This is the last issue of The Handstand series 2001-2012. I thank all my readers and hope this magazine flying like a flag in the wind of the Internet will continue to inform and provoke debate for those who search our imminent histories. I also thank all the many writers, journalists and commentators who have written to The Handstandover the years.
PLEASE NOTEIncluded is a page on events that occur during 2013 - see Nav.column. As I am totally reluctant to accept an end to the History of "The Handstand" that has after all been in the service of many others who are still holding on to the actual Time Line we have before us and immersing themselves in analysis and report , nor can I sit back in some arm-chair and complacently read any newspaper I can afford. Sincerely, Jocelyn Braddell,editor.
Added editorial in 2913:

Is any one still reading this almost defunct magazine ? I regret that it has almost closed down in this
manner, ignominously. Ofcourse in Ireland I was expected to close down within a few months of having started it in 2001. The fact that the magazine got a huge international popularity and existed improving and extending for nearly nine years was a surprise ... Who knows? I am not likely to as no acquaintance, friend or relative except two of my children, Rory and Lucy , have ever discussed it, commented on it or asked why I, a poet should be interested in developing such newspages with extensive coverage far beyond the "click here" data pages of ICH and others. At the present time I continue to be vividly aware of the ominous and dreadful developments and experiences in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere; I am infact overwhelmed by political behaviour in America under Obama and the UK and reading today that Food Stamps are to be issued in England is so incredible I can hardly feel anything but aggravation by all the silly pleasantries on Facebook and socially as the Easter "holyday" arrives with all my grandchildren - isn't that a sour case? But how can we go on like this in either the common-place life of political ritual or the common-sense life of local life throughout Ireland at present. Why, when the Banks were profitting by "lending" enormous sums in mortgages, as were the builders or owners selling houses during the "Celtic Tiger" years, have the banks not been penalised and forced to bring down the recorded debt levels in co-ordination with the drop in house values. Banks have been bailed out - they doubtless accounted in their losses every single one of those mortgages and have been relieved of them, but in addition they challenge the government and every holder for a re-imbursement at the vilest level of eviction. Who is it has prevented any horrified journalist from attending and reporting any of these evictions - and what is happening to many of these families who possibly have no relative to shelter with? Thousands in this country who had rewarding jobs bought excellent buildings and new houses which they proudly furnished with the best materials they could afford giving living experiences to their children that previously only a fraction of our communities could provide. The vindictive nature of our political representatives of every colour has left people almost speechless with anger and despair. That our government has decided to eradicate the decisions and joyful development of ordinary people by plunging every family in the country into the debt thought necessary by European Union social planning, and the retrograde denial of social community welfare of every description is devastating. Coalition governments did not take over in all these countries from Latvia to Cyprus becaus politicians with a conscience do not exist. We can see that making the fast buck and maintaining an utterly fallacious social stature from King,Queen, to commons is the structure of political life. Any occurence of religious social conscience occurs among the private consciences of Everyman/woman in acts of real social effect, individual acts of kindness and charity, also help in diverse aid such as the St Vincent de Paul Society, this is happening here in Ireland and the government takes advantage of this ofcourse...

The environment in northern European countries is presently catastrophic weather, and also lately an animal disease so related in effect to nuclear pollution that one wonders why science is not informing us of the mythical midge supposed to be biting our sheep and cattle to cause abnormal foetal birth horrors. Could our grazing animals in fact be victims of the storms blowing Depleted Uranium from the sands of the Middle East, or the strange gravity of the North Pole subject to a circulation and gathering of nuclear activity that continues to infinitely affect us all since the criminal years of military scientific developments, the Atom Bomb; tests and explosions, deaths and apologies, cancer and wars all carried out by the fast buck merchants who are the true enemies of mankind? Time, the infinite, is so huge and man's imitation of the enormous disparity between a small working family life and the ruling legal networks and markets of supply imitates time so exactly that discourse vanishes, shoulders shrug that we are "without a voice", the young wander away across national borders to find work and survival. The entire theatre of life that must be lived becomes devoid of reality - even food is constantly in diets reconstructed, as are recipes, endlessly reported and photographed and disected for medicinal values that none of us can understand, probe or linger over the endless changes of advice . Also everyone is asked to run off into the distance for miles for exercise, or contort themselves into yoga. Even criminals state that a course of Yoga turns around their lives - omitting to mention that atlast, made aware of their bodies, their minds begin to realise that there is something wrong in the system, something wrong in the world.
Jocelyn Braddell,Editor.

"As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests." - Gore Vidal

What am I to do? For weeks I have been trying to formulate a closing-down statement to The Handstand and I am quite unable to do so - consumed by guilt that a situation prevails in the present that needs every hand to spread news, to protest individually, to think or try to achieve new avenues of thought - having kept up this magazine for nearly 12 years now, I am certainly tired out? Am I not afraid far more forcibly after all these years of encounter with the big issues in life that a world of environmental chaos, unutterable and tragic chaos, will prevail if humanity does not join in unison to prevent panic, to urge preventitive measures that all can share enacting, to prepare even for survival on a large scale in communities?And I have ominous actions of our Government on my mind....

The following is the most serious text I have read recently, revealing as it does the American and UK strategy, to misinform the public, to devastate the Arab Spring where any formidable non-violent group seeks diplomatic negotiation, and to defame known Western Peace advocates like Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi by manoeuvering govt. military strategies behind the scenes in complete contradiction to these advocates, their visits to the Middle East, pulverising their reputations. (2.11.2012Hilary Clinton, Croatia :Responding to a question about US policy in Syria, Clinton dismissed efforts by United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, declaring that the US “cannot and will not wait” for the UN to broker a political solution to the war in Syria. Instead, Washington will unilaterally seek to escalate that war with the aim of effecting regime-change and installing a puppet government aligned with US interests in the Middle East.)

Another accused of fraudulent informattion has just slipped up, as revealed by Israel Shamir:
"Gordon Duff is the chief editor of Veterans Today site; he accused Julian Assange of being a Mossad agent. I wrote a 
rebuke ; he persisted. This week, he slipped. Duff admitted that 40% of what he says and writes is lies."

John Pilger who always reveals brilliance as a writer has a great text on the BBC that excels on the difficult descriminations necessary to unravellel the frames of the lies from the truth as the English upper-classes devise them, their insulting hypocrisies and the dangers of misinformation that is their purpose.


PROMISSORY NOTES ARE high on the news agenda at the moment with the government seeking a deal to avoid paying the €3.06 billion due on 31 March, while a court last week ruled against a businessman who challenged their legality.

The government is staking much of its credibility on securing a deal to avoid paying out €3.06 billion of the €30.06 billion promissory notes issued in respect of primarily Anglo Irish Bank three years ago. But significant doubts remain about the likelihood of securing an agreement with the European Central Bank.

As well as that last week the High Court said that businessman David Hall’s challenge to the ‘prom’ notes’ legality was not valid as he was not a TD. He may yet appeal to the Supreme Court and a number of TDs could take their own case.

But as it stands, on 31 March Ireland will give €3.06 billion to the Central Bank and this money will be destroyed.

How and why has it come to this?

Last week we asked for your questions and we had a few of our own that we wanted answered, so we asked the experts including the Department of Finance, the independent TD Stephen Donnelly, and the financial blogger Namawinelake. Here’s what we found out.

What is a promissory note?A promissory note is an IOU. Some of you may be used to writing your friends or family IOUs for say a tenner or similar amounts, but governments and banks deal in much bigger amounts with slightly more complex arrangements.However the fundamentals are similar. Usually promissory notes will carry conditions such as agreeing to pay back a specific sum at a fixed date in the future with interest and crucially, distinguishing them from actual IOUs, they contain a specific promise to pay the money.

How was this done? Finance minister Brian Lenihan wrote a promissory note to the IBRC – basically saying “We owe you €31 billion” – which the bank used as collateral to borrow from the Cental Bank of Ireland’s emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) fund. Under the agreement, the State agreed to pay €3.06 billion every year to the IBRC until 2023 and smaller payments after that to satisfy the principal and the interest.Instalments were scheduled for repayment annually from March 2011 to March 2031 with the interest on the principal varying from year-to-year, according to the Department of Finance. A comparatively smaller amount of around €250 million in promissory notes were issued in respect of Educational Building Society (EBS).The repayment works like this: The government pays the money to IBRC, which gives it to the Central Bank of Ireland, which then destroys this money. This is done electronically in case you were thinking they were burning a huge wad of €100 notes on Dame Street.

Why is the money destroyed?When Brian Lenihan drew up the promissory notes he effectively created the cash which the Central Bank gave to IBRC (Remember the State didn’t have the money to pay the Anglo/Irish Nationwide debt). IBRC uses this money to pay off bondholders (yep those guys) and plug the gaps created by the massive losses it has taken on property loans gone sour.

comment observed on page

The article above and some of the posts above, are talking as if we were in some way personably responsible for the Corruption/Criminality/Stupidity of
Seanie Fitz (Anglo)
Dermot Gleeson (AIB)
Brian Goggin (BOI)
Michael Fingelton (IN)
Denis Casey (PTSB)
Fergus Murphy (EBS)
Our Europuppet “government”, their vested interests and their expensive PR Media Machine want to wear us down into into a farcical acceptance that this mess was “our fault”.
Prosecute the named guilty above and prosecute their loyal Lieutenants.
Prosecute the Financial Regulator, the TD’s and senior civil servants who were responsible for this travesty.

This year our government will be calling around to our homes, with bills and Direct Debit’s for us to pay for the corruption and criminal acts of those corrupt/criminal elites listed above.
They will use the guise of “property tax”, “water charges”, “septic tank inspection charges” etc,etc.

However, the governments of Ireland, never have a problem with blaming the victims and covering up for Inbred elites.
This is apparent with the Magdalene Laundries and the Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Travesties.

Comment fromEditor J.Braddell: I recently visited an old friend, a retired banker - he was in a deep rage about all that has happened and said that these bankers(above) should have been arrested and "put in chains".
Protonius - Security USA

Iris-scanning & recognition, facial-scanning & recognition, gait-scanning & recognition, voiceprint-scanning & recognition, license-plate scanning & recognition, x-ray scanning & recognition, millimeter-wave scanning & recognition, molecular-scanning & recognition, and future scanning & recognition technologies, all combined with ground-based, underwater-based, aerial-based, orbital and other space-based, highly capable detection systems, with all of their massive and unending streams of data being rapidly and efficiently plumbed and analyzed by increasingly sophisticated and incredibly robust data-mining-&-analysis systems -- and this is just the beginning.

WHO (or WHAT) controls these developments, WHAT are those agencies' motives, WHAT are the driving-forces behind their decisions & actions, HOW LONG before those motives & decisions & systems become, in themselves, THEIR OWN "raison d'etre", and we humans become no more than "fodder" for their existence --and the concept of "freedom" becomes no more than an inconsequential wisp of dust that long ago faded into the oblivion of a mythological ancient history?
Comment from Texts on Kiriakou jailing for whistleblow on torture ICH

FBI Banned from Iceland:

FBI agents landed in Reykjavík without prior notification in an attempt to investigate WikiLeaks operations in the country, but Home Secretary Ögmundur Jónasson found out about the visit and forced them to leave the country, with the Icelandic government then issuing a formal protest to US authorities, according to Islandsbloggen.,00.shtml

Video on the History of Palesti

How the U.S. Is Helping to Kill Peace in Syria

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

November 01, 2012 "
Information Clearing House" - As President Obama confirmed in an interview with the Atlantic[3] on March 2, 2012, one of the strategic goals of U.S. policy in Syria has been to weaken and isolate Iran by removing or helping to remove its strongest Arab ally. Asked what the U.S. could do to accelerate the removal of President Assad, Obama replied, laughing, "Well, nothing that I can tell you, because your classified clearance isn't good enough."

In practice, as President Obama implied, the U.S. government has played a "disguised, quiet, media-free" [4] but nonetheless significant role in the escalation of violence in Syria. As early as last December, even as a Qatari-funded YouGov opinion poll found that 55% of Syrians still supported President Assad [5], former CIA officer Philip Giraldi reported [6] that unmarked NATO planes were delivering weapons and militiamen from Libya to Turkish air-bases near the Free Syrian Army (FSA) headquarters in Iskanderum. British and French special forces were training FSA recruits, while CIA officers and U.S. special forces provided the FSA with communications equipment and intelligence. Turkey was already committed to attacking or invading Syria whenever the West gave the green light. 

Obama didn't bother to mention the new hope for a peaceful settlement of the crisis with the appointment of Kofi Annan as a U.N. Special Representative to Syria just a few days before this interview. In fact, just as Kofi Annan launched his last-ditch peace plan [7], the U.S. and its allies took critical steps to ensure that the forces they were supporting in Syria would keep fighting, instead of agreeing to the ceasefire that was the essential first step in Annan's plan. 

President Sarkozy of France initiated a series of international meetings under the Orwellian rubric "Friends of Syria [8]," at which the U.S., its NATO allies and the absolute monarchs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) publicly offered unconditional support to their Syrian proxies instead of pressing them to cooperate with the Annan plan. Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged more weapons, backed by a U.S. commitment of $15 million in "non-lethal" aid, including satellite radio systems like the ones NATO's proxy forces used in Libya in 2011. As the New York Times noted in June [9], "What has changed since March is an influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels." The same article described Turkish Army trucks delivering anti-tank weapons to the Syrian border, and CIA officers in southern Turkey controlling the flow of weapons into Syria. 

The timing of the three "Friends of Syria" meetings could not have been worse for any hope that Western-backed forces would comply with the Annan plan. The first meeting was held in Tunisia the day after Annan's appointment and the second was in Istanbul on April 1, nine days before the initial cease-fire was due to take effect. At that meeting, the Syrian National Council (SNC) declared it would use its newfound financial support to start paying salaries to FSA fighters, a timely move that discouraged rebels inside Syria from laying down their arms. 

It's no coincidence that the main "outside" players in Syria's civil war are the same countries that led and supplied the "NATO rebels" in Libya in 2011, in a war that cost at least 25,000 lives [10] and plunged Libya into a state of chaos with no clear end in sight a year later. U.S. officials pay lip-service to the obvious differences between Libya and Syria, but their actions and those of their allies reveal that the same forces are trying to adapt what they see as a successful regime-change strategy in Libya to achieve a similar goal in Syria, knowing full well that it will be even more bloody and destabilizing. 

In Libya and Syria, Western powers and Arab monarchies turned the Arab Spring on its head. They diverted the world's attention from their efforts to contain or repress nonviolent revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and not least, U.S.-occupied Iraq, harnessing the hopes raised by the Arab Spring to their own interests. In Libya and Syria, as in Iraq, they have exploited sectarian and ethnic differences to divide and conquer with little regard for human life or for the integrity of these complex societies, sowing the seeds of long-term instability and future "blowback." 

The Western media have stoked fears of impending bloodbaths and cast the schemes of Persian Gulf emirs and Western policy-makers as reluctant "humanitarian interventions." The resulting violence has been far greater than the violence it claims to be preventing, but this predictable cause and effect has been easily buried in the frenzied media coverage of escalating wars. Rwanda, where the West failed to intervene, is pulled out as a trump card to justify each new intervention, establishing a pattern in which the West has ensured maximum violence everywhere -- on the one hand by failing to stop genocidal violence in Rwanda and the DRC and on the other hand by aggression and escalation everywhere else, from Kosovo to Syria. 

The post-Cold War doctrine of "humanitarian intervention" or "R2P" (responsibility to protect) [11] is an effort to carve out an exception to the U.N. Charter's universal prohibition on the use of military force [12]. R2P's emotional appeal to the court of public opinion challenges the wisdom forged in the hell of two world wars that war is too terrible to be justified by such arguments. In practice, R2P has provided cover for a new U.S. doctrine of "information warfare" which Major Ralph Peters explored more honestly for military readers in a U.S. Army War College journal article [13] in 1997:

One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims... [Information] seduces, betrays, yet remains invulnerable. How can you counterattack the information others have turned upon you?... Societies that fear or otherwise cannot manage the flow of information simply will not be competitive. They might master the technological wherewithal to watch the videos, but we will be writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties. Our creativity is devastating... The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing. We are building an information-based military to do that killing... We are already masters of information warfare.

And so, in Libya, the "information masters" ensured that the world saw only the rag-tag NATO rebels, never the British, French and Qatari special forces [14] that armed, trained and ferried them along the coast on board NATO warships[15] and led them to victory, even when Qatari special forces led the final assault on Libya's Bab Al-Azizia military headquarters [16] in Tripoli. U.S. forces were even more invisible, as they "led from behind" and conducted their share of 9,700 total air strikes [17] in six months, the heaviest bombardment anywhere since Iraq in 2003. 

Once the dust has settled on tens of thousands of graves, some latter-day Lawrences of Arabia will cut book and film deals to tell us the "inside" story of how they brought down and butchered Gaddafi. But the dramatic images they produce will still be subject to the careful manipulation of the information masters, who will by then have the benefit of hindsight as they decide how the heroic liberators of Libya should be remembered. As Winston Churchill cheerfully told his cabinet when British voters sent them packing in 1946: "Never fear, gentlemen. History will be kind to me, for I shall write it. [18]

But one of the basic questions that historians will have to answer about the Arab Spring is this: why did revolutions against Western puppets in the Arab world remain mainly nonviolent, while those against independent governments turned into bloody civil wars? The initial response of the Libyan and Syrian governments to nonviolent protests was no more brutal than in Egypt, Iraq, Bahrain or Yemen. Every government killed peaceful protesters, disappeared and tortured dissidents and tried desperately to hold onto power, and the early death tolls were comparable. 

The critical difference was the role of the U.S. and its allies: the "information masters." In response to rebellions in Libya and Syria, Western politicians and media used pro-Western exile communities as critical tools in their regime-change strategies, shaping narratives that ensured Western public support for violent anti-government forces. They promoted exile groups as governments-in-waiting in a way that would have been unthinkable in Yemen, Bahrain or Iraq, where U.S. special forces instead continued to train and support regime forces as they committed atrocities that Western media consumers were only dimly aware of. 

Western public perceptions of the new battlefield in Syria were shaped by a sophisticated "information warfare" operation that used Western media coverage to demonize the Syrian government, legitimize unsubstantiated reports of large numbers of civilian casualties, broadcast sometimes fabricated reports by "Syrian activists [19]" directly into Western living-rooms, and present the Western public with the classic false choice between "doing something" and "doing nothing." 

From the outset, the U.S. and its allies selectively supported the Turkish-based Free Syrian Army and Syrian National Council (SNC) instead of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change (NCB) [20] that was formed by the political opposition that took to the streets in Syria in March 2011. The Western "information warfare" narrative that peaceful protesters were forced to take up arms by the severe repression of the Syrian government ignores the clear distinction between the NCB and the FSA, and it fails to explain why this only appears to have happened in Libya and Syria. 

The NCB was formed in June 2011 by 15 opposition groups and several independent figures who were leading anti-government protests. The three fundamental principles they have consistently agreed on are nonviolence, non-sectarianism and opposition to foreign intervention in Syria. Their detailed plan for a political transition in Syria has many common points with Kofi Annan's peace plan, suggesting broad Syrian and international agreement on a way forward that belies Western claims that no political solution exists and that violent regime change is the only viable option. These common points include the release of political prisoners; withdrawal of the army from urban areas; allowing foreign journalists free access throughout the country; and a political transition leading to free and fair elections. 

A review of the 15 parties that make up the NCB helps to explain why capitalist Western governments and their monarchist Arab allies do not support it. It is chaired by Hassan Abdul Azim, the leader of the Democratic Arab Socialist Union, and it includes the Arab Revolutionary Workers' Party; the Communist Labor Party; the Democratic People's Party; Together for a Free Democratic Syria; the Arab Socialist Movement; and the Syrian Union Party; along with four Kurdish parties and several regional parties. 

The NCB has serious differences with the Turkish-based Syrian National Council (SNC), which the "Friends of Syria" meeting on April 1, 2012 recognized as "the umbrella group under which opposition groups are gathering." Despite these differences, the NCB has tried to engage with the Western-backed opposition-in-exile. It has taken part in meetings with the SNC and other groups to try and develop a unified political opposition in Syria, and NCB delegations have travelled to Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and Arab capitals, and met with Western ambassadors in Syria. 

In an interview with the French newspaper L'Humanite [21] on July 29, the NCB's Haytham Manna was asked whether the peaceful and democratic popular movement that began the revolt in 2011 had now been dispossessed by the mainly Islamist armed groups. Here's his reply (my translation):

The armed groups and the military solution adopted by the regime have eradicated civil resistance. So, whatever the strength and the number of peaceful demonstrations today, they are less than a tenth of what we saw a year ago. There's a retreat from peaceful action. And today, if there's a small demonstration in a village, nobody pays attention, as if it doesn't make any difference. Military action has taken the upper hand over a political discourse that could regroup and create a peaceful solution in the short term in Syria.

Asked whether the NCB's divisions with the SNC and the FSA are weakening the opposition, Manna replied,

The idea that something had to be built from the outside weakened what was happening inside the country. They thought that a structure outside the Syrian people could represent it internationally. But it's a structure that's really not representative of Syrian society or political forces in the country and, what's more, it depends on the will of three states: France, Turkey and Qatar. The SNC, despite the financial, diplomatic and media support it has obtained, has not achieved its goal. Now there's a search for another formula to unify the opposition. Meanwhile, the armed groups have gained ground and become radicalized. Because the money came from Salafist groups all along. This "Salafization" of some of the military groups has plunged us into civil war. On one side, there is fear of extremism in a moderate society where 26 religious and ethnic groups coexist. Foreign intervention, whether it's official or not, has favored an Islamist ideological trend to the detriment of democratic and secular forces. It's also favored acts of vengeance and political assassination on a sectarian basis. These acts are manipulated and influenced by non-Syrian jihadist movements that are starting to find a place in the country and who coordinate with the Islamist armed groups. The power vacuum is a danger, because civil resistance is poorly organized or often absent because of the presence of the armed groups. The political solution for a transition period doesn't exist. There's no timetable agreed on among different opposition forces. This lack of coordination gives the advantage to the most extreme Islamist groups. Secular leaders were murdered by the regime in the first months, which opened the door to the Islamists. When you marginalize the political solution, you marginalize democratic forces.

Finally, L'Humanite asked Manna about the Annan plan. He said:

Annan's proposals were a chance for a peaceful transition. Sadly, right from the start, Qatar buried the plan and opted to militarize the opposition. Western powers were also thinking of a "Plan B." So, without regional and international support, a plan like this can't succeed. They're leaving arms to settle the issue, whether it's the loyalist army or the dissident or Islamist armed groups. We will pay very dearly for this absence of a political solution. There are local conflicts breaking out. This is compost for a civil war that can lead to rule by militias, but certainly not to the creation of an army that can protect the population in a time of transition.

Clearly, Kofi Annan's peace plan presented a problem for what Haytham Manna referred to as the West's "Plan B." Installing a pro-Western government in Syria as in Libya requires Western-backed forces to gain military control of Syria to dictate that outcome. As in Libya, there are Western-based exiles who could fit the bill, and the SNC could function as "the umbrella group under which opposition groups are gathering," as the Friends of Syria declared. But the kind of peaceful political transition that Kofi Annan's plan called for would not achieve that result -- there is still too much support for the Baathist government, and the legitimate political opposition inside the country, as represented by the NCB, would not stand for a Western-Islamist takeover of Syria. 

So, the West's Plan B seems to require that Syria must first be torn apart by a bloody civil war that will kill hundreds of thousands of people, until Syrians become so desperate that the loss of their sovereignty will seem a small price to pay for a restoration of peace. On the other side, the Syrian government is equally determined to use as much force as necessary to prevent this from succeeding. Lakhdar Brahimi's effort to revise and revive Annan's peace plan is a final chance for the U.S. and its allies to rein in their proxies and step back from the brink. The Syrian government agreed to his call for a cease-fire during the three-day Eid al-Adha holiday, but once again, the Western-backed rebels rejected it [22]. The stage is set for far greater bloodshed and chaos, and the U.S. government's actions have been critical, maybe even decisive, in plunging the people of Syria into this crisis and preventing a peaceful resolution.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is author of Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He wrote the chapter on "Obama At War" for the just released book, Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader

[9] pagewanted=all&_r=0 


....and a vital assessment from

Venue for an Artist
A Nation Armed to the Teeth but Living in Fear (Excerpts)
By Dave Lindorff

A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana, shows that young children who are fearful in childhood are likely to be conservative when they grow up. It’s not just that a whole generation of kids who get regularly belted by their parents, who are warned that if they behave in a certain manner they’ll go to hell, or that their faces will freeze in some horrible contorted way, or that they will be thrown out of the house, are becoming Republicans. It’s that virtually the whole country is populated by adults who have been raised in a climate of fear by a media and a government that are hell-bent on scaring the shit out of everyone.

The result is that a nation that once, for better or worse, was full of people who could strike out for unknown regions to stake a claim on land when they didn’t even know how to farm (land admittedly belonging to native Americans who could understandably be expected to react with aggressive hostility to being expropriated), who could weather brutal winters with nothing to get them through but a musket and a store of root vegetables in the cellar, who could stand up to the mightiest military of its day and throw off a colonial yoke and boldly create a new country, now cowers in fear at the imagined threats of a landlocked group of uneducated and incredibly poor people living in a country that is a throwback to the 16th century.

America is supposedly the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave," as our un-singable national anthem puts it at its most un-singable point, but to tell the truth, it is no longer either of those things. Don't believe me? Just try telling a cop who stops you for standing off the side of the road with your thumb out and says you are breaking the law against hitchhiking, that he is wrong and that the law does not in fact bar thumbing. For exercising your right of free speech, even if you were polite about it, he will in response threaten you with arrest. Argue (which is your right), and you’re likely to be slammed against his vehicle, cuffed, and dragged off to the slammer. Never mind that the cop is wrong about the law, and that your charges will be tossed out later. If you resist, or mouth off further during this arrest process, you might even be tased. In the end, you are busted, probably bruised, too, and you’ll be detained for a couple of hours until your family can come spring you by paying an extortionate bail.

In an environment like this, you're not free, and the cop is certainly anything but brave. And that is the situation we're in today in the U.S.

When the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked and struck by two planes and collapsed, I agree it was a horrible shock, but at no point was the survival of the United States, or even of the American people, threatened. Even if you throw in the attack by a third plane on the Pentagon, which collapsed a section of the world’s biggest building, the US wasn’t facing any existential risk. But the reaction of the American public to this attack on 9-11-2001, encouraged mightily by the US government, was to hunker down, beg for police-state laws, and to stop all normal activity. (In fact, any serious damage to the US following those attacks was caused by the reaction of government, business and the people of the US to the event, not by the events themselves.)

In my town, the local school board canceled all school trips for the rest of the 2001-2 school year, claiming, with the full support of most of the parents in the school district, that there was a risk that terrorists might attack school buses! This is not rational behavior. It is irrational fear.

The same fear that has led to public support for bi-partisan funding of the most bloated, grotesquely over-armed military in the history of the world. That pork barrel military is not any good at fighting wars, as the defeat in Iraq, and the looming defeat in Afghanistan by forces armed with AK-47 rifles and home-made mines has proved, and it’s not any good at fighting terrorism, as the spreading of fundamentalist Muslim terror groups across the Middle East and northern Africa demonstrate, but it creates a warm feeling of comfort for terrified Americans to see those huge nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, bristling with heavily armed fighter bombers on their decks, plowing through the ocean, just as it makes people comfortable to see US troops, puffed out with body armor so that they look like pro-football players on a gridiron, standing at the ready at some far off desert outpost. They’re "keeping us safe," people think, even as they rush out to buy guns in record numbers.

The worst thing about all this fear and fear-mongering is that it has turned the US into a nation of conspiracy theorists, so ready to believe the most far-fetched plots and schemes by the rich and powerful that we Americans are unable to see the real challenge facing not just us, but the entire world: the threat of catastrophic climate change. And that is a very real threat that cannot be avoided by cowering in a basement or by electing some tough-talking chief executive, or by buying guns. It can only be tackled by taking bold united action as a people to change the whole basis of the socio-economic system from one premised on encouraging wasteful consumption to one based upon utility and on bettering the lot of all as efficiently as possible -- and doing this not just as a nation, but in collaboration with the rest of the world.

It is time for Americans to reject the fear-mongering, and to take responsibility for our own society and government. We don’t need a leader who will "keep us safe." We need a leader who will denounce fear, who will declare that the freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights are the foundation of this nation, and that we will rely on them, not police and armies, to move the country forward to face the real challenges of the future.

About Me: Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and He received a Project Censored award in 2004. Dave is also a founding member of the online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening! at

From The Ramparts

                                                                   Junious Ricardo Stanton

                                                             Election Thoughts and Observations



“President Obama merely carried on exactly where Bush left off, and exactly where presidential candidate Mitt Romney will pick up if elected in 2012. In reality the White House is not responsible for the creation of policy. It merely serves as public relations, selling a particular narrative to the public, and taking the fall (with little or no consequence) for when details emerge implicating the US in the global state sponsorship of terrorism. Behind Bush, Obama, and Romney are corporate-financier funded think tanks that craft policy and/or the talking points used to sell such policy to an unwitting public.” US establishment admits arming Al Qaeda, but blames it on "Obama the Muslim."  by Tony Cartalucci


            Like many of you I watched the last debate to see for myself what each candidate was saying in an effort to glean their positions and try to figure out what to expect from their presidency. I was extremely disappointed. I saw nothing to energize me to believe this country’s political system cares about what matters to me: peace, economic stability and opportunity, or an end to US imperialism and an increasing police state.

I warned in 2008 Barack Obama was being put up/set up to be the fall guy and patsy for when the warmongering international bankers/Kleptocrats pulled the plug on the US economy thus destroying the working class and lurching the country towards a regional if not a global war with a flash point in the “Middle East”. Nothing I’ve seen during the past four years or during that last televised debate on Monday has changed my mind. The only thing is, now I suspect Mitt Romney is the one the NeoCons, the international bankers, the Zionist lobby and corporate oligarchs want in the White House because they trust him to carry out their imperialist agendas more than they do Obama who they feel is not aggressive enough.

When I watched the last debate I was sickened by what I saw. I saw a Mitt Romney whose eyes and body language revealed he was uncomfortable and unsure of himself. He was a man desperately hoping to avoid making another major foreign policy gaff so he agreed with Obama on almost everything. Romney did what he’s been doing ever since the private video was posted on YouTube showing him telling his super wealthy campaign contributors what he actually thinks and feels about 47% of the people, he lied!

Romney was exposed in that video but his employment of the “Big Lie” technique seems to be working. The Big Lie was used to perfection by the Nazis in Germany who got it from US media; you repeat a lie (or an ad slogan) over and over again forcibly enough and people will believe you. Perhaps this is why the poll numbers are tightening in Romney’s favor despite the YouTube video.

We cannot discount stupidity, short memories or plain ol’ USA racism to play a major factor in the election. As will vote rigging and fraud; after all the US is a banana republic bar none. Racism as we know is a mental illness. US symptoms are a severe dislike for people of a darker hue and an attempt by the bigot to compensate for his or her feelings of inadequacy and inferiority by putting people of color down. This explains why down and out white folks even consider voting for people like Romney and Ryan who have shown utter contempt for them and their situation since day one. In fact when you read the Romney Team’s policy statements and position papers you see they want to make things worse!! 

No matter how out of touch with the masses Romney and Ryan  appear to be, the yahoos will vote for them against their own interests just to “defeat” Obama who they see as a “black man”, a Muslim and/or a Socialist etc. This is classic divide and rule strategy especially since the Romney programs will turn out the same way the Reagan and Bu$h trickle down policies did, a disaster.

Since he was outshone in the first debate, Obama has been on the defensive and now recently on the attack. During the last debate Obama clearly exposed Romney as a disingenuous prevaricating flip-flopper on all of his previous positions. But it may be too little too late to give Obama any momentum because the hard core fascists, the fear mongers and racists have worked themselves into such a frenzy, they actually see light at the end of the tunnel. When Obama demonstrated vulnerability by losing the first debate, the fascists behind Romney saw an opportunity to take Obama out, to get rid of him for good.

Obama is under immense pressure because the facts are not on his side. Unemployment is at an all time high, millions of mortgages are underwater, millions of people are facing foreclosure, Blacks and Latinos have lost trillions of dollars in home equity we can never recover, as have white folks, the economy is in deep trouble and there is nothing either Obama or Romney can do about it.

But the Romney-Ryan team has told us clearly, if we are awake to see and hear what they’ve said, what their true agenda for this country is. Think George W Bu$h, Chris Christie of New Jersey or Scott Walker of Wisconsin on steroids. The ALEC agenda of union busting, devastating social program cuts, juxtaposed against massive corporate welfare and huge tax breaks for the rich will become national policy. This country will go back to the robber baron era in terms of socio-economic peonage, class rigidity and inequality.

            The corporate media is no help because their agenda is to trick us into falling for their okey-doke reality. That’s why since the 1950’s in early television shows they put laugh tracks in comedies to condition us to go along with their flim-flam. Think about this for a minute, if something is really funny, we laugh; we don’t need to be prompted by a sound track of people laughing to make us laugh do we? The corporate programmers view us as simpletons and morons who need to goaded and duped into reacting to “the reality” they create.  This is why they hire talking head propagandists to interpret what we see during the debates so they can put their spin and smell on the images and sound bytes they play over and over again to brainwash us into going along with their program.

None of the networks or cable news channels are covering the real issues our lives or reveal what the politicians have promised their Wall Street supporters or the corporate donors who are filling their campaign coffers to the tune of billions of dollars. We need to wake up and realize the United States is a banana republic ruled by a corporate (and an increasingly hereditary) oligarchy hell bent on a rigid class structure of the super rich at the top, a mid level of technocrat and military/security state then the rest of us. Both candidates are essentially for the same things, working on behalf of the same plutocrats, it’s just Obama’s campaign rhetoric is kinder and gentler.