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It’s All About Resistance

By David Macaray | Dissident Voice |  April 9th, 2013

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of old-fashioned “resistance.” Indeed, without resistance (e.g., pushing back, taking an aggressive stand, demonstrating that you’re willing to fight, etc.), things can get out of hand very quickly, whether we’re talking about international relations, social intercourse, basic economics, children or adults.

Take the typical school yard bully for example.

The thing that keeps these bullies going is that no one resists them. No one is willing to fight back—either by instantly reporting them to a teacher, or (taking matters boldly into their own hands) by punching them squarely in the nose. And experience has taught us that when you appease a bully, two things happen, both of them bad: the bully continues his dominance, and his bullying tends to become more frequent and ambitious.

On Sunday, April 7, the Los Angeles Times ran a disturbing front-page story on the topic of worker victimization. The article pointed out that employers now believe (especially since the recession) that they are firmly in the driver’s seat, that the economy has become such a lopsided “buyer’s market” that they can now pretty much force their employees to do anything they wish. After all, who or what is going to stop them?

It’s sad to report, but businesses have won. They’ve increased their production demands, they’ve extended employees’ work hours (after having laid off a number of them), they’ve taken to issuing ultimatums (If you don’t like it here, quit), and they’ve done all this while, simultaneously, having kept wages relatively stagnant. As for traditional benefits such as pensions, bonuses, sick leave and paid vacations, forget about it. Most of those have been abolished.

Clearly, things have shifted dramatically. Companies are now running roughshod over their employees—not those in upper management, mind you, and not those who hold computer science degrees from Stanford University, but the regular folks, those with high school diplomas who just want to work for a living and are fully cognizant that they have “jobs” rather than “careers.”

Welcome to the underbelly of technology. Companies electronically time your potty breaks, they electronically measure your output, they spy on you with cameras, they force you to attend indoctrination meetings and film you as you listen, and they send out emails threatening to fire you if you show up late to work. Things have shifted so dramatically, management now expects to run the table every time they pick up a pool cue.

Which brings us to the role of labor unions. It’s no accident that this draconian work environment coincides with the precipitous drop in union membership. It’s no accident and no coincidence, because the one thing a labor union brings to the workplace is resistance—resistance in the form of worker representation and adult supervision. It’s that school yard dynamic all over again.

A union contract requires a company to follow certain rules. Despite all their squawking, if management didn’t fully understand the rules and didn’t see the basic wisdom and fairness in them, they wouldn’t have signed that contract. I’ve personally negotiated five contracts, and believe me, only a stupid or wildly reckless management team is going to shoot themselves in the foot.

Yes, union jobs offer about 15-percent higher wages and benefits, and yes, union safety programs are infinitely superior to non-union programs, and these by themselves are tremendous advantages to becoming a union member. But a union also offers something less tangible. A union contract provides an employee with dignity—with the expectation of coming to work and being treated with respect. And that is no small thing.

If anyone is able to name another institution that can provide America’s working class with the built-in dignity and economic advantages a union can, I’d love to hear it, because it ain’t the federal government and it ain’t philanthropic organizations. This is all about resistance. Without resistance, workers have no leverage. Resistance is everything. And without labor unions, the bullies will continue to win.

~

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and author (It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor), was a former union rep. He can be reached at: dmacaray@earthlink.net.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Comments Off on It’s All About Resistance

Palestinian Cameraman Shot In The Face In Bethlehem

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | April 08, 2013

117486alazzablessure1Bethlehem, Monday April 8, 2013, Palestinian medical sources reported that a Palestinian cameraman was shot in the face, on Monday evening, by a rubber-coated metal bullet, in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported that Mohammad Waleed Al-Azza was shot during clashes that took place between Israeli soldiers invading the camp and local youths who hurled stones at them.

PNN added that Al-Azza, who works at the Refugee Media Center in addition to freelancing for PNN and other agencies, was deliberately shot in the face by the soldiers who tried to stop him from documenting the invasion.

The soldiers tried to push him away, and when he refused to leave, one of the soldiers pointed his gun at him and shot him from a relatively close range.

Al-Azza’s medical condition was described as moderate; he was moved to the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation, in Bethlehem, where he will undergo surgery.

The camp has been witnessing an extended wave of escalation since several months now, due to repeated Israeli invasions and attacks against the residents, PNN said.

Several reporters have been injured in recent clashes between the soldiers and the Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Palestinian Cameraman Shot In The Face In Bethlehem

Supporters Say All The Wrong Things to Try and Pass CISPA

By Mark M. Jaycox | EFF | April 8, 2013

Ever since reintroducing CISPA, the so-called “cybersecurity bill,” its supporters promote the bill with craftily worded or just plain misleading claims. Such claims have been lobbed over and over again in op-eds, at hearings, and in press materials.  One “fact sheet” by Rep. Rogers and Ruppersberger titled “Myth v. Fact” is so dubious that we felt we had to comment.

Here are some of the statements supporters of CISPA are pushing and why they’re false:

Supporters of CISPA say, “There are no broad definitions”

Supporters are keen to note that the bill doesn’t have broad definitions. In the “Myth v. Fact” sheet, the authors of CISPA specifically point to the definition of “cyber threat information.” Cyber threat information is information about an online threat that companies can share with each other and with any government agency—including the NSA. In hearings, experts have said that they don’t need to share personally identifiable information to combat threats. But the definition in the bill allows for any information related to a perceived threat or vulnerability—including sensitive personal information—to be shared. Cyber threat information should be a narrowly defined term.

Another example of a broad (or missing) definition is the term “cybersecurity system.”  Companies can use a “cybersecurity system” to “identify or obtain” information about a potential threat (“cyber threat information”). The definition is critical to understanding the bill, but is circular.  CISPA defines a “cybersecurity system” as “a system designed or employed” for a cybersecurity purpose (i.e. to protect against vulnerabilities or threats). The language is not limited to network security software or intrusion detection systems, and is so broadly written that one wonders if a “system” involving a tangible item—e.g., locks on doors—could be considered a “cybersecurity system.”  In practical terms, it’s unclear what is exactly covered by such a “system,” because the word “system” is never defined.

The best example of a dangerous undefined term in the bill is found within the overly broad legal immunity for companies. The clause grants a company who acts in “good faith” immunity for “any decisions made” based off of the information it learns from the government or other companies. Does this cover decisions to violate other laws, like computer crime laws? Or privacy laws intended to protect users? Companies should not be given carte blanche immunity to violate long-standing computer crime and privacy law. And it is notoriously hard to prove that a company acted in bad faith, in the few circumstances where you would actually find out your privacy had been violated.

Supporters of CISPA say, “The bill is not a government surveillance program”

Supporters are adamant CISPA doesn’t create a wide-ranging “government surveillance program.” It’s true the bill doesn’t create such a surveillance program like the one described in the ongoing warrantless wiretapping lawsuits.

But the trick here is what is meant by “government surveillance.”  We think that if the bill aims at having our information flow to the government, it’s tantamount to government surveillance, whether or not the government initially collected the information.

The bill creates a loophole in the privacy laws that prevented companies from disclosing your information to the government and gives companies broad legal immunity for sharing information with the government. As a result, CISPA makes it more likely that companies will surveil their own users and then disclose that information.  The sly wording dodges the key issue: that CISPA encourages companies to conduct surveillance on their networks and hand “cyber threat information” to the government. In short, the bill encourages a de facto private spying regime, with the same end result.

Supporters of CISPA say, “The government can’t read your private email”

Reps. Rogers and Ruppersberger are adamant CISPA doesn’t grant the government access to read private emails. The claim was recently repeated by James Lewis, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the broad definitions do allow for personal information to be gathered by companies and then sent to the government without any mandatory minimization of personal information. And under the vague definitions an aggressive company could claim that private messages are related to the threat, obtain them, and share then with the government.  If Reps. Rogers and Ruppersberger did want content of emails disclosed under CISPA, it would be easy enough to exclude them explicitly.

Supporters say, “CISPA follows advice from privacy and civil liberty advocates”

In his introduction of the bill, Rep. Rogers assured the audience that he has listened to the privacy and civil liberties community.

This year’s CISPA does contain some language added after privacy and civil liberties advocates complained in 2012.  But those changes didn’t address some big issues that were raised last year, and this year’s privacy and civil liberties complaints about CISPA remain unaddressed.

Let’s Stop CISPA

Reps. Rogers and Ruppersberger are on a strong publicity offensive to make sure the bill passes. The American public deserves full explanations and clear meanings about what CISPA can do and the extent to which it can do it. The public doesn’t need carefully worded messaging materials that obfuscate and mislead a discussion on CISPA. The issues at stake—like the broad legal immunity and new spying powers that allow for companies to collect private, and sensitive, user information—are too serious.

To stop this type of misinformation—and to stop CISPA—we urge you to tell your members of Congress to stand up for privacy.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Supporters Say All The Wrong Things to Try and Pass CISPA

Deir Yassin massacre has not ended

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Ma’an – 09/04/2013

BETHLEHEM – The massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948 is still going on today, lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said Tuesday, as Palestinians mark the 65th year since Jewish militias murdered over 100 Palestinian villagers.

“What happened 65 years ago in Deir Yassin was a horrible massacre which prepared the ground for the ethnic cleansing of 70 percent of the Palestinian people,” Barghouti told Ma’an.

“The same ethnic cleansing is going on today but in a different way. In 1948 they used direct massacres, now they use airstrikes in Gaza and shoot young Palestinians in the West Bank.”

On April 9, 1948, the Lehi and Irgun Jewish militia groups, the latter headed by former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, attacked the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, despite the fact that villagers had signed a non-aggression pact.

Over 100 men, women and children were killed by the Jewish fighters in the village, which was designated as part of the Corpus Separatum plan for Jerusalem as part of the 1947 UN partition plan for Palestine.

Survivor statements from the massacre report that villagers were ordered to line up against village walls before being shot by Jewish fighters, according to Deir Yassin Remembered.

Militia members looted homes and stole jewelry from villagers and there were reports of sexual violence, survivor accounts say.

“What is happening today in Jerusalem is not different to what happened all those years ago in Deir Yassin. Ethnic cleansing is happening at a slower rate today, the form has changed but the content is the same,” Barghouti added.

More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants — were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes as the State of Israel was established in 1948.

Massacres such as those at Deir Yassin were pivotal catalysts in forcing Palestinian civilians to flee their homes for fear of being killed by Jewish militia groups.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information released a statement condemning the massacre, calling it an “open wound” which continues to affect the Palestinian people through continued Israeli aggression.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

To NYT, Nuclear Facts Become Iranian Claims

By Peter Hart | FAIR | April 8, 2013

The New York Times (4/7/13) reports that progress on the Iran nuclear negotiations appears rather bleak. But the piece, by David Herszenhorn, passes off a key fact as if it were a mere Iranian claim.

The article presents one take from Iran’s top negotiator, Saeed Jalili–along with a curt response from the U.S.:

“Of course, there is some distance in the position of the two sides,” Mr. Jalili said. But he said Iran’s proposals, which required recognizing “our right to enrich and ending behaviors which have every indication of enmity toward the Iranian people,” were designed “to help us move toward a constructive road.”

A senior American official called Iran’s demands unreasonable and “disproportionate.”

The piece elaborates:

Western countries fear that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran has insisted that its program is for peaceful purposes, including atomic energy and medical research, to which it claims a right as a signer of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

We’re accustomed to “Iran says X, the West says Y” in Iran coverage. But despite the evident confidence of the U.S., there is still no evidence that Iran is actually pursuing a weapons program.

But what of this idea that Iran “claims” a right to enrich uranium? That is, as Steve Rendall wrote for Extra! (9/05), a fact:

Under the NPT, non-nuclear-weapons countries agree not to pursue or possess nuclear weapons, while nuclear-armed countries agree to pursue disarmament and to share nuclear energy technology with the non-nuclear countries. (See Extra!, 7-8/05.) Under the agreement, non-nuclear-weapons states may develop nuclear programs, enrich uranium, etc., as long the programs are for non-military purposes and they are disclosed to the IAEA.

Another fact about the NPT that goes mostly unmentioned is that it calls on countries that possess nuclear weapons “to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.”

But to the New York Times, Iran’s appeals to the treaty are “claims,” which can be challenged by anonymous U.S. officials (the “official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” which has become the State Department’s standard practice at the talks).

And while we’re on the subject of Iran, here’s a pretty revealing exchange from ABC‘s This Week (4/7/13)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The nuclear talks with Iran basically failed again. And you have to believe Iran is watching this as well, and says, ‘He’s got nuclear weapons, he has a stronger hand.’

MARTHA RADDATZ: Not only watching it, but I think there’s cooperation between North Korea and Iran. In fact, that’s something else General Thurman and other U.S. officials have told me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What kind of cooperation?

RADDATZ: Cooperation on a nuclear program. Certainly North Korea wants money. And Iran wants nukes.

Huh. Anything else U.S. officials want you to share with the public, absent even a shred of skepticism?

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on To NYT, Nuclear Facts Become Iranian Claims

Margaret Thatcher’s criminal legacy

By Finian Cunningham | Press TV | April 9, 2013

Hours after the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the history books are being re-written and the beatification of the Iron Lady is well underway.

Current British premier David Cameron praised Lady Thatcher for having “saved Britain” and for making the has-been colonial power “great again”.

Tributes poured forth from French and German leaders, Francoise Hollande and Angela Merkel, while US President Barack Obama said America had lost a “special friend”.

Former American secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev also lamented the loss of “an historic world figure”. Polish ex-president Lech Walesa hailed Margaret Thatcher for having brought down the Soviet Union and Communism.

Such fulsome praise may be expected coming from so many war criminals. But it is instructive of how history is written by the victors and criminals in high office. Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Merkel should all be arraigned and prosecuted for war crimes in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Mali, among other places. Kissinger has long evaded justice for over four decades for his role in the US genocide in Southeast Asia during the so-called Vietnam War in which over three million people were obliterated in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The British state is to give Thatcher, who died this week aged 87, a full military-honours funeral. The praise, eulogies, wreaths and ceremonies are all self-indictments of association with one of the most ruthless and criminal political figures in modern times.

So, here is a people’s history of Thatcher’s legacy.

She will be remembered for colluding with the most reactionary elements of Rupert Murdoch’s squalid media empire to launch a war over the Malvinas Islands in 1982, a war that caused hundreds of lives and involved the gratuitous sinking of an Argentine warship, the Belgrano, by a British submarine.

By declaring war, rather than conducting political negotiations with Argentina over Britain’s ongoing colonial possession of the Malvinas, Thatcher salvaged her waning public support in Britain, and the bloodletting helped catapult her into a second term of office in Downing Street. Her political “greatness” that so many Western leaders now eulogize was therefore paid in part by the lives of Argentine and British soldiers, and by bequeathing an ongoing source of conflict in the South Atlantic.

It wasn’t just foreigners that Thatcher declared war on. Armed with her snake-oil economic policies of privatisation, deregulation, unleashing finance capitalism, pump-priming the rich with tax awards subsidised by the ordinary working population, Thatcher declared war on the British people themselves. She famously proclaimed that “there was no such thing as society” and went on to oversee an explosion in the gap between rich and poor and the demolition of social conditions in Britain. That legacy has been amplified by both successive Conservative and Labour governments and is central to today’s social meltdown in Britain – more than two decades after Thatcher resigned. Laughably, David Cameron, a protégé of Thatcher, claims that she “saved” Britain. The truth is Thatcher accelerated the sinking of British capitalism and society at large. What she ordered for the Belgrano has in a very real way come to be realised for British society at large.

During her second term of office in the mid-1980s, the Iron Lady declared war on the “enemy within”. She was referring to Britain’s strongly unionised coal-mining industry. Imagine declaring war on your own population. That is a measure of her pathological intolerance towards others who did not happen to share her obnoxious ideological views – ideological views that have since become exposed as intellectually and morally bankrupt.

For over a year around 1984, her Orwellian mindset and policies starved mining communities in the North of England into submission. Her use of paramilitary police violence also broke the resolve and legitimate rights of these communities. Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill would later be vindicated in the eyes of ordinary people, if not in the eyes of the mainstream media. Britain’s coalmines were systematically shut down, thousands of workers would be made unemployed, and entire communities were thrown on the social scrap heap. All this violence and misery was the price for Thatcher’s ideological war against working people and their political rights.

The class war that Thatcher unleashed in Britain is still raging. The rich have become richer, the poor decidedly more numerous and poorer. The decimation of workers’ rights and the unfettered power given to finance capital were hallmarks of Thatcher’s legacy and are to this day hallmarks of Britain’s current social decay. But that destructive legacy goes well beyond Britain. The rightwing nihilistic capitalism that Thatcher gave vent to was and became a zeitgeist for North America, Europe and globally. The economic malaise that is currently plaguing the world can be traced directly to such ideologues as Margaret Thatcher and former US President Ronald Reagan.

A final word on Thatcher’s real legacy, as opposed to the fakery from fellow war criminals, is her role in Ireland’s conflict. Her epitaph of “Iron Lady” is often said with admiration or even sneaking regard for her supposed virtues of determination and strength. In truth, her “iron” character was simply malevolent, as can be seen from her policies towards the Irish struggle for independence from Britain. In 1981, 10 Irish republican prisoners, led by a young Belfast man by the name of Bobby Sands, died from hunger strikes. The men died after more than 50 days of refusing prison food because they were demanding to be treated as political prisoners, not as criminals. Thatcher refused to yield to their demands, denouncing them as criminals and callously claiming that they “took their own lives”. No matter that Bobby Sands had been elected by tens of thousands of Irish voters to the British House of Parliament during his hunger strike. He was merely a criminal who deserved to die, according to the cold, unfeeling Thatcher.

As a result of Thatcher’s intransigence to negotiate Irish rights, the violence in the North of Ireland would escalate over the next decade, claiming thousands of lives. As with Las Malvinas dispute with Argentina, Thatcher deliberately took the military option and, with that, countless lives, rather than engage in reasoned, mutual dialogue. Her arrogance and obduracy blinded her to any other possibility.

As the violence gyrated in Ireland, Thatcher would also embrace the criminal policy of colluding with pro-British death squads. Armed, funded and directed by British intelligence, these death squads would in subsequent years kill hundreds of innocent people – with the knowledge and tacit approval of Lady Thatcher. It was a policy of British state terrorism in action, sanctioned by Thatcher. One of those victims was Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, who was murdered in February 1989. He was shot 12 times in the head in front of his wife and children by a British death squad, after the killers smashed their way into the Finucane home on a Sunday afternoon.

Thus whether in her dealings with the Las Malvinas row with Argentina, the British working people or Irish republicans, Margaret Thatcher was an intolerant militarist who always resorted to demagoguery, violence and starvation to get her political way. She was a criminal fascist who is now proclaimed to be a national hero.

Reports this week say that Thatcher died with Alzheimer’s, the brain-degenerating disease in which the patient loses their faculty for memory. Western leaders, it seems, would also like to erase public memory of Thatcher’s criminal legacy.

Rebel: The Story of Gerry Adams

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Radioactive water leaking at Tepco’s Fukushima nuke plant – regulator

RT | April 09, 2013

Another leak has been discovered at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, only a few days after two similar incidents and a major power failure at the facility, Reuters reported.

The new leak was detected in pool No.1 while water from the leaking pool No.2 was being transported, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The water transfer has been halted.

The plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) indicated they were “losing faith” in temporary storage pits for the radioactive water, but did not have anywhere else to put it.

“We can’t move all the contaminated water to above ground [tanks] if we opt not to use the underground reservoirs. There isn’t enough capacity and we need to use what is available,” Tepco general manager Masayuki Ono explained at a news conference.

Meanwhile, the nuclear watchdog IAEA has announced its experts are set to come to Fukushima to inspect the situation at the nuclear plant.

A day earlier, the operator admitted that they are running out of space to store radioactive water from the facility.

The company is still dealing with the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, as it attempts to keep reactors and spent fuel pools in a safe state known as ‘cold shutdown.’

On Saturday, as much as 120 tons of contaminated water seeped from an underground tank; a new leak was spotted on Sunday. The cooling system for the plant has also failed twice over the past three weeks.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Radioactive water leaking at Tepco’s Fukushima nuke plant – regulator

Guatemala: Ríos Montt Trial Implicates Current President

Weekly News Update on the Americas | April 7, 2013

Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina was involved in some of the crimes against humanity for which former dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-83) and his former intelligence, Gen. José Rodríguez, are now on trial in Guatemala City, according to testimony by a prosecution witness at the trial on April 4. The witness, Hugo Reyes, was an army engineer stationed near Nebaj, El Quiché department, in the Ixil Mayan region, during the early 1980s, at a time when the current president was an army major commanding troops in the area. Reyes said Pérez Molina, then known as “Commander Tito” and “Major Tito Arias,” was among the officers in charge of soldiers who “coordinated the burning [of homes] and pulling people out so they could execute them.”

Speaking by video conferencing from an undisclosed location, Reyes testified that soldiers kidnapped civilians and took them to a military base for torture and execution. “Some had their tongues cut out and their fingernails removed and other injuries,” he said. “The army officers said to them: ‘Sons of bitches, talk or we’ll cut out your tongues.’” “Indian seen, Indian dead–that was the motto they had,” Reyes said; most of the victims were indigenous. “It’s a lie,” Pérez Molina told reporters on April 5. He dismissed the events at the trial the day before as a “circus,” adding: “Bringing in false witnesses takes away all seriousness from the justice system.” (Reuters 4/5/13; Europa Press (Madrid) 4/6/13)

Pérez Molina has frequently been accused of participating in the Ríos Montt government’s “scorched earth” policies, which led to thousands of civilian deaths. A 1983 documentary shows Pérez Molina being interviewed by US investigative reporter Allan Nairn while standing near several battered corpses in Nebaj; one of the soldiers told Nairn that these were captives Pérez Molina had “interrogated” [see Update #1114].

While attention is focused on the Ríos Montt trial, the harassment and murder of activists continues, with at least five murdered in a single month. Tomás Quej, an indigenous leader who had just won a legal struggle for land for his community in the central department of Baja Verapaz, was found dead on February 26 with a gunshot wound to his heart. Carlos Hernández Mendoza, an anti-mining activist and a leader in the National Union of Health Workers of Guatemala (SNTSG), was shot dead on March 8; indigenous campesino leader Gerónimo Sol Ajcot was shot dead three days later, on March 11 [see Update #1168]. On March 17 Exaltación Marcos Ucelo, a leader in the Xinca indigenous group, was murdered and three other activists were kidnapped, beaten and then released; the group was demonstrating against mining operations by the Canadian company Tahoe Resources. Ucelo was also involved in land disputes. On March 21 Santa Alvarado, like Hernández a member of the SNTSG, was kidnapped and strangled. (Global Voices (Amsterdam) 3/25/13)

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on Guatemala: Ríos Montt Trial Implicates Current President

Iraq Cabinet announces reforms to de-Baathification law

By Peter Snyder | Jurist | April 8, 2013

The Iraqi Cabinet announced an amendment to the De-Baathification law on Monday that would allow thousands of former members of Saddam Hussein’s now-defunct Baath party  to serve in the public sector and receive pensions.

The proposed amendment would allow former Baath party branch chiefs to rejoin the public sector and provide pensions to members of Fedayeen Saddam, a paramilitary group once operated by Saddam’s eldest son, Uday Hussein. The amendment must still pass through the Iraqi parliament, which is expected to provide opposition to the proposed changes.

The changes are believed to be aimed as concessions to protesters who have accused the Shiite led government under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of unfairly restricting Sunni rights.

Iraq set up a De-Baathification Commission in 2003 with the approval of the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority, and its early agenda was removing members of Hussein’s Baath party from positions of power in the Iraqi government, prompting the forced removal of nearly 30,000 Baathists from public life. In February 2008 the Accountability and Justice Law was approved by Iraq’s three-member Presidency Council. In January 2008 the Iraqi parliament approved a bill allowing most members of the Baath party to be reinstated to public life.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Comments Off on Iraq Cabinet announces reforms to de-Baathification law

On Richard Dawkins and How Atheism has Become a Warmongering Religion

By Martin Iqbal | Empire Strikes Black | April 9, 2013

I want to start out this piece by making a couple of things clear about my beliefs.  I do not suggest for a millisecond that readers should care; there’s nothing more nauseating than a person who trumpets their personal beliefs at any given opportunity. (Sadly in the case of many atheists, this is often done in the pursuit of smugly asserting one’s perceived intellectual superiority).

I will try to keep this braindump coherent; do bear with me.

I am an atheist.  I was not raised in a religious household.  I am a firm believer in the theory of evolution – which I see as a readily observable and beautiful fact and no mere theory.  I find the idea of creationism quite silly in the face of an overwhelming abundance of evidence for evolution.  I hold dear the ideals of intellectual freedom and critical thought, and I staunchly oppose all forms of dogma.

Moving swiftly on, do I think ‘Islamist extremism’ exists?  Of course I do.

But now I come to the meat of the matter.  And this is where Richard Dawkins and his army of blindly loyal followers will scoff, spit and curse like a seventeenth century congregation that’s just been thrown a copy of The God Delusion.

The ‘New Atheism’: a Vehicle for Dogma & Herd Mentality

Atheism has become a vehicle for the very thing it claims to oppose: dogma.  Buoyed by a rising tidal wave of knee-jerk bigotry, atheism is instilling a rigid dogma in its followers.  This army of self-professed ‘critical thinkers’ has now disposed of critical thought, and has instead taken up a campaign of hero worship, ultimately spreading a pernicious and baseless dogma in the form of the War on Terror.  Allow me to explain.

Richard Dawkins – one of New Atheism’s High Priests – attacks Islam on a regular basis, saying things like (on Twitter), “Of course you can have an opinion about Islam without having read Qur’an. You don’t have to read Mein Kampf to have an opinion about nazism.”.

Dawkins commands ‘decent’, moderate Muslims to come out and condemn stoning (a practice that is admittedly barbaric and indefensible on any level).

decent_moderate

Such frequent rabble rousing against Muslim nations and cultures (while ignoring far greater human rights abuses carried out by ‘enlightened’ Western nations) constitutes a trend amongst atheists, even amongst ex-Muslims who are eagerly touted and re-tweeted by Dawkins and his over 600,000 Twitter followers.

Am I saying that we should not criticise Islam or any other religious beliefs?  No, absolutely not.

But, there is a deeper significance to this that, as ‘critical thinkers’, atheists (Dawkins included) have failed to grasp in a spectacular display of irony.

The Religion of 9/11 & The War On Terror – A Monstrous Fraud Disproved by Science

Allow me to point out before I continue: ‘Muslim’ terrorists and extremists exist.  They behead those they see as ‘infidels’.  They mercilessly slaughter women and children in their pursuit of misguided ‘jihad’.

And they do this with the active and tacit support of every single Western nation that so loudly decries ‘Islamist terrorism’.  For a recent example, please refer to the 2011 decimation of Libya and the ongoing war on Syria, both orchestrated on the ground by hordes of brainwashed and misguided ‘jihadis’ wielding NATO rifles in their left hands, and Qatari paycheques in their right.

If ones traces further back in time, one will see that the mercenary army often referred to as ‘al Qaeda’, was created by the USA as a proxy force, which was used to fight the Russians in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s – precisely as they are being used today in Libya and Syria.

But I digress.

Aside from ‘al Qaeda’ being a proxy army that is literally airlifted on demand to wherever NATO requires manpower, it is also used as an instrument of fear.  The notion that these braindead savages are in any way a threat to Western nations, is laughable.

I hear your internal dialogue: “But what about 9/11?  What about the London bombings of 2005?”

Well, the very kernel of the ‘Muslim terrorist’ meme is the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  One of Dawkins’ favourite quips is “Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings”.

The ‘official narrative’ of 9/11 however, which has formed the basis for the global ‘War on Terror’, is an out and out lie, nothing more than a political dogma.

More than a decade on, any thinking person worth his salt has begun to ask questions about the events of 9/11.  As a learned scientist of global repute, it is surprising that Richard Dawkins apparently has such an elementary grasp of physics.  Most secondary school students can figure out that steel cannot be melted to a liquid by jet fuel.  A 110-storey steel-framed skyscraper cannot explode entirely into dust, roof to street, in a matter of seconds due to airplane impact, fire, or both.  Perhaps Dawkins can get a physics lesson from the over 1,700 architects, scientists, and structural engineering professionals who are asking these questions, to be met with silence:

http://www.ae911truth.org/

It may seem insignificant to talk about the manner in which the World Trade Center was destroyed.  Bearing this in mind however, if you do employ the scientific method and a dose of critical thought, then you will eventually see that this fundamental problem with the 9/11 account actually precludes the possibility of any of the central tenets of the 9/11 dogma being true.  Bearing this in mind, along with the bewildering number of other inconsistencies and lies surrounding the 9/11 attacks, it becomes clear that 9/11 was, in military intelligence speak, a ‘false flag’ operation.

Of course at this stage, believers of the 9/11 religion will sneer and laugh at this heretic ‘conspiracy theory’.  Well if you’ve made it this far, I ask you to employ your critical thinking faculties and question your faith in the 9/11 religion that has been thrust upon us all.  Apply the scientific method in order to fill the hundreds of fundamental holes in the official story of 9/11. I will not attempt to explain the 9/11 false flag on this page, but the following articles make a start.

9/11 ten years on: there are no excuses for buying the myth:
http://empirestrikesblack.com/2011/09/911-ten-years-on-there-are-no-excuses-for-buying-the-myth/

September 11, 2001: Zionist shock therapy and the birth of the lie:
http://empirestrikesblack.com/2011/09/september-11-2001-zionist-shock-therapy-and-the-birth-of-the-lie/

There is a mountainous wealth of information and evidence, accessible online, that will answer your objective, honest, and scientific questions relating to 9/11, as well as the 7/7 London false flag.

Conclusion: Atheists, put your money where your mouth is – drop ALL dogma and don’t be a weapon of war

What we need to realise as thinking people is this: the ‘Muslim terrorist’ meme serves a deeply nefarious purpose in our mass media and popular culture.  Through the fraud of the War on Terror – which subsists on the omnipresent ‘Muslim terrorist’ meme – at least four nations have been attacked and well over 1 million people have been killed.  The numbers maimed, orphaned, displaced, and otherwise consigned to a life of perpetual misery completely dwarf this very conservative estimate.

Yes ‘Muslim’ terrorists and extremists exist, but it is wrong to characterise a miniscule minority as being representative of the wider group.

And let us be honest: there are far more non-Muslim terrorists than Muslim ones, and the piles of skeletons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria attest to this.

As free people we should be free to discuss anything we like in an open forum, including criticising any religious beliefs. People should be free to criticise any and all ideas and beliefs, including Islam, but this should be done in a principled and well-researched manner that does not feed into destructive, warmongering, and false dogma.

And how absurd is it for a person to stand on a soapbox, bashing Islam because of its followers’ supposed moral failings, while diligently spreading a far more deadly and dangerous dogma that has directly resulted in the death and misery of millions?  I call for all decent atheists to put their money where their mouth is and reject ALL dogma, and this includes the naked lie of 9/11.

If a central tenet of atheism is resisting dogma and employing critical thought, then by measure of its adherents, New Atheism is failing pitifully.

P.S. It is incredibly telling that the anti-stoning petition posted by Richard Dawkins on his Twitter feed, comes from Avaaz – an empire propaganda mill that seeks to demonise Muslim nations in order to make anti-Muslim wars of aggression more palatable.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | Islamophobia, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on On Richard Dawkins and How Atheism has Become a Warmongering Religion