lollermittens

Prepare to be shocked and offended.

The Legacy of Militant Parents

Norman Finkelstein: “I don’t feel particularly attached to Israel – ‘nationalism,’ as Noam Chomsky said, ‘is not my cup of tea’ – but I feel no particular need to demonize it.”

One of the most vivid and impacting memories of my young life was witnessing my mother sob quietly on our couch in our modest household in Paris, France. At her side was my uncle (my mom’s older brother) who had just arrived from Iran — an estranged family member that I had never seen or met in person and whom I only knew from the crackling sound of his voice heard through unstable long-distance phone conversations. A loving, caring, and intelligent man, I didn’t understand at the time why he wept when he first sighted me and my sister at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. It seemed rather odd that an estranged family member would be so over-joyed to see the off-springs of his “long lost” sister. At least, at the time and at the young age of 11, these emotional intricacies went beyond my capacity to understand what my parents experienced, what my heritage would mean to me, and who I would end up becoming.

A decade later, I would learn through my father that my uncle was arrested, jailed, and tortured for years under the brutal regime of the “Islamic Republic” of Iran. He was an intellectual — like many in my family — who paid a heavy price for their socialist and communist ideologies. The vanguards of successful revolutionaries happen to be ubiquitous in my lineage ranging my father who is a political exile for daring to speak against the rise of the Ayatollahs in the 1979 Iranian Revolution to my uncle in France, who to this day, still participates in socialist/communist intellectual circles. Unfortunately, some of the most successful and bravest of them were sent on their way to the execution squad: two high-ranking uncles who worked for the Iranian military under the Shah (a dictator who was no angel in any capacity either); I don’t condone militarism or even the military as a legitimate public institution but I still respect those with the integrity and steadfast resistance against what they deem as usurped and corrupt power systems replacing one another.

Most have never felt the indescribable alienation typical of immigrant families everywhere they seemingly go; most have never had troubles of identification with other peers who only seem to focus within the very narrow and shallow scope of their daily lives; most never have, and will never have, to deal with the cruel irony of working in the Imperial country which affected my life before it even began — a cycle of death and destruction that I am perpetuating whenever the fruits of my labor are utilized to stamp the “MADE IN USA” trademark proudly imprinted on our revered and beloved one-million dollar Tomahawk missiles.

These feelings are almost impossible to reconcile with the people I work, talk, spend time with on a daily basis. Most people tend to repress these feelings by focusing on the difficult responsibilities which constitute an individual’s “normal” life. I was such an individual, for most of my life. My intellectual “blossoming” is rather recent but its inception begun in my mother’s womb, nurtured via the pervasive and guided talks of social issues and other intellectual topics around the family dinner table since the age of 10, and finally unfolded at the age of 22 when I asked my father to point me to his favorite radical leftist writer of his generation — he accurately pointed me to an individual named ‘Noam Chomsky.’

My re-education process started then. The façades of Empire; the vacuousness and superficiality of materialism; the petty goals of having a family, getting a mortgage, and creating a legacy within a neo-feudalist system were all now naked, ugly, and deformed before my very eyes. This path towards a fundamental understanding of anthropological sociology voraciously forced me to keep reading other intellectuals namely Howard Zinn, Cornel West, Chris Hedges, Norman Finkelstein, Amy Goodman, Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, and too many other to name. Their conclusion is grim, pessimistic, but refreshingly simple: class-ism has always been the problem and will always be the problem of our 4,000-years old civilization experiment. The further I read, the further the same conclusions and parallels seem to intertwine. Yet, the thirst for knowledge cannot ever be subdued. It keeps me alive. This is what I believe defines being the off-spring of militant and educated parents.

And I am proud to be such an individual.

Be Careful What You Wish For – Revolutionary Thoughts

Chris Hedges says that the undercurrents of violence are very strong in America; we are a tinderbox waiting to spark up.

Mentioning this concept often excites those who seek instant and impending revolution for the dismantlement of our broken and rotten societal structures.

Be careful what you wish for.

If our society were to crumble in a similar fashion as pre-industrialized countries have fallen (i.e. Russia and the Bolshevik Revolution) or even semi-industrialized countries with centrally planned economies have fallen (i.e. the Balkans in the late ’90s), **none** of the progressive movements which should fill the power-vacuum would be ready to step-up to the plate.

Because Obama, Boehner, Reid, Pelosi, Clinton, and the other Wall Street puppets speak in this liberal rhetoric which relates to the majority of Americans but end-up acting like a military dictators/oligarchs, people will tune out the very same language spoken by progressive groups who actually mean it and instead gravitate towards the groups currently at the fringes of society: the Christian Fascist Right; militia groups; Tea Party nuts; secessionists.

These groups — although marginalized right now — have a structure that survives and endures the collapses of societies.

Sadly, the infrastructure for revolution is far from ready. We have to find a way to communicate and revolt within a Surveillance State.

The hurdle for revolt and revolution is not ideological, it is logistical.

Syria 101 v2: Debunking Obama’s Lies

Image

Members of the Jabhat Al-Nusrah Brigade posing under the Islamic State of Iraq flag. These are the people the United States wants to support. Copyright/Credit: vice.com

War is on the horizon and, once again, we find ourselves under the constant assault of propaganda and fear-mongering propagated by the stewards of the military-industrial complex — your average talk show host on CNN; a retired U.S. general; or an ex-Secretary of Defense. Their spin master brethren occupy the news hour and virtually penetrate every medium of information spewing the typical concocted drivel aimed at preparing the populace for another imperial incursion in the Middle East – a region of the world that could arguably be dubbed “America’s New  Backyard.“

As is typical when empires lust for their next quest of death and destruction, the “undeniable facts” presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings (09/03/2013 – 09/04/2013) by Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and General Dempsey did nothing but obfuscate the average American citizen about the on-going war in Syria; an amateurish theatrical performance filled with bad and disingenuous actors whose true motives were revealed by their reluctance to provide the so-called undeniable evidence. Instead the “facts” and “analyses” argued in front of the committee and broadcasted nationally included nothing more than factually erroneous information and half-baked analyses – a discourse neatly packaged within the context of WMDs (this time CWs) by waging an all-out graphically and visually fear-mongering campaign concocted to psychologically and emotionally paralyze a naïve and uneducated audience. Fortunately, the typical Bush-Cheney warmongering tactics were not as effective as the theatrical farce that constituted the ramp-up to the Iraq War. Given that the levels of fear and paranoia were nowhere near as the madness that ensued in the subsequent years after September 11, 2011, the Obama administration’s calls for war were met with unified defiance stemming from an increasingly frustrated and disenfranchised population tired of wars and the psychological, economical, and social impact these imperial ventures bring along. Make no mistake however that Obama and his cronies will do whatever it takes to accomplish their ultimate goal of starting a war in Syria even in the face of flagrant violations of international law [1].

1. Many people have heard that the Syrian civil war has turned into a “proxy war.” How did the Syrian conflict start? What happened originally in 2011? Which side is fighting who? And how did the conflict evolve from a civil war to a proxy war being waged by multiple actors around the world?

The Syrian uprising started in January 2011 during the peak of the Arab Spring. Emboldened and empowered by the fall of various despots and dictators in the Middle East and in North Africa, a few Syrian youths decided to spray paint the words “Down with Bashar al-Assad!” – a minor act of civil delinquency typically enacted by many adolescents around the world. Unexpectedly, the response from the Syrian gov’t and its security forces was unnecessarily savage and brutal: military raids in the dead of night were conducted to kidnap the very same adolescents allegedly responsible for the mundane act of political dissidence via the use of graffiti. The situation was further exacerbated when these youths were returned to their families physically beaten and abused as well as psychologically broken. The shock of seeing these young Syrians covered in blue and black bruises from head-to-toe, disfigured from the all the still blood resulting from days of psychological and physical abuse angered many Syrians around the country. Village elders from neighboring towns and villages soon gathered together and marched to the local offices of the Syrian gov’t to demand an apology for the way the Syrian Security forces beat and abused local youths. These demands were never met as the gov’t ignored the complaints and absolved itself from any wrong-doing. Consequently, protests intensified first locally, regionally, and then nationally; with the increase in protests and demonstrations, a parallel increase in the crackdown of arrests and kidnappings of non-violent peaceful protestors and their relatives by Syrian authorities escalated very quickly. However, as the number of protests and the number of protestors kept increasing, the Syrian Security Forces response became more and more savage: corpses started appearing in ditches, roads, and fields; an act of impunity and ruthlessness designed to send a message to the restive Syrian populace. The language of violence utilized by the Syrian Security Forces had a simple message: stay quiet, do not dare raise your voices, and forget about bringing the Arab Spring in Syria. A similar type of crackdown was employed by Hafez al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad’s father, in 1982 when the Muslim Brotherhood mounted a rebellion in Hama which was violently suppressed and crushed in a ruthless manner per the guidance of Hafez al-Assad’s Russian allies [2]. Taking a cue from the rebellion of 1982, with the military assistance of the the Russians, and a military elite that still populates Bashar al-Assad’s cabinet, the methodology employed to crush these protestors was eerily similar as to what was utilized almost 30 years ago. However, times have changed along with the protestors. This time it wasn’t the Muslim Brotherhood that were dealt with but Syrian citizens of diverse backgrounds and of many political and sectarian factions [3]. Even in the face of potential massacres and slaughtering at the hands of the Syrian military, what ensued next were massive increases of non-violent demonstrations and protests orchestrated by the rural majority of Syrians who felt disenfranchised and persecuted, especially in the northern part of Syria. As is often the case, demands of representation within the gov’t often blossom from the ultimate act of self-determination. The type of violent repression employed by the Syrian military in response to popular democratic uprisings usually produces two dichotomous outcomes: either the population becomes terrified and subdues to the language of violence employed by the state; or the exact opposite happens and the opposition becomes militarized and effectively entrenches the country into a long and bloody civil war [4].

For the first 6 months of the Syrian Civil War, the opposition was comprised of low-level army defectors, regular citizens (mostly young people aged under 30), and other secularist groups (including the Kurdish minority, Salafists, and others) who wanted to topple Assad in order to reproduce the fall of Mubarak in Egypt and the fall of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia. The opposition groups taking up arms in various parts of the country were not cohesive, did not have a central body of command, and were highly fractured amongst each due to ideological and religious differences. It wasn’t until a high-level defection spearheaded by Riad al-Asaad which gave birth to the creation of what is now called the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The erection of this a centralized opposition body also gave rise to many coalition groups supporting the opposition by advocating for arms and military aid to the international community [5]. This state of affairs didn’t last long as what started as an internal conflict for the toppling of an authoritarian gov’t along with its figurehead was hijacked by regional and international actors who are actively fueling the current sectarian divide that has now taken hold of the country— hence the term “proxy war.”

The actors who are now waging a bloody civil proxy war which has created more refugees than the Rwandan Genocide of 1996 fall into two camps [6]:

  1. The involvement of the Sunni States: a movement spearheaded by the Qataris with Turkey and Saudi Arabia as their main financial backers [7]. Their meddling is noticeable via the funneling of monies, weapons, and material support to international jihadists into Syria. These “rebels” when hierarchically analyzed form a loose nebulous group of highly fractured factions of which the biggest and most powerful is the Jabhat Al-Nusrah Brigade— an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda from the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) who are also active actors in the Syrian conflict [8]. An important factor to note is the United States’ role as it is far from a neutral actor; the U.S. gov’t’s (USG) historical support of the Sunni dictatorships implicate us as indirect active agents since those Sunni kingdoms were  effectively erected through petro-dollars. Thus it is fair to conclude that any money or support coming from the countries that have effectively taken side with the “opposition” is US-backed/funded money.
  2. The involvement of the Shi’a States and their main sponsors: on the other side we find Russia, China, and Iran (with Lebanon’s Hezbollah acting as the boots on the ground for Iran) as the main backers of the Syrian regime. Russia shares a geo-political heritage with Syria spanning many decades and has close to $19.2B of foreign direct investment (FDI) invested in the country especially for the extraction of Syria’s deep reserves of natural gas [9]; China is also invested economically as well as geo-politically with Syria and often votes in conjunction with the Russians in the U.N. Security Council. Last but not least, the Iranian regime believes that a destabilized Syria overtaken by Sunni extremists (or a Syria “stuck” in a perpetual and guerilla warfare situation very similar to that of Lebanon in the 1980s) will be another check to its regional hegemony [10]. Although the main alleged reason for Hezbollah’s participation in the conflict stems from the potential destabilization of its borders, a pretext to act on the behalf of Iran. It is not far-fetched to assume that an escalation of the Syrian military conflict by the U.S. would prove catastrophic for the long-term as this would pave the beginning of decades of proxy wars fought against regional superpowers in the Middle East.

Note that both sides are culpable of atrocities against civilians on a massive scale. There is no “good guy” in this current situation. It’s a very ugly conflict for which the ultimate solution is picking the most favorable choice out of a list of very unfavorable choices.

2. Why is the United States getting involved in Syria now?

Due to political, geo-political, and economic implications. Obama stuck his neck out with his calls of crossing an imaginary, moral “red line” in regards to the use of CWs. On the domestic front, he might be perceived as politically “weak” if he doesn’t stand by what he said [11]. However, this is an answer that explains only the domestic political motive. The more pragmatic and realistic implications to go to war with Syria stems from Assad’s current  military ascend; the Syrian gov’t has been recapturing many previously rebel-held areas in the northern part of the country. Since the United States has been unwilling to attack Iran even with all the fear-mongering, pandering, and lobbying by AIPAC, the liberal and conservative warhawks of the military-industrial complex want to punish Iran indirectly through the use of “surgical” strikes aimed at Syrian military and gov’t facilities. This reaffirmation of military dominance by the U.S. and its allies also acts as a deterrent against Hezbollah’s meddling in the conflict. A deterrent capacity through military force would reaffirm Israel’s militaristic prowess in the region. Since Israel cannot attack Iran unilaterally, an entrance into the Syrian conflict will be sending a message  to Iran and Lebanon that their incursion in Syria hasn’t gone unnoticed and will be dealt with accordingly [12]. For the Israelis, the ultimate goal of getting involved in the Syrian conflict has the covert goals of knocking down the Assad regime, letting the various ultra-extremists factions massacre each other, all the while weakening and isolating the Palestinians and the Lebanese [13]. A destabilized region will give pretext to the Israeli military to “police” the region and absorb the Sinai Peninsula, for example.

Needless to say, the military-industrial complex and the agents that keep this industry of death and destruction alive are fully aware that their main bread and butter are constant and never-ending states of global warfare. There’s a lot of money at stake for a select group of people and the corporations they represent — mobilizing navy ships, fighter jets, the possible deployment of troops, and other military folly generate a lot of money in the short-run for a small group of people and the respective corporate sectors and industries they represent. A foray into Syria would justify our mind-bogglingly high military budget as well in a time where the gov’t is about to become bankrupt.

3. What is this so-called evidence that the United States (and the French, recently) claim is “undeniable?”

Many serious geo-political analysts (including Robert Fisk and Dave Gavlak) claim that the intelligence was fabricated by the Israelis. When U.S. politicians say “we [emphasis on the we] have evidence that Bashar al-Assad has used CWs,” the ‘we’ insinuates Israeli intelligence. The so-called smoking gun is an intercept between a Syrian Defense Minister and a Syrian army general about a confirmation that CWs were detonated in the Ghouta area [14]. However, the unreleased and classified intelligence report purportedly does not conform to the solid and verifiable proof that repeated demands to use chemical weapons by Syrian generals has been systematically denied by Assad himself [15]. Moreover, the intercept which happens to be the crux of U.S. and Western intelligence actually absolves the Syrian gov’t since the intercept demonstrates surprise that CWs were detonated. Unfortunately, this document is actually classified and the CIA/NSA spooks refuse to release the actual intercept to the public — even members of Congress with the necessary security clearance have been barred from viewing the document altogether.

The 9-page document released by French intelligence on Monday does not include any new information that isn’t searchable on the internet. Five of the nineteen references in the paper link to Twitter/YouTube videos of the attack. It’s not a serious document with serious facts because such a document simply does not exist [16]. Another very important fact that the Obama war caucus and the mainstream media (MSM) have omitted on purpose have been the previous uses of CWs in Syria in March 2012. U.N. inspectors have concluded that the previous use of sarin gas bombs were used by rebel factions, and not the Syrian gov’t. Their evidence was based on the fact that shells that contained the chemicals were crudely built; the explosives used to detonate the bombs were a homemade concoction of various chemicals including fertilizer; and civilian witnesses as well as rebel fighters have confirmed that a peculiar smell emanated once the CWs were set-off, further proof that the Syrian gov’t did not use its stock of CWs as military-grade sarin gas has no odor [17].

Last but not least, the New York Times reported about a month ago that a commander of the Jabhat Al-Nusrah Brigade said that they had plans to detonate chemical weapons and then blame the Syrian gov’t in order to get the United States to intervene in the conflict [18].

4. Which factors and facts cast doubt about the likelihood that the Israeli intelligence services captured the so-called “smoking gun” intercept?

The following factors are the strongest proponents which cast doubt on the alleged use of CWs by the Syrian gov’t:

  1. Communication intercepts are often difficult to be captured given their heavy encrypted nature [19]. The idea that Israelis would be able to capture a clean-cut definitive statement by Syrian officials over the use of chemical weapons is dubious — it challenges common sense at a very basic level by making anybody wonder why Syrian officials would advocate the use of CWs when they themselves know that the use of such weapons would be the perfect pretext for a Western/NATO intervention.
  2. Various Syrian scholars who have studied the military structure of the Syrian regime for decades claim that it’s highly unlikely for this kind of communication to have happened given the highly compartmentalized structure of the Syrian military during war time. Using the Iranian model (and the model employed by Hezbollah to a certain extent), different factions of the Syrian military are completely cut-off from each other in terms of communication and intelligence sharing via the uses of “fire walls” which effectively create standalone and self-serving battalions working in silo to regain various parts of northern Syria. These fire walls are secretive in nature and are designed in such a way that communication between Syrian military factions is only possible through very narrow and limited channels. The use of highly encrypted personal radio channels using private military frequencies and other traditional means of communications render the capture of a clean and definitive communication intercept make this claim even more dubious.[20]

5. What moral authority does the United States have when it comes to setting imaginary moral “red lines” and lecturing the rest of the world against the use of CWs?

Absolutely none. The United States is the biggest user/abuser and purveyor of CWs in modern warfare history:

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: atomic bombs are essentially chemical weapons due to the heavy radiation they leave in the soil, air, land, water, and other natural resources decades after they bombs have been set off [21].
  • Vietnam: the United States used over 8 million tons of bombs containing the chemical substance Agent Orange, also known as napalm, during an 8-year bombing campaign in Vietnam. The amount of napalm used in Vietnam was three times the amount of various CWs used in WWII. The effects of napalm are so profound that disfigured birth rates, miscarriages, and other horrors are still being felt by the Vietnamese population close to half a century later [22].
  • Afghanistan/Iraq: the U.S. military uses depleted uranium casings to store the bullets given to their very own soldiers. Not only does it get their own soldiers terminally ill, locations that have seen major combat operations like Fallujah (a city that witnessed the most intensive battles of the Iraq War) have more radiation in the soil than the radiated soil of Chernobyl. Even more horrifying is the use of white phosphorous bombs which burn through human flesh (actually burns through cement) in the most horrible way imaginable. Note that Israel uses white phosphorous cluster bombs on Palestinians every time the Arabs get uppity and need to be taught a lesson [23] [24].
  • Food: the USG wages a daily chemical war against its own citizens via agricultural means. A run-of-the-mill “tomato” found at your local Safeway contains over 35 chemicals and by the time it arrives in your plate, it’s lost 97% of the nutrients that a real organically grown tomato provides. These chemicals have been imposed on citizens for the last 40 years and the consequences are unknown. Our gov’t and with the help of corporations have turned the eating habits of American citizens into a massive laboratory of misery, death, and most importantly, corporate profit [25].

Our gov’t’s hypocrisy and wrongdoing is almost endless. The way our so-called representatives are treating and regarding this matter needs to be looked at very closely. As citizens, we must be involved in the process at every step of the way since we cannot rely on a Congress that has completely sold-out whatever remnant of integrity it had over to the warmongers and the mega-conglomerates.. Reports are coming that representatives in each state are receiving e-mails in a ratio of 100:1 (against : favor) against the war. For once, our voices are strong and united and the collective will and voice of the American public should be proclaimed in a collected and resounding ‘NO’ to more wars of imperialism and profit.


Syria 101: The Real Facts You Should Know

The drums of war are beating at full force again and the spin masters are spewing their dirty lies every chance they get. Given that I’m insane and my past time is to read about this for hours on ends, I thought it’d be time to put my rather limited knowledge to use to inform people who simply don’t have the time to look (or care) about this stuff in great detail.

If one were to listen to the hearings happening in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday this week (09/03/2013 – 09/04/2013), Kerry, Hagel, and Dempsey are simply obfuscating the entire situation by providing wrong facts every time their mouths open — you can even see their noses getting longer and longer. They’re not here to turn you into an informed individual in regards to Syria but only to get you psychologically and emotionally paralyzed by scaring you. Typical Bush-Cheney 101 tactic that they’re failing miserably at conveying.  They have one narrative (to start war in Syria) and they’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish it.

1. Many people say that Syria is now a proxy war. What happened originally in 2011? And which side is fighting who and what exactly is going on in Syria?
The Syrian uprising started in 2011 during the peak of the Arab Spring. Emboldened and empowered by the fall of various despots and dictators in the ME and North Africa, a few Syrian youths decided to tag a wall with the writings “Down with Bashar al-Assad!” Something totally normal for kids aged 14 to 16 years old. Unexpectedly, the response from the Syrian gov’t was unnecessarily savage and brutal. The kids were taken from their houses in the dead of night; the fear of every parent actually happening was further exacerbated when the bodies of these poor kids were returned beaten so hard that their entire bodies were blue, black, and comatose from days of torture and physical abuse. Protests intensified and kidnappings by the Syrian authorities intensified. Now instead of returning beat up bodies, dead bodies started being found in ditches and in front of the houses of people who dared raise their voices. This was the start of the Syrian uprising. What ensued next were massive and peaceful protests orchestrated by the rural majority of folks who are disenfranchised and persecuted, especially in the northern part of Syria. As is often the case, demands of representation within the gov’t often blossom from the ultimate act of self-determination. Unfortunately, this demand was met with an escalation of the crackdown by the Syrian Security Forces. This type of violent repression in response to popular democratic uprisings usually produces two dichotomous outcomes: either the population becomes terrified and subdues to the language of violence employed by the state; or the exact opposite happens with the opposition becoming militarized and effectively entrenching themselves into a long and bloody civil war.

For the first 6 months of the Syrian Civil War, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was comprised of moderate army defectors, regular citizens (mostly young people under 30), and other more secularist groups who wanted to topple Assad to introduce the resemblance of democracy in their country. What started as a somewhat justifiable endeavor given the circumstances under which people were being treated was quickly hijacked by regional and international actors — hence the term “proxy war.”

Those who are now waging a bloody civil proxy war which has created more refugees than the Rwandan Genocide of 1996 fall into two camps:

  1. The involvement of the Sunni States. A movement spearheaded by the Qataris with Turkey and Saudi Arabia as their main financial backers. Their support is noticeable via the funneling of money and weapons to international jihadists into Syria. These “rebels” when analyzed comprise a nebulous group of highly fractured factions of which the biggest and most powerful group is the Al-Nusrah Front — an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda from the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) who is also present in the Syrian conflict. An important factor to note is the United States’s role of  effectively creating the on-going sectarian-based violence between Sunni and Shiites as the USG historically has often sided with vicious Sunni dictators. Thus any money coming from the countries that are effectively helping part of the “opposition” (including the ultra-extremist elements) is US-backed monies.
  2. On the other side, we find Russia, China, and Iran as the main backers of the Syrian regime. Russia has a very long standing history with Syria and has close to $19.2B of foreign direct investment (FDI); China is also invested economically and geo-politically in Syria while Iran believes that a destabilized Syria overtaken by Sunni extremists will be another check to its regional hegemony. This is why Hezbollah entered the fighting about 6 months ago and helped turn the tide of the battle into Assad’s fighter.

Note that both sides are culpable of atrocities against civilians on a massive scale. There is no “good” guy here in this situation. It’s a very ugly conflict.

2. Why is the United States getting involved in Syria now?
Due to political, geo-political, and economic implications. Obama stuck his neck out with his calls of crossing the imaginary, moral “red line” in regards to the use of CWs. On the domestic front, he might be perceived as politically “weak” if he doesn’t stand by what he said. However, this is only the political aspect for domestic consumption. The more pragmatic and realistic implications to go to war with Syria stems from Assad’s current  military ascend where the Syrian gov’t is capturing more and more territory back from the opposition with the help of Hezbollah. Since the United States has been unwilling to attack Iran even with all the begging and moaning the Israeli lobby has done over the years, the liberal and conservative warhawks of the military-industrial want to punish Hezbollah and deter their capacity as an effective and armed militia group that is becoming more and more of a thorn to Israel balance of power in the region.  The ultimate goal of getting involved in the Syrian conflict by tipping the so-called “balance” is to effectively inflict massive casualties on Hezbollah and Syrian elements to send a message to Iran and Lebanon that their incursion in Syria hasn’t gone unnoticed and will be dealt with accordingly.

Needless to say, the military-industrial complex and the agents that keep this industry of death and destruction alive understand that their bread and butter is constant and never-ending war. There’s a lot of money on the table — mobilizing navy ships, fighter jets, possible deployment of troops, and other military functions generate a lot of money in the short-run for a small group of people. A foray into Syria would justify our insanely high military budget as well.

3. What is this so-called evidence that the United States (and the French, recently) claim is “undeniable?”
Many serious geo-political analysts (including Robert Fisk) claim that the intelligence was fabricated by the Israelis. When U.S. politicians say “we [emphasis on the we] have evidence that Bashar al-Assad has used CWs,” the ‘we’ insinuates Israeli intelligence. The so-called smoking gun is an intercept between a Syrian Defense Minister and a Syrian army general about a confirmation that CWs were detonated in the Rabbah area. However, a report came out today which demonstrates that the intelligence is misleading since the intercept actually demonstrates surprise  between the Syrian Defense Minister and the general in question that CWs were actually used. This document is actually classified and the intelligence community refuses to release it — even to members of Congress who have security clearance to view secret/top-secret documents.

The 9-page document released by French intelligence on Monday does not include any new information that isn’t searchable on the internet. 5 of the 19 references in the paper link to Twitter/YouTube videos of the attack. It’s not a serious document with serious facts because such a document simply does not exist.

Another very important fact that the mainstream media (MSM) is not focusing is are the previous uses of CWs in Syria. U.N. investigators have concluded that the previous use of sarin gas bombs were used by rebel factions, and not the Syrian gov’t. Their evidence was based on the fact that shells that encompassed the chemicals were crudely built and the detonators used to release the gas was homemade.

Last but not least, it’s been reported about a month ago in the New York Times that a commander of the Al-Nusrah Brigade said that they had plans to detonate a chemical weapon and then blame the Syrian gov’t to get the United States to intervene.

4. What is the proof that this is fabricated evidence?
Two reasons:

  1. Communication intercepts are often difficult to be captured due to their heavy encrypted nature. The idea that Israelis would be able to capture a clean, long, and definitive statement by Syrian officials over the use of chemical weapons is dubious — it challenges common sense and makes you wonder how stupid Syrian officials would be to talk about CWs use when they know the NSA is tapping into the communications of every person on the planet. And again: why would the Syrian gov’t use CWs when they are clearly winning the battle? This defies common sense at a very basic level.
  2. A reputed Syrian scholar who has studied the military structure of the Syrian regime for decades claims that it’s impossible for this kind of communication to be intercepted given the highly compartmentalized structure of the Syrian military and gov’t during war time. Using the Iranian model (and the model employed by Hezbollah to a certain extent), different factions of the Syrian military are completely cut-off from each other in terms of communication and intelligence sharing via the uses of “fire walls.” These fire walls are secretive in nature and are designed in such a way that communication between Syrian military factions is only possible through very narrow and limited channels. That Israeli intelligence could be able to capture an intercept between a Syrian Defense Minister and a general in a completely different cell defies logic — the Syrian military doesn’t use AT&T, Verizon, or a commercial ISP for their communication. They use highly encrypted personal radio channels and may have even gone back to using couriers to convey information given the breadth of the NSA’s spying measures.

4. Why do these geo-political analysts say the evidence was fabricated?
Because the real “meat” of the intercept does not incriminate the Syrian gov’t but rather absolves it. Indeed, the real smoking gun is actually a conversation between a Syrian Defense Minister and a commander (not a general) about his surprise that CWs went off; it’s not about a confirmation that CWs were used. 

5. What moral authority does the United States have when it comes to setting an example against CWs?
None. The United States is the biggest user and purveyor of CWs in modern warfare history:

  1. Hiroshima and Nagasaki: atomic bombs are essentially chemical weapons due to the heavy radiation they leave on the ground decades after they’ve been set off.
  2. Vietnam: the United States used over 9,000 tons of the chemical known as Agent Orange (better known as napalm) during a 5 year bombing campaign. The effects of napalm are so profound that the rate at which disfigured births, miscarriages, and other horrors are still being felt by the population almost 50 years later.
  3. Afghanistan/Iraq: the U.S. military uses depleted uranium casings when the manufacture the bullets they give to their soldiers. Not only does it get their own soldiers sick for the rest of their lives, Fallujah (a city that witnessed the most intensive battles of the Iraq War) has more radiation in its soil than in Chernobyl due to the depleted shells that were left on the ground. Also the use of white phosphorous bombs which burn through human flesh (actually burns through cement) in the most horrible way imaginable. Note that Israel uses white phosphorous cluster bombs on Palestinians every time the Arabs get uppity and need to be taught a lesson.
  4. Food: the USG wages a daily chemical war against its own citizens via agricultural means. A run-of-the-mill “tomato” found at your local Safeway contains over 37 chemicals and by the time it arrives in your plate, it’s lost 97% of the nutrients that a real organically grown tomato provides. These chemicals have been imposed on citizens for the last 40 years and the consequences are unknown. Our gov’t and with the help of corporations have turned us into a massive laboratory of profit.

Our gov’t’s hypocrisy and wrongdoing is almost endless. The way our so-called representatives are treating and regarding this matter is shameful and should anger the population — and it has. Reports are coming that representatives in each state are receiving e-mails in a ratio of 100:1 (against : favor) against the war. For once, our voices are strong and united and the collective will of the American public should resoundly say ‘NO’ to more wars of imperialism and profit.

If you want to do something, e-mail or call your representatives:

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Phone: (202) 224-3841
  • Senator Barbara Boxer
  • Phone: (202) 224-3553
  • Representative Anna Eshoo
  • Phone: (202) 225-8104

The Supporters of the United Stasi of America

As citizens of the United States stand face-to-face with an insurmountable amount of evidence proving government wrongdoing in the spying of their private lives, a dangerously large majority refuses to accept or believe this truth.  These individuals who remain steadfast in their stalwart belief in the State and its oppressive institutions represent the biggest impediment to much needed reform in regards to this rapacious and ever-growing surveillance security state. The ultimate justification for the consistent and systematic overstepping of constitutional rights is as shallow of a credo as it can possibly get: “If the gov’t spies on you, they probably had a good reason to do so.”

Sophocles’ conclusion of the principle, “the end justifies the means,” has evolved into an inherent staple of our culture – among the American population, this subjugation to authority is represented by the subconscious acceptance of the ruthless and dangerously authoritarian surveillance state. It is disheartening for any individual to be betrayed by the institutions they trusted right in front of their eyes; the betrayal of a person’s foundational beliefs extends largely to the betrayal of an individual’s deeply rooted beliefs. It takes tremendous courage and fortitude to re-build one’s framework of analysis and thinking when confronted with new facts and information. The conscious refusal to do so solely rests on the individual’s unwillingness to acknowledge, accept, and adapt to the truth.

Within the last two months we have been exposed to the govt’s true interpretation of our Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth amendments. The baffling and, in all honesty, highly embarrassing fact is that a sizable majority of individuals still reserve trust for the spooks that have been spying on them for well over a decade. Any kind of meaningful discourse regarding our endangered rights with these individuals void of empathetic capacity will not be possible until these individuals rationally acknowledge or become victims of the very same surveillance state that they seem so keen on protecting and defending.

The Plight of the Modern Day Woman

I am a hypocrite. Always has been, always will be.

Why? Because I adhere to the same principles that I skewer Santa Clara University for; mainly that their posture as a Jesuit University and especially towards the poor is a facade in which SCU likes to claim to help the poor but certainly doesn’t like the smell of them. I am guilty of the same hypocrisy for I am quick to drive through a poor neighborhood and ultimately blame the victims for their crappy houses and general lack of aesthetic care. And instead of stopping to (literally) smell the roses, I’m quick to drive through the neighborhood with thoughts of being raped, murdered, and killed in my mind.

How does this tie-in to the plight of the modern day woman? Because the vast majority of women are also hypocrites.

Since marriage equality is up for debate on the national podium and more specifically in the Supreme Court, media sites have been bombarded with articles regarding the inequality women face in the workplace, at home, and <insert location here>.

I’m not going to argue against these articles because they are right. I ultimately support the feminist movement but not hypocritical feminists.

So what’s a hypocritical feminist like? Well, they sound very much like somebody who claims to be an advocate for social advancement but fails to do anything (even the smallest gesture) towards such vocation. The vast majority of women in the work place fall within that range. They’ll be very quick to voice their opinions the moment a window of opportunity presents itself but rarely do they ever try to create that window of opportunity.

One question that is always in the back of my mind when it comes to the issue of women being at the mercy of a patriarchal society is this: where are the women in all of this? No, truly. Where are the women in all of this?

There are some remarkable women out there such as Rosa Clemente, Cynthia McKinney, Jill Stein, Naomi Wolf, my mother, my sister (who is a little crazy) and many others. The corporate media is using as “the” token spokespersons of women in the workplace: Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg; a nameless Google engineer; and Marissa Mayer, the soon-to-be-ex-CEO of Yahoo!

These individuals are terrible spokespersons for your average women because they have already achieved what they wanted and ultimately appease the masculine mind in rationalizing that since they’ve made it at that level, it can’t be that bad altogether for all women. Also, who cares about Juanita who is working at WalMart and 2 other night jobs to support her kids? Where’s her voice in all of this? Is it truly reflected by these so-called appointed spokespersons for the feminist movement in the workplace? No. These crooks writing books about their “struggle” are hijacking the suffering of women like Juanita by keeping them in the shadows and never talking about them.

This is a call-to-action to all women serious about gender issues in the workplace: don’t let these clowns speak for yourself and steal the spotlight.

Words of wisdom from GG (Glenn Greenwald)

 

That’s the nature of politics in general: it requires subservience to empowered factions and majoritarian sentiment.

 

It’s because academia, at least in theory, has the exact opposite role: it is designed to challenge, question and subvert orthodoxies.

The Gun Control “Debate”

It starts with the myth propagated by corporate media in regards to the meaning of the Second Amendment drafted by our very own Founding Fathers. Why do people naively believe that a wealthy, educated elite class of rulers got together and emphatically said to each other: “Well, in case our system of gov’t (and ourselves, really) get out of hand with our centralized decision-making, we should allow the peons to be free to amass weapons, and then come kill us to reform our tyrannical body of gov’t. Who thinks this is a good idea?! Yay or nay!” If people really are as naive as to believe that the people who implemented one of the best systems of controls (The Constitution) in modern history were looking out after the interests of the common man, then they are as deluded as it gets. Change rarely (if ever) comes from the top-down. It has always been from the bottom-up but decades of corporate brainwashing demonstrates otherwise.

The Second Amendment was drafted because of the need to divert a restless populace that was promised riches and land for their sacrifice against the British, the ruling class found themselves with the dilemma of diverting that anger away from themselves.

The Founding Fathers feared of a second rebellion at the hands of the people they trained and minimally empowered during the American Revolution, so they cleverly packaged the “rights” to own weapons into an Amendment with the ultimate goal of using these pilgrims and soldiers for Westward expansion onto Indian land.

Also note that the Second Amendment (including the other amendments in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) did not take into consideration slaves, white indentured servants, and the Native Indians. These three groups constituted the majority of the population at the time (about 70%) while the rest of the population constituted of the middle-class, upper-middle-class, and the rich.

When people judge the measure of their freedom on the basis of whether or not they are allowed to purchase an assault weapon, you can’t expect any kind of sensible law to come out of this entire debacle given their completely twisted understanding of what the Second Amendment entails.

Status-quo in academia?

Universities have completely stopped functioning as bastions where critical and radical ideas were once welcomed; dangerous thoughts that pierced the very nature and essence of the power systems that control us are now censored and forbidden to be disclosed: the status-quo reigns supreme.
Universities have become nothing but factories with the sole goal of churning out technical and functional drones trained with the knowledge to maintain the day-to-day activities of the very same corporations they are forever indebted to.

The strength and progressiveness of a society is often displayed via the social advancements it has made over the years. With the regression of education in this country, and the raping of sacred establishments of knowledge by the active and insidious hiring of war criminals (Donald Rumsfeld at Stanford University), proponents of torture (Alan Dershowitz at Harvard), and war mongerers (Condoleeza Rice at Stanford), the last refuge for the advancement of knowledge has been all but obliterated.

When the vast majority of people in this country have been brainwashed with the on-set of corporate culture which glorifies individualism and mythical lies, all hope is lost.

This, is the story of a society in free-fall.

The Death of Radicalism in Universities

It’s no surprise that attending one of the most expensive private universities in the world (which happens to be Jesuit) also happens to be one of the most close-minded and squelching institution I’ve ever had the “chance” to be a part of.

Now that I think about it, the vast, vast majority of my teachers were conservative. For all the talk about helping those in need and those more destitute than us, Santa Clara University (like many other campuses) claims that they likes to help the poor but certainly doesn’t like the smell of them.

Every year, the SCU student body organizes a trip to El Salvador; one of the poorest countries in the northern hemisphere, SCU relinquishes the cheap PR-stunt bringing a few token (zealously religious too) students to help them build houses. You read that right: students with absolutely no construction, landscaping, house-building experience are given free reign to build houses for those who have nothing. Most of the students attending Santa Clara have wealthy parents. Extremely wealthy parents. So the only thing they can muster with all their access to wealth is building a house with cement blocks for walls and a toilet that doesn’t work?

Welcome to Santa Clara University! Where radical ideas about making society a better place come to die.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.