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Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars Washington’s Blog

Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars Washington’s Blog.

arabwomenresistance300

1. War is immoral.

Murder is the one crime that we’re taught to excuse if it’s done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.

Over the centuries and decades, death counts in wars have grown dramatically, shifted heavily onto civilians rather than combatants, and been overtaken by injury counts as even greater numbers have been injured but medicine has allowed them to survive.

Deaths are now due primarily to violence rather than to disease, formerly the biggest killer in wars.

Death and injury counts have also shifted very heavily toward one side in each war, rather than being evenly divided between two parties. Those traumatized, rendered homeless, and otherwise damaged far outnumber the injured and the dead.

The idea of a “good war” or a “just war” sounds obscene when one looks honestly at independent reporting on wars.

When we say that war goes back 10,000 years it’s not clear that we’re talking about a single thing, as opposed to two or more different things going by the same name. Picture a family in Yemen or Pakistan living under a constant buzz produced by a drone overhead. One day their home and everyone in it is shattered by a missile. Were they at war? Where was the battlefield? Where were their weapons? Who declared the war? What was contested in the war? How would it end?

Is it not perhaps the case that we have already ended war and now must end something else as well (a name for it might be: the hunting of humans)?

If we can change our manner of killing foreigners to render it almost unrecognizable, who’s to say we can’t eliminate the practice altogether?

Read more.

 

2. War endangers us.

There are more effective tools than war for protection.

tank

War planning leads to wars.

In arming, many factors must be considered: weapon-related accidents, malicious testing on human beings, theft, sales to allies who become enemies, and the distraction from efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and war must all be taken into account. So, of course, must the tendency to use weapons once you have them.  And a nation’s stockpiling of weapons for war puts pressure on other nations to do the same. Even a nation that intends to fight only in defense, may understand “defense” to be the ability to retaliate against other nations. This makes it necessary to create the weaponry and strategies for aggressive war. When you put a lot of people to work planning something, when that project is in fact your largest public investment and proudest cause, it can be difficult to keep those people from finding opportunities to execute their plans. Read more.

War making provokes danger.

While the best defense in many sports may be a good offense, an offense in war is not defensive, not when it generates hatred, resentment, and blowback, not when the alternative is no war at all. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion. Read More.

War’s weapons risk intentional or accidental apocalypse.

We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There’s no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many. As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. And possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military’s ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States’ ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes.

Read more.


3. War threatens our environment.

oiljets

A major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas.

Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines.

The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. The world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military. Not only do we fight wars in areas of the globe that happen to be rich in oil; we also burn more oil fighting those wars than we do in any other activity. Author Ted Rall writes:

“The U.S. Department of [War] is the world’s worst polluter, belching, dumping, and spilling more pesticides, defoliants, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium than the five biggest American chemical corporations combined. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, 60 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions between 2003 and 2007 originated in U.S.-occupied Iraq, due to the enormous amount of oil and gas required to maintain hundreds of thousands of American military forces and private contractors, not to mention the toxins released by fighter jets, drone planes, and the missiles and other ordnance they fire at Iraqis.”

The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption.

The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars.

Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.

Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.

The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.

If militaries were made green in terms of their operations, they would lose one of their main reasons for war.  (Nobody can own the sun or the wind.)  And we would still have a long list of … More reasons to end war.

Read more.

 

4. War erodes our liberties.

police

We’re often told that wars are fought for “freedom.” But when a wealthy nation fights a war against a poor (if often resource-rich) nation halfway around the globe, among the goals is not actually to prevent that poor nation from taking over the wealthy one, after which it might restrict people’s rights and liberties. The fears used to build support for the wars don’t involve such an incredible scenario at all; rather the threat is depicted as one to safety, not liberty.

In close proportion to levels of military spending, liberties are restricted in the name of war — even while wars may simultaneously be waged in the name of liberty.  We try to resist the erosion of liberties, the warrantless surveillance, the drones in the skies, the lawless imprisonment, the torture, the assassinations, the denial of a lawyer, the denial of access to information on the government, etc.  But these are symptoms.  The disease is war and the preparation for war.

It is the idea of the enemy that allows government secrecy.

The nature of war, as fought between valued and devalued people, facilitates the erosion of liberties in another way, in addition to the fear for safety.  That is, it allows liberties to first be taken away from devalued people.  But the programs developed to accomplish that are later predictably expanded to include valued people as well.

Militarism erodes not just particular rights but the very basis of self-governance. It privatizes public goods, it corrupts public servants, it creates momentum for war by making people’s careers dependent on it.

One way in which war erodes public trust and morals is by its predictable generation of public lies.

Also eroded, of course, is the very idea of the rule of law — replaced with the practice of might-makes-right.

Read more.

 

5. War impoverishes us.

sad

Direct Expenses:

War has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what’s thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government’s discretionarybudget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.

Indirect Expenses:

Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twise as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures.

The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.

War Spending Drains an Economy:

It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs — with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.

War Spending Increases Inequality:

Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved.

War Spending Is Unsustainable, As Is Exploitation it Facilitates:

While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.

Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates’ wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.

Read more.

 

6. We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

aid

It would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world.  That sounds like a lot of money to you or me.  But if we had $2 trillion it wouldn’t.  And we do.

It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water.  Again, that sounds like a lot. Let’s round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.

Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don’t share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.

But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning “college debt” can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as “human sacrifice”), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices.  What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?

The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?

U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year.  Taking it up to $100 billion — never mind $523 billion! — would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering.  It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth.  A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world.  Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels, the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups, but only if one other factor were added — only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.

Some U.S. states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace insustries.

Read more.

Venezuela Accuses AFP Of “Manipulating” News Coverage; Shuts Down Colombian TV Station | Zero Hedge

Venezuela Accuses AFP Of “Manipulating” News Coverage; Shuts Down Colombian TV Station | Zero Hedge.

Having described Venezuela as “absolutely calm” today – when it was anything but; the fact that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has the stones to accuse Agence France Press of “manipulating” news coverage is stunning.

  • *VENEZUELA ASKS INFO MINISTER TO TAKE ACTIONS AGAINST AFP NEWS

Furthermore, Maduro has taken a TV station off-air that competed with Telesur (the state-owned TV station). Of course, we should not worry as Maduro has explained the violence is all protesters’ fault and that he will propose his “peace plan” tomorrow.

 

Via Bloomberg,

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro asked his information minister in a national address to take unspecified actions against AFP France Press. Maduro accused AFP of “manipulating” news coverage

 

Decision to take Colombian TV station NTN24 off the air in Venezuela was made by the government, Maduro says

 

“The NTN24 station tried to compete with Telesur and yesterday created confusion about the possibility of a coup. Off the air”: Maduro

 

I denounce AFP for manipulating information, and I’ve asked the information minister to speak clearly with their correspondents”: Maduro (Telesur is TV network owned by Venezuelan government)

 

And here is Maduro presenting his perspective of the troublemakers from his Twitter account:

RT @tmaniglia: Peaceful opposition creating “a small” fire in the center of Caracas pic.twitter.com/ObTqlvIEPv

— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 13, 2014

RT @tmaniglia: peaceful opposition with its face covered trying to knock down a door in the center of Caracas pic.twitter.com/hfIN6O08ZV

— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 13, 2014

RT @tmaniglia: Photo 1 the opposition demonstration today in Caracas http://t.co/q1abSlM98h

— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 13, 2014

And yet he also told us that things were “absolutely calm”?

Your secret permanent records that are up for sale every day | Deseret News

Your secret permanent records that are up for sale every day | Deseret News.

By , Deseret News National Edition

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 4:00 a.m. MST

Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 4:44 p.m. MST

Targeted junk mail marketing is just one way data brokers may affect people’s lives.

Devonyu, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Summary

Data brokers are gathering more information on people and packaging the data in ways that may surprise consumers.

This story is part of theDeseret News National Edition, which focuses on the issues that resonate with American families.

Which marketing list are you on?

Is it the list of seniors with dementia? Are you on the list of impulse buyers? Maybe you are on the list of people with “newly activated credit cards” or “obese and morbidly obese consumers.”

Maybe you show up on “badcustomer” or on people with “mental health problems.” There are even marketing lists of rape victims, people with addictive behaviors, people suffering from AIDS, and lists of police officers, according to testimony given before the U.S. Senate by World Privacy Forum’s executive director, Pam Dixon.

These are just a few of the many lists created by data brokers, companies that scour the Internet and other public and private records to compile everything from your age to what you bought, when you bought it, what you responded to, what you posted on Facebook, and on and on — anything that will give companies an edge when they try to sell you things.

The records data brokers create are permanent and under virtually no regulation.

Julia Angwin, author of the forthcoming book, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance,” tried to find out from multiple data brokers what kind of information they had about her.

It used to be that data brokers had limited information, Angwin says. They gathered home addresses, telephone numbers, car records and other public information such as property records. “But now they can put together a comprehensive picture of your life,” Angwin says. “And once you know everything about me, you have a lot of leverage on me. They are going to have an edge.”

Imagine walking in to buy a car, she says, and the salesman knows how much you make, how much you paid on your last car, even how often you make purchases.

Gathering data

Dixon, in her testimony in Washington, said even if people are careful with their information, “they will still have detailed information about their private and in some cases professional lives collected, bundled, bought, trade, sold … and used in various ways to target or to deny goods, services and opportunities.”

When Angwin gathered some reports from data brokers, she says she was horrified. “They knew I had bought underwear the week before,” she says. “Does anybody really need to know that? But it is in the report, and it is never going to be out of there.”

The use of data is illustrated by a New York Times article from 2012 that explained how Target was able to predict which female customers were pregnant by looking at their purchases. Women who switched to scent-free lotions and soaps and followed other patterns of sequenced buying behavior indicated they were expecting. Target then sent mailers to those women that included baby products.

But part of the problem isn’t just that data brokers get personal information about what type of underwear you are buying or that they can use patterns and data to predict your interest in various products but that they can get it wrong.

Sometimes they get bad information. As Dixon told Congress, sometimes thieves steal somebody’s identity and then their purchases and other illicit actions can get on their victims’ permanent data broker records.

Other times, data brokers make unwarranted assumptions about people based on what they know about those people.

For example, Angwin lives in Harlem, N.Y. — which makes some data brokers assume she is a single mother and has no college degree, neither of which are true.

“(The brokers’ data base) says more about what the list makers think about people who live in Harlem than it does about me,” she says. “I am almost as disturbed by what data brokers get wrong as when they get it right.”

As technology and improved algorithms help the data brokers improve their results, Angwin worries that the resulting lists will become more precise and personal. They aren’t just doing this to find the most accurate target market, she says. They are learning what people’s vulnerabilities are so they can exploit them.

The price we pay

Data brokers, for their part, say they are providing information that helps marketers target their products and services more accurately. The information they gather is available to anyone willing to do the research or pay for the access to private records such as those gathered by websites. Websites, in their “Terms of Service” or privacy policy statements, usually explain how the data they gather will be used.

Jeff Atwood, a blogger in El Cerrito, Calif., who co-founded the programmers website stackoverflow.com, says giving up personal information is the price people pay to do things on the Internet.

“I consider it standard practice,” he says. “So much that we do is free. That is the cost of free.”

Opt out

Angwin tried to get her data removed from various data brokers’ records. “I was not very successful,” she says. “They are not required by law to remove your data.”

She was only able to find information on less than half of the data brokers. Only about half of those offered opt out — 92 out of the 212 she identified.

She posted lists of the data broker information on her website, www.JuliaAngwin.com, identifying those who gave her information about what they knew about her and those that allowed her to opt out.

Some wanted money to remove the information. One wanted a copy of her driver’s license. Some required a mail form or fax. Others wanted too much information — such as a credit card number.

“They don’t make it easy to get out,” she says.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

MLK’s spirit rises: 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action for Truth, Justice, Freedom (1 of ?) Washington’s Blog

MLK’s spirit rises: 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action for Truth, Justice, Freedom (1 of ?) Washington’s Blog.

The 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action (and here) begins ~April 4 on the anniversary of Martin King’s assassination by the US government (civil court trial verdict), with this operation completing ~July 4.

Purpose of this operation:

There are suggested actions here for your consideration how you can lead/participate in your own best way.

Why do this? As bullet-pointed above, let’s look at just a few areas of OBVIOUS US 1% oligarchic crimes that anyone who cares to see can easily confirm as factually accurate:

  • US wars began by “Big Lies,” 
  • Debt we’re told is “money” and bankster looting, 
  • US assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. King, 
  • Allowing a million children to die every month from preventable poverty,
  • “Coverage” of corporate media to hide these crimes. 

US wars began by “Big Lies”: Current US wars were thrust upon trusting US military and families with lies known to be false as they were told. The 1% continue their mockery of veterans by allowing their growing homelessness and suicides, despite obvious solutions available for everyone’s full-employment and health care. This continues a long history of lie-began US Wars of Aggression since theUS invaded Mexico; despite Abraham Lincoln’s powerfully accurate rhetoric of President Polk’s lies to steal half of Mexico at the expense of US military and Mexican civilian lives. The most decorated US Marine general in his day also warned all Americans of this fact of lie-started wars for 1% plunder. TheseUS-led wars have killed ~30 million since World War 2 alone; more than killed by fascist Nazis.

Debt we’re told is “money” and bankster looting: 1% US “leaders” in economic management from government and finance/banking cause trillions in damages to our families every year in OBVIOUS lies:

  1. They tell us debt is “money” in Orwellian psychopathic viciousness. Adding more debt, as these mechanics can only do, will only and always increase the debt. This “monetary system” also guarantees total debt is perpetual and unpayable, making the 99% permanent debt-slaves to 1% asset-holes (documentation hereherehere). The mechanics and mathematics of only being able to add negative numbers to existing negative numbers is certain and simple.
  2. Government Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) have literal multiple trillions in surplus taxpayer assets, as they fraudulently claim deficits “forcing” austerity upon the 99%. For example, California’s own CAFR proves a ~$16 billion claimed budget deficit is absolutely refuted by ~$100 billion in liquid surplus funds and ~$500 billion in claimed investments (explanation and complete documentation here, television interview to explain here, documentation of official lies to keep this information hidden here).
  3. They lie in omission by keeping obvious solutions secret: including government directly paying for all public goods and services with debt-free money created by government (and here). Several models (and here) of cost-free government are known, beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s pamphleton colonial Pennsylvania operating its government without taxes to Thomas Edison explaining debt-free money with Henry Ford in a 1921 summer media tour.

In fact, government could (and should) be the employer of last resort for infrastructure (hard – like roads, and soft – like health care, education). Such a structure would provide full-employment, the best infrastructure we can imagine, and falling prices because infrastructure creates more economic output than the infrastructure investment cost (documentation hereherehere).

US assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. King: President John Kennedy and Dr. Martin King, Jr. were assassinated by a US oligarchy, with  those crimes “covered” by corporate media. If you’re not aware of these powerful histories, it’s time you learned. The conservative academic standard for historical consideration is that if there is powerful evidence that we cannot refute, then we hold that evidence within our explanation of what happened. In both “official” narratives of these assassinations, the evidence linked makes those narratives impossible to have happened.

Allowing a million children to die every month from preventable poverty: I worked to help create two UN Summits for heads of state for ending poverty. The investment cost is less than 1% of the developed nations’ income, with outcomes of saving a million children’s lives each month from horrific deaths, reducing population growth rate, and supporting environmental resources. There is no academic or political argument against the investment  and effectiveness of the known solutions. But what we receive is ongoing lies of omission and commission from our 1% oligarchy and corporate media to keep the powerful facts hidden from the public. Full documentation here.

“Coverage” of corporate media to hide these crimes: You may wish to consider this expert testimony of 30+ Emmy journalist, Bill Moyers. “Corporate media” are six corporations that “cover” OBVIOUS crimes centering in war and money by a 1% US oligarchy. They lie by commission and omission (full explanation and documentation hereherehere), with propaganda techniques obvious upon inspection.

Your response? Whatever you find best, go for it.

Will this operation be successful? Yes, in so far that it seems our best action to take at this time. As human guests on this beautiful yet dominated planet, our roles are limited. We can only do what we can imagine in good-faith effort to help build a brighter future.

Dr. King’s spirit is with us (and others), if that helps you tell the simple truth of your own spiritual commitment. Perhaps you’ll give Martin two minutes of your time to hear him here.

But perhaps you simply have no other choice but to act for this planetary upgrade, or live further under its psychopathy.  Perhaps this famous quote makes sense to you now:

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  – George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. 1.

7 Environmental Charities Face Canada Revenue Agency Audits

7 Environmental Charities Face Canada Revenue Agency Audits.

CBC  |  By THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark BlinchPosted: 02/06/2014 8:55 pm EST  |  Updated: 02/07/2014 9:59 am EST

canada revenue agency

The Canada Revenue Agency is currently conducting extensive audits on some of Canada’s most prominent environmental groups to determine if they comply with guidelines that restrict political advocacy, CBC News has learned.

If the CRA rules that the groups exceeded those limits, their charitable status could be revoked, which would effectively shut them down.

Many of the groups are among the Conservative government’s fiercest critics. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty signalled clearly in his budget of 2012 that political activity of these groups would be closely monitored and he allocated $8 million to the effort. The environmental organizations believe they have been targeted with the goal of silencing their criticism.

“We’re concerned about what appears to be an increase in audits around political activity and in particular around environmental organizations” said Marcel Lauzière, president of Imagine Canada, an umbrella organization for charities.

“There’s a big chill out there with what charities can and cannot do.”

The list of groups CBC has now confirmed are undergoing audits reads like a who’s who in the environmental charity world. They include:

– The David Suzuki Foundation

– Tides Canada

– West Coast Environmental Law

– The Pembina Foundation

– Environmental Defence

– Equaterre

– Ecology Action Centre

“This is a war against the sector,” says John Bennett, of Sierra Club Canada. His group is not yet being audited, but he said he is prepared.

“In the 40-year history of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, it’s been audited twice in 40 years” so there are more audits than usual, Bennett said.

CBC has confirmed that at least one group, Environmental Defence, has received its report back from the CRA and they are appealing it. Sources said their report threatened to revoke their charitable status. Another group, West Coast Environmental Law, had auditors fly in from Ottawa to enhance the work of the local CRA team. One source said the Ottawa CRA people called themselves “The A team.”

Most groups on this list would not talk on the record, but sources say executive directors of these groups are meeting regularly by phone to discuss a united response to the government.

By law, charities are allowed to use a maximum of 10 per cent of their resources for political activity or advocacy, but the guidelines are clear that it cannot be partisan activity. That has been interpreted for years to mean that a group can oppose a government policy but cannot back a specific candidate in an election.

During a pre-budget consultation in December, Flaherty said he is considering making even more changes to rules for charities that have a political aspect.

“We’re reviewing that,” Flaherty said. “We spent some time on it last year and we’re looking at it again now as I prepare the budget.”

He went on to warn charities: “If I were an environmental charity using charitable money, tax-receipted money for political purposes, I would be cautious.”

Bennett said the rules seem to be constantly changing.

“We don’t know what rules we’re playing by. The problem with this is that they gave the power to CRA to walk in and shut you down. And then if you want to complain, you can go to court afterwards.”

The government insists it does not target certain charities, nor does it tell CRA to do so. Auditors alone determine whether they investigate a charity.

“I assume they receive all sorts of information from all sorts of Canadians, in terms of who they should or should not audit. Ultimately it is up to them as an independent agency who they audit or not,” Alberta Conservative MP James Rajotte said.

CBC News contacted the CRA several times to ask how auditing targets are chosen. Spokespeople suggested responses could be found on their website. There it states some of the reasons a charity could be selected for an audit including random selection, to review specific legal obligations under the law and to follow-up on possible non-compliance or complaints.

According to lawyer Mark Blumberg, who specializes in charity law, the CRA often audits charitable organizations based on complaints.

“If there are a number of complaints about a charity and its political activities, that could trigger an audit by CRA,” he said. That assessment is echoed by a number of groups currently undergoing audits.

“I believe our audit was complaint driven,” said Ross McMillan, the president and CEO of Tides Canada.

“I am confident of a positive outcome as we take seriously our responsibility to act in compliance with the Income Tax Act and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines,” he said.

Pro-oilsands group has filed complaints

McMillan goes on to cite complaints from Ethical Oil, a group that has formally submitted complaints to the CRA about Tides Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and Environmental Defence.

The complaints are all filed through legal counsel and are part of a campaign Ethical Oil has started to strip these environmental groups of their charitable status.

Ethical Oil is a registered non-profit non-governmental organization that describes  itself as an “online community” to empower people to become grassroots activists in defence of the oilsands development.

The group was founded by Alykhan Velshi, who is currently the director of issues management in the Prime Minister’s Office. Environmental groups say Ethical Oil is funded by the oil and gas industry to try to undermine their work

CBC News has repeatedly asked Ethical Oil to reveal who their funders are but no specific list has been made public.

Environmental groups are not the only ones who have been audited. Social justice groups like Amnesty International Canada are also currently undergoing an audit about their political activities. CBC News contacted them but they declined to comment.

All the groups say they will be watching Tuesday’s budget for new rules that may affect their charitable status.

“We have an important role to play in our society and we want to play that role,” said Bennett. ” But we need a governing system that actually welcomes public dialogue instead of discouraging it.”

Activist Post: Eyes in the Sky: New Surveillance Technology to Watch Over Us

Activist Post: Eyes in the Sky: New Surveillance Technology to Watch Over Us.

Lily Dane
Activist PostNew surveillance camera technology may be flying over your city soon. The new cameras are mounted on fixed-wing aircraft and can monitor an area the size of a small city for hours on end.

The Washington Post reported on this new generation of surveillance cameras:

A new, far more powerful generation is being quietly deployed that can track every vehicle and person across an area the size of a small city, for several hours at a time. Although these cameras can’t read license plates or see faces, they provide such a wealth of data that police, businesses and even private individuals can use them to help identify people and track their movements.

Even the name of the company that created this technology sounds ominous: Persistent Surveillance Systems. Ross McNutt, the president of the Ohio-based company, told the Post how the cameras could help reduce crime:

A single camera mounted atop the Washington Monument, McNutt boasts, could deter crime all around the Mall. He said regular flights over the most dangerous parts of Washington — combined with publicity about how much police could see — would make a significant dent in the number of burglaries, robberies and murders. His 192-megapixel cameras would spot as many as 50 crimes per six-hour flight, he estimated, providing police with a continuous stream of images covering more than a third of the city.

While taking measures to reduce crime is admirable, it seems that some, like Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, have other ideas about how the technology can be used. Biehl wants to invite the public to see the cameras in action, because it may scare them into behaving:

I want them to be worried that we’re watching. I want them to be worried that they never know when we’re overhead.

Civil liberties advocates say that while surveillance can help solve crime, privacy is at risk.

Joel Pruce, a University of Dayton postdoctoral fellow in human rights, told the Post:

There are an infinite number of surveillance technologies that would help solve crimes…but there are reasons that we don’t do those things, or shouldn’t be doing those things.

You know where there’s a lot less crime? There’s a lot less crime in China.

Jan Stanley, a privacy expert with the American Civil Liberties Union, said of the technology:

If you turn your country into a totalitarian surveillance state, there’s always some wrongdoing you can prevent. The balance struck in our Constitution tilts toward liberty, and I think we should keep that value.

Here, Craig Timberg of The Washington Post explains the technology:

Be sure to look up and wave hello if you see one of these surveillance planes hovering over your area!

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

Supreme Court Justice Confirms American Internment Camps Will Happen Again: “It is the Reality”

Supreme Court Justice Confirms American Internment Camps Will Happen Again: “It is the Reality”.

Mac Slavo
February 4th, 2014

internmentcamps

While President Obama and Congressional members have made an effort to convince their constituents that the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act will never be used against citizens of the United States, the fact is that the laws clearly allow for the detention, arrest and detainment of Americans without charge or trial. The President attempted to assuage these fears of potential abuse of the law by including a signing statement promising he would never use the law against Americans, but the statement itself is non-binding, leaving the possibility of misuse wide open.

In the event of a declared national emergency or war, when fear and panic are running rampant, the President will, without a shadow of a doubt, implement whatever means necessary in order to control the populace and maintain order.

Detainment and interment will be at the top of the Department of Homeland Security’s to-do list.

And if you have any doubts about this possibility then pay close attention to the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a recent event where law students asked the judge about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Keep in mind that this is coming from one of the people who will be sitting on the panel of judges who decides whether or not such an act is Constitutional:

Well of course Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case.

But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again.

That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war.

It’s no justification, but it is the reality.

There will come a time in America when panic grips the nation. There will be riots, violence, and bloodshed resulting from any number of plausible scenarios like the collapse of our economic and monetary systems.

When this happens the government will implement their continuity plans. Martial law will be declared.

The Department of Homeland Security will activate their already stocked and staffedFederal Emergency Management Agency refugee camps. We’ve seen these in limited form during major storms like Hurricane Sandy. Those who came to FEMA for help reported that their facilities were like concentration camps.

But they were nothing compared to what would happen in a situation where hundreds of thousands of people would need to be detained under a national emergency declaration. According to various sources and a ton of research over the years, FEMA camps are situated all over the country and are awaiting internees.

U.S. Army internal document provides some additional insight:

The document makes it clear that the policies apply “within U.S. territory” and involve, “DOD support to U.S. civil authorities for domestic emergencies, and for designated law enforcement and other activities,” including “man-made disasters, accidents, terrorist attacks and incidents in the U.S. and its territories.

The manual states, “These operations may be performed as domestic civil support operations,” and adds that “The authority to approve resettlement such operations within U.S. territories,” would require a “special exception” to The Posse Comitatus Act, which can be obtained via “the President invoking his executive authority.” The document also makes reference to identifying detainees using their “social security number.”

Aside from enemy combatants and other classifications of detainees, the manual includes the designation of “civilian internees,” in other words citizens who are detained for, “security reasons, for protection, or because he or she committed an offense against the detaining power.”

If you’re paying attention you can see the signs everywhere. The government of the United States is preparing for a widespread event that, based on their recent activities, will require the deployment of armed police, military and even a multi-million strong civilian security force.

This is happening and a Supreme Court Justice of the United States just confirmed that there will be no stopping it.

Activist Post: Saudi Royalty Declares Peaceful Dissent Punishable by Indefinite Detention

Activist Post: Saudi Royalty Declares Peaceful Dissent Punishable by Indefinite Detention.

Cassius Methyl
Activist Post

Under new law, archetypal of any oppressive regime with a plan to keep the society under its thumb, Saudi royalty declared that peaceful opposition to whatever they do is ‘terrorism’, and can be punishable by locking the agitator of ‘public order’ in a cage indefinitely. The ‘counter terrorism bill’ declares that the Saudi government can use force on individuals who commit ‘actions that threaten Saudi Arabia’s unity, disturb public order, or defame the reputation of the state or the king.’

With our modern understanding of history brought to us via the World Wide Web, not the history taught in public school, but the real history you must dig deep into for real facts, it is overwhelmingly obvious what this bill is about. It is the same archetype, the same playbook of past greedy, dull tyranny brought into the modern era.

King Abdullah was the face of approval for this law, as he signed it into law Sunday.

The bill defines terrorism as things that have nothing necessarily to do with violence, criminalizing- “any act carried out by an offender … intended to disturb the public order…to shake the security of society… stability of the state… expose its national unity to danger… suspend the basic law of governance or some of its articles,” as cited by Human Rights Watch (HRW). 

Of course, the security of the society ruled by the state is defined by the people oppressing, taxing, and imprisoning the citizens of the land that the royal Saudis claim ownership of. The stability of the state is directly at the expense of the citizens.

Civil disobedience is explicitly forbidden in this bill, which punishes those who inhibit “governmental authority to carry out or prevent it [the government] from carrying out an action, or to threaten to carry out acts that lead to the named purposes or incite [these acts]”.

This bill also functions as a declaration of war of sorts against the citizens of Saudi Arabia, similar perhaps to the US’ NDAA and other similar moves taken by Britain, Canada, Ukraine, and Thailand to name just a few. In Saudi Arabia, it gives the ruling class the ability to do intense Internet surveillance, phone tracking, and even the ability to ‘lawfully’ raid homes of suspected ‘terrorists’, often people voicing a peaceful opinion that doesn’t sit well with the ruling class of Saudi Arabia.

After the ‘security forces’ lock a dissident in a cage, they can be detained for up to six months with a seemingly flexible possibility of extending the asylum for another 6 months at the will of the ruling class.

The world is watching as governments unify against us with similar anti-dissent laws. People want the simple right to self-ownership, and every day the unity between citizens grows globally. Perhaps this is the Saudi ruling class’ reaction to the global paradigm shift.

Source:
http://rt.com/news/saudi-arabia-counterterrorism-law-556/

Recently by Cassius Methyl:

Cassius Methyl is an activist for the natural right of people to self ownership, a writer for Activist Post, and an experimental musician.

CSEC and Harper Government Assert Right to Spy on Canadians | Global Research

CSEC and Harper Government Assert Right to Spy on Canadians | Global Research.

Global Research, February 04, 2014
harper-spy

With the government’s full support, the Communication Security Establishment Canada (CSEC)—the Canadian partner and counterpart of the US National Security Agency (NSA)—has illegally arrogated the power to spy on Canadians.

Responding Friday to the latest revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, CSEC baldly declared that it has the unfettered right to systematically collect and analyze the metadata from Canadians’ electronic communications—that is from their telephone calls, texts, e-mail messages, and Internet use.

Like the NSA, CSEC is advancing a pseudo-legal argument to justify its flagrant violation of Canadians’ privacy rights. This argument revolves around a spurious distinction between the “content” of a communication and the metadata generated by it. The latter, claims CSEC, is not constitutionally protected because it is merely a “wrapping” or “envelope.” Metadata can, therefore, be accessed, preserved and analyzed by the state at will. That is, in the absence of any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing and without CSEC needing to obtain a judicial warrant.

CSEC “is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata,” declared a terse press release issued by Canada’s eavesdropping agency Friday. “In simple terms, metadata is technical information used to route communications, and not the contents of a communication.”

Based on this antidemocratic assertion, the CSEC statement goes on to claim that a pilot NSA-CSEC program that involved the collection and analysis of the metadata of all Wi-Fi traffic at a Canadian airport during a two-week period in 2012 was completely in accordance with the blanket legal ban on CSEC spying on the communications of people in Canada, unless authorized by a court-issued warrant.

“No Canadian or foreign travellers were tracked,” claimed CSEC. “No Canadian communications were, or are, targeted, collected or used.”

This is doublespeak. Since at least 2004, CSEC has been spying on Canadians’ communications through the systematic collection and analysis of metadata.

In the case of the NSA-CSEC pilot project, the 27-slide CSEC PowerPoint presentation leaked by Snowden to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) boasts that the new program the spy agencies were testing enabled them to trace the subsequent Wi-Fi communications of those swept up in their surveillance of an unnamed “mid-size” Canadian airport for up to two weeks. The metadata from their communications was collected and their movements reconstructed as they accessed Wi-Fi’s at hotels, cafes, libraries and other airports in Canada and the US.

What is this if not spying?

The CSEC statement went on to make various claims as to the legality of its metadata mining operations. Such spying, it contended, is authorized under the National Defence Act and by ministerial directives and has been approved by the CSEC Commissioner, an ostensible “watchdog” who works hand-in-glove with CSEC and reports to the Defence Minister.

The reality is that CSEC’s operations are shrouded in complete secrecy—an antidemocratic framework conducive to illegal assertions of executive power. It functions on the basis of directives issued by the Minister of Defence. The contents of these directives and even their subjects are known only to a handful of cabinet ministers and a cabal of national security officials

The ministerial directives that authorize CSEC’s metadata mining programs have never been publicly released, let alone approved by parliament and their legality tested in the courts.

We do know, thanks to a series of reports published by the Globe and Mailsince last June, that CSEC has been metadata mining Canadians’ communications for at least a decade. The initial Globe report was largely based on a secret 2009 ministerial directive that gave CSEC continued authorization for at least one of its metadata mining programs and sought to provide legal cover for this by invoking the claim that metadata is not constitutionally protected communication.

In response to this and other revelations—many of them coming from documents leaked by Snowden and showing that CSEC functions as a veritable arm and subcontractor of the NSA in its global spying operations—CSEC and the Conservative government have made numerous pro forma declarations affirming CSEC’s adherence to the law. Canadians have been repeatedly told that CSEC’s operations target “foreign threats” and that it cannot and does not scrutinize Canadians’ communications without court authorization.

The World Socialist Web Site repeatedly warned that these statements were disinformation and lies. In particular, we pointed to the evidence that CSEC was seeking to circumvent the legal and constitutional restrictions on it spying on Canadians by asserting that metadata is not part of an electronic “communication.”

The significance of Friday’s statement is that never before has CSEC so forthrightly admitted to the Canadian public that it is collecting and analyzing the metadata of their communications and asserted—in flagrant contradiction with the privacy rights guaranteed in the country’s constitution—that it has the power to do so.

While the CSEC statement did not repeat this argument, the spy agency and the Conservative government have repeatedly suggested that metadata is innocuous technical information—which begs the question as to why massive state resources are being expended to collect and analyze it and to perfect dragnet surveillance programs.

Through metadata mining the state can develop intimate profiles of individuals and groups. Metadata is “way more powerful than the content of communications,” University of Toronto professor and cyber-security specialist Ron Deibert told the CBC. “You can tell a lot more about people, their habits, their relationships, their friendships, even their political beliefs.”

CSEC’s metadata spying was first authorized by the Liberal government of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin and has been expanded under its successor, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

On Friday, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson stuck to the government script, insisting that CSEC’s operations are lawful and repeating its tendentious claims that metadata mining doesn’t constitute spying on Canadians’ communications. CSEC, declared Nicholson, “made it clear to CBC that nothing in the documents that they had obtained showed that Canadian communications were targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers’ movements were tracked.”

Canada’s opposition parties have aided and abetted the government’s attempt to cover up the illegal spying being conducted by CSEC. In the seven months prior to last Friday, they had asked only a handful of questions in parliament about the revelations concerning CSEC and refused to either alert Canadians to the significance of CSEC’s metadata mining or its pivotal role in the NSA’s illegal global spying network.

On Friday, some MPs from the trade union-supported New Democratic Party and the Liberals did characterize CSEC’s spying as illegal. But as defenders of big business and the capitalist state, they will not mount any serious effort to expose the illegal operations of CSEC, let alone demonstrate the connection between the emergence of police state spying, ever widening social inequality, and the drive of all sections of the elite to make the working class pay for the capitalist crisis through wage and job cuts and the dismantling of public services.

Privacy Versus Secrecy – International Man

Privacy Versus Secrecy – International Man.

 

By Jeff Thomas

The very idea that the individual has a natural-born right to his privacy and basic freedoms flies in the face of the collectivist ideal.

Government is all about control.

Every government, over time, increases its level of control over its population in every way it can. Given enough time, any government will nibble away at its people’s freedoms until it reaches the point that the people have so little freedom left that the government feels safe in taking the remaining freedoms in ever-larger gulps. Some nations are taking very large gulps indeed.

One of the primary freedoms is privacy. Under the British Constitution,

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Further,

“The common law allows people to speak and act in their own homes as they please and to carry on their daily business, provided that they do not infringe the rights of others or commit an offence.”

Sounds downright libertarian, does it not? And it should, as the people who originally collected the bits and pieces that make up the British Constitution were those who, having had enough of the vague and often draconian edicts of various governments, sought to define the rights of the British citizen once and for all.

Of course, “once and for all” did not last very long. Subsequent governments have done their best to slowly erode the basic rights of the British people.

This is consistent with the governments of the world in general.

If we look across the pond to the US, we find in their Bill of Rights, the rights to privacy in numerous amendments, particularly the Fourth Amendment, which states,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

There can be little doubt that the political leaders of the UK and the US (and, let’s be fair, most of the world’s governments) have violated the basic right to privacy as often as they have been able.

In this, they generally stick together. Typically, international leaders offer no objection to other leaders (either their immediate political opponents or the leaders of other countries) infringing upon the privacy of their citizenries, no matter how extreme the intrusion. They do, however object quite strongly when they find that they themselves have had their own privacy infringed, such as Angela Merkel and Dilma Rousseff have, recently, after finding that the US was tapping their phones.

So, when the authors of the most central principles upon which the present-day UK and the US were founded, crafted their phrasings, what did they mean when they described such essential privacies as “daily business” and “papers and effects”?

Financial Privacy

Well, top of the list would surely be financial records, as, historically, these are considered to warrant greater privacy than most any other daily business, papers, and effects.

Yet, today, we are seeing ever-greater intrusion into our earnings, our investments, our savings, and the storage of our wealth. Much of the world—particularly under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (read: International Ministry for Intrusion into Financial Privacy)—is doing all it can to eliminate any and all barriers to its pursuit of personal financial information.

However, the prize for Most Invasive Act of Privacy Destruction must go to the US, whose Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) literally seeks to force financial institutionsin other countries to turn over their records to the US.

And much of the world has caved in to this act. So, how is it that this has even been possible, given the fact that it blatantly opposes the founding principles of the US? Well, in a word: marketing.

(Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out: FATCA Watch: List of Countries That Signed Agreements and Those That Will Not Comply with US Dictates)

Banking Secrecy

The OECD countries have done a bang-up job in recent years in attacking the very concept of financial privacy by referring to it by a similar but more sinister term: “secrecy.”

Secrecy, of course, implies that something rather underhanded is taking place and needs routing out. And the world’s low-tax jurisdictions do commit the unforgiveable sin of maintaining the principle that the depositor is entitled to privacy.

In each of these jurisdictions, it is the norm for the average banker to feel that a client’s account is nobody’s bloody business but his own. Whilst they can be quite vehement in this belief, it is also true that they are labouring under increasing pressure from the OECD (and now, FATCA) to compromise the privacy of their clients.

And, in doing so, the OECD has gained quite a following in the form of the media and the average person, as the very term “banking secrecy” now tends to falsely imply criminal acts. This is interesting, as the average person does still believe in privacy. He believes firmly that it is his right to maintain privacy in his bedroom or a public loo, or to draw the drapes in his living room in the evening. Yet these same people have been programmed to mentally remove financial privacy from other privacies.

Clearly, the OECD is going to continue in its intention to convince the world that the individual (unless he holds political office) has an obligation to relinquish his privacy with regard to his financial dealings. And, along the way, its marketing programme will succeed, through endless repetition, of convincing boobus humanus that this is altogether correct.

This suggests that the reader should simply give up and allow his government to invade his privacy at will. However, as those of us who are firm believers in internationalisation often comment, “There is no perfect jurisdiction; there are only jurisdictions that may be more favourable than the home jurisdiction.”

As Doug Casey outlined in his visionary book, The International Man, in 1978, the concept of internationalising is not simply to pick up stakes and move to another country. Rather, it is the concept of “planting flags.” Investigate possible countries in which to live, to hold citizenship, to invest, in which to gain an income, and plant flags in each. Live in one, become a citizen in another, bank in a third, etc.

Some countries still do believe that it is your right to maintain financial privacy and, whilst they may feel pressure from your home country, they are more likely to do all they can to protect your privacy.

As in other concerns, there is no ideal country, but there are those that are decidedlybetter, where the term privacy still retains its original meaning and individual privacy is still respected.

Editor’s Note: You can find the most up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive information from Casey Research on internationalization by clicking here.

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