Nile Bowie: The Iran Nuclear Threat and The Second Hostage Crisis.

From talk of red lines and cartoon bombs, to having all options on the table, an undeniably delusional logic emanates from the leadership in Washington and Tel Aviv, regarding the alleged threat posted by Iran's nuclear program. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously took to the stage of the UN General Assembly with his doodled explosive, he claimed that Iran would soon have the capability to enrich uranium to 90 percent, allowing them to construct a nuclear weapon by early mid 2013. In his second administration, Obama, who recently said a nuclear Iran would represent a danger to Israel and the world, appears to be seeing eye to eye with Netanyahu, despite previous reports of the two not being on the same page. For whatever its worth, these two world leaders have taken the conscious decision, to entirely ignore evidence brought forward by the US intelligence community, as well as appeals from nuclear scientists, policy advisers, and IAEA personnel, who claim that the threat posed by Iran is exaggerated and politicized. Its common knowledge that Washington's own National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, which reflects the intelligence assessment of America's 16 spy agencies, confirmed that whatever nuclear weapons program Iran once had, was dismantled in 2003. Mr Netanyahu has not corrected his statements, insinuating that Iran once had, was dismantled in 2003. Mr Netanyahu has not corrected his statements, insinuating that Iran was nearing the red line of 90 percent enrichment, even when recent UN reports show Tehran has in fact decreased its stockpiles of 20 percent fissile material, far below the enrichment level required to weaponize uranium. Hans Blix, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA) has challenged previous IAEA reports on Iran's nuclear activities, accusing the agency of relying on unverified intelligence from the US and Israel. Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Lecerett, former Washington insiders and analysts in the Clinton and Bush administrations, recently authored a book, titled "Going to Teheran", arguing that Iran is a coherent actor, and that evidence for the bomb is simply not there. Clinton Bastin, former director of US nuclear weapons production programs, has commented on the status of Iran's gas centrifuge facilities, would be highly enriched uranium hexa-fluoride, a gas that cannot be used to make a weapon. Converting the gas to metal, fabricating components and assembling them with high explosives, using dangerous and difficult technology, that has never been used in Iran, would take many years, after a diversion of three tons of low enriched uranium gas, from fully safeguarded inventories.         

By Ann Jones: Rape is Rape, and Domestic Violence is o

Plain old violence. Picture this. A man, armored in tattoos, bursts into a living room not his own. He confronts an enemy. He barks orders. He throws that enemy into a chair. Then against a wall. He plants himself in the middle of the room, feet widespread, fists clenched, muscles straining, face contorted in a scream of rage. The tendons in his neck are taut with the intensity of his terrifying performance. He chases the enemy to the next room, stopping escape with a quick grab, and thrust , and body block that pins the enemy, bent back,against a counter. He shouts more orders: His enemy can go with him to the basement for a "private talk", or be beaten to a pulp right here. Then he wraps his fingers around the neck of his enemy, and begins to choke her. No, that invader isn't an American soldier, leading a night raid on an Afghan village, nor is the enemy an anonymous Afghan householder. This combat warrior is just a guy in Ohio named Shane. He is doing, what so many men find exhilarating, disciplining his girlfriend with a heavy dose of the violence we render harmless, by calling it "domestic." It's easy to figure out from a few basic facts, that Shane is a skilled predator. Why else does a 31 year old man, lavish attention on a pretty 19 year old, with two children, ages four and two, the latter an equally pretty and potentially targeted little female? And what more vulnerable girlfriend could he find, than this one, named Maggie, a neglected young woman,, still a teenager, who for two years, had been raising her kids on her own, while her husband fought a war in Afghanistan? That war had broken the family apart, leaving Maggie with no financial support, and more alone than ever. But the way Shane assaulted Maggie, he might just as well have been a night raiding soldier, terrorizing an Afghan civilian family, in pursuit of some dangerous Talib, real or imagined. For all we know, Maggie's estranged husband or soldier, might have acted in the same way, in some Afghan living room, and not only been paid, but also honored for it. The basic behavior is quite alike. The goal, to control the behavior, the very life, of the designated target. The mind is set: A sense of entitlement, when it comes to determining the fate of a subhuman creature. The dark side, the fear and brutal rage of a scared loser, who inflicts his miserable self on others. As for that designated enemy, just as American exceptional fortune asserts the superiority of the United States over all countries and cultures on Earth, and even over the laws that govern international relations seems to inform so much in the United States these days!      

Jim W. Dean: Some Rare Regal Moments wirh King Adbullah II

Jordan king derides regional leaders, own family. I had to pinch myself when I first read this. I thought I might have been day dreaming with computer fatigue, and needed to splash some cold water on my face. But it was real. King Abdullah, in full Wizard of Oz style, has given us a rare peak behind the curtain into the insularity, and even insolence of some of the Mid East leaders, and even his own family. None of this should surprise anyone. Shallow leadership, and even sociopaths, rising up through political parties, to the top positions in the West, is something we have endured endlessly, so why should we think it would be any better in other regions. In the West, if they get caught looting, or even raping, they can actually be prosecuted. Then you take a place like Saudi Arabia, with its 10,000 princes, and what do you possibly think they could ever be prosecuted for? I can't think of anything, even murder. Years ago, the Saudis had a problem with one of their princes getting drunk, and then heading down to the local hospital in the middle of the night, to look for Western women in a coma, or similar state, that he could rape. There was not a problem, until one of the victims getting pregnant threatened a scandal. The family was paid a tidy sum, and the US embassy came up with an instant green card winner, for the third world nurse who was the only witness, and off she went to an American. I imagine the prince had his allowance withheld for a few weeks. Officially, the peretrator was never discovered. As Gordon likes to say,"Welcome to the real world." And it is not a 'Muslim thing', either. Despite the historical looting by Pakistan's political elite, President Zardari found himself being hauled into court for bribery corruption charges,that happened before he became president. He tried to claim immunity anyway, but no luck. While King Abdullah steered away from any princely looting, he is the first I know of the publicly admitted, that the days of Mid East royalty ruling over countries are numbered. Some might say, the wheels of time or progress are turning. I would prefer the analogy of the garbage disposal working properly, and able to handle larger items. Us older folks prefer Kirk Douglas as our Sparticus. I did a video interview with the King's older brother here, at Emory University in Atlanta about ten years ago, after watching him during a theater style panel discussion. 


Jill Richardson: How We Could Prevent Massive Bee Deaths

and save our food. This article was published in partnership with Global Possibilities.org.If you like almonds, then 2013 brought some bad news. Each year, honey bees from across the country, make the trek to California, which grows 80 percent of the world's almonds, to pollinate the almond crop, but bees have been dying in unusually large numbers for several years now, and this year appears worse than most. The problems we face, if we don't have healthy populations of pollinators, particularly honeybees, extend beyond almonds. Three fourths of the top crops grown in the world, require animals, mostly insects, for pollination. Odds are that most of your favorite fruits, nuts and melons, are pollinated by honeybees. Across the pond, the European Union, has made major strides in shedding light on the role of certain pesticides in honeybee deaths. In fact, the European Commission has proposed a two year ban on these pesticides. Meanwhile, at home, beekeepers remain frustrated that the US government is not as forward thinking. And for another year, the saga of bee deaths continues. The pesticides in question are called neonicotinoids. It's a mouthful, but the root word is nicotene, because they are chemically similar to the addicting tobacco compound. The most common of these is a pesticide called imidacloprid. Two others are clothianidin and thiamethoxam. New York beekeeper Jim Doan, ended last year with about 700 hives. He began the year with 900, but those numbers hide larger losses. A beekeeper can increase his or her number of hives by splitting them. Doan did so, building up to 2,300 hives by mid June. For a beekeeper, splitting your hives means a certain amount of sacrifice, because two smaller hives replace each larger one, and you must let each hive build up its numbers, and its honey, before you harvest any yourself. Now this will be the seventh year of extraordinary high losses. Every year we are making up bees, but at the sacrifice of not making honey. So both ways you have taken a beating and a loss, says Doan. From mid June onward, Doan watched his bees die. By October 15, he had only 1,100 hives. More than half of the colonies that were alive only four months before, were now dead. What happened? One can piece together part of the story, based on the bees' locations and their food sources. Although Doan is a New Yorker, his bees take a Florida vacation each winter. They only reside in in New York from April to September. While there, they first pollinate apricots, then cherries, pears, apples, and finally, squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins.  

Tony Cartalucci: Syria, US NATO Backed Al Qaeda Terrorists

Armed with WMDs. Chemical weapons against the Syrian people. After a 10year war and occupation in Iraq, the death of over a million people, including thousands of US soldiers, all based on patently false claims of the nation possessing weapons of mass destruction, it is outrageous hypocrisy to see the West arming, funding, and politically backing terrorists in Syria, who infact possess, and are now using such weapons against the Syrian people. At least 25 are reported dead, after a chemical weapons attack, targeting Syrian soldiers, was carried out by NATO backed terrorists in the northern city of Aleppo. Aleppo is located near the Syrian Turkish border. Had Libya's looted stockpiles of chemical weapons been shipped to Syria, they would have passed through Turkey, along with weapons being shipped to Syria, they would have passed through Turkey, along with weapons sent from Libya by the US, and thousands of Libyan terrorists who are admittedly operating inside Syria, and would most likely be used to target cities like Aleppo. Worse yet, any chemical weapons imported into the country, would implicate NATO, either directly or through gross negligence, as the weapons would have passed through NATO member Turkey, past US CIA agents admittedly operating along the border, and along side Western backed terrorists inside Syria. Libya's WMD's are in Terrorist Hands. Libya's arsenal had fallen into the hands of sectarian extremists, with NATO assistance in 2011, during the culmination of efforts to overthrow the North African nation. Since then, Libya's militants led by commanders of Al Qaeda's Libyan Islamic Fighting Group have armed sectarian extremists across the Arab World, from as far West as Mali, to as far East as Syria. In addition to small arms, heavier weapons are also making their way through this extensive network. The Washington Post, in their article, Libyan missiles on the loose, reported Two former CIA counter terrorism officers told me last week, that technicians recently refurbished 800 of these man portable air defense systems known as MANPADS, some for an African jihadist group called Boko Haram, that is often seen as an ally of al Qaeda, for possible use against commercial jets flying into Niger, Chad, and perhaps Nigeria. While undoubtedly these weapons are also headed to Niger, Chad, and perhaps Nigeria, they are veritably headed to Syria. Libyan LIFG terrorists are confirmed to be flooding into Syria from Libya.   

Jonas E. Alexis: How the Neoconservative Mob is Engendering America.

The demon is a mob, and the mob is demonic. It is the nihilistic mob of the French Revolution. It is the revolutionaries, who seized control of Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is the Maoist gangs looting villages and impaling babies in China. Ann Coulter, Demonic. How the Liberal Mob is Engendering America. Siegfried Kracauer. We saw in the article Neoconservativism is Trotskyisms, that the neoconservative movement was, and still is a Jewish political and intellectual movement. It started in the 1930s and the 40s, with a number of young Jewish intellectuals,known as The New York Intellectuals. These people, in a metaphysical sense, were intellectual terrorists and revolutionaries. New York's City College, and other campuses, were to a large extent revolutionary cells, where the study of the Mishnah and Maimonides' works, were of primary importance among those individuals. Irving Kristol, a Trotskyite at the time, would talk about trying desperately to manipulate students into the right position, and Irving Howe would talk about how students would change completely, after taking philosophy classes with Jewish professor Morris Cohen, who, like a fencing master, facing multiple foes, challenged students to his left and to his right, slashing their premises, destroying their defenses. You went to a Cohen class, in order to be ripped open and cut down. It was Cohen who taught Howe, that an intellectual life can be used as a form of combat. Jewish historian Howard M Sachar, calls this chapter in American history The insurrection of the intellectuals. University campuses, therefore, were bound to create revolutionary cells. For that very reason, many universities were hesitant to hire Jewish professors. Raised in a Stalinist family, Ronald Radosh tells us in his memoir, that many Jews like himself, were sent from New York to Wisconsin, to take over the university there. In a nutshell, anti Jewish reaction at that time was itself a reaction to Jewish revolutionary activities. This has largely been the issue throughout the centuries, even during the rise of Nazi Germany, when Jewish revolutionaries began to produce pornography to attack the German culture, which led Hitler to take drastic action against those revolutionaries. The German Jewish writer and sociologist at the time, Erwin J Haeberle, wrote an essay,in which he declared that Much early sexological research, indeed the very concept of sexology, was the work of German Jews.              


Joshua Holland: Are Americans Too Stupid for Democracy?

In 2011, Newsweek asked 1,000 Americans to take the standard US Citizenship test, and 38 percent of them failed. One in three couldn't name the vice president. A 2009 study in the European Journal of Communications looked at how informed citizens of the US, UK, Denmark and Finland were of the international news of the day, and the results weren't pretty. Overall, the scholars wrote, the Scandinavians emerged as the best informed, averaging 62-67 percent correct responses, the British were relatively close behind with 59 percent, and the Americans lagging in the rear with 40 percent. We didn't fare much better, when it came to domestic stories. Widespread ignorance of objective reality, poses a genuine threat to democracy. The people of the United States have ignorance in abundance. The way representative democracy is supposed to work is pretty simple. You protect the fundamental rights of the minority, so it doesn't become two wolfs and a lamb voting what to have for dinner, and then the majority of citizens, acting in their own rational self interest, elect representatives who will pursue the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens. That's the theory, but rational is a key word in that formulation. What happens when lots of citizens don't have a solid grasp of what's going on in the real world? Consider some examples that are especially relevant to our current political scene. People Don't Recognize Their Lack of Competence, Can't Judge the Competence of Politicians. Psychologist David Dunning of Cornell, and Justin Kruger of NYU, conducted a series of experiments, showing that incompetent people vastly overrate their own abilities. For people at the bottom, who are really doing badly, those in the bottom 10th or 15th percentile, think their work falls in the 60th or 55th percentile, so, above average. Dunning told the website Life's Little Mysteries. They do just as badly evaluating the competence of others, which poses a problem in a representative democracy. Or, as the Daily Mail put it in typical tabloid fashion, the theory of democracy has an unfortunate flaw, that most of the public are just too stupid to pick the right candidate. Dr Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Professor Dunning and Professor Kruger's theories by computer simulating a democratic election. In his mathematical model of the election, he assumed that voters' own leadership skills were distributed on a bell curve, some were really good leaders, some really bad, but most were mediocre, and that each voter was incapable of recognizing the leadership skills of a political candidate as being better than his or her own. When such an election was simulated, candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won!

Thomas Young: Dear George Bush and Dick Cheney. ,

You are guilty of murder, a letter from a dying Veteran. I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans, who have been wounded, and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end.. I am living under hospice care. I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers, who have lost sons and daughters, and on behalf of the fathers and mothers, who have lost sons and daughters, and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans, who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans, whose trauma and self revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq, have led to suicide, and on behalf of the active duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of us all, the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief. You may evade justice, but in our eyes, you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans, my fellow veterans, whose future you stole. I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr Bush and Mr Cheney. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with hundreds of thousands of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are, and what you have done. You may evade justice, but in our eyes, you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans, my fellow veterans, whose future you stole. Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege, and your power, cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation, but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men, and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war, with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.  

David Sirota: 1 Million Civilians Dead, 37,000 American Soldiers

Dead or Injured, and we've Learned Nothing from the Iraq Debacle. After 10 years, $2 trillion spent, an estimated 1 million civilian casualties, and almost 37,000 US troops deceased or injured, one of the biggest enduring stories of the Iraq War has to be, how little the debacle changed anything in the United States or, arguably, in Iraq. Today, on the 10 year anniversary of the Iraq invasion, America still has a massive, fiscally unsustainable defense budget. Congress still teems with lawmakers, who fervently supported the Iraq War, and who never admitted their mistake in promoting the WMD lies. The foreign policy establishment is still dominated by Iraq War proponents, who never acknowledged their misjudgments, and or their willingness to suppress inconvenient information. The Washington Press corps is still populated with reporters, who failed to ask serious questions about the case for war, and the opinion news sphere is still promoting those who got the Iraq War flat wrong. And while there are some vague rumblings about the possibility of changed foreign policy outlooks, the fact remains, that the Afghanistan War escalation, the intensifying drone war, and the unauthorized Libya War suggest, that the Iraq conflict's lesson about the perils of "nation building," "preemptive war", and blow back are still largely ignored. To appreciate how little political fallout the Iraq War generated, consider how different the reaction was to American history's most recent antecedent to the Iraq conflict. A political backlash, that a president was forced to opt against running for reelection, a slate of anti war legislators was swept into Congress, and pro Vietnam War Senator Thomas Dodd, and Gulf of Tonkin Resolution architect Senator William Fulbright, were voted out of office. At the same time, the leading voice of the establishment media, dared to adversarially report fundamental flaws in the pro war argument, to the point where it has become a mark of shame, to admit you publicly backed the conflict. To be sure, the reaction gap between Vietnam and Iraq can be explained, in part, by the fact that the former invasion generated more casualties, ad by the fact that the former also involved mass conscription. That particular method of raising a fighting force, tends to spread a war's blood and guts consequence more widely through the population, and therefore creates the potential for a bigger political backlash, than a fighting force that is all volunteer. 


Marjorie Cohn: Iraq: A War of Aggression.No WMDs!

No Connection to Al Qaeda. Although bush marketed the war in Iraq as necessary to protect us from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, his decisions had less to do with self defense, than with dominating the oil rich Middle East. Some evidence for this conclusion can be found in a September 2000 report, prepared by the neoconservative Project for a New American Century. The report, commissioned by Dick Cheney, outlined a plan to maintain American military preeminence, that is consistent with the requirements of a strategy of American global leadership. It notes that while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf, transcends the issue of Saddam Hussein. Another document produced by Vice President Cheney's secret Energy Task Force, included a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts. That document was dated March 2001, six months before 9/11, and two years before Bush invaded Iraq. After 9/11, the Bush administration attacked Afghanistan, and removed the Taliban from power, but the primary target all along was Iraq. To sell the war to the American people, the administration made too claims, and repeated them like a mantra. First, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Second, it had ties with al Qaeda, and was thus complicit in the 9/11 attacks. Although the administration argued that both reasons justified the use of force against Iraq, it was advised repeatedly that either claim was valid. No Weapons of Mass Destruction: An August 2006 report, prepared by the direction of Rep John Conyers, Jr. found that members of the Bush Administration misstated, overstated, and manipulated intelligence with regards to linkages between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iraq, the acquisition of aluminum tubes, to be used as uranium centrifuges, and the acquisition of uranium from Niger. The report also noted that beyond making false and misleading statements about Iraq's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, the record shows the Bush Administration must have known these statements conflicted with known international and domestic intelligence at the time.  

Stephen Lendman: Remembering Rachel Corrie!

Rachel represented the best of courageous activism. She put her body on the line for justice. She did so, because it matters. She is gone but not forgotten. Ten years ago, on March 16, an Israeli bulldozer driver murdered her in cold blood. She tried stopping a Rafah refugee camp home demolition. Eye witnesses said she climbed atop a giant Caterpillar tractor, designed to destroy homes. They are weapons of mass destruction. Caterpillar is complicit in Israeli crimes. Rachel spoke to the driver. She climbed down, and knelt 10 to 20 meters in front, blocking its path with her body, while she was in clear view. The tractor lurched forward, while activists screamed for it to stop, while the operator pressed on, crushing her to death. Witnesses indicated he did so maliciously, running over her twice, to be sure that she was dead. In legal terms, he was unaccountable. Rachel's family wants justice, so should everyone. The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice supports it. Its mission and guiding principles state: The Foundation continues what Rachel began. It reflects her vision, spirit, and creative energy. It supports building understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and promoting cooperation within, and between local and global communities. The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights, and social, economic and environmental justice, which we view as prerequisites for world peace, Its guiding principles include: Challenging injustice and resisting oppression, teaching justice and peacemaking skills, advancing human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice for all. Seeking creative ways to achieve these goals, and committing to people and places the way Rachel did, especially those most disadvantaged and repressed. Rachel was 23 when she was murdered. She believed in nonviolent direct action to support the oppressed Palestinians, and it became her life's struggle, doing what is right. What greater sacrifice than that. She said, I'm here for other children, I'm here because I care, I'm here because children everywhere are suffering, and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger. I am here because those people are mostly children, We have got to understand that they dream our dreams, and we dream theirs. We must understand that they are us, and we are them! 

Felicity Arbuthnot: Women's Rights in Afghanistan, A Justification for War!

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is honoring International Women's Day. Tony Blair Faith Foundation, 5th March 2013. It was former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who is attributed with the quote a week, is a long time in politics, referring to the speedy shifting sands of political priorities. If a week is a while, approaching twelve years is a millennium. Remember the deluge of political concern over the subjugation of Afghan women, at the time of the October 2001 invasion? The tsunami of documentaries, articles, books on their plight, contributing to the justification of another invasion? The tsunami of documentaries, articles, books on their plight, contributing to the justification of another invasion, actually for trillions of minerals, a geographically strategic country and a pipeline. It is salutary to recap a few: In November 2001, First Lady Laura Bush gave the President's weekly radio address, stating that the fight against terrorism was also a fight for the rights and dignity of Afghan women. The State Department marked her broadcast with an eleven page document on the Taliban's war against women. Hillary Clinton wrote of: A post Taliban country, where women's rights are respected. The then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, talked of aid to Afghanistan, being conditional on restoration of rights to women and girls. General Colin Powell stated: women's rights will not be negotiable. Eight years later, UK politicians still said publicly, that women's rights were a justification for war. Mark Malloch Brown, former Minister of State in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN, subsequently Administrator of the UN Development Program, said in 2009: The rights of women was one of the reasons the UK and many in the West, threw ourselves into the struggle on Afghanistan. It matters greatly to us, and to our public opinion. In a major speech, the same year, the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband stated that the UK's relationship with Afghanistan was a partnership. Fast forward then, to March 2013, International Women's Day, for which the UN had declared this year's theme as: The Gender Agenda Gaining Momentum. On the eve of Women's Day, the Kabul Girls Boxing Team, who were to participate in various events, marking the Day, were refused entry to Britain by the UK Border Agency. Organizations who had long planned welcomes, events and raised funds for the visit of three remarkable young people, who had overcome the restrictions of the most conservative of Afghan culture, expressed their frustration.        

Paul Buchheit: 16 Giant Corporations Have Stopped

Paying Taxes. The brackets are set for the big dance, the dance around tax responsibility. Most of the teams are in the bottom bracket. In this league, the lowest score wins! Outside the stadium our nation's kids and seniors, and low income mothers may be dealing with food and housing cuts, but on the corporate playing floor, new low tax records are being set again this year. Just as this is a golden age for sports, this is also, as noted by the New York Times, a golden age for corporate profits. Corporations have simply stopped paying their taxes, perhaps using the 2008 recession as an excuse to plead hardship, but then never restoring their tax obligations, when business got better. The facts are indisputable. For over 20 years, from 1987 to 2008, corporations paid an average of 22.5% in federal taxes. Since the recession, this has dropped to 10%, even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years. Pay up Now, just completed a compilation of corporate tax payments over the past five years, using SEC data, as reported by the companies themselves. The firms chosen are top earners, who have filed 10-K reports through 2012. Their US Tax figures represent the five year total of current payments. The 64 corporate teams paid just over 8% in taxes over the five year period. The Slink Sixteen, General Electric: The worst tax record over five years, with $81 billion in profits anda $3 billion refund. Boeing: In addition to receiving a refund, despite $81 billion in profits, the company ranked high in job cutting, underfunded pensions, and contractor misconduct. Exxon Mobil: Made by far the largest profits in the group, but paid less than 1% in US taxes, and yet received oil subsidies along with their tax breaks. Unabashedly reports a 2012 theoretical tax of over $27 billion, almost 90% of its total income tax expense. The company was also near the top in contractor misconduct. Verizon: Second worst tax record,with a refund despite $48 billion in profits. Kraft Foods: Received a refund from the public, despite $13.5 billion in profits. Also a leading job cutter. Citigroup: One of the five big banks, who are estimated to get a bailout refund from the American public, amounting to three cents from every tax dollar. Dow Chemical: Received a refund, despite almost $10 billion in profits. IBM: Paid less than 3% in taxes, while ranking as one of the leading job cutters, and near the top in contractor misconduct!       


Sartre Batr: Ignoring Whistleblowers!

A government whistle-blower, disclosing classified secrets, risks criminal charges. Defining restricted material, usually includes a broad scope of information, that casts officials or agencies in a compromising embarrassment. The idea that public servants may be engaged in violating laws, is no excuse for blowing the whistle on such abuses, if it involves "National Security". This protects the state attitude at all costs, and is the very definition of institutional cover up. According to Aeschylus, in war, truth is the first casualty. So, throwing the book at Bradley Manning comes as no surprise. Why should anyone be concerned about the international dissemination of raw evidence about war crimes, committed in the name of the War on Terror? Most would fail to be moved by the motivations of a stoic prisoner, who uploaded secured computer files to Wiki Leaks. Many would cheer his interminable incarceration for disclosing military records. Yet, before you slam the jail shut, reflect upon the Secretly Recorded Audio Leaked of Bradley Manning's Court Statement. Listen to the Full Statement. Also, view the You Tube video, where Bradley Manning tells the Court that the Public has the right to know about US War Crimes. A cogent reaction from another whistle blower, Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers fame, carries the weight of a brave man from another era. It's important to remember through all this, that Manning has already pled guilty to ten charges of violating military regulations, and faces twenty years in jail. Yet the prosecutors are still going ahead with the absurd charge of aiding the enemy, a capital offense, of which the prosecutors are asking for life in prison. Nixon could have brought that charge against me too. I was revealing wrongdoing by our government in a public way, and that information could have been read by our enemies in Vietnam. Of course, I never had that intent, and Manning didn't either. We both leaked information to provoke a domestic debate about military force and government secrecy, and to say that we did so to aid the enemy is absurd!

Lesley Docksey: Spinning Out Of Control: Governments, Banks,

and Energy Companies, Fueling Climate Change. Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth, means that you start with an advantage that others don't have: Parents with money, property, influence, business connections and so on, connections that can last for generations. A silver spoon, that appeared recently, was the exceedingly generous compensation paid to British slave owners, when the UK abolished slavery in 1833, though not one penny went to the freed slaves. The ancestors of many well connected people, including David Cameron, benefited. One way or another, the silver spoon allows you to inherit the best of the old boys networks, and a guaranteed place at all sorts of top tables. These days, you also appear to be born with a revolving door. As I pointed out in Revolving Wars, the door between retiring military personnel, or ministerial level politicians and a well paid position, in companies supplying the military, revolves at great speed, although sadly, not at a fast enough rate, as to fire the users into outer space, nor would they go, without a profitable contract in place. But other such doors exist, and just as the links between government ministers, senior armed forces personnel, and just as the links between government ministers, senior armed forces personnel, and the arms trade, make it almost impossible to stop our forces from fighting illegal and unnecessary wars, so the links between the government, banks and fossil fuel companies make it impossible to get politicians to take action to mitigate climate change, or achieve realistic funding for renewable energy. The World Development Movement has just published a briefing, Web of Power: the UK government and the energy finance complex fueling climate change, and it makes for disheartening reading. Of the 125 MP's and Lords, that make up the UK government, no less than 32% have links with finance, and or fossil fuel companies, while the top 5 banks give financial backing to fossil fuel companies and politicians. The City funded David Cameron's campaign for the leadership of the Tory Party, and the fossil companies give financial backing to government, while lobbying hard for their industry.   

Adam Lee: You Wouldn't Believe How Fast Americans

are losing their religion, but the fundamentalists have a plan. Sometimes last year, the US quietly passed a milestone, demographers had long been predicting: For the first time in its history, this country is no longer majority Protestant. Fewer than 50 percent of Americans now identify as Protestant Christians of any denomination. This change has come on surprisingly recently, and from a historical perspective, with breathtaking speed. As recently as 1993, almost two thirds of Americans identified as Protestants, a number that had remained stable for the several preceding decades. But sometime in the 1990s, the ground started to shift, and it's been sliding ever since. Whether it's the mainline Protestant denominations, like Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans or Presbyterians, or the independent evangelical, charismatic and fundamentalist sects, the decline is happening across the board. The rise of so-called mega-churches, like Rick Warren's Saddle-back Church in California, or Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill in Seattle, represents not growth, but consolidation. What's happening to these vanishing Protestants? For the most part, they're not converting to any other religion, but rather are walking away from religion entirely. They're becoming "nones," as the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life puts it. It seems likely, that this is the same secularizing trend being observed in Europe, as people of advanced, peaceful democracies find religion increasingly irrelevant to their daily lives. The spokespeople of the religious right, have noticed this trend as well, but it's clear they have very little idea what to do about it. In a column from 2005, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared that theological liberalism is at fault for Christianity's decline, and that the only thing they need to do to reverse it, is to make a bold commitment to biblical authority. Far from it, the evidence is clear that churches clinging to antiquated dogma are part of the problem, as young people turn away from their strident decrees about gays and women. But the foot-soldiers of fundamentalism haven't been entirely idle these past few decades. As their power declines in America and Europe, they're increasingly moving abroad, to developing countries not as far along the secularization curve, where they often find a more receptive audience.     


F. William Engdahl: Seeds of Destruction. The Diabolical World

of Genetic Manipulation! This skillfully researched book, focused on how a small socio - political  American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival, the provision of our daily bread: "Control the food, and you control the people." This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms. The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise, for that is what it is: Engdahl's carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye opener, a must read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace. What follows is the Preface to "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation" by F. William Engdahl. We have about 50% of the worlds wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the people of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period, is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity, without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day dreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. George Kennan, US State Department senior planning official, 1948. This book is about a project undertaken by a small socio political elite, centered, after the Second World War, not in London, but in Washington. It is the untold story of how this self anointed elite set out, in Kennans words, to maintain this position of disparity. It is the story of how a tiny few dominated the resources and levers of power in the postwar world. Its above all a history of the evolution of power in the control of a selected few, in which even science was put in the service of that minority.

Helen Redmond: Is Alcohol the New Short Skirt?

Alcohol is a game changer, when it comes to rape. If a woman was drinking when she was raped, she will be doubted, and told it was her fault. Like Hester Prynne, she'll be ashamed and blamed. Society will force her to wear the Scarlet Letter A, for alcohol. Friends, family,and if she goes to court, lawyers and judges will scrutinize her behavior. She will be bombarded with questions: How much did you drink? Were you drunk? Were you binge drinking? Why were you drunk and alone with him? These questions are asked to establish that the woman set herself up to be raped, because she consumed alcohol, and you can never trust an intoxicated woman, because she really doesn't remember what happened. It is classic blame the victim! Drink and get raped, and you are chucked into the alcohol rape closet. I was: After a long night of drinking at a bar, I got in a car with a man who later pulled out a knife, and said he would use it, if I didn't do what me told me to. For years, I blamed myself for getting raped because I was drunk. I believed that if I hadn't been drinking, I would never have been raped. I'm not alone. Alcohol is involved in a staggering number of sex crimes. In a national study of college students, 75% of males, and 55% of females involved in date rape, had been drinking or using drugs, prior to the sexual assault. According to a study, done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: "At least one half of all violent crimes involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim, or both. Researchers have consistently found, that men who have been drinking alcohol, commit approximately one half of all sexual assaults. Depending on the sample studied, and the measures used, the estimates for alcohol use among perpetrators have ranged from 34 to 74 percent. Similarly, approximately one half of all sexual victims, report that they were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault, with estimates ranging from 30 to 79 percent. The leading rape myth used to be about what a woman was wearing. The twisted logic goes like this: Women who wear provocative clothing are sluts who are "asking for it." But the feminist movement has seriously chipped away at this rape myth. Thousands of women in Muslim countries who wear the burqa, hijab, and dress modestly are raped and sexually assaulted. In India, according to the National Crime Registry, a woman is raped every 20 minutes. Egypt's Interior Ministry reports that 20,000 women and girls are raped every year.    

James Petras: President Hugo Chavez, A 21st Century

Renaissance Man. President Hugo Chavez was unique in multiple areas of political, social and economic life. He made significant contributions to the advancement of humanity. The depth, scope and popularity of his accomplishments, mark President Chavez as the Renaissance President of the 21st Century. Many writers have noted one or another of his historic contributions, highlighting his anti poverty legislation, his success in winning popular elections, with resounding majorities, and his promotion of universal, free public education and health coverage for all Venezuelans. In this essay, we will highlight the unique world historic contributions that President Chavez made in the spheres of political economy, ethics and international law, and in redefining relations between political leaders and citizens. We shall start with his enduring contribution to the development of civic culture in Venezuela and beyond. Hugo Chavez: The Great Teacher of Civic Values: From his first days in office, Chavez was engaged in transforming the constitutional order, so that political leaders and institutions would be more responsive to the popular electorate. Through his speeches, Chavez clearly and carefully informed the electorate of the measures and legislation to improve their livelihood. He invited comments and criticism. His style was to engage in constant dialogue, especially with the poor, the unemployed and the workers. Chavez was so successful in teaching civic responsibilities to the Venezuelan electorate, that millions of citizens from the slums of Caracas, rose up spontaneously to oust the US backed business military junta, which had kidnapped their president, and closed the legislature. Within seventy two hours record time, the civic minded citizens restored the democratic order, and the rule of law in Venezuela, thoroughly rejecting the mass medias defense of the coup plotters, and their brief authoritarian regime. Chavez, as all great educators, learned from this democratic intervention of the mass of citizens, that democracy is most effective, when defenders were found among the working people, and that its worst enemies were found in the business elites, and military officials linked to Miami and Washington. Chavez civic pedagogy emphasized the importance of the historical teachings and examples of founding fathers like Simon Bolivar, in establishing a national and Latin American identity. 


Alfred Lilliental: Zionist Claim to Israel Unfounded!

Alfred Lilienthal, 1915-2008, was a pioneer anti Zionist Jew, whose many books demolished the Jewish case for the usurpation of Palestine: The home to which so many other Ashkenazim Zionists have yearned to return, has most likely never been theirs. Many Christians may have more Hebrew Israelite blood in their veins, than most of their Jewish neighbors. Much about organized Jewry is a fraud. God's "chosen people" actually have sought to displace Him. The Cabala, their most revered book, is a hoax. Similarly, as Alfred Lillienthal explained in this 1953 essay, their claim to Israel is yet another ruse. Zionism and the New World Order, are partly a recrudescence of Khazar imperialism. Not only Palestinians, but Americans and the whole world are victimized. As Alfred Lillienthal indicated, The Jews are not a Race. When the word Judaism was born, there was no longer a Hebrew Israelite state. The people who embraced the creed of Judaism were already mixed of many races and strains, and this diversification was rapidly growing. Perhaps the most significant mass conversion to the Judaic faith, occurred in Europe, in the 8th century AD, and that story of the Khazars, meaning Turko Finnish people, is quite pertinent to the establishment of the modern State of Israel. This partly nomadic people, probably related to the Volga Bulgars, first appeared in Trans Caucasia, in the second century. They settled in what is now Southern Russia, between the Volga and the Don, and then spread to the shores of the Black, Caspian and Azov seas. The Kingdom of Khazaria, ruled by a khagan or khakan, fell to Attila the Hun in 448, and to the Muslims in 737. In between, the Khazars ruled over part of the Bulgarians, conquered the Crimea, and stretched their kingdom over the Caucasus farther to the northwest, to include Kiev, and eastwards to Derbend. Annual tributes were levied on the Russian Slavonians of Kiev. The city of Kiev was probably built by the Khazars. There were Jews in the city, and the surrounding area, before the Russian Empire was founded by the Varangians, whom the Scandinavian warriors sometimes called the Russ, or Ross, circa 855-863. The influence of the Khazars extended into what is now Hungary and Rumania. Today, the villages of Kozarvar and Kozard in Transylvania bear testimony to the penetration of the Khazars who, with the Magyars, then proceeded into present day Hungary. The size and power of the Kingdom of Khazaria is indicated by the fact that it sent an army of 40,000 soldiers in 626-627, to help Heraclius of the Byzantines to conquer the Persians. The Jewish Encyclopedia proudly refers to Khazaria as having had a well constituted and tolerant government, a flourishing trade, and a well disciplined army!

Dana Visalli: Afghanistan, Ecology and the End of War!r

The United States has spent over $600 billion dollars on its Afghan war effort, but most of the money has gone to military infrastructure and sophisticated weaponry. Little of it has gone to the education of Afghan youth, or to addressing the degradation of Afghan land. The children I am working with, had never heard the word ecology. They can only conjecture at the species of animals and plants, that might co-habit their nation, guessing at camels, elephants and lions, all of which are wrong. One student suggested the word snake. When I asked her if she knew what a snake was, she said that she thought it was some kind of bug. This is one small indicator of the level of ignorance, that humanity faces about the physical world that we inhabit, and ecological basis of life on earth. Traveling around Afghanistan, one impression that dominates, is the absence of vegetation, and the abundance of rocks. It has been estimated that 50% of the country was swathed in forests 2000 years ago, but today tree cover is reduced to 0.25% of the land. The loss is driven by an ancient and growing human population and its attendant herds of domestic sheep, goats, cows and pigs. The removal of a large portion of the biomass from the landscape, means far less moisture is transpired into the atmosphere, reducing precipitation. Thus, human impacts have initiated a negative feedback loop, that has reduced the productive capacity of the Afghanistan's ecosystems. The ecological deterioration has reached crisis proportions, as the human population has grown from 10 million to 35 million in the past 50 years, and is projected to reach 82 million by 2050. The impoverishment of the land has lead to the deepening impoverishment of the Afghan people, with one quarter of the total population, many of them children, living on less than a dollar a day. The American response to this basic lack of ecological insight, has been a military one, an attempt to eradicate poverty and environmental degradation, with a massive influx of bullets and bombs. Our irrational behavior in Afghanistan reflects a pattern that extends well back into history. It is a little known fact, for example, that the genesis of the Korean War was the US military occupation of the country, two days after Korea declared its independence. Korea's issues at the time, were social and environmental. The US response was to drop 600,000 tons of napalm on North Korea, more than we dropped during the entire Vietnam War!  

Roi Tov: The Protocols of Zion!

Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee- Psalms 79:6. Waiting to the right opportunity to comment on certain things can be painful. If unlinked to what most people defone as news, the comment would be ignored. Waiting for the right moment can take years, yet, it invariably arrives. Following an odd chain of events, Israel State Archives have released full versions of documents, that until recently had been censored. Why now? In early 2012, the headquarters of the archive were closed, including for research, due to building licensing issues. In March 2013, the facility is already open. Since this institution belongs to the Prime Minister Bureau, Netanyahu took a simple step to make the move look innocent. In July 2012, the Archives Law was updated, shortening the period after which non security related material is censored, from 30 to 15 years, while lengthening the censorship period of defense related documents up to 70 years. Moreover, the Archives opened its Documentation on the Web project. The result was, that several juicy items from the State's first days were released. The Machine: By definition not a proper state, two institutions manage records related to Israel. The Central Zionist Archives stores documents issued by the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod, and the archives of the World Jewish Congress. It includes over 12 million documents. Israel State Archives stores records of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the State of Israel. It owns over 400 million documents. Israeli government institutions deposit their records at the archives 15 years after the closure of a file. Both institutions operate in Jerusalem. Spectacular Ignorance: One of the disclosed documents is the protocol of a government meeting from September 26, 1948. During the war, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion proposed the conquest of the Southern West Bank, Judea. His proposal was rejected by the government. Most of the file was not classified, but a few lines were kept classified for over sixty years. They included words by Yitzhak Meir Levin, leader of the Haredi Agudat Israel party. Now declassified, they offer an astonishing view of the odd Israeli reality. The Minister had said, Truth, all Gentiles purposely hate us. There is a verse 'Send thy wrath upon the heathen,' a verse that we repeat every Passover "This Ultra Orthodox rabbi mixed up an extremely well known verse. The correct text, which appears in Psalms 79:6, is "Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen," He confused between two popular verses, the other one is Eclessiastes 11:1: "Cast thy bread upon the waters".