.
What I have done is taken a few articles and simply listed them side by side for you to view. I have created 4 PDFs of this which I will link to below and 4 JPEGS so you can view them without having to download the other files. The PDFs are obviously easier to read, but I will do my best with the pics. I sincerely hope that you will take the time to read both the original 2012 version as well as the new neo-liberal one.
If you wish to know why I spent so much time working on this when the story of the illegal coup in Egypt is all but over, remember this…
They are currently working on producing a climate in this country which will provide them the needed pretext to begin rewriting our constitution. It’s not that far off folks. Heard some “progressives” on NPR chatting about that very thing just yesterday.
You want to see how they (the Chicago School of Economics technocrats) remake constitutions? The Egyptian model should serve as a fine example of what we can expect to see very soon.
Here are the PDF versions:
- 2012 to 2013 Layout1 (1)
- 2012 to 2013 Layout1 (2) (1)
- 2012 to 2013 Layout1 (3) (1)
- 2012 to 2013 Layout1 (4) (1)
And here are the photos (JPEGs)
The new constitution institutionalizes entry points for various global multinational corporations and financial institutions, setting as a priority the notions of the creation of a financial environment which will encourage hot money speculation and foreign investment. It’s all about “sustainable development” and protecting the “economic services” industry (i.e. financial institutions)
Notice that the new constitution states that the natural resources “belong to the people” but make no mention of their right to the profits of those resources they own. The 2012 constitution did.
The 2012 constitution said the property of the state is not to be disposed of while the neo-liberal 2013 draft says it can be under law.
The slickness of the legalese is notable as well. Notice how the new constitution, rather than guaranteeing the people various rights like the 2012 constitution does, instead they “aim” or “commit” to these ideals as if they were goals they promise to attempt to fulfill. Legally speaking, big difference.
I only scratched the surface with this comparison. Others have pointed out that the 2013 draft empowers the elements in Egypt that sided with the Obama administration during the coup like the judiciary, the military and the police.
Some have pointed out that the new constitution allows for military detentions of civilians, which it does.
Given the nature of the current dictatorship in Egypt (the way they are outlawing political parties like the Apartheid government did to the ANC based on the arbitrary ruling that they are a “terrorist organization”, the way they are arresting peaceful protesters if they don’t just shoot them dead in the streets) it’s quite remarkable that anyone who claims to be opposed to our imperialist interventions across the globe could possibly still imagine that this illegal coup has any form of legitimacy whatsoever. I hope that this simple comparison will make it clearer what is happening in Egypt and more importantly, why it happened.
- Army Powers Expanded in Egyptian Draft Constitution (mascareignas.blogspot.com)
The American Studies Association, a 60-year old US academic organization with 5,000 members, passed a resolution on Wednesday committing to the boycott movement against Israel.
Citing its commitment to “the pursuit of social justice” and to “the struggle against all forms of racism,” the ASA revealed in a statement published on its website that it had voted to support the academic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“The American Studies Association endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” the statement read.
“The ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.”
ASA noted the “significant role” played by the United States “in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the [apartheid] Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians.”
The BDS movement has gained traction over the past years, as a growing number of scholars and academic entities have committed to the cause.
More than 950 scholars working in American institutions have endorsed the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
The Association for Asian American Studies became the first US academic organization to officially support the boycott movement in April.
In May, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking withdrew from an Israeli conference, citing his decision to respect the Israel boycott.
David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return) interviews Dr. Haidar Eid, Associate Professor, Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
David Letwin: Many Palestinian solidarity activists in this country put their main efforts into opposing the 1967 occupation and more recently, Israel’s siege of Gaza. But you and other Palestinians have argued that Palestinian refugees’ right to return is at the core of the struggle for justice. Why is this?
Haidar Eid: Zionist dispossession and oppression of Palestinians does not begin with 1967. It goes back to 1948, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from villages and towns in Palestine, and were deported to neighboring countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria ,Gaza and the West Bank to make way for an apartheid “Jewish state.”
Then, in 1967, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, which represents the remaining twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.
As a result of this systematic and ongoing ethnic cleansing, fully two-thirds of the Palestinian people are refugees entitled to their right of return to their original homeland, in accordance with United Nations resolution 194. This is the root of the Palestine issue.
Solidarity supporters that only take the cause back to 1967 are ignoring the source of the problem, and reflecting the Zionist Left in Israel, which wants separation of Palestinians from Israeli Jews.
Can this central right of return be realized if there is a Jewish state anywhere in historic Palestine?
No, that is an impossibility. Zionism, by nature, is an exclusionary ideology that doesn’t accept the “Other.” And the “Other,” in Zionist ideology, is the Palestinian — the Arab in the historic land of Palestine. So a Jewish state means the denial of rights to non-Jews. I am from a refugee family, but because I am not born from a Jewish mother, I’m not entitled to citizenship in the state of Israel; I’m not entitled to my right of return.
How does this fit into your analysis of the Two-State versus the One-State Solution?
The two-state solution is a racist solution that calls for a “pure Jewish state”, and a “pure Palestinian state,” both of which would be based on ethno-religious identities. It does not take into account the rights of two-thirds of the Palestinian people. Neither does it take into consideration the national and cultural rights of 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-, if not third-class citizens of the state. This is extremely important.
Furthermore, the Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation. Liberation is very different from independence, because our right to self-determination must lead to the right of return and full equality for all inhabitants of the state of Palestine.
The two-state solution is a racist dogma that cannot guarantee all the rights demanded by the 2005 BDS call around which we have a Palestinian consensus: withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Arab lands occupied in 1967; implementation of UN resolution 194, which calls for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants; and an end to Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. I’m sorry that we have solidarity activists who have fallen into the trap of supporting this so-called solution. Would supporters from the United States of America accept a state that officially discriminates against African Americans? Did South African supporters accept the “Bantustan solution”? No, they didn’t! So why accept it for the Palestinians?
And the One-State Solution?
The one-state solution is the only solution through which the Palestinian rights called for by the BDS movement can be achieved. Moreover, it is a very generous compromise from the oppressed colonized to the settler colonialists, offering citizenship in a state with total equality, exactly like what happened in South Africa, where white settlers were offered the same generous compromise by the indigenous population.
This is the 21st century, after all! We are offering a humane, inclusive solution that is not based on ethno-religious identity: a secular state for ALL of its citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, etcetera.
If you’re really a supporter of Palestine, you are supposed to support our right to self-determination, which ultimately leads to a secular democratic state throughout all of historic Palestine. Otherwise, you would be supporting a racist solution! I don’t think that genuine support for Palestine excludes Right of Return. If that is the case, then where are the Palestinian refugees supposed to return? To an apartheid state that defines itself in ethno-religious terms? A state that is not their state since it is the state of Jews only?!
In a 2009 interview, BDS leader Omar Barghouti said, “I am completely against bi-nationalism. A secular, democratic state, yes, but not bi-national. There is a big difference.” Do you agree? And what, in your opinion, is the difference?
Yes, I completely agree. A bi-national state by definition is a state made up of two nations. These two nations are historically entitled to the land. But Jews do not constitute a nation. Israeli Jews constitute a settler-colonialist community, not unlike the whites of South Africa or the French in Algeria. Settler colonists are not entitled to self-determination. However, the indigenous people of Palestine, Muslims, Christians and Jews, are all entitled to self-determination and they do constitute a nation.
In fact, bi-nationalism is a Zionist idea since it looks at ALL Jews as a nation that is entitled to the land.
What do you say to people who say, “OK, I agree with what you’re saying. But let’s be honest. Two-states is the only realistic solution, and if you really want to help Palestinians, you should focus on ending the immediate problem of the Occupation and supporting the two-state solution”?
I would say that the one-state solution is more practical/realistic than the two-state solution. South Africa proved that civic democracy for all the inhabitants of South Africa was the way forward; the land of South Africa, according to the Freedom Charter, belongs to ALL those who live on it. That’s a lesson that we need to learn from history.
Israel has shot the two-state solution in the head by creating news facts on the ground: by annexing Jerusalem, having a “Greater Jerusalem,” and by increasing the number of settlers and expanding the existing illegal colonies (all colonies are illegal). In 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed, the illusion of peace prevailed, unfortunately. People believed that it was possible to have two states: a Palestinian state on twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.
That year, 1993, the number of Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was 193,000. Twenty years later, the number of settlers in the West Bank has risen to 600,000. Israeli settlements — or rather the Jewish-only colonies, since Palestinians are not allowed to live there — have become towns and cities. Which means that Israel is not planning to leave the West Bank at all. And during these twenty years, Israel has erected a monstrous apartheid wall that separates Palestinians from Israelis, and Palestinians from Palestinians.
Israel has also transformed the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp (as much as these two words might disturb some people who claim to have monopoly on victimhood), an open-air prison. There is no communication between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The whole issue is personal for me; it is personal for all Palestinians. For example, my sister lives in Bethlehem, just a one-hour drive from Gaza. But I have not been able to see her for fifteen years. When both our parents died back in 2005, she was not able to come to their funerals. That personal experience tells you about the impossibility of having two-states.
So, just to clarify, you don’t support the one-state solution just because a two-state solution has “failed”; you support it because one-state is the only just solution, is that correct?
Absolutely correct. Even if you implemented the two-state solution — which is an impossibility — it does not fulfill the right of self-determination, which is right of return, equality and freedom. The two-state solution doesn’t do that.
At the 2013 Left Forum in New York, Steven Shalom argued that, while unjust, the “two-state solution” nevertheless paves the way for one democratic state and should be supported on that basis. Do you agree?
No, I do not! Does also think that the Anti-apartheid movement should have accepted the Bantustan solution based on the same logic? I have already made it clear in my previous answers and articles as to why that is a fallacy. A racist solution cannot pave the way to a just solution.
Archbishops Desmund Tutu said that “[they] wanted the full menu of rights.” Why are we expected to cater for less than that? I fail to understand.
Is it presumptuous for Jews and other non-Palestinians to endorse the call for one democratic state?
I strongly believe that all solidarity supporters should heed the call for one-state made by the oppressed Palestinians. They should be principled in their support for human rights and democracy as expressed through the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Does the two-state solution subscribe to that declaration? No. Then logic and principle demands they should support the call for the solution that does, the solution that calls for civic democracy and equality throughout all of historic Palestine.
After all, activists didn’t feel it was presumptuous to support a single democratic state in South Africa, did they? And when the “president” of Transkei called on the international community to support and recognize his “independent homeland,” – his version of the “two-state solution” — international anti-apartheid activists did not buy that line!
And, by the way, most South Africa anti-apartheid activists who have visited Palestine now support the one-state solution. Some of my South African friends and comrades say it very clearly: “The one-state solution is the only solution, because we can’t support a racist solution.” That’s why even the official South African line of supporting a two-state solution is not that popular amongst South African solidarity supporters of Palestine — not to say even amongst members of the cabinet! They know what racism is all about! The five-state solution in South Africa was the brainchild of the architects of Apartheid: White South Africa on 88 per cent of the land, and four “Independent Homelands”/Bantustans for the natives! In fact, the original plan was to have 11 Bantustans, if four was not enough for you!
The solidarity movement supported the call for civic democracy and a secular democratic state in South Africa, because that was the only solution. There could be no compromise, no negotiations with apartheid. The same thing should apply to the Palestine solidarity movement. Why is that so difficult to understand?!
In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky said that the one-state solution was an “illusion” because it “has no international support.” How do you respond?
Did he also add the that the two-state solution has become a facade, a fantasy in the head of those who believe in fantasies? Didn’t he also argue in his latest piece in Mondoweiss that Israel and the US have killed the two-state solution?
Personally, I feel heart-broken when I see an extremely smart thinker like Chomsky missing the point and deciding to adopt a soft-Zionist position! There is something with people like Chomsky and Finkelstein with whom you tend to agree about everything in the world except on Palestine. That’s why, understandably, some BDS and one-state activists in the US call them PEP (Progressive except on Palestine!)
There is an overwhelming international support for our right to self-determination; and this entails our right of return and equality. How is the two-state solution going to deal with these two internationally sanctioned rights? Chomsky fails to provide an answer, unless he thinks we are not entitled to our right of return and equality! He is smart enough to know that the two-state solution is a racist one. Didn’t he think so about the Bantustans of South Africa?!
You recently said, “At one point in time, the BDS movement will be asked to take that stand” in favor of one democratic state. Why has the BDS campaign refrained from taking this stand so far, and should it do so now?
Every activist knows very by now that the BDS movement is rights-based, rights that are guaranteed for ALL human beings regardless of ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, etcetera. BDS is guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is why most, if not all, BDS activists are staunch human rights defenders.
I am, nevertheless, aware of tensions arising from the Boycott National Committee’s lack of a political program and its focus on a rights-based approach. This issue is certainly worthy of discussion within the BNC’s secretariat.
But we also need to take into consideration that the BNC is a coalition with all the compromises coalitions have to make in order to work as a front. That is why the BNC has become the frame of reference for international boycott movements. I believe that a good comparison with the South African experience, within this context, can be made, which shouldn’t overlook the role of the United Democratic Front (UDF) that functioned with representation from the National Congress Party, as well as other political parties and civil society organizations in exactly the same manner as the BNC. The UDF adopted two out of what South Africans called the “four pillars of struggle,” namely mass mobilization and the boycott campaign. History stands witness to this approach that contributed immensely to ending apartheid. In my opinion, the BNC has learnt this historical lesson from South Africa. But it took the international community about 30 years to heed the call made by the anti-apartheid movement, whereas the Palestinian BDS call was made in 2005 only.
That is why I think there will come a time when BDS will be asked to take a stand vis-à-vis the one or two-state solution. And I strongly believe that it will come in support of the former.
How is the call for a single secular democratic state throughout historic Palestine connected to other liberation struggles in the region?
When the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and Egypt, Israel was extremely worried because the struggle in the Arab world is for human rights and democracy. And democracy is the antithesis of Zionism; exactly the same way democracy in South Africa was the antithesis of apartheid, and which ultimately led to the end of institutional apartheid there in 1994. (I still think that economic apartheid exists in South Africa, but this is something we can address in another context)
As a Zionist project, Israel knows very well that true democracy in the Arab world would spread and reach Palestine. Israel would be expected by the international community and by the Arab Spring to be truly democratic. That means one person, one vote. And after the right of return, one person, one vote would ultimately lead to the collapse of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine.
That, to my mind, is the link between the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination, and liberation, and the struggle for democracy and human rights in the Arab world.
Speaking of BDS, Norman Finkelstein recently accused the BDS campaign of hypocrisy for appealing to international law when it comes to Palestinian rights, but refusing to respect international resolutions, like the 1947 UN partition, that — he claims — legitimize the existence of the “Jewish state.” How do you respond?
I’m so sorry to hear that from a smart person like Norman Finkelstein.
As US solidarity supporters, you have principles. You can’t reconcile an unjust partition and apartheid with human rights and democracy. Has Norman Finkelstein forgotten that Israel defines itself as the state of Jews only? Do you expect me to recognize something like this, just because the United Nations declared it to be so? We recognize those laws and resolutions, like 194, that are just and reject those, like the partition resolution, that are unjust. That is the way all human rights struggles have operated. How is that hypocritical?
That is how it was in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. Whether it was Norman Finkelstein or his mentor Noam Chomsky, everybody heeded the call by South Africans. We all said, “What do you want, you oppressed, colonized South Africans?” They said, “We want an end to apartheid.” And right now, Palestinians are saying we want an end to Israeli apartheid.
And I would have understood him had he supported the two-state solution based on UN resolution 181, passed in 1947; it offered to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state as THE solution! It is a very unfair and problematic resolution in that it offered the Jewish minority (660,000 out of 2 million people) the larger part of the land (56%). This 56 percent, offered to the Jews, included an equal number of Jews and Palestinians. And since most Zionists, soft or not, fought for a Jewish majority in Palestine, that ultimately led to the NAKBAH, i.e, an orchestrated process of ethnic cleansing. Two-staters, such as Finkelstein, do say that a Palestinian state should be established on 44 per cent of Palestine based on UN resolutions!
So I would argue that it’s Norman Finkelstein who’s being hypocritical, because he is unwilling to do for Palestinians what he and all other activists did for South Africans. And in fact, he’s being Zionist and racist when he actually expects us Palestinians to listen to what he has to say in the first place. No, excuse me — he is supposed to listen to what *we* have to say. Unless he has decided to ignore the fact that the 2005 BDS call has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society, including National and Islamist forces! Is that not enough for you if you were a genuine supporter of Palestine?
It has been twenty years since Oslo Accords were signed. What effect did these accords, and the so-called “Peace Process,” have on the struggle for the core Palestinian rights called for by BDS: equality, right of return, and end of Occupation?
I’ll sum it by quoting Edward Said in 1993: the Oslo Accords are a second Nakba. Oslo has reduced the Palestinian people to those who only live in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, while excluding Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. Oslo never alluded to Palestinian’s right to return to their villages and towns from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and never alluded to equality in the 1948 territories. Oslo basically codified and legitimized the ethnic cleansing — the Nakba — of 1948.
Oslo also gave a false impression to the international community that you have “two equal parties” — Palestinians on the one hand, and the Israelis on the other — engaged in “dialogue” to solve their problem. But there are not two equal parties. There is no dialogue. There is an apartheid regime seeking to perpetuate its rule on the one hand, and an indigenous people struggling for their inalienable rights on the other.
Rather than acknowledging the necessity of disassembling this apartheid regime once and for all, Oslo fetishized the trappings of statehood, that if you offer Palestinians a flag and a red carpet for its president and a national anthem, then you have solved the Palestinian question once and for all!
Going back to Norman Finkelstein: you have the struggle of colonized Palestinians against settler colonialists — thanks to the BDS movement, thanks to the formation of the BNC, thanks to the formation of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and thanks to the revival of the one-state idea. You have intellectuals and activists like Edward Said, Azmi Bishara, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Ramzy Baroud, Joesph Masaad, Ilan Pappe and all these people who have decided to say farewell to the two-state solution, and to endorse the one-state solution.
As solidarity supporters you need to support democracy and human rights — the same principles you followed in the Eighties against apartheid South Africa. You didn’t waste time discussing the practicalities of having Bantustans in South Africa. So you need to join us in putting the two-state solution on the shelf in a museum, because it delays our liberation, and support our call for one-state.
- David Letwin is a member of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
Palestinians protesting against Prawer Plan
The global ‘Day of Rage’ against the Prawer Plan included demonstrations and other solidarity actions in more than 24 cities around the world.
According to Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, who are challenging the Prawer Plan within the Israeli courts, the Prawer Plan will forcibly displace up to 70,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel from the Naqab.
For Palestinian holders of Israeli-issued West Bank ID cards, reaching the main demonstration in the Naqab was impossible due to the imposed travel restrictions, so an alternative demonstration was held alongside Beit El Jewish colony near Ramallah. Further demonstrations were held in Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem and Gaza.
The chosen protest site of the Beit El colony, which is built on land stolen from al-Bireh and also from the village of Dura al-Qara, was significant as the Prawer Plan constitutes part of the same ongoing displacement and colonisation project that is being implemented across all areas of historic Palestine. Three activists were arrested as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) violently attacked the protest with substantial amounts of tear gas and percussion grenades.
One of the activists who was beaten by Israeli forces during his arrest, Abud Hama’il, explained the motivation for these events before being forced into an Israeli police jeep:
‘The Naqab is facing attacks like all of Palestine. We are one people, one struggle, one homeland, one sacrifice. Today a Palestinian worker was killed in Petah Tikva, he wasn’t involved in anything. The people must rise. The people, whose land is being stolen; the people, everyday they want to move us to Jordan – we need to resist, there is no choice…’
A message from Ken – December 1, 2013
Well my first show on The People’s Voice will air on Sunday from 1600-1800 GMT.
It is a great programme with Gilad Atzmon and I having a conversation about the control of language and Jewish power, politically incorrect through and through.
I am also very happy to debut the series of stories about families in Gaza I met in 2011 when I lived there for 6 months. These are powerful, emotional stories and I must thank brother Ashraf Elwakhery for being the man who finally edited all the raw footage. There are 24 stories about 21 families and we are starting off with the heartbreaking story of Zeinat Samouni, it brings tears to my eyes to watch this story every single time, if you are not moved by what this beautiful woman and her children have been through then you have clearly lost your humanity. And lastly, I am very happy to have sister Noor Harazeen as our TPV Correspondent in Gaza, she will be giving us regular reports and also giving us an update about Zeinat and her children.
Please share this far and wide, please tune in, the show is called ‘Ken O’Keefe’s Middle East’, it will repeat later in the day, prime time in the US and other places throughout the week. We may have call in opportunities, stayed tuned for info for that.
Policing activists for anti-Semitism is a distraction from the fight against Jewish tyranny
By Karin Friedemann with Joachim Martillo | January 15, 2009
My previous article talked about guarding yourself against destructive Jewish behavior patterns. These behaviors are learned and not genetic. Israel Advocacy organizations like the David Project even give workshops in linguistic aggressive-defense tactics for whenever someone uses the word “Jew” or criticizes Israel. Always manipulate the conversation so that the focus is turned on Israel’s accuser. It’s a psychological intimidation tactic aimed at getting the person to apologize for hurting Jewish sensitivities, or for conflating Jews and Zionists, or for thinking all Zionists are bad. Jews do not seem to hold themselves accountable to the same moral standard as they hold others. All Gentiles have to apologize for the Holocaust, yet all Jews don’t have to apologize for Israel. [ecumenical deal: Jews accept Christian apology as long as Christians don't criticize Israel].
The current Jewish argument seems to be:
You are anti-Semitic for linking Zionism and Jewishness.
You are anti-Semitic for not acknowledging the special connection of Israel to Jewishness.
You can’t win!
You are bad.
Therefore we will talk about what you did, not what Jews did.
The socially suicidal person who is bravely trying to do the right thing, to struggle against total evil, is often made to feel guilty and ashamed and very alone, when actually the Jew is the one that should be apologizing for the people he/she chooses to identify with, and I stress chooses, because “Jew” is a chosen identity. Jews are those who call themselves Jews. Nobody knows if you are a Jew or not unless you mention it. Jews who do not wish to participate in Jewish hegemony should be the ones in the front lines, demanding the asset seizure, imprisonment and public execution of the Zionist leadership who did this to the Palestinian people, not to mention the US economy.
Peace Jews are for the most part coordinated by the Israeli government via the various liberal Jewish organizations in the US. They serve to deflect blame from Jews as a group by creating a false cover for the perpetrators of racist genocide. Instead of confronting the supporters of mass murder in their own community, they act as representatives of the Jewish community, creating a false impression of Jewish non-support for Israel. In truth, even the peace Jews tend to unite with the far right when the question is Jewish Israel’s American tax funded existence. An example of this was when Tikkun united aggressively with the Neocon establishment to snuff out a City Council vote on taking public moneys out of Israeli investments in Somerville, Ma. This “peace” Zionist organization deliberately misled the public on the issues involved in a local ballot question regarding the Palestinian Right of Return.
Let’s get this straight. Israel’s existence depends on committing genocide with your tax money. All the aggression that Israel commits is done in defense of Israel’s existence.
Therefore, duh, Israel should not exist. Israel cannot exist as a Jewish state AND give people back their homes and give them all a vote, which is their right under international law.
Any Jew whose family lost their home in Germany or Poland is allowed by law to claim back the property. It’s elementary property rights law. Human rights include property rights. Jews have to give back what they stole. Israel’s existence was dependent on the UN Resolution 181. Israel’s existence depends on the condition that the Jews have to let the Palestinians stay in their homes and give them equal citizenship rights. This has never happened. Within hours of signing that agreement Israel was ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948.
Many people in Gaza have property in Sredot. It used to be their land, until they were evicted at gunpoint by Jewish murdering thugs. The racist settlers living on other people’s stolen property in Sredot have absolutely no right to expect to live in security or peace. Americans who hear Jews and non-Jews say such genocidal racist and sick statements like Israel has the right to defend itself should be ashamed. Instead, they want you to apologize for calling Jews “Jews.”
No, I really mean Jews. My fight is with the Jewish power establishment and not the Israelis per se.
Do any of the Jewish organizations support the right of Hamas to exist?
When people accept Israel’s “right” to exist, or more accurately, the Jewish “right” to mass murder and plunder non-Jews including Americans, they are accepting a criminal ideology. Israel’s existence does not exist in a vacuum. It is a result of American Jewish organizations, and to a large extent, European. All Americans are indoctrinated by American Jewish organizations via the media and Hollywood and even the Pentagon is informed of all its plans by the Jewish organizations.
Also alarming, nearly all American Jews go through an indoctrination process within the Jewish community that is even more extreme. It includes training in psychological manipulation tactics aimed at shifting the blame away from Jews any time someone mentions the obvious, for example, “Jews are killing Palestinans.” The trick is always to make the person apologize for believing that Jews would kill Palestinians. All bystanders would be made to revile the person stating the obvious as a flaming racist. It’s an interesting game. But it doesn’t work forever.
The good news is, there is nothing behind the Jewish facade, the linguistic traps of mixed messages. That is, the banal statements of believing in peace plus the absolute refusal to do what it takes to be a good person – give the Palestinians their lands back and give them citizenship rights in some country. It probably doesn’t matter what you call it at this point but that’s the minimum requirement for peace.
Once you get people to the point where they admit the truth, that all humans are created equal, and therefore Israel’s existence is a really bad idea, they can either agree with you, or short-circuit. Those who know Israel is wrong and do not strive against its existence are just like all the Gentiles whom the Jews routinely condemn for “doing nothing” about the Holocaust. Jewish Liberals should not serve as human shields using a battle of guilt trips to stop people from discussing how to limit Jewish power.
The Islamophobic hate campaign was not just created by Israel. It was created, coordinated and disseminated in the US by Jewish organizations. Every Jew in the Jewish community participates in some way with the Zionist agenda of racist indoctrination. They are fed a steady stream of anti-Islam and anti-Arab propaganda and are brainwashed to believe that Israel has a right to exist. If you are not with the genocidaires, then, why are you shielding them?
One may choose to opt out of Jewish organizational behavior; that does not erase the very real and scary fact that this destructive deliberate and well-funded organized violent crime and extortion racket is backed up by all the well-meaning Jewish foot soldiers who are simply loyal to “Israel” or to the Jewish people without fully knowing what that means.
It is hard to see the big picture even once one notices the pattern. One of the reasons is because in polite society we are not allowed to discuss Jewish racism. Always, one of the little footsoldiers chimes in, wanting an exception to the group accusation to Jews. But this policing against anti-semitism, instead of responding in a moral and appropriate way, is exactly the Jewish behavior that the Jew has been programmed for by the B’nai B’rith Society. Rabbi Lerner, who has never been to the Occupied Territories, gets his “media updates” and talking points from the JCRC. The Liberal Zionists are trained and coordinated to cover for the Right Wing Jews. They don’t even realize that their behavior is clinically abnormal and morally bankrupt.
In a recent article, former Israeli philosopher Gilad Atzmon writes:
“The Jewish state is the ultimate threat to humanity and our notion of humanism. Christianity, Islam and humanism came along with an attempt to amend Jewish tribal fundamentalism and to replace it with universal ethics. Enlightenment, liberalism and emancipation allowed Jews to redeem themselves from their ancient tribal supremacist traits. Since the mid 19th century, many Jews had been breaking out of their cultural and tribal chain. Tragically enough, Zionism managed to pull many Jews back in. Currently, Israel and Zionism are the only collective voice available for Jews.
The last twelve days of merciless offensive against the Palestinian civilian population does not leave any room for doubt. Israel is the gravest danger to world peace. Clearly the nations made a tragic mistake in 1947 giving a volatile racially orientated identity an opportunity to set itself into a national state. However, the nations’ duty now is to peacefully dismantle that state before it is too late. We must do it before the Jewish state and its forceful lobbies around the world manage to pull us all into a global war in the ‘name’ of one banal populist ideology or another (democracy, war against terror, cultural clash and so on). We have to wake up now before our one and only planet is transformed into a bursting boil of hatred.”
I think if a Jew wants to live in the Holy Land he or she should accept to live under majority rule: Hamas rule. A modern Islamic state, whose Constitution includes a Bill of Rights for non-Muslims, is really the only viable option for peace in Historic Palestine. Hamas has every right, under international law, to fight against the occupying power, including lobbing pipe bombs over the Apartheid Wall. Israel has no right to blockade any part of a civilian population, preventing them from getting to work, getting food, or medical aid. Israel has no right to build a wall.
I’ve been through this Jewish indignation thing during the Jenin Massacre and so it’s harder to fool me now. Among the various threads of Zionist thought, from the condescending racism of Tikkun to the openly aggressive settler movement, there is nothing cool.
My goal is to stop the evil so it is necessary to observe the evil – not just walk away saying “How sad.”
Levels of guilt:
those who commit atrocities
those who justify the atrocities
those who deny the atrocities
those who benefit from atrocities
those who participated in a society that allows atrocities
So let’s reiterate the obvious.
Israel does NOT have any “right” to exist nor any right to defend itself.
The UN has the right to dismantle Israel.
When Israel says they want to eradicate “Hamas” they mean anyone who might have ever voted for Hamas.
Meaning: all Palestinians
The Palestinians DO have the right to shoot rockets at an occupier.
We are engaged in genocide when we neglect to use the word Palestine in our speech.
We DO need good strategy for eradicating Jewish tyranny.
One of the most profitable corporations in America is having a holiday food drive. Sounds good — it’s the least Corporate America can do for those struggling to make ends meet while big companies rake in record profits and give so little back. But wait… there’s a catch. The food drive is for the company’s own underpaid, poverty-stricken workers. You really can’t make this stuff up.
Last week, it was reported that a Walmart store in Canton, Ohio is asking for food donations for its own employees. Photos of the food donation bins circulated online showing signs that read: “Please donate food items here so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.” (That’s if they even have a chance to — Walmart stores are open on Thanksgiving and are beginning their “Black Friday” deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on the holiday shopping madness.)
Walmart is America’s largest employer with a workforce consisting of 1.3 million “associates.” The company made nearly $17 billion in profit last year. So why can’t Walmart afford to pay its own store workers enough for them to enjoy a holiday meal with their families? The answer is Walmart doesn’t really care about its workers.
If the Walmart food donation drive doesn’t get you properly steamed, then consider that Walmart CEO, Mike Duke, makes approximately $11,000 an hour — he took home about $20.7 million last year, plus ample benefits. Still not mad? It has also recently been reported that Duke has a retirement package worth more than $113 million! That is 6,200 times larger than the average 401k savings of a non-executive level Walmart employee! (Check out this recent report which charts other massive CEO pensions in relation to those of average workers)
One final fact to really get your dander up — The Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, have accumulated more financial wealth than the entire bottom 40 percent of the population of the United States or 313 million Americans. That’s six Waltons worth a combined $102.7 billion!
No matter what one’s political leanings may be, the problem of massive income inequality and insatiable corporate greed is worsening year-by-year as CEO salaries rise, overall corporate profits soar and worker salaries stagnate. Liberal or conservative–all Americans should be outraged by this trend.
I recently wrote to conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist to bring both sides of the political spectrum together on this troubling issue. In the past, Mr. Norquist and I have backed popular, reasonable policies, such as putting the full text of government contracts online, rolling back corporate welfare and opposing the civil liberties restrictive Patriot Act. As someone who claims to care about taxpayer protection, the issue of poverty-level wages and their major effect on taxpayers should be an important issue for Mr. Norquist.
Here’s why — low wages at the 10 largest fast food chains cost taxpayers $3.8 billion per year. Fifty-two percent of families of fast food workers have to rely on government assistance. McDonald’s’ “McResource” help line goes so far as to advise workers who cannot make ends meet from their poverty-level wages to sign up for government food stamps and home heating assistance. Is it fair that taxpayers have to shell out $1.2 billion a year to subsidize McDonald’s paying its workers while the fast food giant rakes in $5.5 billion in profit?
Walmart is even worse — according to a study from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce study, a single Walmart Supercenter store in Wisconsin can cost taxpayers upwards of $1.75 million in public assistance programs. If taxpayers have to cover over $1 million for just one 300-employee superstore, consider how much Walmart is costing taxpayers each year at their 4,135 stores in the United States. According to the 2012 “Walmart Associate Benefits Book”, which is distributed to employees, the company also advises its workers about getting on public assistance. Is this a fair or reasonable burden on taxpayers as Walmart reports $17 billion in profits?
Over the past five years, Walmart has had enough excess funds to buy back billions in its own stock. Walmart reportedly spent $7.6 billion last year buying back its shares. These funds are enough to raise the salaries of the lowest paid workers by $5.83 an hour. Catherine Ruetschlin, policy analyst at Demos, stated in a recent release: “These share repurchases benefit an increasingly narrow group of people, including the six Walton family heirs. But buybacks do not improve the fundamentals of the firm. If the funds were used to raise the pay of Walmart’s 825,000 low paid workers, it would not harm the retailer’s competitive ability and would add no cost to the consumer.”
(See the recent report from Demos titled: “A Higher Wage is Possible”)
The quickest way to lessen reliance on food stamp, EITC and Medicaid outlays is to raise the federal minimum wage. Raising the wage has the backing of 80 percent of Americans, 69 percent of Republicans, and even writers from The National Review and The American Conservative magazines. So why isn’t there more rage from the other end of the political spectrum? Even Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney supported raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation — at least until Mitt Romney flip-flopped on the issue during the 2012 election.
The support of Grover Norquist and the Congressional followers of his no-tax pledge would be a significant boost for 30 million struggling workers who make less today than workers made in 1968, inflation adjusted. With a doubling in both worker productivity and the cost of living, there is no excuse for such a decline in their livelihoods.
Mr. Norquist, join this fight to protect taxpayers. Underpaid workers (who are also taxpayers) and their families need your support.
The Solidarity Collective, a group of activists endeavoring to promote greater unity among the various alignments and groupings that make up the political left, has released a statement on the smear campaign being waged against Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. Taken to task in the statement are leftwing journalists Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones over their threat to back out of a London antiwar conference this weekend should they have to share a platform with Mother Agnes. Calling their “no platform” position “totally unacceptable,” the Collective deplores the attacks upon the Syrian nun and says it fully supports her right to be heard.
“We fully support the brave move by the London Catholic Worker group based at Guiseppe Conlon House who have invited Mother Agnes to a meeting during their retreat,” the statement reads. “It is only when we are fully informed on the Syrian conflict by those who live daily with the consequences that we will be be in a position to make decisions.”
Back in early September, when a US attack on Syria appeared imminent, I published an article entitled US Jews Back War on Syria But ‘Downplay’ Israel Angle. At that time AIPAC, the ADL, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations had all issued statements supporting a military strike on Syria, but as I noted—and as a Jewish media outlet also noted—none of the statements mentioned Israel. It was as if Israel’s role in all this were being deliberately downplayed. I posted that article on September 5. One day later, on September 6, RT published an interview with Mother Agnes in which she discussed her belief that videos uploaded to the Internet in the immediate wake of the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria had been fabricated. Three days after that, on September 9, came the formal release of the ISTEAMS report providing convincing evidence this was indeed the case.
Just as it has been clear for a long time that prominent Jews would like to see the US go to war in Syria, so also has it been obvious to me for a while now that the attacks on Mother Agnes are Zionist motivated. And apparently this is growing obvious to others as well. The Solidarity Collective’s statement in fact discusses the role played by one Zionist in particular:
A marvellous smear campaign as designed by Michael D Weiss has done much to further the cause of promoting her [Mother Agnes] as an Assad apologist and all round devious character. Incidentally some of the highlights of his CV are as follows: former director of Zionist pressure group Just Journalism whose stated concerns included ‘how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in UK media’, former fellow at Neo-Conservative war lobby think-tank Henry Jackson Society, he is a lead rebel advocate with Now Lebanon and also the author of proposals for US intervention for the Syrian opposition.
Weiss’ loathsome attack on Mother Agnes, in which he refers to her sarcastically as a “humble, pot-smoking emissary of God,” can be found here.
A little bit more from the Solidarity Collective’s statement is also instructive:
Much of the slander is sustained by her self proclaimed mission to provide what she believes are the true narratives of the conflict which are routinely, she says, misrepresented in global media. One such incident is the August 21st 2013 chemical attack in Damascus. The accepted truth as ‘assessed’ by the US government is that the attack was carried out by the Assad Regime. There was a threat of mass-resignation of CIA workers who refused to have their names attached to the document published pertaining to this ‘fact’. Mother Agnes as well as some credible impartial sources insist that it is much more likely that this was a rebel attack.
You can access the full statement here. A few days ago I wrote an article in which I commented that Mother Agnes “has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria,” and that obviously this has “upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.” Judging from the timing of the events of early September, as I related above, this would seem to be the case.
When Barack Obama became president, there were 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He escalated to over 100,000 troops, plus contractors. Now there are 47,000 troops these five years later. Measured in financial cost, or death and destruction, Afghanistan is more President Obama’s war than President Bush’s. Now the White House is trying to keep troops in Afghanistan until “2024 and beyond.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign the deal. Here is his list of concerns. He’d like the U.S. to stop killing civilians and stop kicking in people’s doors at night. He’d like the U.S. to engage in peace negotiations. He’d like innocent Afghan prisoners freed from Guantanamo. And he’d like the U.S. not to sabotage the April 2014 Afghan elections. Whatever we think of Karzai’s legacy — my own appraisal is unprintable — these are perfectly reasonable demands.
Iran and Pakistan oppose keeping nine major U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, some of them on the borders of their nations, until the end of time. U.S. officials threaten war on Iran with great regularity, the new agreement notwithstanding. U.S. missiles already hit Pakistan in a steady stream. These two nations’ concerns seem as reasonable as Karzai’s.
The U.S. public has been telling pollsters we want all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan “as soon as possible” for years and years. We’re spending $10 million per hour making ourselves less safe and more hated. The chief cause of death for U.S. troops in this mad operation is suicide.
When the U.S. troops left Iraq, it remained a living hell, as Libya is now too. But the disaster that Iraq is does not approach what it was during the occupation. Much less has Iraq grown dramatically worse post-occupation, as we were warned for years by those advocating continued warfare.
Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan — or to the entire world, for that matter, including our own country — would cost a fraction of what we spend on wars and war preparations, and would make us the most beloved nation on earth. I bet we’d favor that course if asked. We were asked on Syria, and we told pollsters we favored aid, not missiles.
We stopped the missiles. Congress members in both houses and parties said they heard from more people, more passionately, and more one-sidedly than ever before. But we didn’t stop the guns that we opposed even more than the missiles in polls. The CIA shipped the guns to the fighters without asking us or the Congress. And Syrians didn’t get the aid that we favored.
We aren’t asked about the drone strikes. We aren’t asked about most military operations. And we aren’t being asked about Afghanistan. Nor is Congress asserting its power to decide. This state of affairs suggests that we haven’t learned our lesson from the Syrian Missile Crisis. Fewer than one percent of us flooded Congress and the media with our voices, and we had a tremendous impact. The lesson we should learn is that we can do that again and again with each new war proposal.
What if two percent of us called, emailed, visited, protested, rallied, spoke-out, educated, and non-violently resisted 10 more years in Afghanistan? We’d have invented a new disease. They’d replace the Vietnam Syndrome with the Afghanistan Syndrome. Politicians would conclude that the U.S. public was just not going to stand for any more wars. Only reluctantly would they try to sneak the next one past us.
Or we could sit back and keep quiet while a Nobel Peace Prize winner drags a war he’s “ending” out for another decade, establishing that there’s very little in the way of warmaking outrages that we won’t allow them to roll right over us.
Thousands of demonstrators protesting US drone strikes in Pakistan blocked a main road Saturday in the Peshawar province used to transport NATO supplies to and from Afghanistan.
The protests was led by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which is led by Imran Khan, a former international cricketer now turned politician.
They were supported by their allies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government and they were also joined by the Jamaat -i-Islami (JI) and the Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJIP) political parties.
“We will put pressure on America, and our protest will continue if drone attacks are not stopped,” Khan told reporters.
“We are here to give a clear message that now Pakistanis cannot remain silent over drone attacks,” said Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a senior member of the PTI, addressing the protesters.
Imran Khan has been a fierce critic of US drone attacks, arguing that they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. Khan said that the Pakistani government is doing nothing to stop drone attacks except for issuing statements of condemnation and that the protest would continue indefinitely.
Khan stressed that NATO supplies would not be allowed to pass through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly called North-West Frontier Province, and added that the province’s PTI-led government had the mandate to block NATO trucks from passing through its territory.
Earlier Imran Khan had warned that NATO supply routes will be blocked if continuing US drone strikes in Pakistan threaten the country’s peace talks with the Taliban.
An attack on November 1 killed the former leader of the Pakistan Taliban, a day before the Pakistani government said it was going to invite him to peace talks. Officials said they were enraged by the attacks, although the Pakistani government is known to have supported some of the drone attacks in the past.
Party workers from the PTI and the JI travelled to Peshawar from across Pakistan and an estimated 10,000 people participated in Saturday’s protests. The protesters shouted anti US slogans such as “Stop drone attacks” and “Down with America”.
“I am participating in today’s sit-in to convey a message to America that we hate them since they are killing our people in drone attacks. America must stop drone attacks for peace in our country,” Hussain Shah, a 21 year old university student, told Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.
American drones are performing regular extrajudicial killings of Islamist leaders, accompanied by the collateral damage of many civilian casualties.
Strict security measures were in place Saturday, with 500 police personnel on duty. Trucks were directed to use an alternative route, although Tahir Khan, a government official, said there was normally little NATO traffic Saturday as most of the trucks arrive by Friday night to clear the border crossing.
However, protesters said that they would begin to stop trucks carrying NATO supplies through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Sunday night, which could spark conflict with the federal government in Pakistan.
The US embassy in Islamabad declined to comment.
On Saturday the 30th November, the Stop The War Coalition will host a conference to discuss the most effective ways to resist the drive to war against Syria – stalled for now, but not necessarily indefinitely. Due to speak (at the time of writing) are Diane Abbott MP, Seamus Milne, Tariq Ali and Lindsey German, among many others.
To cut a long story short, the Stop the War website is also advertising that Mother Agnes Mariam is due to speak at the conference. Agnes is a christian Nun who is suspected by some observers of the war in Syria of being little more than a mouthpiece for the Assad regime. Let’s just accept for arguments sake that this is true, and that inviting her was a bad idea (I will confess here to not being totally au fait with her views).
The presence of Mother Agnes has lead to Jeremy Scahill, the excellent American investigative journalist, and Owen Jones, a columnist with The Independent newspaper, pulling out of the conference, on the grounds that they don’t want to share a platform with an apologist for war criminals.
But I just want to share a few thoughts on why I think Jones’ position is confused at best.
Jones is a member and supporter of the Labour party, and thinks other lefties should be as well. As is hardly a secret, Labour is a party that plays host to plenty of major war criminals and apologists for those war criminals, but that apparently isn’t enough for him to want to part ways with them.
Indeed, he has in the past quite happily appeared on platforms with John Prescott, who was deputy Prime Minister at the time of the aggression against Iraq – not just an apologist for war crimes then, but an active participant in them.
Jones’ argument for staying a member of Labour is that while he doesn’t agree with these people on various issues, he thinks it’s worth trying to win the argument against them to change the party for the better, from within. It’s not a totally unreasonable position, and I think he’s certainly sincere in arguing it.
Why couldn’t he apply that same logic to the Stop The War Conference though? Say that while he obviously doesn’t agree with the opinions of all the speakers there, he thinks it’s still worth going and making his argument as to what the best anti-war position is or should be? He could even outline why he doesn’t agree with people like Mother Agnes in his talk, and maybe change a few minds.
But no, unlike his continuing embrace of the blood soaked Labour party, he’s just going to shun the conference altogether, thus giving plenty of ammunition to those who are trying to smear Stop The War, and anti-war people in general, as pro-Assad. ‘Even Owen Jones wants nothing to do with them, see!’.
My hunch is that he’s scared of being tarred with a pro-Assad brush, because that would be damaging to his reputation (certainly in the eyes of a state-corporate media Establishment that has embraced him) in a way that being seen as broadly pro-Labour – despite their horrific track record and the massive trail of corpses they left behind them last time they were in power – isn’t, given that Labour are part of that Establishment themselves.
Nuns who’ve made some dodgy comments in defense of the Assad regime? He’ll have no part of it.
A political party who instigated some of the worst and most murderous war crimes of the modern era, and whose leader continues to act as an apologist for the perpetrators, as well as the brutal wars in Afghanistan and Libya? Count him in.
For me, it shows how even some lefties have a moral vision that is badly skewed by power, and the need for Establishment approval, when it comes to assessing and reacting to Their crimes (or even alleged supporters of Their crimes), and Ours
By David Swanson | November 14, 2013
What Localities and States Can Do About Drones
Charlottesville, Va., passed a resolution that urged the state of Virginia to adopt a two-year moratorium on drones (which it did), urged both Virginia and the U.S. Congress to prohibit information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into court, and to preclude the domestic use of drones equipped with “anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being,” and pledged that Charlottesville would “abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.”
St. Bonifacius, Minn., passed a resolution with the same language as Charlottesville plus a ban on anyone operating a drone “within the airspace of the city,” making a first offense a misdemeanor and a repeat offense a felony.
Evanston, Ill., passed a resolution establishing a two-year moratorium on the use of drones in the city with exceptions for hobby and model aircraft and for non-military research, and making the same recommendations to the state and Congress as Charlottesville and St. Bonifacius.
Northampton, Mass., passed a resolution urging the U.S. government to end its practice of extrajudicial killing with drones, affirming that within the city limits “the navigable airspace for drone aircraft shall not be expanded below the long-established airspace for manned aircraft” and that “landowners subject to state laws and local ordinances have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the airspace and that no drone aircraft shall have the ‘public right of transit’ through this private property,” and urging the state and Congress and the FAA “to respect legal precedent and constitutional guarantees of privacy, property rights, and local sovereignty in all matters pertaining to drone aircraft and navigable airspace.”
See full text of all resolutions at warisacrime.org/resolutions
Other cities, towns, and counties should be able to pass similar resolutions. Of course, stronger and more comprehensive resolutions are best. But most people who learned about the four resolutions above just leaned that these four cities had “banned drones” or “passed an anti-drone resolution.” The details are less important in terms of building national momentum against objectionable uses of drones. By including both surveillance and weaponized drones, as all four cities have done, a resolution campaign can find broader support. By including just one issue, a resolution might meet fewer objections. Asking a city just to make recommendations to a state and the nation might also meet less resistance than asking the city to take actions itself. Less can be more.
Localities have a role in national policy. City councilors and members of boards of supervisors take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rulebook for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate. In 1967, a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey, 67 Cal.2d 325) that “one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.” Abolitionists passed local resolutions against U.S. policies on slavery. The anti-apartheid movement did the same, as did the nuclear freeze movement, the movement against the PATRIOT Act, the movement in favor of the Kyoto Protocol, etc. No locality is an island. If we become environmentally sustainable, others will ruin our climate. If we ban assault weapons, they’ll arrive at our borders. And if the skies of the United States are filled with drones, it will become ever more difficult for any city or state to keep them out.
How to pass a local resolution: Every city or county is different, but some rules of thumb are applicable. To the extent possible, build understanding of the issues. Invite speakers, screen films, hold conferences. To the extent possible, educate and win over elected officials. Make the case that localities have a responsibility to speak on national issues to represent the interests of local people. Make the case that the time to act is before the problem expands out of control. Most states are considering drone legislation, so refer to that activity in your state. Make clear that you are aware of countless benevolent and harmless uses of drones but that you are prioritizing Constitutional rights and want exceptions made for uses that do not endanger self-governance rather than drones being made the norm and restrictions the exception. The Congressional Research Service says drones are incompatible with the Fourth Amendment. The U.N. Special Rapporteur says drones are making war the norm. If possible, propose the weakest resolution you can, and ask the local government to put it on the agenda for consideration; then propose the strongest possible resolution you dare. You may end up with a compromise, as happened in Charlottesville. Work the local media and public. Pack the meeting(s). Take advantage of every opportunity for the public to speak. Unlike at the state or national levels, you are unlikely to face any organized opposition. Make your most persuasive case, and make a great show of public support. Equate a “No” vote with support for cameras in everyone’s windows and armed drones over picnics. Equate a “Yes” vote with prevention of racial profiling, activist profiling, and the targeting of all sorts of groups that can be recruited into your campaign.
STATES: See full text of all resolutions at warisacrime.org/resolutions
Oregon has passed a law banning weaponized drones in all cases and banning drone use by law enforcement unless they have a warrant, they have probable cause without a warrant, or for search and rescue, or for an emergency, or for studying a crime scene, or for training (and the Fourth Amendment be damned).
Virginia has passed a law banning local and state (but not federal or National Guard) government drone use for two years unless various color-coded alerts are activated or there is a search or rescue operation or for training exercises or for drone-training schools, and strictly banning (for two years) any state or local weaponized drones.
Florida has passed a law banning law enforcement agencies from using drones to gather information unless they think they have some sort of reason to do so (and the Fourth Amendment be damned).
Idaho has passed a law banning drone surveillance “absent reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal conduct” except in pursuit of marijuana in which case no such suspicion is needed (and the Fourth Amendment be damned).
Illinois has passed a law banning drones except for law enforcement agencies that have a warrant or when the Secretary of Homeland Security shouts “terrorism!” or they are reasonably suspicious it’s needed or are searching for a missing person or are photographing a crime scene or traffic crash scene (and the Fourth Amendment be damned).
Tennessee has passed a law banning law enforcement drones unless the Sec. of Homeland Security shouts “terrorism!” or there’s a warrant or there’s suspicion without a warrant (and the Fourth Amendment be damned).
Texas has passed a law banning the capturing of images with drones except for … too many exceptions to list.
Congressman Grayson passed an amendment to a DHS funding bill banning DHS from using weaponized drones, a step that must be repeated each year for this and other agencies unless a full national or international ban is put in place.
This article as a double-sided, single-page handout: PDF.