Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stanford Researchers Discover The 'Anternet'

The Behavior Of Harvester Ants As They Forage For Food Mirrors The Protocols That Control Traffic On The Internet.

Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, has been studying ants for more than 20 years. When she figured out how the harvester ant colonies she had been observing in Arizona decided when to send out more ants to get food, she called across campus to Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science at Stanford and an expert on how files are transferred on a computer network. At first he didn’t see any overlap between his and Gordon’s work, but inspiration would strike soon.

“The next day it occurred to me, ‘Oh wait, this is almost the same as how [Internet] protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for transferring a file!’” Prabhakar says. ”The algorithm the ants were using to discover how much food there is available is essentially the same as that used in the Transmission Control Protocol.”

Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP, is an algorithm that manages data congestion on the Internet, and as such was integral in allowing the early web to scale up from a few dozen nodes to the billions in use today. Here’s how it works: As a source, A, transfers a file to a destination, B, the file is broken into numbered packets. When B receives each packet, it sends an acknowledgment, or an ant, to A, that the packet arrived.

This feedback loop allows TCP to run congestion avoidance: If ants return at a slower rate than the data was sent out, that indicates that there is little bandwidth available, and the source throttles data transmission down accordingly. If ants return quickly, the source boosts its transmission speed. The process determines how much bandwidth is available and throttles data transmission accordingly.

It turns out that harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) behave nearly the same way when searching for food. Gordon has found that the rate at which harvester ants—which forage for seeds as individuals—leave the nest to search for food corresponds to food availability.

A forager won’t return to the nest until it finds food. If seeds are plentiful, foragers return faster, and more ants leave the nest to forage. If, however, ants begin returning empty handed, the search is slowed, and perhaps called off.

Prabhakar wrote an ant algorithm to predict foraging behavior depending on the amount of food—i.e., bandwidth—available. Gordon’s experiments manipulate the rate of forager return. Working with Stanford student Katie Dektar, they found that the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior found in Gordon’s experiments.

“Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they’ve been doing it for millions of years,” Prabhakar says.

They also found that the ants followed two other phases of TCP. One phase is known as slow start, which describes how a source sends out a large wave of packets at the beginning of a transmission to gauge bandwidth; similarly, when the harvester ants begin foraging, they send out foragers to scope out food availability before scaling up or down the rate of outgoing foragers.

Another protocol, called time-out, occurs when a data transfer link breaks or is disrupted, and the source stops sending packets. Similarly, when foragers are prevented from returning to the nest for more than 20 minutes, no more foragers leave the nest.

Prabhakar says that had this discovery been made in the 1970s, before TCP was written, harvester ants very well could have influenced the design of the Internet.

Gordon thinks that scientists have just scratched the surface for how ant colony behavior could help us in the design of networked systems.

There are 11,000 species of ants, living in every habitat and dealing with every type of ecological problem, Gordon says. “Ants have evolved ways of doing things that we haven’t thought up, but could apply in computer systems. Computationally speaking, each ant has limited capabilities, but the collective can perform complex tasks.

“So ant algorithms have to be simple, distributed, and scalable—the very qualities that we need in large engineered distributed systems,” she says. “I think as we start understanding more about how species of ants regulate their behavior, we’ll find many more useful applications for network algorithms.”

The work is published in the Aug. 23 issue of PLoS Computational Biology.

Via: "Stanford University"

The U.S. Corporate Media’s Conspiracy Of Silence

By Larry Pinkney,

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

—Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]

“We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children."

—Howard Zinn

The late South African political activist Steve Biko correctly said that, “The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” 

The 21st century U.S. corporate-stream media has irrefutably proven this to be accurate. This media is both the bane and the deadly novocaine of the masses of everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation and worldwide.

Rather than being the ‘age of information,’ this century has proven to be to the age of corporate media disinformation, misinformation, distraction, and omission. It is the age of deliberately perpetuated ignorance and manipulation of the masses of everyday people. Even some of the so-called ‘alternative’ media, has been and is, a part of this corporate swindle. Be clear about this.

The silence of the corporate-stream media as pertains to an honest critical historical and contemporary political and social analysis is both deliberate and criminal. The ordinary people of the United States are NOT the enemies of the ordinary peoples of the world. It is the corporate-controlled U.S. government and the U.S. corporate-stream that are the actual enemies of not only the world, but of everyday people in this nation itself.

The corporate gangs, i.e., the Crypts and the Bloods, otherwise known as the Democrats and Republicans, are the murderous bloodsuckers of this nation and of our Mother Earth as a whole! It is no mere coincidence that Comcast (51%) and the giant multi-national General Electric, weapons manufacturer, (49%) outright own NBC (the National Broadcasting Company). Yet, all of the the so-called ‘mainstream’ media is in fact not simply ‘sponsored’ by, but in reality, insidiously owned, by giant bloodsucking corporations. Wake up!

Despite the fact that there is a worldwide Internet, the U.S. corporate-government and their corporate partners are engaged in an intense daily battle to censor, control, and manipulate what we can find and read on it. Moreover, corporate-government ‘trolls’ infest the Internet, interfering with, distorting, and, thereby, subverting information on the Internet on a daily basis. Make no mistake about this. Due to this reality, whether you know it or not, it is a constant struggle to disseminate and share pertinent and crucial information in a timely fashion even on the Internet.

Expect nothing other than distortion, distraction, and manipulation from the corporate media, for that is why it exists!

As conscious people of goodwill, we must disregard the corporate-stream (so-called ‘mainstream’) media. We cannot plead ignorance in this regard. STOP being manipulated by this corporate media. Stop going for the ghost! Grow up and regain your humanity! Make the only relevant media that of everyday people from ordinary, everyday sources; not CBS, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, FOX, PBS, etc.!

It is time for a revolution of the mind—a revolution of consciousness!

Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!

Via: "The Intrepid Report"

“UN Embassies” Coming To A City Near You

By Patrick Henningsen
Courtesy Of "Global Research"

The UN is currently expanding beyond its traditional citadels in New York City and Geneva,  dispatching brand new missions to the various global ‘regions’ which many believe will join a new ‘global government’ over the coming decade. The UK appears to be paving the way, hosting the first ‘UN House’ in a key oligarchical seat of power – located in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In keeping with its altruistic public relations narrative, its missions will be erected under the guise of “helping to raise awareness of the UN’s work on issues including child welfare, women’s rights and climate change”, according to a recent report by the BBC.
In essence, this new ‘UN House’ constitutes a UN Embassy, as its own sovereign territory located within the United Kingdom.
The present United Nations international body was formed after the Second World War, and financed by luminaries like John D. Rockefeller, Jr, before its headquarters opened on January 9, 1951. It continues to receive hundreds of billions of dollars per year from its member states, with the United States of America injecting the largest sum into the UN system, totaling over $6.34 (figure available from 2009).
Wherever its outposts are located, the UN enjoys numerous diplomatic privileges and special immunities for its workers.
During the UN’s Kosovo mission in 2004, reports saw the rapid growth of sex-trafficking and forced prostitution rackets enabled by key UN administrators and NATO peacekeeping soldiers who took over the Balkan province in 1999. According to the Guardian’s accounts at the time, “UN police, and western aid workers operated with near impunity in exploiting the victims of the sex traffickers”. This is just one example of many, whereby anyone working for, or corporates affiliated with the UN were granted immunity, and allowed to conduct illegal and destructive activities falling far outside of the norms of local and international law, in many cases – with little or no accountability.
The popular public narrative for its function is as a ‘international peace keeper’, but with hundreds of conflicts raging globally at an almost constant rate, critics of the UN will rightly questions its peace keeping credentials, and often ask whether or not the UN is simply a political device which facilitates Anglo-American and European financial, military, and pharmaceutical interests worldwide, as well as seeding its own UN socialisation, educational and collectivist ‘green’ agendas like Agenda 21 globally, not only in the developing world – but also in developed countries like the US and Great Britain.
Critics also claim the UN is nothing more than a global ‘gravy train’ for thousands of career bureaucrats, NGO’s and their associate contractor companies, who feed off of the UN’s thousands of social engineering and economic development programs annually.
In addition, UN organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) have overseen the distribution of dangerous vaccines in many economically vulnerable areas worldwide, prompting many to question whether WHO is indeed responsible for outbreaks of viruses in those very regions.
PR will be a key part of the UN’s brand new Edinburgh mission. The UN’s press department claims that its new UK mission will help the organisation to “play its part in tackling global poverty, inequality and injustice”, somewhat inferring that individual nation states could be ill-equipped to achieve such socially progressive goals.
Aside from its obvious PR, recruitment and social education, residents might rightly ask:
Will the UN be running its social programs for the UK from its new Edinburgh base of operations?
If a ‘One World’, global government is to be ushered in as a result of some future catastrophic event like a 911, a mass biological or radiological, or a WWIII scenario, then the UN will certainly be the template for such a momentous transition.
This article just in…

UN House Scotland Opens In Edinburgh

A new centre which aims to become the voice of the United Nations in Scotland has opened in Edinburgh.
Sept 20, 2012
UN House Scotland brings together agencies raising awareness of the UN’s work on issues including child welfare, women’s rights and climate change.
Based in Hunter Square, the centre also acts as a resource centre for academics, students and members of the public interested in UN affairs.
The shared facility is the first of its kind in the UK.
It includes representatives from eight UN-affiliated organisations currently working in Scotland.
Among them is the United Nations Association (UNA) Scotland, whose convenor Gari Donn said: “By combining our activities under the umbrella of UN House Scotland, we hope to raise public awareness of the work of the UN on issues that concern and, in many cases, directly affect the people of Scotland.
“Essentially, our aim is to become the voice of the UN in Scotland.”
External Affairs and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The agencies and organisations who will work here already make a significant contribution to civic life in Scotland.
“By bringing their combined expertise and experience together, their impact can only be enhanced.
“The establishment of a UN House in Edinburgh is a recognition of Scotland’s long and proud history as a nation with an international approach and a concern to play its part in tackling global poverty, inequality and injustice.”

“Mini-Nukes” Are Not Dangerous To Civilians

By Sherwood Ross
Courtesy Of "Global Research"

Based on the fallacious notion advanced by the Pentagon that “mini-nukes” are not dangerous to civilians, Congress in 2002 gave the Pentagon a green light to use them in “conventional war theaters” alongside traditional weapons. In fact, the so-called mini-nukes may have up to six times the blast power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima on August 6, 1945!
The Pentagon’s official Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) of 2001 was risky enough. That document created “contingency plans” for an actual offensive “first strike use” of nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea as well as against Russia and China.  These were adopted without real public debate. The very notion that the U.S. would so much as consider a “first strike” nuclear attack on another country likely would be rejected overwhelmingly by an American public staunchly opposed to starting any war of aggression, much less a nuclear holocaust.
The adoption by Congress of the NPR late the following year legitimized the Pentagon’s illegal (under international law) preemptive nuclear war doctrine both in terms of military planning as well as defense procurement and production. Congress not only rolled back its prohibition on low-yield nuclear weapons, it also funded them. In so doing, it expanded what had been an exclusive presidential prerogative to instead confer decision-making powers on battlefield commanders as well. Thus, a general in charge of a regional war zone, say, covering Central Asia or the Middle East could order the use of tactical nuclear weapons without getting a green light from the President and Commander in Chief.
In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to draft a “contingency plan” that included “a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and nuclear weapons.” The scheme identified more than 450 targets in Iran, not just suspected nuclear sites, and was, incredibly, drawn up in the event of a second 9/11-type attack backed by Iran!
Today, President Obama has largely endorsed the same doctrine of pre-emptive, that is to say, first strike, nuclear attack, first formulated by the Bush Administration. Obama has even intimated he would use nukes in the event Iran fights back if attacked by Israel. One ludicrous aspect of the propaganda driving a confrontation is that Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program, is labeled a threat to global security while the U.S. calls its own nuclear weapons “humanitarian.”
In sum, at no point since the nuclear bombings of Japan in 1945 has humanity been closer to the unthinkable — a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread radioactive fallout over a large part of the Middle East and possibly across Europe, Asia, and Africa as well. At the very least, the American people need to know the Pentagon and Military-Industrial Complex are pushing the nation towards the use of nuclear weapons in the event of war.
“The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.
“While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.
Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.
The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.
Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.
Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.
The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.” (Michel Chossudovsky,Towards a World War III Scenario, Global Research, Montreal,  2012)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

AIPAC Launched Own Think Tank

By Grant Smith
Courtesy Of "Anti-War"

Many who have now seen creepy event video clips featuring Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Research Director Patrick Clawson listing "crisis initiation" pretexts such as the Gulf of Tonkin phantom torpedo attacks, or false blame for the sinking of the USS Maine, felt it was a subtle call for false flag attacks that would drag a reluctant United States into war with Iran. The full video of the think tank’s event is well worth watching. Dennis Ross struggles mightily to answer reporter Barbara Slavin’s simple question into how WINEP will move beyond diplomatic "red lines" against Iran when polls reveal the majority of Americans have now grown tired of costly elective wars in the Middle East. At one point former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyist Steven J. Rosen’s seemingly disembodied head eerily floats across the screen.
Those seeking background information about WINEP on its official website are informed that WINEP was founded in 1985 by a small group of visionary Americans committed to advancing U. S. interests in the Middle East. Like much of the website’s content, this information isn’t actually true. WINEP was actually incorporated during an espionage investigation crisis that enveloped AIPAC in 1984. The spin-off is eerily reminiscent of AIPAC’s own crisis-driven formation two decades earlier as the Senate struck back against the same types of false flag incitement now emanating from WINEP.
Between 1982 and 1985 English/Australian immigrant to America Martin Indyk busily served as deputy research director at AIPAC. Under Indyk’s reign, AIPAC pumped out a steady flow of lobbying booklets arguing for ever greater U.S. military support to Israel such as "The Strategic Value of Israel" (1982), "Israel and the U.S. Air Force" (1983), "Israel and the U.S. Navy" (1983), "Israeli Medical Support for U.S. Armed Forces" (1983) and "U.S. Procurement of Israeli Defense Goods and Services" (1984). Securing duty-free Israeli access to the entire U.S. economy was the AIPAC research division’s most important project in 1984. But trade negotiations were going badly at the beginning of 1984. Undercutting the arguments of today’s pundits who opine that U.S. industry is the eager driver of ever more dangerously entangling economic and military ties, the majority of U.S. companies providing formal inputdidn’t want any special trade preferences granted to Israel, an economy then dominated by state-run industries. Monsanto even suggested that if the U.S was even going to bother with trade negotiations to boost volumes through comparative advantage, it should do so with a worthwhile economic partner such as Taiwan, Hong Kong or Japan.
Help soon arrived in the form of Israeli Minister of Economics Dan Halpern. Halpern provided AIPAC a stolen copy (PDF) of a secret International Trade Commission report outlining the precise objections supported by arguments using internal industry and secret market data provided in confidence to the US government by American companies opposed to Israeli concessions. It was an indispensible resource for AIPAC’s counter-lobbying and public relations. Unfortunately, by August 3, 1984 theWashington Post broke the news that the FBI was investigating how AIPAC "obtained a copy of a classified document that spells out the American negotiating strategy in trade talks with Israel…" By November 1, 1984 the U.S. Bromine Alliance was in urgent talks with the International Trade Commission Chairwoman, publicly demanding to know how much of their industry’s secret trade and market data had been leaked to AIPAC and Israel’s state-run producer. Perhaps ominously for Indyk and other staffers, an August 13, 1984 FBI report stated "files contain an unsubstantiated allegation that a member of the Israeli Intelligence Service was a staff member of AIPAC…"
The very same month – on November 14, 1984 – the Washington Institute for Near East Policy was incorporated in Washington D.C. (PDF) WINEP was formed not by "prominent individuals" but Martin Indyk’s wife Jill along with Marilyn Edeson and Elizabeth Chotin according to original articles of incorporation obtained from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. As the FBI’s espionage and theft-of-government-policy dragnet tightened around AIPAC during the "Year of the Spy" spurred by revelations of Jonathan Pollard’s espionage bonanza against the Defense Intelligence Agency, Martin Indyk jumped the burning AIPAC ship and quietly regrouped research production within WINEP. By 1986 WINEP was doing public relations work for the disastrous Lavi jet fighter program while providing a Washington perch for a visiting Shimon Peres to chastise Soviet immigration policy. Thwarted by Israeli diplomatic immunity claims, the FBI quietly shut down its investigation in 1987 after learning much about AIPAC and Israeli officials’ various roles in duplicating and handling classified economic documents – all to the detriment of democratic process in the US.
Although WINEP’s founding myth is that its "scholars" simply wanted to do serious research independent of AIPAC (while funded by AIPAC’s major donors), history indicates that survivability is a more compelling reason for its quiet launch in November of 1984. In a worse-case scenario, espionage or theft of government property indictments would have likely destroyed either AIPAC or WINEP – but not both. Splitting up was the same survivalist strategy that led to the spinoff of AIPAC just six weeks after its parent organization, the American Zionist Council, was ordered to register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962 – which brings this latest Israel lobbying and covert action saga full-circle.
AIPAC’s parent was ordered to register as a foreign agent (destroying it, though it took a few years) as a result of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigation into the activities of foreign agents in the U.S. and abroad. The key reason given for the investigation was the Senate’s fear of foreign agents calling out for Israeli false flag attacks to goad the U.S. into action against the broader national interest. According to a declassified 1961 memo chartering the Senate investigation "In recent years there has been an increasing number of incidents involving attempts by foreign governments, or their agents, to influence the conduct of American foreign policy by techniques outside normal diplomatic channels…..there have been occasions when representatives of other governments have been privately accused of engaging in covert activities within the United States and elsewhere, for the purpose of influencing United States Policy (the Lavon Affair)." The "Lavon Affair", mentioned twice in the memo, refers to Israel’s "Operation Susannah" terror attacks on U.S. targets – not to goad America into attacking Iran – but to keep a U.S. presence in a neutral Suez Canal zone. No other country is mentioned as a false flag "crisis initiator" in the declassified memo.
WINEP’s sordid history and current calls for "crisis initiation" means it is once again time for Americans to be extra vigilant and ready for action against the movements and machinations of Israel’s most deceptive and dangerous foreign agent duo.

AIPAC-Drafted US Aid To Israel Is Illegal

Israel's Nuclear Weapons Render It Ineligible For US Aid

Grant Smith writes in "Anti-War",

The Israel lobby’s biggest and longest-running Washington boondoggles are the massive annual weapons and economic packages to Israel. Tightly coordinated campaign contributors (both individuals and political action committees) and the Israeli government’s own quiet demands manifest themselves within AIPAC-drafted foreign aid legislation. The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012forces Americans to fork hard-earned tax dollars over to Israel’s coffers on the pretext that it is in eminent danger. Yet declassified documents reveal that even the current prime minister once worked inside the state’s clandestine nuclear arms smuggling rings. Transferring foreign aid to the Middle East’s sole nuclear weapons state — which can obviously take care of itself — is not just unseemly and unnecessary. It is illegal.
AIPAC’s publicly available tax return [.pdf] reveals it has now become as seamlessly linked to its foreign principal as its parent organization — the American Zionist Council — was when it was finally ordered by the Kennedy administration to openly register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962. AIPAC spent $1,541,572 maintaining its Jerusalem office. The office, led by Wendy Senor Singer, is described as the official location for daily meetings with senior Israeli government officials. It is also used to coordinate the visits of supplicant U.S. politicians with funding from a mysteriouscaptive charity of no employees claiming to be an educational organization [.pdf]. The Israeli government’s desires are seamlessly transcribed into legislation at AIPAC’s headquarters in Washington — raising the perennial question why AIPAC is not registering as Israel’s foreign agent.
In relation to the sheer volume of American taxpayer dollars it transfers to Israel, on paper AIPAC is a rather thinly-funded and top-heavy organization. In its latest schedule of contributors, filed in late April and just obtained by special request from the IRS, AIPAC reported that only 1,949 individual contributors provided 61% of its $64 million in total contributions and grants.* The top-tier donors each gave on average $20,206, with the top donor chipping in an impressive $6,610,181. Although contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations like AIPAC are not tax-deductible, corporations and partnerships can write off contributions as a business expense. One AIPAC donor, an attorney in New York City whose confidential data the IRS didn’t successfully scrub, presumably paid AIPAC with funds from his law partnership, which AIPAC listed as the contributor’s address.
AIPAC claims in mandatory disclosures filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives over the same time period that it spent approximately 4% of its total budget on actual lobbying. AIPAC’s core lobbying mission hasn’t changed much since AIPAC’s founder left his Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs post in New York in 1951. Isaiah Kenen’s mission was to obtain U.S.-taxpayer-funded weapons and aid by lobbying from a Jewish Agency funded front group of “concerned Americans” rather than working openly as Israel’s officially registered foreign agent. In Kenen’s day, Israel first obtained massive amounts of surplus WWII conventional weapons simply by stealing or purchasing [.pdf] them to be scrapped and instead smuggling them from the United States in violation of the Arms Export Control and Neutrality Acts. The smuggling networks were established and funded by small numbers of wealthy Zionists who were curiously immune from criminal prosecution. When less enfranchised citizens later demanded warranted prosecutions, the Justice Department simply ignored them, establishing a policy that has held fast to the present day.
The AIPAC-sponsored U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2012, makes unprecedented demands on U.S. taxpayers and diplomats. It mandates American economic largess to Israel via high technology, agriculture, medicine, health, pharmaceutical, and energy transfers. It demands funding for Israel Aerospace Industries (a corporation only recently linkedto Israeli espionage activities against the U.S.) missile-defense programs and air-refueling tankers and munitions Israel could use to unilaterally set off a wider war with Iran. Israel even won a detour of used weapons from U.S. forces departing Iraq. The aid law extends already generous loan guarantees to Israel.
However, the package also requires the U.S. president to issue to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and House Committee on Foreign Affairs a report on the status of Israel’s “qualitative military edge” by Jan. 23, 2013. It is finally time for some hard truths. An honest presidential response to this AIPAC-mandated reporting rider would wipe clean all current and future U.S.-taxpayer-funded obligations to Israel. A truthful presidential assessment would finally tell the American people the following: “Israel has deployed a clandestine nuclear arsenal with some componentsand materials stolen from the United States. Our foreign aid laws therefore make Israel ineligible for further taxpayer dollars.”
Such a truthful declaration would turn the tables on AIPAC and its small group of donors now pushing Americans to steal from themselves by systematically violating the Symington and Glenn amendments to U.S. foreign aid laws. Ending aid would disentangle unwitting Americans from Israel’s unending conflicts, illegal settlements, systematized abuse of Palestinians, and clandestine nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. 

*As reported in 2011, in previous years AIPAC filed contributor schedules with the IRS that improperly listed only two donor entries. After numerous complaints were made to the IRS, AIPAC has apparently been forced to again file proper schedules listing every contributor donating more than $5,000.

"The West Has Abandoned Us"

Majed al-Muhammad, the commander of a Syrian antigovernment fighting group, offered a warning to the West now commonly heard among fighters seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian people are being radicalized by a combination of a grinding conflict and their belief that they have been abandoned by a watching world.If the West continues to turn its back on Syria’s suffering, he said, Syrians will turn their backs in return, and this may imperil Western interests and security at one of the crossroads of the Middle East."
This is a theme that has resonated in recent days, not just in Syria, but in Turkey, there is a growing sense of frustration shared by the Syrian rebels that the West, the United States in particular, called for Mr. Assad to leave power, only to sit quietly on the sidelines as the crisis transformed into a bloody civil war.
“We are now at a very critical juncture,” wrote Melih Asik in the Turkish newspaper Milliyet. “We are not only facing Syria, but Iran, Iraq, Russia and China behind it as well. Behind us, we have nothing but the provocative stance and empty promises of the U.S.”
Wearied by violence, heading into another winter of fighting, and enraged by what they see as the inaction and hypocrisy of powerful nations, frontline leaders of the rebellion say that the West risks losing a potential ally in the Middle East if the Assad government should fall.
The corollary is frequently sounded, too: The West may be gaining enemies where it might have found friends. As anger grows, armed groups opposed to the United States may grow in numbers and stature, too.
“The United Nations and international community are making a big mistake,” said Ghassan Abdul Wahib, 43, a truck driver and now a leader in Kafr Takharim, a village in the north. “By letting this be a long war, they are dragging Syria toward radicalism, and they will suffer from this for a long time.”
“We haven’t received anything from the outside,” said Thayar, a member of the ad hoc governing body in Kafr Takharim known as the revolutionary council. (He asked that his last name be withheld to protect him and his family from retaliation.) “We read in the media that we are receiving things. But we haven’t seen it. We only received speeches from the West.”
Mr. Wahib, the leader in Kafr Takharim, dismissed the discussions in the United Nations as a choreographed show. 
“The whole world is now trying to destroy Syria,” he said. “The international community knows that Assad is dead, but they want war so it destroys Syria and puts us back 100 years. In this way, Israel will be safe.”
“The United Nations,” he added, “is a partner in destroying Syria.”

Freedom Of Speech: Insults, Incitement and Islam

Graham Peebles argues that to reduce the issue of the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” to notions of freedom of speech versus censorship “is a convenient distraction fabricated in order to avoid discussing the filmmakers’ intention and the underlying causes of hurt and anger among Muslims which arise largely out of American foreign policy”.
Across the Muslim World there is outrage and hurt at the latest calculated attack on Islam, in the form of the film trailer “Innocence of Muslims. All who hold human rights and moral decency close to their heart share their indignation.
Freedom of speech is a basic human right, protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states:
  1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference, and
  2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression.
Rights enshrined in law that are nevertheless denied to many, rights supposedly honoured in democratic countries.
Expressions of free speech that are little more than propaganda, that consciously incite hatred and spark acts of violence are rightly restricted under the very law that protects our freedom of expression. Article 20, paragraph 2 of the same covenant states that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Innocence Of Muslims”

The amateurish film with no real narrative portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a violent and lascivious fool. It is cheaply made, poorly acted and directed, and as a piece of filmmaking it is to be dismissed out of hand, but as The Guardian put it, “the really sinister thing is that all this ham-fistedness and crassness is in an important sense deliberate. It has to look like propaganda for the provocation to be effective.” The actors claim they did not know what the film was about or its purpose, and some speak of suing the producers. The BBC reports: “One actress featured in the film said she had no idea it would be used for anti-Islamic propaganda and condemned it.” Offensive dialogue that insults Islam and the Prophet Muhammad has been crudely added after filming.
The trailer was written and produced in the USA by Nakoula Basseley, an Egyptian Coptic Christian living in California, who drafted much of the script while serving a prison sentence for fraud. According to the Gawker website, it was directed “by a 65-year-old schlock director named Alan Roberts. He’s the creative vision behind soft-core porn classics like The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.” Whether a full film version exists is speculation; the trailer however has done its toxic, destructive work.
Basseley says his wife’s family paid for the film, but it is still unclear how it was funded or what the cost was. Whatever the amount, it is hard to justify any expense at all on a film rooted in such prejudice and hatred, which serves no purpose other than to hurt and insult Muslims throughout the world, reinforce negative stereotypes, incite violence and fuel division. The film is, as the Guardian states, “a bigoted piece of poison calculated to inflame the Muslim world … it might be risible were it not for the ugly Islamophobia which it promotes and whose effects are now being seen around the world.”

Intended Fury

The film has unsurprisingly prompted widespread protests throughout the world. On 11 September in Cairo protesters scaled the walls of the American embassy, pulled down the US flag and called for the expulsion of the US ambassador to Cairo. In Libya, the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other American staff members were killed in the American embassy in what appears to have been an unrelated, pre-planned military-style attack.
Other protests directly triggered by the offensive, degrading film, and sadly resulting in many deaths, have since taken place in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Sudan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Britain, Nigeria and Kashmir.

Free Speech Or Incitement?

The film and the reaction to it has prompted much to be written and spoken about unrestricted free speech and the dangers of censorship. Writing in The Observer, Nick Cohen argues that “Nothing, however vile, justifies censorship. Even in the hardest of cases such as this anti-Islamic film, the old arguments against censorship remain the best.” The observation of basic human rights is the foundation for any democratic society and free speech is a fundamental requirement. Where it is absent, totalitarian control of one kind of another becomes possible, perhaps inevitable.
Freedom of expression is indeed a fundamental human right, but it does not stand alone, or above other related rights, such as human dignity and mutual respect. All need to coexist and indeed all are indivisible.
There are though many methods of control and restriction of freedoms, both crude and subtle. Is for example the manufacturing of consent, a form of sociological coercion commonplace in America and elsewhere compatible with freedom and/or democratic principles of independent thinking and participation. As Noam Chomsky says, “the anti-democratic thrust of opinion in what are called democratic societies is really ferocious, and for good reason. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.” The “great beast” is, of course, us – the 99 per cent.
The making and distribution of this film is not an expression of freedom of any kind; it contributes nothing of value to the political environment or social discourse and has no artistic merit. The Anna Lindh Foundation reinforced this view in a statement in which it described the film as “an inflammatory pamphlet, the distribution of which – on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 11 September – cannot be abridged to a manifestation of freedom of expression”.
International law, acting as a guide and aid to clarity of thinking, states there are limits to free speech. Where such expression is clearly based on racial or religious hatred and incites violence, then it is illegal and the perpetrators should be subject to prosecution. For where the law is infringed consequences follow – something Israel should be made aware of. What is crucial is the motive. If something is spoken, written, painted, drawn, filmed ,etc. with the premeditated intention of causing offence, because it is rooted in hatred of one kind or another, it is outside the law.
Freedom of expression is indeed a fundamental human right, but it does not stand alone, or above other related rights, such as human dignity and mutual respect. All need to coexist and indeed all are indivisible.
Unless the filmmakers of “Innocence of Muslims” are completely na├»ve or plain stupid, they would have known that producing a film in which the Prophet Muhammad is portrayed as a violent, promiscuous simpleton would inevitably cause offence and would probably result in violent demonstrations. Therefore, the film breaches international guidelines on free speech, and should be banned, its makers charged and prosecuted. Al-Jazeera quotes the filmmaker Danny Schechter, whose view on the film is clear: “It is very political from beginning to end. It’s not about free expression; it’s about propaganda. The film is incitement – it’s not information, it’s not filmmaking and it’s really intended as a technique of war-making.”
What good can possibly come from continuing to allow such a distasteful film to be circulated? It serves no purpose other than to provoke further potential violence. It enables Muslims to be marginalized and demonized again and constructs a perverse justification for continued American and Israeli intimidation, aggression and the spreading of paranoia. Allowing this film to be shown or not has little to do with censorship and/or free speech, and to reduce this issue to such notions is a convenient distraction fabricated in order to avoid discussing the filmmakers’ intention and the underlying causes of hurt and anger among Muslims which arise largely out of American foreign policy.

Simmering Resentment “The Safeguard Of Justice”

Opinion among large numbers of Muslims throughout the world towards America is overwhelmingly negative. The Pew Research Centre found in a recent survey that there remains “a widespread perception that the US acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries. In predominantly Muslim nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular.” In fact, according to the Pew Centre report only 15 per cent of Muslims have confidence in President Barack Obama, approve of his foreign policies and hold favourable views of America in general. The Pew Centre states: “In a number of strategically important Muslim nations, America’s image has not improved during the Obama presidency.” In fact, it has deteriorated, as US policies throughout the region continue to cause consternation among large numbers of Muslims (and of course more widely).
American support for Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, which violates a host of international and indeed national laws and contravenes numerous UN resolutions, is perhaps top of the list. It is followed by the Iraq war, US involvement in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, long running proxy wars in Somalia, and US support for “friendly dictators”. Add to this confinement without trial, abuse and torture in Guantanamo and Bagram prisons, the burning of the Quran by US soldiers in Afghanistan and by Florida “pastor” Terry Jones, and disrespecting the dead bodies of Afghans. The list is indeed long and damning, and so it goes on.
The recent demonstrations were simply sparked by the film “Innocence of Muslims”, but the the film was not the root cause of the protests. As Shashank Joshi, Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, states, “we are witnessing profound anti-Americanism, dormant for much of last year, fused with religious extremism – with the controversial ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film merely a trigger”. Of course, extremists were involved and never miss an opportunity, their violent actions distorting the events, feeding prejudice and creating a convenient diversion from the issues.

US Ideals Of Peace Justifying Conflict

All violence is to be condemned and the attacks that caused deaths and injuries resulting from these protests are no exception – they should not be allowed to take centre stage, and it must be stated that the vast majority of actions undertaken have been peaceful and without incident. The Anna Lindh Foundation says in relation to the protests that “the vast majority of Muslim public opinion has expressed its anger to [sic] the release of the film peacefully and individually, and the Arab governments of the region have reiterated their commitment with [sic] cultural inclusiveness while condemning the attacks to [sic] diplomatic delegations.”
For peace to envelop our world … there must be tolerance, cooperation and understanding of others, not ideological imposition – of any kind. The equitable sharing of natural resources, of knowledge, ideas and experience will create justice.
 To speak with solemnity and shock, calling for justice against the perpetrators of violence as US officials have, is expected and indeed right, albeit hypocritical. In order to create peace, it is necessary to remove the causes of conflict, in this case those causes are complex and not confined to one poorly-made and deeply offensive film. It is offensive, let us add, not just to Muslims, who are understandably enraged, but to all right-minded men and women respectful and tolerant of others’ beliefs and cultures.
American foreign policy is seen by many to be that which seeks to extend the influence and maximize the power of America, safeguard its interests at the expense of others and the natural environment, and support criminality – Israel comes to mind. Such distasteful American foreign policies go back decades. As Noam Chomskystates: “Even in the 1950s, President Eisenhower was concerned about what he called a campaign of hatred of the US in the Arab world, because of the perception on the Arab street that it supported harsh and oppressive regimes to take their oil.” A perception that has proved to be correct.
Ideologically driven, Washington’s attitude is that when all follow America’s lead on matters relating to economics, politics, religion and social affairs, peace will inevitably follow, and not until. With this doctrine in mind, America has sought to dominate the world, repeatedly making war in the name of peace.
Peace, though, is beyond ideology. For peace to envelop our world as men ad women everywhere hope, there must be tolerance, cooperation and understanding of others, not ideological imposition – of any kind. The equitable sharing of natural resources, of knowledge, ideas and experience will create justice.
Dissipating mistrust and resentment will lead to peace and a natural movement towards unity that encourages the greatest possible diversity, enriching the lives of us all.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Tale Of 2 Threats

By Peter Jenkins,

It’s not easy for a European observer of US politics to understand why the US Congress seems so much more concerned by Iran’s nuclear activities than by those of North Korea (the DPRK). Congressional pressure on the White House to put a stop to Iranian activities seems never-ending and Congressional majorities for anti-Iranian resolutions are staggering. In comparison, when did Congress last pass a resolution requiring the administration to take action against the DPRK?
To a European, North Korea looks to be a greater and more actual threat to US interests than Iran.
North Korea is sitting atop enough plutonium for perhaps a dozen nuclear weapons. Two underground nuclear tests have shown that the North Koreans are able to put together nuclear devices, though experts surmise that these are still somewhat rudimentary.
North Korea has also acquired the capacity to enrich uranium. Western experts have seen a relatively small enrichment plant at the main DPRK nuclear research centre. There has been speculation that there exists a larger plant deep within the mountains in the North of the country.
Iran has no plutonium. Iran has so far shown no sign of wanting to enrich this material to the 90% level required for weapons. The Iranians are not suspected of having conducted nuclear tests; they may not be capable of assembling a workable nuclear explosive device.
North Korea expelled the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the end of 2002, and has only allowed them back in for a brief period since. Over the last ten years no state has received as many IAEA inspections as Iran, whose two enrichment plants were declared to the IAEA before they started to operate.
North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in early 2003, having failed to correct the nuclear safeguards non-compliance declared by the IAEA in 1993. Iran corrected its pre-2004 safeguards failures within two years of their discovery; it expressed regret over these transgressions; and ever since it has affirmed the fullest of commitments to the NPT, to which it became a party fifteen years before the DPRK.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons are viewed as a threat by two of the US’s most valuable allies: Japan and South Korea (the ROK). These two allies are crucial to the US’s defence of its strategic interests in the Western Pacific. In the event of hostilities between the US and China (heaven forefend!) Japan would offer the US vital staging facilities, akin to those the US would have enjoyed in the UK if the US needed to go to war on the European mainland.
US strategic interests in South West Asia are on the wane. The US is now self-sufficient in natural gas and imports less than 12% of the crude oil it consumes from the Gulf; it could quite easily switch to African and American suppliers if Saudi and Iraqi supplies were threatened. 
Since the end of the Cold War, over twenty years ago, no single power has been capable of challenging US influence in South West Asia, whereas China is increasingly seen in the US as an emerging challenger to the US in East Asia.
When it comes to making belligerent noises, Iran’s leaders can’t hold a candle to those of North Korea. And the average alienist would surely find it easier to treat the former than the latter.
In 2011 US merchandise exports to the Far East were worth $286 billion and imports $718 billion. Comparable figures for South West Asia, including Turkey and Israel, were $71 billion and $108 billion. Far Eastern investors supply the US with a far larger percentage of external credit than do Middle Eastern investors. Far Eastern corporations are major employers and tax-payers in the United States.
All of these very basic facts must be familiar to Congressional staffers, if not to members of Congress. So how can one explain the disproportionate attention that Congress pays to Iran’s nuclear activities?
I have a theory. But I think it would be more appropriate for me to leave readers to come up with their own answers. I suspect that most will be honest enough to admit to themselves that they have a pretty shrewd idea as well.
Via: "LobeLog"