Paving the road to peace with the weapons of war

I realised a few months ago that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council were also the five largest arms dealers on the planet. There is no secret about this but few actually recognise the enormity of it. Clearly, the only brain wiring going on there will be to fight for peace with their stock in trade. Perhaps they think that by killing all the “bad guys” on planet Earth they will leave nothing but peace lovers. We can be sure that their arms expenditure will stay high just in case they left a few million “bad guys” out that need to be killed later.

Of course, what really happens is that conflicts are created in order to stimulate the arms trade. Now that our interventions in the Middle East have created a situation of permanent conflict these arms dealers are in heaven and cackling all the way to the bank. As the conflict seeps into the fabric of our formerly safe Western society the politicians/arms dealers wring their hands and point their fingers at scary religious terrorists. Their solution, of course, involves more military interventions, more expenditure on security, a lot less freedom for us, and lots more money for them and their ilk.

All of this expenditure, less we forget, is funded by us. Meanwhile we are constantly told of the cash shortages that mean state ‘services’ must be cut for lack of funding. The solution to this is always higher taxes and we actually see citizens lobbying for higher taxes to keep this monstrous beast in business. Sigh.

I would usually put up an image of my book here, which, as Graham Hancock put it, is “the route map that gets us out of this mess,” but instead here is the stand-alone poster I created to illustrate this point. It went kind of viral on Facebook.

5 Permanent members

Note: The UK recently went to No.2 in the arms dealers list per the latest sources.

Dogs of war use same old excuse

It’s the same old game. A state we don’t like is doing wrong by its people so we must go in and wage war on their nation to bring democracy, then exit as dozens of armed fundamentalist factions fight over what’s left. Don’t think for a moment that the warmongers care about injured children, any more than they do about the thousands abused by church officials and pedophiles in high positions. These are the same liars who brought us WMD and other popular deceptions and they are getting better at what they do, which is stirring up conflict. Will their next step be to brandish as fake, and ban, any news that differs from the official account?

This excellent overview from Antimedia succinctly tells us all we need to know to about chemical weapons use in Syria.

“On Tuesday, yet another chemical weapons attack occurred in Syria. This particular attack took place in the Idlib province, and dozens have reportedly died as a result.

Syria is no stranger to chemical weapons attacks. In 2013, there were two notably devastating attacks, both of which the Obama administration used to try to justify a direct strike on the Assad government.

The U.N. thoroughly investigated the first 2013 attack. The U.N Commission of Inquiry’s Carla Del Ponte ultimately said the evidence indicated the attack was carried out by the Syrian rebels — not the Syrian government. Despite this, support for the Syrian rebels from the U.S. and its allies only increased, raising serious questions about Obama’s sincerity when condemning chemical attacks.

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh found the second major attack was committed in a similar manner. Hersh found that the U.S. quite deliberately attempted to frame the evidence to justify a strike on Assad without even considering al-Nusra, a terror group with access to nerve agents that should have been a prime suspect.

In 2016… continue reading  

It did not start with Donald Trump

This did not start with Donald Trump. It is good that he is barefaced and honest enough for people’s eyes to snap right open and realise where we have come to. The world reacts in anger as millions take to the streets to protest at his temporary ban on immigration from seven nations. That the previous president was already bombing Muslims in seven nations had somehow been acceptable. Surely bombing people is as bad as banning them. The groundwork for Trump’s ban had been put into place before he came to power, in the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 . To paraphrase Isaac Newton – If Trump has oppressed further than others it is because he is standing on the shoulders of tyrants.

It is not only the leader but also the system that oppresses, with a militarized police force, tyrannical application of laws and the criminalization of countless activities that have no victims. Sure, citizens have the right to vote for who is going to rule the system, but with that choice limited to different flavors of shit even an educated socially thoughtful majority are going to make a crap choice.

Many Americans had lost so much faith in the status quo that they wanted to vote against it, whatever the alternative. Many Trump voters would have been just as happy voting for his polar opposite, the humble and perceptive Bernie Sanders. They realized something had gone very wrong with their beloved nation and responded by jumping out of the pot they knew and despised, not caring if that might mean landing in an unfamiliar frying pan.

Those Trumpophobes who wanted to stick with the status quo (the devil you know) are in a shocked state of disbelief. The vulgar and insensitive character of the new president has activated them. They are like the frog in a pot that was being heated so slowly it was unaware of its own imminent demise. Trump’s election was a sudden leap in temperature, shifting from a very dark situation they had come to regard as normal, to what looks like an even darker shade of dark.

But just how dark does it have to flipping get? We know that our leaders did not give a damn whether or not WMD’s were in Iraq – they wanted war. They didn’t care about the people of Libya – they wanted a bombing spree. They fanned the flames of conflict in Syria, not for the people – they wanted war. Next in line was (or is) Iran, a beautiful nation of 77 million with a modern culture that functions better than many world nations who are allies of ours. Ditto for Syria and Libya not long ago. There are countless sub-plots to it all that involve oil-based currency plans, pipeline routes, oil, droughts, religions, bankers, et al. And the poster child of it all is the evil Islamic State, itself spawned by the heavy-handed activities of the so-called leader of the free world.

The problem with democracy, as we have just seen, is that anybody can win the popularity contest. Many world leaders, including Adolf Hitler, used and then abused the democratic system. The difficulty with government, democratic or otherwise, is that its natural tendency is to grow as long as society (it’s prey, you could say) is producing enough wealth to support it.

America currently creates more wealth than any other nation in the world. Its state is overgrown and its military budget surpasses that of the world’s next eight big spenders combined. A third of tax revenues go directly to the military (including veteran benefits). The real figure, including security agencies, private contractors, caring for the disabled, could take this even higher. Veteran suicides, far outnumbering combat deaths, do not count as a cost.

Americans, immensely proud of being the strongest nation in the world, seem oblivious to the fact that such a mighty military force is not content to be sitting on its collective ass all day. It’s got a million and a half willing combatants trained to kill and equipped with the most sophisticated and powerful killing technology on the planet. Can you really think they are not going to be finding reasons to put all this practice and hardware into play? And if they cannot find a reason they can manufacture one.

In Europe and America our rulers and the status quo over which they preside (or under which they thrive) have been complicit in actions that have and continue to result in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions, the destruction of ancient monuments, homes and modern cities, the proliferation of weapons in the region, and massive profits for Western “defense” industries. To our own doorstep their actions have brought the relatively minor inconvenience of a refugee crisis and occasional acts of terrorism. We are feared and hated in many parts of the world, an understandable response to the wanton destruction being funded by our taxes.

The new president is such an obnoxious character that it is tempting to blame him for things which have been part of the scene for many years, such as police violence and the stripping of human rights that began with the Patriot Act. Fair play to Trumpophobes for hating him but don’t for a moment pretend that things were idyllic before him. He is just the new and uglier face of a government they support; a body to which they have already sacrificed their rights, complacent that the state knows who they know, what they watch and like, what they say, write, and buy. Our states have granted themselves the right to tap into everything we do, in order to protect us from a threat that has arisen as a result of their activities on the world stage. This is not something Trump set up. This is the apparatus of a police state, far more invasive even than the notorious Stasi of former East Germany. It was something to be concerned about long before the Donald.

With talk of measures to ban so-called “fake news,” any views diverging from the official propaganda line could soon become prosecutable. And if Trump is the evil demagogue that many fear, he will now have the power to quickly identify and shut down dissenting views, expunging any remaining semblance of democracy from the system. It has been an ever-reducing commodity of late.

Trump and Hillary are just different shades of darkness. We cannot know where she would have taken us, but her track record would suggest more war and pipelines, less rights and freedoms. Barack Obama may have seemed ‘white’ by comparison to those two, but still we saw bombings and domestic surveillance soar on his watch. He may not have banned Muslims but he sure bombed them. This is the so-called democracy that the American state now administers, setting a standard for the free world.

After this, can anybody still believe that the democratic process is going to make it all right, by getting a decent honest man into the White House? Many thought Obama to be that man, though with a barrelful of rotten apples it is optimistic to believe that we can throw an unblemished one into the pile that will un-rot all the others. Yet many keep hoping for this magic apple.

As long as we believe that the road to peace is paved with rules and regulations enforced by police and military we will continue to see conflict in the world. We are more suited to living together than to killing each other, with peace being an easier and more natural state than war. We are not all born with sin in our hearts because of what Eve did. There is another way and we have countless instances where we govern from the bottom up and do an excellent job, without even thinking about it. It is time to consider whether we are truly in need of a nuclear umbrella to protect us and countless politicians and bureaucrats to regulate us. However much power rests in the state’s hands, when it comes right down to it their existence depends upon our belief in a need for their control. Can we do it ourselves? You bet we can.

Warning: book plug approaching: I wrote this blog in the hope of converting Trumpophobes to ‘Stateophobes,’ or freedom lovers as I prefer to put it. We must pin the tail on the donkey and not its rider. Were Donald Trump removed from power next month the world would not return to some idyllic state without wars, onerous travel restrictions, racial tensions and sexist behavior. Government would still be corrupt and/or in the pockets of corporations, the military, and bankers. Wealth would still transfer from the many to the one percent.

Ah yes, the book. It is one thing to point out the flawed nature of this system. What we can do about it and how we can do it and why we need to do it is the subject of my book, The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better.
More information and chapter briefs on my website. It’s positive, not paranoid.

   – – – – – END – – – – –

Full interview with Luke Hancock, son of Graham  The State Is Out Of Date

A short interview with Delta Mike Life Without A State

 

America’s endless war

America is fighting wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, sending drones to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and striving to revive the Cold War with Russia. These conflicts are good for no one but the military industrial complex that has had its hands on the throat of American government for decades. This institution is a cultural cancer that spreads across the world, threatening civilisation and our species. If there are future generations, they will look back with the same degree of horror at manufactured war as we do at the history of slavery or Nazi death-camps.

Let’s face it. Those running our governments knew damn well that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They do not give a damn about the people of Libya or Afghanistan, or whether they enjoy democracy. They support the jihadist rebels intent upon turning a formerly stable and secular Syria into an unholy mess ripe to be made holy in the mold of Islamic State. Iran is next in their sights, already under attack by severe economic sanction. Western nations are allied to far worse characters than those whose regimes they so righteously strive to change.

The rulers of today’s America need war. From their angle, as long as weapons are expended and fear generated it matters not whether they win or lose their wars. Nobody is going to invade the USA and neither soldiers nor generals will end up in prisoner of war camps. Military careers are made in war, not in peace. If their violent actions create more conflict or even bring it to Western shores that’s just more business for the security, killing and fear management industries.

This is an industry that seeks to create conflicts that will result in the death of hundreds of thousands and the dislocation of millions. I can assure you that these dead and dislocated are people very like you and me. They have, or had, children they raised and love, parents and grandparents they revere, businesses they built, homes they made home, gardens and farms they treasure.

You and I, with our taxes, fund the military industrial complex. It is a cancer that is metastasising and devouring us. Far from ‘defense’ industries protecting global citizens from danger they pose a more real and present risk to our life and liberty than global warming or a coronal mass ejection from the Sun. There is nobody out there from whom America needs defending, yet its ‘defense’ expenditure surpasses that of the next seven nations combined.

We do not want to believe that those who rule us, or those who quietly rule them, could be so cruel and heartless. They tell us they have nothing but our best interests in mind. Yet history is riddled with rulers who thought nothing of human life, rulers who slaughtered and raped all manner of innocents for all manner of reasons, including the pleasure of it.

There is no reason to assume that because we have some new-fangled way of determining who our next set of rulers will be that we thereby exclude the likes of a Nero, Genghis Khan, Hitler or Stalin from assuming power. One has only to look at the current American election to realize that we cannot rely upon the so-called democratic process to prevent dangerous criminals and demagogues from running a militaristic empire on a par with that of the Romans.

As long as we buy into the notion that top-down rulers are the best way to maintain order in our community we accept a system that disconnects the feedback loops needed to direct its evolution. With feedback loops our communications evolved from undersea telegraph cables going dot-dash to the smartphone connecting us all; our transport went from canals and bicycles to jet planes. Without feedback loops our security services have evolved from police, judges and prisons to more powerful and expensive police, judges and prisons, all of them thriving on crime. If crime rates were to halve they’d be out of work, or need to criminalise a raft of victimless crimes to compensate. The vast majority of US prison inmates today have been incarcerated for victimless crimes, and are used as virtual slave labour on production lines.

Instead of giving war-faring states the credit for our positive progress as humanity, we should applaud our own heroic ability to evolve despite their history of destructive and obstructive influence. In the freedom of the Internet major online retailers develop and improve low-cost means to control and compensate for crime without handcuffs, courtrooms and prisoners. This should give us cause for optimism. Perhaps it is possible for humanity to live together in peace without having to slaughter each other in its pursuit.

When we have top-down government determining policies with coercively enforced rules it follows that those making and applying the rules are the rulers. How those rulers arrive at their positions is not, ultimately, the point. The system arose long ago as a means for the few to live off the labours of the many, self-financing themselves with taxes demanded by force. There have been many variations on this theme in the past 4500 years or so, but wherever you have a state with the power to make and enforce rules, there is likely to be a despotic elite striving to get their hands on the controls. Sometimes they succeed.

We must recognize that just such an elite has succeeded in the US. Uncle Sam has been incarcerating his own subjects at unprecedented levels while exporting war and armed conflict across the world. This is a shocking unthinkable thought to most, but one that both presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy warned Americans of in the 1960’s. They were not paranoid conspiracy theorists and their fears have become reality.

What can we possibly do about this? The first step, undoubtedly, is to stop being in denial and to open our eyes to the truth. Stop swallowing the propaganda. Let go of the fear and recognize there is no existential need for this so-called “necessary evil.” We are stronger and more powerful than we know. Our collective belief is at the foundation of state power, more important than all its trappings and uniformed inforcers. Whoever moves into the White House next will make little difference. We can.

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I write this in a world awash with nuclear weapons as two frightening characters fight over the reins of the most militarised nation in history. So-called democracy has come down to letting Americans pick which of two candidates they don’t want least. Amusing, to someone from another planet. The book that I wrote goes well beyond the “who did what to whom” approach, looking at the power of freedom and the perils of suppressing it by governmental decree. It is titled The State Is Out Of Date – We Can Do It Better. It will give you hope for the future.

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The wheel needs a new hub, not just another revolution

Aleppo is defended by Assad, not attacked

WAR – what is it good for? The military and weapons industry, of course. That’s what they do. When you have trained to become a chef, architect or musician your natural desire is to have people who want feeding, housing or entertaining. Soldiers are no different. Without wars there is no place to properly test new weapons and the skills of those who are trained to kill people. War is where soldiers get promoted through the ranks. They like it, as do the makers of death-dealing weaponry. So when the military industrial complex has its hands on the controls of a nation we can be horrified, but not surprised, that reasons to make war are fabricated. We don’t want to believe that fellow human beings could behave like this simply to get rich and powerful, but they can, and have done through history. Hundreds of thousands may die and millions be displaced by their crimes against humanity. They don’t care.

The war in Syria was planned long before any shots were fired. It is as phony as the WMD lies that initiated war upon Iraq, and as unrelated to “bringing democracy” as the war that turned a stable Libya into a mess for its people, a training ground for terrorists and a launch point for thousands of refugees fleeing the chaos we brought to the region. The Syrian conflict is NOT a civil war, but a foreign invasion, supported and led by the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and other interested parties.

Most of the news we are fed about Aleppo is lies. Did you know that 70% of its residents supported the Syrian government, according to a rebel commander in 2012? 600,000 residents fled eastern Aleppo to the safety of government secured western Aleppo when the so-called rebels (mostly foreign fighters) attacked in July 2012. The estimated 200,000 trapped in the east today are prevented by the insurgents from fleeing to safety. It is these so-called rebels who turned once-peaceful eastern Aleppo into a war zone, which is why civilians are getting killed. The White Helmets are not what you imagine, either. The so-called Rebels are good at PR, trained by their Western advisors.

We are barraged with talk of nasty “barrel bombs.” These explosives dropped from the air are, essentially, bombs not made by the likes of  LockheedBoeing and BAE Systems. All bombs tend to kill or injure those in a building being destroyed. Respectable branded bombs can cost anything from $100,000 (Hellfire) to $14 million (the MOAB) apiece (average cost of a US airstrike is $2.5 million ). To those at the receiving end, many of the branded products can be even more horrific than barrel bombs.

Top U.S. arms makers are straining to meet surging demand” for their lethal ordnance as a result of the various conflicts supported or prompted by western foreign policy in Syria and the Middle East. Its boom time and they’re lovin’ it. The Syrian conflict could have been over in 2013 had the US and its coalition not actively fanned the flames of war with men and munitions. It is all done for the Syrian people, of course.  Today they are still fanning those flames, seeking to escalate and prolong the conflict.

The western military industrial complex doesn’t really give a damn whether wars are won or lost anymore. When the US lost in Vietnam and abandoned mission in Iraq its generals did not surrender their swords and America was not invaded. Syria is or was a big stepping stone on the road to bringing down Iran. It was all planned ahead and paid for with our taxes.

It was the US that scuppered the recent cease-fire in its desperation to keep the conflict going. They spin their propaganda, demonizing Assad to justify military intervention. The ploy is to protect the Syrian people from his tyranny (ring any bells?). The aim is to prevent him defeating the so-called rebels intent upon taking over Aleppo against the wishes of its residents. That could bring peace – a major setback for Islamic State and the military industrial complex, putting a brake on America’s grand demolition plan for the Middle East.

This gripping piece by Robert F. Kennedy shows us the history of US/Syrian relations and shows  recommended interview clearly explains the situation in Syria.

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This book explores the alternative. It is possible for us to live in peace without slaughtering each other in its pursuit.

 

 

 

 

Peace in Syria – nearly there?

A cessation of hostilities is set to commence in Syria at sunset on Monday 12th Sept. The US and Russia have come up with a plan. It is excellent news but makes a mockery of the idea that this was a ‘civil war,’ when negotiations take place between outside nations.

In October last year, when Russia entered the Syrian conflict, I predicted that it would bring an end to this horrific war. I re-iterated this in March, when Islamic State were kicked out of Palmyra.  At the time it looked to me as if some key players were primarily interested in conflict and as it Russia actually wanted to end the war, not support the arms industry. It now looks as though they have.

Before Russia, there were countless forces on the scene, like when a bunch of drunks in a club pile into a fight that started between just two of them. When it’s escalated into a brawl it can be difficult to discern who is on what side.  After a year this particular brawl was going nowhere and in danger of fizzling out when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived with sacks of cocaine and a tanker of Jack Daniels – figuratively speaking, of course.

Why was Hillary so keen to stoke-up this conflict, pumping in loadsa money and expertise? Thanks to Edward Snowden we now see that it was being done at the behest of Israel, as a tactical move against Iran. As she put it in her leaked memo, “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.” The majority of people in Syria supported Assad before this conflict began and still do. Our ‘side’ was against Assad and we were conditioned to see him an insufferably evil tyrant to be deposed, despite the fact that there was no exodus from Syria before this conflict erupted. Now, we should see a reverse exodus as refugees return to their homeland and rebuild, as humans do.

Syria is a beautiful country and the one from which my father’s parents emigrated to America. The images we see are all of death and destruction but much of Syria has not been so terribly affected. Normal street life and night life and village life does go on but pictures of it don’t sell newspapers. Syrians are smart, industrious, and equipped for the task of rebuilding their nation.  Parts of London were obliterated by the Blitz in World War 2 but most of it survived intact and the city rose again. But why do we have to go through this shit?

We have been suffering at the hands of psychopaths who get to the top of our governing system for a few millennia now. The earliest state was conceived as a means to transfer money from the many to the few, because the few have the power to take it by force, having passed laws saying they can. Today’s state still transfers wealth, still upwards, despite a fraction of it getting sprinkled back. Whether by ballot or bullet, how rulers acquire power is irrelevant in the broader scheme of things. If they survived in their seized territory for long enough, Islamic State would get their seat at the United Nations. Rulers will from time to time be fighting over who rules which resources, including us, and when they do, we are the collateral damage. They are not a necessary evil. I feel a rant coming on, but since I wrote a book, there’ll be no need for that.

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the wheel needs a new hub, not just another revolution

From the BBC 

Russia and the US have announced an agreement on Syria starting with a “cessation of hostilities” from sunset on Monday. Under the plan, the Syrian government will end combat missions in specified areas held by the opposition. Russia and the US will establish a joint centre to combat so-called Islamic State and al-Nusra fighters.

The announcement follows talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. The plan would need both the regime and opposition “to meet their obligations”, Mr Kerry said in Geneva. The opposition had indicated it was prepared to comply with the plan, he said, provided the Syrian government “shows it is serious”.

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VIEWS ON THE NEWS

Very Naughty in Nigeria – In the course of cutting arms deals for Nigeria, $15 Billion was embezzled by those in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. They got found out, but will there be justice and retrieval? Unlikely. In view of the frivolous, even fictitious, basis upon which some Western nations have launched wars of late, one might wonder whether some of our diplomats’ pockets are being lined? That anyone would countenance the deaths of hundreds of thousands for the sake of their wealth might seem unthinkable to many, but rest assured that it happens. I would not for a moment suggest that Tony Blair’s impressive wealth of £60 million could be connected in any way to his peace efforts in the Middle East.

South Africa – 738 criminal charges against? – Answer: President Jacob Zuma. Seems like he’s losing his grip on power in South Africa as the nation’s High Court has decided that it was “irrational” to drop corruption charged against him in 2009, a few weeks before he became president. His power was enough then to convince the same High Court to drop all 738 charges relating to a multibillion-dollar arms deal. Here we are again, sleazy dealing involving the arms industry. This comes on top of the scandal over his spending of $23 million on private residence improvements, with state funds. Got to admit that Western leaders have more experience at keeping their sleazies under control.

 Obama sends UK to the back of what queue? – We were fed the image of poor old Britain forlornly stuck at the back of the queue, but never clearly told what queue. That would be inclusion in the hugely controversial TTIP deal that gives powers to corporations over governments and could lead to overriding of local regulations against GM foods, farming hormones, and much else besides. 

Someone just leaked the full content of the TTIP agreement, which was being kept totally secret right up to the wire. We can now see why, with the content confirming the worst fears of critics. Many hope this revelation will kill it. Will it?

Luxembourg, the EU, and corporate connivance – In what has been dubbed LuxLeaks, 45,000 pages were leaked by young accountant Antoine Deltour detailing how the government of Luxembourg connived with multinationals to virtually eliminate their tax obligations in Europe. This was back in 2010 and he is now being prosecuted under laws covering industrial espionage. This is appalling, and the sort of stuff we know all to well.

What I find of special interest is that the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last job was prime minister of Luxembourg, were he had a hand in shaping the tax policies that now enable the corporate avoidance of tax throughout Europe.  That’s politics in the EU, without even an electorate to worry about.

Saving Energy in Venezuela – Public sector workers in Venezuela get a “five day weekend,” working just Mondays and Tuesdays, at full pay, in an effort to reduce electricity consumption. Venezuela is in the grip of a serious energy crisis. Another measure moved the clocks forward 30 minutes to benefit from more useful daylight, saving lighting electricity. Climate, hydro-electrics, under-investment and poor management are contributing factors to the power shortage in this oil-rich nation.

 I’ll close with as quote from Shirley MacLaine.

“It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office”

If you want to make sense of these stories, and recognize that war, corruption and duplicity are not an inevitable fact of life then do check out this blogger’s book.

Palmyra liberated as war nears end.

Palmyra has been liberated – ISIL defeated. Most of the city’s ancient monuments are still standing. As we approach the end of the war upon Syria, I predict there will be a flood of refugees returning to their beloved homeland by summer’s end. This is a massive psychological defeat for ISIL, and their slaughter in the name of an intolerant god.

From the Independent:
The Isis jihadist group has been driven out of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and government forces have retaken “complete control”, according to state media reports.

In what would be a major symbolic victory over the militant group, Syrian state TV reports quoted a military source saying that the army had recaptured the city with the help of militia allies.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had “complete control over the city of Palmyra” as of Sunday morning, the military source said. In a statement aired on Syrian TV, the General Command of the Syrian army said it could confirm “security and stability” had been returned to Palmyra with the assistance of the Russian and Syrian air forces.
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GAME OVER for the war on Syria?

Back in October, when Russia committed forces to the conflict in Syria, I predicted that “At last there may be an end in sight to the disaster that Western foreign policy has landed upon Syria, formerly one of the most stable and secular nations in the Middle East.” (see that blog here)

Now, just five months later, it looks like an end to five years of conflict may have finally arrived, as Russia begins to remove its forces from the field. This was never an actual civil war, with the fight against Assad’s government being funded by and often fought by non-Syrian interest groups.

During three weeks of a successful ceasefire in Syria, our news media has given more coverage to the refugee crisis than to this positive turn of events that holds the promise of ending that crisis. If this peace holds and settles, it will soon be possible for millions of Syrians to return home and rebuild their nation. Despite all the fervent anti-Assad propaganda fed to our media it is worth remembering that there was no refugee crisis before the war began. The vast majority of Syrians were happy living in beautiful Syria, with a secular government more democratic and uncorrupted than some of our major allies, and more popular than that of Francoise Holland in France.

War is horrendous and in my book (below) I suggest it is possible for humanity to live together in peace and harmony without the need to slaughter each other in its pursuit. But as long as we accept organized killing as a normal feature of civilization, wars will continue to bring death, destruction and anguish. Who is unleashing this and whether it arrives in Hellfire missiles or barrel bombs is not the point.

When we are not destroying things we display a remarkable ability to create them, and the one is not dependent upon the other. Let us hope and pray that this recent ceasefire leads to lasting peace and a return to normality in this beautiful part of the world.

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The wheel needs a new hub, not just another revolution.

Making charity criminal

The European Union is now seeking to criminalize people who are being charitable to refugees arriving on boats, reports The Times. With people smugglers now outranking pedophile rings in the crime stakes those good people in Greece who help migrants ashore and give them dry clothes and food are clearly accomplices. People smuggling must be stopped and these people’s compassionate humanity is now deemed part of the problem.

Here we see a stark example of the state’s underlying psychopathic nature, devoid of empathy. When our actions are legislated instead of voluntary the feedback loop is cut between stimulus and response, which is where empathy resides. Like allopathic medicine the state cares little about causes, seeking mainly to suppress symptoms. Forget about the wars we started and fearsome groups we trained and funded; forget the once stable countries now riven by rival factions following “regime change” and the gift of democracy. Yeah, let’s hit those friggin’ people smugglers – they’re the problem!

What have these evil men done? Their crime is helping desperate people flee a war zone, people who are prohibited from boarding normal ferry services or air flights due to lack of papers. Often criminals by trade, I doubt they are nice guys, but their customers willingly take the risk. Of the 1.8 million illegal refugees entering Europe in 2015, mainly by sea, 3,770 drowned. Each one is a dreadful tragedy but when you do the maths, 998 out of 1000 illegal migrants get through alive. On a legitimate ferry service those odds are unacceptable but those fleeing a war zone are disallowed that, and will pay twenty times the fare and take a thousand times the risk. Now the Council wants smuggling upgraded to the status of people trafficking, when the two are clearly opposite ends of the spectrum. You usually pay to be smuggled and are free thereafter, whereas trafficking is akin to slavery. Yet the Council argues equivalence and can charge all those involved in smuggling without needing to show financial gain, unlike in a charge of trafficking.

This war on people smugglers will be a good earner for some. In their depiction of people smuggling as the scourge of our age they want all Member States to undertake a “comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-border approach” – this to combat some Turkish gangsters with a supply of inflatable boats. Across Member States this will co-ordinate different agencies “including law enforcement and judiciary authorities, labour, social, health and fisheries inspectorates, border forces, immigration services, local and regional governments, tax authorities, NGOs, businesses, trade unions, employers’ organisations and embassies.” One suspects that NATO member Turkey could at a stroke end the people smuggling but that would be far too simple, and kill a high-profit business that is, let’s face it, helping desperate people escape the horror.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:“The Council proposals would criminalise NGOs, local people and volunteers who have worked heroically to welcome refugees when the EU institutions did nothing, while other plans would require them to “register” with the police and work within state structures. In a humane and caring EU it should not be necessary to “register” to offer help and care to people who have suffered so much already.” See the full Statewatch report here:

I am often criticized for being naïve when I suggest that human charity would be capable of covering our social responsibilities better than the state, if needs were to be. Friends of mine brought to life the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais last November, which is completely self-funding and puts out over 2000 meals a day. Watch the video and do remember, this is people being human. So I love these examples of human charity rising to a challenge – despite half its income already being consumed in taxes. Think how it could be with all our resources to hand, without our taxes being used to obstruct their efforts.

In my book The State Is Out of Date, We Can Do It Better, I explore just how and why humanity is good at coming up with solutions that resolve problems instead of feeding upon them. It’s a book for those who realize politics isn’t working and wonder what would. The answer is staring us in the face and so simple it is difficult to grasp.

 

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The wheel needs a whole new hub, not just another revolution