Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bashar ASSAD's Mafia of assassins, Maher and Asef SHAWKAT are not worth saving...but Syria is....

Bashar ASSAD's Mafia of assassins, Maher and Asef SHAWKAT are not worth saving...but Syria is....

Isn't there a lot Russia could do to make a Syrian intervention too costly to consider?

for example,

1) slow down NATO supplies in Afghanistan. Don't even have to cut it off completely, just enough to make it uncomfortable.

2) Provide Anti-aircraft systems to Syria right now. If training is an issue, Russians can unofficially operate them. They don't have to defeat an air attack. Just loosing some aircraft would be a big blow to NATO prestige.

3) since the actual intervening will be done by Turkey, I'm thinking Russia has some sort of leverage point they can use against them.

I agree Assad is not worth saving. But Syria is. And a NATO intervention could turn Syria into a Mega Lebanon of the 70's and 80's.

I'm suggesting that Russia has the means to prevent an intervention without risking a war. Failing that, they can make it hard for NATO to profit from its crimes.

Russia is not without interests here. Drawing the line against another war enhances Russia's international standing and it's influence. It will also force the west to take it more seriously....
slow down NATO supplies in Afghanistan. Don't even have to cut it off completely, just enough to make it uncomfortable.

That is most definitely an option, which has been threatened yesterday by Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitri Rogozin (keep an eye on this guy, he is very much an insider, top player, and very smart; I definitely see him as a possible Minister of Defense, if not more, in the future). And yes, that would really hurt NATO. The issue is whether Russia should do that to influence the situation in Syria or not. I am confident to say that this "big stick" will only be used by Russia in case its own vital and strategic interests are directly threatened by the US/Israeli Empire.

Provide Anti-aircraft systems to Syria right now Very hard to do covertly and you can imagine the kind of hysterical anti-Russian propaganda such a move would trigger. The Syrians, by the way, are excellent soldiers and many have trained in Soviet and Russian military academies. I am confident that they could skillfully operate such systems as the Tor M1 9M330 or any other. And yes, NATO would loose aircraft to such a system, but the political costs to Russia would be huge. Why would Russia do that?

since the actual intervening will be done by Turkey, I'm thinking Russia has some sort of leverage point they can use against them

Yes, plenty. But so does Turkey against Russia (think Chechens here). Russia and Turkey have a complex, delicate, relationship. Both sides have some very real leverage on each other (tourism, construction business, security cooperation, commerce, etc.), and both sides know that they cannot afford a frontal conflict against each other and they will not do so unless something really important is at stake (Russia did - quietly but firmly - threaten Turkey during the war in Ossetia, and the Turks got the message and backed down).

As always, excellent points...., and possible measures Russia could take is a good one. But when said; I agree Assad is not worth saving. But Syria is.... you are assuming that a) either somehow the two can be de-coupled or b) that saving Assad is compatible with the idea of saving Syria. I am not so sure.

I think that we all agree that saving Syria - unlike saving Assad - would be highly desirable. But could it be that Assad himself is destroying Syria in the first place?

Also, Russia is not the USA, it is not the self-appointed worldwide "righter or wrongs". Morally, WHY should Russia get involved in the first place? Because we would like it?

See, Russia used to be a global empire, and so was the Soviet Union. But I strongly believe that Russia now strongly wants to be a *country*, not an empire, and that it does not want to meddle in every conflict out there. Would you not agree that this is fundamentally sound? Yes, the USSR used to be a global opponent of the USA, but Russia does not want to take on that burden any more. Sure, it wants the US empire to crumble and for the USA to also become a 'normal' country (which, I believe, is also in the USA's national interest!), but Russia will not pro-actively oppose the USA unless it is directly threatened.

Do you believe that it is in the Russian national interest to get involved in the Syrian conflict and to support the Assad regime under the heading of "saving Syria"?
a) do you believe that a majority of Syrians would welcome a Russian intervention?

b) Iran and Hezbollah could intervene in Syria, I think. Yet, and contrary to some propaganda put out by the anti-Assad forces, they have not done so (or, at least, there is no evidence of it having done so).

How do you explain the fact that neither Iran nor Hezbollah are intervening?

Why should Russia taken on a burden which even Iran and Hezbollah seem to have no inclination to take upon themselves even though they are DIRECTLY impacted by the events in Syria?
A Russian cruiser's air defense radar in a Syrian port surely would cover Israeli airspace, and possibly provide Iran with warning about an air strike leaving?
A) I don't know about a majority of Syrians, but a very substantial proportion would be happy if Russia prevented a NATO backed invasion. I don't think anyone in Syria would want to see massive sanctions, etc. It would be catastrophic for ordinary Syrians, just as it is for Cubans and Iraqis.

B) When I say intervene, I mean intervene against foreign invasion. They are not, and must not, intervene to stop Syrians from demonstrating or even armed resistance. Those are things Syrians have to solve for themselves.

But if Syria is actually invaded, I suspect both Iran and Hezbollah will do whatever they can to make the invasion as painful as possible for the invaders. I don't know if that will amount to much, but I don't think they will sit idly by.

Lastly, regarding Russian interests, neutrality is the best policy for almost any country almost all the time. But by now Russians should have figured out that NATO and the west do not have benevolent intent towards them. And so, in my view, it is in Russia's interests to keep the west as distracted as possible elsewhere and to do so with the least expense and risk to Russia. I still believe the suggestions I made in my first comment would accomplish those goals.....

Christians, Jihadists, and the Fate of Syria...
by Raymond Ibrahim

What is the alternative to Bashar Assad's regime in Syria? A simple if indirect way to find out is to consider which groups in Syria are especially for or against Assad—and why.

Christian minorities, who, at 10% of the Syrian population, have the most to gain from a secular government and the most to suffer from a Sharia-state, have no choice but to prefer Assad. They are already seeing aspects of the alternative. A recent Barnabas Fund report titled "Christians in Syria Targeted in Series of Kidnappings and Killings; 100 Dead," tells of how "children were being especially targeted by the kidnappers, who, if they do not receive the ransom demanded, kill the victim." In one instance, kidnappers videotaped a Christian boy as they murdered him in an attempt to frame the government; one man "was cut into pieces and thrown in a river" and another "was found hanged with numerous injuries."

Accordingly, it is understandable that, as an earlier report put it, "Christians have mostly stayed away from the protests in Syria, having been well treated and afforded a considerable amount of religious freedom under President Assad's regime." After all, "Should Assad fall, it is feared that Syria could go the way of Iraq post-Saddam Hussein. Saddam, like Assad, restrained the influence of militant Islamists, but after his fall they were free to wreak havoc on the Christian community; hundreds of thousands of Christians were consequently forced to flee the violence. Many of them went to Syria."

In short, should "rebels" get their way and topple the Assad regime, the same brutal pattern experienced by Iraq's Christian minorities—who have been liked to, and killed off like, dogs, to the point of nearing extinction—will come to Syria, where a preacher recently urged Muslims to "tear apart, chop up and feed" Christians who support Assad "to the dogs." From last week alone, some 70 additional Christian homes were invaded and pillaged, and "for the first time in the history of the conflict in Syria, an armed attack has been made on a Catholic monastery," partially in search of money.

And who are these "rebels" who see and treat Christians as sub-humans to be exploited and plundered to fund the "opposition" against Assad? In fact, many of them are Islamists, internal and external, and their "opposition" is really a jihad; moreover, they are acting on anti-Christian fatwas that justify the kidnapping, ransoming, and plundering of "infidel" Christians.

As in Libya, it is a fact that al-Qaeda is operating among the Syrian opposition; Ayman al-Zawahiri himself "urges the Syrian people to continue their revolution until the downfall of the Assad regime, and stresses that toppling this regime is a necessary step on the way to liberating Jerusalem." Even the influential Yusif al-Qaradawi and Hamas, the latter supported by Iran—Assad's ally—both back the "rebels." All these facts should place the "opposition"—who they are, what they want—in better context.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Obama, who was remarkably reticent when Iranians seeking Western-style freedom tried to revolt against the oppressive Islamist regime of Iran, made it a point to single out Assad by name as needing to go at his recent State of the Union Address (not that the Republican presidential candidates seem to know any better; see Andrew McCarthy's recent article where, drawing on America's other misadventures in Islamic nations, he shows how the U.S. has little to gain and possibly much to lose by supporting the anti-Assad opposition).

The lesson here is clear: while it is true that not all of Assad's opposition is Islamist—there are anti-Assad Muslims who do not want a Sharia-state—the Islamists are quite confident that the overthrow of Assad equates their empowerment. And why shouldn't they be confident? Wherever Arab tyrants have been overthrown—Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, etc.—it is Islamists filling the power-vacuums. Just ask Syria's Christian minorities, who prefer the dictator Assad remain in power—who prefer the devil they know to the ancient demon their forefathers knew....

ثوار ام...مصاصو دماء؟!

نبيه البرجي-

اجل، لمن شاهد بالعين المجردة، اذا كان لا يزال هناك من ضمير مجرد، اشلاء التلامذة الذاهبين، بوجوه الياسمين، الى مدارسهم، واشلاء العمال، بالايدي المنهكة والازمنة المنهكة ايضاً، وهم في الطريق الى عملهم، واشلاء الامهات اللواتي قصدن السوق في الصباح الدمشقي الذي طالما كان صباح الدهر فإذا به صباح الدم...
هذا بعدما ضبطت مستندات ووثائق حول خطط مبرمجة، وممولة خارجياً، حول عمليات انتحارية في المساجد والمقامات الدينية لكي تكتمل، نهائياً، صورة الحرب الاهلية التي اذا ما مضت في الايقاع الحالي، فأين ستكون سوريا، واين سيكون العرب؟
ألم ينزع احد حراس مقام محيي الدين بن عربي الذي لطالما اغتسل بالله، شعاراً كتب على الحائط بتعليق رفات هذا الصوفي، والمفكر، العظيم، على حبل المشنقة لان الساطور الذي يستثيره شبق الدم لا تعنيه العظام بل يعنيه اضافة مقبرة الى المقبرة؟
اي ثورة؟ واي ربيع؟ واي اسلام؟ نقولها لأساقفة الثرثرة في اسطنبول (تحت عباءة الصدر الاعظم) وفي باريس(تحت قبعة القناصل)، وبينهم من يتصل بنا عاتباً، او لائماً، او مؤنباً، او مهدداً( بالساطور إياه)، فنحن لا يعنينا النظام، ولا اهل النظام، ونقول ذلك في عقر داره، بل تعنينا سوريا التي عندما تستضيف، في القلب، محيي الدين بن عربي فكيف لها ان تتحمل فتاوى ايمن الظواهري؟...

ترد علينا احدى القنوات التلفزيونية، الناطقة باسم تورا بورا وكل من يمت اليها بصلة، وتوحي لنا بأن هذه ما هي الا البدايات. بدايات ماذا؟ أليس كل الذين سقطوا صبيحة الخميس الاسود من اهل الشام، اي من اهل بردى، وليسوا من طائفة اخرى، ولا من مذهب آخر، ولا من عرق آخر؟ « شوام اصليون»، فما الخطيئة التي ارتكبوها حتى تكون تحية الصباح، ومن استشهادي من اجل الاسلام، اشلاء اطفالهم في اكياس من البلاستيك؟
مرة اخرى، لا يعنينا النظام، ولا اهل النظام، ولكن متى يتخلى الناطقون باسم المجلس الوطني عن تلك العبارة الغبية، والعقيمة، بأن النظام هو من فعل ذلك، كما لو ان» الاستشهاديين» ليسوا «ماركة مسجلة»، وكما لو ان احداً لا يعلم ما هي توجهاتهم العقائدية والى اي جهة ينتمون، وكما لو ان النظام» فرّخ» استشهاديين يَقتلون من اجله، ويُقتلون من اجله، وكما لو انه من مصلحة النظام إياه ان يستيقظ اهل دمشق واهل حلب على دوي الانفجارات بل على دوي الاشلاء...

بدايات، والآتي اعظم. واذا كانت الولايات المتحدة قد وضعت كل ثقلها في العراق للقضاء على ابي مصعب الزرقاوي الذي قتل من السّنة اضعاف اضعاف ما قتل من الشيعة، فهل تستطيع السلطة في سوريا، بامكاناتها المحدودة، ان تواجه الذين يتسللون عبر كل الحدود، ودون استثناء، وعلى ظهورهم كل ليل الامم وكل ليل القبائل؟
هذا يعني ان سوريا مضت بعيداً، وبعيداً جداً، في المستنقع الدموي. قيل لنا ان على» باب كل زقاق سيكون هناك ابو مصعب الزرقاوي». ولنتصور ماذا يحدث في كل مدينة سورية، وفي كل قرية، اذا ما فتحت الابواب، وهي مفتوحة على مصراعيها مالاً وعتاداً، بعدما قرر من قرر عسكرة المعارضة. لصاحب القرار ان يتنبه، وقبل فوات الاوان، الى ان عرقنة سوريا، وقد تعرقنت، والى ان افغنة سوريا، وقد تأفغنت، تعني ان المنطقة دخلت، وكما كتب ديفيد هيرست، في الهزيع الاخير من النهاية...

هل يكفي ان يقول ضيوف الشرف على ضفاف الدردنيل ان هذا عمل من اعمال النظام كي يغسلوا ايديهم، وضمائرهم، من المسؤولية، وقد اصبحوا، بعدما باتت الارض بأيدي مصاصي الدماء لا بأيدي الذين يترنحون بين كؤوس الشامبانيا ونظريات الكسي دوتوكفيل حول الديموقراطية. زجاجات فارغة على الارصفة (والقول لمعارض محترم وليس لنا).
لم يعد هناك من مكان لضيوف الشرف هؤلاء، الا على الشاشات التي العديد منها يثير التقزز لكثرة الاجترار، ولكثرة النفاق، فيما الجنون يضرب سوريا، وسيضربها اكثر واكثر، ليكتشف جماعة المجلس الوطني، ما داموا لا يصرخون في وجه قتلة «الثورة» مثلما يصرخون في وجه قتلة النظام: «نحن لم ننتفض من اجل اسقاط سوريا، بل من اجل اسقاط النظام».
لكنهم يقتلون سوريا، ويكتفي معارضو الموائد الفاخرة والليالي الفاخرة بأن يرتدوا ثوب الببغاء، ولغة الببغاء، ولا يرتفعوا الى مستوى القضية، وهم المشتتون بين هذا الباب وذاك، ويعلنوا، ولكن بعد فوات الاوان، الحرب ضد القتلة اياً كانت هوية هؤلاء القتلة...

هذا عندما نمضي نحن اللبنانيين، والظواهري على حدودنا، في اللعبة إياها، اذ ليس المطلوب البتة مساندة النظام، او مهادنته، وقد فعل ما فعل، بل انها لحظة الضمير فينا، ان نقف في وجه مصاصي الدماء، وسواء كانوا على هذه الضفة او تلك، ولكننا نعلم، اذا ما تأملنا في خريطة المنطقة، ما اذا كان ذلك الوباء الايديولوجي، وهو الوباء الدموي، يتوقف في مكان...
انه شبق الدم حولنا، وقد يكون فينا. كان محمد الماغوط يقول» هذا الضمير العربي الذي بالكاد يعمل بالفحم الحجري»!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ايلي حبيقة افتدى لبنان واللبنانيين

ايلي حبيقة افتدى لبنان واللبنانيين

إن الإنسان المؤمن بربه وبكتبه المقدسة وبتعاليمه وبموت وقيامة السيد المسيح لا يموت، بل يرقد على رجاء القيامة بانتظار يوم الحساب الأخير، والرب الذي وهب الإنسان نعمة الحياة هو وحده يقرر متى يستردها وليس أي مخلوق أخر.

اليوم ونحن نصلي في الذكرى التاسعة لروح الشهيد النائب والوزير الراحل ايلي حبيقة نردد بايمان وخشوع ووقار ما قاله النبي أيوب رغم كل المصائب التي حلت عليه فيما كان الشيطان يحاول جاهداً إيقاعه في التجربة دون أن يتمكن من أن يحقق هدفه اللعين هذا كون إيمان أيوب بربه كان قوياً وراسخاً: "عرياناً خرجت من بطن أمي، وعرياناً أعود إلى هناك، الرب أعطى والرب أخذ تبارك اسم الرب". (ايوب01/21).

يقول السيد المسيح: "أَنَا هُوَ الْقِيَامَةُ وَالْحَيَاةُ. مَنْ آمَنَ بِي، وَإِنْ مَاتَ فَسَيَحْيَا" (يوحنا 25/11). إن تعلقنا بلبناننا الحبيب حتى الشهادة يعزينا ويقوي إيماننا ويرسخ الرجاء في نفوسنا ويساعدنا على تقبل غياب الشهداء الأبرار برضوخ كامل لمشيئة أبينا السماوي فهم لا يموتون بل يبقون أحياء في وجداننا وضمائرنا وقلوبنا وعقولنا وفي كل عمل نقوم به يهدف لخدمة ومساعدة الآخرين الذين هم بحاجة إلينا.

يقول الشاعر: "ما استحق أن يعيش، من عاش لنفسه فقط". لذلك فالشخص المؤمن يجد لذته في أن يحيا لأجل غيره، عملاًً بقول الرب، "تحب قريبك كنفسك" (متى39/22). ولهذا يحب كل الناس من أعماق قلبه وتكون محبته للآخرين محبة عملية حسبما قال الرسول يوحنا: "يا أبنائي، لا تكن محبتنا بالكلام أو باللسان بل بالعمل والحق". (1يو18:3).

هذه المحبة العظيمة، والله هو محبة، تتميز بالعطاء والبذل والتفاني سواء من الناحية الجسدية، أو الناحية الروحية. لذلك فإن الشخص المؤمن والمعطاء والصادق هو بطبيعته إنسان نقي وتقي وشفاف وصادق ومحب يخاف الله الذي خلقه على صورته ومثاله.

هذا الإنسان يجهد بفرح كبير ليكون خادماً يخدم غيره في كل المجالات، لا لأنه مطالب بهذا، وإنما لأن الخدمة جزء من طبيعته ونفسيته وثقافته، ومكون أساسي من مكونات كيانه الإيماني. في خدمة الآخرين يشعر بالحب ويتغذى روحياً من تقديم الخدمات أكثر مما يغذي غيره بها. وإذا كانت الخدمة هي من عمل الملائكة (عبرانيين14:1)، فكم بالأولى البشر. وقد أعطانا السيد المسيح المثال الأبلغ في هذا الشأن إذ قال: "ومن أراد أن يكون الأول فيكم، فليكن لكم عبدا، وهكذا ابن الإنسان جاء لا ليخدمه الناس، بل ليخدمهم ويفدي بحياته كثيراً منهم". (متى 20/27 و28)

جاء في إنجيل القديس يوحنا (15/13): "ما من حب أعظم من هذا: أن يضحي الإنسان بنفسه في سبيل أحبائه". وقال الشهيد النائب والوزير الراحل ايلي حبيقة: "إن الوطن الذي لا يفتديه شبابه بأرواحهم لا يستمر ويزول. إن خدمة الآخرين وبذل الذات من أجلهم هي أعمال مقدسة والمسيح الإله قبل الصلب والعذاب والإهانات وقدم نفسه على الصليب فداء للإنسان ليعتقه من نير وعبودية الخطيئة ويحرره.

إن الشهيد لا يطلب شيئاً لنفسه من مقتنيات هذه الدنيا الفانية، وإنما يسعي لنيل بركات الله ليستحق بجدارة أفعاله وإيمانه العودة إلى منزل أبيه السماوي، والمسيح قال لنا: "ماذا ينفع الإنسان لو ربح العالم كله وخسر نفسه". (متى 16/26).

الشهيد هو قربان طاهر يقدم نفسه طواعية على مذبح الله بمحبة واندفاع وفرح من أجل أحبائه تماماً كما هو حال كل شهيد من شهداء لبنان الأبرار. عرفاناً بجميلهم نقول أنه وبفضل استشهادهم بقينا، وسوف نبقى بإذن الله طالما بقي الشباب اللبناني مؤمنا بلبنان وبرسالته وعلى استعداد تام ودائم للشهادة.

الشهيد النائب والوزير الراحل ايلي حبيقة لم يمت لأنه باق في كل جهد وعمل يقوم بهما أي لبناني من أجل الحفاظ على سيادة واستقلال وحرية وطنه الحبيب، ولصون كرامة وعزة اللبنانيين، كما أن عائلة حبيقة هي نبع معطاء لا ينضب في دفق الإيمان والوطنية والشهادة للحق والشهداء من أجل لبنان الرسالة والقداسة والقديسين.

نصلي من أجل أن يسكن الله روح الشهيد النائب والوزير الراحل ايلي حبيقة فسيح جناته إلى جوار البررة والقديسين وأن يلهم عائلته ومحبيه الصبر والسلوان

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Snap shot of the World today and the dying criminal ZOG Empire...It ain't pretty...

  • A Snap shot of the World today and the dying criminal ZOG Empire...It ain't pretty...



COUNTRY FOCUS: Greece. Protester sets fire to himself outside Greek bank. It was the self-immolation of a Tunisian protester that caused the overthrow of the Tunisian government. The Greek government should go the same way -- a Revolutionary People's Council governing in Athens; Greek withdrawal from NATO, EU, World Bank, and IMF; nationalization of all key industries and banks; revolutionary tribunal trials for bankers; and expulsion of wealthy foreigners without compensation for their previously stolen Greek real estate. Let it be Greece where People rule is re-established, once and for all....!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

المناخ الإقليمي الذي تربص بالتجربة اللبنانية وأحبط تطورها

أزمة تكوين السلطة, جزء مهم من هذا التراجع كان المناخ الإقليمي الذي تربص بالتجربة اللبنانية وأحبط تطورها

يحصد العنف المزيد من الضحايا في غير بلد عربي. لا يقبل الحاكم مشاركته في السلطة ولا يقبل التنازل عنها طوعاً. كل الحكّام العرب استولوا على السلطة وكوّنوا من حولها شرعية ومبررات. قلة منظمة فاعلة تسيطر على مجتمعات تم إلغاء دورها وقدرتها على التأثير في السياسات الجارية. لم يعد هذا الأمر ممكناً اليوم حين صار الجمهور خارج «الأمية السياسية». هذا المتغير الكبير في ثقافة المنطقة هو الثورة بذاتها. تريد الشعوب العربية أن تختار وتشارك وتراقب وتحاسب شأنها شأن معظم شعوب العالم. هذا المخاض يصدر عن محرّضات كثيرة سياسية واجتماعية وثقافية.

مجتمعاتنا التي استوعبت هذا الكم من الكبت والعنف السلطوي لا بد أنها تضخ عنفاً مضاداً. هذا الاشتراك في العنف المتبادل دليل على أزمة ممارسة السياسة وتخلف المستوى السياسي لا على نزعة جوهرية في ثقافة المنطقة. الثقافات الحصرية الدينية أو المدنية تساهم في شحن السلوك العنيف وهذا ما حصل ويحصل في أي بيئة غير البيئة العربية. مجرد أن تكون في حال من الإلغاء المتبادل معنوياً، والعجز عن إدارة حوار بين أطراف يجب الاعتراف بوجودها نذهب إلى العنف فوراً.

ينطبق الأمر على التجربة اللبنانية التي قفزت من الليبرالية السياسية إلى الفاشية الطائفية نتيجة المأزق الذي بدأ في الحرب الأهلية. تأصلت هذه الثقافة وتوسعت لتشمل كل القوى السياسية حيث لا حلول سياسية للمشكلات يتقدم العنف.

العنف ليس ظاهرة قوة بل ظاهرة فشل. اجتاز اللبنانيون محطات كثيرة من التسويات ثم خرجوا عليها. خرجوا على التسويات لأن الحلول السياسية لم تكن جذرية بمعنى أنها لم تعالج جذور المشكلات. يدور التاريخ اللبناني على نفسه بسبب البحث عن فكرة الهيمنة والغلبة لا عن فكرة المساواة.
شجع على هذا الأمر سهولة الحصول على القوة المادية والرهان عليها. لكن أي طرف لبناني حقق مكتسبات ومميزات وامتيازات لم يستطع أن يجعلها شرعية وطنية. كل آليات التحكّم أو التوازن بين مواقع السلطة برغم عدم تساويها في الفاعلية هي موضع طعن وحسد الطرف الآخر. لا نعرف على وجه اليقين أين مرجعية السلطة وأين العقدة وأين الحل بين جميع المؤسسات لأن الممارسة تنتمي إلى قوى الأمر الواقع لا إلى القواعد الدستورية.

تراجع المجتمع اللبناني عن الخيار اللاطائفي. في جزء مهم من هذا التراجع كان المناخ الإقليمي الذي تربص بالتجربة اللبنانية وأحبط تطورها. في أساس «الخوف اللبناني» هذا البعد الإقليمي الذي تعاظم في هيمنته على لبنان وهو الذي يكبح رغبة اللبنانيين في البحث عن صيغة متقدمة لعيشهم واجتماعهم السياسي. في هذه اللحظة بالذات ما يزال الأفق العربي غامضاً، لأن النظام العربي قد جرى تدويله ولم تعد احتمالاته موقوفة على فاعلية القوى المحلية. في شكل ما هذا «خوف عربي» لا يمكن تجاهله. لكن هذا العنف ليس إلا ردة فعل على مساكنة بالإكراه بين أشكال السلطة والجمهور وليس بين مكونات المجتمع. هذه هي التجربة اللبنانية في وجهها الإيجابي، أي الصراع بين التفكك والوحدة، بين الخصومة السياسية والرغبة في العيش معاً. لم يطرح سؤال العيش في لبنان إلا على قاعدة الصراع على السلطة. في كل مكان من دنيا العرب أزمة العلاقات الشعبية أو الأهلية هي أزمة تكوين السلطة لا أزمة تنابذ الهويات الثقافية الفرعية، في العراق واليمن والبحرين والسودان وليبيا وسوريا ومصر ما يحصل هو حادث تاريخي مستجد، هو ظاهرة اجتماعية نشأت في ظروف تداعيات الفشل عن إدارة مجتمعات بواسطة الاستبداد. يتفق الجميع أن الحال لم تكن قبل نصف قرن على هذا المنوال ولن تكون في المستقبل كذلك.

الإسلام السياسي حدث عارض في الشكل الذي يتصدر فيه المسرح الآن. ربما يتجه نحو المزيد من الانغلاق وربما نحو مزيد من الحرية. لكن ليس هذا الاحتمال في عالم الغيب طالما أن واقع العصر وتحدياته يفرضان منطق الملاءمة. هكذا لا تعود تجربة أي بلد عربي أو مسلم بنجاح التعددية شذوذاً واستثناءً ولا يجب أن نفهمها كذلك. عاش العرب عقوداً طويلة في ظل أنظمة شبه علمانية أو مدنية. لم تكن عوائق تطور تلك الأنظمة ثقافة شعوبها الإيمانية بقدر ما كانت ثقافتها السياسية السلطوية. الأنظمة السياسية التي أدارت الحياة الوطنية هي التي أنتجت كل الظواهر السلبية لواقعنا الراهن.

لم تعد المفاضلة الآن بين الاستقرار وبين الحركات الشعبوية ذات الثقافة التقليدية. ما يحصل أن المنظومة ذاتها بعنصريها السلطوي والشعبوي قد انفجرت أمام احتياجات التغيير والتطور. معظم جمهور المجتمعات العربية يعاني هذا الحصار بين شكلين من السياسات التي تنطوي على إقصاء وتهميش وإلغاء، أو على احتمالات السيطرة.

لبنان نفسه في هذا المستوى من التحدي بسبب تقاطع ثقافة الاستبداد والثقافة الطائفية. لا تضمن الدساتير وحدها كل شيء. هذه الموجة الصاخبة من التأزم السياسي لا بد أن تنحسر أمام واقع جديد يفرض نفسه في المنطقة. القبول بالتعددية والقبول بالآخر ثقافياً وسياسياً من شروط الاستقرار والعيش والتصدي لقضايا ومشكلات تتفاقم خارج اللغة الإيديولوجية الدينية والمدنية. الثورة ليست إلا لحظة في التاريخ والعنف كذلك. لم يتراجع «مشروع الثورة» بل بدأت مهمات ما بعدها

Isn’t the issue here that Lebanon isn’t a single nation – it is a geographic place in which there are a number of communities or ‘nations’ – Maronite, Sunni, Shiia, Orthodox, Melkite, Armenian, Jews, Druze and many other smaller denominations, numbering 18....

The Cabinet has always been like the U.N.S.C. – right of veto for the major players, with the smaller communities with smaller representation in the Non-Veto General Assembly (Parliament) where a seat is saved for minorities, for Armenian Catholics, two for the Alawi etc.

I have always thought Lebanon was the best in the region – but with Tunisia and Egypt now advancing, Lebanon will have to innovate and perfect that wonderful gathering Democratically...

And Lebanon is still superior to 20 of the Arab League state suffering tyranny, and far superior to what happened south of the border in Israhell, where 4 communities have claim to Holy Land but only 2 communities have full rights (Jews and Druze) while the other two (Sunni and Christian) either have no right to live in their own country or – if they are stuck in Gaza or West Bank – face tyranny of the sort that is typical in the other tyranny regimes like Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Syria....

Lebanon is best in the region – that is the record.

It has by far the best record in terms of openness and ability to participate in the Middle East in terms of record over the past 60 years. Turkey is ahead to day – but it had years under military dictators – and heavy media censorship – for significant periods over the last 60 years.

Lebanon leaves in the dust the apartheid states of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, the ”Jewish state’ in the south or anywhere else you care to mention.

Just consider the ‘Jewish state’ (in the geographic region to which equally valid claims exist for at least 3 significant communities – Orthodox Christian Palestinians, Jews & Sunni Palestinians: That is a state that says that those born in the country but of the “wrong” community are barred – yes barred! – from living in their own country and are confined to refugee camps in neighboring states.

The equivalent scenario would be were Lebanon to have barred large parts of its shiia or Druze or Sunni or Orthodox community to neighbor-state refugee camps – because they were the “wrong” race/religion/community.

That is a repulsive thought.

When Israelis (of Orthodox or Sunni background) try to walk back home, they are shot at by the IDF. Killed for trying to return home! And it isn’t even news – its been going on since the 1940s and getting no better. In Nazareth and Haifa and Jaffa – senior officials openly strategize in terms that may have made sense in 1890s Europe, make no sense in the global society of the 21st century.

If the Orthodox and Sunni subjects of the ‘Jewish state’ happen to live in the Israeli territories of Judea, Samaria, alquds and Gaza, they collectively put behind walls bigger than the Berlin Wall and are searched and humiliated daily if they want to travel five kilometers from Beit Lahem or Beit Jalla to attend church in Jerusalem.

Totally repulsive. Lebanon has by far the best record in the region – but the region’s record is so poor. The challenge in the wake of Tunisia and Egypt, is for Lebanon to stay up with the best in the region...

Monday, March 14, 2011

If Qaddafi wins, watch for the inevitable counter-revolution everywhere....

If Qaddafi wins, watch for the inevitable counter-revolution everywhere....

Counter-revolution already under way in Bahrain, Yemen and beyond, courtesy of USA's DOD/CIA/MOSSAD/MI6...

After the uprisings are crushed, will the people of MENA be able to frame a new modernism with freedom and democracy?

For what it is worth, I draw a sharp distinction between assisting rebels in an organic revolution, already begun by the people, in which the aim is self determination as contrasted to a Jacobin revolution that operates under the pretext of spreading democracy via military conquest.

The differences are stark and cannot be overemphasized.

Self determination by those involved in the rise of Islamic awareness may not lead to the freedom and democracy as envisioned by Westerners, particularly as was espoused by Jacobins who successfully promoted engineered revolutions built upon lies, including the pretext of spreading democracy.

The notion of "deconstruction" followed by "reconstruction" has little to do with self determination.

Anytime a Jacobin speaks of spreading freedom and liberal democracy in the Middle East, one, imo, should apply a strict scrutiny standard to determine intent.

Odds are reasonable that rebel leaders who are Muslim and educated as to US foreign policy in the Middle East would do the same. Could explain why so many say, “Yankee go home” or equivalent thereof.

If we want to become the “good guys” to use good professor’s words, then, imo, the focus should stay on self determination for the Libyan people and nothing more.....

No one anywhere on earth can believe a single word that comes out of the mouth of an American "leader" at this time. Period.

Extreme? Ask the "rebels" in Libya. Ask the victims of fraudulent foreclosures okayed by the Federal Reserve in the U.S.

If elected representatives lie constantly to the people, what is left?

As Jesuits say...there is an exception to every rule....

I think the benefits to the US reputation in acting for the Libyan opposition to a mad dictator, aside from the humanitarian considerations, are that exception. We should provide what the rebels request and only what they request.
But we all know that the US AF could get rid of Qaddafi in 20 minutes if we wanted to....

Libya, Syria, Jordan, KSA and the GCC for that matter, Yemen included.

All of them should be toppled pronto.
Saudi forces came to Beirut in 1976…they quickly left with their tales behind their backs…what are they doing in Bahrain and Yemen…?
This will inflame the whole situation even further…
If the WEST has any Brains left…they should redeem themselves and help the rebels in Libya YESTERDAY…..But I think it is exactly the opposite happening from Bahrain to Libya…courtesy of the US DOD planners….

Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Qaboos Bin Al Said of Oman, Abdullah II of Jordan, Bashar Assad of Syria – these autocrats cannot be hailed as stakeholders in Libya’s march to democracy…
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regimes are tottering on the abyss and themselves hoping NATO will salvage them. Their rulers keep their personal wealth of tens or hundreds of billions of dollars hoarded in Western banks and the umbilical cord cannot easily be broken….
(Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday: “I would like to ask NATO and the US with honor and humbleness and not with arrogance to stop their operations in our land. We are a very tolerant people but now our tolerance has run out.”)
The only “Arab revolt” Abdullah or Abdullah II ever knew is what British intelligence and Lawrence of Arabia financed in the debris of the Ottoman Empire a hundred years ago….LOL…
A post-House of Saud Saudi Arabia will involve inventing a new political culture and the new economic contracts that would go with it, ones that will be indigenous and, hopefully, democratic in new and surprising ways…

Which brings us back to Turkey. It’s perfectly feasible that Islam will be one of the building blocks of something entirely new, something no one today has a clue about, something that will resemble what was, in Europe, the separation between politics and religion. In the spirit of May 1968, perhaps we can even picture an Arab Banksy plastering a stencil across all Arab capitals:

Imagination in Power!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Those CIA tools within the Maronite Church....

Unless a denomination has apostolic continuity and the very same faith as the one "the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers" it cannot be considered stricto-sensu 'Christian'.

I hope that I am not misunderstood on this point....

The Opus Dei Patriarch and the CIA....

Beshara Al-Ra3i is positioning himself to become the next Patriarch....and he is one of those CIA tools within the Maronite Church....unfortunately....

Bechara Raï is Opus Dei/CIA. He will be implementing the politics/policies of the Vatican...more and more tied to CIA. Period...Since CIA still controls Syria fully...despite the loud mouthed Baathists in Damascus...the Patriarch will come out fully supporting the ASSAD Mafia in Syria soon regardless its sordid deeds in Lebanon, together with the infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant....courtesy of CIA shenanigans....

أبلغ مرجع روحي مسيحي في العالم، زار المنطقة مؤخراً، بعض القيادات اللبنانية أن دعم العـاصمة الأميركية الكبرى للنظام السوري لن يتغير قيد أنملة

DEC. 2011....LOL

There are also other "secrets" about this man which I will not indulge into right now... Suffice it to say that people should pray to God, Jesus, Mary, the Saints and the Angels...and stay away from the crooked Clergy, at least some of them, because not all of them are devious....there are some who are Saints in today's world and we should respect them and encourage them in their Devotion to Christ and our Virgin Mary.

Michel Sleiman is a CIA Puppet as well..., Unfortunately....

قال شو روما بدها حدا حيادي!!! بس مشوار سليمان على روما ما راح ديعان.... يا عيب الشوم وين صار الدين والكنيسة

Bshara Al-Ra3i is a CIA stooge lock, stock and Barrel, has been for years....
It seems that the Whole Vatican apparatus is run by CIA. Period.

It's utterly Pathetic and disgusting to say the least...

من تلاتين سنة كتب زياد الرحباني غنيّة: راجعة بإذن الله ، على أنحس بإذن الله ، لا تفكّرها عم بتتقدّم ، راجعة بإذن الله

فالراعي الذي كانت مواقفه السياسية في غالب الأحيان تميل في اتجاه تبني كل ما يصدر عن تيار المستقبل وحلفائه، وتسويقه عبر إعطائه صبغة "مبدئية"، ورفعه من إطاره السياسي الضيق إلى سياق وطني عام، والراعي الذي كان يرفض أن يرى احتمال الخطأ في أي خطوة يقدك عليها رئيس الجمهورية ميشال سليمان، انطلاقاً من موقف كنسي عام تجاه الرئاسة المارونية، ولكون سليمان ابن رعيته... هذا الراعي نفسه الذي كاد أن يعارض العودة إلى قانون انتخاب نيابي على أساس القضاء رافعاً شعار "عدم العودة ستين عاماً إلى الوراء"، وهذا الراعي الذي سأله أحد الصحافيين يوماً عن رأيه في القانون الانتخابي الأفضل، فلم يحصل على جواب يتخطى العموميات، مكتشفاً أن المطران المذكور لا يدرك تفاصيل التوزع المذهبي للناخبين في المناطق، وتحديداً في العاصمة بيروت... هذا الراعي نفسه قال، وفي شكل مفاجئ بتاريخ 23 شباط 2011، ورداً على سؤال عن تشكيل الحكومة الراهنة، والحديث الدائر على خلاف بين الرئيس سليمان ورئيس تكتل التغيير والإصلاح العماد ميشال عون حول حقيبة الداخلية والبلديات، قال: "الحل ليس بإعطاء رئيس الجمهورية وزراء لأنه يصبح حزباً ويصير بالتالي طرفاً. الحل هو بتعزيز الصلاحيات الرئاسية عبر تخطي المشكلة التي بدأت في اتفاق الطائف الذي أوجد ثغرات في الدستور اللبناني تتعلق برئيس الجمهورية. رئيس البلاد ليس رئيس حزب أو تكتل نيابي ليعطى وزراء، وهذه المشكلة الحصصية بدأت في الدوحة لخلق توازن بين فريقين متنازعين، وهذا الأمر لم يعد قائماً في الحكومة العتيدة. أما القول بأن كل الحياديين هم مع الرئيس فليس صحيحاً على الإطلاق".

يوم كان البحث قائماً لتشكيل حكومة سعد الحريري، خرج البطريرك الماروني مار نصرالله بطرس صفير بنظرية مفادها أن "العربة التي يجرُّها حصانان لا يستقيم مسارها"، لأنه كان يرفض دخول المعارضة السابقة في الحكم، ويريده كاملاً لتيار المستقبل وحلفائه.

أما اليوم، وبعدما صار ما يسمى تجمع 14 آذار خارج السلطة، فنسي البطريرك الأحصنة وصار مع حكومة وحدة وطنية.

وكما بالنسبة للبطريرك، كذلك بالنسبة إلى الراعي، فهل لموقف الأخير علاقة بالتحولات السياسية التي حدثت، أو تلك الكنسية التي ستحدث؟ أم أن الأمر مجرَّد تطبيق جديد لمعادلة شاوول- بولس الإيمانية المعروفة، والتي تطبق حيناً في شكل صحيح، وأحياناً في صورة معكوسة؟

لقد أثبتت السعودية دائما ومنذ سبعينات القرن الماضي والوقائع عربياً وعالمياً، انها طائفية حتى العظم تُدخل البلد في حرب الحضارات بالشعارات التي ترفعها، وهي شعارات عنصريّة وتحريضيّة وداعمة لسلطة ومال طائفتها وأميرها الحريري في لبنان

على القضاء المختص التحرك تلقائيا وفورا لرفع الحصانات ومحاسبة المفتنين والعابثين بالامن الاهلي... يجب تطبيق القانون ووقف الشحن المؤذي

أن الأمر قد انتهى وان الإستراتيجية قد حُسمت منذ أن تم التوافق في البيان الوزاري لحكومات على معادلة "الجيش والشعب والمقاومة" التي تمثل أفضل صيغة دفاعية

بدنا هيك رئيس يعمل حكومة بلا عملاء اسرائيل, و يفتح كل الملفات

الحريري ومسيحيّو أميركا ينفذون هذه الاستراتيجية بمهاجمة سلاح المقاومة ودعم المحكمة....

ميشال سليمان من ألغام وعملاء أميركا ولا يُمثّل حليفاً مسيحياً يُمكن التعويل عليه جدياً في تأليف الحكومة أو في الانتخابات النيابيّة
في لقاء البطريرك الماروني مار بشارة بطرس الراعي مع الرئيس الفرنسي نيكولا ساركوزي عبّر البطريرك عن مخاوفه إزاء ما يحدث في العالم العربي وبخاصة في سوريا ومدى انعكاسه على الأقليات، محذراً فرنسا من السير في مشروع إطاحة نظام الرئيس الأسد بقوله: "إحذروا من استبدال نظام متشدد في سوريا بنظام أكثر تشدداً "، هذه الهواجس المشروعة تأتي ضمن سياسة جديدة يتبعها الفاتيكان تجاه المسيحيين المشرقيين، هي بمثابة إنذار أخير لما يتهدد المسيحيين العرب في وجودهم في هذا الشرق.

هذه السياسة الجديدة التزمتها بكركي والتي يعبر عنها البطريرك الراعي في خلال جولاته على المناطق اللبنانية، جولات الهدف منها توجيه رسالتين: الأولى الى المسلمين وهي رسالة تعايش وصفه الراعي بالنموذج الذي لا يملكه الغرب المسيحي، والثانية الى المسيحيين للقول ان البطريرك هو الذي يزور رعيته ويتفقد أحوالهم مشجعاً إياهم البقاء في ارضهم وعدم بيعها للإنتقال الى المناطق المكتظة مسيحياً، بل الاستمرار في التفاعل مع محيطهم المسلم بغض النظر عن عددهم في هذه المناطق، هي الرسالة نفسها التي يوجهها الفاتيكان على مستوى المشرق العربي لإبقاء المسيحيين في أوطانهم وعدم مغادرتها باتجاه الغرب المسيحي لإدراك الفاتيكان اهمية الكنيسة الشرقية في حماية المسيحية نفسها من الضلال.

أمّا في السياسة وعلى رغم عدم جواز إلباس هذا الموضوع رداء لا يناسبه، فبعض الأطراف المحلية المتضررة من السياسة الجديدة لبكركي أخذت الموضوع الى زواريبها الضيقة واضعة كلام الراعي في إطار زمني ومكاني ضيق؛ هي قوى الأقلية التي تنقسم بدورها الى قسمين: مسيحيي 14 آذار بمصطلحاتهم الخاصة من جهة، والسلفيين المدعومين من حزب المستقبل من جهة أخرى.

الفريق الأول كان أكثر غيرة على التطرف في الاسلام من السلفيين أنفسهم، (وللتوضيح فقط، ان مصطلح السلفيين وهم عدة ملل، منهم السلف الصالح، وأنا لا أقصده هنا، أما الذي أشير اليه هو السلفي التكفيري؛ ونقدي يندرج فقط في اطار الكشف عن النزعات العنصرية والسياسية التي تحملها معتقداته، ولا أنوي مناقشة أي فلسفة فكرية أو عقيدة دينية، والأخوان المسلمون يدرجون حالياً في خانة الاسلام المعتدل، لكن هم في واقع الأمر أبعد ما يكون عن الاعتدال بعكس ما يسوّق رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب اردوغان، هذه الدعاية تدعمها الادارة الأميركية والإعلام الأميركي في إطار خطة ممنهجة لوصول الأخوان المسلمين الى الحكم في الدول العربية، لتتمكن تركيا من استعادة سيطرتها على هذه الدول في حلمها لإعادة إحياء الامبراطورية العثمانية السيئة الذكر، وبالتالي لتمكين الولايات المتحدة من إعادة السيطرة على منطقتنا بعد فقدانها لها بفضل تحطم مشروعها على صخرة التيار الممانع والمقاوم.

ولكن ما هي مصلحة حزب المستقبل بدعم هذا التوجه السلفي في لبنان بالتحديد؟ وهم تحولوا في الوقت الراهن الى جبهة متقدمة في الدفاع عن هذا التيار في وقت كان حزب المستقبل يتباهى منذ سيطرة الحريرية السياسية على الحكم في لبنان بأنه يشكل الوجه المعتدل للإسلام، أما اليوم فيسير في ركاب حزب العدالة والتنمية في تركيا وحزب التحرير في مصر والأخوان في سوريا من دون ان ننسى إرتباطه الوثيق بالوهابية، الأكثر تطرفا من الأخوان، في السعودية.

والجواب واضح، بعد أن خسر هذا الفريق رهاناته في البقاء في السلطة، فشل نتيجتها في إكمال مشروعه بالقضاء على ما تبقى من مقومات وجود الدولة والإجهاز على الوطن، وحاول طوال هذه السنوات فتفتت الشعب اللبناني وتحويله الى ملل متناحرة متصارعة، فالحريرية السياسية أخذت العبر من تاريخ لبنان حيث كان شعبه بعيد أزماته المصيرية يعيد بناء الدولة من جديد لمحافظته على حدّ أدنى من تضامنه وتماسكه وبالتالي وحدته.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OSP and the Pentagon Assassins....

OSP, the Pentagon Assassins...and the Infamous White House Murder INC, Worldwide...

SST opposed the invasion of Iraq on the basis of a lack of justification. "Curveball," the Iraqi HUMINT source, provided false witness to American intelligence concerning supposed Iraqi biological weapons. He admits now that he deliberately did this to trick the US into going to war. He wanted Saddam gone. The neocon run "Office of Special Plans" in the Rumsfeld's DoD rammed "Curveball" down the throat of DIA....

The guilt for the bloodshed of Iraq rests with the neocons led by Dick Cheney and his criminal gang of assassins, who pulled the Inside Job of 9/11 and people like Wolfowitz, Feith and Perle....

We are now in the 10th year of the first decade of the ‘war on terror.’ So the inevitable anniversary assessments are beginning to make an appearance. Iraq reappraisals are back in vogue. They favor the drawing of balance sheets. They leave something missing – something of paramount importance. That is the effects on Iraqis themselves. Not Iraqis in the abstract, not as figures in a statistical category of sects. Rather, as flesh and blood and feeling persons. Frankly, most of the discourse about Iraq from day one has had a disengaged quality to it. That is the norm for dominant powers on the world stage; and for the seminar strategist. That was not always the norm by which Americans referenced war and violence

abroad in the 20th century when we truly believed in our proclaimed ideals.

To illuminate the point, here are some too readily slighted facts. 100,000 – 150,00 Iraqis are dead as the consequence of our invasion and occupation. That is the conservative estimate. Untold thousands are maimed and orphaned. 2 million are uprooted refugees in neighboring lands. Another 2 million are displaced persons internally. The availability of potable water and electricity is less than it was in February 2003. The comparable numbers for the United States would be 1.1 – 1.6 million dead; an equal number infirmed; 22 million refugees in Mexico and Canada; 22 million displaced persons within the country. We did not do all the killing and maiming; we did most of the destruction of infrastructure. To all these tragedies we are accessories before and during the fact.

Digits make less of an impact on us than observed reality. That is always the case. And very few have been in a position to see the human effects of our actions first hand. So let me suggest a couple of ways to approximate that experience. Go to your nearest cemetery; read and count the tombstones up to ten. Do that ten times, then multiply by a thousand. Try visualizing only half that number since it is in the nature of all of us to diminish drastically the affect and identity for those who are not part of our community. Step two: go to RFK stadium, imagine it full. Do that 3 times and then imagine them all – men, women and children - in their graves. Imagine. Imagine them hobbling on one leg, lying crippled or maimed on a cot in a cinderblock house. Imagine them as Americans – men, women and children – who placed USA stickers on their cars, hoisted the Stars & Stripes on holidays, lustily sang the national anthem. Imagine them all as the victims of an invasion and occupation by Iraqi Muslims who were deceived by their lying leaders who had their own dark purposes. An occupation that featured the likes of L. Mahmoud Chalebi IV and Bashi Bazouks of the Blackwater ilk. Imagine that these altruistic Iranians leave behind a Vice-Regal Embassy on the banks of the Potomac, giant airbases scattered around the country, and 550,000 troops (proportional) – all out of concern for our health and safety. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Imagine your counterparts in Baghdad now drawing up balance sheets.

Next Step: go back to the study and reconstruct your Iraq balance sheet.

Does this imply that pacifism is the only ethically acceptable conduct? No – but it does give us a better fix on the true meaning of our misadventure in Iraq. Moreover, keep in mind that the Iraqis never gave us permission to do those things to them. We willfully imposed our them based on the accusation of a pre-fabricated threat.

Who assigns value in the equation to the dead, the maimed, the orphaned, the distressed, the uprooted? Who assigns value to being free of Saddam's police? Who distributes the values among Shia, Sunnis, Kurds, Christains and Turkomen? Who decides on the relevant time frame? Who determines what constitutes sufficient evidence to support any of these judgments?

Who has the right, the authority, the legitimacy to do this? To do so before the event? To do so after the event in a post hoc justification of the actions that produced these effects?

Who is prepared to reach a definitive judgment? Is it God? Or is it those who instigated and supported those actions in the righteous conceit that they were acting as His surrogate? I place myself in neither category. “Let humanity be the ultimate measure of all that you do” is a Confucian admonition meant to guide the behavior of officials. America today pays it scant regard and it's utter corruption, criminality, murder, assassinations and is loathed & despised the world over....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2011: A Brave New Dystopia and Reagan's secret legacy....

A Brave New Dystopia and Reagan's secret legacy....

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled.

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:

“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.

“I don’t know what you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”

He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.

The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

Reagan's secret legacy....

Peter Chamberlin

On this, the one-hundredth birthday of Ronald Reagan, the Reagan worshippers are coming out of the woodwork. It seems that the self-appointed leaders of the “Tempest in the Teapot” party (or whatever they call themselves), even Obama himself, are trying to ride Reagan’s fame to new political heights. That’s good, because Reagan had a serious weakness, his notoriety associated with his extremist beliefs, which we should all take time to remember today.

Ronald Reagan did something very bad to this country; he planted a poisonous seed that has now put forth fully ripened fruit, in our own era, fruit which makes the heart cold and intoxicates the minds, filling them with visions of untold wealth and power. Reagan imbibed deeply on his own poison, giving substance to his own hallucinatory visions, which he shared with his followers. It his delusional military and economic theories that are directly responsible for the dual crises that threaten the civilized world today. His nonsensical faith-based “supply-side economics” theory (which George Bush described as “voodoo economics”) set loose the dangerous speculative economics that have plagued us, giving credence to the “borrow our way to prosperity” theories that have imperiled the world economy.

His was a “faith-based” policy, in that it required a leap of blind faith in Reagan’s promises, that the investor class would reinvest the enormous profits Reagan was sending their way, back into the American economy. Instead, they pocketed the cash, sending much of it to offshore bank accounts, or into building new factories in “Third World” countries, instead of modernizing American production lines. In short, Reagan promised that if we basically trusted his plan his rich friends would turn the American economy around, after he basically handed them the keys to the national treasury.

Deregulation took the lid off. In effect, financial institutions were urged to adapt the same policies used by the CIA over the years to raise cash for covert operations. Risky investments were encouraged, any investments, so long as there was some form of cash flowing or other capital to be used as new collateral for new loans, to increase investment pools for new ventures. Reagan unleashed a massive pyramid scheme, to use as a weapon to economically bludgeon Russia and its allies. In the end, all of us have come to feel the hard end of the economic weapon.

His crazy ideas of hiring militants to fight our enemies for us (so that the American military and the CIA might disavow the contracts) have lived on, eventually coming back to bite us all on the ass, in today’s “war on terrorism.” The war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, soon in Pakistan as well, are all clean-up operations, trying to eliminate some of the same militant groups which we have created to fight for us in the past.

The “Reagan revolutionaries,” who came to be known as the “neocons,” were masters in the science of propaganda, having spent their academic years studying European fascism (under the pretense of finding preventive measures with which to defend against new fascism). The key to effective propaganda is the ability to say one thing publicly and mean the exact opposite of that thing, revealing the truth only to a select group of insiders. The “neoconservatives” successfully took over the “conservative movement by using this technique. Both groups used the same words and phrases, but the neocons group lied about their definitions, using those words instead, as code words, understandable only to the elite, who knew that when Reagan spoke of reining-in the multinational corporations, he really intended to empower them. When he spoke of deregulation and privatization as being keys to unlocking the American economy, the insiders knew that only the wealthy few would be deregulated and that privatization would not improve anyone’s lives, other than the American oligarchs who would be handed vast segments of federal programs to cannibalize for their own profits, just like Russia’s oligarchs.

Which of Reagan’s many delusional values should Americans really want to “reconnect with”? The “patriotism” reflected in his “crusade for democracy,” which turned-out to be a front for international destabilization and limited warfare operations. His National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been behind every “colored revolution” in former Soviet space. The attempts by these funded groups to foment democratic revolutions in Iran, Tunisia and Egypt have manipulated growing discontent, to agitate the masses and initiate popular reactions against America’s favorite puppets, puppets which have been targeted by the NED revolutionaries for regime change. The conceit that motivates Obama’s minions to destabilize the Middle East and Africa, as well as Central Asia, to further American plans for world control is a threat to the entire world.

The events now unfolding across North Africa are another American psy-op gone public (SEE: Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising ), just like the recent Kyrgyz uprisings and the previous Future Movement attempts to ignite an anti-Hezbollah civil war in Lebanon. Having failed in its previous attempts to takeover the former Soviet governments through the so-called “colored revolutions,” and in its attempts in former Soviet Georgia to ignite a war against Russia, the American “deep state” has returned to its scheme to use democratic revolution to force its will upon the world.

Reagan’s team peddled a synthetic version of “democratic-revolution,” creating popular revolutions against targeted regimes, that were really not really “of the people,” even though they were obviously “by the people.” The legions of government scientists and psychologists had finally figured-out how to magnify negative emotions and to manipulate behavior, through a combination of bribery, threats and appeals to false ideals, so that the people themselves could be turned into guided weapons, much like the psychology of a suicide bomber. Reagan’s “Project Democracy” was a form of low-level warfare, capable of “weaponizing” the masses and directing them at their own governments.

Everyday people by the hundreds of thousands have been deceived by sincere-sounding agitators into putting their lives at risk in the streets, unleashing their anger in reaction to provocation. A real revolution “of the People” does not have an already formed “unity government” waiting in the wings, while agitators steer the “people power” revolution in the streets.

Every national politician since Reagan, of either party, has supported the chain of lies that the Reagan years have strengthened this country. All news media since the very beginning have promoted this idea, maintaining the fiction that this country has not been in regression, both economically and militarily, ever since Reagan unleashed his revolution. The sad truth is, that this country will continue its deadly downhill slide until we all realize just how badly we have been lied to by all of our leaders and take our own actions to correct the course that they have set us upon. Until we bravely face the truth about the total lack of truth in all of our national leaders and stand-up to them all, America is doomed.

Until we break free from this dumbed-down alternative America that Reagan has locked us into, by actually overthrowing the system that keeps empowering the cut-throats and the liars, we will never know true American greatness. Until we face the truth about who we are and understand why most of the world now hates us as the “evil empire” (a complete reversal of roles from Reagan’s world), we will not understand or see the path to national salvation which still lies open before us. Until the day that we take the future away from people like Obama and Palin, and Bush and Reagan, and Clinton and Gore, Bush and Cheney, we will truly have no future. Until we face the facts about just how wrong our leaders have all been and see the intricate blanket of lies used to cover their crimes, we will be unable to do anything to save ourselves.

Sitting idly by, while the Obama government endangers the roots of civilization itself, squandering any remaining investment potential in a failing gambit to save the American system of organized robbery and government by extortion, is not an option. If Obama is going to continue Reagan’s quest to overthrow the world order, forcing global “regime change,” then we will have no other choice but to defeat him and disrupt the great plan. If revolution is America’s last remaining exportable product, then it must also be revolution here at home.

There are two visions or ideologies that are propelling this country into the future, one of these visions promotes the idea that all of our counterfeit government leaders are instead, great men, with Ronald Reagan being venerated as perhaps among the greatest of all men. This political vision, or ideology, which has been carefully crafted by psychological warfare experts for our entertainment and control, glorifies what America has done to the world over the past thirty years, under the guise of sowing the seeds of Democracy and protecting them. This Reagan-worshipping cult of personality is content with Reagan’s original plan for a two-tiered America (kept in power by endless military adventurism), divided very unequally between a small, powerful, ruling elite and their mercenary force of bureaucratic technocrats, and the rest of us.

Then there is America’s alternative vision, one shared by a rapidly growing grass-roots movement, which focuses upon America’s secret military history. This vision, shared by much of the rest of the human race considers America’s string of “limited wars” to be a series of war crimes, military acts of aggression, which are more accurately defined as terrorism than as legitimate military action, since all of the mercenary forces hired or tricked into fighting for us have been “non-military combatants” (thugs, criminals and jihadists). In reality, America’s secret wars were dishonorable adventurism that real patriots or a heroic warrior class would not be associated with.

America’s alternative news services exist to post reports about America’s secret news, reports on countless little wars of aggression, that have been waged upon both friends and foes alike. Until America produces a generation of American leaders who are both willing to take-on the real debate about the American deep state at the state or national level and run on an anti-war-crime platform, then nothing will get better.

Reagan was not a “noble warrior,” riding on a white horse, come to save America. Nay, he was the slayer of America, riding a pale horse, come to finish-off what previous Empire-builders had started. Despite Reagan’s politically charged rhetoric, we know that the Empire he seduced us into helping him build was not American at all, except for a few of the multinational corporations with home offices in New York.

Reagan’s revolution was a counterfeit revolution, taking America in a direction the Founding Fathers never intended. History has been hijacked by an international cartel, intent upon creating a Fascist global government, subservient to the dictates of the cartel. Reagan and all those who come after him have merely been puppets of that international cartel. The sooner we all face that fact the sooner we begin a real resistance movement here in our homeland. Honoring Reagan or the forces he has set into motion is a disservice to the past.

The political crisis sweeping the Middle East is another part of Ronald Reagan’s dark legacy that is shattering into chaos even as the United States prepares to lavishly celebrate his 100th birthday.

Upon taking office in 1981, Reagan turned the United States onto a new course, away from Jimmy Carter’s intensive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and toward tolerance of the Likud strategy of expanding settlements on the West Bank and lashing out at Israel’s enemies in Lebanon and the Occupied Territories.

This Reagan-Likud cooperation also affected politics and media inside the United States. In the early 1980s, with Reagan’s assistance and blessings, a group of articulate operatives known as neoconservatives emerged as a powerful political/media force. Their dual role was to buttress U.S. support for the security interests of Israel and to rebuild a consensus around the U.S. global agenda, which had been shattered by the Vietnam War.

The neocons – through their work inside the Reagan administration and in key parts of the U.S. news media, such as The New Republic and the Washington Post’s opinion section – became, in essence, the arbiters of Washington’s conventional wisdom, setting the parameters of acceptable debate.

Even before the days of Fox News, their voices were prominent on the TV talk shows, the likes of Charles Krauthammer, Fred Barnes and William Kristol, or as publishers of influential opinion journals, such as Martin Peretz, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz.

As the Reagan era advanced in the 1980s, journalists and politicians who showed skepticism about U.S. foreign policy — the sort of attitude that had been common in the 1970s — were dismissed as “blame America firsters,” a phrase coined by Reagan’s UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Skeptics who continued to insist on challenging the Reagan/neocon propaganda saw their careers damaged or destroyed.

More malleable journalists ensured their status in the well-paying world of Washington media by bending to the prevailing winds. Many politicians did the same, recognizing the trouble they could get into by crossing Reagan’s team and its ideological heirs.

Reagan’s Middle East policy shifts — and the influence of the neocons — created space for Israel’s Likudniks to pay lip service to granting Palestinians a homeland while systematically encroaching onto more and more Palestinian land, a process that Likud called “changing the facts on the ground.” The expanding settlements essentially killed chances for a viable Palestinian state.

Reagan’s approach, in effect, turned the Middle East into a political pressure cooker with the Arab “street” steaming over the humiliations of the Palestinians and furious over the timidity of bought-off Arab leaders.

As the pressure built – with occasional outbursts of Muslim outrage, including acts of terrorism – Washington’s desire for “stability” required ever more repression. The Reagan administration stepped up security assistance to the region’s dictators.

Leading to Invasion

The cumulative effect of Reagan’s tough-guy legacy – and the neocons’ climb to the top of Washington’s opinion hierarchy – paved the way for George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq with remarkably little resistance from the U.S. media/political elite.

The Iraq invasion represented the fulfillment of the idea that American force could bring into line Muslim governments that resisted U.S. dictates or that threatened Israel.

In the heady days after Saddam Hussein was knocked from power, the neocons joked about whether to turn next to Syria or Iran. The thinking went that once those nation-state targets were neutralized Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas would have no choice but to beg for peace on whatever terms Israel deigned to offer.

However, events didn’t work out quite the way the neocons had diagrammed. After the initial victory in Iraq, the war went badly. The dreams of imposing pro-U.S./pro-Israeli regimes in Syria and Iran had to be deferred. Indeed, the U.S. ouster of Sunni leader Saddam Hussein in Iraq ended up increasing the relative power of Shiite-ruled Iran.

Closer to Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas – rather than pleading for mercy – grew stronger, while pro-U.S. dictators in places like Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan grew more unpopular. Many Egyptians sharply criticized President Hosni Mubarak for standing aside while Israel’s military pummeled Gaza in a brutal campaign in late 2008 and early 2009.

Meanwhile, the global financial collapse that marked the end of Bush’s Reagan-redux presidency added more steam to the Middle East pressure cooker, which was getting ready to blow. The only question was when.

The explosion started with a popular uprising in Tunisia, where the longtime dictator Ben Ali resigned and fled into exile. The popular revolt soon spread to Egypt, the most populous Arab country.

There, massive street demonstrations forced Mubarak to agree not to seek reelection, though protesters have kept up their demands that he leave immediately. Monarchies in Jordan and Saudi Arabia were shaken, too.

So, even as a lavish celebration is readied for Reagan’s 100th birthday — including a special act of homage to the late president at the Super Bowl — the Middle East is becoming just the latest part of his legacy to come undone.

The region now appears to be careening toward potentially bloody upheavals and possibly future war, especially if Israel with its high-tech weapons (and nuclear arsenal) fears its survival is threatened.

A Different Narrative

Things could have been very different if Reagan had not succeeded in wresting the White House from Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Carter was pushing a starkly different approach to the region, pressuring Israel to surrender Arab lands conquered in 1967 in exchange for peace agreements with its neighbors.

In 1978, Carter secured the first step in this peace process, the Camp David Accords in which Israel’s Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed to return the Sinai to Egypt in a peace deal.

However, Begin was furious, feeling that Carter had bullied him into accepting the arrangement. Beyond that resentment, Begin feared that Carter would use his second term to push Israel into accepting a Palestinian state on West Bank lands that Likud considered part of Israel’s divinely granted territory.

Former Mossad and Foreign Ministry official David Kimche described Begin’s fury in the 1991 book, The Last Option.

Kimche wrote that Israeli officials had gotten wind of “collusion” between Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat “to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Kimche continued, “This plan – prepared behind Israel’s back and without her knowledge – must rank as a unique attempt in United States’s diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.”

However, Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, “he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.”

In his 1992 memoir, Profits of War, Ari Ben-Menashe, an Israeli military intelligence officer who worked with Likud, agreed that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt.

“Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David,” Ben-Menashe wrote. “As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel’s back.”

So, in order to buy time for Israel to move more Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon.

The evidence is now clear that Begin found that new partnership with Ronald Reagan and his foreign policy team. Begin would do what he could to help Reagan defeat Carter in 1980, finally sliencing Carter’s incessant nagging.

Though Carter may not have understood his predicament, his position was even more precarious because he had made other powerful enemies, including the CIA’s “Old Boys” network. His CIA director, Stansfield Turner, had reined in their operations and cashiered some of their leaders, the likes of Ted Shackley who left the operations directorate and went to work for the campaign of former CIA Director George H.W. Bush.

In the Republican primaries, Bush competed with Reagan for the nomination but ultimately accepted the second spot on the GOP ticket, bringing along Shackley and a host of other disgruntled CIA veterans who were itching for payback against Jimmy Carter.

Carter’s human rights lectures also had riled America’s right-wing and anti-communist allies, especially after the brutal Shah of Iran was driven from power by a popular uprising in late 1978 only to get replaced by the similarly brutal Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Carter was viewed as a bumbling do-gooder who needed to be shown the door for the good of the Western world. Reagan, a former B-movie actor, may not have been the optimal replacement, but he was surrounded by Republican national security experts, including Bush, who knew their way around the global chessboard.

‘CIA Within the CIA’

In 1990, looking back on those events, legendary CIA officer Miles Copeland told me that “the CIA within the CIA” – the inner-most circle of powerful intelligence figures who felt they understood best the strategic needs of the United States – believed Carter and his naïve faith in American democratic ideals represented a grave threat to the nation.

“Carter really believed in all the principles that we talk about in the West,” Copeland said, shaking his mane of white hair. “As smart as Carter is, he did believe in Mom, apple pie and the corner drug store. And those things that are good in America are good everywhere else. …

“Carter, I say, was not a stupid man,” Copeland said, adding that Carter had an even worse flaw: “He was a principled man.”

The anti-Carter sentiments of “the CIA within the CIA” and Begin’s Likudniks appeared to stem from their genuine beliefs that they needed to protect what they regarded as vital interests of their respective countries. The CIA Old Boys thought they understood the true strategic needs of the United States – and Likud believed fervently in a “Greater Israel.”

Both groups saw Carter as a dangerous threat.

But the lingering mystery of Campaign 1980 is whether these two groups followed their strongly held feelings into a secret operation in league with Republicans to prevent Carter from gaining the release of 52 U.S. hostages then held in Iran and thus torpedoing his reelection hopes.

Carter’s inability to resolve that hostage crisis did set the stage for Reagan’s landslide victory in November 1980 as American voters reacted to the long-running hostage humiliation by turning to a candidate they believed would be a tougher player vis-à-vis America’s enemies.

Reagan’s macho image was reinforced when the Iranians released the hostages immediately after he was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981, ending the 444-day standoff.

The coincidence of timing, which Reagan’s supporters cited as proof that foreign enemies feared the new president, gave momentum to Reagan’s larger agenda, including sweeping tax cuts tilted toward the wealthy, reduced government regulation of corporations, and renewed reliance on fossil fuels. (Carter’s solar panels were removed from the White House roof.)

Reagan’s victory also was great news for CIA cold-warriors who were rewarded with the choice of World War II spymaster (and dedicated cold-warrior) William Casey to be CIA director.

Casey then purged CIA analysts who were detecting a declining Soviet Union that desired détente. He replaced them with people like the young and ambitious Robert Gates, who agreed that the Soviets were on the march and that the United States needed a massive military expansion to counter them.

Casey also embraced old-time CIA swashbuckling in Third World countries and took pleasure in misleading or berating members of Congress when they insisted on the CIA oversight that had been forced on President Gerald Ford and had been accepted by President Carter. To Casey, CIA oversight became a game of hide-and-seek.

Time for Expansion

As for Israel, Begin was pleased to find the Reagan administration far less demanding about peace deals with the Arabs, giving Israel time to expand its West Bank settlements.

Reagan and his team also acquiesced to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a drive north that expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization but also led to the slaughters at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Israel’s Lebanon invasion eventually drew U.S. troops into the Lebanese civil war, with 241 getting killed by a suicide bombing on Oct. 23, 1983.

Behind the scenes, Reagan also gave a green light to Israeli weapons shipments to Iran (which was fighting a war with Israel’s greater enemy, Iraq). The weapons sales helped Israel rebuild its network of contacts inside Iran while creating large profits which helped finance West Bank settlements.

In another significant move, Reagan credentialed a new generation of pro-Israeli American ideologues known as the neocons. That paid big dividends for Israel as these bright operatives fought for Likud’s interests both inside the U.S. government and through their opinion-leading roles in the major American news media.

In other words, if the disgruntled CIA Old Boys and the determined Likudniks did participate in the so-called October Surprise scheme to sabotage Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations and thus seal his doom, they surely got much of what they wanted.

Yet, while motive is an important element in solving a mystery, it does not constitute proof by itself. What must be examined is whether there is evidence that the motive was acted upon, whether Begin’s government and disaffected CIA officers covertly assisted the Reagan campaign in contacting Iranian officials to thwart Carter’s hostage negotiations.

This evidence is strong though perhaps not ironclad. A well-supported narrative does exist describing how the October Surprise scheme may have occurred with the help of CIA personnel, Begin’s government, some right-wing intelligence figures in Europe, and a handful of other powerbrokers in the United States. [See’s “CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter” or Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

It’s also clear that Reagan – after becoming president – did nothing to retaliate against Iran for the hostage-taking and instead rewarded Khomeini’s regime by secretly approving Israeli arms shipments to Iran. That hidden reality became apparent to some U.S. government officials after one of Israel’s supply planes crashed just inside Soviet territory on July 18, 1981.

In a PBS interview nearly a decade later, Nicholas Veliotes, Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, said he looked into the incident by talking to top administration officials who insisted that the State Department issue misleading guidance to the press.

“It was clear to me after my conversations with people on high that indeed we had agreed that the Israelis could transship to Iran some American-origin military equipment,” Veliotes said.

In checking out the Israeli flight, Veliotes came to believe that the Reagan camp’s dealings with Iran dated back to before the 1980 election.

“It seems to have started in earnest in the period probably prior to the election of 1980, as the Israelis had identified who would become the new players in the national security area in the Reagan administration,” Veliotes said. “And I understand some contacts were made at that time.”

If the October Surprise narrative is true, then Reagan’s Iran-Contra arms deals in 1984-86 would have been essentially a sequel, not a stand-alone story, with Iran getting more weapons in exchange for its help in freeing other American hostages then held in Lebanon.

Yet, whatever one thinks of the October Surprise story – whether you believe that the Republicans sabotaged President Carter or not – there can be little doubt that the shattering events of that period propelled the Middle East down a course that changed the region’s history – and has today left the world at another dangerous crossroads.

A three-decade epoch was begun with the neocons and the Reaganites emerging as the dominant forces in Washington; with stepped-up security protecting autocratic Arab leaders from the angry “street”; with Shiite-ruled Iran supplying militant Muslim organizations to undercut the mostly Sunni autocrats and to pressure Israel; and with Likud and its vision of a Greater Israel guaranteeing little sustainable progress toward a Palestinian state.

It was an epoch that Ronald Reagan and his foreign policy team helped launched in 1980-81; it was an epoch that Jimmy Carter’s second term might have prevented; and it is an epoch that may be collapsing into violence and disorder now.