Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What a Question! America's Undeclared War on Syria

Is the US Headed Towards War in Syria? 


October 26, 2016

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is concerned about Clinton's foreign policy record and the fact that many of her advisors resemble those who served in the first George W. Bush administration.

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."

Following the Story: How to Cover (Up) An Oil Spill

What's the CBC Coverage Frame?

by Ingmar Lee

Denny Island - What is the coverage frame that CBC and the corporate media is putting out?

"...crews placed a 2nd boom around the tug..." "...crews pumped off another 10,000 gallons..." "... WCMRC delivered another barge load of absorbent pads..." "...Kirby kicked in $250,000..." "...everybody's working together..."

The coverage is ALL focused on the bogus "clean-up," and if errors are mentioned, then they are to do with WCMRC lag time in arriving on scene, or how heavy seas and weather are breaking up the booms, -or the heroic actions of people out on the beaches with the frame that, if only WCMRC had been right there, had seaworthy booms right on scene immediately, then all would have been well.

They are deliberately spinning the Big Oil line that spills at sea CAN be cleaned up, mitigation IS possible, if only our "world class" response regime functioned properly..

What is NOT at all being mentioned by CBC, or even questioned, is:

WHY THE FUCK IS THIS IDIOTIC, DANGEROUS, INSANE TRAFFIC HAPPENING IN THE FIRST PLACE, and why the fuck are the powers that be CURRENTLY maneuvering to get the very next shipments, once again, flowing up the BC Inside Passage?!?


Because Big Oil is watching this scene very, very intently. It is essential, -imperative- right now that the general Canadian public believe that mitigation is possible, that clean up can be done, that we have the technology, that we have the skill, the knowledge, the wherewithal to handle petroleum spills at sea.


Because the Justin Trudeau regime is at the brink of announcing that they are greenlighting the Kinder Morgan ASSAULT on this coast.

There will be a fight. A BIG fight. They are desperate to keep the numbers of people involved in that fight to a minimum. They need people to BUY their frame. Selling the Big Oil frame to the gullible people of Canada is the job of the CBC and Corporate Media. It is what they are paid to do.


The 600 ft., 37,000 deadweight ton Oil/Chemical tanker "Navig8 Aronaldo" is currently doing weird loop-de-loops around the north end of Vancouver Island, and appears to be headed up through Hecate Strait to Kitimat.. I'm not used to seeing oil tankers of this size go by here. Wanna bet there's no Canadian pilot on this latest giant bag of oil?! Good thing we've got Western Canada's "World Class" marine disaster response service, and every single piece of equipment they own right here on scene...

Also meanwhile... 

The tugboat "Gene Dunlap" can be seen entering Fitzhugh Channel, on its way to the Nathan E Stewart wreck towing an even more gigantic crane than the one that's already here...

Contextualizing European Support re: Israel

European Support

by Mazin Qumsiyeh -

October 26, 2016

European support of “Israel” and Palestine come up a lot in our discussions with politicians and even common people here in Spain.

Most of the time it is obvious that European elites feel that they are being fair by giving a lot of political and financial aid to “Israel” and some aid to the Palestinian authority. I try to give them some context by explaining that this is like aiding and abetting Nazi Germany while also helping the Vichy government in France under Nazi occupation. Or if this is too harsh an analogy, it is like supporting
apartheid South Africa while also supporting chief Buthalesi (king of the Zululand).

It is blunt but at least it opens up a discussion to explain about colonialism. 193 countries are members of the UN, more than 70% of them live in a post-colonial era (ie. Have been European colonies at one point or another).

The post-colonial countries are stabilized under one of three scenarios:

  • a) The Algerian model (liberation and removal of colonizers, many of them generations in the colonized country), 
  • b) the Australian model (genocide leaving so few natives), 
  • c) the South and Central American model (most countries in the world: integration and coexistence in one country)

There is no fourth model that is sustainable.

Israel like South Africa tried containment in enclaves (bantusanization, people warehousing). It is failing and Israel and its imperialist allies are trying desperately to keep the mirage alive of “wanting peace” and “two-states for two people”. That mirage is merely intended to lengthen the time frame so that more billions can be pocketed. This is the most profitable occupation in human history and Israel makes tens of billions of dollars annually (if not over 100 billion) from the occupation.

Israel’s economy has been structured to profit from the conflict and currently over half of government revenue is dependent on three streams of income all of them would be threatened if there is peace;

  • a) weapons/security related exports (tested on the guinea pigs of Gaza every three years), 
  • b) foreign aid ($40 billion package of military aid just given to Israel by “Nobel peace prize” winner Obama as a parting gift of his presidency, and 
  • c) nearly $12 billion from us (captive Palestinians). Some 70% of European humanitarian aid to Palestinians ends up in Israeli pockets.

We spoke to various groups in areas ranging from environmental conservation to human rights. I publicized my book on “Sharing the Land of Canaan” which is published in Spanish. We met with politicians and with poor people. We met with a research association in San Sebastian with 1700 members and over 100 researchers working on everything from forensic anthropology to mushrooms to insects to environmental impact studies to birds. Like other similar important institutions (including ours of the Palestine Institute of
Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University), they suffer from shortage of funds, shortage of government support, and from the neo-liberal models of an economy emphasizing more on consumerism and
less on environmental conservation.

We must keep trying though to convince people that the neo-liberal socio-economic system is not sustainable and that we residents of this one blue planet face a challenge that we never faced before with the potential of massive extinctions of species, massive disruptions, hundreds of millions of environmental refugees, and much more.

We must act TOGETHER urgently to address these challenges. The elites instead want us to fight each other based on sects (Jews, Shia’, Sunni, Christian, Kurds etc). That way they can milk us for a few more billions and some of them think they will be dead before the world ends!

But almost every minute I am here I am thinking of home. I appreciate our volunteers and museum staff taking care of things admirably including the educational and general maintenance activities. School children and university students come to our Palestine Museum of Natural History at Bethlehem University to grow and get empowered.

While what I am doing here is important, our work in Palestine is far more important and I cannot wait to go back. Just yesterday, the racist apartheid regime demolished a building in Silwan housing 30 people. I thought of that as I noted the forecast that rains are on the way. I also think of the work accumulating. Next week is a busy week for us

Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
HumanRights newsletter

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Calling on the Left to Leave Interventionism

Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence

by Eric Draitser - CounterPunch

October 20, 2016

The cold, hard reality of the war in Syria is that the violence, bloodshed, and chaos continues unabated while the Left, such as it is, continues on in a state of schizophrenic madness. Different points of view, conflicting ideological tendencies, and a misunderstanding of the reality of the conflict are all relevant issues to be interrogated, with civility and reasoned debate in short supply. But those issues are not the urgent task of this article; the Left does need to seriously self-reflect though about just how it responds to crises of imperialism and issues of war and peace.
Photo: Kurdishstruggle | CC BY 2.0

However, what is urgently needed at this moment is a clear and unequivocal position on the future of this war, and the lives of all Syrians – political allegiances notwithstanding – as the escalation of the war approaches. There is little doubt that Hillary Clinton will win the crown of ringmaster of the political circus that is the US election. And, as she eases her freshly osculated behind into the leather captain’s chair in the Oval Office, it is only a matter of time before she ratchets up US military involvement in Syria, with a full US war, and attempted regime change, becoming all but a certainty.

And where will the Left be then? This question is not merely rhetorical as the Left has found itself in the usual circular firing squad predicament over the war in Syria. And though the issue continues to be debated, what should be beyond dispute is what the position on intervention into the war should be.

And as I brace for the predictable barrage of hate mail and name-calling from both sides of this debate – I’m mostly inured to that sort of thing after years of it – I want to make one point that should be obvious, and yet has become somehow controversial: opposing the war is the duty of all true anti-war activists.

But what does it mean to oppose the war? Does it mean that we should be opposing just Russian and Syrian bombs being dropped? Does it mean that only US-Saudi-Turkey-Israeli supplied weapons are doing the killing? Sadly, these too are not rhetorical questions as so many on the Left, including many self-described anti-imperialists, have positioned themselves as hawks in a war that has utterly devastated the country. It seems that many, myself included up to a point, have gotten so enveloped in the embrace of partisanship in this war that we have forgotten that our responsibility is to the people of Syria and to peace and justice.

Some on the pro-Assad side of the argument will correctly note that the role of the anti-war activist in the West is, above all, to oppose the imperialism of the West itself. And indeed, that is a primary responsibility. Others on the Left will argue that the responsibility of activists is to support liberation struggles of fellow revolutionaries. And while the revolutionary content of the rebel side in Syria has been sidelined by a hodgepodge of Saudi and Qatari-financed jihadists – the uprising began as a response to the Syrian government’s neoliberal policies and brutality, among other things – this cannot be taken to mean that countless innocent men, women, and children have not been maimed and killed by Syrian and Russian weapons, jets, and fighters.

Be that as it may, the question now before us is this: where do you stand on direct US intervention?

In the long and convoluted history of this war there have been precious few moments of clear and unmistakable moral judgment. If anything, the portrait of the war in Syria is colored in shades of gray, with little black and white to be found.

If you’re supportive of the anti-Assad forces, then it’s quite likely you’ve chosen to ignore the mountains of evidence that there is no “revolution” in Syria but rather a vicious contra-style war being fomented by US-NATO and its toadies in the Gulf, Turkey, and Israel. If you’re supportive of Assad then it’s a certainty that you’ve chosen to ignore or downplay the horrific violence of the bombings, the brutality of the torture chambers, and other unspeakable atrocities (I admit that I have often strayed too far into the latter) out of a desire to uphold the nominally anti-imperialist position.

And where has this left Syria? Where has it brought the Left? We’re no closer to an end to this horrific war, nor are we any closer to a resolution to the cancerous spread of terrorism in the region. Maybe just a few more US-supplied weapons and US-funded fighters will do the trick? Maybe a few more Russian and Syrian bombs will solve the crisis? Well, if you’ve been paying attention, neither one of those has brought Syria any closer to peace. And isn’t that what we’re allegedly supposed to be upholding?

And how about the refugees? I’ve seen the fascist talking points spouted by many fake “anti-imperialists” who with one breath proclaim their commitment to peace and justice, and with another demonize and scapegoat Syrian refugees whose politics don’t align with the pro-Assad position. Words like “traitors,” “cowards,” and “terrorists,” are shamefully applied to ordinary Syrians fleeing to Europe and elsewhere in hopes of saving their families. Indeed, it is precisely this narrative that is at the core of the white supremacist, fascist ideology that underlies a significant amount of the support base for Assad and his allies (see David Duke, David Icke, Alexander Dugin, Brother Nathanel, Alex Jones, Mimi al-Laham, Ken O’Keefe, and on and on and on). I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true, and too many of the pro-Assad camp have willfully ignored this fundamental point.

On the other side though, the unwillingness of the “Syrian revolution” camp to face up to the fact that they have unwittingly made themselves into the left flank of US interventionism and imperialism is cause for public shaming as well. Were this the 1980s one wonders whether they’d be saying the same things about the “revolutionary” contras in Central America who, like the so-called rebels in Syria, were also backed with US weapons, money, and training. How about the mujahideen in Afghanistan? Has the collective memory of the Left gotten so short? And what about those foreign fighters fleeing Syria? Are they revolutionaries when they go back to Libya and engage in human trafficking for profit? Or to Chechnya to smuggle Afghan heroin? Or to Saudi Arabia or anywhere else?

Undoubtedly there are people on both sides of this debate who, if they’re still reading (doubtful), are frothing at the mouth with rage as they prepare to send their hate mail or attack this article and me on social media. All of that is perfectly fine by me as my feelings are of little consequence in this war that has killed hundreds of thousands, and displaced millions.

But the conversation I’m hoping to spur here is not about the past, but about the future.

And so I put out the call, here and now, to all people of the Left and all those who wrap themselves in the shroud of revolution and anti-imperialism: where do you stand on intervention?

To the anti-Assad camp, I ask: What will you be doing when Hillary’s fire burns and cauldron bubbles? Will you continue to ignore the material reality of this war in favor of the chimera of a revolution betrayed? Put simply: will you be supporting US imperialism in the name of the “revolution”?

To the pro-Assad Syria fetishists, I ask: Will you continue to pretend that the only crimes and atrocities being committed are those veiled behind Old Glory? Are you comfortable in the knowledge that this war will continue on indefinitely so long as all outside actors continue to use Syria as merely a square on their respective geopolitical chessboards? Will you continue to delude yourselves by refusing to accept the plainly obvious truth that no state or group has the best interests of Syrians at heart? Will you allow yourselves to be the useful idiots of carefully calculated political maneuvering?

I ask these questions as someone who took a firmly pro-Assad position from the very beginning, someone who felt (as I, and many others, still do) that Syria, like Libya, was a victim of US-NATO-GCC-Israel imperialism and that, as such, it should be defended. And while I still uphold that resistance, I also have enough humility to know that, in doing so, I abandoned other core beliefs such as defense of ALL oppressed people, including the ones with politics I reject.

I ask these questions as someone who takes the very notion of anti-imperialism seriously, and who is dismayed by the disgusting cooptation of that word by fascists, chauvinists, white supremacists, and neocolonial degenerates who use it for political expediency. This cannot be allowed to stand.

The direct US war in Syria is coming. Russia’s war in Syria is already active. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel have been fomenting war in Syria from the beginning, all in support of the Empire’s strategic goals. And hundreds of thousands of bodies have been buried in the sand and soil.

How many more bodies are we comfortable burying? How much longer before peace is once again on the table? How many more years before we realize that this war will never end on a battlefield?

Either way, I’ll see anyone who wants to join me on the front lines of protest when the Queen of Chaos launches her war. That’s where I’ve been many times before, and will be for years to come.

And that’s where the Left ought to be.

Eric Draitser is the founder of and host of CounterPunch Radio. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at
More articles by:Eric Draitser

Lelu's Voice I Am - Stand with Lax U'u'la against LNG/Petronas!

Lelu's Voice I Am - Stand with Lax U'u'la against LNG/Petronas!

Here's the Lelu Island fundraiser we are co-hosting this Tuesday evening to raise money for the camp they are building on the frontline (Stop Pacific NorthWest LNG/Petronas on Lelu Island

Please come out and support the cause!

Entry is by donation.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Sense and Insensibility: Hypocrisy of America's "War Crimes" Charges

US, Allies Massacre at Will, Yet Condemn Russia

by Finian Cunningham  - Information Clearing House via  Sputnik 

Oct. 23, 2016

We really have entered a macabre twilight zone when US-led warplanes are massacring civilians in several countries – and yet Washington and its allies condemn others for war crimes.

Of course, governments that act criminally cannot be expected to be honest. But what about nominally independent organizations like the United Nations and Western media? The collective deception is damning of systematic complicity.

What makes it more disturbing is that if criminality can be so capriciously covered-up by institutions that are relied upon for law and accountability then the world really is in a dangerous, dark place.

The latest atrocity involved US coalition aircraft reportedly killing 15 women and injuring 50 others when they hit a funeral procession near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday.

American-led coalition warplanes, including from Britain, France, and Turkey, are bombing Iraq, supposedly to help defeat the Islamic State (Daesh) terror group.

Shamefully, the Western news media, which have been blaring allegations of war crimes against Russia over its military operations in Syria, were largely silent on the massacre near Kirkuk.

Only days before that barbarity, there were several other mass atrocities committed by American allies elsewhere in the Middle East.

In Syria, two F-16 fighter jets belonging to NATO member Belgium killed six civilians in the village of Hassadjek, near Aleppo.

Within hours of that murderous assault, warplanes from Turkey, another NATO member, were responsible for killing some 150 Syrian civilians in multiple air raids also in Aleppo countryside, according to Syrian state media.

Meanwhile, in Yemen, the US-backed Saudi air bombardment continued its slaughter of innocents despite cynically declaring a non-entity ceasefire earlier in the week. Three farmers were killed in Saudi air strikes in Saada province – almost a week after American and Saudi warplanes massacred 140 people attending a funeral ceremony in the capital Sanaa. Another grotesque “anti-terror” operation.

Washington and its allies are now openly bombing sovereign countries without any legal mandate. As such, these actions constitute the crime of aggression – the most grave violation of international law. This is a redux of 1930s fascist banditry by Western states who haughtily pontificate to Russia.

In Syria, the US-led coalition including Britain and France have been carrying out air strikes on that country for over two years, killing hundreds of civilians – all in the name of “fighting terrorism”. Three months ago, in late July, US and French warplanes murdered over 100 civilians, including women and children, in and around the town of Manbij, near Aleppo, in wave after wave of bombings.

Occasionally, the Western news media do give reports on such crimes. But, generally, their duty is to minimize, by describing such incidents as unfortunate “collateral damage”, if not to willfully cover-up, as in the latest atrocity near Kirkuk.

Nevertheless, the entire hideous Western charade is gradually being exposed.

In Syria, for nearly six years the Arab country has been almost completely destroyed by a US-led covert war for regime change. To achieve this illicit objective, Washington and its NATO and regional allies funded, armed and directed a proxy army of the most vile terror groups.

When Russia and Iran intervened last year to help their Syrian ally against this international criminal conspiracy, the country was brought back from the brink of devastation. The terrorist proxy army supported by Washington, London, Paris, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has been routed from hundreds of towns and villages.

Syria is being liberated from a scourge unleashed in March 2011 by US-led insurgents under the guise of a “pro-democracy uprising”. That narrative has always been absurd for anyone with critical thinking. Head-chopping jihadists for democracy? Sword-wielding Saudi and Qatari despots advocating pluralist elections?

Besides, Syria already had a relatively robust democracy under President Bashar al Assad. Before the US-led war for regime change, Syria enjoyed a reputation for religious freedom, peaceful coexistence and benign social development.

The Western media, in the service of promoting their governments’ geopolitical agenda, have grossly distorted events in Syria. Instead of investigating a Western-backed criminal subversion involving state-sponsorship of terrorism, the media have violated honest, independent journalism with outright lies and fabrications. The Western public have been told that Washington and its allies are bombing a (sovereign) country to “defeat terrorism” when in fact any genuine, critical inquiry shows the opposite to be the case.

In the northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian army supported by Russia is liberating tens of thousands of civilians who have been held under siege, against their will, by the West’s terror proxies since 2012.

Western media coverage on Aleppo is a diabolical sham. The US, British and French governments, as well as other Europeans, are jumping up and down with accusations of war crimes against Russia and its Syrian ally.

Scarcely any evidence is presented to substantiate these unhinged Western claims of what is happening in Aleppo. Virtually all the information that the West relies on for its allegations is sourced from Western and Saudi-funded organizations such as the so-called White Helmets and Aleppo Media Center, both of whom are embedded with proscribed terror groups like Jabhat al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham.

The Western capacity for denial is astounding. The vast majority of Aleppo residents – some 1.6 million people – are living willingly under the protection of the Syrian army. Yet the Western media never report this. Rather they focus on a minority district besieged by terrorists whom they lionize as “heroic rebels”.

Even when verifiable live broadcasts in Aleppo, set up at the humanitarian aid corridors established by Russian and Syrian authorities, demonstrate beyond doubt that the truces are flagrantly violated by the Western-beloved “rebels”, still the myth-making continues. During three days of humanitarian pause to help vacate civilians, the militants were seen shelling neutral transport arrangements and of holding people as human shields.

However, Western media vaguely and mendaciously report on “lack of security” hampering aid delivery.

Washington and its European allies, primarily Britain and France, as well as UN chiefs Ban Ki-Moon and Staffan de Mistura, the special envoy to Syria, are a disgrace. So too are the Western corporate news media who have lied all the way to conceal the real criminals in Syria.

In this mayhem and madness, it might seem perhaps counterintuitive to be optimistic. But good reason for optimism is that Western governments and their servile media are exposing themselves for the criminals and liars that they are.

The rogue-state behavior of Washington and its allies has become so rampant it is no longer possible to hide.

The public anger and disdain for this murdering cabal is fueled not only by what they see in Syria and the region. People all around the world are making the connection that US-led warmongering and dirty wars are rooted in the same murdering and plundering capitalist system that is killing their own societies and communities.

People are realizing more than ever that the high and mighty Western leaders who presume to sit as judges casting condemnations on others are actually the lowest, most despicable criminals.

Pacific Pilotage Authority Responds to Oil Tanker Spill Off Great Bear Rainforest

The Pacific Pilotage Authority CEO, Captain Obermeyer, has issued a press release today.

by Ingmar Lee -

October 24, 2016

Now, apparently, two persons are required to be on the bridge of these tankers at all times. (It is hard to believe, but I guess until now, it was acceptable to the PPA that only one person was required on the bridge of a large petroleum tanker navigating the Inside Passage)

(photo: April Bencze - Heiltsuk Nation)

The only thing that has, or appears to be changing, is that PENDING APPROVAL of "Industry Stakeholders" the American tankers will need to travel north of Vancouver Island, loaded, via Hecate Straits ONLY, (did they ask the Haida Nation?) although weather permitting, the tankers WILL BE PERMITTED to enter Laredo and/or Principe Channels if they wish.

There is some confusion in the press release, because although it states that Grenville Channel, Princess Royal Channel, Finlayson Channel, Seaforth Channel, Lama Pass and Fitzhugh Channel are NOW OFF LIMITS TO AMERICAN TANKERS, (yay!) nevertheless, then it goes on to state that "when passing Bella Bella, a Master is required to be on the bridge."

Frankly, this nonsense falls far short of what needs to be done, which is to get this whole rotten business OFFSHORE.

What happens when there are HUGE STORMS in the southern half of Hecate Straits?? According to this release, all safe refuge for these inherently unseaworthy river boats will be off limits. So will they just crack up on Calvert Island, or the Goose Islands, or Haida Gwaii?!?

As they pass by off the Goose Islands, will the Master then need to come up on the bridge because they are abeam, albeit 20 miles off, Bella Bella?!?

Frankly, this changes almost nothing. Not happy at all.

(sorry about posting photos of the release, 
-it has not been posted to the PPA website, 
and Faceplant won't link PDF's)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nathan E Stewart Aftermath: Heiltsuk Tribal Council Fundraising to Clean Up Oil Spill

Support Heiltsuk Efforts in Diesel Spill

by Heiltsuk Tribal Council

October 23, 2016
In the wee hours of October 13th, the Nathan E. Stewart, a tug and US-based diesel barge, ran aground just north of Bella Bella.

While the barge has been secured and towed to safety, the tug sank late on the morning of the 13th. Of the 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board, less than 7,000 gallons were pumped before the tug went down. Subsequent efforts to recover fuel from the sunken tug are ongoing.

See video here.

Community members have been on scene from dawn to dusk every day to lay boom and assist with cleanup efforts. The lag in early response and difficulties with coordination and weather have created ripple effects resulting in ongoing complications with fuel recovery.

Heiltsuk have been vocal about marine shipping issues and the hazards posed by vessels of this nature. Community members have made it clear that a spill was inevitable - it was only a matter of time.

Tragically, the community has been proven right.

The Heiltsuk are now conducting our own investigation into the diesel spill.

Your contributions will help cover costs the Kirby Corporation does not.

Your donation will go toward helping us conduct cultural impact interviews, traditional food harvest interviews, and help us obtain video and photo documentation to find out what went wrong.

Your thoughts, prayers, and moral support are equally valued and appreciated.

The decision to open a new fundraising page is a response to your requests that we reopen a space for further donations.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Resistance and the New Feudalism

Book Review: Beyond Banksters - Resisting the New Feudalism

Rafe Mair - Common Sense Canadian

October 19, 2016

Something strange was happening in the world and until a social event in November, 2011, I was having trouble putting my finger on it. That was the night some friends held a roast for me to celebrate my 80th birthday. It was held at the Wise Hall in East Vancouver, a traditional left-wing gathering spot.

I was seen by many of the left as little short of fascist, yet, lately I’d come to the viewed by the right as what my father would have called “parlour pink”. It would be interesting to see who would come.

Well, they jammed the hall. Guests included captains of industry, right-wing the politicians, left-wing politicians, union leaders, First Nations leaders, and countless friends from the environmental movement. It was a lovely evening and at the end, when I had a chance to speak, I observed that there were a lot of folks in the old Wise Hall who not long ago would rather have been caught in a house of ill-fame.

Things had changed; the political sands were shifting. It was puzzling, for the new contest wasn’t left v. right anymore but “them” and “us”, with “them” being the elite and “us” being the rest. A look at “us” in a picket line shows very strange bedfellows, any of whom, not long ago, hurled insults and worse at each other.

The Brexit Syndrome


Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron stumping for 
the failed “Stay” campaign

As I watched this situation mature, it seem to come to a head with the Brexit issue, the UK possibly leaving the UK, voting in June of this year.

I saw it coming and said so. There were lots of issues, but the deep, underlying feeling was that when the UK voted by referendum to join Europe in 1975, the elite assured the “us” folks that it was a Common Market they were getting into, no more.

It turned out very differently and “us” weren’t consulted and were just expected to follow, in that marvellous phrase of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, “those set in authority over us”. The elite couldn’t understand what had happened. They should have known.

A quick glance around showed that unrest was everywhere yet no one was really writing about it.

That’s changed dramatically as well-known Canadian writer of the left, Joyce Nelson, has written a damned good history of events leading up to what I call the Brexit Syndrome. Her new book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, shows that it’s scarcely new in Canada and provides a dramatis personae of the epic Canadian drama unfolding.

A pivotal case

Have you wondered what it is that former Liberal cabinet minister Paul Hellyer, at 93, is doing still raising hell about the Bank of Canada and how it could clean up the National Debt virtually overnight if there were the political will, that hair-brained left loony scheme of bygone days?

Judging by recent converts to this view, it doesn’t seem quite so loony anymore!

And how about COMER and the immense lawsuit the Trudeau government won’t talk about?

Here’s how Joyce Nelson describes it:

One of the most important legal cases in Canadian history is slowly inching its way towards trial. Launched in 2011 by the Toronto-based Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER), the lawsuit would require the publicly-owned Bank of Canada to return to its pre-1974 mandate and practice of lending nearly interest-free money to federal, provincial and (potentially) municipal governments for infrastructure and healthcare spending.

This case, one of federal government coverup and worse, is now looking like a winner. Now that will have financial consequences that neither the Liberals nor Tories care to discuss – and don’t. Of course, out of sight, out of mind has always guided their actions.

This, combined with a tame, authority-loving media have kept us all in the dark – dare I guess you, like me, don’t know much about this story that Paul Hellyer, with the zest and energy of the saint by the same name, evangelizes across the land. That will change dramatically with this book.

Changing governments, not overthrowing them

I am arithmetically challenged and when writing on the most elementary fiscal matters, must have them explained in terms of a kindergarten “number work” class. I confidently tell you that I now understood this shocking tale without difficulty. In fact this is one of Joyce Nelson’s strengths – and she has a lot of them: she can explain complex matters without talking down to you and without sounding like a know-it-all.

An Occupy demonstration on Wall Street by
women of (Paul Stein/Flickr)

Nelson gives an excellent portrayal of where the opposition now is. The violent street demonstrations accompanied by pepper spray and the police batons won’t likely disappear but they’ve been largely replaced by peaceful protests such as occupy Wall Street and several others.

The great question, not yet answered, is how this will materialize in political terms.

Traditionally, the discontented have avoided the political system like the plague. They considered voting being the same as honouring the system, which was the last thing they wanted to do. Stephane Hessel remarked in an interview given in 2012 (a year before he died), “The global protest movement does not resemble the Communist movement, which declared that the world had to be overturned according to its viewpoint.” Instead, he said, “This is not an ideological revolution. It is driven by an authentic desire to get what you need. From this point of view, the present generation is not asking governments to disappear but change the way they deal with people’s needs.”

Clear terms

The change is happening. Joyce Nelson walks us through the process and makes it understandable to people who haven’t thought about it very much, if at all, until now.

This is a most unusual book for political junkies. It makes no attempt to settle scores or slant the historical perspective. I have the impression that Joyce Nelson has looked at the unfolding scene with a bewilderment that suits a keen, inquiring mind rather than that of a judge. Let the judging begin as the case becomes clearer.

But as this old baseball nut can confirm, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard and this one is a dandy.

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at
More articles by Rafe Mair

Doing the Potomac Lock-Step: Clinton's Danse Macabre

Washington’s New Lock-Step March of Folly

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

October 22, 2016

Confident in a Hillary Clinton victory, Washington’s foreign policy elite is readying plans for more warfare in Syria and more confrontations with nuclear-armed Russia, an across-the-spectrum “group think” that risks life on the planet

As polls show Hillary Clinton closing in on victory, Official Washington’s neoconservative (and liberal-hawk) foreign policy establishment is rubbing its hands in anticipation of more war and more strife, including a U.S. military escalation in Syria, a take-down of Iran, and a showdown with nuclear-armed Russia.

Former Secretary of State Clinton at Atlantic Council event, 2013. (Photo: Atlantic Council)

What is perhaps most alarming about this new “group think” is that there doesn’t appear to be any significant resistance to the expectation that President Hillary Clinton will unleash these neocon/liberal-hawk forces of intervention that President Barack Obama has somewhat restrained.

Assuming Donald Trump’s defeat – increasingly seen as a foregone conclusion – the Republican leadership would mostly be in sync with Clinton if she adopts a hawkish foreign policy similar to what was pursued by President George W. Bush. Meanwhile, most Democrats would be hesitant to challenge their party’s new president.

The only potential option to constrain the hawkish Clinton would be the emergence of a “peace” wing of the Democratic Party, possibly aligned with Republican anti-interventionists. But that possibility remains problematic especially since those two political elements have major policy disagreements on a wide variety of other topics.

There also isn’t an obvious individual for the peace factions to organize around. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who mildly criticized Clinton’s advocacy of “regime change” operations during the primary campaign, is 75 years old and isn’t particularly known for his stands on foreign policy issues.

If Trump loses, the bombastic real-estate mogul would likely be a spent political force, possibly retreating into the paranoid “alt-right” world of conspiracy theories. Even now, his dovish objection to confronting Russia has been undermined by his tendency to speak carelessly about other national security topics, such as torture, terrorism and nuclear weapons.

One potential leader of a peace movement would be Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, a 35-year-old military veteran who is one of the few members of Congress to offer an insightful and courageous critique of the dangers from an interventionist foreign policy. But Gabbard would be putting her promising political career at risk if she challenged a sitting Democratic president, especially early in Clinton’s White House term.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

Yet, without a modern-day Eugene McCarthy (the anti-Vietnam War Democrat who took on President Lyndon Johnson in 1968) to rally an anti-war movement from inside the Democratic Party, it is hard to imagine how significant political pressure could be put on a President Hillary Clinton. Virtually the entire mainstream U.S. media (and much of the progressive media) are onboard for a U.S. “regime change” operation in Syria and for getting tough with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Not Thought Through

These “group thinks” on Syria and Russia, like previous ones on Iraq and Libya, have not been thought through, but are driven instead by emotional appeals – photos of wounded children in Syria and animosity toward Putin for not wearing a shirt and not bowing to U.S. global supremacy. As with Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011, there is little consideration about what might follow a successful “regime change” scenario in Syria or Russia.

In Syria, a “no-fly zone” destroying Syria’s air force and air defenses could pave the way for a victory by Al Qaeda’s recently renamed Nusra Front and/or Al Qaeda’s spinoff, the Islamic State. How letting major terrorist groups control Damascus would be good for either the Syrian people or the United States gets barely mentioned.

The dreamy thinking is that somehow the hard-to-find “moderate” rebels – sometimes called the “unicorns” – would prevail, even though they have existed mostly as cut-outs and conduits so Al Qaeda and its allies can secure advanced U.S. weapons to use for killing Syrian soldiers.

Yet, even more dangerous is the already-launched destabilization campaign against nuclear-armed Russia, a policy that may feel-good because we’re taught to despise Vladimir Putin. But this latest neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” scheme — even if it somehow were “successful” — is not likely to install in the Kremlin one of the U.S.-favored “liberals” who would allow the resumption of the 1990s-era plundering of Russia’s wealth.

Far more likely, an angry Russian population would go for a much-harder-line nationalist than Putin, someone who might see nuclear weapons as the only way to protect Mother Russia from another raping by the West. It’s not the cold-blooded Putin who should scare Americans, but the hot-headed guy next in line.

But none of these downsides – not even the existential downside of nuclear annihilation – is allowed to be discussed among Official Washington’s foreign policy elites. It’s all about giving Bashar al-Assad the “Gaddafi treatment” in Syria, punishing Iran even if that might cause its leaders to renounce the nuclear-arms agreement, and muscling NATO forces up to Russia’s borders and making the Russian economy scream.

And, behind these policies are some of the most skilled propagandists in the world. They are playing much of the U.S. population – and surely the U.S. media – like a fiddle.

Lock-Step Consensus

The propaganda campaign is driven by a consensus among the major think tanks of Official Washington, where there is near universal support for Hillary Clinton, not because they all particularly like her, but because she has signaled a return to neocon/liberal-hawk strategies. 

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaking 
at an Atlantic Council event.

As Greg Jaffe wrote for the neocon-dominated Washington Post on Friday, “In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama’s departure from the White House — and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton — is being met with quiet relief.

“The Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the groundwork for a more assertive American foreign policy, via a flurry of reports shaped by officials who are likely to play senior roles in a potential Clinton White House.

“It is not unusual for Washington’s establishment to launch major studies in the final months of an administration to correct the perceived mistakes of a president or influence his successor. But the bipartisan nature of the recent recommendations, coming at a time when the country has never been more polarized, reflects a remarkable consensus among the foreign policy elite.

“This consensus is driven by a broad-based backlash against a president who has repeatedly stressed the dangers of overreach and the need for restraint, especially in the Middle East. … Taken together, the studies and reports call for more-aggressive American action to constrain Iran, rein in the chaos in the Middle East and check Russia in Europe.”

One of the lead organizations revving up these military adventures and also counting on a big boost in military spending under President Clinton-45 is the Atlantic Council, a think tank associated with NATO that has been pushing for a major confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

Jaffe quotes former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is leading the Atlantic Council’s bipartisan Mideast team as saying about Syria: “The immediate thing is to do something to alleviate the horrors that are being visited on the population. … We do think there needs to be more American action — not ground forces but some additional help in terms of the military aspect.” (This is same “humanitarian” Albright who – in responding to a United Nations report that U.S. economic sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s had killed a half million Iraqi children – coldly said, “we think the price is worth it.”)

One of Albright’s partners on the Atlantic Council’s report, Bush’s last National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, added that if Assad continues to bomb civilians, the United States should strongly consider “using standoff weapons, like cruise missiles, to neutralize his air force so that he cannot fly.”

The plans call for “safe zones” where Syrian rebels can base themselves behind U.S. military protection, allowing them to strike Syrian government forces but preventing the Syrian government from striking back. Little attention is paid to the fact that the so-called “moderate” rebels have refused to separate themselves from Al Qaeda’s forces who are in command of the rebel movement in east Aleppo and other urban areas.

As journalist/historian Gareth Porter has written: “Information from a wide range of sources, including some of those the United States has been explicitly supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces [of Idlib and Aleppo] is engaged in a military structure controlled by [Al Qaeda’s] Nusra militants. All of these rebel groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military activities with it. …

“At least since 2014 the Obama administration has armed a number of Syrian rebel groups even though it knew the groups were coordinating closely with the Nusra Front, which was simultaneously getting arms from Turkey and Qatar.”

Ignoring the Masses

It also doesn’t seem to matter to these elites that many American commoners are fed up with these costly and bloody “regime change” schemes. As Hadley told the Post’s Jaffe, “Everyone has kind of given up on the Middle East. We have been at it for 15 years, and a lot of Americans think it is hopeless. … We think it is not.”

Former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley 
speaking before the Atlantic Council.

But it is not just the Republican neocons and old Democratic hawks who are determined to whip the American people into line behind more war. As Jaffe wrote, “A similar sentiment animates the left-leaning Center for American Progress’s report, which calls for more military action to counter Iranian aggression, more dialogue with the United States’ Arab allies and more support for economic and human rights reform in the region.”

These “liberal hawks” are enthused that now almost the entire foreign policy elite of Official Washington is singing from the same sheet of martial music. There is none of the discord that surrounded Bush’s war in Iraq last decade.

As Brian Katulis, a senior Middle East analyst at the Center for American Progress, said, “The dynamic is totally different from what I saw a decade ago.” He added that the current focus from all sides is on rebuilding a more muscular and more “centrist internationalism.”

In other words, the Iraq War “group think” that enveloped Official Washington before that catastrophe wasn’t total enough. Now, there is almost a totalitarian feel about the way the foreign policy elites, coordinating with the major U.S. news media, are marching the American people toward possibly even worse disasters.

No serious dissent is allowed; no contrarian thoughts expressed; no thinking through where the schemes might end up – unless you want to be marginalized as an Assad “apologist” or a Putin “puppet.” And right now, there doesn’t seem to be any practical way to stop this new march of folly.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

Hack Friday: Who Attacked the Internet? Putin of Course!

SOPA False Flag? Alleged ‘Hack’ on Netflix, Twitter, Amazon – US ready to blame Russia

by Shawn Helton  - 21st Century Wire

October 22, 2016

Yesterday, a wave of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks hit some of the top online companies websites including Amazon, Netflix, Twitter and Reddit. One cannot rule out the very real possibility that this a staged-managed event, especially when you consider The New York Times was listed among those affected. If recent US media and political themes are anything to go by, you can expect a cascading chorus of blame directed at Russia.

‘HACK ATTACK?’ – Who was behind the
Black Friday internet outage in America? 
(Photo illustration 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton)

In this age of America’s new and improved trial by media format, you can expect a litany of unfounded accusations, along with the usual anti-Russia hyperbole and waving fingers at Washington’s new go-to scapegoat – Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The likelihood of Russia or any other country being involved in this heavily coordinated DDoS incident falls flat, when you consider that the US media has been floating the ‘blame Russia’ meme for months now, and even more conveniently during this 2016 US presidential election cycle, led by Vice President Joe Biden, and of course, the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, all blaming the Kremlin for both the DNC Leaks and the Wikileaks email dump.

Indeed, as you look back at NY Times articles since the summer, the stage was being set to implant the idea of an alleged Russian cyber war being waged at the US, principally charging that they would ‘meddle’ with the US presidential elections in 2016 by aiding Donald Trump. Here’s the NY Times building the case for Washington, seemingly without the burden of proof:

“An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election?

Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered.”

In August, western the case against Russia hit overdrive, when “The New York Times’s Moscow bureau was the target of an attempted cyberattack this month. But so far, there is no evidence that the hackers, believed to be Russian, were successful.”

Flash forward to September here and here, as well as early October in the lead up to President Obama’s decree, the Clinton friendly outlet the NY Times had all but solidified the Russian cyber/hack claims, without definitive proof.

If Russia is going to be the scapegoat for this recent DDoS attack, then consider the following…

Immediately when the cyber attack story broke, the establishment quickly wheeled out their ‘experts’, as CNN’s chief gatekeeper Wolf Blitzer cued-up scripted questions to Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) advocate, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R, TN), Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Not only is Blackburn is a staunch supporter of more draconian copyright laws (she once claimed that ‘Fair Use’ was the same as theft), she is also a fellow traveller on Washington’s Anti-Russia bandwagon.

In true propagandist fashion, Blitzer wasted no time asking her, “Do you think this be the work of a foreign government?” Blackburn immediately blamed the hack on the fact that the SOPA bill didn’t pass, claiming that SOPA “would have blocked some of the bad actors…,” and went on to blame “cyber bots” (activists) for defeating the bill. From the obvious way that Washington oracle CNN had this story already cued up, it strongly indicates that the Washington was stage-managing this latest ‘cyber crisis.’

WAITING IN THE WINGS: Tennessee’ Republican Representative, 
Marsha Blackburn.

As scapegoats go, blaming Russia is the gift that keeps on giving (and way past this Christmas). Last week, President Obama threw Hillary Clinton a campaign assist by formally accusing Russia of interfering with US elections process through Wikileaks. Suddenly, Washington had declared a Cyber War against Russia. The NY Times wrote:

“Since the Obama administration formally accused Russia about a week ago of trying to interfere in the election, there has been intense speculation about whether President Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to conduct a retaliatory cyberstrike.

Despite all the White House and corporate media hype, no evidence at all has been presented by Washington that proves the Kremlin are hacking and “interfering with the US election process.”

Vice President Joe Biden, also spoke on matters of security and sent a telegraphed “message to Putin” through NBC’s Meet the Press, just one day after Obama’s own ‘Russian’ declaration. Based on these latest developments, it’s easy to see how this could have been an effort prime another back story to blame Russia for these DDoS attacks.

The real question surrounding this apparent DDoS attack, should be directed at America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its bevy of contractors, many of whom are tasked with global and (illegal) domestic surveillance, through passive data collection and clandestine processing of communications. Surely they would know where this attack was originated (including in-house).

Could this latest incident possibly be to further create a ‘climate of fear’ during this, the most contentious presidential election in 40 years?

Could this also be a government-coordinated cyber drill?

Was this a government orchestrated false flag hack?

It’s no secret that the US government would like to pass a newer more potent version of 2011-2012’s SOPA bill otherwise known as SOPA. In fact, NextGov, reported the following in 2014:

“Nearly three years after a massive online protest derailed the Stop Online Piracy Act, many lawmakers are still nervous about even uttering the name “SOPA” in public.

The bill, which once had broad bipartisan support and was a top priority for the entertainment industry, has become a dirty word. The backlash was a traumatic lesson for members of Congress about the danger of siding against tech companies and Internet activists, who warned the bill could break the Internet.

Now, for the first time since SOPA crashed and burned in early 2012, the House Judiciary Committee is preparing to work on a major update of copyright law. As lawmakers cautiously return to the issue of copyright protection, the SOPA protest looms large in their minds.”

Tech outlet Wired described the incident in the following manner. It’s crucial to note that the internet performance management company Dyn was front and center – weighing in on the situation prior to any US intelligence agency making an official statement. Dyn states:

“This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon.”

Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system.

Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.”

Regardless of who was actually behind the widespread internet attack, judging by the rhetoric and the mainstream media talking points – this has to be about the government wanting to usher in new ‘ISP governance’ (making ISP’s bent to government wishes to ‘kick out the bad actors’ off their networks) and rights-violating security protocols. Is it also possible that social media giant Twitter and mega-consumer brands like Amazon have been used as willing guinea pigs, just like Yahoo was recently when their mailable CEO Marissa Mayer handed over the backdoor keys to Yahoo customer email account to the NSA and FBI.

Are the US government determined to gain complete access and have total control over the internet?

The idea isn’t that far-fetched…

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer: sold out to the NSA.

After Yahoo recently admitted to creating a virtual backdoor for US intelligence agencies to spy on everyday citizen’s email accounts, the government exposed its own Orwellian ambitions:

“Yahoo last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by US intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, two former employees and a third person apprised of the events said.”

This is a very important issue moving forward, as a dip in consumer confidence could be a crushing blow to any company’s overall brand after complying with new ‘1984’ security measures – all at the behest of the FBI, NSA, CIA and their trusted partners.

Back in March, individual privacy versus global security was at the heart of the case between Apple and the FBI. Here’s a telling passage from that report as it relates to this most recent internet attack:

“…The ongoing encryption saga between Apple and the FBI, we stated that there are no guarantees in the security world, especially if a digital master-key were to be created, as this would potentially make it easier for invaders (either the government, or various hackers) mining for data moving forward into the future.

In a recent Guardian article, some of those involved in the technology and security sector offered their thoughts regarding the government’s continued encroachment on individual privacy:

“Dan Kaminsky, the security expert who made his name with the discovery that one of the most basic parts of the internet, the domain name system, was vulnerable to fraud – disagrees: “Feds want final authority on engineering decisions, and their interests don’t even align with fighting the vast bulk of real-world crime.”

Kaminsky further explained why Apple’s security measures already help law enforcement, “If my iPhone is stolen, my emails stay unread, my photos stay unviewed, and I don’t need to notify anyone that the secrets they entrusted me with are going to show up on the internet tomorrow.”

Continuing, The Guardian interviewed former FBI agent Michael German, currently at judicial think-tank the Brennan Center. The following is a portion of that interview:

“After 9/11, you had this concept of total information awareness. The intelligence community was very enamoured of the idea that all information was available. Much like the NSA, they wanted to see it all, collect it all, and analyse it all.”
Additionally, there are many who believe weaker encryption may pose an even bigger security risk globally.

In many ways, it appears as though federal agencies are seemingly searching for the right crisis to push public opinion in favor of the state when it comes to security.

This is at the core of the perpetual privacy and security battle post 9/11…”

How could it be that such propaganda could happen in the America? Well, it’s worth another look at a Senate hearing discussing the CIA’s tremendous influence on the United States media under the moniker Operation Mockingbird…

READ MORE INTERNET NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Internet Files

Life, Loss and the Struggle Within

The Struggle Within

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

October 22, 2016

Dear colleagues; during travels, one gets little sleep and much time to catch-up on emails, read, grade student papers, and even to think and reflect.

Last week in Palestine was very hectic, harvest of olives, teachings, meeting with bureaucrats, research, mentoring students, receiving many international and local delegations plus many local ones including students from 4 schools) and much thus meaning a second night with little sleep.

We also lost a close friend of us and of Palestine: Vincenzo Tradardi of Parma. We will really miss him.

Other setbacks happen daily but we are gratified by the goodness of people around us. Volunteers, staff, students, and dedicated activists for peace and justice. Most are struggling to grow amid the madness.

I really do not like to travel and I already miss Palestine where I feel much more alive than anywhere else on earth. The poem below is written in reflection.

The Struggle Within

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Facing life’s challenges and insecurity
The heart yearns for serenity

How can we ignore the oppressor’s meanness
And simply understand his weakness

With so much deception
What is to change perception?

We struggle to see the positives
Even as we are flooded with negatives

A child hungers amid flies and vultures
While billionaires invest in ventures

Zionists steal our lands
And profit from our raised hands

Tossing and turning in their dreary night
Their biggest fear is truth coming to light

The corrupt rule in Ramallah
The weak put faith in Allah

Within you feed the good wolf more
If you do not want the bad one to score

Does the struggle within have winners
Or is it only in the case of the sinners?

The righteous are also struggling
Their caring hardly a blessing

In darkness, creating, and sheltering light
Is not a life of ease or of delight

burden hard to carry in sickness or in health
the (good) struggle goes on till the last breath

“joyful participation in the sorrows of world”
Buddhists had it right – participation a key word

From good will and good deeds
We are counseled that joy springs seeds

We are advised to take time
To appreciate the sublime

For us Palestinians, it is harder to reason
After decades of colonization and treason

though words easy to say, we still struggle to understand
and even harder to plan: How we continue to withstand?

How we have resilience
How we create persistence

Perhaps what sustains us is goodness all around
And the beauty of this hallowed ground

Perhaps we see divine in all of us
not just Palestinian baby Jesus

we see it in birds singing early mornings
even bats hunting insects evenings

we see it in poor honest unemployed
in families and children when joyed

we see it in smiles and stretched hands
in the rhythm of seasons in ancient lands

we see it in memories of Karameh victory
and all those who are symbols of bravery

we see it in forgotten graves of massacred
and in the hunger strikes of the incarcerated

we see it in a smile of dabka girls who carry genes
of their ancestral Canaanitic queens

we hear it in the rhythm of tabla and oud *
the call of the athan**, church bells, and even silent sumoud

we smell it aroma of tabboun za’atar ***
taste it apricots, guava, figs, and loz akhdar****

we taste it in zibda baladiya***** with mountain honey
and in herbal medicines curing the worst agony

Countless generations passed in the arms of mother Palestine
babies from Issa to the Ahmed of Madonnas divine

Our clock will end soon and we are no more
As we join all those departed who struggled before

We bequeath to our children beauty and burden
Thoughts pass as the plants leave their seeds in the garden

the secret to life is love and suffer grandfather told us
yet, the dust of billions of forgotten ancestors remind us

as we breathe it and eat it that we mortals must have humility
and that humility added to struggle and love equals serenity

the old country song says: in the end matters only kindness
this old country man says: humility and love can conquer our madness

“Stay human” Vittorio Arrigoni said
In Palestine “Keep the hope alive” was echoed

*tabla and oud: eastern musical instruments corresponding to drum and guitar
**athan: muslim call to prayer
***tabboun za’atar: bread of traditional kiln with thyme
****loz akhdar: green almonds
*****Zibda baladiya: A country butter made from goat milk

HumanRights newsletter

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hack October: Pulling Down the Web

Someone is Literally Trying to Take Down the Internet Right Now

by Carey Wedler  - ANTIMEDIA

October 21, 2016

On Friday morning, a large-scale hack of an internet domain hosting provider took prominent websites including Netflix, Amazon, Reddit, Twitter, and Vox offline. Though many of the websites have since been restored, others remain compromised at the time of this article’s publication, the likely result of a second attack waged later in the morning.

As Mashable reported, Dyn, a New Hampshire-based company that hosts domain name systems, announced Friday morning it had been hacked. “Dyn said at 9:20 a.m. ET that it resolved an attack that began at 7 a.m. ET Friday. But at 11:52 a.m. ET, the company said an attack had resumed.”

The outlet explained just how central Domain Name Servers are to the basic functioning of the internet:

“Domain name systems (DNS) are essentially the GPS of the internet, taking the text URLs you type into a browser and figuring out where those websites’ data is located on the back end. So when you type in a browser, it shows you both the real Mashable and can quickly and easily locate the nearest server that hosts the site’s data.”

In other words, as Gizmodo explained:

“Basically, they act as the Internet’s phone book and facilitate your request to go to a certain webpage and make sure you are taken to the right place.”

Wired noted that in both the 7 am and noon attacks, “traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers on the East Coast of the United States was stopped by a flood of malicious requests disrupting the system.”

Gizmodo reported emails from their readers seemed to suggest the second attack affected the West Coast and Europe.

Some outages occurred in Asia but the United States took the brunt of the attack, which has been identified as a DDoS attack — a “distributed denial of service.” As detailed by Wired:

“A DDoS attack overwhelms a DNS server with lookup requests, rendering it incapable of completing any. That’s what makes attacking DNS so effective; rather than targeting individual sites, an attacker can take out the entire Internet for any end user whose DNS requests route through a given server.”

When a server is overwhelmed with malicious requests, as well as by unsuspecting users repeatedly hitting “refresh” on their browser and automatic re-requests, the system becomes even further stressed.

During the first outage, Dyn’s executive vice president, Scott Hilton, attempted to relieve concerns about the takedown. “We have been aggressively mitigating the DDoS attack against our infrastructure,” he said.

For now, it remains unknown where the attack originated. Companies whose websites were hit by the initial attack included Business Insider, CNN, Etsy, the Guardian, I Heart Radio, GrubHub, HBO Now, People, PayPal, Fox News, Urban Dictionary, the Wall Street Journal, Kayak, People,, the New York Times, and many others.

Many of these sites have been restored, but sites like the Guardian, Twitter, Soundcloud, and People, for example, remain down at the time of this article’s publication.

The implications of the attack are myriad. First, of course, is the issue of cyber security and the ability of hackers to break into Dyn’s DNS.

As Steven Morgan, founder of Cybersecurity Ventures, a research firm, explained to Mashable (which, along with Wired, was also taken offline in the attack early Friday morning):

“Hackers have no rules. One of the problems we have is that they move much faster than cyber-defenders. A DDoS attack can be launched in literally seconds, or under an hour if it’s coordinated by a larger group.”

The broader implication, however, may be the growing climate of fear-mongering surrounding hackers and cyber security. Hillary Clinton and the DNC have used Cold War rhetoric to imply Russian hackers are responsible for the ongoing, embarrassing leaks that have emerged this election cycle. These claims are arguably attempts to deflect focus from the actual misdeeds uncovered in the leak.

Further, this week vice president Joe Biden implied the U.S. government might soon wage a cyber attack against Russia, apparently aligning behind claims Russian hackers are attempting to influence the upcoming presidential election.

In truth, the political establishment has long been ramping up rhetoric against hackers, in general. Considering many hackers perform vital functions in the digital age — most notably, exposing government crimes — it is unsurprising the establishment is claiming more control is necessary to protect companies, government infrastructure, and the integrity of the American electoral process.

It’s likely this attack will be used as further evidence such an objective is valid, if not vital.

This article (Someone is Literally Trying to Take Down the Internet Right Now) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to