America: Complicit Society – Loss of Government Accountability

The system of democracy propagated in  America is becoming increasingly unaccountable and privatized by narrow special interests that are making negligible the role of the populous and making negligible the system of checks and balances that was installed so as to prevent the rise of unchecked powers in the branches of government.

The ‘Demos’ Have Been Removed From American Democracy

As the great empires of Spain, Rome, Persia and Greece, the American empire’s stance on liberal democracy is waning and being replaced by the rise of narrow business interests concerned with ‘privateering’, militarization, imperialism and the corporatization of the US government.  The populous, given powers to hold accountable a government intended to represent their ethics and interests, has fallen silent and complicit to the growing privatization of government for profiting purposes of a narrow sect of special interest groups.  Rather than adhering to the wishes of the people, the government has turned a deaf ear to the cries of a public subjected to rampant inequality and political alienation.  The days of protest and demonstrations have fallen away, allowing the government to continue on its polarized path without fear of being reproached.  As silence falls onto the masses, the public begins to be victimized by ignorant conformity to polarized propaganda proliferated on mass media communications like FOX and MSNBC.  Conforming to said bias, the public begins to parallel the political consensus that is determined by the dictations of special interests groups that direct the progress, or lack thereof, for the American system.  So saying, this has resulted in an entire system structured around the special interest groups that control the politicians, who control the media, who then control the public.  This chain of events has resulted in the corporatization of the American government, illustrated by the profiteering business leaders that are able to advance policies advantageous to their own agenda.  Examples ranging from Halliburton to Blackwater/Xe are notorious for their connections within the political arena that have resulted in various contracts and schemes advancing their stocks and investments.  The public, already at the back and call of politicians and their corporate puppeteers, has been reduced to a herd meant to trample periodically in support of one or another policy put forth by the 1% of profiting elites.  They have become complicit in the destruction of their own government, adhering to policies unrepresentative of their interests and failing to rise above silent conformity and call for reform.  The age of popular movement was rekindled by the Occupy Movement, yet lacking organization and a coherent message resulted in a rapid decomposition of the movement.  Evidently, the peoples’ hold on the government has been stripped away by their own ignorant conformity to silent obedience to corporations that pledge their allegiance to profits and investments.

“This police state only benefits the rich because the cops give them power to keep us all quiet.  With police disguised as the guardians of the masses; we’ll never suspect their role to save the rich bastards!  You’re all complacent, you’re totally fooled, you bought the system’s lies, but they don’t protect you!” – Anti-Flag, “They Don’t Protect You”

Rather than protecting and empowering all citizens, ‘privateering’ is resulting in the government transferring this moral mission to private enterprises and protecting only those that can afford their higher, profit enhanced, costs.  The right to ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’ will be subjugated to profits, once again equating to the dissolution of democracy and its ‘demos’ (people).  The loss of domestic involvement and political accountability has been caused by the manufacturing of consent through the media system, as well as through the fear of physically repressive consequences represented by the growing militarized police state within America.  The creation of the American republic was intended to create a nation based on the people, the ‘demos’.  There was meant to be an equal governance or accountability shared by all the people.  Nevertheless, the idea of government run by pluralism, in which the republic would be structures around the collective deliberation of all viewpoints existing in society, has fallen into decay because of the corporate belittlement of the public.  This is also exacerbated by their ability to create a gap between constituents and their representatives’ ears.  The special interest groups have removed the fear of accountability and the fear of electoral retribution from the decision-making process of politicians.  They have been able to conform society into a homogenized state of complicit behavior, a state of unquestionable loyalty and adherence, that allows for the nation to be run freely by said narrow interests.  This unbridled power was intended to be contained through the separation of governance into branches of government, but this has been dissolved by the totalitarian system of the ‘Pentagonized’ Presidency, an increasingly militaristic executive branch superseding legislation and judicial reviews through sheer force of will.  The other branches of government have become little more than puppets, voting in favor of pro-interest group policies so as to illustrate to the masses a political consensus that they too should support.  So saying, the principle of truthfulness will continue to be, and has been, increasingly replaced by a system of disinformation and corporate created facades that suggest policy decisions are in the interests of the nation.

“Join the corporate army.  For god and country, give up your life.  Don’t try to figure out what’s wrong or right, you never tried to stop, to look, to see that you’re exactly what you’re told to be.  You did everything fucking right.  You followed the system’s guiding light.” – Anti-Flag, “Their System Doesn’t Work For You”

During the Vietnam War, the public did not remain docile and complicit to the hawk behavior of the Johnson and Nixon administrations; rather, the public rose to the occasion and demonstrated their disenchantment with the war, the napalm bombing of Vietnamese villages and the rapid militarization following the Gulf of Tonkin incident.  The people rose and held accountable their public officials and demanded that the violence be brought to an end.  Even after the police state suppressed demonstrations through force, resulting in the death of 4 college students at Kent State, the people did not resign themselves to subservience.  Public opinion is a tool through which society can control the implementation of policies by their government.  This tool has not been utilized to full effect and has resulted costly perpetual wars, the implementation of repressive and corrupt policies, and the growing privatization of the government to groups that are able to line politicians pockets with cash.  This capitalist drive has driven the politicians from the voters who elected them, it has driven them from fulfilling their representative duties, and is resulting in the loss of accountability – the one viable tool given to the people.  This is exemplified by the fact that America has grown increasingly militarized and internationally repressive in order to seize control of assets and resources demanded by the corporations funding those policies.  An example of this privateering, resulting in militarization for purposes of imperialism, is Iraq.  Blackwater/Xe has tens of thousands of mercenaries and pays them around $450,000 a year.  Xe has made billions of dollars on the Iraq Occupations and two-thirds of that has been through no-bid contracts from the government.  Halliburton and Bechtel are another two notorious corporations that experienced huge profit margins from multi-billion dollar contracts given to them by the Bush administration to aid in the mass privatization of state-owned industries in Iraq.  The examples of corporate imperialism through political takeover are endless and extend from the Americas to Africa and to the Middle East.  The people have only stood by and offered their sons and daughters as cannon fodder for the corporate wars, complicit in the imperialist nature of the US and complicit in their own political negligible status.  Through the NDAA and Patriot Act, the government has subdued the American people and has repressed the air of activism.

“Everyone keeps asking, ‘Why’s he so pissed and so angry?’.  When there’s killing in this world, of men and womyn, boys and girls, for the sake of dividend gain.  These actions proclaimed in our name, turn Stars and Stripes into shades of Shame.” – Anti-Flag, “Gift from America: With Love, the USA”

In retrospect, the energy that used to exist in the American populous to demand representation and truth has dwindled away, along with their civil liberties and freedoms that are being infringed upon by corporate sponsored policies.  Privateering is destroying America’s democracy by eliminating the government’s duty to protect and empower all citizens through the democratic institutions installed by the founding fathers to prevent the very thing that is happening, the rise of unchecked government powers that are dedicated to capitalist gains.  Privateering is supplanting the government’s public mission with privatized protection and empowerment of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

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Obama: War in Afghanistan Coming to an End

The anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death was marked with President Obama’s secret flight to Afghanistan to sign a strategic pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, declaring a slow but gradual withdrawal of American troops and a promised long-term US role in Afghanistan through aid and advisers.

Obama Marks the Death of bin Laden with a Surprise Trip to Afghanistan

Beginning on October 7, 2001, a new phase of the War in Afghanistan began through Bush’s commitment of US troops under his National Security Strategy.  The strategy justified the use of US armed forces abroad to ensure US global hegemony, which was to be permanent.  Through this militaristic approach emerged Operation Enduring Freedom, a response to the 9/11 attacks, in which the US entered a decade long war in search of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation and to remove the Taliban regime from power, a regime that came into power mainly from US arms support and aid during its years of guerrilla warfare against the incursion of the Soviet Union from 1978 to 1989.  Nearly 3,000 US and NATO soldiers have died during the Afghanistan war since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.  More than 130,000 troops from 50 countries serve in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force. The US is the largest contributor, providing about 90,000 troops, followed by the UK (9,500), Germany (4,800) and France (3,600). Now, after the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden and the installation of a democratic regime under President Karzai, Obama has signed a pact discussing how the way will end and promised a steady drawdown of US troops.  The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) may provide Afghans with reassurances that they will not be abandoned when most NATO combat troops leave as planned in 2014.  For Obama, the plan serves as an opportunity to conclude a war started by his predecessor, George W. Bush, which has become widely unpopular domestically, a move many political ambition theorists suggest will help consolidate his re-election campaign.

“My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war.  Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

During his speech at Bagram airbase outside of Kabul, Obama committed to pulling 23,000 troops out of the country by the end of the summer and sticking to the 2014 deadline to turn security fully over to the Afghan government.  Some US forces will remain in a post-war Afghanistan as military advisers, but both US and Afghan officials have yet to decide how many troops will continue supporting the Afghan military, and for how long.  The SPA provides a framework for the US-Afghanistan partnership for the decade after the US and allied troop withdrawal.  Specific levels of US forces and funding are not set in the agreement and will be determined by the US in consultation with allies.  With much in store for the future negotiations, the stability of Afghanistan still hangs on a precipice, clearly exemplified by the suicide bombing in Kabul during President Obama’s speech.  The blast killed 7 people outside a compound known as Green Village, illustrating the fragile state of the country.  Some of the more troubling challenges ahead include corruption in Karzai’s weak government, the unsteadiness of Afghan forces in the face of a resilient Taliban insurgency, and Washington’s strained ties with Pakistan where US officials see selective cooperation in cracking down on militants fueling cross-border violence.

“There will be difficult days ahead, but as we move forward in our transitions, I’m confident that Afghan forces will grow stronger; the Afghan people will take control of their future.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

President Obama’s speech carries different messages for different audiences, one at home and one away.  The more important audience is American voters fed up with a war that will be in its 12th year on Election Day this fall.  Obama is seeking to portray his foreign policy as record as a success.  His campaign team has made bin Laden’s death a key part of that argument, and the President’s visit to the country where militants hatched the September 11 attacks on the United States reinforces that message.   Nevertheless, the message portrayed to the American people is undermined by the hard evidence coming out of Afghanistan.  Politics aside, Afghanistan will remain the third poorest country in the world.  Skepticism is shared by the European Union who have stated that Western aid that has been poured into Afghanistan will have limited impact as long as governance remained poor and corruption widespread.  Moreover, the truth of the troop withdrawal is that even after the US combat mission is concluded in 2014, thousands of US troops will remain for some years to conduct strikes and otherwise train and advise Afghan forces, and help the Afghans collect and exploit intelligence on insurgents and other military targets.  A new Pentagon report describes the capability of the insurgency to replace battlefield losses and launch high-profile attacks, even as it has lost territory to the Us and Afghan forces.  Evidently, the optimistic message given by Obama is largely campaign-drive but the plan behind the message is what is important, a gradual drawdown process through which the US will hopefully avoid another Iraqesque failure.

“As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America.  This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

In retrospect, the message here is that the US is trying to reassure the American populace of an ending war, as well as reassure Afghan leaders the US would not repeat its mistake from the 1980s.  Then, Washington withdrew support for anti-Soviet militia forces in Afghanistan and set the stage for Taliban rule.  The US has been able to decimate the ranks of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda that had taken root in Afghanistan and now the US has the duty to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly, ensuring the security and stability of the country for years to come.

America: Corporate Imperialism Abroad (Middle East)

The military-industrial complex, a bastion of unimaginable proportions devoted to the procurement of corporate interests, has become a foreign aggressor interconnected to the very structure of the American system and has thus solidified its reign over political agenda to ensure the imposition of the corporatocracy on foreign peoples, such as those in the Middle East.

The Corporate Drive for Oil has Become an American Addiction, Costing the Lives of Millions

The American Empire was forged through the exploitation and manipulation of helpless or near-helpless peoples; forcing its will on scores of nations, against their wishes and against their interests.  Wielding a military stick and a dollar carrot, the American oligarchy has yielded unrelenting force against nations abroad.  The government, for and by the corporations, has intervened ruthlessly in the internal life of dozens of nations to prevent them from choosing the leader they did want or from having them overthrow, by revolution, the ones supported by the corporations.  American Foreign Policy, devoted to the enslavement of peoples abroad, is ‘most heavily and consistently influenced by internationally oriented business leaders’ (Jacobs & Page 2005).  Serving their masters’ will, the political office-holders within Congress, Senate and the Presidency are left with no heart, no soul and no care.  The conjunction of an immense military establishment, a large arms industry and the political structure is the new America.  Eisenhower’s message concerning the potential for the military-industrial complex to acquisition unwarranted influence, whether sought of unsought, has resulted in a perpetuating cycle of warlike policies resulting from such exertion of corporate influence on government policy.  Threatening individual liberty throughout the world, the state tools stand rank and file, herded like sheep by the hypocritical image of the patriotic Uncle Sam, into the armed forces awaiting their deployment to lands abroad to spread the message of suppression and murder.

“Pledge allegiance to a flag of which you’re taught no history.  Not Mexico, Granada, Panama or Middle East, but they’re just a mere fraction of this country’s shady past.  Skeletons locked in the closet and I doubt they’ll be the last ‘national interest,’ defined for you.” – Anti-Flag, “A Start”

Run by greedy politicians and business leaders, the American system represents theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.  Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies the perpetuation of the contagion of corporate interests in a system without justice.  The threat of corporate American has left foreign people living a life of perpetual fear and tension.  Among the frightened, exploited and now vengeful, are the victims of corporate imposition in the Middle East.  A primary example of the manipulative coercion of the CIA, to protect corporate profit margins at the cost of domestic communities, is in Iran.  In 1953, the highly regarded Prime Minister Mossadegh was ousted by a join CIA-MI6 coup known as Operation Ajax.  The CIA marauders justified their imposition of Orwellian oppression upon the Iranian people in order to secure the interests of businesses therein invested.  The Prime Minister was responsible for multiple social reforms that increased the standard of living, higher levels of education and increased general prosperity through the nationalization of the oil industry.  Consequently, said nationalization of the oil company known as Anglo-Persian Oil Company (modern-day British Petroleum) angered the British and American investors that prospered in the rivers of the black gold, idly standing by as they raped the country of its natural resources yet again. So once again, the American imperialist force demonstrated its clear promises of democracy and freedom by ousting a popularly elected Prime Minister, which then set about a series of events that led to the emplacement of the dictatorial Supreme Leader and a very volatile anti-West regime.

“It’s a think tank, psycho and crazed.  War profiteering membership – a world catastrophe.  They’ve got a war plan that counts on you to kill for their corporate empire while they sit at home.” – Anti-Flag, “The Project for a New American Century”

The American corporatocracy has become a global phenomena, an incursion upon organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the NSA and the CIA, in which economic hit men help channel their resource to support the larger agenda for global exploitation and war profiteering.  These organizations have become the tool of big corporations, aiding them in their endeavor to get themselves established around the world in positions where they can exploit the world’s resource, natural resources and human resources.  The men and few women who run the biggest and most powerful corporations also run most of the government.  Beginning in the late 1970s, the influence of oil became a shared priority of the masses and the previously small group of military strategists, a group of conservative think thanks present throughout the ’80s, ’90s and today.  Most principal among them are: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, former Vice-President and former Defense Secretary. With the fall of the Shah in Iran in 1979, the Gulf and its oil became a ‘zone of US influence’ under the Carter Doctrine.  The doctrine warned that any attempt to gain control of the Persian Gulf would be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the US.  This was followed by the creation of the Rapid Deployment Force, a military program specifically designed to deploy several thousand US troops to the Gulf on short notice.  Since the first Gulf War, the Rapid Deployment Force (now known as the US Central Command) built a network of military bases that now almost completely encircles the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, disregarding notions of individual liberty and sovereignty.

“Recruited by the NSA, my orders to talk smooth and straight.  If heads to state try to say ‘No’, I lovingly told them ‘Fuck you!’  The jackals lose when I cannot get through.  There is a windfall of profit to get to.  You better deal or we’re gonna take you down.” – Anti-Flag, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”

Fueled by thoughts of fortune-made and despair wrought by their hands, the corporate leaders pursue the seemingly endless stream of intoxicating oil, a drug of mind-numbing consequences for the corporations that abuse it so wholeheartedly.  Iran, a symbol of anti-Western ideology that has become notorious for human rights violations and oppression, is also a lead trading partner with US arms companies.  Evidently, the opportunism of corporations has no boundaries, jeopardizing the security and safety of millions around the world by trading arms with turncoats, killers, liars and thieves.  Sources from former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January 2005, Halliburton has sold key components for a nuclear reactor to Oriental Oil Kish, an Iranian oil development company.  It was Halliburton’s secret sale of centrifuge to Iran that helped get the uranium enrichment program off the ground, now becoming a very real threat to neighboring US-ally Israel.  Nevertheless, supporting such cultural animosity, military build-ups and war crimes, is what the American multi-nationals have become adept at.  The US has also sold Israel US-arms, white phosphorous shells being the most recent US-linked munition to be attributed to war crimes.  The shells have been utilized by the Israeli military to be shot over densely populated areas of Gaza, an indiscriminate act of violence that the Human Rights Watch characterizes as evidence of war crimes.  Once again, the red, white and blue stitches of the American flag stand hypocritically over the battle fields and civilian caskets of foreign peoples the world around.

“I wouldn’t wanna be a kid in the modern world; neurotic, full of fear, no control, hungry, empty feeling worn and cold.  Unable to make sense of the heads of state, unable to make sense of the wars they wage.  Feeling every second that I live I go closer to the grave.” – Anti-Flag, “Tanzania”

Marching forth under the flag of national defense, the state puppets impose their nature upon the people of Iraq under the false charges of terrorism and WMDs.  Similar to Afghanistan and its plethora of opium fields, Iraq is being exploited for its oil.  In the Wall Street Journal (2003), an article leaked confidential Bush administration documents outlining corporate agenda in Iraq.  Hoping to establish a proxy capitalist market for US purposes, the US called for the privatization of state-owned industries such as part of the oil sector.  This all-inclusive plan for mass privatizations of Iraq was divided into 3 stages.  The first stage, corporations are not only able to establish their businesses in Iraq, they are also able to own Iraqi resources, including two of the most precious: water and oil.  In the second stage, all Iraqi resources would be turned over to private ownership.  The final stage includes the establishment of a Free Trade Area in the Middle East, paving the way for US domination of the entire region.  The beginning of the corporate invasion was signaled by the various multi-million dollar contracts that were handed to corporations via the Bush administration.  Among the corporations, Halliburton and Bechtel are some of the most well-known.  Besides the conflict of interest exhibited by Dick Cheney’s role as Vice-President, 86% of Halliburton’s contributions are given to Republican candidates, once again exemplifying the materialistic corruption of greed within the political infrastructure.  The democratic institution of check and balances, the separation of powers, has been oppressed by career politicians whose pockets are lined with the peoples cash.

“You push and push a people, what are they to do?  Soon this corporate run government will be through.  See, it doesn’t represent the people anymore.  Big business are the pimps and the governments’ their whores.  We don’t need more time to talk over a solution.  We know what we need, we need a fucking revolution.” – Anti-Flag, “Got the Numbers”

The dichotomy of thought and action in corporate America is carried on by mass media communications, inspired by nationalistic diction of officials and absorbed by the masses.  With the protection of the law, the corporate thieves and killers pillage countries around the world, depriving people of their basic necessities and killing those brave enough to resist.  Leaving families without fathers, mothers, daughter and/or sons, corporations have privatized democracy and monopolized violence.  The disaster that is the occupation of Iraq is exacerbated by grinding poverty.  Every day the economic policies of the occupying authorities create more hunger among Iraq’s working people, transforming them into a pool of low-wage, semi-employed labor, desperate for jobs at almost any price.  A valuable asset for the corporations therein invested, but it has resulted in the dissolution of the constraints of the nation-state and has created fuel for anarchy and terrorism.  Moreover, the situation in Afghanistan is even worse for the domestic populace.  The billions of taxpayer dollars that are given to foreign aid are going no further than the pockets of wealthy US corporations, being commonly referred to as ‘phantom aid’.  A former head of USAID stated that foreign aid was a key foreign policy instrument designed to help countries become trade markets for US exports.  To guarantee said mission, the State department recently took over the aid agency.  USAID and the Army Corps of Engineers now cut in US business and government interests from the start, making sure that money is allocated according to US economic, political, strategic and military priorities; rather than according to what the recipient nation, Afghanistan, might consider as important.

“To save you, we may have to kill you!  For freedom, you may have to die!  #1 at liberation.  Liberating life from bodies, helping spirits fly.  Freedom from life!” – Anti-Flag, Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)

In retrospect, the US government has become a market commodity invested in by a plethora of corporations interested in the manipulation of its warmongering politicians and puppet soldiers; thus, cementing a formidable alliance through which corporations have funded dictators such as Qaddafi and Mubarak, as well as exploited natural resources and human resources in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Equivalent to licenses bribes, corruption, theft and money laundering, the people of the world are exploited by the open-ended contacts being awarded to contractors such as Kellogg, Brown, and Root/Halliburton, Bechtel, DynCorp, Blackwater and the Louis Berger Group.  The suppression of democratic institutions has left foreign people at the behest of a tyrannical oversees power, depicting the imperialist nature of the American corporatocracy.

Religion: Islam and Violence

After the events of September 11th, the issue of Islam and violence once again came into intense discussion and debate because of its historic correlation to jihad, intolerance and terrorism.

With the Qur'an as Justification, Islam has Massacred Millions

Not aimed at presenting an ‘Islamphobia’ post, this post aims at presenting the religious dimension of violence that goes back to the heart and origin of Islam.  Despite various political, socio-economic and cultural factors contributing to the rise of violence and terrorism in fundamental Islam (as with all religions), Muslims who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of Allah can find ample justification for their actions based on the open-ended verses and teachings of the Qur’an and the saying of Muhammad (Hadith).  Islam’s doctrines and texts are associated with violence, with laws requiring the eradication of what is considered evil by Islamic standard and law, sometimes using violent means.  Throughout history, Islam’s religious texts or precepts have been used to promote violence.  Classically, and in the modern era, Muslims and their leaders, including a large number of jurists, have upheld Islamic ideas, concepts, texts and themes to justify warfare against non-Muslims.  Some suggest that the Qur’an contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with non believers for the sake of Islamic rule, verses that are mostly open-ended and therefore are not restrained by historical context of the surrounding text.  To offer a general illustration of the inherent relationship, it would do to point out that the root word for Islam is al-Slim which means submission or  surrender.  The Qur’an not only calls Muslim to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  Evidently, this has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the place whence they drove you out, for persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter of non-believers, but they desist, then lo!  Allah is forgiving and merciful!  And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” – Qur’an 2:191-193

Many claim that the verses in support of fighting in the Qur’an were for a special historical situation concerning the beginning of Islam.  They argue that since prophet Muhammad was persecuted in Mecca for the first 13 years of his ministry, he was justified in his military actions in the last 10 years of his life in Medina and for the support of the budding Islamic movement.  The problem arises however in that nowhere in the Qur’an are the commands to fight restricted to a special time period of against a special group of people.  Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Qur’an have played a key role in very real massacres and genocide.  This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for 5 Centuries beginning around 1000 AD with the Mahmud of Ghazni’s blood conquest.  Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number of men, women and children.  Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women and enslaving their children.  On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives.  One prominent example is of the Qurayza Jews, who were completely obliterated only 5 years Muhammad arrived in Medina.  Their leader opted to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army.  The tribe had killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back.  Yet the prophet of Islam had every member of the Qurazya tribe beheaded, and every woman and child enslaved.  He actually inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and loot if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not.  Evidently, Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by the actual companions of Muhammad in the decades that followed his death.

“In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for an enemy and invade him.  This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other countries in order to spread the word of Islam and remove the obstacles in its way.” – Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egyptian Islamic theologian

Aiming to avoid a concentrated view on the historic study of Islam’s birth through blood and genocide, Islam as an ideology brings contempt and violence as well.  That Islam sees itself as a theocracy has enormous ramifications for how it regards itself and for the behavior of Muslims.  First it means that Islam is not only a religion but also a political ideology, as Muhammad was a political, military and religious leader.  If the government of the Muslim community is simply God’s community, then no other governments can be legitimate.  Thus, they are all at war with God and as a result, Muslims have divided the world into two spheres known as Dar al-Islam – “the house of Islam” – and Dar al-Harb – those who are at war with God.  Second, it means that Muslims have believed themselves to have manifest destiny.  Since God must win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of the Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.  Third, since the Dar al-Harb by its nature is at war with God, it is unlikely that it will submit to God without a fight.  Individual groups might be convinced to lay down their arms and join the Muslim community by various forms of pressure – economic or military.  Because of the need to expand God’s domain by wars of conquest, Islam’s ideology imposes on Muslim the duty to fight for God’s community.  This duty is known as Jihad.  The concept of holy fight or struggle has been particularly incumbent on those on the edges of the Muslim world, where there was room for expansion.  Though highly radical, 9/11 still serves as an example of the intrinsic violence involved in fundamentalism, as the terrorists believed their sacrifices as a just part of Jihad.

“He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said ‘There is another act which elevated the position of a man in Paradise to a grade on hundred higher, and the elevation between one grade and another is equal to the height of heaven from the earth’.  He (Abu Sa’id) said: ‘What is that act?’  He replied: ‘Jihad in the way of Allah!  Jihad in the way of Allah'” – Muslim 20:4645

The examples of international directed violence committed in the name of Islam is endless.  The affiliation of violence and this religion is made most evident by the religious organizations associated with Islam; Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  The acquisition of the enormous land that belonged to the caliphates was through military force and the brutal suppression of opposition.  However, the golden age of the Muslim Empire began to dwindle after the death of Muhammad.  Following his death, there lacked a clear line of succession which resulted in perpetual internal war.  Sunni and Shia Islam are two major denominations of Islam and therefore, for the sake of simplicity, this post will focus on their internal violence as an illustration of the evident nature of bloodshed that is inherent to Islam.  Sunnis believe that abu Bakr, the father of Muhammad’s wide Aisha, was Muhammad’s rightful successor and that the method of choosing or electing leading endorsed by the Qur’an was in the consensus of the Ummah, the Muslim community.  Shias believe that Muhammad divinely ordained his cousin and son-in-law Ali (the father of his grandsons Hasan ibn Ali and Hussein ibn Ali) in accordance with the command of God to be the next Caliph making Ali and his direct descendants Muhammad’s successors.  This difference has resulted in a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at odds to this day.

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay they wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.” – Qur’an 4:89

The Battle of Siffin was the first open hostility between the two sects.  It was fought between Ali and Muawiyah I, on the banks of the Euphrates river.  Following the controversial murder of Uthman ibn Affan, Ali became Caliph but struggled to be accepted as such throughout the Muslim Empire.  Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, was a kinsman of the murdered Caliph, and wanted the murderers brought to justice.  For this reason, Muawiyah rebelled against Ali, who attempted to put down the rebellion.  The battle ended in stalemate and in thousands of casualties.  To the Shia, Ali was the first Imman.  To the Sunnis, Ali was the fourth Caliph Rashidun Caliph, and Muawiyah was the First Caliph of the Ummayyad dynasty.  The event surrounding the battle are highly controversial between Sunni and Shia, and serve as part of the split between the two groups.  More modern examples of the violence conflict are seen in Libya, Syria and Iraq.  In Libya, the tribal organization of the region has left the transitional government unable to stabilize the country because the different Islamist sects are raiding each other’s territories.  In Syria, the opposition forces are mainly Sunni Muslim whereas the leading government figures are Alawite, affiliated with Shia Islam.  As a result the opposition is winning support from the Sunni Muslim states and the regime is publicly supported by the Shia dominated Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.  The division of Sunni and Shia Islam is also demonstrated in post-US Iraq, in which over 1,000 people have died because of a new wave of sectarian violence.  After the election of the Iraqi Transitional Government, a wave of suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis tore through Iraq.  Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations of Shias.

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.” – Qur’an 5:33

The intolerance and hypocritical nature of Islam is evident by it Qur’an verses and history. Islam is intolerant towards the notion of gender equality.  Islam is militaristic, considering Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last 10 years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  Islam is intolerant to other religions, as they discouraged such practices by slaughtering them by masses.  Islam also permitted ownership of slaved the freedom to sexually exploit slaves.  Moreover, despite the fact that Islam prohibits the killing of innocent people, the definition of innocent is rather flexible and has been graded down to the fundamental rule that if someone rejects Muhammad, they are no longer innocent.  Lastly, the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy is also noteworthy, as it bespeaks of its intolerance and tendency to favor dictatorships, repressive regimes and widespread inequality.  Under Islamic law, only Muslim males are entitled to full rights.  Islam is a theocratic system with Allah alone at is head.  Allah’s law is interpreted by a ruling body of cleric.  There is not room for a secular political system in which all people are treated as equals.  The price of challenging Islam is seen by various modern examples of its violent practices.  Hashem Aghajari, an Iranian professor, was given a death sentence because of a speech that criticized some of the present Islamic practices.  Theo van Gogh was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri for producing the 10-minute film Submission, critical of the abusive treatment of women by Muslims.  Ehsan Jami was nearly beaten to death in The Netherlands by 3 Muslims for his activities in the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims.  Of course, the more resonating example of Islamic terror and suppression is the Ayatollah of Iran.  Along with announcing Jihad against the US, he has also carried out such practices against Kurds in Iran and categorized the Iran-Iraq war as holy war.  The Ayatollah, along with many Wahhabi fundamentalists, have vocalized their belief in world domination through the Islamic faith; thus, the violent nature of Islam becomes rather apparent.


Kony 2012: Misleading? – Corporate Interests (Part 2 of 3)

The new viral sensation entitled ‘Kony 2012’ has beguiled the masses through its depiction of corrupt innocence, luring the sincerity of the masses into a campaign that may express elements of corporate duplicity.

Kony 2012 Could be Another Imperialist Search for Oil

The purpose of this post is not to claim the inherent deceitfulness of the seemingly sincere campaign being head by Jason Russell; rather, it is to impress upon the open-minded and skeptical the very real likelihood of corporate opportunism that could manipulate the charity into yet another example of american imposition of corporate interests abroad.  To begin, the sensation that is Kony 2012 has been propagated throughout every social media asset and has over 1 million pledges for its ‘Cover the Night’ event on April 20th.  The crimes and atrocities being committed in Sub-Saharan Africa are horrendous and dehumanizing, but the idea of forced intervention into foreign lands for ‘crimes against humanity’ is not isolated to this event.  The charity calls upon the people to encourage an action that can be defined as Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “White Man’s Burden”, in which it is suggested that the duty of the White people is to help rescue the savage peoples of the world from their un-Christian ways.  This theme was and still is a political phenomenon that influences foreign policy in lands that are now opposed to America because of the exploitation of its people and resources, as well as the destruction of their infrastructure that was left in the American wake.  Ranging from corporate sponsored CIA operations in Panama, Guatemala, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Vietnam, there was has always been ulterior motives for invading these countries.  The Middle east is the most evident example of blind patriotism in which American lives have been lost for the purpose of securing oil in Iraq, opium in Afghanistan and the general Iran-Contra scandal was a blunt enough demonstration of the corruption behind the CIA.

“Invisible Children helps fund the Uganda People’s Defense Force, better known as the Ugandan army.  This force not only has an enlistment age of 13 (therefore making them a force who employs child soldiers), but has also been known to free children that Kony has kidnapped and in lieu of providing them with counseling and care, instead brainwash them to fight for their side.  This makes them no better than Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.” – Brian Westrick, journalist for The North Wind

So saying, with a variety of examples depicting American mistakes in land abroad, the American people are tired of war, tired of death and tired of making enemies in other lands.  With a domestic agenda opposed to the utilization of force for the supposed interests of national security and defense, the leaders of the American government are realizing that the populace will not tolerate further imposition of corporate interests on their lives.  On that note, the national interest is heterogeneous in that it is dependent on the leader and groups that are in control at the time, leaving a strong subjective component in which any ambiguous statement of national interest will actually fit into the interests of some special interest group.  With that inherent support always available, with the press corpse and sensationalism of the media running the conveyor belt society along a predetermined path, a sudden resurgence of wakefulness to foreign events within the domestic populace will not frighten corporations away from pursuing their materialist nature in other lands.  Those who would kill for their power, would not hesitate before any option that offers the opportunity to expand their power farther and wider.  Yet, as said before, the wakefulness of the people does mark an obstacle in which the corporations of America must discover new tactics and strategies in which to deceive the masses.

“Obama claimed that he decided to act because it ‘furthers US national security interests and foreign policy’.  Yet it is not entirely clear how that could be true, since Kony and the LRA have not targeted Americans or American interests and are not capable of overthrowing an allied government.” – Mareike Schomerus, Foreign Affairs journalist

Blind passionate and unceasing support is their key to the tax dollars that fund their wars.  Evidently, the scenes being demonstrated in Kony 2012 demonstrate such passionate and devoted support.  The film is a call for an African invasion, using the cover of sincerity and humanity to secure their inspirational hold of the millions of people who have already signed onto the campaign.   If they were to have a military presence in Africa, such as the 100 Special Forces sent to Uganda as military advisers in October 2011, they would need the full support of the public.  With 80 million and counting, the video has truly demonstrated that the public-will is behind such militarily presence, ensuring that the possible ramifications are understood and tolerated by the public.  The people both in corporations and government know how to manipulate people in society to their liking, and having years of experience does nothing to limit their resources and cleverness in the endeavor.  Like the puppet masters they are, the elites are able to use tv, media and mass movements to play the people to the dance of their dominant global takeover.  The key to their manipulation is the information gap and elite consensus, in which the people use heuristics to learn of global events and the stance they should have.  With politicians and businessman of the world framing such news to their bias interpretation, they are able to frame the consensus for the rest of society to conform to.  Kony 2012.  The short film describes the horrors of Joseph Kony’s actions in Uganda, despite the fact that the LRA has not been in Uganda since they were forced to flee Museveni in 1985.  What has been in Uganda since 1985 and still is there, is oil.  Under Lake Albert there are reserves that some reports estimate to be larger than those in Saudi Arabia.  With China the special recipient of oil reserves from Ethiopia, Africa has now become a battlefield for the fiscal superpowers of the US China over the black gold of the world, the one resource that truly determines hegemony.  The US, long-standing ally of Uganda, will undoubtedly ensure that no corruption or exploitation of the oil comes to be, for the cheap price of most favored nation status in trade with Uganda for the majority of the oil reserves that are drilled.

“When the West and the corrupt interests that run this country say they want to invade an area to stop a human rights’ disaster, I have examples from just last year from the Ivory Cost of Africa.  , where the UN admits to having killed thousands of people to overthrow the elected government there in the Ivory Cost.” – Alex Jones, Nightly News

In retrospect, with enough money anything can be bought.  With enough people on board, everyone else will jump on board because they see everyone else doing it.  Like band-wagoning, the people begin to think alike and enter into what psychologists term as ‘group-think’.  As is oft said, the tinkerers of the world will sing the same tunes and march to the same beat, homogenized in their perceptions of the world.  Kony 2012 could become this corporate tool to deceive the people into fomenting militant action in Africa for the materialist purposes of America.

Syria: Assad Accepts Annan Peace Plan

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s 6-point peace plan to end violence; yet the gesture seems shallow and deceitful, as fresh clashes broke out once again across Syria on Wednesday.

Assad Buys Time by Accepting Annan Peace Plan

Facing growing global pressure over the rising suppression of his regime in the country, Assad had no option but to accept the UN special envoy’s peace proposal.  With the “Friends of Syria” contact group limiting resources through strict sanctions and increasingly stringent rhetoric against Assad’s few remaining allies in China and Russia, the embattled President had nothing to lose by accepting the peace plan.  Nevertheless, timing was likely the key factor in the Syrian government’s response, hoping to delay international response to the humanitarian crisis in his country.  By making this show of grandeur acceptance of peace, Assad has made it much more difficult for western powers to stress the immediacy of the situation in Syria.  US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other global leaders are expected to discuss ways to assist the Syrian opposition at a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul this Sunday.  The meeting relies heavily on attendance and UN congruence, which Assad has effectively slowed down, because his consent to this peace plan will force the UN into carrying out long-winded negotiation with the Syrian regime.  Despite flicker of hope, with many seeking to find a thaw in the endless tyranny of the Assad family regime, most remain skeptical and agree that Assad’s agreement is merely a fraud at buying time to repress all opposition once and for all.  With similar delay tactics being used by Assad’s last remaining ally, Iran, in the nuclear talks over its facility Parchin, the skepticism is not unfounded.

“They can keep on negotiating and drag this out, because with every passing week they kill more dissidents.  I think what the regime is hoping is they can crush all of this before anybody moves to help the opposition.” – Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

The Syrian cooperation with this plan is a transition from its previous blunt rejections of both UN and Arab League peace plans, but the key difference lies in that Annan’s plan does not require Assad to leave office.  With Russia and China standing-by Assad indefinitely, the plan offered Assad an escape from EU and US sanctions while remaining hold of his seat of power; thus, the logic of Assad’s consent is evident considering its leniency.  China and Russia have vetoed recent UN resolution to condemn Assad, securing him from the brunt of the international community and have thus granted him this last opportunity to talk a good game and gain more time.  The protracted crisis has become an international nightmare and yet the only plan lying ahead is to draw the Chinese and Russian into dialogue to stop the fighting and to allow Assad to stay in power.  The plan rests on political dialogue with another party that has a gun to the head of its civilian populace, has the support of the two largest land powers, and has nothing to lose from perpetuating circular negotiations.   Evidently, the Annan peace plan has little to offer to the opposition and will only serve as another stepping stone for the eventual intensification of violence in another month or two.

“It will talk the talk of cooperation with the international community, but not walk the walk on the actual requirements that are necessary, such as really ceasing the use of lethal force against its own people in the streets of Syria.” – Edward Djerejian, US Ambassador to Syria

The Annan peace plan calls for: an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address grass-roots grievances; a commitment to halt fighting and forge a UN supervised halt of violence by the government and opposition groups; timely humanitarian aid; speeding up the release of arbitrarily detained people, including those engaged in peaceful political activities; ensuring freedom of movement for journalists; and respecting peaceful demonstration and freedom of association.  Assad has little to lose by signing the plan as the concessions he will be forced to make include a ceasefire, ensuring humanitarian assistance, a release of political prisoners, allowing entry to journalists, and permitting demonstrations, all of which can be easily reversed relatively quickly.  Meanwhile, the benefits for Assad are far more significant.  Considering that he is being allowed to stay in power and not face trial for crimes against humanity despite killing over 10,000 Syrian citizens, some UN member states view the President’s acceptance of the plan as a positive step providing evidence of the regime’s new willingness to compromise with the opposition.  Moreover, the plan also hurts the opposition which has not been forced to accept the indefinite rule of Assad according to the plan.  Furthermore, the news of Assad’s acceptance will call for negotiation between the exiled opposition government, the Syrian National Council, which is already in rifts and should the negotiations actually occur, the question of who will speak for the opposition will only exacerbate the divisions.  Annan’s plan also represents an impediment to critical funding from the US to Free Syrian Army, assistance that will not be received and will leave the army empty-handed.

“Given al-Assad’s history of overpromising and underdelivering, that commitment must not be matched by immediate actions.  We will judge Assad’s sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not what he says.” – Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State

In retrospect, the Assad regime has been able to alleviate foreign pressure from the international community in the past and will continue to do so through the usual delay tactics and promises of liberalization.  During the Bush administration, Assad came under scrutiny for the regime’s assumed role in the murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and for helping move insurgents into Iraq to kill American soldiers.  At moments of increased international pressure, however, Assad was able to escape through promises of possible peace negotiations with Israel and joining Egypt in that peace camp.  Assad succeeded in escaping the Bush administration through such tactics and will do the same to the current Obama administration unless the UN, US and Arab League realize that none of Assad’s promises of laws of parties, elections and media are even remotely true.

 

Syria: Russia/China Relationship with Syria is “Incomprehensible and Inexcusable”

With yet another United Nations Security Council resolution blocked by the greed of Russia and China, government forces in Syria have begun to shell the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 50 people on Monday morning.

Russia and China Have Vetoed Another UNSC Resolution, Prolonging the Suffering of Syrian People

The uprising began with mostly peaceful protests against President Assad, but government forces responded with a fierce crackdown.  Now, army defectors and others are taking up arms to combat such tyranny, raising fears of civil war.  With Russia and China on the receiving end of Assad’s blood money trade, fears have grown that with such international protection from the UN, Assad will be emboldened to intensify repressive actions.  So saying, escalation in the battle has already been seen, as Assad has intensified shelling with a rate of one shell every two minutes.  On Saturday, Syrian forces were reported to have killed up to 200 people in Homs, the highest death toll since the uprising began.  The news of the perpetuating massacre comes after Syrians had observed for the first time in 30 years the anniversary of the massacre carried out in Hama in February 1982.  It is still regarded as one of the most gruesome events in Syria’s modern history.  Parallel to the current uprising, the 1982 massacre involved former President Hafiz al-Assad, who decimated most of the city of Hama with aerial bombings and tanks.  About 30,000 inhabitants were killed and a similar number of people were detained, tortured and many disappeared in while in prison.  Just like today’s Syria allies in the East, the 1982 event occurred under the cover of the Soviet Union.

“Clearly there is a tragedy in that country.  Russia and China are protecting a regime that is killing thousands of people.  We find their position both incomprehensible and inexcusable.  By supporting that regime, they are strengthening it and allowing it to continue with that violence.” – David Cameron, British Prime Minister

As in the past, the tension and disparity between the West and East is evident in the widening gap of relations illustrated in the past UNSC resolution vote.  The UN endorsed norm of ‘responsibility to protect’ mandates a collective response when states wage war on their own populations.  With China and Russia wielding veto powers though, the intransigence of diplomacy in the face of humanitarian genocide is evident.  Moreover, the Syrian regime seems to mock and taunt the UN’s notion of collective action with its brutal assault on the city of Homs just as the UN vote was taking place.  Regional and international hesitancy in dealing with Syria has prolonged the violence, as well as allowing Assad to practice military force without restraint.  In some perverse positive outlook though, the lack of international assistance has aided the Free Syrian Army in recruitment and its ascendancy is now a nearly foregone conclusion.  Nevertheless, the threat of both sides turning to greater force has increased because of Russia and China’s determination to delay any and all international responses to the travesty in Syria.

“We will work to expose those who are still funding the regime and sending it weapons that are used against defenseless Syrians, including women and children. we will work with friends of a democratic Syria around the world to support the oppositions peaceful political plans for change.” – Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State

China and Russia have drawn the wrath of the US, Europe and much of the Arab world for the weekend veto Protesters could be seen burning Russian and Chinese flags outside of the Russian embassy in Beirut, adding to the increasing numbers of voices demanding that they stop supporting the ongoing massacre. In an attempt to distill and reject such targeted demonstrations and criticisms, both Russia and China have tried to use ethical argument and moralistic diction to bolster their arguments behind vetoing the already watered-down UNSC resolution.  In reality, Syria is Moscow’s only major ally in the Middle East, as well as being home to Russian naval base and client for its lucrative arm sales.  China, on the other hand, has targeted western intervention in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, suggesting that the violence still eminent in those territories is evidence enough of the error of forced regime change.  China remains hiding behind its statement that it was not supporting one side and was taking a fair and neutral stance on the civil war in Syria; yet with a 2009 trade quota that was estimated at over $2 billion, the facade is incontestable.

“On the issue of Syria, China is not sheltering anyone nor do we intentionally oppose anyone.  We uphold justice and take a responsible attitude.” – Liu Weimin, Chinese Foreign Ministry

Among those most vocal was Hilary Clinton, a staunch supporter for diplomatic means to end the violence in the tumult that has become Syria.  With US sponsorship, supporters of a democratic Syria intent to create a formal group of like-minded countries to coordinate assistance for Syria’s opposition, similar to the Contact Group on Libya that oversaw international aid for opponents of Qaddafi. Though similar in that sense, the NATO military operations that were seen in Libya is something that is not envision in Syria.  Sadly, with Western pursuits lying rooted in diplomacy and long-winded negotiations, a ragtag army of perhaps 10,000 Syrian rebels must combat and deter an army that while, far from invincible, enjoys an overwhelming advantage in numbers, equipment and firepower.