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Activist Post: 5 Reasons The Latest Report On Syria War Crimes Might Not Be True

Activist Post: 5 Reasons The Latest Report On Syria War Crimes Might Not Be True.

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In a recently released and conveniently timed report, complete with references to Nazi Germany and concentration camps, efforts to ramp up support for a “tough line” against Syria at the upcoming Geneva II conference and even possible military intervention, are once again moving into high gear. The report, compiled by three British war crime prosecutors and three “forensic experts” claims that it has demonstrable proof that the Assad government is guilty of torturing and killing over ten thousand people.

The report (accessed here) claims to show evidence of physical torture, murder, and starvation.
Of course, the Syrian government denies the veracity of the claims of the report and Western media outlets repeat the claims as incontrovertible proof.

As Reuters reports,

A Syrian military police photographer has supplied “clear evidence” showing the systematic torture and killing of about 11,000 detainees in circumstances that evoked Nazi death camps, former war crimes prosecutors said.

Syrian officials could face war crimes charges as a result of the evidence provided by the photographer, who has defected, the three prosecutors said.

One of the prosecutors said the evidence documented “industrial scale killing” that was reminiscent of the World War II concentration camps of Belsen and Auschwitz.

The trove of harrowing photographs ratchets up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States and its Western allies say has committed war crimes against his own people during the civil war.

[…]

55,000 images provided by the photographer, who fled Syria after passing the pictures to Assad’s opponents, show emaciated and mutilated corpses.

Bearing signs of torture, some of the corpses had no eyes. Others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution.

“There is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government,” the three prosecutors said in the 31-page report.

“Such evidence would support findings of crimes against humanity against the current Syrian regime. Such evidence could also support findings of war crimes against the current Syrian regime,” they said.

However, while the final determination of whether or not these claims are accurate is yet to be made, there exist ample reasons to question the assertions made in the report.

1. The Gulf State Feudal Monarchy Qatar is the sponsor of the report. Qatar is, of course, one of the major sponsors of the Syrian invasion (aka the Syrian “rebels”) and has played a massively important role in financing, training, arming, and directing the death squads currently being mopped up by the Assad government.

2. The source of the report. One would be justified in questioning the nature of the report since the sole source of the material comes by virtue of an allegedly “defected Syrian military police officer” who was apparently fine with photographing thousands of dead victims for over a year until now. Regardless of the possibility for such a “moral” conversion, taking information from a “defected” member of government forces once again returns us to the realm of the “activists say” school of journalism – a notorious method used by Western media outlets to promote the side of the death squads and only the side of the death squads as fact in popular reports.

3. Past claims of Assad’s “Crimes Against Humanity.” It is important to remember past experiences with Western claims against Assad for alleged “crimes against humanity,” all of which turned out to have been committed by the death squads, not the Syrian government. From theHoula massacre to the Ghouta chemical weapons attacks, the Syrian government has been exonerated by all credible evidence. The death squads, however, have been proven guilty by virtue of their own video tapes and Youtube accounts, guilty of some of the most horrific acts imaginable. While many innocent people have no doubt been killed in the crossfire between the military and the death squads, the Western media has done everything in its power to place the blood of each and every death inside Syria in the hands of the government.

Let us also not forget the other famous Codename, “Curveball,” that played a major role in the initiation of a previous and still ongoing conflict that was later admitted to be a fabrication. Being fooled by the same type of propaganda twice in ten years is indeed a humiliation too great for a country to bear.

4.) Possibility that the death squads could have killed the victims shown in the report. The victims shown in the report have clearly been abused and starved. However, before jumping to conclusions about just how these unfortunate individuals met their fate, perhaps it would be a good idea to look back at the context of the victims. As mentioned earlier, the death squads operating in Syria are no strangers to crimes against humanity, murder, and torture. In fact, they have been both the initiators of such depravity and overwhelmingly the largest proprietors of it.

Furthermore, the fact that the victims were starved does not necessarily mean that they were starved by the government. Indeed, it is important to remember that, due to the siege of a number of cities by both the military and the death squads as well as due to death squad cruelty and attempted cordoning off of specific areas, food shortage has been a serious concern in some areas for some time. There is also plentiful evidence of death squad groups killing innocent people and shipping their bodies to the places where cameras are set up, waiting for the recording of the propaganda piece. The Ghouta chemical attack is just one instance in which innocent civilians were captured and killed by the death squads and used as stage props for propaganda purposes.

Indeed, it is also important to remember that the death squads themselves are quite adept at keeping prisoners in atrocious conditions. Only a few months back, it was reported that the Syrian military was able to free a number of captive Syrian women from the hands of the death squads who had kept them in captivity in underground tunnels for months on end for the purposes of using them as sex slaves.

5.) The report was conveniently released just two days before the Geneva II Peace Conference meeting on Syria. After the retraction of an invitation to Iran to attend the peace conference, the Qatari-funded report was released just two days before the peace conference was scheduled to take place. With such evidence being studied and analyzed and a report being compiled, to believe that it was only a coincidence that the information was released two days before the conference is absurd. If this evidence was real and of such grave importance why are world leaders only learning of it now? If world leaders knew, why are we only learning of it now?

Considering all of the information provided in this article, taken in conjunction with the “convenient” timing of the release of the reports (convenient, at least, for the enemies of Syria), such reports should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The Western media has not only been wrong, but has lied on so many occasions in the past, that it cannot be expected to tell the truth now.

Recently from Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

The Fascist Origin and Essence of Privatization Washington’s Blog

The Fascist Origin and Essence of Privatization Washington’s Blog.

Preface by Washington’s Blog: We documented in 2009 that fascism and our current crony capitalist economy are indistinguishable.

We noted in 2011 that America’s public resources are being raped and pillaged … just like those of small debt-saddled countries like Greece.

The following short – but important – piece by Eric Zuesse shows that looting and privatization of public resources was a hallmark of fascist Germany and Italy … and America today.

Washington’s Blog is non-partisan.  We believe that the war between liberals and conservatives is a false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis and this.

We can argue it either way, because we are ideologically neutral: allowing the private sector to own and manage resources is good … or allowing the public sector to do so is healthy.

Here’s the key:  If these resources had always been in the private sector, that would be fine … that would be free market capitalism.

But if they were purchased on the people’s dime with our blood, tears, sweat and taxpayer funds – and then sold to the big boys for pennies on the dollar – that’s not capitalism … that’s looting.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Nazis, Italian fascists, and modern American “leaders” are doing.

-By Eric Zuesse

Conservatives support privatizing schools, prisons, hospitals, and other social services. The privatization-mania is also increasingly occurring in higher education, as conservatives in Congress push measures to raise the percentage of colleges that are owned by for-profit corporations, and to decrease the percentage that are either public or nonprofit.

The argument given for such privatization is that corporations are more efficient because they are “the free market” way of serving people’s needs. However, progressives argue to the contrary, that in these parts of the economy, where “profits” for the public are hard if not impossible to measure, government does a better and less-inefficient job than corporations do. And, now, even a conservative state’s governor seems to have switched to the latter conclusion.

On 3 January 2014, the AP reported an instance in which the Republican Governor of one of the three most-Republican states in the U.S., Idaho, is doing a 180-degree turn, and he announced that “the corrections department will take over operation of the largest privately-run prison in the state,” from Corrections Corporation of America. The AP’s Rebecca Boone, in Boise, reported, that, whereas “In 2008, he floated legislation to change state laws to allow private companies to build and operate prisons in Idaho,” he now is taking over operation of this CCA prison, because of “mismanagement and other problems at the facility.” Only a few months before, on September 16th, that same reporter had headlined “CCA in contempt for prison understaffing,” and she quoted the federal judge’s order, which said that, “For CCA staff to lie on so basic a point — whether an officer is actually at a post — leaves the Court with serious concerns about compliance in other respects, such as whether every violent incident is reported.” The judge found that CCA was lying because they wanted more of their income from the state to go toward boosting their bottom line for stockholders, and less of it to go toward feeding the prisoners and protecting them from each other. The judge’s order said, “If a prospective fine leads to $2.4 million in penalties, CCA has no one to blame but itself.” CCA had been caught by the judge in persistently lying to the state while shortchanging prisoners on the prison’s obligation to provide basic services to inmates. The tension between private profits versus public services was clear in this case. CCA had incentive to cheat inmates in order to raise profits, and now a federal judge was fining CCA for doing precisely that.

Similarly, countries such as France, Sweden, UK, and the OECD generally, where health care is entirely or largely provided by the government, have better health-care outcomes and far lower healthcare costs, on a per-person basis, than does the U.S., where the profit motive in medical care is far more encouraged.

However, many Americans prefer the privatization of government services, because they believe that such a movement toward “shrinking big government” is in the direction of greater freedom, and is the only ethical direction, a direction in favor of greater democracy, in accord with the U.S. Constitution. Though the U.S. Constitution is by no means a free-market document, and concerns political issues instead of economic ones, there is a strong belief, especially among conservatives, that it is primarily about economics. There is consequently a myth about privatization.

The Myth About Privatization: Privatization was introduced by two democracies, the USA and UK, in the 1980s, not by prior fascist regimes.

The Truth About Privatization: Privatization was, in fact, a big aim of the elite fascists, right from the very start of fascism.

Explanation of the Reality: Aristocrats control the private wealth. Privatization means that they get to control also what was previously public. Privatization moreover provides corrupt politicians (their politicians) an opportunity to pay off their contributors (themselves) by offering them an inside track on public-asset sales. So, it’s not surprising that privatization is the way of fascist countries.

Documentation of the Reality: In September 2009, the European University Institute issued their RSCAS_2009_46.pdf, titled “From Public to Private: Privatization in 1920’s Fascist Italy,” (subsequently retitled “The First Privatization: Selling SOEs” in the 2011 Cambridge Journal of Economics) by Germa Bel, who said in her summary: “Privatization was an important policy in Italy in 1922-1925. The Fascist government was alone in transferring State ownership and services to private firms in the 1920s; no other country in the world would engage in such a policy until Nazi Germany did so between 1934 and 1937.” Then, in the February 2010 Economic History Review, she headlined a study specifically about the German case, “Against the Mainstream: Nazi Privatization in 1930s Germany.” Here, she reported that, though “privatizations in [fascist] Chile [under Pinochet] and the UK, which began to be implemented in the 1970s and 1980s, are usually considered the first privatization policies in modern history, … none of the contemporary economic analyses of privatization takes into account an important, earlier case: the privatization policy implemented by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany. … Although modern economic literature usually fails to notice it, the Nazi government in 1930s Germany implemented a large-scale privatization policy.” Furthermore, “Germany was alone in developing a policy of privatization in the mid-1930s,” since Italy had finished its privatizations by then.

The purposes of these privatizations, in both cases, were chiefly “receipts from selling” the assets to finance rearmament, and also “the desire to increase support from” the major aristocrats (such as, in Germany, the armaments-making firms of the Thyssens, the Krupps, and the Flicks), who received sweet deals on these assets.

Much later, of course, Russia under Boris Yeltsin also privatized, while that nation switched from being communist, to becoming fascist. (Yeltsin was no fascist himself; he wasn’t intelligent enough to be anything, ideologically. He was just confused, mistaken.) China later did the same thing, when it, too, switched from being communist to being fascist.

Connection to Privatization in the U.S: To continue with prisons as the case: Huffington Post, on 22 October 2013, headlined a major investigative news report “Private Prison Empire Rises Despite Startling Record of Juvenile Abuse,” and reporter Chris Kirkham found rampant political paybacks in the privatizations of juvenile prisons. As a typical example of the consequences: Florida’s “sweeping privatization of its juvenile incarceration system has produced some of the worst re-offending rates in the nation. More than 40 percent of youth offenders sent to one of Florida’s juvenile prisons wind up arrested and convicted of another crime within a year of their release, according to state data. In New York state, where historically no youth offenders have been held in private institutions, 25 percent are convicted again within that timeframe.” Those children in Florida are experiencing the brunt of fascism. But so are taxpayers.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Japan Secures Final Passage Of Secrecy Bill – Designed by Kafka & Inspired By Hitler?!! | Zero Hedge

Japan Secures Final Passage Of Secrecy Bill – Designed by Kafka & Inspired By Hitler?!! | Zero Hedge.

Shinzo Abe secured final passage of a bill granting Japan’s govt sweeping powers to declare state secrets. The Bill won final approval of the measures at about 11:20 p.m. Tokyo time after opposition parties first forced a no-confidence vote in Abe’s govt in the lower house. The first rule of the pending Japan’s Special Secrets Bill is that what will be a secret is secret. The right to know has now been officially superseded by the right of the government to make sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know. It might all seems like a bad joke, except for the Orwellian nature of the bill and a key Cabinet member expressing his admiration for the Nazis, “just as Germany needed a strong man like Hitler to revive defeated Germany, Japan needs people like Abe to dynamically induce change.”

Submitted by Subcultureist of Japan’s Subculture Research Center blog,

The first rule of the pending Japan’s Special Secrets Bill is that what will be a secret is secret. The second rule is that anyone who leaks a secret and a reporter who writes it up can face up to ten years in jail. The third rule is that there are no rules at to what government agency can declare state secrets and no checks on them to determine they don’t misuse the privilege; even of no longer existent agencies may have the power to declare their information secret. The fourth rule  is that anything pertaining to nuclear energy is of course a state secret so there will not longer be any problem with nuclear power in this country because we won’t know anything about it. And what we don’t know can’t hurt us.

The right to know has now been officially superseded by the right of the government to make sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know.

Legal experts note that even asking pointed questions about a state secret, whether you know or don’t know it’s a secret, could be treated as “instigating leaks” and the result in an arrest and a possible jail term up to five years. Of course, the trial would be complicated since the judge would not be allowed to know what secret the accused was suspected of trying to obtain.

Ask the wrong question, five years in jail. 

And of course, trials about state secrets, would by the nature of the law, also be secret trials and closed to the public.

At this point in time, no one has really claimed authorship of the secrecy bill. The author is a secret. Kafka would seem the most likely scrivener for this perplexing legislation, if he was still alive, but ruling coalition members acknowledge that another famous white man from the past may have provided the real inspiration for the bill and its implementation.

An Upper House member of the Diet said on background to JSRC, “Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro sort of telegraphed the punches of the administration by expressing his admiration for how the Nazi Party forcefully changed the German constitution this summer.

Obviously, we’re not Nazis in Japan–because we hardly have any Jews, but we are like the defeated post World War I Germany in that we do not have the right to wage war to defend ourselves from our enemies. Just as Germany needed a strong man like Hitler to revive defeated Germany, Japan needs people like Abe to dynamically induce change.”

Whistleblowers and journalist face up to ten years in jail for exposing anything the Japanese government declares "a special secret." And what is a "special secret"--that is also secret.

In August this year, Aso Taro, who is also the Finance Minister stated at a seminar, “Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed into the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew. It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn from that method?”

It’s obvious that the Abe administration which pushed this bill into the Diet without public hearings and even the standard deliberations with Japan’s legal establishment has been an apt pupil of their German predecessors. They even attempted to pass the bill in the middle of the night yesterday while most of Japan was sleeping. The administration hasn’t been able to set a fire to the Diet building to justify a harsher crackdown but the LDP Secretary General was kind enough to say that those noisily protesting the bill were committing “terrorist acts.”

The hawkish Prime Minister Abe has publicly stated his ambition to revise Japan’s constitution to rid it of Article 9, which forbids Japan from waging war. Upper house Diet member, Taro Yamamoto and others have publicly stated they believe the current bill is a stepping-stone to recreate a fascist Japan, as it existed prior to the Second World War.

It might all seems like a bad joke, except for the Orwellian nature of the bill being proposed and a key Cabinet member expressing his admiration for the Nazis.

 

 

Americans Are Finally Learning About False Flag Terror Washington’s Blog

Americans Are Finally Learning About False Flag Terror Washington’s Blog.

Painting by Anthony Freda

Governments Admit They Carry Out False Flag Terror

Governments from around the world admit they carry out false flag terror:

  • A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
  • Soviet leader  Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939, and declared that the fire originated from Finland as a basis launching the Winter War four days later
  • Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news reportthe official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
  • 2 years before, American Senator George Smathers had suggested that the U.S. make “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]“.
  • And Official State Department documents show that – only nine months before the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan was proposed – the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussedblowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The 3 plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing
  • An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author)
  • Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion)
  • According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
  • The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings
  • As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.
  • Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”
  • United Press International reported in June 2005:

    U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

  • Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians
  • Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this)
  • At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence
  • A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat
  • U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants
  • The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – admitted last the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists

So Common … There’s a Name for It

This tactic is so common that it was given a name for hundreds of years ago.

“False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy’s strategy of tension.

The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship in its own navy. Because the enemy’s flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a “false flag” attack.

Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for navalair and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks.

Leaders Throughout History Have Acknowledged False Flags

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
– Plato

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
– U.S. President James Madison

“A history of false flag attacks used to manipulate the minds of the people! “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin

People Are Waking Up to False Flags

People are slowly waking up to this whole con job by governments who want to justify war.

More people are talking about the phrase “false flag” than ever before.

 

Guest Post: Should Extremist Parties Be Banned? | Zero Hedge

Guest Post: Should Extremist Parties Be Banned? | Zero Hedge. (source)

Following the slaying of two members of Greece’s far-rght Golden-Dawn party (and wounding of a third) on Friday evening, the Greek government’s crackdown on the country’s ‘extremist’ party has revived a vexing question that seemed to have disappeared with the Cold War’s end: Is there a place within liberal democracies for apparently anti-democratic parties?

Via AP,

Police investigating the slaying of two members of the far-right Golden Dawn party and the wounding of a third say the gun used in the Friday evening attack had not been used in previous terrorist attacks.

The assailant fired 12 rounds from a Zastava Tokarev type semi-auto pistol, police say.

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity because officers were not authorized to comment on the ongoing investigation, said Saturday that a video from a nearby security camera confirmed accounts from Golden Dawn lawmakers that the assailant started firing from 15 meters (yards) away and finished off his victims from point-blank range. The gunman fired at a fourth Golden Dawn member, who managed to enter a building unharmed.

One can’t help but get the sense their is a growing ‘instigation’ of more killing in Greece, which got us thinking of the following discussion…

Authored by Jan-Werner Mueller, originally posted at Project Syndicate,

Should Extremist Parties Be Banned?

To be sure, liberal democracies have felt threatened since communism collapsed in 1989 – but mostly by foreign terrorists, who tend not to form political parties and sit in these countries’ parliaments. So, should extremist parties that seek to compete within the democratic framework be outlawed, or would such a restriction on freedom of speech and association itself undermine this framework?

Above all, it is crucial that such decisions be entrusted to non-partisan institutions such as constitutional courts, not other political parties, whose leaders will always be tempted to ban their competitors. Unfortunately, the moves against Golden Dawn are mostly identified with the government’s interests, rather than being perceived as the result of careful, independent judgment.

On the face of it, democratic self-defense seems a legitimate goal. As US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson (who was also the chief US prosecutor at Nuremburg) put it, the constitution is not “a suicide pact” – a sentiment echoed by the Israeli jurist Aharon Barak, who emphasized that “civil rights are not an altar for national destruction.”

But too much democratic self-defense can ultimately leave no democracy to defend. If the people really want to be done with democracy, who is to stop them? As another US Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, put it, “if my fellow citizens want to go to Hell, I will help them. It’s my job.”

So it seems that democracies are damned if they ban and damned if they do not ban. Or, in the more elevated language of the twentieth century’s most influential liberal philosopher, John Rawls, this appears to be a “practical dilemma which philosophy alone cannot resolve.”

History offers no clear lessons, though many people like to think otherwise. In retrospect, it appears obvious that the Weimar Republic might have been saved had the Nazi Party been banned in time. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, famously gloated after the Nazis’ legal Machtergreifung (seizure of power): “It will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy that it provided its mortal enemies with the means through which it was annihilated.”

But a ban might not have halted the German people’s general disenchantment with liberal democracy, and an authoritarian regime still might have followed. Indeed, whereas West Germany banned a neo-Nazi party and the Communist Party in the 1950’s, some countries –particularly in Southern and Eastern Europe, where dictatorship came to be associated with the suppression of pluralism – have drawn precisely the opposite lesson about preventing authoritarianism. That is one reason why Greece, for example, has no legal provisions for banning parties.

The fact that Greece nonetheless is effectively trying to destroy Golden Dawn – the parliament just voted to freeze the party’s state funding – suggests that, in the end, most democracies will want to draw the line somewhere. But just where, exactly, should it be drawn?

For starters, it is important to recognize that the line needs to be clearly visible before extremist parties even arise. If the rule of law is to be upheld, democratic self-defense must not appear ad hoc or arbitrary. Thus the criteria for bans should be spelled out in advance.

One criterion that seems universally accepted is a party’s use, encouragement, or at least condoning of violence – as was evidently the case with Golden Dawn’s role in attacks on immigrants in Athens. There is less consensus about parties that incite hatred and are committed to destroying core democratic principles – especially because many extremist parties in Europe go out of their way to emphasize that they are not against democracy; on the contrary, they are fighting for “the people.”

But parties that seek to exclude or subordinate a part of “the people” – for example, legal immigrants and their descendants – are violating core democratic principles. Even if Golden Dawn – a neo-Nazi party in appearance and content – had not engaged in violence, its extreme anti-immigrant stance and its incitement of hatred at a moment of great social and economic turmoil would have made it a plausible candidate for a ban.

Critics warn of a slippery slope. Any disagreement with a government’s immigration policy, for example, might eventually be deemed “racist,” resulting in curtailment of freedom of speech.Something like the classic American standard – the speech in question must pose a “clear and present danger” of violence – is therefore essential. Marginal parties that are not connected to political violence and do not incite hatred should probably be left in peace – distasteful as their rhetoric may be.

But parties that are closer to assuming power are a different matter, even if banning them might automatically appear undemocratic (after all, they will already have deputies in parliaments). In one famous case, the European Court of Human Rights agreed with the banning of Turkey’s Welfare Party while it was the senior member of a governing coalition.

It is a myth that bans turn leaders of extremist parties into martyrs. Very few people can remember who led the postwar German neo-Nazis and Communists. Nor is it always the case that mainstream parties can cut off support for extremists by selectively coopting their complaints and demands. Sometimes this approach works, and sometimes it does not; but it always amounts to playing with fire.

Banning parties does not have to mean silencing citizens who are tempted to vote for extremists. Their concerns should be heard and debated; and sometimes banning is best combined with renewed efforts at civic education, emphasizing, for example, that immigrants did not cause Greece’s woes. True, such measures might come across as patronizing – but such forms of public engagement are the only way to avoid making anti-extremism look like extremism itself.

 

The Greatest, Most Relevant Speech Ever | Zero Hedge

The Greatest, Most Relevant Speech Ever | Zero Hedge. (source/link)

Every now and then, it is good to refresh knowledge of what is truly important in life. So it’s time to post “The Greatest Speech Ever” by Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin was known as the greatest silent actor ever. The most powerful excerpts from his speech, still very relevant today, in my opinion, are below:

“And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

“To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

And particularly relevant, is the following, as it applies to nearly all world leaders today and it should serve to awaken us to the knowledge that divided we will fall to the brutal immorality of today’s banking/government/military complex, but united, we have the power to change our futures for the better:

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfill their promise, they never will. “

Here is more about Charlie Chaplin, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Chaplin arrived in Los Angeles, home of the Keystone studio, in early December 1913. The 1940s saw Chaplin face a series of controversies, both in his work and his personal life, which changed his fortunes and severely affected his popularity in America. The first of these was a new boldness in expressing his political beliefs. Deeply disturbed by the surge of militaristic nationalism in 1930s world politics, Chaplin found that he could not keep these issues out of his work: “How could I throw myself into feminine whimsy or think of romance or the problems of love when madness was being stirred up by a hideous grotesque, Adolf Hitler?”

He chose to make The Great Dictator – a “satirical attack on fascism” and his “most overtly political film”. There were strong parallels between Chaplin and the German dictator, having been born four days apart and raised in similar circumstances. It was widely noted that Hitler wore the same toothbrush moustache as the Tramp, and it was this physical resemblance that formed the basis of Chaplin’s story. Chaplin spent two years developing the script and began filming in September 1939. He had submitted to using spoken dialogue, partly out of acceptance that he had no other choice but also because he recognised it as a better method for delivering a political message. Making a comedy about Hitler was seen as highly controversial, but Chaplin’s financial independence allowed him to take the risk. “I was determined to go ahead,” he later wrote, “for Hitler must be laughed at.” Chaplin replaced the Tramp (while wearing similar attire) with “A Jewish Barber”, a reference to the Nazi party’s belief that the star was a Jew. In a dual performance he also plays the dictator “Adenoid Hynkel”, a parody of Hitler which Maland sees as revealing the “megalomania, narcissism, compulsion to dominate, and disregard for human life” of the German dictator.

The Great Dictator spent a year in production, and was released in October 1940. There was a vast amount of publicity around the film, with a critic for the New York Times calling it “the most eagerly awaited picture of the year”, and it was one of the biggest money-makers of the era. The response from critics was less enthusiastic. Although most agreed that it was a brave and worthy film, many considered the ending inappropriate. Chaplin concluded the film with a six-minute speech in which he looked straight at the camera and professed his personal beliefs. The monologue drew significant debate for its overt preaching and continues to attract attention to this day. Maland has identified it as triggering Chaplin’s decline in popularity, and writes, “Henceforth, no movie fan would ever be able to separate the dimension of politics from the star image of Charles Spencer Chaplin.” The Great Dictator received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.

Chaplin decided to hold the world premiere of his film Limelight in London, since it was the setting of the film. As he left Los Angeles, Chaplin expressed a premonition that he would not be returning. At New York, he boarded the RMS Queen Elizabeth with his family on 18 September 1952. The next day, Attorney General James P. McGranery revoked Chaplin’s re-entry permit and stated that he would have to submit to an interview concerning his political views and moral behaviour in order to re-enter the US. US Congressman John E. Rankin of Mississippi told the House in June 1947:

“[Chaplin] has refused to become an American citizen. His very life in Hollywood is detrimental to the moral fabric of America. [If he is deported] … his loathsome pictures can be kept from before the eyes of the American youth. He should be deported and gotten rid of at once.”

What is remarkable about the above is that Chaplin’s speech about fascism in The Great Dictator nearly 75 years ago is as relevant today, if not more relevant, as it was back then. In addition, as Chaplin was demonized for telling the truth back then, administrations worldwide today, like the current White House administration, are relentlessly demonizing and persecuting truth tellers as well, after deceitfully pledging to protect them. It is for these reasons, in an Orwellian age when telling the truth is a revolutionary act, that we must spread “The Greatest Speech Ever” far and wide.

 

Greece lifts immunity of Golden Dawn MPs – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Greece lifts immunity of Golden Dawn MPs – Europe – Al Jazeera English. (source)

Six lawmakers from far right Golden Dawn party have their immunity from prosecution revoked as part of crackdown.

The probe into Golden Dawn was prompted by the murder of a hip hop artist by a self-confessed neo-Nazi supporter [AP]
Greece’s Parliament has voted to lift the immunity from prosecution of six lawmakers from the far right-wing Golden Dawn party, as part of a crackdown into the party’s activities after the murder of an anti-fascist musician last month.

A majority of over two-thirds in the 180-seat chamber voted to lift the immunity of George Germenis, Efstathios Boukouras and Panagiotis Iliopoulos on Wednesday.

In addition, party spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris and fellow lawmakers Ilias Panagiotaros and Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos will be called to answer lesser charges, a process that will first require parliamentary approval.

Kassidiaris and Panagiotaros were already indicted earlier this month, and conditionally freed, on the charge of belonging to a criminal organisation.

Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, his deputy Christos Pappas and lawmaker Yiannis Lagos are already being held in Athens’s high security Korydallos prison over the case.

The probe into Golden Dawn was prompted by the murder of hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas by a self-confessed neo-Nazi supporter in September.

Witnesses have since testified that senior party members were involved in migrant beatings, extortion and possible arms smuggling.

The authorities are also moving to cut the party’s access to state funding, in a vote to take place on Thursday.

 

If Hitler Didn’t Exist, the Pentagon Would Have to Invent Him | Washington’s Blog

If Hitler Didn’t Exist, the Pentagon Would Have to Invent Him | Washington’s Blog. (FULL ARTICLE)

When video of the October 14th edition of Thom Hartmann’s TV show appears online (here) it will include him asking me to justify not attacking Hitler.  Thom has asked me this repeatedly during multiple appearances on his show, each time a little differently, and each time provocatively.  He’s right to ask it, and he’s been right in some of the answers he’s helped provide in the asking.

Without Hitler, the U.S. military would collapse.

For 68 years, wars on poor countries have been justified by the pretended discovery of Hitler’s reincarnation.  Each time it has turned out to be a false alarm.  Every post-WWII war looks disastrous or at least dubious in retrospect to most people.  And yet, the justification of the next war is always ready to hand, because the real, original Hitler remains alive in our memories, and he just might come back — who’s to say?

Actually, I think anyone vaguely aware of basic facts about the current world ought to be able to say that Hitler is gone for good.

How do I justify not going to war with Hitler, beyond explaining that Assad isn’t Hitler, Gadaffi isn’t Hitler, Hussein isn’t Hitler, and so on?…

 

These False Flags Were Used To Start A War | Zero Hedge

These False Flags Were Used To Start A War | Zero Hedge.

 

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