Oh what an unnecessary war!

Our Western governments continue to fuel the war in Syria that brings refugees to our shores. There would be no “revolution” in Syria were we not backing it, and unless we withdraw support for anti-Assad forces the whole of Syria will become part of the Islamic State. This week, another elite unit trained and armed by the US defects to the Islamic fighters immediately after being sent out to battle with a full complement of military transport and munitions.

From The New American:
After two months of U.S. military training in Turkey from the Obama administration’s Pentagon, the first group of 70 “moderate” Syrian rebels crossed into Syria this week — and promptly handed all of their U.S. weapons and equipment to al-Qaeda’s local affiliate known as Jabhat al-Nusra. Citing a “raft of sources,” the U.K. Telegraph reported that Obama’s latest batch of “moderate” rebels, dubbed “Division 30,” immediately “betrayed” their U.S. government backers upon re-entering Syria. While the embarrassing situation is being framed in most of the press as an “accident” or blunder of some sort, it is hardly the first time, and recent calls by senior U.S. globalists to form an alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria might offer a more plausible explanation. Either way, critics say it has become beyond clear that Obama’s supposed strategy in Syria is in reality a recipe for even more death and destruction. Click here to read full report

http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/asia/item/21639-another-rebel-division-trained-by-obama-joins-al-qaeda

Strangled for selling single cigarettes, allegedly

Eric Garner was killed by NY police who suspected him of selling “loosies” on the street – cigarettes sold singly, not in packs. The policeman who choked him to death was acquitted of any wrongdoing, triggering mass protests across America.

In “The State Is Out Of Date – We Can Do It Better” I recall a cigarette-related event witnessed in Morocco many years ago that opened my eyes to the obstacles to free enterprise imposed by the state.

From Chapter 20, The State of Business:    An early insight into this restrictive climate came to me some years ago at a cafe in Marrakesh, where I noticed a young man standing on the corner each evening with a pack of twenty cigarettes, selling them singly to passersby. The customers were able to better manage their habit by buying the cigarettes singly. The young man was able to set up his own business as a retailer for the cost of a pack of cigarettes—an almost inconceivable concept in our developed “free” democracy. The bridge is great between the skills we need to manage our own enterprise, and those needed to do so according to the requirements of the state. Many are unable to cross this bridge, despite having all the skills that nature demands to interact in this way with society. 

Police accused Eric Garner of practicing the “free” part of “free enterprise” and killed him while enforcing regulations imposed to keep us safe. He had proclaimed his innocence of that victimless crime. Michael Brown was confronted in Ferguson Missouri for jaywalking and shot dead – for ignoring street-crossing rules. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against regulation or the policing of it – it is an essential part of community. What we need is connected regulation generated from the bottom up and voluntarily adhered to by those who want to enjoy the social facilities, connections, and benefits that accompany respect for that regulation. Such self-government would evolve along with society without creating volumes of victimless crimes and monsters like the War on Drugs or the Common Agricultural Policy.

Earlier in the book we look at coercion, the basic tool of every sovereign power, and see that refusal to pay a parking ticket could ultimately lead to one’s death.  As it happens, suspicion of unlawful cigarette selling was enough for Eric Garner.

From Chapter 8 of The State Is Out Of Date, titled Legitimizing Coercion:   “How does the state use coercion on us? Using a simple example like a parking fine, let us say that you absolutely refuse to pay this ticket or spend time in the court process trying to prove, say, that the police had blocked you from returning to your car in time due to a security scare. Anyway, no way are you going to pay a hundred dollars, pounds, or whatever to this uncaring and unresponsive state-sanctioned collection agency. Neither will you run and hide, accept losing your freedom and going to jail, nor will you let anyone impound your car or in any way take your money from you. So what does the state do? They will get your money, and they will coerce you into paying it; assuming that you are a relatively sane person, you will abandon your righteous determination and pay them.

Why? Because coercion ultimately means that if you are not willing to pay the fine or go to jail or run away, you can be killed. Shocking, isn’t it? Of course the state has bailiffs and ways of seizing your hundred whatevers before it comes to this. But if you really did not want them to collect their fine and either had no assets or had made them inaccessible, then the state would come to put you in prison for non-payment. If you did not go into hiding or sought to successfully resist this, actively defending yourself from being seized or stunned or gassed, then they would by some means eventually overcome and incarcerate you, or you would avoid going to prison on account of being dead. They will never say, “Well played, mate, we acknowledge your determination as righteous and will no longer press you to pay the fine imposed by our courts.”

Coercion may have been the only means to deal with threats such as Napoleon and Hitler who were, in essence, fighting other rulers for dominion over territory and the people within it. Horrifying to think, but had they won we might be looking back at them as great  historic figures; a likely outcome when victors write the history. William the Conqueror got away with it, they did not. No visceral hatred of the English ever sent hoards of French or German people streaming onto cross-channel ferries armed with muskets and pickaxes. You need armies and governments to do that, or to protect us from governments and armies that do that. The more we spend on defense and security the more war and insecurity we will experience.

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Shot by police for threatening suicide

In the chapter of my book entitled Victimless Crimes I write of an imaginary situation where the police might shoot somebody for threatening suicide. Seeing it as an amusing concept, I never imagined it actually happening.

It happened in Utah when Jose Calzada, 35, called a suicide prevention hotline last Tuesday at 4am and threatened to kill himself. Seven hours later he was shot and killed by police, according to law enforcement. They shot him four or five times, just to be sure.

Quick-thinking detective Matt Gwynn explains: “Often police go into these situations with an ingrained mentality of looking at citizens as threats to the safety of the officers and thus feel empowered and justified to use lethal force as the suicidal person has already threatened to kill someone, themselves.”

It is not the first time police have shot those who admitted to thoughts of suicide. Earlier accounts in the original story here, at The Free Thought Project 

From The State Is Out Of Date, chapter 17

The state has various ways to protect us from doing things that it thinks are not good for us. It can take our money away in fines, confiscate our property, put us in jail, get us fired or liquidate our business. Hell . . . there are even situations where it can kill you to protect you from yourself. Even the right to take your own life is an offense in most parts of the world. I have this mad image in my mind of a crouching policeman shouting “Don’t jump or I’ll shoot!” to a would-be suicidée about to leap from the window ledge of a high-rise.

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Beheadings – they’re just so yesterday

Whilst beheadings are undoubtedly savage and brutal the fundamental problem is that they are terribly old-fashioned. Today, civilized nations blow people up, obliterate them with drones, riddle them with bullets, and execute them with chemicals cocktails. Many of those killed with hi-tech weapons die slowly in excruciating pain, their bodies ripped to pieces. But this is somehow okay since it is the modern way and done from a distance – however savage, brutal and indiscriminate the results. Most of the weaponry involved comes from the guardians of peace and democracy in America and Britain, with average cost-per-kill running into tens of thousands of dollars per “insurgent,” millions by some estimates.

The drums of full-spectrum war are beating once again, stimulated by outrage and hysteria over this single video. Bearing in mind the fallacy of WMD it would behove us to see this war-worthy video but no, we are banned from doing so, with the mere viewing of it in the UK declared a potential terrorist act. Let me tell you right now that no execution takes place in the video, which is 4 minutes 32 seconds of propaganda. The other eight seconds of the video show a small knife being pressed against James Foley’s throat without drawing blood or cries of pain, then shifts to a prone headless corpse (or mannequin) with a severed head sitting on its chest looking almost as realistic as those in movies and TV series. James Foley may well have been killed, but it certainly did not happen on camera. Many who have viewed the video comment on the absence of copious blood, the green screen look, the omission of a neck on decapitated “body” or head, and even differences between the face of  this James Foley and the one we see in previous television interviews.

If journalist Foley is reading from an Islamic State script, then he does so without notes and appears to have spent considerable time rehearsing IS’s message to the world. He doesn’t falter or show any sign of fear and included messages to his family and his brother, a serving air force pilot. It is a crude but effective piece of propaganda and with the “execution” edited out is far less gruesome than the killing of innocents we see in other Islamic State actions, the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the Syrian civil war, and even the cold-blooded shootings by US police in Ferguson and elsewhere. It may sway the minds of young Muslim men looking for purpose and excitement, with its twisted message being no more distorted than some of the blatant mendacity fed to us by our media – mendacity that led to phony wars killing over a hundred thousand innocents. Though difficult for a Westerner to find online (check LiveLeak), it must be easy for those searching in the Arab-language web.

The banned video is, of course, the propaganda of an evil and despicable group who have beheaded thousands of men and children, putting their heads on sticks, and abducting their wives and mothers. I despair at the appearance of this gruesome new player on the world stage; a player armed with the latest US hardware and rich with billions of US dollars seized in Iraq. For those who make the arms, of course, this is all good for business, as they effectively supply both sides in the conflicts of the Middle East. They will be rubbing their hands all the way to their bankster backers.

Responding to the beheading, Obama tells us emphatically that “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” Correction Mr President, your faith does. Let us briefly dip into the Bible, believed by fundamentalists of Judaism and Christianity to contain the indisputable word of God. Muslims credit this too, except for those bits that differ from the Quran. Perhaps this selection from Deuteronomy will help us better understand both the mentality of the Islamic State and that of fundamentalist Christians in the US who see themselves as players in  catastrophic events visited upon the Holy Land and predicted by the Bible.

Deuteronomy 13:12-16 New International Version (NIV)
If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt.

If we seriously want to neutralize the threat posed by Islamic State then let us join with the well-organized forces of President Assad of Syria, a secular leader. It was Western efforts to bring down his government through aiding its Islamist enemies that gave new wings to Islamic State, originally born out of the turmoil in Iraq. Their brutal slaughter of innocents appalls me, whatever means they employ, as does the slaughter of innocents in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, and wherever factions fight for ownership of the right to take money from a nation’s people and tell them how to think and what to do. It’s the same old stuff that has been playing out on the world’s stage since Sargon of Akkad started the ball rolling around 2250 BCE.

Is there anything we really cannot manage without a top-down coercive state running it, other than protecting us from other varieties of themselves? Many are rightly concerned about corporations running the state, though one could argue that it might be preferable to being ruled by fundamentalist Muslims of the Islamic State, or a military junta, or the sort of Christians who burn heretics. But as long as we accept the state as some kind of a “necessary evil” then somebody will always be calling the shots and we will always be arguing over whether we prefer cat shit to dog shit to chicken shit.

There is another way and we already self-govern the majority of our social structures. Civilization preceded, by a few thousand years, the top-down state that Sargon initiated, and has often survived its collapse. Humans are good at self-governing when they are well-connected, doing it with feedback loops instead of threats and sticks.

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Dark side of the World Cup

Brazil continues to abuse the indigenous population, who took part in the anti-FIFA riots along with ordinary citizens. FIFA and other corporations rely upon the coercive state to do their dirty work.

“Brazil is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup with impeccable style and a great win for its national side on the very first day! But scratch the surface and you’ll find a darker side, because what’s missing from the popular image of Brazil is the shocking treatment of its first peoples. Its football stadiums are built on Indian land, and its new-found wealth comes from the dispossession of the Indians and the theft of their lands. Now Brazil is planning a new assault on its first peoples: targeting the lands they have managed to keep.”

General Gentil Noguera Paes said, ‘The road must be finished, even if we have to open fire on these murderous Indians to do so. They have already greatly defied us and they are getting in the way of construction.’
Click here to continue this story.   More here from Survival International
akuntsu

An excerpt from chapter 21 – Global Corporation Inc.

“Many examples of corporate abuse persist today, where a corporation has enlisted the state to do the dirty work it could not do itself. Whether it is tribal farmers in Guatemala murdered to pursue World Bank-supported dam projects, or indigenous communities evicted when mineral rights to their ancient lands are sold to Western companies, it is the state with its soldiers and police who are there to do the dirty work, paid for by the purchase of “rights” from the state. Companies cannot easily get away with naked coercion in today’s world. Hell, even the police are having a difficult time getting away with indiscriminate beating and killings, now likely to be broadcast worldwide within minutes.”

Seven current examples of the out-of-date state in action.

UK  – FRACKING away!

The UK government pushes forward with its plans to frack the hell out of our green and pleasant land, pumping toxic chemicals through miles of horizontal shafts beneath the ground. They are bribing local councils to give permission for criminal damage to planet Earth, while deploying their police to deal with pesky protesters trying to save the planet. Get detailed information here on the toxic components of Haliburton’s fracking fluids.

TURKEY – rampant corruption

The Turkish government has just sacked 350 police officers, including those chief officers in charge of monitoring financial crime, smuggling, and organized crime. This follows  a corruption investigation that had named and shamed several of Prime Minister Erdogan’s minsters and close associates.  Thousands have taken to the streets in protest. Fighting  and scuffles even broke out in the Turkish parliament.

UKRAINE – savage brutality

There have been huge anti-government protests in Ukraine over the past few weeks after the government rejected a closer alliance with the EU in favour of closer ties to Russia (dogshit versus catshit, I would say). But the organizer of those protests was savagely beaten by a gang of thugs last week as he left a police station. Another pro EU campaigner was stabbed outside his apartment and a journalist supporting the protest was beaten unconscious.

SPAIN – a right royal fraud

The daughter of the Spanish king has been named as a suspect in a fraud and money-laundering case involving millions of Euros, allegedly taken from a publically funded charitable fund run by her husband.

UK – wasting money on pharmaceuticals

The British state has purchased some £500 million worth of Tamilflu vaccinations without having any evidence of its effectiveness. Those lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry are certainly earning their inflated salaries!  In the USA there are three of these lobbyists for every congressman and senator.

THAILAND – shut down the government

Protesters are out on the streets of Bangkok once again in an attempt to shut down the government being run by the sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatr who fled the country to evade corruption charges after being ousted by the military.

BRAZIL  – stamping out protest

After wide-ranging protests last year against corruption and government waste in Brazil, a new 10,000 strong force of specially trained elite police officers has been created to make sure that no protests interrupt the smooth running of next year’s World Cup matches being played in Brazil. Is this how democratic states respond to citizens expressing their dissatisfaction?

– – – – – – –

 Ever wonder why we get so frustrated with the political process? This book will help you see why, while embracing real-world alternatives.

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US cops kill more innocents than the war in Iraq and terrorists combined

The increase in police brutality in this country is a frightening reality. In the last decade alone the number of people killed by US police has reached 5,000. The number of soldiers killed since the inception of the Iraq war, 4489.

What went wrong? In the 19070’s SWAT teams were estimated to be used just a few hundred times per year, now we are looking at over 40,000 military style “knock and announce” police raids a year. The police presence in this country is being turned into a military with a clearly defined enemy, anyone who questions the establishment.

read full story here

Occasionally one of these incidents gets caught on camera and we see the shocking outcome of increasing militarization of the police. An extract from Our Problems, Our Solutions, Chapter 11

“In recent years, we have seen burglary and some crimes of violence reducing in parts of the world. This has been offset by a massive increase of identity theft and cybercrime, unknown concepts in the past, which are often undetected and, like banking fraud, rarely included in the crime figures. Rates of death-by-police and suicide and are not included in crime figures, even though suicide is against the law in most parts of the world.”

Extract from  Who Owns You? – chapter 16

“Yet history continually shows us the degree to which the state regards as its own property the lives of those living within the borderline defining its territory. It would seem apparent that one of the unspoken rules of our world community of nations is that any individual state can do whatever it likes to its own citizens without interference from any other state.”
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Faking Crime Figures apparently not a crime

Yes, the police manage and massage the crime figures to meet targets and objectives and get away with it, as Simon Jenkins reported in the Guardian. I’ve written about the inherent problem of a system in which those who deal with crime profit from more of it, though they may lie to imply their budgets are being well spent in reducing it. The first chapter extract below, reveals an omission from the Recorded Crime figures that dwarfs its manipulation by the police. The second extract is on how to slash crime figures overnight – for real.

Clips from the Guardian article by Simon Jenkins

The cause of the mayhem was a couple of police officers telling an otherwise somnolent public administration committee that only fools believed crime figures. Everyone knew they were fixed to meet ministerial targets. In the argot of the beat, the figures were “cuffed, skewed, nodded and stitched”…The Association of Chief Police Officers agreed that crime figures “simply cannot be relied upon”, but did so as if discussing a random weather forecast… Women reporting rape to the local police were simply being told to go home and have a bath…. Drug busts could be relied on to improve “clear-up” rates because everyone was guilty.” Full story here.

From:  Our Problems, Our Solutions, Chapter 11  (notes accompanying a table of Recorded Crime figures in the UK)

“These gradual increases in notifiable crime (1999-2007) took place against a backdrop of proliferating CCTV cameras and improved technology and surveillance techniques, plus a steady increase in both the cost and number of police. Cybercrime is not a notifiable offense, even though it is the field of choice for a new generation of online criminals. Why break windows and wield weapons when you can sit at a keyboard? So if somebody steals your life’s savings by pretending to be an online bank, it’s not worth recording. But if the same person shows you a knife and empties your pockets, then the crime goes on record. No wonder cybercrime is booming.

Crime figures, clogged courts, and jail numbers could all be slashed overnight, but why would police, judges, or jailers want that to happen? An extract from “Victimess Crimes” – chapter 17

Nobody keeps track of how many billions are wasted worldwide every year trying to prevent members of the public from committing crimes without a victim, catching them when they do, processing them through courts, and securing them in overcrowded prisons thereafter. They have committed “crimes” that could harm no one but themselves, and often not even that. In some cases the prohibition is justified by a risk that is lower than many permitted activities, from skiing and horseback riding to drinking in bars or eating at fast food outlets. Millions of lives are actually damaged simply because people are indulging in activities the state has deemed possibly dangerous or decidedly deviant, whether that’s protesting in public without a permit; buying and selling unlicensed herbal medicines or unapproved mood-altering drugs; partaking in dangerous sports; enjoying illicit forms of sex; attending unlicensed parties; dancing or singing without a permit; exposing your body in public; changing religion in fundamentalist countries; exceeding the speed limit at 3 AM; and much more besides.

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Who controls the press?

I am bemused by the ongoing story about how “we” (the state) should be curtailing press freedoms in response to recent phone hacking scandals by scurrilous journalists. Let me get this right: the people who are known to be illegally scooping up countless millions of our phone calls, emails, and social media exchanges are now responsible for making sure the press doesn’t do it. NSA-300x192 It was the press, notably the Guardian and Washington Post, who blew loudly on Edward Snowden’s whistle, alerting us to widespread global hacking done by the US National Security Agency with the complicity of overseas security agencies like MI5.  It was the press who themselves shut down the offending News of the World, and who are facing charges for behaviour that is illegal under existing rules. Are any NSA officials being charged for their hacking, which was quite literally millions of times more invasive than that done by the press? I suspect not.
The press gets some positive and negative criticism in the chapter touching upon it.from So What’s News, chapter 19

“Despite its tendency to fill our heads with all the world’s anguish and grief, a free media can perform an invaluable service for society and does a better job of monitoring and exposing the abuses and iniquities of our world than does the “protective” state. How often have we witnessed the government being the last to acknowledge its own corruption and abuse, and then only after revelation in the media? The media is often the first to inform us of scandals involving large or small corporations and dangers facing us through exposure to environmental chemicals or diseases in the food chain.”
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter’. Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father, 1743–1826

The US media hawks linked to arms industry

In The Washington Post

“Military analysts who made frequent media appearances during the recent debate over a possible U.S. strike on Syria have ties to defense contractors and other firms with stakes in the outcome, according to a new study, but those links were rarely disclosed.The report by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit watchdog, details appearances by 22 commentators who spoke out during this summer’s Syria debate in large media outlets and currently have industry connections that the group says can pose conflicts of interest.”  full story

The Arms Industry Toilet, chapter 22

“The fundamental difference between the arms industry and the majority of other commercial enterprises is that the value of military product is negative. This is an important concept. Large sums of society’s money are spent manufacturing weapon products that we hope never to use. Assuming the weapons are not put to use, then considerable further sums are wasted looking after them, updating them, destroying old stocks, and maintaining a force of people ready and willing to use them if ever ordered to do so. And even though one country might seem to profit from selling these items to another, our global society as a whole is dragged down by the weight of their uselessness and literally torn apart if they are put to use. For if and when these products are used, an even greater cost becomes apparent. When weapon products are deployed they tend to dramatically decrease the value of other products that we already possess, including our lives.”

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