Thursday, May 29, 2008

Figuring Out Your Place in the U.S. Hegemony

Brian Cloughley
Wed, 28 May 2008 07:00 EDT

A country really gets the message about its importance to America when a major event affecting it, in which the US is deeply involved, is given a mere 55 words on page 9 of the New York Times. The May 14 attack on Damadola, a village in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan abutting Afghanistan, in which US drones fired missiles inside Pakistan's territory for the fourth time this year, killing some - oh, just a few - of its citizens, isn't worth a yawn in Bush America. Even the Times, a reasonably liberal newspaper with no admiration for the regime in Washington, relegated the 'incident' to an inside page alongside an equally in-depth item about the effects of global warming on the supply of truffles in France.

But some news outlets were more informative, and Reuters reported Pakistan's military spokesman, the urbane Major General Athar Abbas, as saying about the missile attack that "We have informed the coalition headquarters in Afghanistan [of the incident] . . . we have raised this issue in [the] tripartite commission" (which is a consultative group of military officers and civilian officials from the foreign military forces in Afghanistan, together with Afghan and Pakistan representatives - in that order of precedence). General Abbas left policy comment to the civilian authorities, as is proper, and AFP recorded Pakistan's government being forthright, in that : "Asked about the attack apparently carried out by the US, Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani said: 'I strongly condemn this. It's absolutely wrong. It's unfair. They should not have done this . . . Several innocent people have been killed. We condemn it'."

The only foreign force in Afghanistan that operates drones capable of firing missiles is the US. Further, it is the only nation in the foreign "coalition" that is so arrogant as to think nothing of violating the territory of a sovereign nation and killing its citizens. There will be no apology for this contravention of international principles which, in the words of the Charter of the United Nations, require that its members refrain "from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

There is no moral ground for Washington to claim that its killing of Pakistani civilians - in this most recent case a woman and at least two children - was justified because they were allegedly in the vicinity of suspected militants. This was a war crime. Further, the very word "suspected" indicates the illegality of killing anyone of that description, never mind women and children. It is nonsense to aver that a person "suspected" of being a member of al Qaeda or any other band of fanatical thugs can be killed - murdered - without internationally recognised evidence and without recourse to even the most rudimentary process of international justice. Of course it can be claimed that some of the people who died may have been members of al Qaeda, but this does not justify in the slightest way a missile attack on a sovereign nation.

In any event, US intelligence concerning the presence of alleged terrorists in villages in Pakistan has proved ludicrously faulty in the past. Ayman al-Zawahiri was supposed to be in Damadola in January 2006. So the US fired four Hellfire missiles into the village, killing civilians. But he appeared two weeks later, vowing revenge. (Surprise, surprise.) Of course the government in Islamabad complained, calling the attack "highly condemnable" and protested against the "loss of innocent civilian lives" (five women and five children were killed in this one), but might as well have saved its collective breath, for all the effect its voice had in Washington or anywhere else, including the UN Security Council which is supposed to protect the weak against the strong. Fat chance of that.

And no matter who becomes US president next year it cannot be expected that these attacks will cease. After the 2006 Damadola attack Senator McCain declared "It's terrible when innocent people are killed ; we regret that . . . but I can't tell you that we wouldn't do the same thing again." (This is the man who is held to be a hero for bombing civilians in North Vietnam. Heaven knows how many children he killed in those days.) His leading opponent, Senator Obama, stated in August last year that "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistan] won't act, we will." So he endorses killing kids, too, if they get in the way of "high-value" targets. And there is no reason to believe that Senator Clinton would object to the CIA and the Pentagon continuing their crazy Crusade.

* * *

It is not difficult to imagine the fury in America if its southern neighbour, Mexico, sent a drone over the border and fired missiles that killed American citizens. There would be a hysterical reaction and calls for invasion, air strikes, economic sanctions, condemnation by the Security Council ; the whole box of indignant tricks. But what would happen if the CIA thought that Ayman al-Zawahiri or any other person of similar persuasion was in China or Russia? Would a US missile be fired into Chinese or Russian territory? Certainly not. So why blitz Pakistan?

There is a curious set of double standards being applied, and it is appalling that Pakistan should suffer the indignity of having its sovereignty violated and its citizens killed in the name of "freedom." Apart from any other consideration, these attacks have rallied the Frontier tribes and, it seems, indeed, the majority of Pakistanis to the ever-welcoming banner of anti-Americanism. People resent the slaughter of fellow citizens by missiles fired by those who profess friendship. But with friends like these, who needs enemies?

[Interesting eh? Just the thing to keep the military budgets growing. Gotta protect that Afghan Frontier. You'd almost think it was on purpose . . . ]

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More than Bush: The U.S. on the Couch

The Daily Burkeman 1
Thu, 15 May 2008 06:23 EDT

In writing yesterday's post on a few basic operating truisms of American foreign policy I was reminded of a blog post that compared the underlying ideas and motivations of US foreign policy to the malignant dementia that laid inside the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui.

Re-reading that post by Arthur Silber (which I highly recommend you read in full) I decided to see if there was any relation between how the US acts abroad and the clinical personality attributes of a sociopath.

I found this bullet list for profiling a sociopath. Let's take a look and see if there are any match ups.

Manipulative and Conning

They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

Ding. First match. The US does not even recognize defending oneself from US attack as permissible. We are a country that snatches people off the streets in sovereign foreign countries and spirits them out illegally to be tortured and perhaps murdered in the gulags and dungeons of third world client states. Other nations have no rights. Iran's right to nuclear power under signed treaty? Simply ignored by the US as it violates the Nuclear non proliferation treaty with complete impunity and even strong arms the UN to put mild sanctions on Iran for absolutely no justified reason. Afghanistan asks that the US provide evidence of OBL's complicity in 9/11 before they hand him over in accordance with ancient diplomatic protocols? Ignored and America was outraged that we were even asked to comply with such long established standards in diplomacy. What the US does is always permissible.

We recognize no bounds on our actions- even our own laws. Torture? Not torture when the US does it. Geneva convention? Ignored. We are not bound by what the rest of the world must be bound by.

How about the need to dominate and humiliate their victims? One need take no further look than to Saddam Hussein being shabbily humiliated (again- against the Geneva convention) as he was paraded before American Telescreens like a captured ape, humiliated repeatedly in captivity with leaks about his habits and behaviors, and then his disgusting execution at the hands of his political domestic enemies in a circus like atmosphere. But if one needs to look further then see also Slobodan Milosevic and Manuel Noreiga. And then, of course, is the torture regime personally approved by the President's men that has sexual humiliation and degradation as centerpieces and which continues on today unabated and quite illegally (and what the President says in a signing statement doesn't make it legal).

Pathological Lying

Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

An obvious match that almost deserves no comment. The lies, obvious lies, insulting lies are perhaps the most prominent thing one notices about this adminstration. (Note- when I mean "one" I mean people who are not cool aiding Bushbots. BOTS are too far removed from anything resembling reality to even consider them as sentient humans). They even lie about their lies.

But it isn't just the administration. It is all of the Beltway and our elite and most Americans who have managed to ignore the evidence of experience and still insist on operating from an elaborate complex web of lies in foreign policy that date well back into the 80's. And as all actions taken by the US (especially in Iraq) are based upon these lies- they are DOOMED to yet more failure.

And what is "nation building" itself if not the ultimate form of lying to oneself and attributing to yourself superhero powers?

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

In this administration? Remorse? Shame? Guilt? You got to be kidding me. Not a spec. But this isn't just an attribute of the Bush Junta. This is endemic throughout American society. Remorse, shame, and guilt are things to be overcome in therapy in American society. They are emotions to be squelched with happy pills. They are weaknesses. They are "unfair".

But keeping this strictly limited to a discussion of our political class- those are emotions that are only assumed as a last resort and quite disingenuously and only if all other "options" failed first- those other "options" being . . . denial, lying, cries of hypocrisy, and counter accusations (almost always false and always besides the point) against your accusers.

Grandiose Sense of Self

Do any other countries refer to themselves as the "indispensable nation"? As a "Shining city on a Hill?" As the "last best hope of mankind?" Left, Right, liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat. America is the center of the world. To our elite- America is the culmination of all human societal evolution. We are what was intended by whatever force controls destiny! We judge the actual worth of every other country and culture on Earth to how closely or distantly they are from matching up to American civilization. We are the benchmark for the world.

Comment: As myth goes, actually Israel is the "benchmark for the world", America comes next. Sorry...

Sociopath America doesn't give a turd about the rest of the world. Doesn't care what happens in it and is only dimly aware an outside world exists. And what there is of this slender reed of ignorant knowledge of the outside world is about "enemies" seeking to "kill us".

Events that occur outside this country are only of interest to Americans insofar as they involve us in even a slight way. Burma cyclone? There cannot be a story about it without literally half of it being about us and our reaction to it and how awesome we are to "care".

Comment: The US government goes to great lengths to show it cares!

Anyway- I digress a bit. Back to the "indispensable nation". Let's use Maddie Albright as an example of standard insano sociopath rhetoric that routinely pours forth from the mouths of our politicians:

If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.

Yikes. Let's put that into the mouth of a co-worker at the corporate cubby hole slave pen you toil away at? You are eating lunch at the food court and all of a sudden George, the quiet dumpy guy from accounting, says:

"If I have to use force, it is because I am me. I am the indispensable employee. I stand tall. I see further into the future."

I don't know about you but my reaction to George's statement would be to report his demented ass to HR and plan an escape route from the office cube maze for when he goes on a workplace killing spree. But when such insane Cho Hui Seung lines come out of the mouths of our elite Politicians we don't bat an eye and never think for a second how this is viewed by the rest of the world.

And that Albright quote is pretty tame fare actually for a Sociopath America politician. Bush claims God instructs him to attack nations! For a more rabid sociopath performance see this speech by Zell Miller at the 2004 GOP convention. That speech is a perfect synopsis of the American pysche. Fully deranged beyond measure, utterly lacking in empathy, angry, paranoid, grandiose . . . a clinical text book example of a sociopath. By the way I am not saying Albright is a sociopath. Most of our politicians aren't (though there are a far higher percentage of such malignant personalities among them than in the general population.) She wouldn't dream of saying that about herself specifically and I doubt she exhibits in her personal life any of the major warning signs of a sociopath personality disorder.

But when it comes to the collective conscious of many Americans and our national self image- it is cuckoo time. We are stark raving mad. We are criminally insane. We accept statements about ourselves and the country from politicians that go far beyond just garden variety narcissism.

Shallow Emotions

Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person.

Several months ago a security cam tape emerged of a young mother, whose 4 year old had been on a wild tantrum, spraying the child with the low pressure power washer at a "do-it-yourself" carwash. At roughly the same time a peer reviewed academic/medical study placed the number of Iraqi civilian premature deaths since the American invasion at 1 million souls.

The study received almost no MSM coverage. The sprayed child however outraged Americans from coast to coast and was broadcast ad nauseum for over a week.

This is typical. DC's little proxy state in the ME, Israel, murders 1800 Lebanese civilians from the air and the country yawns. Iran's President says "gays" don't exist in his country and it is national talk radio cud for days.

What of government itself and not just society at large in this regard? Well, let's see; while George Bush basically violates entire swaths of laws and provisions of the constitution- while evidence lies exposed on the floor of his myriad crimes and even treason Congressmen and Senators are preening before cameras while badgering baseball players about what sorts power bars they eat and shakes they drink.

I could sit here all day and write lists of the truly monumental trivia Congress finds the time to "investigate" while a President brings us back to an era of legal witch doctorism and concentrations of political power not seen since the Pharaohs. But I won't bore you to death.

There is more, much more! This is just the appetizer of what could end up being a three parter. . . . stay tuned for "USA: Sociopath Nation, Part Two", no later than Monday . . .

USA: Sociopath Nation Part II

I said I would post Part II of "USA: Sociopath Nation" by no later than Monday . . . but forgive me as my sustenance must come before this blog.

Where were we? Ah yes, listing the clinical attributes and behaviors of a text book sociopath to those of the United States federal government and to a lessor extent society at large.

Well, let's jump right back in . . .

Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, [and no concern for the impression on others this attitude produces.]

Does there exist a country more convinced of its brilliance and more sure of its power to achieve literally anything? Our political elite recognizes no limits to its power, no limits to what is within its purview.

What isn't the business of the United States is the question, not {what is?}. I posted recently about how the Pentagon has literally divided up the world into strategic "Commands" and assigned a whole bureaucracy to each one, including a parallel diplomatic division to the civilian State Department. Every square inch of real estate and every cubic meter of water on this planet is covered by one of these "Command" zones.

A cyclone hits Burma {Myanmar} and the junta doesn't grant the US military a free pass in and out of the country for "relief" operations? Why then! It is time for our most serious and respected of pundits to float invasion and nation building plans! Nothing is not our business and nothing - including managing and transforming a country our elite know even less about than Iraq (if that is even possible)- is beyond our capability.

Here we have Robert Kaplan, having learned absolutely nothing clamoring and baying for a nation building war against Iraq, actually toying with the idea of invading and nation building Burma as well. Don't worry though. He appears to have read a whole Wikipedia entry on Burma before he wrote this column.

My favorite all time column that perfectly encapsulates this insanely blithe attitude toward managing distant peoples and nations and cultures though has to be "Exporting Switzerland, The model Iraq needs to follow" by the boy wonder of National Review, Jonah Goldberg. This column, which you must read to believe, written shortly after the formal shooting "war" with Saddam's army had ended in April of 2003 is depressingly perfect for this example of the "all-knowing" and "all-powerful" attributes of the sociopath. Goldberg just announces that now that the war is won he thinks- abra cadabra, presto, that Iraq should be made into Switzerland!

Oh ok Jonah. Why didn't we think of that for Detroit? Yeah. Thank you Jonah. Now sit down. It is finger painting time! Good lord! And I used to read that magazine with relish every two weeks for 15 years.

Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause.

We can find out the names, including middle initial, of every American soldier who has been killed in Iraq in seconds. We can also find out exactly where he was killed, what day, what hour, and the circumstances under which he died. We can find out numerous info about American wounded in Iraq. How many, what types of wound, what sorts of treatment they are receiving . . . the amount of info and data available to us on American casualties in Iraq is staggering.

But Iraqi dead? Nothing. We "don't do body counts" for them. They are so worthless to us we don't even track how many have died. Well- some websites do but not our government officially. Bush once said he thought it was something like 30 thousand had died. That was 2 years ago. And that of course was a laughable underestimation. Iraq has been destroyed. Our government does not keep count and when independent studies come out right wing groups attack them with sophistry and spray rhetorical turd mist around their numbers while offering ludicrous numbers they pulled out of their asses. All this time - our government and military doesn't say anything which tells us all we need to know about who is telling the truth. About Afghanistan civilian dead we know even less. Somalia? Less still. Millions displaced - perhaps as much as 7 million taking Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia in to consideration. And how many dead? A million? Two million? We don't know, don't want to know, and don't care.

But a hundred thousand people get killed in Darfur and a few hundred thousand more refugees? Oh - that our "left wing" actors care about. That is the fraud cause de juor we are supposed to be all concerned about. Oh - and Tibet. A couple protesters were killed in Tibet a month back dontcha know! Sanctions on China!

The US government has stats on the populations of endangered varieties of slugs. But official stats on Iraqis war dead? Nope.

That goes back to the sociopath attribute in the first part of this essay last week . . . "indifference to major traumatic events while becoming enraged at minor matters."

[See the section on "The Hysteriodal Cycle" in Ponerology.]

Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

Who is responsible for Iraq today? Who made it the way it is today? Well, reading our media and listening to our government the list is a long one. But it doesn't include us. Not for a second. We are blameless . . . for everything. "Blame America First"? We never blame ourselves for anything! That is one of those inane phrases that reich wingers chant in response to any real world analysis of American foreign policy and that is their argument . . . in toto. That stupid phrase.

Why did we invade Iraq? Well Saddam was lying about having WMD. He was lying that he did have them to scare Iran. If only he had told us he didn't have them we would not have invaded! It's Saddam's fault!

That is actually an argument you come across among the more retarded of Bush and Neoconned faithful- that Saddam lied so well about having WMD when he didn't that we were fooled and invaded him. Saddam's fault. Amazing that anyone could believe that crap? Not amazing if your collective conscious is that of a sociopath.

Who else is to blame? Oh yeah- France. France was "paid off" by Saddam in pennies under the "Oil for Food" program so they let his regime survive.

More? Yup. Iran is too blame. And Syria. And Moooslims in general. Even Iraqis themselves are to blame. The US actually accuses Iran of "meddling" in Iraq. The US, which is 6000 miles away for Iraq, which flies in most of its supplies to Iraq for its armies which are squatting there based on lies, has the balls to accuse Iran of "meddling" with its next door freakin neighbor as if it is none of their business!

By the way. The US accuses Iran, without a shred of believable or even coherent evidence, of "undermining" the Iraq government and aiding "terrorists" while at the same time the US passes bills in public that authorize funds for the . . . undermining of Iran's government and the aiding of terrorists in their country! That isn't sick deranged weird behavior? That isn't insane?

Anyone else get the blame? Yep. The Iraqi people. They are to blame. Which leads us to this compliment to the attribute of the sociopath directly above.

Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude, and love.)

Americans actually expect to be thanked by the occupants of foreign countries we invade spreading death, chaos, misery, and suffering. Our Neocons expected flowers to be thrown at Americans when they entered Baghdad (after 50 years of playing the most cynical and self serving of games with that country that had directly caused untold suffering on just about every family in Iraq). There wasn't a rational reason in the world to believe this would be the case. Even opponents of Saddam who liked Western ways hated the United States for murderous policies of the last half century toward that country. They had to fly in Iraqi ex-pat Quislings to topple Saddam's statue for American TeeVee cameras!

In the 1960's war epic movie The Longest Day there is a scene where a Frenchman is shown cheering on the American invasion of Normandy while bombs explode all around him. I guess he didn't have to worry as they were "liberty bombs". That is how Americans literally expect foreigners to behave when we invade and murder them from the air- cheering on their own deaths and destruction like that fictional Frenchman in some sappy dumb-assed H-wood World War II fantasy movie.

And we are enraged when they don't thank us.

Here is Neocon and an Israel Firsting traitor, Daniel Pipes, in response to a question about the biggest lesson he learned from the Iraq war in April of 2006:

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the Iraq war?

A: The ingratitude of the Iraqis for the extraordinary favor we gave them -- to release them from the bondage of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. They have rapidly interpreted it as something they did and that we were incidental to it. They've more or less written us out of the picture.

Yes. He said that. Let's repeat that:

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the Iraq war?

A:The ingratitude of the Iraqis for the extraordinary favor we gave them . . .

Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the "biggest lesson" Daniel, "Middle East Expert", Pipes learned was that the Iraqi people are ingrates? And with that ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you my diagnosis . . .

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Israel - Celebrating 60 Years of Illegal Occupation

Amid all the internal back-patting and the obsequious congratulations of the rest of the western world, it's easy to forget what is being "celebrated" in the 60th year of the occupation of Palestine. Their past and present leaders all hail from the "Jewish terrorist" gang the British Protectorate complained of. The true story can be found in Israel's own archives, but woe betide them who try to tell the real story. From SOTT's Best of the Web:

Blue Ibis


William James Martin
Tue, 13 May 2008 08:09 EDT


On April 9, 1948, members of the underground Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, or IZL, led by Menachem Begin, who was to become the Israeli prime minister in 1977, entered the peaceful Arab village of Deir Yassin, massacred 250 men, women, children and the elderly, and stuffed many of the bodies down wells. There were also reports of rapes and mutilations. The Irgun was joined by the Jewish terrorist group, the Stern Gang, led by Yitzhak Shamir, who subsequently succeeded Begin as prime minister of Israel in the early '80s, and also by the , the militia under the control of David Ben Gurian. The Irgun, the and the Haganah later joined to form the Israeli Defense Force. Their tactics have not changed.

The massacre at Deir Yassin was widely publicized by the terrorists and the numerous heaped corpses displayed to the media. In Jaffe, which was at the time 98 percent Arab, as well as in other Arab communities, speaker trucks drove through the streets warning the population to flee and threatening another Deir Yassin. Begin said at the time, "We created terror among the Arabs and all the villages around. In one blow, we changed the strategic situation."

From about 1938 on to the founding of Israel, Begin was the leader of the Irgun. That group regularly assassinated English soldiers in Palestine and frequently hung their booby-trapped bodies in public places. Under Begin, the Irgun blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 97 British civil servants. The Stern Gang, under Shamir, also assassinated the U.N. representative to Palestine, Count Bernadotte, in 1948.

But Deir Yassin was not the only massacre by the Israeli Defense Force. That army, under Moshe Dayan, took the unarmed and undefended village of al-Dawazyma, located in the Hebron hills, massacred 80 to 100 of its residents, and threw their bodies into pits. "The children were killed by breaking their heads with sticks ... The remaining Arabs were then sealed in houses, as the village was systematically razed ..." (Nur Masalha, The Historical Roots of the Palestinian Refugee Question).

We read further. According to Yitzhak Rabin's biography:

We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Alon repeated his question: "What is to be done with the population?" BG waved his hand in a gesture, which said: Drive them out! ... I agreed that it was essential to drive the inhabitants out.

Continuing the narrative, Ben-Gurion University historian Benny Morris writes in "Operation Dani and the Palestinian Exodus from Lydda and Ramle in 1948", Middle East Journal, 40

At 13.30 hours on 12 July [1948]... Lieutenant-Colonel Yitzhak Rabin, operation Dani head Operation, issued the following order: '1. The inhabitants of Lydda must be expelled quickly without attention to age. They should be directed to Beit Nabala,... Implement Immediately.' A similar order was issued at the same time to the Kiryati Brigade concerning the inhabitants of the neighboring town of Ramle, occupied by Kiryati troops that morning... On 12 and 13 July, the Yaftah brigades carried out their orders, expelling the 50-60,000 remaining inhabitants of and refugees camped in and around the two towns....

About noon on 13 July, Operation Dani HQ informed IDF General Staff/Operations: 'Lydda police fort has been captured. [The troops] are busy expelling the inhabitants.... Lydda's inhabitants were forced to walk eastward to the Arab legion lines; many of Ramle's inhabitants were ferried in trucks or buses. Clogging the roads... the tens of thousands of refugees marched, gradually shedding their worldly goods along the way. It was a hot summer day. The Arab chroniclers, such as Sheikh Muhammed Nimr al Khatib, claimed that hundreds of children died in the march, from dehydration and disease. One Israeli witness described the spoor: the refugee column 'to begin with [jettisoned] utensils and furniture and, in the end, bodies of men, women, and children.

There were many other such villages with Arabic names that have almost been expunged from memory--but not quite. These facts have always been known to some historians, however they have been consistently denied by the official Israeli histories, as, indeed, Israel has never taken any responsibility for the exodus of Palestinians from the land of the present state of Israel.

Within the last 10 to 20 years, however, there has been an exponential increase in historical studies of the origins of the state of Israel which have coincided with the release by Israel of many, but not all, of the historical and military archives. Ben-Gurion University historian Benny Morris, as well as others, have systematically mined these documents and found numerous instances of massacres, and, by the way, not one shred of evidence for the frequently repeated official Israeli lie that the Palestinians fled Palestine because the surrounding Arab states told them to.

In fact, according to UN estimates, which some say are conservative, 750,000 Palestinians fled the site of the present Jewish state in 1948. Those refugees and their descendants now number about 4.5 million and constitute the largest and longest standing refugee population in the world. Many live in squalid refugee camps distributed in the surrounding Arab states or in the West Bank or Gaza, many retain the titles to their land, recognized by the British before 1948 or the Ottomans before that , and many retain the keys to their front doors of their former homes in what is now Israel, whether or not those doors still exists.

The '67 War generated a second wave of about 300,000 refugees from the West Bank and Gaza who were either expelled through direct or psychological methods or fled the Israel aerial attacks on the territories which included the extensive use of napalm. [Why not? It worked so well in Vietnam.]

The reader is invited to read the Hagana's Plan D , which has been available in English since the 1960s and was a military strategy of 1948 that entailed the evacuation of the Palestinian population from the areas of a future Jewish state.

Those who invoke the suicide bombings against mostly Israeli civilians to infer the righteousness of the Israeli cause live in a twilight of psychic denial of an otherwise unambiguous historical record: the state of Israel was founded on terrorism and ethnic cleansing.

The suicide bombings inside Israel, the first of which only occurred in 1994, after 25 years of occupation, is only a side show. That is a symptom and long way from the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There will never be a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until Israel takes responsibility, under U.N. Resolution 194, calling for reparation of the Palestinian refugees, and recognizes the immense suffering it caused at that time. We need also to recognize the US is giving unqualified moral support to a state that is based on racial purity and one that is intrinsically expansionist.

William James Martin is a visiting Instructor of Mathematics at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. He can be reached at:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Einstein - Genius Strikes Again

Agence France Presse
Tue, 13 May 2008 10:09 EDT

Albert Einstein described belief in God as "childish superstition" and said Jews were not the chosen people, in a letter to be sold in London this week, an auctioneer said Tuesday.

The father of relativity, whose previously known views on religion have been more ambivalent and fuelled much discussion, made the comments in response to a philosopher in 1954.

As a Jew himself, Einstein said he had a great affinity with Jewish people but said they "have no different quality for me than all other people".

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

"No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this," he wrote in the letter written on January 3, 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, cited by The Guardian newspaper.

The German-language letter is being sold Thursday by Bloomsbury Auctions in Mayfair after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, said the auction house's managing director Rupert Powell.

In it, the renowned scientist, who declined an invitation to become Israel's second president, rejected the idea that the Jews are God's chosen people.

"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," he said.
[This includes christianity, islam, buddhism, voodoo or any belief system that disconnects you from reality , or prevents you from appropriately interacting with the real world.]
"And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people."

And he added: "As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."
[Well it appears the Zionists have succumbed to this "worst cancer". The lives of millions of Palestinians are in their complete power . . . ]
Previously the great scientist's comments on religion -- such as "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" -- have been the subject of much debate, used notably to back up arguments in favour of faith.

Powell said the letter being sold this week gave a clear reflection of Einstein's real thoughts on the subject. "He's fairly unequivocal as to what he's saying. There's no beating about the bush," he told AFP.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Discerning the Programming - Media Shaping Your Opinions

Here is an object lesson that perfectly illustrates the previous entry. Scroll down until the caption in the picture below is covered. All you see are two distraught fathers running with their dead children. A tragedy that anyone with a conscience can imagine. Now scroll back up. Have your reactions changed?


Did you detect a twinge of sympathy more for the father on the left. Or you may find yourself subliminally thinking that the father on the right "brought it on himself". Yet nothing has changed except the words attached to essentially the same image.

There, you have just identified where your opinions have been shaped by the Zio-con control of the mass media. Now, notice the difference in reporting when sadly, children are killed on either side. The Israeli child will always be named, the families interviewed, their suffering detailed, how scared they are when the rockets come. Are there any such details given for a Palestinian child. A name? An interview with the grieving parents? No, usually it is just the number of children, because usually more than one, plus it is ALWAYS because they were unfortunate enough (or willfully stupid enough? that is always implied) to be in the "most moral military in the world" 's line of sight along with "militants".

Blue Ibis

Aleem Maqbool
BBC News
Sun, 11 May 2008 19:25 EDT

There have been widespread electricity blackouts in the Gaza Strip after the territory's only power plant shut down.

It ran out of fuel because Israel has not allowed any fuel deliveries for the past five days, officials say.

Last year, the Israeli cabinet approved the use of fuel cuts to put pressure on Palestinian militants in the territory.

But aid agencies are warning that essential civilian services will be badly affected unless fuel shipments are permitted soon.

Gaza's power station supplies electricity to about a third of the territory's homes, with most of the rest supplied directly by Israel.

But for more than 24 hours it has been closed.

Officials there say they ran out of fuel on Saturday, and did not receive an expected shipment on Sunday.

While the fuel is paid for mainly by the European Union, as Gaza has no functioning air or sea terminals its delivery is dependent on passage through Israeli borders.

Last autumn, in response to frequent rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, the Israeli government declared Gaza a "hostile entity" and restricted fuel supplies.

The country's high court did set a minimum amount of fuel that had to be allowed in to Gaza, but aid agencies like Oxfam say that has not happened.

They warn of a serious impact on health provision if that is not rectified soon.

Israeli officials have cited security reasons for stopping fuel deliveries, but say they will resume soon.

There have been several militant attacks on crossing points in recent weeks.

The United Nations has condemned these, but, as Gaza's 1.5 million residents face frequent shortages of many everyday supplies, it has also condemned Israel's response as "unjust". [Quite the understatement]

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How To Detect Bias in the News Media

Every now and again it's good to review the basics . . . . . courtesy of SOTT

Blue Ibis

FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Thu, 08 May 2008 20:37 EDT

Media have tremendous power in setting cultural guidelines and in shaping political discourse. It is essential that news media, along with other institutions, are challenged to be fair and accurate. The first step in challenging biased news coverage is documenting bias. Here are some questions to ask yourself about newspaper, TV and radio news.

Who are the sources?

Be aware of the political perspective of the sources used in a story. Media over-rely on "official" (government, corporate and establishment think tank) sources. For instance, FAIR found that in 40 months of Nightline programming, the most frequent guests were Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Elliott Abrams and Jerry Falwell. Progressive and public interest voices were grossly underrepresented.

To portray issues fairly and accurately, media must broaden their spectrum of sources. Otherwise, they serve merely as megaphones for those in power.

Is there a lack of diversity?

What is the race and gender diversity at the news outlet you watch compared to the communities it serves? How many producers, editors or decision-makers at news outlets are women, people of color or openly gay or lesbian? In order to fairly represent different communities, news outlets should have members of those communities in decision-making positions.

How many of the experts these news outlets cite are women and people of color? FAIR's 40-month survey of Nightline found its U.S. guests to be 92 percent white and 89 percent male. A similar survey of PBS's NewsHour found its guestlist was 90 percent white and 87 percent male.

From whose point of view is the news reported?

Political coverage often focuses on how issues affect politicians or corporate executives rather than those directly affected by the issue. For example, many stories on parental notification of abortion emphasized the "tough choice" confronting male politicians while quoting no women under 18 -- those with the most at stake in the debate. Economics coverage usually looks at how events impact stockholders rather than workers or consumers.

Are there double standards?

Do media hold some people to one standard while using a different standard for other groups? Youth of color who commit crimes are referred to as "superpredators," whereas adult criminals who commit white-collar crimes are often portrayed as having been tragically been led astray. Think tanks partly funded by unions are often identified as "labor-backed" while think tanks heavily funded by business interests are usually not identified as "corporate-backed."

Do stereotypes skew coverage?

Does coverage of the drug crisis focus almost exclusively on African Americans, despite the fact that the vast majority of drug users are white? Does coverage of women on welfare focus overwhelmingly on African-American women, despite the fact that the majority of welfare recipients are not black? Are lesbians portrayed as "man-hating" and gay men portrayed as "sexual predators" (even though a child is 100 times more likely to be molested by a family member than by an unrelated gay adult - Denver Post, 9/28/92)?

What are the unchallenged assumptions?

Often the most important message of a story is not explicitly stated. For instance, in coverage of women on welfare, the age at which a woman had her first child will often be reported - the implication being that the woman's sexual "promiscuity," rather than institutional economic factors, are responsible for her plight.

Coverage of rape trials will often focus on a woman's sexual history as though it calls her credibility into question. After the arrest of William Kennedy Smith, a New York Times article (4/17/91) dredged up a host of irrelevant personal details about his accuser, including the facts that she had skipped classes in the 9th grade, had received several speeding tickets and-when on a date-had talked to other men.

Is the language loaded?

When media adopt loaded terminology, they help shape public opinion. For instance, media often use the right-wing buzzword "racial preference" to refer to affirmative action programs. Polls show that this decision makes a huge difference in how the issue is perceived: A 1992 Louis Harris poll, for example, found that 70 percent said they favored "affirmative action" while only 46 percent favored "racial preference programs."

Is there a lack of context?

Coverage of so-called "reverse discrimination" usually fails to focus on any of the institutional factors which gives power to prejudice - such as larger issues of economic inequality and institutional racism. Coverage of hate speech against gays and lesbians often fails to mention increases in gay-bashing and how the two might be related.

Do the headlines and stories match?

Usually headlines are not written by the reporter. Since many people just skim headlines, misleading headlines have a significant impact. A classic case: In a New York Times article on the June 1988 U.S.-Soviet summit in Moscow, Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying of Reagan, "Poor dear, there's nothing between his ears." The Times headline: "Thatcher Salute to the Reagan Years."

Are stories on important issues featured prominently?

Look at where stories appear. Newspaper articles on the most widely read pages (the front pages and the editorial pages) and lead stories on television and radio will have the greatest influence on public opinion.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Masks of Sanity: How Many Walking Among Us?

Christel Kucharz
ABC News
Wed, 30 Apr 2008 09:03 EDT

While crime scene investigators are continuing their inquiries, more details about the man who held his daughter and children captive in Austria are coming to light.

Josef Fritzl
©Reuters - Europics/Polaris
Right: Elisabeth Fritzl in a 1981 school photo taken when she was 15 at the "Polytechnische Lehrgang Amstetten". This is the last picture of her before she went missing. Left: An Austrian police handout picture released April 28, 2008 of Josef Fritzl.

Most upsetting to many Austrians may be a home video obtained by German TV station n-tv.

It shows the man who confessed to imprisoning, raping and impregnating his daughter, Elisabeth, for 24 years on a "boys holiday" in Thailand in 1998, as she and her children suffered in a secret dungeon in the family home thousands of miles away.

Images show a smiling Josef Fritzl posing for the camera; Fritzl at the bazaar in Pataya, buying a dress for "his lover," as a friend remembers him saying at the time; Fritzl and his friend taking an elephant ride; Fritzl at a dinner buffet helping himself to food; Fritzl relaxing at the beach having a massage -- seemingly without a care in the world. They are all pictures of a happy man.

The same TV station also interviewed an Austrian journalist who has been working on the Fritzls' ''missing daughter story'' a couple of years ago, long before this horrible crime was discovered.

Andrea Kramer, the journalist, told n-tv that Fritzl appeared as a broken, old man, grieving because his daughter had run away from home when she was 18 to join a religious cult.

"No way could I ever imagine him the evil he turned out to be," Kramer told n-tv. "It seems impossible."

Asked how it was possible for Fritzl to keep his true face under wraps for so long, Franz Polzer, head of Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, told Austrian TV ORF in an interview Tuesday night, "He had no scruples to use every possible means to deceive his family, his wife, his relatives and everybody around him to cover up his crime. He was a very cunning man. He created a perfectly constructed framework of lies."

Polzer also explained that police in Austria were still looking for witnesses who could help shed some light into the dark chapter. He appealed publicly to "everybody who can help police to come forward."

Meanwhile, local TV stations are reporting that a former tenant, who had lived above the cellar where Elisabeth and her children were imprisoned, said he heard strange noises in the night and saw Fritzl ferrying wheelbarrows of food under the cover of darkness.

Alfred Dubanovsky, 42, who lived in the building for 12 years, said Fritzl spent his days in the cellar but banned anyone from going near it.

"It never occurred to me anything about his behavior was unusual," he told reporters. "I wish to God that I could turn back the clock. The signs were all there, but it was impossible for me to recognize them. Who would ever believe something so terrible was going on right under my feet? How was it possible to happen in our midst?"

Those are questions many people of Amstetten, a small town with 22,000 inhabitants, are still struggling to come to terms with.

On Tuesday night, about 400 people took part in a candlelight vigil in support of the family in the town square.

"The outside world seems to think Amstetten is a terrible town and that people in the community do not care for one another. We want to show this is not true," organizer Elisabeth Anderson told reporters.

"Who is Josef Fritzl?" state broadcaster ORF asked today in an online article. "All of Austria is asking this question, if not the entire world."

Fritzl, dubbed "monster" by Austrian media, is being held at a prison in St. Poelten, near Amstetten. He has seen lawyer Rudolf Mayer, who accepted to defend him in the trial.

Mayer said his client is under psychiatric care and said during an interview with The Associated Press, "Fritzl is really hit by this. He is very serious, but he is emotionally broken."

Those observations, however, have been contradicted by a police source quoted by Austrian daily Der Standard who said, "He is showing no sign of regret whatsoever. He comes across as very arrogant, as if he thinks he has done nothing wrong."

Prosecutor Gerhard Sedlacek reportedly added that the man appeared "completely calm, completely without emotion" when he was formally placed in pretrial detention Tuesday.

The prosecutor also agreed with the police's Polzer who said today that it could take at least six months for authorities to conclude the investigation into what he calls "a unique case that has no precedent in Austrian history."

During a news conference today, clinic director Berthold Kepplinger of Landesklinkum Amstetten-Mostviertel told reporters that Elisabeth and her children, all in the psychiatric care of a team of specialists, are "doing well under the circumstances."

He said he did not expect their condition to change dramatically in the next couple of days.

Kepplinger also told the media that Elisabeth and her kids were living with Elisabeth's mother, Rosemarie, in a living area separate from other clinic patients so that the reunited family would be allowed privacy and protection from outsiders.

It was Kepplinger who told reporters Tuesday that Elisabeth and the kids, who had been confined with her in the cellar, had a reunion with Elisabeth's mother and some of her children who had been allowed to live above ground with their grandparents.

Though Fritzl reportedly told his wife and authorities that his daughter had run away, during the years he said she had sent three of her children because she couldn't care for them.

The doctor added, "The family members are enjoying talking to each other, and yesterday they even had a small birthday party with a proper birthday cake for Elisabeth's 12-year-old son, one of the children who grew up with his grandparents."

Kepplinger also said an 18-year-old young man, who grew up in confinement and had never seen the sun, could read and write "in a reduced form" and the children "were communicating in their own language."

Asked about the mother's health and mental condition, he declined to provide details but said, "It was definitely dreadful for her and for her children."

Kerstin, 19, one of the six surviving children and whose hospitalization triggered the family's discovery, was said to still be struggling for her life.

"She remains in a medically induced coma at the hospital in St. Poelten. She's still in need of the life-support system and her condition is still critical but stable," said Albert Reiter, the doctor in charge of her medical treatment.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Eric Pepin's & HBI's Assault on Free Speech - An Update

Web Site Defendant Moves to Dismiss Defamation Suit Under Anti-SLAPP Statute

QFG and defend Internet First Amendment rights. - May 02, 2008

(PRNewsChannel) / Portland, Oregon - Quantum Future Group, Inc. ("QFG"), the only defendant that has been served in an Internet defamation suit brought by New-Age guru Eric Pepin's sales company, has forcefully challenged the merits of the case and has asked an Oregon federal judge for a dismissal and attorneys fees.

The case concerns postings on a forum hosted by (Signs of the Times), an Internet site devoted to news and analysis in various fields, including analyzing and exposing cults. Citing Oregon's anti-SLAPP ("Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation") statute, QFG contends that the statements about Pepin and his company, Higher Balance Institute, LLC ("HBI") are constitutionally protected. Because HBI cannot show that it probably will prevail, QFG argues, the case must be dismissed before QFG or the other defendants must spend large amounts to defend themselves.

"Without exception," the motion states, "the statements are all constitutionally protected expressions of opinion rather than verifiable assertions of fact. HBI cannot meet its burden to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the statements are false, let alone that Defendants knew that they were false or had serious doubts as to their truth."

The statements cited in QFG's complaint question Pepin's meditation techniques and comment on Pepin's 2007 trial on multiple sexual charges involving a 17-year-old male acolyte. The statements at issue include a November 7, 2007 comment that "It's really starting to look like this Eric Pepin and his Higher Balance Institute may be merely COINTELPRO and a front for pedophilia" and a November 4, 2007 comment by an anonymous poster that something "fishy" was going on at HBI.

QFG's motions state that the forum posts are opinion based on stated facts published on a mainstream news source and are constitutionally protected. The motion also argues that the operator of an Internet forum cannot be liable for the posts of third parties under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 ("CDA") and questions Oregon's jurisdiction over QFG, a California non-profit corporation whose primary place of business is in France.

"These are exactly the sort of statements that the First Amendment and recent statutes protect as free speech," said QFG attorney Stephen Kaus, who prepared the papers with his colleagues Walter Hansell and Merrit Jones. "People are entitled to believe in gurus such as Pepin and buy their books and courses for hundreds of dollars or more, but people are also entitled to point out their view that the techniques of telepathy and development of a sixth eye promoted by Pepin are nonsense."

Much of the dispute concerns Pepin's trial on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor. Pepin was acquitted in a court trial because the judge did not feel the charges had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. According to the article in the Oregonian, Washington County Circuit Court Judge Steven L. Price stated that it was, " 'probable that the conduct alleged in all counts occurred,' but he wasn't convinced beyond a reasonable doubt" and "called the leader of a metaphysical Internet sales company manipulative and controlling and his testimony unbelievable, even as he acquitted him today of charges that he had sex with an underage boy."

SOTT.NET posters point out that being found "not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" is not the same thing as being found "innocent of all charges."

The sexual charges aside, the SOTT.NET forum topic on Pepin and HBI has been the site of a lively debate on whether he is an exploiter, ever since a visitor posted an inquiry about them in 2006. Several Pepin devotees have posted fervent praise, while others have denounced him as a power-lusting cult leader who takes advantage of gullible followers.

SOTT.NET contends that it is the public's right to examine the claims of any company selling a product or service to the public and to form their own opinion as to whether it is "snake-oil" sold by con-artists or not and that those opinions may be made public for the safety of consumers.

In a previous press release, atty Walter Hansell noted: "HBI's lawsuit is a frontal assault on free speech, and on the free global flow of information and opinion on the Internet. It is a blunt force attack on the discussion of sincere opinions among people sharing common interests."


Following the filing of the motions to dismiss on April 25th, Walter Hansell of Cooper, White & Cooper said: "The intent of this suit by HBI is to stifle free speech, but luckily the anti SLAPP statute allows us to nip the matter in the bud before the cost is out of hand."

About Signs of The Times: is an independent alternative news and analysis outlet that seeks to shine a spotlight on significant events and trends that affect the entire world. helps bring clarity out of a sea of media spin. The site is funded entirely by donations from individuals and groups that seek to support its work. For more information visit

About Quantum Future Group:
Quantum Future Group (QFG) supports activities that bring together people to engage in and to promote the study of scientific ideas and research in all scientific and socio-cultural fields that further the deepest understanding of our world and our place within it without regard to nationality or ethnicity. QFG seeks to increase the understanding of humankind by humankind, as a whole, by sponsoring research into all the parts to see how they fit together. QFG supports documented research that is made freely and widely available to all humanity. For more information visit:

About Cooper, White & Cooper LLP:
Cooper, White & Cooper LLP, based in San Francisco, is longtime defender of free speech and communications. For more information visit

Contact: Joseph Quinn
Email: :
Phone: : +33 563 048231
Web site:
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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Connecting the Dots: Shortage of Food and Signs of War; the Future is Now

SOTT Editors
Sun, 20 Apr 2008 13:02 EDT


It has been a month now since the Signs editors engaged in a little exercise of connecting the dots: we noticed a number of high level meetings of some of the most prominent Axis of Evil personalities, and thinking it likely that there is an important reason for the activity, we published our observations here.

We have decided to make this a periodical effort of 'joining the dots', hoping to make sense of the avalanche of information that comes our way on a daily basis. It may help us to detect trends, and to understand which way the drivers are steering this bus called Planet Earth.

Well, judging by the events of April, it seems that they are taking us towards a cliff, and it is rapidly approaching.

The Food Crisis

Those of you paying attention will have noticed the great amount of news items related to food prices and shortages, some of which we already commented on, here, and in a recent economic commentary. The first significant 'dot' is Haiti. Not surprisingly, the events of Haiti were understated in the mainstream media. But they represent a milestone, considering that a week ago its prime minister was fired after the cost of food sparked riots. That's material for one of those apocalyptic sci-fi movies, isn't it?

It wasn't only Haitians in discontent. In Egypt, a country whose government has little to no political opposition, a general strike was organized in protest for rising food prices and depressed salaries. Again, we are talking about basic food, such as bread or oil.

And as noted above, we are not talking about isolated cases but about a global trend. To Egypt and Haiti we should add Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Philippines and Indonesia. This is no secret; in fact, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF, was already discussing the risk of toppling of governments and wars for food (quite hypocritically, by the way, since the IMF is one of the major culprits of the global disparity between the poor and the rich). In total, says French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 37 countries are experiencing "serious food crises", with food prices having increased 40 percent since mid-2007. The World Bank estimates world food prices have risen 80 percent over the past three years. Alarmingly, just in last week the world's rice benchmark jumped 10 per cent, so we can expect worse to come.

As usual, the poorest have got the first hit. But this may change soon as there are already signs of the crisis reaching 'developed' countries, such as Japan and the U.S.

According to the UN's World Food Programme,

"It has become very difficult to find food," said Nicole Menage, head of the WFP's food purchasing service at its Rome headquarters. "Many countries have introduced limits on food exports, in Asia, Africa and Latin America."

Why would that be?

In a recent interview, writer and activist Raj Patel explains:

There are two kinds of stories that we can tell about the food prices.

One is an economic story, about a perfect storm of poor harvests and a demand for meat in developing countries which is diverting grain; the high price of oil, which is driving up food - farm inputs; and at the same time, the biofuels boom, the process of growing fuels in order - sorry, growing food in order to burn it rather than eat it. All of these are economic factors that are driving up the price of food.

Funny how the discourse of global warming is now starving the world via biofuels. Did it backfire or did they make that move on purpose? We vote for the second. Patel continues:

But at the same time, there is a political story here, and it's a longer-term story of how countries have been forced to abandon their support for farmers and to abandon such things as grain supplies and grain stores. This longer-term story involves organizations like the World Bank and the World Trade Organization that have an iron control over the economies of the poorest countries in the world. The World Bank, the WTO and, to some extent, the International Monetary Fund have tied these countries' hands behind their back, by binding them very firmly to an international economy in food. The consequence is that when the price of food goes up, these economies have very little recourse and no way to defend themselves economically.

In other words, this is a crisis manufactured from above. A grotesque crime on humanity - especially if you consider how members of the elite blame the victims in psychopathic fashion while the manufactured despair has driven more than 166,000 Indian farmers to kill themselves since 1997.

If that wasn't twisted enough, the corporate giants are using this crisis as a justification to speed up the takeover of GM foods, touting it as the solution, when in reality it only adds to the problem.

The food crisis may be deeper and longer for another reason: key species on the food chain that sustains the ecosystem are disappearing - some of them quite inexplicably. In the list we can include bees, bats, swallows, frogs and salmon (but let us know if we missed any, as this appears to be a clear trend). Sometimes the phantom of global warming is invoked as en explanation. It may be that climate change has something to do with it but we do not know at this point. (We prefer to speak of climate change as there have been indications of cooling rather than warming; see for example The Coldest Easter in 40 Years in the UK, Spokane, Montana, Coldest for 115 Years, Coldest February in Canada in 28 Years, and Antarctic Deep Sea Gets Colder.) As such, it may also be that the dying of some key species is not the product of human activity.

But even if so, the manipulation of the world economy brought about by the elite cannot be overlooked. It is notable that the food crisis coincides with the most recent surge in the propaganda of the war on terror, apparently designed to sell a war on Iran to the public. This leads us into our second cluster of recent news items.

The Drums of War

In principle, it is safer to pay attention to deeds than to words when assessing the intentions of the elite. Words are still important, as long as we understand that politicians and public figures in general are not interested in speaking the truth but in shaping conventional wisdom. It may happen that once in a while they do show their real intentions if it suits them, although there will always be convenient twists. They may also reveal their agenda unintentionally, by projecting their actions or motives onto their target. It is an irony that there is even a word for this - 'spinning' - for it indicates that it is now part of our conventional wisdom to accept that politicians do not exactly speak the truth, even when most people still naively believe that it will mostly be the truth.

In any case, the point is that lies and spinning have a logic of their own: the logic of propaganda. As such, a lot can be understood by paying attention to their words. Thus, we cannot ignore an increase in the war rhetoric and threats between the US, Britain and Israel, and Iran.

Threats alone would be counterproductive without some sort of justification. If Iran is justified in feeling threatened, for neocons and zionists it is a matter of fabricating excuses. This month they have offered us a few beyond the usual 'nuclear weapons' scare. Most notably, here is one by General David Petraeus:

Last week's congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and Green Zone administrator Ryan Crocker set the propaganda stage for a Bush regime attack on Iran. On April 10 Robert H. Reid of AP News reported: "The top US commander has shifted the focus from al-Qaida to Iranian-backed 'special groups' as the main threat . . . The shift was articulated by Gen. Petraeus who told Congress that 'unchecked, the special groups pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.'"

Thanks to the magic of spinning words, the phantom of al-Qaeda, first transplanted from Afghanistan into Iraq, is now being diluted into mysterious 'special groups' and merged with the 'Iranian threat'. Petraeus has a problem, as not even in his surreal logic is there a way to match the claims of Iranian officials:

"Officials in Iran confirmed for the first time Saturday that the country played an important role in brokering a recent truce between the Iraqi government and anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Shiite Iran helped end the clashes between Iraqi government troops and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia for the sake of Shiite unity, said a senior Iranian official who deals with Iraq."

Other items to consider as part of the prelude for war:

- The Bush Administration silently launches an economic war on Iran, apparently with the ultimate goal of turning the nation into "another Gaza or Iraq under the economic sanctions of the 1990s, with devastating impact on the economy and society."

- Israel announces it will connect to U.S. missile early warning system; while both Israel and Syria have military drills and exercises.

- There are rumors that Iran and the U.S. are already engaged in a proxy war through rebel Iranian Kurds in the border with Iraq.

- There were reports of a fire at Iran's Mehrabad airport, possibly caused by a malfunctioning training aircraft which crashed in the vicinity. A couple of days before there was an explosion in a mosque in the Iranian city of Shiraz that killed 12 people and wounded more than 200. While Iranian officials insist this was an accident we cannot rule out a political motive related to the larger context of a war in the near future.

- Jane's Intelligence Review published a piece of propaganda - reminiscent of Collin Powell's UN presentation before the Iraq war - alleging that satellite images show a "secret site where Iran is suspected of developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets in Europe".

- Something to keep an eye on for the near future: At the end of last month, Israel advised its citizens against traveling to the following countries: Cyprus, Venezuela, Angola, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mauritania. And now the US State Department has issued a travel warning on China, warning citizens that "any large-scale public event such as the upcoming Olympic Games may present an attractive target for terrorists...There is a heightened risk that extremist groups will conduct terrorist acts within China in the near future." This should be read in the context of the terror propaganda, but it is possible that it holds a clue about the plans for the next 'big event'.

A Word on an Orwellian Nightmare

Lets assume for a moment that there are no coincidences on the world scene and that the preparations for war are not isolated from anything else. Would it be any surprise, then, that Western nations are experiencing an increase in the 'war on terror' scare? And if so, we would naturally expect further steps taking us deeper into the Big Brother society in which we already live. Among other items to consider:

- The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities.

- As outrageous as it sounds, the U.S. government is also trying to develop a technology aimed at detecting and decoding brain activity, with potential to be used in law-enforcement to remotely detect "suspicious brain activity".

- While they get their gadgets, the Transportation Security Administration already has in place a "behavior detection" program to spot "dangerous air travelers by way of subtle clues in the way they act."

- Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that he will activate a new domestic satellite surveillance office, in spite of criticism from Congress.

The above measures are just a sample of items that indicate a trend not only in the U.S. but worldwide, as a search on surveillance in the UK, Australia and Germany (among others) will show.

The purpose of surveillance has nothing to do with our safety and everything to do with control and discipline of society. We should ask ourselves why they need even more control if they already have our minds enslaved by the media and our pockets hijacked by the global economic system. The way things are, there is no possibility for any successful revolutions. So why the control? Is it that they are expecting something big to happen in the near future? Or is it already happening with the food riots? What will follow when the next war begins?

And war and starvation themselves, are they being escalated as a distraction from something else? In which case we need to pay attention to the signs from Mother Nature.

Earthquakes below, fireballs above

Here's a timeline of earthquakes and their magnitudes around the world since the 30th of March.

30th of March: 6.5 - Sumatra
1st of April: 4.2 - Nevada
1st: 4.4 - Kamchatka
4th: 6.4 - Southern Iran
4th: 5.0 - Tokyo
5-6th: Swarm, 4.2-5.1 - Aleutian Islands (Alaska)
7th: 3.7 - South Texas
9th: Swarm 5.0-7.3 - Vanuatu and New Caledonia (South Pacific)
11th: 7.3 - Macquarie Island Region (South Pacific)
12th: 3.8 - Rome
4th-14th: Swarm, up to 5.4 - Off Oregon coast
14th: 5.6 - Indonesia
14th: 6.1 - Guatemala
15th: 6.5 - Alaska
16th: 5.8 - Indonesia
17th: 5.7 Japan
18th: 5.4 - Illinois
21st: 4.5 aftershock - Illinois
22nd: 4.1 - Off Oregon coast

Some of the usual places, such as the South Pacific, Japan and Alaska were rocked. While those are always a matter of concern, notice the unusual swarm off the coast of Oregon. The area is not typically known for its seismic activity, being in the middle of a plate. Geologist Robert Dziak said:

"In the 17 years we've been monitoring the ocean through hydrophone recordings, we've never seen a swarm of earthquakes in an area such as this," [...] "The fact that it's taking place in the middle of the plate, and not a boundary, is puzzling," Dziak admitted. "It's something worth keeping an eye on."

Indeed. When we see swarms of earthquakes where there shouldn't be any, we wonder if the cause may be something different than the usual colliding tectonic plates. One possibility is that some of the tremors of our planet are not caused from below but from above: fireballs and meteorites that go unreported.

If so, fireballs may also be the cause of fires. (See Comet Biela and Mrs. O'Leary's Cow for a historical case.) Consider the recent case of Argentina, where thousands of acres were consumed in the districts of Buenos Aires and Entre Rios. It turns out that just before the fires a fireball fell somewhere in or nearby Entre Rios, while another fireball was reported some ten days earlier in the same region.

There are two more recent reports of fires, this timefrom Russia and New York State. Local farmers were blamed in Russia, while the cause in the U.S. was "under investigation". However, we do not rule out the possibility that these might have been more fireballs.

We will continue paying attention to any mysterious fires and earthquakes. Other possible signs of cosmic bombardment to consider: overhead explosions and rumbles, such as recently experienced in Indiana; sonic booms, as in South Australia; and even dead fish, as a case from early April in Dubai suggests.

Wild Card: The Weird Factor

Here at SOTT we try to think out of the box. We understand the Universe as a mysterious system of endless and unexpected connections, and so we seek to discover those threads - if possible - by keeping track of seemingly unrelated events as well as those that fit under the category of High Strangeness. Some of them are worth mentioning here, even if only for their symbolic significance. We make no claim about their meaning or cause.

- The town of Bridgend in South Wales, UK, of less than 40,000, suffers from a 'suicide epidemic'. Since 2007, at least 18 youngsters have taken their own lives, six in the last year, and the number of cases keeps rising.

- Within less than a month, three prominent and outspoken women - supermodel Katoucha Niane and artists Anna Mikhalchuk and Pippa Bacca - were murdered in strangely similar circumstances across Europe. The similarities extend to their life stories and careers.

- Strange odors in Ohio (twice) and England and Wales, within a week.

- Some interesting sightings of UFOs and strange creatures, in chronological order according to the date of the report:

2nd of April: Dead animals linked to reports of "Lizard man"
3rd: Philippines: Trekkers' cameras catch flying rod objects
3rd: New Zealand: Fiery object caught in digital camera
7th: Argentina: Sighting of large and yellowish object confirmed by Air Force
9th: UFO spotted above Alice, Texas
10th: Mexico: Crews of 5 airliners report flying spheres surrounded by lights
11th: Mexico: "Chupacabras" attacks sheep
11th: UK: Lights spotted over Southampton
12th: UK: Strange light reported
14th: UFO accidentally photographed over Argentina
15th: Balls of light over Scotland
16th: Deputies observe triangular object over Wisconsin
21st: Orange orbs reported over Florida
22nd: Light formations spotted above Phoenix

The Final Aim?

So why is it, that even that during these times of 'high strangeness', every effort is made to distract us from paying attention, and the pathocrats' agenda of chaos is progressed so determinedly? Just what is going on?

"The final aim is the destruction of all religion and nationhood and the establishment of the super State, ruling the world by ruthless terror." - Controversy of Zion, Douglas Reed.

That is the picture that we, too, see emerging by connecting the dots. And though the protocols are said to have been written by Jewish wisemen, it is obvious from our research that they are written by psychopathic individuals, using not only Jews, but also followers of other major religions, as convenient instruments for their plans. It appears that everything is going according to 'plan'. Keeping in mind that Douglas Reed wrote the following half a century ago:

"When it was published this work was the typescript of a drama which had not been performed; today it has been running for fifty years and its title is The Twentieth Century. The characters depicted in it move on our contemporary stage, play the parts foretold and produce the events foreseen.

Only the denouement remains, fiasco or fulfillment. It is a grandiose plan, and in my estimation cannot succeed. But it has existed for at least 180 years and probably for much longer, and the Protocols provided one more proof in a chain of proofs that has since been greatly lengthened. The conspiracy for world dominion through a world slave state exists and cannot at this stage be abruptly checked or broken off; of the momentum which it has acquired it now must go on to fulfillment or failure. Either will be destructive for a time, and hard for those of the time in which the denouement comes."

It is clear from the 'dots' that we daily gather here at SOTT, that we are close to seeing either the fulfillment or failure. Each individual action counts towards either...