“The great American dream that reached out to the stars has been lost to the stripes. We have forgotten where we came from, we don’t know where we are, and we fear where we may be going. Afraid, we turn from the glorious adventure of the pursuit of happiness to a pursuit of an illusionary security in an ordered, stratified, striped society. Our way of life is symbolized to the world by the stripes of military force. At home we have made a mockery of being our brother’s keeper by being his jail keeper. When Americans can no longer see the stars, the times are tragic. We must believe that it is the darkness before the dawn of a beautiful new world; we will see it when we believe it.”
No one could ask for better grandparents than mine: “Gal & Big Daddy” and “Granny & Grandaddy”. As long as they lived, they were the ties of love that bound two families together. And once they were gone, both families fractured and segmented – never again to gather ’round the same Christmas tree, or share another family reunion feast.
The greatest gifts my grandparents gave me were not material, but the material gifts they gave me were precious. One of those was “Gal’s Pillows”, which you can see hanging on my clothesline in the accompanying photo. She made those pillows from scraps and sewed every stitch by hand. She gave them to me when I was in my twenties, which means they’re at least 30 years old now. The stuffing’s lumpy and the covering’s worn thin, but they’re still with me: I sleep with one stuffed in each of my pillow cases every night, and hang them on the clothesline to let my slumber’s drool dry out every day.
I’m a grandparent myself now, and my hope is that someday, somehow I’ll manage to give my own grandchildren a gift as lasting as my grandparents’ love – and Gal’s Pillows.
The McClatchy news service scoop that Labib al-Nahhas, the Syrian foreign affairs director of al-Qaeda’s ally Ahrar ash-Sham, visited Washington, DC in December 2015 should have created a huge political stir in a presidential election year.
However, the fact that the Obama administration has been consorting with terrorist allies of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and other countries has received little to no coverage in the American media. More astoundingly, Ahrar ash-Sham, which, along with the al-Nusra Front massacred 19 Alawite Muslims in the Syrian village of Zara in May, is not designated a terrorist group by the US State Department.
The simple fact is that from CIA director John Brennan to national security adviser Susan Rice and US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Senator John McCain, the Obama administration and the Republicans who control Congress have consorted with Islamist terrorists. These groups have included those who have executed Americans and who help finance and plan terrorist attacks against civilians around the world. The visit of al-Nahhas to Washington follows a long tradition of the US government consorting with Sunni Mujahideen (called the “muj” by their CIA overseers), jihadists, and Salafists starting with the support for Muslim insurgents in Afghanistan and continuing with the provision of military training and weapons to Sunni Arab guerrillas in Iraq.
U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, who paid a May visit to northern Syria, is not the first US official who entered Syria for a “get acquainted with” session with US-armed jihadist rebels, which was disguised as a “fact-finding mission”. In May 2013, Senator McCain entered northern Syria and met with a man who strongly resembles Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The more McCain’s staff and his neo-conservative apologists tried to claim the man was not al-Baghdadi but an unidentified commander of the Northern Storm Brigade, a group linked to the practically non-existent Free Syrian Army, the more McCain’s and the neocons’ lies became apparent. Reports from Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran, and Hezbollah’s media outlets in Beirut all confirmed that the CIA, along with the Israel Defense Force, were actively providing weapons, training, and logistics support to ISIL and allies units in Syria and western Iraq.
“Democracy and free market capitalism were founded on conspiracy theories. The Magna Carta, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and other founding Western documents were based on conspiracy theories. Greek democracy and free market capitalism were also based on conspiracy theories… But those were the bad old days… That all changed in the 1960s. Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” and recommended methods for discrediting such theories. The dispatch was marked ‘psych’ – short for ‘psychological operations’ or disinformation – and ‘CS’ for the CIA’s ‘Clandestine Services’ unit.”
“In his 2013 book, Conspiracy Theory in America, author Lance deHaven-Smith traced the term ‘conspiracy theory’ back to a CIA propaganda campaign that was designed to discredit doubters of the Warren Commission’s fake search into who assassinated President Kennedy in Dallas. In this light, the use of this pejorative term is obviously a tactic to shame and humiliate those who saw through the ulterior motives of the commission, and thus effectively censor out or even banish anyone who questions official government accounts… There have been many America military/government/corporate conspiratorial dirty tricks that were initially denied by the propagandizing powers-that-be but which were later admitted to – after diligent and courageous whistle-blowing investigative journalists proved the conspiracies. In every case the powers-that-be had been, in effect, calling the truth-seekers ‘conspiracy theorists’ [conspiracists].”
“If I call you a conspiracy theorist, it matters little whether you have actually claimed that a conspiracy exists or whether you have simply raised an issue that I would rather avoid… By labeling you, I strategically exclude you from the sphere where public speech, debate, and conflict occur… Much the same as being labeled ‘Anti-Semitic’ not only excludes you but can ruin your career… But now, thanks to the internet, people who doubt official stories are no longer excluded from public conversation; the CIA’s 44-year-old campaign to stifle debate using the ‘conspiracy theory’ smear is nearly worn-out. In academic studies, as in comments on news articles, pro-conspiracy voices are now more numerous – and more rational – than anti-conspiracy ones. No wonder the anti-conspiracy people [conventionalists] are sounding more and more like a bunch of hostile, paranoid cranks.”
En 13 de noviembre del 2013, WikiLeaks publicó el texto del borrador secreto negociado para el Capítulo de Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual completo del TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership, Asociación Trans-Pacífico, en español). El TPP es el tratado económico más grande de todos los tiempos, abarcando naciones que representan más del 40 por ciento del PIB del mundo. La publicación de WikiLeaks del texto se ha realizado antes de la cumbre decisiva de Negociadores en Jefe del TPP en Salt Lake City, Utah, del 19 al 24 de noviembre del 2013. El capítulo publicado por WikiLeaks es posiblemente el de mayor controversia del TPP debido a sus efectos de largo alcance sobre medicinas, editores, servicios de internet, libertades civiles y patentes biológicas. Significativamente, el texto publicado incluye las posiciones de negociación y desacuerdos entre los 12 estados miembros prospectivos.
El TPP es predecesor del igualmente secreto pacto entre EE.UU. y la U.E., el TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Alianza Transatlántica de Comercio e Inversión, en español), para el cual el Presidente Obama inició las negociaciones entre EE.UU. y la U.E. en enero del 2013. Juntos, el TPP y el TTIP abarcarán más del 60 por ciento del PIB global. Ambos pactos excluyen a China.
Ahora es turno de los congresistas de México, Chile y Perú, quienes tienen la tarea de estudiar con detenimiento y muy a conciencia si esta es la mejor ruta hacia estados más desarrollados, más democráticos y donde los ciudadanos cuenten con mayores derechos. Si la respuesta es negativa, es importante que ejerzan las facultades que la ley les confiere y se opongan a un acuerdo económico que hipoteca el futuro de nuestras naciones y compromete los derechos fundamentales de sus habitantes.
On 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.
The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP.
Contained within the 6,000-plus pages of the completed TPP text are a series of provisions that empower multinational corporations and private interest groups at the expense of the public interest. Civil society groups represent diverse concerns, so while we may disagree on our specific concerns about the TPP, we commonly recognize that this is a toxic, undemocratic deal that must be stopped at all costs… Stay tuned as we develop more materials and resources to spread the word about the TPP’s impacts…