Filibuster Funding for Iraq Occupation (video)

Dandelion Salad

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How, Why, When, and Who can filibuster the funding of the occupation of Iraq.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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“Today, I weep for my country” by Sen. Robert Byrd

It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

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Torture in Our Own Backyards – The Fight Against Supermax Prisons

Dandelion Salad

By Jessica Pupovac
ICH
03/25/08 “AlterNet

In supermax prisons, 23 hours a day of solitary confinement is the norm. How did our prison system become so cruel?


Imagine living in an 8-by-12 prison cell, in solitary confinement, for eight years straight. Your entire world consists of a dank, cinder block room with a narrow window only three inches high, opening up to an outdoor cement cage, cynically dubbed, “the yard.” If you’re lucky, you spend one hour five days a week in that outdoor cage, where you gaze up through a wire mesh roof and hope for a glimpse of the sun. If you talk back to the guards or act out in any way, you might only venture outside one precious hour per week.
You go eight years without shaking a hand or experiencing any physical human contact. The prison guards bark orders and touch you only while wearing leather gloves, and then it’s only to put you in full cuffs and shackles before escorting you to the cold showers, where they watch your every move.

You cannot make phone calls to your friends or family and must “earn” two visits per month, which inevitably take place through a Plexiglass wall. You are kept in full shackles the entire time you visit with your wife and children, and have to strain to hear their voices through speakers that record your every word. With no religious or educational programs to break up the time or elevate your thoughts, it’s a daily struggle to keep your mind from unraveling.

This is how Reginald Akeem Berry describes his time in Tamms Correctional Facility, a “Supermax” state prison in southern Illinois, where he was held from March 1998 until July 2006. He now works to draw attention to conditions inside Tamms, where 261 inmates continue to be held in extreme isolation.

Once exclusively employed as a short-term punishment for particularly violent jailhouse infractions, “supermax” facilities, or “control units,” are today designed specifically to hold large numbers of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. A concept that spread like wildfire in the 1990s, today an estimated 20,000 prisoners in 44 states live in these modern-day dungeons, judged to be “unmanageable” by prison officials and moved from other penitentiaries to the nearest supermax.

Life in supermax institutions is grueling. Inmates stay in their cells for at least 23 hours per day, and never so much as lay eyes on another prisoner. While many live under these conditions for five years, others continue, uncertain of how to earn their way out, for 10, 15 or even 20 years.

The effects of such extended periods of isolation on prisoners’ physical and mental health, their chances of meaningful rehabilitation, and, ultimately, on the communities to which they will eventually return are coming under increasing fire, from lawyers, human rights advocates and the medical professionals who have treated them. Bolstered by growing concern over the United States’ sanctioning of torture, and the effect it’s had on the country’s international standing, their calls to action are gaining ground. In 2000, and again in 2006, the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemned the kind of isolation imposed by the U.S. government in federal, state and county-run supermax prisons, calling it “extremely harsh.” “The committee is concerned about the prolonged isolation periods detainees are subjected to,” they stated, “the effect such treatment has on their mental health, and that its purpose may be retribution, in which case it would constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“Sending someone to a supermax is punishment”

Defense attorney Jean Maclean Snyder, who has represented several Tamms prisoners, says the U.N. declaration is dead-on. “It is suspected that many [Tamms] prisoners have been sent there in retaliation for filing lawsuits about prison policies; because serious mental illnesses cause them to be disruptive; or simply because wardens at other prisons do not like them,” she wrote in 2000, shortly after the original declaration was issued. Allan Mills of the Uptown People’s Law Office in Chicago, Ill., thinks that the ambiguity surrounding how and why inmates are sent to supermax facilities constitutes a violation of due process. “Sending someone to a supermax is punishment,” Mills told AlterNet, “and before someone gets punished, they have a right to a fair hearing.” “Just like if you were to get a traffic ticket, you have a right to say ‘I didn’t do it’ and bring witnesses, and the police would have to come and testify against you,” he said. “The same should go for prisoners who are being subjected to this horrendous long-term confinement.” Mills claims he has “tracked a pattern of prisoners being sent to Tamms because of them filing grievances or lawsuits and being jailhouse lawyers.”

Assistant Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Sergio Molina told AlterNet that, “Their behavior is their input,” and although he claims the decision to transfer an inmate to Tamms is made on a “case-by-case basis,” he wasn’t able to expand further on the process.

Reginald Berry says he believes he was sent there for being “influential” among the general prison population. A former five-star leader of Chicago’s infamous Vice Lords gang, he says he had the opportunity to turn in the “pistol” in a murder case, in return for a five-year sentence. However, he says, cooperating with the police against a fellow Vice Lord would have been “against the code,” so instead he fought a first-degree murder charge in court and wound up with a 33-year jail sentence.

At first, life in Illinois state penitentiaries — he was transferred to several over the years — was manageable, since, in his words, “the animals were running the zoo.” Through what he describes as a vast web of corruption and incompetence, “the guys who was the beast of the place were being rewarded by the warden” and were granted preferential job placements and access to coveted programs. “Might made right.”

Following a series of prison riots and attacks on staff in the early 1990s (neither of which Berry had ever witnessed or been involved in) the Illinois General Assembly decided to construct the Tamms Closed Maximum Security Facility, or “CMAX.” With a price tag of $72 million, Tamms CMAX opened its doors on March 10, 1998. The prison is capable of housing up to 500 of the department’s “most disruptive, violent and problematic inmates,” according to an IDOC brochure. IDOC also claims it costs approximately $60,000 per inmate per year to keep the facility running, a figure over three times higher than the per-inmate annual cost at other IDOC facilities.

Berry says that, although he heard supermax rumors swirling throughout the jailhouse, he never imagined that he would end up in one. As he tells it, he hadn’t been involved in a violent altercation for years. Nonetheless, “they came back and punished all the guys they had given fringe benefits to, and I had been one of those brothers.” Days after the Tamms facility opened, ten police officers in full riot gear came to his cell and escorted him out. One of those guards offered him what would be his last cigarette for the next eight years, before putting him on an IDOC van and sending him off to Tamms.

“Many of these inmates have become psychotic”

The moment he arrived at Tamms, Berry says, he knew “it was a different world.” All his belongings were immediately confiscated, right down to his underwear. He was then cavity searched before being escorted, in full shackles and leg irons, to his cell. “Imagine if you’ve been smoking 20 years,” he says. “Overnight you can’t smoke no more, overnight you can’t talk to your kids no more.” The coffee was gone. Work and educational programs were gone. Human interaction was out of reach. Guards barked orders and harassed him.

After about a month of sitting in his cell, he began to hear other inmates’ mental health slipping. “You get these guys and they don’t know how to acclimate, so they start cutting themselves up,” he recalled, adding that some would go so far as “taking a pen and sticking it all the way up into their penis,” or even worse, attempting suicide.

One expert on the effects of solitary confinement, Dr. Terry Kupers, who consults prison agencies on mental health services, says it is not uncommon for “psychiatric symptoms [to] emerge in previously healthy prisoners … in this context of near-total isolation and idleness.” Psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Stuart Grassian concurs. In 2005 he told the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons that he had evaluated “scores of inmates” who “psychiatrically deteriorated during the course of their confinement in solitary.” “Many of these inmates,” he said. “have become psychotic, and many have engaged in self-injurious and self-mutilatory behavior.”

Annibal Santiago, who has been incarcerated at Tamms since 1998, describes how it feels from the inside: “The mentally ill prisoners drive the normal prisoners crazy by screaming, crying, yelling into the pod at all hours of the day and night for days nonstop, by banging on toilets, doors, walls, and/or by shaking or kicking the doors so hard that it sounds like rumbling thunder, flooding the wing with toilet water, and by throwing feces at other prisoners or inserting feces into the air vents so that the whole wing receives a dose of the smell for months.” “The constant bombardment of unrelenting stress takes its toll like a flurry of well-placed punches on a tired boxer’s head,” he wrote in a survey compiled by Tamms Year Ten Campaign, an activist group working to shut down the facility.

The innocent victims

Berry says that when he was first sentenced, he told his wife, Denise, that he would understand if he had to let her go. “I told her, you didn’t commit this crime, you had no part of it, and I love you enough not to punish you with the hardships that’s to come,” he recounted. But she didn’t. When he was transferred to Tamms, six hours south of Chicago, she moved the family to nearby Springfield so that they could visit as often as possible. Since the Illinois General Assembly approved funding for Tamms with IDOC’s claim that it would serve as nothing more than a temporary, one-year-long “shock treatment” for problem inmates, Mrs. Berry thought it would be a temporary move. However, two years later, when it became clear that IDOC had no intention of transferring Berry in the foreseeable future, the family moved back to Chicago. Denise says she wasn’t prepared for how difficult it would be to see her husband deteriorate so rapidly at Tamms, after having spent ten years in the general prison population. It was particularly hard for his teenage son, who watched as his father grew emaciated from a meager diet and lack of exercise, and saw dark circles form under his eyes from lack of sunlight. “What I had a problem with, being an inmate’s wife,” Denise says, “was how they degraded the inmates.” She described her husband being shackled and forced to sit on a small cement stool for the duration of their visits. When officers would deny him a trip to the restroom, encouraging him to instead prematurely end their visit, she says it made her feel like an accomplice to his suffering.

Berry says one thing that kept him going was keeping his family at the forefront of his mind. It bothered him that Tamms prisoners were allowed to keep only 15 pictures in their cells. “Every time my wife sent me pictures, she’d send me sets of 24, and I’d say, ‘OK, I got to decide right here which ones I want,’ because if you get caught with more than that, they can give you a ticket and send you back down to seg [disciplinary segregation, a unit in which inmates have only one shower and one yard visit per week].” Inmates remain in “seg” for a minimum of 90 days and are not allowed visits for the duration. Once, says Berry, in what would be a devastating error, he tried to mail a picture to his son rather than throw it away. Because in the photo his son’s hat was tilted to one side, the officers gave Berry a disciplinary ticket, allegedly for participating in gang-related activity. “My heart dropped to my knees,” he says. “I told them, ‘ya’ll let this picture in here!'”

The violation earned him a ticket to “seg” for six months — months that were tacked onto his sentence, which had been reduced for “good time.” The decision meant that Berry’s sentence would effectively be extended, forcing him to miss his youngest son’s college graduation. “I was thinking, ‘You missed the eighth-grade graduation, you missed the high school graduation, you’ve got to make this college graduation,” Berry recalls. According to Denise, prison officials told her that if she could get proof that the people in the picture — Berry’s brother, Michael, his oldest son, Reggie Jr, and Willie Ware Jr., his nephew — were not affiliated with gangs, they would reconsider his punishment. “I had to obtain their birth certificates,” she says. Denise went to 28th Ward Representative Anazette Collins’ office, as did the three men with their IDs. Their efforts proved futile. In the end, she says, “all this was compiled and sent to Tamms, and they did nothing.”

Berry’s son, Joe, graduated in May of 2006. Berry got home four months later. “I missed my son’s graduation,” he said, “and it crushed me.”

Long-term effects

A 2007 Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP) report lists family ties as integral to rehabilitation and successful re-entry into the general community. However, for many Tamms inmates, the lack of phone access, a prohibitive visitation process, and the distance from Chicago, where two-thirds of Tamms inmates are from, makes it nearly impossible to maintain those ties. The scheduling and approval process at Tamms requires weeks of planning and multiple rounds of paperwork. If visitors arrive late for their appointment, they are forced to begin the process all over again. With no public transportation near the site, the process become more than some people can handle — or realistically afford.

The BoP also cites access to educational and vocational programs — especially for minority populations — as another key element in prisoner rehabilitation. Yet no such opportunities exist in supermax prisons, other than upper-level, self-guided study for the few inmates who have “earned” it.

According to a March 2008 study published in Prisons Journal, “the rapid expansion of the supermax has occurred despite no empirical evidence substantiating its effectiveness or value.” Yet Tamms is just one portion of the billions of dollars that have been invested in supermax prisons. IDOC officials confirmed that they do not collect separate recidivism [or return] statistics for Tamms prisoners — an alarming admission for prisoners, their families, and the broader community that many critics say points to a massive cover-up surrounding the human cost of supermax facilities.

As Paul Beachamp, a Tamms prisoner since 2002, puts it, “What happens when you lock up a dog in a cage for years at a time and constantly harass the dog and treat it bad while it’s in the cage? Do you actually think that dog will act right once you let it out?” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Corrections and Rehabilitation, issued a similar warning before a Senate hearing in 2006. “The experiences inmates have in prison — whether violent or redemptive — do not stay within prison walls, but spill over into the rest of society,” he said. “Federal, state and local governments must address the problems faced by their respective institutions and develop tangible and attainable solutions.”

Meanwhile, a range of alternative responses has yet to be explored. A 2006 national survey of 601 prison wardens, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and administered by the Urban League, showed 62.5 percent of wardens agreeing or strongly agreeing that “staff training” would be an “effective alternative to supermax prisons.” It was the No. 1 choice selected in the survey. Other popular alternatives, in order of preference, were to “use segregation cells in each prison facility,” “provide targeted rehabilitative services” and “provide opportunities for spiritual development.”

Prison activists across the country are working to shed light on this. Enlisting the support of lawmakers and lawyers who share their concern over the treatment of supermax prisoners — and the rationale behind it — they are fighting for legal precedents that would bring more services to supermax prisons, grant prisoners more mobility and opportunity and, ultimately, shut the facilities down. The Tamms Year Ten Campaign is one such coalition; it recently persuaded the Illinois House of Representatives to hold a hearing, scheduled for April 28, to consider arguments for and against the effectiveness and legality of Tamms.

Reginald Berry is part of that movement in Chicago, organized under the banner of the Tamms Ten Year campaign, which works to draw attention to the 88 prisoners who have been at Tamms since the day it opened its doors. Today, in addition to raising awareness of conditions inside supermax prisons, he’s also working to cut off the “school-to-prisons pipeline” in his community by sharing his experiences in Tamms with Chicago teenagers through an organization he founded, “Saving Our Sons.”

Berry’s work is one of the reasons he counts himself among the lucky ones. After spending eight years in a facility where he was told he would have to “relinquish everything, even your personality,” Berry has done more than survive; he has thrived, and he is fighting back. Within the current debate over state-sanctioned torture abroad, his voice is an important reminder of the cruel, unusual, and too-often ignored contradictions of our own criminal justice system.

Jessica Pupovac is an adult educator and independent journalist living in Chicago


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Norway’s eco prison (video)

The Coming War on Venezuela By George Ciccariello-Maher

Dandelion Salad

By George Ciccariello-Maher
ICH
03/24/08 “Counterpunch

More than a year ago, I attended the official book release for the Venezuelan edition of Eva Golinger’s Bush Versus Chávez, published by Monte Avila, and the book had previously been printed in Cuba by Editorial José Martí. I recount this to make the following point: long before the publication of Bush Versus Chávez in the current English-language edition, the book was already a crucial contribution to international debates regarding United States’ efforts to destroy Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. In choosing to publish the English edition of the book, Monthly Review Press has opened that debate to an entirely new audience, and for this we should be grateful. Furthermore, in an effort to streamline production, Monthly Review has further made the appendices to Bush Versus Chávez, largely composed of declassified or leaked documents, available publicly on its website, at the address: http://monthlyreview.org/bushvchavez.htm.

A New Toolbox

Golinger, a U.S.-born lawyer who has recently taken up full-time residence in Venezuela (and Venezuelan citizenship), first shot to prominence with her 2005 book The Chávez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela. There, Golinger drew on a multitude of documents requested via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) to thoroughly and convincingly document the role of the U.S. government in funding and sponsoring those Venezuelan opposition groups that participated in the undemocratic and illegal overthrow of Chávez in April 2002, most of which also signed the interim government’s Carmona Decree which dissolved all constitutionally-sanctioned branches of Venezuelan power. All this against Condoleezza Rice’s recent claim, patently preposterous, that “we’ve always had a good relationship with Venezuela.”

In Bush Versus Chávez, Golinger continues this diabolical narrative, this time relying less on FOIA requests than on a series of other key documents and bits of testimony gleaned from anonymous sources. After the failed 2002 coup, Golinger documents how the United States changed its tack slightly, drawing upon the variety of experiences gained in the military overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile and the electoral overthrow of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. While it would be easy to say that this represented a “Nicaraguanization” of U.S. policy in the aftermath of the botched coup, in reality this new policy draws equally heavily on the many other elements that constituted the multifaceted war against Allende, and hence the thesis of the “Chileanization” of Venezuela remains all-too-relevant.

The key institutional devices deployed by the U.S. in its covert support for the coup remained the same in its aftermath: the neoconservative National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), both convenient mechanisms for bypassing Congressional oversight. What was new on this front, as Golinger demonstrates, was the establishment by USAID in the months following the coup of a sinister-sounding Office of Transition Affairs (OTI). Both the NED and USAID (via the OTI) immediately began to shift strategies, providing covert support for the opposition-led bosses lockout of the oil industry which crippled the Venezuelan economy for two months in late 2002 and early 2003, and when this failed, by providing direct support for efforts to unseat Chávez electorally (a là Nicaragua) in a 2004 recall referendum spearheaded by opposition “civil society” organization Súmate. Needless to say, doing so entailed continuing to support those very same organizations who had proven their anti-democratic credentials in 2002, but such things are hardly scandalous these days.

Through the popular and military support enjoyed by the Chávez government, all these efforts failed, which is unprecedented in and of itself. In response to the emptying of its traditional toolbox, the U.S. government has been forced to diversify its tactics even more drastically than ever before, and this is where Bush Versus Chávez comes in.

Domestic Continuity

In her analysis of contemporary U.S. strategies to unseat Chávez, Golinger speaks of three broad fronts: the financial, the diplomatic, and the military (43-48). But we should be extremely wary of distinguishing too cleanly between such tightly-interwoven categories: the “financial front” remains largely in the hands of the NED and USAID, agencies directly controlled by the U.S. government and the embassy in Caracas, funding the domestic side of the equation through support for destabilizing opposition organizations and even psychological operations (psyops) targeting the Venezuelan press and military.

Since 2004, the NED and USAID have seen massive budgets earmarked for activities in Venezuela: currently, some $3 million for the former and $7.2 million for the latter’s OTI operation (77). Of the NED funds, most went to the very same groups that participated in the 2002 coup, the 2003-4 oil lockout, and the 2004 recall referendum. Súmate, which headed up the recall effort, and whose spokesperson and Bush confidant Maria Corina Machado had signed the Carmona Decree, was granted more than $107,000 in 2005 alone. Súmate, to which Golinger devotes a chapter, had also received $84,000 in 2003 from USAID and $53,000 in 2003 and $107,000 in 2004 from the NED, as well as an inexplicable $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (90). All of which demonstrates, for Golinger, that “Súmate is and continues to be Washington’s main player in Venezuela” (91).

While USAID’s funding structure has become more secretive, a turn that Golinger deems illegal, one project in particular has been publicly discussed: the establishment of “American Corners” throughout Venezuela, institutions which even the U.S. Embassy deem “satellite consulates” (145). Aside from the patent illegality of such underground U.S. institutions, Golinger points out that their primary function is the distribution of pro-U.S. propaganda to the Venezuelan population.

Perhaps most frightening on the domestic front is the strategic transformation that such U.S. funding has undergone. Specifically, such funding has increasingly begun to target what had previously been considered core Chavista constituencies, such as the nation’s Afro and Indigenous populations (77-78). What Golinger doesn’t emphasize is the fact that this has occurred alongside a concerted effort by opposition political parties, notably the NED-funded Primero Justicia, to penetrate the poorest and most dangerous Venezuelan barrios, like Petare in eastern Caracas.

While this domestic element has remained shockingly continuous, with the U.S. continuing to directly fund the groups involved in Chávez’s 2002 overthrow, the military and diplomatic fronts are where Golinger reveals some veritably frightening new developments.

Asymmetrical Aggression

Perhaps the most intriguing and frightening revelation in Bush Versus Chávez surrounds a 2001 NATO exercise carried out in Spain under the title “Plan Balboa.” Here we should bear in mind the open support provided by then Popular Party Prime Minister José Maria Aznar for the brief coup against Chávez. And while we might be struck by the irony of naming a NATO operation after the Spanish conquistador who invaded Panama, the name is far more accurate than we might initially believe.

Plan Balboa was, in fact, a mock invasion plan for taking over the oil-rich Zulia State in western Venezuela. In thinly veiled code-names (whose coded nature is undermined by the satellite imagery showing the nations involved), it entailed a “Blue” country (the U.S.) launching an invasion of the “Black” zone (Zulia) of a “Brown” country (Venezuela), from a large base in a “Cyan” country (Howard Air Force Base, in Panama) with the support of an allied “White” country (Colombia) (95-98). The fact that a trial-run invasion was carried out less than 11 months before the 2002 coup against Chávez should further convince us that this was mere contingency planning.

But Plan Balboa would be only the beginning, and Golinger deftly documents a series of increasingly overt military maneuvers carried out in recent years by the U.S. government in an effort to intimidate the Chávez government while preparing for any necessary action. Here, Golinger rightly trains her sights on the small Dutch Antillean island of Curaçao, which she deems the U.S.’s “third frontier.” Curaçao hosts what is nominally a small U.S. Forward Operating Location (FOL) as well as, not coincidentally, a refinery owned by Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA. Furthermore, it sits fewer than 40 miles off Venezuela’s coast, and more specifically, off the coast of the oil-rich “Black Zone” of Plan Balboa that is Zulia State.

Until February 2005, Curaçao probably seemed to be of little concern to Venezuelan security, given that its FOL housed only 200 U.S. troops. But this all changed when the U.S.S. Saipan made its unannounced arrival. The United States’ premier landing craft for invasion forces, the Saipan arrived in Curaçao with more than 1,400 marines and 35 helicopters on board (104). When the Venezuelan government responded to the hostile gesture, U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield claimed there had been a “lack of communication,” while simultaneously declaring that “it is our desire to have more visits by ships to Curaçao and Aruba [only 15 miles off the Venezuelan coast] in the coming weeks, months, and years” (105).

This veiled threat would come to fruition with Operation Partnership of the Americas in April 2006. In that instance, which dwarfed the Saipan‘s visit, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington arrived in Curaçao with three warships. The total strength of the force was of 85 fighter planes and more than 6,500 marines (106). Were this not worrying enough, then-intelligence chief and Latin American Cold Warrior par excellence John Negroponte admitted around the same time that the U.S. had deployed a nuclear sub to intercept communications off the Venezuelan coast (100). When we factor in the Curaçao-based Operation Joint Caribbean Lion, carried out in June 2006 with the goal of capturing the mock-terrorist rebel leader “Hugo Le Grand,” there can remain little doubt that at the very least, the United States is keen to prepare for the possibility of a direct invasion of Venezuelan territory.

Of Terror and Dictators

But, one might ask, what are the chances that the U.S. would actually invade Venezuela, given the predictably harsh international rebuke that such an invasion would earn? It is here that another aspect, what Golinger loosely characterizes the “diplomatic front,” comes into play, and it is here that U.S. policies and strategies have seen the most striking innovations.

Here Golinger cites a document by retired U.S. Army Colonel Max G. Manwaring published by the Army’s Institute for Strategic Studies in 2005 (112). This document represents above all an inversion of strategies applied to Venezuela, and one which drastically complicates the military picture: Manwaring advocates appropriating the concept of “asymmetrical warfare” that many guerrillas and rebel movements have historically used with success against the United States, and converting it into an explicit U.S. strategy. Somewhat bizarrely, Manwaring compares this employment of asymmetric warfare to the “Wizard’s Chess” of Harry Potter, deeming Chávez a “true and wise enemy” who must be dealt with by a panoply of maneuvers on all levels (112-113. Central to this strategy is the deployment of psychological operations (psyops), which had been previously focused on the Venezuelan press (toward the objective of justifying a coup or electoral removal of Chávez) to the international and diplomatic arena (toward what one could presume to be an objective of direct or indirect military action).

While domestic psyops have continued, notably in the 2005 deployment of “Gypsy” (JPOSE, Joint Psychological Operations Support Element) teams to Venezuela with the objective of spreading propaganda among the Venezuelan military and keeping tabs on radical Chavista organizations (117), much of their focus has been the spreading of news stories in the international arena. These stories, as Golinger astutely documents, tend to follow “three major lines of attack”:

1.) Chávez is an anti-democratic dictator
2.) Chávez is a destabilizing force in the region
3.) Chávez harbors and supports terrorism (125).

Even the briefest of glances at any mainstream newspaper in the United States, or many other countries for that matter, will show to what degree this mediatically-constructed image has been a success.

New Strategies Unfold

This international effort to discredit the Chávez regime, thereby clearing the way for future intervention, brings us to a series of recent events that have transpired since Golinger first published Bush Versus Chávez.

The first was the sudden rebirth of the Venezuelan “student movement” in early 2007, nominally in response to the non-renewal of the broadcasting license for opposition television station RCTV. I have documented elsewhere the fact that this “student movement” was by and large supported if not directed by the traditional opposition parties, but what is more relevant here is that the strategies and even imagery of the movement were adapted directly from those used in countries such as Serbia and the Ukraine. These strategies, consisting largely of “non-violent” direct action, have been formulated and disseminated through institutions such as the Albert Einstein Institution which, in an irony of ironies, Golinger shows to be directly supported by the State Department (135), and linked to prior attempts to train Colombian paramilitaries to assassinate President Chávez (136-137).

Here again we have an inversion, in which the U.S. government has adopted the very strategies that had previously been deployed against it, and in this case the audience was international: the foreign press was so eager to show a violent repression of the students that it exaggerated the response of the largely unarmed police and, in an infamous incident, transformed an armed attack by opposition students against Chavistas at the Central University into just the opposite. The objective? To discredit and isolate the Chávez regime internationally, clearing the way for more directly offensive action.

Secondly, we have seen a concrete example of such offensive action in Colombia’s recent illegal cross-border raid into Ecuador. The particular players involved should not distract our attention: this was a test-run, both militarily and diplomatically, for future U.S. interventions in the region. With Colombia standing in as proxy for the U.S. and the more recently-established Correa government standing in as proxy for the Chávez government, this was above all a test of the international response.

While that response was overwhelming in Latin America, with the OAS and even right-leaning governments condemning the Colombian raid as a violation of sovereignty, the U.S.’s international psyops campaign seems to have been overwhelmingly effective within its own borders. Rather than being presented as an instance of Colombian aggression, the initial raid was immediately erased from the picture in much of the international press, with the focus being diverted to what was perceived as Venezuela’s bellicose response. But such a response was a strategic necessity aimed at discouraging any possible future intervention.

Furthermore, the revelations gleaned from the FARC’s magic laptop, which allegedly implicate Chávez himself in funding the FARC (a charge which Colombia, not coincidentally, eventually decided not to pursue), are also drawn straight from the playbook of Plan Balboa, which was premised upon the threat posed by an alliance between the radical sectors of the “Brown” and “White” countries. The U.S. seems to be preparing to put that plan into motion with its recent legal gestures toward declaring Venezuela a supporter of terrorism, and given recent evidence of a massive influx of Colombian paramilitaries into the “Black Zone” of western Venezuela, the danger that Plan Balboa might become a reality should not be underestimated.

What would be the international response to such an incursion? Here there is little ground for optimism. After all, during the 2002 coup against Chávez, that bastion of the American left celebrated the maneuver, declaring that “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator.” And all this before the concerted psyops campaign deployed against the Venezuelan government in recent years. Now, one democratic candidate spurns facts to declare Chávez a “dictator” while the other, eager to demonstrate his leftist credentials, deems the massively-popular Venezuelan leader a “despotic oil tyrant,” and is promptly pilloried for his soft line.

George Ciccariello-Maher is a Ph.D candidate in political theory at U.C. Berkeley, who is currently writing a people’s history of the Bolivarian Revolution. He can be reached at gjcm(at)berkeley.edu


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

America’s Ruling Clique By Charles Sullivan

Dandelion Salad

By Charles Sullivan
03/25/08 “ICH

Neoconservatives derive much of their political strength from the portrayal of big government as the enemy of the people: a belief that plays only too well in America. Big government is indeed the enemy of the people when it does not serve the people’s interests, or when it betrays them.

Where the neoconservatives and the chicken hawks have been spectacularly successful is in the field of perception management. The super rich—or the ruling clique—constitutes no more than 0.1 percent of the US population. Yet they control the mainstream media, every branch government, the electoral process and the country’s major financial institutions.

Thus, 99.9 percent of the people are being manipulated and cannibalized by a tiny but powerful minority. It is the interests of this powerful minority that are served by government and it is their interests that are defined as the national interest or as national security; and it is hardly benign. Robbing the poor to pay the rich causes irreparable harm to the victim.

There is a continual conflict between the super rich and the remaining 99.9 percent of the people in this nation. Not only is democracy subverted when a tiny minority rules over a large majority, the majority is diminished and betrayed, and social and economic servitude is instituted. The relationship is not only adversarial; it is fundamentally unequal and unjust. You have a situation where a large majority suffers all of the hardships and makes all of the sacrifices but the small minority reaps the reward, without incurring any risk themselves. One should never call this intolerable and immoral situation a democracy.

Through subversion, coercion, and intense perception management the ownership class always gets what it wants, and almost always at the expense of the working class. We pay the price and someone else reaps the financial reward.

Consider, for example, the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States military and who has benefited financially. The military, comprised almost entirely of working class women and men, is being used to secure Iraq’s nationalized oil fields and turning them over to private firms and foreign investors. Those firms have profited from the theft of Iraqi oil by the United States armed forces without running any risks themselves.

The armed forces ran the risks for them, and turned the profits over to private oil companies who subsequently realized record profits. The entire country has been similarly privatized by a host of corporate predators. War is a form of corporate welfare cloaked in patriotic language. One need only follow the money to understand what it is really about.

Similarly, George Bush is not fighting a war against terrorism as he purports: he is committing unconscionable acts of terrorism against innocent people, and his cohorts in congress are providing him the funds to do so. It is not Islamic terrorists that are spying on law-abiding citizens and intercepting their emails or tapping their phone lines; it is the United States government, authorized by Bush.

The president behaves like a fascist dictator because he is a fascist dictator representing the interests of the ruling clique, while masquerading as a protectorate of the people and the national interest. Never lose sight of the fact that Bush is an emissary for the ruling class to which he belongs and it is on their behalf that he is acting, not ours.

Consider also the fact that thousands of no bid contracts were awarded to private corporations with connections to the Bush White House—such as Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater during the occupation of Iraq. Thus, it is evident that terms such as free trade and free markets are not only misleading, they are disingenuous and fraudulent.

Not only is the ruling clique stealing the wealth of other nations through overt militarism, they are simultaneously bankrupting our nation’s economy. Their intent is to privatize government in hopes of changing it from a service oriented entity into a for profit body. Their goal is to eliminate all social spending in order to further facilitate the ruling clique’s personal wealth creation, and to finance future military invasions; to impose capitalism on the world by means of brute force and coercion.

If they are successful, those with enough money to buy services that are now provided by the government will continue to enjoy those services. Those who cannot afford to pay: the poor, the elderly, the sick or injured, the unemployed and uneducated, will just have to suffer and die. They will be forced to subsist on whatever they can beg, barrow, or steal and slip into the realm of non-persons. It is worth noting that the infrastructure for delivering those goods and services were created with public funds. As always, we are talking about socializing costs and privatizing profits.

Paradoxically, neoconservatives and their media cohorts have succeeded in persuading working class people of modest incomes, conservative and liberal alike, into supporting a wide range of policies that are detrimental to their class, especially those with the lowest incomes.

That is the role that neoconservative icons like Rush Limbaugh plays in the corporate propaganda apparatus. While actually part of the ruling clique, Limbaugh has persuaded his followers that he and his economic brethren are on their side. In reality, Limbaugh and his class are preying upon the fears and prejudices of his followers while accruing tremendous personal wealth from their support, much like George Bush. Such is the power of disinformation, fear, and propaganda.

Limbaugh’s mindless blathering is like the kiss of Judas. He and his kind are impervious to scientific fact and without empathy for the people they so ruthlessly exploit.

Leaving no economic stone unturned, the ruling clique is even privatizing the military. The average soldier assigned the rank of private first class receives a yearly salary of about $40,000; whereas a mercenary working for Blackwater—a private defense contractor—doing the same job in the same place, earns about $400,000. The mercenary soldier costs tax payers ten times more than the government soldier for the same services and is not accountable to anyone.

The privatization of the military began under former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and it continues to this day. Private contractors have such close ties with government these days that it is difficult to tell where the private sector ends and government begins. There are revolving doors that continuously sweep corporate executives into government and government officials into corporate board rooms. That is how fortunes are made in Washington: through crony capitalism and theft.

Rumsfeld, a man who sanctions torture, has long deified Milton Friedman, of the Chicago School of Economics; and it is Friedman’s economic and social theories that are being put into practice. Lest anyone think that the disciples of capitalism are limited to the neocons, they aren’t. Every contending presidential candidate is a Friedman disciple. The president, his entire cabinet, and virtually every member of congress are disciples of Milton Friedman; and that is why voting does not often significantly change policies: the ideology behind them remains the same, regardless of who is in power.

That is where this country is heading but most Americans are sitting on their hands and allowing it to happen. The people need to know what is being done to them and who is responsible. We the people must organize and mobilize to protect ourselves from the ruling cabal or we will be forever cannibalized by them.

Like it or not, we are all in this together and long term survival will depend upon our ability to organize and to cooperate with one another. It will require long term economic boycotts, strikes, work slow downs, dramatically curtailed consumption, civil disobedience, sustained protests, self-education and personal sacrifice. The key is to get organized as quickly as possible.

Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer, and activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Province of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at csullivan@phreego.com.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

US military toll in Iraq hits 4000 & Iran (video)

It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

Norway’s eco prison (video)

Dandelion Salad

Al Jazeera English on Mar 25, 2008

Some of Norway’s most notorious criminals are doing time in the world’s first eco-prison. The focus is on an environmentally friendly jail sentence. It’s aimed at easing the transition for prisoners about to be set free. Al Jazeera’s Nick Clark reports on an experiment which is producing positive results.

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The Science of Terror – Scientific American Mind

Dandelion Salad

by Jim Miles
Global Research, March 25, 2008

Sometimes the science community, hiding behind the guise of empirical research, cannot see its own bias even while correctly analyzing a situation. The latter statement may seem contradictory, but given the manner in which it studies ‘terror’ and then applies those findings and definitions only to some ‘other’ group, it ignores the reality of terror at home and the reality of terror perpetrated by the ‘homeland’. Not ‘homegrown terror’ such as the Timothy McVeighs of the world, nor the terror inflicted on the people by the very infrequent acts of foreigners acting on the homeland, but the terror of the country itself, the acts of the people in government, in the military, in politics, in religion, who either spread terror themselves or spread the fear of terror in order to control not only the domestic audience but foreign audiences as well.

This has been presented before with the National Geographic magazine’s “World of Terror”[1] article that dutifully recorded acts of terror throughout the world without recognizing the United States’ historical and current acts of terror in the homeland and abroad. From that geographical perspective, one man’s terror is another man’s “civilizing mission”, bringing the benefits of superior technology and enlightened wisdom to the masses of the world who are otherwise disenfranchised “others” with little value until they embrace the “freedom” of the market place and their rightful place in it.

Terror at Penn State

Terror is a very tenuous and subjective term to define. The Penn State International Center for the Study of Terrorism[2] attempts to draw parameters around the word, parameters that do not identify the true perpetrators of any specific terror or terror in general:

a particular kind of political violence that is usually associated with the use, or threat of use of violent behavior to achieve political ends. Although terrorism can be, and often is, perpetrated by States, the term is most frequently associated with non-state entities seeking to overthrow or effectively destabilize a regime.

‘Political violence’ in itself is a highly undefined and ambiguous term, a nice socio-psychological term that has real little meaning. The qualification and implication that terrorism is not perpetrated by states as much as by non-state entities seems highly disingenuous. My readings over the past several years would indicate the contrary, that the most significant acts of terrorism are state sponsored and activated, whether it is civil terror as within Stalinist Russia, or foreign terror as with the many U.S. incursions into Latin America, Vietnam, and other areas of economic/political interest throughout the world. To ignore state terrorism disguises the main source of terror in our world today.

The Penn State definition does pronounce one ‘undeniability’:

an undeniable defining characteristic of terrorism is that it often involves the deliberate targeting of civilians as the immediate means towards the ultimate objectives of the terrorist movement.

That allows of course, that the terrorism could be individualistic, could be state sponsored, including also from the historical record the mass carpet bombings of the cities of Great Britain and Germany, or the applied and threatened nuclear annihilation of masses of populations. Individuals do not have the resources, and are unlikely to achieve them, to promote the degree of terrorism that state actors can. In state terrorism, terror also involves the propaganda that is broadcast by the corporate owners of the state as well. This is identified at Penn State with “a key feature of terrorism is that it is a form of psychological warfare.”

They further this aspect of the definition with:

a common strategy of terrorists is to provoke an over-reaction (frequently involving excessive measures by governments challenged by terrorists) from the end target in an attempt to undermine its morality and legitimacy while simultaneously increasing support for terrorists among their sympathizers.

This sounds very similar to CIA/FBI interventions that are recorded and noted by many authors having access to archival material in the United States. It is a methodology utilized by state actors as much if not more than non-state actors.

Science of Terror

So why am I picking on Penn State so much, when I started with a scientific look at terror? It is that one of their associates, psychologist John Horgan, is a side bar feature in a recent Scientific American report, “Inside the Terrorist Mind.”[3]

To start with there is a problem with the use of the word “terrorist.” In Bush’s own words, anyone not with ‘us’ is against ‘us’ and thus in contemporary American law and jargon could be classified as a terrorist. Evidence in Iraq and Afghanistan would indicate that while there are foreign nationals in the country (other than the Americans of course) who are fighting against the occupation, they are relatively few and far between. A recent series of articles on Canadian forces in Afghanistan, (currently stationed in Kandahar)[4] found no foreign fighters within the region. All the others then, would properly be considered insurgents or guerillas as their main motive is to rid the country of foreign occupation.

Terror – a rather loose term that includes many actors that should properly be considered insurgents, guerillas, or freedom fighters as in Palestine and Iraq – sooner or later becomes identified with suicide bombers, and it is this aspect that receives much psychological wonderment and is the target of the Scientific American article. ‘Terrorists,’ as have been analyzed more and more frequently, are not the rabid raving lunatics on the religious fringe, not the “islamofascists” of the deluded neocon mind, those who wish to destroy “us”, the “west”, because of our freedoms and rights. Instead, as most truly scientific studies have shown, ‘terrorists’ of the suicidal kind (and even of the non-suicidal kind) do not arise from the masses of poor, starving wretches of the third world who are too busy trying to feed themselves and surviving without the time and energy for greater philosophical thoughts about who might be oppressing them.

The majority of suicide ‘terrorists’ are generally well educated, frequently considered to be well off in comparison to the overall population – people who have the time and philosophical training to think about the injustices of the world, and – most importantly – are battling an occupying force that is of a different religious or sectarian belief [5]. It should be noted that the longer an occupation lasts, the more there will be insurgents classified as terrorists as the “collateral damage” continues and as their means of fighting back are hugely asymmetrical and by neccessity increasingly desperate.

The bias in this article is all too familiar, the implication by omission that terror is not something that the United States practices at home or abroad. The article purportedly probes “the psyches of terrorists to reveal what motivates their monstrous acts,” concluding accurately that they are “gunning for a greater good – as they see it.” As they see it of course does not refer to the media blindness to American acts of terror.

All the reasons posited as to why individuals become ‘terrorists’ can be applied to state terror, as well. One phrase that applies is that “The social milieu in which a person grew up and the internal structure of the radical groups themselves exert a tremendous influence.” Nothing surprising there, the ideas and the social milieu of the neocons and many politicians is tangled up in the web of cronyism, lobbyists, corporations, and military welfare that feeds much of the economy. The article talks about religion, peer pressure, and other accoutrements of the functioning of any society as reasons for becoming terrorists, all ideas that also help define the American political-military establishment.

Orientalist Terror

Another disarming and misleading statement, one that is familiar from other contexts as well, is the Orientalist view, that “In Middle Eastern cultures, extremist political goals frequently are inculcated into young people very early in life.” The study cited[6] indicated, “adults routinely teach children to hate the enemy,” in this case Israel. The children were taught “how the enemy effectively evicted Palestinians from Palestine.”

Two main arguments counter this. First – apart from the small size of the articles study group – if one really examines American culture, the children are also inculcated into the mores and beliefs of their society, within the educational system, within the overbearing reach of media from birth, within their religious constructs, within their peer groups. It may be a softer gentler inculcation, but “very early in life” Americans learn who the enemy is, who the bad guys are, who the evil ones are. The inculcation does not seem extreme because it is a repetitive everyday occurrence, fitting within known and comfortable structures of society – television, church, magazines, scouts, school. The same applies to Israeli society as well.

The second counter to this argument about the Palestinians, is, well, yes, that is what happened, the Palestinians were evicted from their lands by the Israelis. So what is the point with that, other than to imply that it is not true and to continue the western bias, in particular the American bias, that supports Israel without condition? There is no mention of Israeli state terror, the killings, extra judicial assassinations, the theft of property and many other “heinous” actions that are fully in contradiction of international law derived from treaties and the international courts.

Another argument concerning Hezbollah and Hamas, is the religious context in which “religiously motivated Islamist terrorists were more committed to self-sacrifice than were less religious perpetrators.” While that may be true for this particular study, it is not supported by other studies of terrorists in general [see note 4 again]. Further, there is no recognition of Hezbollah and Hamas as being civil organizations that function as a societal structure for the populations of their respective areas because of the acts of terrorism that necessitated them in the first place – the occupation of their territory and its expropriation and annexation through military force. Both organizations are complex and more than the band of evil rogue terrorists the media and politicians, and now the science community, wishes to make of them.

Terror of the mind

Both John Horgan and the article’s author Annette Schaefer write with a strong bias that ignores the fundamental nature of American actions within their own country and with other areas of the world. The article ends with the statement that terror is “not just about violence” but “it is also about fear.” The psychological distress experienced by the United States after 9/11 is fully understandable, as most Americans were (and remain) ignorant of American overseas atrocities other than as presented in the good light of anti-communism and freedom and democracy, and rogue states or the axis of evil, and thus incapable of understanding how 9/11 could occur other than through some imagined evil other. This state of historical amnesia is highly aided by the mainstream media (as even now, actions in Iraq are more and more off the screen, off the wire) who themselves are corporate partners within the overall framework of state/government.

The political and military leaders take full advantage of this ignorance of their long record of subversive acts and use their knowledge of manipulation and propaganda to extend their actions into rationalizing more overt and direct forms of terror – occupation, threats to use nuclear weapons with first strike a confirmed strategy, and changes to homeland laws that greatly reduce the very freedoms and liberties of persons within their own country, and greatly limit the power of Congress. While it may be useful to understand and study the minds and motives of individual ‘terrorists’ and their social milieu (where one would probably find the underlying theme is “yankee go home”), the same concepts need to be applied at home, when the rhetoric and apologetics of good intentions, of American exceptionalism and universality, hide the terror that acts from within the military and political bodies of the United States, and the men and women, caught up in their own acts of “gunning for the greater good – as they see it.”

I could understand a political journal citing these studies as is done with “Inside the Terrorist Mind”, but the political bias presented in a supposedly scientific article about the mind of the terrorist greatly reduces its validity. It serves again as more propaganda to support the establishment with ideas that are much more subjective than scientifically objective. To study ‘terror’ one needs not only to examine the insurgents in occupied countries, but also the terrorists at home, the ones who hide behind the jingoism and rhetoric of western goodness while occupying countries and killing those that get in the way of their military, political, and economic goals. The neocon mind would be a great place to start. The mind – neocon or not – is a difficult thing to study. The mind of terrorism is equally complex and for it to have any validity it needs to begin at home where much of the global terror begins.

[1] www.jim.secretcove.ca/index.Geography.Terror.html

[2] http://www.icst.psu.edu/whatisterrorism.html

[3] Schaefer, Annette. “Inside the Terrorist Mind,” Scientific American MIND. December 2007/January 2008. pp. 72-79.

[5 ] Pape, Robert. Dying to Win – The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Random House, New York. 2005.

[4] “No foreigners or non-Pashtuns were encountered during the survey, suppporting the impression that such fighters are extermely rare.” Graeme Smith, “Portrait of the enemy as young men,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Saturday, March 22, 2008. p.A14.

[6] Posted on eJournal USA by Jerrold Post, Professor of Psychiatry, Political Psychology and International Affairs and Director of the Political Psychology Program at The George Washington University. He had a 21-year career with the CIA,

Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Jim Miles, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8434

see

Riz Khan – Mind of a ‘terrorist’

Jihad and 21st Century Terrorism (video)

Death of the Bees: GMO Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America

Dandelion Salad

by Brit Amos
Global Research, March 25, 2008

‘Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North}America’s crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize’.1

This essay will discuss the arguments and seriousness that affects the massive deaths and the decline of Bee colonies in North America. As well, it will shed light on a worldwide hunger issue that will have an economical and ecological impact in the very near future.

There are many reasons given to the decline in Bees, but one argument that matters most is the use of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and Terminator seeds that are presently being endorsed by governments and forcefully utilized as our primary agricultural needs of survival. I will argue what is publicized and covered by the media is in actuality, masking the real problems of Terminator seeds and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).

Terminator seeds; genetically produced and distributed by powerful multinational lobbies manipulate government and agricultural policy to encompass their agenda of dominance in the agricultural industry. American conglomerates such as Monsanto, Pioneer Seeds, and others, have created seeds that do not reproduce (whereas these seeds have a life span of the crop chosen). The sterilizing of the plant by the means of sterilizing the flower pollen genetically altered and mutated for production in the agricultural industry. Logic states that if the flower pollen is sterile, bees are potentially going malnourished and dying of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the of the digestive capacity of what they feed on through the summer and over the winter hibernation process.

I will argue that the media’s publications distract the civil population of the true cause of the Colony Collapse of Bees. As such, outlined are four major arguments in which the conglomerates of GMO’s and terminator seeds use to redirect public awareness concerning the truth about the demise of the bees. These arguments include Varroa mites, parasites, cell phones, and terminator seeds

Argument 1: Varroa mites2

Firstly, while there are some people who want to pin the blame on these mites, such views are unconvincing in that the argument does not make any sense because the main source of disease for these bees is intestinal disease. In fact, ‘many bee experts assumed Varroa mites were a major cause of the severe die-off in the winter of 2005. Yet when researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, traveled to Oakdale, California, where Anderson and a number of his fellow beekeepers spend winter and spring, they could find no correlation between the level of Varroa mite infestation and the health of bee colonies. ‘We couldn’t pin the blame for the die-off on any single cause,’ says Jeff Pettis, a research entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland,3 However, treatments against mites may be leaving hives open to the onslaught of powerful pathogens, much in the same way the overuse of antibiotics lead to super bugs in society today. What does that say about our future? We have learned that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, among other human ailments, DDT was a major cause of cancer in humans and animals; however, the substitution of such pesticides was a closely guarded secret. Unfortunately, the long term effects on the human population has yet to be understood as the compromise of the immune system may be happening quicker than we are ready to accept, even regarding the advent of super bugs. One can see that even this medical implication has severe economical implications.

Argument 2: Parasites

Secondly; Crops and even hedges, verges, and woodlands, and even where bees remain are sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals are the practical extension of an exasperating belief that nature is our enemy. Pouring poison on our food is a very simplistic way of dealing with our problems however it ignores the root causes. “New genetically modified crops, designed to be immune to certain pesticides and herbicides, have resulted in the increased usage of these chemicals. Pesticides, particularly Bayer’s imidacloprid, a nicotine-based product marketed under the names Admire, Provado, Merit, Marathon, and Gaucho have been concretely implicated4 in the destruction of bee populations before (see also)5. The fact that other bees and insects are not raiding deserted hives to feed on the honey as they normally would lends some credence to the theory of a toxic overload. The toxic overload is certainly a concern, but wouldn’t it also need to be considered that this is systematic in the degeneration of the digestive process, such as in humans inability to digest preservatives and not absorb the enzymes to break down the foods eaten for survival?

Argument 3: cell phones

Thirdly, there was also a misconstrued study on cell phone radiation 6 and its effects on the bee’s ability to navigate which turned out to be an over-zealous unthinking reaction by an article in the Independent news. Some have also mentioned other navigational hindrances such as UV radiation, shifting magnetic fields and even quantum physics7 as a reason to the destruction of the bees.

There is certain implications to this theory, and it has been proven that electromagnetic radio wave lengths to affect the navigation of the bees. However the sun emits radiation spurts all the time, yet this has not offered a hindrance to the bees.

Argument 4: Terminator Seeds

Lastly, ‘Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments to accept the testing and commercialization of “Terminator” crop varieties. These seeds are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds, which farmers cannot replant, also to mention that the bees that are trying to collect pollen, found to have their digestive tract diseases, such as amoeba and nosema disease’8. These diseases are mainly located in the digestive tract system. After studies of the autopsy, the most alarming trait is that the lower intestine and stinger have discolored to black vs. the normal opaque color, Synominus with colon cancer in humans.

Figure 1: Extreme discoloration of intestinal tracts of bees.

When thoracic discs were cut from sample Georgia A-2 the musculature of bees was notably soft and discolored (A) when compared to healthy thoracic cuts (B).

This discoloration suggests that the bees were dead upon collection. When questioned the beekeeper confirmed that the bees were alive at the time of collection. Further, the tracheal system of these bees did not show signs of desiccation usually associated with the collection of dead bees. Thoracic discs from this sample, after being placed in KOH for 24 hours, revealed peculiar white nodules”9

As seen above, it is certain that the digestive shutdown is due to hard material in the digestive tract that compromises the immune system. Circulatory problems would without doubt. Could it be that humans are going through the same process with the rise of Colon Cancer? As seen below in the comparison of the healthy Bee and the unhealthy bee, it is obvious that the bees that are ingesting GMO pollen are having severe digestive problems, so severe that the disease is terminal.

Figure 2: Digestive shutdown of the Honey Bee

The rectal contents of Georgia bees (A) were distinctly different then the contents of Pasadena bees (B). The rectal walls of GA bees were notably transparent revealing contents that looked like small stone packets (C). While Fyg (1964) describes similar stone like contents in poorly laying queens, the stones observed in the GA bees were not attached to the epithelium layer as Fyg (1964) describes. When these packets were ground and mounted, some unidentified floating objects (UFO’s) were observed. A cubic particle that resembles the cubic bodies of polyhedrios viruses (this viruses attacks wax moths) excepting that the cube observed was ~10x too big for a virus particle. There were fragments of pollen grains husks in all samples examined. All PA samples were found to have nosema spores in their rectal contents while none of the GA samples did. In two samples, epithelial cells were packed with spores.10

The North American reliance on bees for pollination is at minimum from 30 to 40%. Does it not seem obvious that the digestion of foreign genetic agriculture directly affects the digestive process of the bees. Could it also be that there are similarities in the human population digestive process? It must also be noted that this increased epidemic of the bee colony collapse has risen significantly since the use of GMO agriculture in our foods. It is also suspect in the rise of new cases of medical ailments in humans such as colon cancer, obesity, heart disease, etc… In the writers’ opinion, the inability of the bees to pass matter digestively is quite similar to the present problems in the human digestive system

Picture

Conclusion:

The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins. This is problematic, as there is such an increase of indigestible foods in humans and bees. The situation of colon cancer in humans is somewhat similar in occurrence. This is only a theory but leaves one to wonder what are we eating en mass. The external or complementary good of the bee is obviously a rise for a global concern. The long-term economical and environmental impact has yet to be completely understood.

The Ecological Impact of horizontal gene transfer and increase of rampant disease is not fully examined and if so, is kept silent by these Conglomerates. The Economic Impact of the Colony collapse would mean higher inflation, scarcity of agricultural goods, and ultimately the collapse of North America Agriculture Business.

The Environmental Impact of scarcity and increased demand for resources, will beyond doubt have severe repercussions for our long-term food security. The bio-diversity of the bees causes positive economic and ecological externalities. The negative externalities have yet to be fully grasped or understood.

Organic crops: still relatively untouched

The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced. The economic impact that the scarcity of bees will potentially have on our society as a whole is very worrisome. In the end, only our children will fully realize; that it was greed that destroyed our beautiful blue planet.

References

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Brit Amos, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8436

see

The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see

Mystery: Millions of Bees Dying Across North America (video)

A Mysterious Killer Of Honeybees Threatens Our Food Supply by Guadamour

Suddenly, the bees are simply vanishing By Jia-Rui Chong and Thomas H. Maugh II

Croatian Bees To Take Sting out of Land-Mines By Liam Bailey

Are GM Crops Killing Bees? by Gunther Latsch

GMO

The Free Voice of Labour – The Jewish Anarchists (video)

Dandelion Salad

replaced video Nov. 30, 2012

Aug 28, 2012 by

“The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists” traces the history of a Yiddish anarchist newspaper (Fraye Arbeter Shtime – The Free Voice of Labor) publishing its final issue after 87 years. Narrated by anarchist historian Paul Avrich, the story is mostly told by the newspaper’s now elderly, but decidedly unbowed staff. It’s the story of one of the largest radical movements among Jewish immigrant workers in the 19th and 20th centuries, the conditions that led them to band together, their fight to build trade unions, their huge differences with the communists, their attitudes towards violence, Yiddish culture, and their loyalty to one another.
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Russian TV covers Winter Soldier (video)

Dandelion Salad

RussiaToday

Iraq war haunts Americans at home

Four thousand U.S. servicemen and women have now died in the Iraq war. But many of those who live to return home, still have a whole different set of battles to fight. Apart from headaches, vertigo, troubled sleep and sight problems, many suffer serious psychological effects.

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On Day One (video; National Initiative)

Dandelion Salad

gravel2008

Make the National Initiative the top agenda item for the next President:
http://www.ondayone.org/ideas?sort=votes
or
http://www.ondayone.org/node/246

Learn more about the National Initiative
http://www.vote.org
http://www.ni4d.us 

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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see

The National Initiative for Democracy (video)

What Can Be Done To Change The Broken Political System by Guadamour

Gravel-Mike

Mike Gravel For President 2008

World Wide MIND (video)

Dandelion Salad

jimjamoo6

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “World Wide MIND (video) Video“, posted with vodpod

Ever wonder what the world is going to be like in the future? Will people routinely live to see their 250th birthdays? Will personal computers be smarter than us? (Or more personable?) Will machines shrink so small they can make repairs inside a human cell?

Science fantasy or futuristic nightmare? 22nd Century takes you to the forefront of technology and hears from people on the cusp of a scientific revolution.

One is an actor playing Aldous Huxley, the late author of Brave New World, who worried about the dehumanizing consequences of scientific discoveries. The other is Orlanda Bell, a time-traveling visitor from the future, who represents the best-case scenario of these technological advancements.

Is this a future that will benefit the human race? Or will we lose all sense of individuality? Find out on the premiere episode of the 22nd Century.

see

Chemical brain controls nanobots + Nanotechnology Takes Off (video)

New Instruments of Surveillance & Social Control: Wireless Technologies which Target the Neuronal Functioning of the Brain

They Want Your Soul (must-see video)

Mind Wars-Brain Research, Nanotech and the Military by Richard Thieme (Jonathan D. Moreno)