"The first peace, which is most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
- Black Elk, Sioux Holy Man
May the circle of brotherhood and friendship travel around the world.
The United States, the European Union, the Arab League, Turkey, Canada and Australia have collectively taken measures since 2011, and the United States since 1979, to destroy Syria’s economy. The measures are illegal under international law, which prohibits states from using economic pressure, outside the framework of the UN Security Council, to coerce other states. With Syrians fleeing sanctions-induced economic collapse, joblessness, crumbling infrastructure and a public health care system in tatters, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Syria has spoken out. But is anyone listening?
June 23, 2018
By Stephen Gowans
Washington’s long war on Syria comprises three major elements: a proxy war waged by Islamist insurgents; an occupation of almost one-third of Syria by US and allied troops ; and a program of economic warfare. If we understand war to represent an attempt by one state to impose its will on another, then all three elements, including the economic…
“But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than to be ignorant.”
– H.L. MENCKEN (1880-1956) American editor, critic, lexicographer
une 19, 2018 marked the 6th year of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s detention, his kidnapped-by-government status, at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Any legal arguments by British authorities for not releasing him unconditionally are totally bogus and without merit, yet Mr. Assange remains imprisoned in London, essentially for a flimsiest of bail infractions – associated with a non-existent crime.
It is clear beyond doubt that Julian Assange is an innocent man. That is … unless publishing the truth is now against the law. It is clear beyond doubt that United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, United States President Donald Trump and other world leaders are willing to allow the continued unjust detainment and silencing of Julian Assange, showing the world and humanity that their exercise of power over journalists who expose the dark, illegal practices of their governments is more important than strict adherence to the most basic rules of law and fairness.
Julian Assange is an innocent man. He is an innocent man whose lifetime (or current incarnation if ones holds to the idea of reincarnation) coincides with the rapid rise of the internet as an unprecedented powerful tool for communication among people the world over. Many have utilized the internet to disseminate inconvenient, disturbing and previously secreted facts resulting in millions becoming much more aware of reality on Earth, and Julian Assange – because the facts his media organization WikiLeaks has exposed are to a great extent aggravating and constraining the world’s wealthiest and most powerful criminals – has become the #1 target, the “poster boy” example, for those criminals’ vicious retribution.
Julian Assange’s freedom means the continued exposure of the criminals and the potential end to their criminality, and in particular the crimes related to wars of aggression, identified at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II as the “greatest crime of them all”. One might reasonably suggest that those world leaders who go along with the continued detention of Julian Assange, or fail to speak out for his being released immediately with guaranteed shielding from extra-judicial re-“arrest”, are by their actions identifying themselves as either 1st level, genuine war criminals or, equally as reprehensible, silent accomplices.
The circumstances surrounding Mr. Assange’s 6-years-long, highly publicized, unjust, legally untenable situation are as plain as day for all to see, yet – despite years of time passing since the “case” has actually been thrown out of court – the injustice still stands, the man’s physical, mental and spiritual health are at greater and greater risk with each passing day, and nobody on Earth seems able to make the necessary “executive decision” … of doing the right thing – to simply free Julian Assange.
Ms. May of the United Kingdom, Mr. Trump of the United States, Mr. Turnbull of Australia, Mr. Moreno of Ecuador and those leaders silent in the face of this monumental injustice carried out against Mr. Assange – a man perceived as a genuine, rare hero by millions around the Earth, – might think seriously about the extent to which their recalcitrant stubbornness and persistence in defying the wish of those millions for freeing Assange is inevitably self-defeating.
Those world leaders might seriously consider the profoundly negative consequences of stubbornly rejecting the will of “the people”, and accepting the plain fact that Mr. Assange should rightly and immediately be granted his freedom. Those world leaders might “get the clue”, finally admit the man’s innocence, and acknowledge, then act upon, the wisdom contained in the words of Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson:
ather Dave Smith of Australia was one of the men and woman from around the Earth who received invitations to speak at the recent New Horizons Conference in Iran – the 6th Annual convening of the event in May 2018.
Among the group of others who participated were (from the U.S.): Alison Weir (author, founder of If Americans Knew), retired Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence expert Philip Giraldi, former State Department official Michael Maloof, military psychological operations expert and author of “Shell Game” (Swiss banks terrorist financing) Scott Bennett, and attorney/author Michael Springmann (Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry).
Father Dave Smith’s talk focused on the erroneous theological foundations of Christian Zionism, the distinctive branch of the faith finding 50-70 million adherents in the United States alone. The Christian block is very influential (negatively, if what Father Dave Smith suggests is correct) when it comes to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere around the Earth, particularly with regard to Israel-Palestine.
If one accepts the central thrust of Father Dave Smith’s thesis, the most worrisome aspect of Christian Zionists’ erroneous beliefs set is holding the idea that being a Christian requires giving full support to Israel – and accepting the “prophecy” that the return of Jesus Christ is dependent on Israel’s militarily conquering its neighbors or enemies. In other words, Christian Zionists are to believe (and do believe) that wars fought by Israel, including those fought by the United States for or joined with Israel, are absolute/solid “signs” – ignorant of the potential huge losses of human lives, the injuries, dislocation and destruction associated with military violence – of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
This theologically incorrect stance is actually the one held firmly by millions of U.S. Christian Zionists (readers might have family members or friends in the religious category) – in fact to the point where many are joyously anticipating the “Armageddon” of Revelations in the Bible or major war in the Middle East, which supposedly then triggers the prophecy-fulfilling supernatural spiritual event of Christ’s return, the 2nd Coming, and/or “The Rapture”.
Americans might find it important to know that former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and now Secretary of State under Donald Trump – Mike Pompeo – believes in “The Rapture”. Moreover, Father Dave Smith wonders out loud in his talk whether Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton is a Christian Zionist. The selection of Bolton by Trump did not require the approval/vote or confirmation of the U.S. Congress.
The Rapture has come into the consciousness of America’s estimated 50-70 million Christian Zionists through the reading of the controversial (many Christian leaders criticize and consider it sheer blasphemy) Scofield Bible, published in 1909 and including extensive end notes or interpretive commentary by editor Scofield, which portray biblical scriptures/verses in an extremely Israel-centric light.
Perhaps some men or women journalists can ask Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton if their bibles are the Scofield version. It might be very important to know the answer, and especially so, given the current highly tense global situation.
A few hours of research into the Scofield Bible, its historical facts and the theological controversy surrounding it are enough for one to lean strongly in the direction that millions of Americans who’ve used/read solely the Scofield publication have been sadly fooled about Israel vis-à-vis Christianity. In many instances people professing themselves as Christians have used the Scofield Bible alone … solely that book without exception, for decades and/or generations.
Among America’s more well-known Christian Zionists are Pat Robertson (who ran for president as a Republican, and once publicly called for the political, literal assassination of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez), John Hagee and Robert Jeffress (who both spoke in Israel at the U.S. Embassy dedication ceremony, after Donald Trump moved it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem), Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, Hal Lindsey, and many others.
Father Dave Smith spoke toward the end of his talk:
“Hence, biblical prophecies … they’re never designed to help shape foreign policy; any more than they’re designed to just satisfy our curiosity about the future. They’re designed to call us back to the commandments. Once we recognize this, I think we can see the fundamental flaw in the logic of Christian Zionism. They claim the biblical prophecies point to the triumph of the modern-state Israel over its neighbors.
“Even if they could be right, that some prophet had predicted this, it wouldn’t mean that either the prophet or the scriptures as a whole endorsed the event, nor would it mean that people should support it, any more than Jeremiah’s dire warnings were intended to garner support for the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Hebrew bible, when the prophet gives dire predictions about the future, his hope is that his warnings will cause his hearers to come back into a relationship of obedience to God – resulting in the prophecy proving false.
“See, the tragedy of Christian Zionism … Is it gets the whole process back to front, urging us to follow the prophecy even if it means breaking the laws of God, breaking the commandments. Prophecy has never been normative. The commandments are normative. The commandments tell us how we have to behave towards God and towards our neighbors. It’s the commandments with which we can base our foreign policy on, – a biblically based foreign policy, which would require of course a focusing on justice.
“As a Sydney Anglican priest I’m privileged to be part of a church tradition that has never been greatly influenced by Zionism. Indeed, I believe that at the Sydney Anglican Synod of 1948, some people did indeed stand up suggesting the creation of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
“It was the principal of our theological seminary who corrected them, saying: ‘No, no … It’s the fulfillment of the 8th commandment – Thou shalt not steal’. And this is the great tragedy of Christian Zionism … That under the guide of faithfulness to biblical prophecy it indeed justified stealing, and murder, and any number of other crimes that are clearly contrary to the commandments of God.
“A genuinely biblical approach to the situation in Israel-Palestine must begin, I believe, not with prophecy, but with the unambiguous command to do justice. A justice that respects the rights of Palestinian people to their land, to life and to liberty.”
“Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be outraged by silence.”
– HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881) Swiss philosopher
alestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar was 21-years old on June 1 when she was struck and killed by Israeli sniper fire in Gaza. She was giving emergency medical assistance/treatment to fellow Palestinian victims of Israeli gunfire at the moment of her death. Close to 120 Palestinians have lost their lives while 10,000 have suffered injuries, nearly all as the result of Israeli military snipers’ bullets.
Her murder sparked worldwide outrage and condemnation, adding to intensifying criticism of the Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Donald Trump administration in the United States for its disappointing failure to respond in an appropriate moral manner.
The Israeli defense authorities added insult to the fatal injury inflicted on Razan al-Najjar by quickly producing and publishing a video which took an interview given by Ms. al-Najjar and edited it, taking and displaying her words out of proper context, for the objectionable purpose of manipulating public opinion in apartheid Israel’s favor.
From a philosophical or spiritual perspective, one might rightly assert that Israeli defense authorities murdered Razan al-Najjar twice – once while living on Earth in Gaza and again after she passed away and left this physical world.
It is very difficult to imagine what drives the minds of those who would intentionally lower their moral standards to such an extreme, grotesque extent, and equally difficult to discern what allows others – namely those men and women serving under U.S. President Donald Trump – to stand by, turn away and remain silent in the face of Israel’s profoundly disturbing, immoral, propagandistic actions.
Whether one is atheistic, agnostic or believer in a variantly conceptualized higher spiritual power, the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of benevolent Palestinian soul Razan al-Najjar – and Israel’s despicable, intentional attempt to achieve a covertly engineered propaganda “victory” afterward – meet any generally recognized human definitions of sin.
Palestinians are at the heart of the conflict in the M.E Palestinians uprooted by force of arms.. Yet faced immense difficulties have survived, kept alive their history and culture, passed keys of family homes in occupied Palestine from one generation to the next.
This blog is devoted to legal, historical and human rights matters, in which issues of general concern are addressed freely and spontaneously. It is intended to further an informal exchange of views in the democratic spirit of freedom of opinion and respect for the opinions of others, in an effort to understand rather than condemn, to propose constructive solutions rather than grandstand. The perspective is both from inside and outside the box and the added value lies more in the questions than in the answers.