The idea that the Great Depression was finally brought to an end by the onset of WWII has been a staple of history textbooks, documentaries and various war propaganda for decades. This myth continues to be perpetuated to the present day.
The idea that war is good for the economy is, needless to say, a fallacious argument which itself is based on incorrect economic data.
The idea that the economic activity surrounding militarization represents a net economic gain is called the “broken window fallacy.” This fallacy was named and identified by French economist Frédéric Bastiat in his 1850 essay, “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen,” in which he imagines the case of a shopkeeper whose careless son breaks a pane of glass in his shop window. In Bastiat’s example, ‘that which is seen’ is that the glazier comes, performs the task of fixing the window, and receives six francs for his effort. Onlookers to the scene believe that the economy has actually been bolstered by this act of destruction, since six francs have been spent into it that otherwise would not have been.
But Bastiat notes that what is important is not what is seen, but what is not seen: “It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.”
Similarly, production for war is the broken window fallacy writ large. Economic “gains” produced by government spending on munitions and vehicle manufacture and supplying and equipping the troops are not gains at all; money has merely been diverted to the pockets of the defense contractors via the political cronies in their back pocket.
So why is this important? Because sadly, this myth is being played on by the warmongering class to once again push the idea that war is good and even necessary for economic progress. This time it is not just manufacture of supplies or munitions that are being touted, but war’s ability to justify government spending on investment. No matter how unlikely the threat, or whether it is indeed completely made up, this warped thinking holds that such lies and exaggerations are the answer to our current economic problems.
Sadly, it is not just intellectual deficients like making this case. In a new op-ed in the New York Times, Tyler Cowen of George Mason University argues that technological advances from nuclear research to rocketry to internet and robotics have all been spurred by defense spending, and thus war or threats of war are necessary to continue the advance of civilization.
Why these technologies are ends in themselves, or more valuable than the tens of millions of lives lost in the previous “great wars” is a question left unexamined. Perhaps more to the point, Cowen never addresses why such advances could not take place in the absence of war or without the motivation of advancing the methods of killing as their impetus.
What is most fundamentally upsetting about the mindset that justifies carnage in the name of “economic gain” is that economic gain is usually measured in abstract concepts like GDP growth or increasing equities markets that have no or even negative correlation with the livelihood of the poorest members of society. Income actually shrank by 0.7% for 99% of Americans during the supposed “recovery” of 2009-2011. For the top 1%, income grew 11.5%. This is the type of “help” that massive government spending on bank bailouts and other stimulus measures invariably creates. In times of war, the situation is even more perverse: money is created as debt owed to the banks, backed up by the average working taxpayer, to pay politically-connected defense contractors to create bombs to kill poor brown people on the other side of the planet. This is called economic progress.
Taken to its logical conclusion, there is only one more effective way of solving the problem of poverty. After all, if we are willing to believe the lie that sacrificing lives is good for the economy, why not go that one step further…
Yesterday at 11am, the Syrian Mission to the United Nations convened a press conference featuring people from the US who observed the recent elections.
Five minutes into the opening comments of Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al-Jaafari, the UN webcast cut off. The thousands of journalists, political analysts, and others who view UN webcasts each day from all over the world were denied the ability to watch the press conference, and hear what was said.
This is not the first time this has happened when Bashar Jaafari is speaking. This occurred on June 7th earlier this year, and on numerous occasions throughout 2013. Reporters at Inner City Press reported that this is not accidental, but was ordered by Michele DuBach, Acting Deputy Director-News & Media Operations.
This comes in the context of other UN harassment of Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has met with Ahmad Jarba, a leader of violent insurgent groups in Syria, but has refused to meet with Bashar Jaafari. Though Syria pays over $1 million to the UN each year, it is not being treated as an equal member state.
Watch the important, UN Press Conference about Syria, that someone obviously doesn’t want you, or anyone else, to see:
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Ja’afari says the current tumult in the Middle East, including the crisis in his country, is a scheme by the West to safeguard Israel’s interests, Press TV reports.
“This is a geopolitical plan that is not only targeting Syria exclusively, although Syria is very important for either the success or failure of this plan, but it is targeting the whole area,” said Ja’afari Wednesday in an exclusive interview with Press TV in New York.
He said the main goal of the Western plot “is to secure for a long time the interests of Israel and preventing the establishment of Palestinian state in Palestine.”
“So they need to open up a new front, a kind of deviation, from the focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question to another focus which might be a war between Muslims and Muslims,” he added.
He further underlined that the West intends to incite divisions among Muslims under the false notion of a Sunni-Shia conflict to provoke wars between Muslim countries in the region.
The Syrian envoy went on to reiterate that the huge participation of Syrian voters in the country’s presidential election served as big “NO” message to foreign interference in their country’s internal affairs.
“Our message would be a friendly message… [that] we want to have friends and we want to have normal, bilateral relationship with everybody. We do not interfere into the American domestic affairs. Please don’t interfere into our own domestic affairs.”
According to official figures, President Bashar al-Assad won nearly 90 percent of the votes cast in Syria’s presidential race. Syria’s Supreme Constitutional Court announced that over 73 percent of the 15.8 million eligible voters had taken part in the election.
The public so far knows very little outside of the alleged time that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped. But what we do know is the absolute mayhem the Israeli military has spread throughout the Hebron district among innocent families. Additionally, routine night raids, day patrols, confiscation of public property for military outposts, and the blockades on all but two access points into Hebron have suffocated the livelihood of Hebronites.
Soldiers raided the home and took possession of the Al Awewe family home in Aqbet Taffuh for six hours on Sunday. Over fifty troops had occupied the home while three adults, four young girls, and a young boy were in the home. The Israeli military would not allow a one-year-old baby to leave the house and her mother had to sit outside helplessly wondering about the safety of her daughter, who was still nursing. The soldiers found no suspects connected to the kidnapping in the home.
In that same area on Monday morning, the IDF confiscated the security camera equipment the al-Natshe family had installed around their house for their protection, along with video footage the cameras had recorded.
Further down the road in the Aqbet Taffuh area, approximately fifty-five Israeli soldiers left the hilltop area of the Palestinian municipality, occupied several homes, questioned families, tore down a private Palestinian fence and occupied the neighborhood for several hours.
Throughout the afternoon, northeast of Bab i-Zaweyah, just outside of the H1/H2 intersection, a brigade of more than forty soldiers stationed themselves in four different homes and a supermarket within a two hour period, leaving families frightened and unsure of their intentions.
On 15 June at around 9:30 p.m., an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home ended with a seven-year-old Palestinian boy hospitalized after the Israeli military used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the Akram Al Qawasmeh home. The subsequent powerful blast shattered the tempered reinforced glass, shearing off the decorative steel and sending pieces of shrapnel into all corners of the home, which severely injured Akram Al Qawasmeh’s son.
After the explosion, Israeli soldiers did not allow Akram Al Qawasmeh to see his son, and according to reports, the military initially stopped medical personal from treating the victim. CPT arrived the following day and found a home turned upside down. (See video below.) Children’s belongings were spread and broken around the house. Israeli soldiers demolished the kitchen, smashing fruits, vegetables, and other food items on the floor, and left feces on a rug in the basement.
These are just a few of the incidents that CPTers were able to report on directly. Other human rights organizations have also reported an increase in settler violence against Palestinians who live near the Hebron area settlements.
Historically, Palestinian violence has been the justification for settlement expansion in Hebron. Currently, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee has identified over twenty-two locations of pending settlement expansion and settler activity. The behavior of the Israeli military and settlers in Hebron suggests the government may use the case of the three young kidnapped boys as an excuse to expand these settlements in the Hebron area or elsewhere in the West Bank while the international community is distracted.
See previous release, AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part I
East Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine – Ziad and I met at a party at the University of Houston. Six months later Ziad proposed, saying, “I’m a Palestinian. I am only here to get an education. After graduating I’ll return home to Jerusalem. Come with me.”
We married the following year and moved to Jerusalem. For nearly 20 years we lived happily, raising a family and enjoying our lives together. But my fairy tale came to an end on the afternoon of June 11, 2010. In the morning we made plans to take our daughters to the beach that afternoon, Ziad never made it home.
The Israeli border policemen who shot and killed my husband declared that Ziad was a “terrorist” shot dead from a distance. But my husband was no terrorist. He loved life. He loved people and animals and he loved us, his family, with a passion. We had to conduct our own investigation to find out how my husband died.
The Israeli unit that investigates police killings failed to interrogate any of the many eyewitnesses to Ziad’s death and only questioned the border policemen involved in the killing. By gathering evidence and testimonies independently we learned the truth. Ziad, while driving home in his pickup truck, swerved into the opposite lane, where a group of border policemen were walking on the road. Ziad’s pickup truck brushed against two of the border policemen causing scrapes and bruises.
Unfortunately, Ziad can no longer tell us exactly what happened, but eyewitnesses reported that there was stone-throwing in the area and that Ziad’s windshield was hit by a stone. This description explains a big dent in Ziad’s front windshield and accounts for his swerve.
The Border Policemen opened a massive barrage of live fire at Ziad’s vehicle. Surrounding cars were hit and a little girl was injured. Ziad fled from the bullets to a nearby dead-end alleyway where his uncle lives. Three Border policemen ran forward firing into the alley.
Ziad leapt out of the truck and ran in the direction of his uncle’s house, but was shot in the back and fell injured to the pavement. While the commander of the unit, Shadi Heir al Din, reported that the “terrorist” had been neutralized, border policeman Maxim Vinogradov walked up to my husband and confirmed the kill.
Vinogradov put his M16 to Ziad’s head and fired two shots. According to an eyewitness, Vinogradov placed his boot on my husband’s neck when he shot him. The practice of confirming killings is illegal under international law.
Twelve days before Vinogradov killed my husband, he responded to a Facebook message voicing support for annihilating “Turkey and all the Arabs from the world” by saying, “I am with you, brother, and with the help of God I will start this.” This is just one of many similar posts. In his profile on a social network website, he describes as a hobby “hitting and destroying things,” his favorite food as “Arabs,” and his favorite sport as “Undocumented Arab Workers.”
My lawyers appealed to an Israeli judge to exhume Ziad’s body in order for an autopsy to be performed. As it was clear that the autopsy would reveal the fact that Ziad was shot from point-blank range, Vinogradov completely altered his original testimony because he “suddenly remembered” that as he was standing above Ziad he saw him move his hand and so had to shoot him in the head.
Despite Vinogradov’s misrepresentation and the fact that the investigations unit concluded that they “could not rule out that Ziad had swerved innocently and without the intention of running over the border policemen,” the case against Vinogradov and his commander was closed for lack of evidence.
My daughters and I have appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court, but when I asked the American Consulate to help me see to it that my husband’s killer stands trial they told me that their hands were tied since they had no jurisdiction in Israel. I disagree. Our government gives Israel more than $3 billion in annual military aid. It is our government’s responsibility to use its leverage with Israel to stop Israel from using these weapons to commit crimes.
The Israeli military has a history of ignoring the lives of Palestinians, and then supporting their killers. An example is the appointment of Brig. Gen. Roni Numa as the head of the Israeli army’s “Depth Corps” and the Military Colleges, as well as his promotion to major general, two weeks ago. This occurred despite the fact that the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Military Advocate General determined that, in 2001, Numa approved an operation in which Abdallah Jarousha, from Tul Karem refugee camp was shot in the back and killed in violation of the Israel Defence Forces’ rules of engagement. The criminal case in the matter was closed, though the Military Advocate General Corps noted in its decision that “in advance, the firing, as was approved, should not have been approved.” Roni Numa also changed his version of the events many times while the murder was being investigated, forgetting and then remembering that he had given the order. Like the case demanding accountability for my husbands murderer, the case Abdallah Jarousha’s family launched spent years in the Israeli courts, and despite an innocent civilian being murdered in cold blood ended, no Israeli was ever charged.
My husband was killed by a trigger-happy Israeli border policemen. They ought to face trial for both the crime and the cover-up. It’s time for the American government to step up, support American citizens such my daughters and I, and insist that Israel hold a proper trial.
Moira Jilani is an American citizen. She is the widow of Ziad Jilani who was killed by Israeli border policemen in 2010 while driving home. Moira and her daughters have appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court against the closing of the case against Ziad’s killers.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Yesterday the Israeli army invaded a family house in the H1 area, supposedly under full Palestinian Authority civil and security control, of al-Khalil (Hebron). The father of the family is very ill with heart disease; the family was forced in to one room and was not allowed to leave. The eight Israeli soldiers used the house as an unofficial army post, both to rest and to view the area. The soldiers stayed there overnight, terrifying the family, as they had no idea when the soldiers would leave. At approximately 11:00 am, the soldiers left the house, however they informed the family that they would return.
The soldiers then entered the next house, relatives of the same family, with four young children. First they searched the house, and then occupied the children’s room on the second floor. They moved the children’s beds to get more space and placed a black blanket to cover the doorway.
The soldiers took shifts, sitting in front of the room watching the family, while the rest were sleeping, eating, and viewing the area. The family told the ISMers present that the soldiers also took showers. The soldiers seemed very uncomfortable with the ISM volunteers in the house, and behaved very aggressively towards them, and the family members who were taking photos.
The family offered the soldiers to use the roof instead of the children’s room, but they refused.
The military presence in the house caused a lot of fear for the family, they were unable to carry out their daily routines, and the children were very upset that they could not enter their room; they were afraid the soldiers would take their belongings and break their toys.
After five hours the family convinced the military to leave, as they left, it was witnessed them joining with a much larger group of soldiers.
Since last Friday, there has been a large increase in home invasions all over the West Bank. This is part of the collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian population, since the disappearance of three Israeli settler youth on Thursday.
An American Resistance Fighter
Michael Hastings was a war correspondent. He knew he was at war with the American government. He said the following before he was murdered:
The Obama administration has clearly declared war on the press. Has declared war on investigative journalists (and) our sources. The only recourse to this kind of behavior by the government is to say back to the government we declare war on you. And from this point forward we should no longer as the media on the whole no longer cooperate in any manner with the government in terms of when we are doing National Security stories. We should withdraw all our cooperation and publish everything we know because it is a Free Press not a Free Press except when the government tells me what to do. And we’ve been way too easy going with these guys. We let them get away with this for years. We let them tell us what to print and what not to print. I say everybody get together and say we are done with it and fire back. No one else is going to defend the press.
That was his 55 second opening in one of the last interviews he ever gave. I hope that if we survive and do take over the government that the Joseph Pulitzer prize for journalism would be renamed the Michael Hastings award.
Michael Hastings also criticized NSA spying. The violation of the Fourth Amendment against illegal searches and seizures allows the NSA to record all of our emails and all of our phone calls. When you combine this with the criminalization of investigative reporting and the application of the Espionage Act to whistleblowers, you will end First Amendment protections for the Free Press. The next step is to end Free Speech.
Before he was murdered, Hastings did contact his friends and Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Wikileaks, saying the FBI was investigating him. He told his friends they needed to get a lawyer before they talked to the FBI.
His friends said he drove like a grandmother and never saw him drive fast or erratically. He had given up drinking alcohol five years earlier. Experts at universities have demonstrated that cars can be remotely hacked. They can accelerate the car, make it stop and deploy the airbag without the driver’s cooperation. Michael’s car was seen driving through a red light at an intersection at a high speed. Sparks were seen coming out of the car before it impacted the tree. A loud explosion strong enough to shake a house was heard before the car hit the tree. His car engine and drive train were seen 50 and 70 yards distant from the car. The car had been going south but the engine and drive train were found north or behind the car. That is not possible unless the engine had been separated before the car hit the tree. None of this normally happens to a new Mercedes.
Military veterans said the intense heat of the fire was beyond that of a car fire. The car’s paint should have been burned but it was not suggesting a bomb rather than a normal car fire.
Contrary to the family’s wishes his body was cremated and sent home in an urn. His family had wanted his body returned. Gone would be any evidence that he had been drugged.
Michael Hastings’ friend Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs said Michael told him he was working on the biggest story of his career. It was on the CIA. This would have been a very big story indeed because his article Runaway General on Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone got the general fired.
I wrote this because I do not want the fact that Michael Hastings was murdered for the crime of practicing journalism to be forgotten. There are two videos below. The first has Michael’s declaration of war on the Obama administration in the first 55 seconds of the tape. The second video gives an overview of his murder. It is ten minutes long.
Last year I wrote an article on Hastings after his murder. It has another video interview with Michael. The Link is below:
In Memory of Michael Hastings: His CSPAN Interview
(This CSPAN interview is about his book The Operators. He points out the Pentagon has 27,000 public relations people. One general in Kabul has more PR people than there are reporters covering the war. He hits General Petraeus very hard both in this video and in the book.)
Wikimedia has struck a deal with Israeli officials to promote students’ multi-lingual writing and re-writing of history, geography and science topics in Wikipedia. Unwitting readers of Wikipedia likely take accounts of Middle Eastern history at face value, not realising the extent of manipulation occurring behind the seemingly authoritative guise of an encyclopaedia. From word choice, to basic information given or omitted, to biased sources cited, Wikipedia is devolving into a completely untrustworthy source.
Of course there has been an Annual Wikipedia Academy Conference since 2009, where Israelis receive Wikipedia training and encouragement. And of course groups such as CAMERA, a pro-Zionist Israel public relations organisation, have been actively editing Wikipedia since at least 2008. And of course Israel has been actively funding hasbara on the internet for years and isn’t shy about its “digital diplomacy.” There’s even a “Jewish Internet Defense League” that claims to be the “cutting edge of pro-Israel digital online advocacy.” After all, the professed need for incessant national promotion campaigns fits into the “we are the ones under attack” theme.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has twice participated in the Israeli Presidential Conference. As he said at the 2011 Wikimania conference held in Haifa, “I love coming to Israel.” But it is Wales’ exchange with a Lebanese blogger that strongly calls into question Wikipedia’s public goal of offering a credible, neutral “sum of all human knowledge.” When the blogger asked Wales about his participation in the 2011 Israeli Presidential Conference, Wales snubbed the inquiry outright. Wales responded with trite, vacuous remarks in defence of Israel and then refused to communicate further. (An unripened e-conversation that amused several pro-Zionists.)
Surely Wikipedia management is aware that Israel is one of the most controversial topics in Wikipedia. One academic study determined that the “Israel” page was rivalled only by the “Adolf Hitler” page as being the most highly contested page contained in all of the study’s three language sets. From a researcher’s point of view, then, it is illogical to encourage additional bias in the most contentious topic. Yet that is precisely what Jimmy Wales has done and what this newly announced partnership does.
It can be very valuable to research Israeli sources—from newspapers to government agencies. But we should assess these sources with the knowledge that the information provided is filtered by an Israeli perspective, most likely Zionist. We should balance those sources with a variety of views from numerous perspectives. The key problem with anonymous, reference style sources like Wikipedia is that we might assume the neutrality they claim. Has Wikipedia offered similar partnerships with countries worldwide? Why not involve students in China, Peru, India, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Ethiopia, Vietnam, or the many other countries who might like a say in how the world is depicted? We have to wonder why favourtism has been allowed by Wikipedia and whether it will be openly revealed in its pages. Naturally, non-governmental Israelis should participate in building Wikipedia, but on equal terms with any other Wikipedian. Otherwise, Wikipedia is not what it pretends to be.
“The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A multilingual and geographical analysis” (Yasseri T., Spoerri A., Graham M., and Kertész J., 2014)
Israel’s Ministry of Education & Wikimedia Israel Agree On New, Unique Initiative (Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2014)
“Initiative: Teachers, Students to Write for Wikipedia” (Israeli National News, 10 June 2014)
“Public schools to integrate Wikipedia into curriculum” (Israel Hayom News, 10 June 2014)
“Education Ministry and Wikipedia collaborate to write content for the internet site” (Jerusalem Post, 10 June 2014)
“EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group’s plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia” (The Electronic Intifada, 21 April 2008)
“The Mideast Editing Wars” (Gershom Gorenberg, 1 May 2008)
“Israel’s cyber warriors” (Lucy Tobin, 12 February 2009)
“Israel deploys cyber team to spread positive spin” (Jonathan Cook, 21 July 2009)
“Positive Views of Israel, Brought to You by Israelis” (Ethan Bronner, 17 February 2010)
“Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook” (Ali Abunimah, 1 April 2012)
“Jimmy Wales and Palestine” (Joey Ayoub, 12 January 2012)
“Israel to pay students to defend it online” (AP, 14 August 2013)
“Haifa University launches course in pro-Israel propaganda” (Ben White, 15 April 2014)
“University of Haifa’s ‘Cyber Warriors’ will help fight the delegitimization of Israel using new media” (U of Haifa, 30 March 2014)
In this short video, Al-Haq presents the case of Yousef Shawamreh’s death.
From 1/1/2014 — 31/03/2014, Al-Haq documentation indicates that Israeli forces killed around 16 Palestinians across the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This is a sharp increase in the number of killings as compared to the previous years and the number continues to rise with Three more Palestinians having been killed by Israeli forces from 1/4/2014 — 15/5/2014.
Ahmad Sabbareen – Shfa News
Palestinian medical sources have reported on Monday that a young Palestinian man was killed by Israeli army fire after the soldiers invaded the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Two Palestinians were injured, many kidnapped.
Medical sources at the Palestine Medical center said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Ahmad Arafat Sabbareen, 21 years of age.
He was shot by several live bullets in the chest, and died of his wounds at the Intensive Care Unit, in the Palestine Medical Center.
Sabbareen was a political prisoner who was recently released by Israel.
One of the wounded Palestinians, identified as Ahmad Sa’afin, was shot by a live round to the chest.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rounds of live ammunition during the invasion, and during ensuing clashes.
In addition, soldiers kidnapped several Palestinians in the refugee camp, and took them to an unknown destination.
Some of the kidnapped Palestinians have been identified as Adnan al-Khattab, Abdul-Halim Ghannam, Ramadan Hmeidat, and Eyad Safi.
On Sunday at night that two children were wounded when Israeli soldiers detonated the main door of their home, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Soldiers also kidnapped their father, and three brothers. At Least Nineteen Additional Palestinians Kidnapped.
Earlier on Sunday, the soldiers kidnapped at least twelve Palestinians in Hebron, after breaking into dozens of homes and searching them. The army also confiscated surveillance tapes from a number of properties.
On Sunday evening, dozens of Israeli military vehicles invaded the central West Bank city of Ramallah, the nearby towns of al-Biereh and Betunia, and clashed with dozens of Palestinian youths.
Also on Sunday, soldiers invaded Bethlehem city, and the nearby city of Beit Jala, installed roadblocks, conducted searches, and attacked local journalists.
The soldiers also closed all western entrances of Bethlehem city, and conducted military searches.
On Sunday morning, the soldiers placed Bethlehem and Hebron districts under a strict military siege, and kidnapped dozens of Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank.