Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Bystander Effect


If they're like most people in Eureka -- NOTHING!

Assault on the Subway: What Can a Bystander Do?

There are ways to intervene that don't involve putting yourself in danger.

It was nearly dawn on October 20, 2012, when Elisa Lopez hopped on the 4 train downtown from the Bronx* to head to her boyfriend's apartment. Lulled by the subway's rock and rumble, she fell asleep, head cradled by the Plexiglas divider between her seat and the doorway.

That's when one of the other riders, Carlos Chuva, sidled up to Lopez. He started caressing her, and put his hand up her skirt. Lopez did not wake as Chuva molested her. And no one on the train did anything to intervene, except for Jasheem Smiley, who captured about 30 seconds of the incident on his cell phone. When Lopez finally stirred and found Chuva's hands on her body, she says she punched him in the face. As she ran off the train onto the platform, she quickly glanced around the car, realizing that other passengers had been standing by silently.

"I stood there for a minute, like, What just happened?"Lopez told Cosmopolitanlast December. "I see some guy staring at me and the doors closed and the train left. I started crying, because I realized no one helped when this guy did something to me."

It seemed like a textbook example of the bystander effect: The more witnesses there are to an emergency, the less likely any one of them is to step in. The phenomenon is not a reflection of human heartlessness; it's more that our sense of personal responsibility is inversely proportionate to the number of people around us. When we see nobody else intervening, it normalizes and enforces an idea that there isn't a way to help—or maybe that help just isn't needed.

Last week, after more than two years of Lopez crusading for justice and working through the psychological trauma of the incident, Chuva was charged with first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault. His arrest was greatly helped by the evidence in Smiley's video—which, after the assault, traveled from his phone to a free porn website, then to Gothamist before going viral. Smiley, who came under fire for not doing anything to physically stop Lopez's assault, has stated that, in fact, he went immediately to the authorities with the video. But it's not clear how it made it online—which, as Lopez has stated, was a whole separate trauma.

"You should have been in my shoes to know what I was thinking," Smiley has said. "You shouldn't judge. I did the best I can."

What should have Smiley, or any of the other passengers on Lopez's train, done as witnesses? Can we blame the bystanders that her assault went on as long as it did?

"It's easy for outsiders to look at this story and say, 'How could you not help?' and 'What kind of people were they?'" says Dorothy Edwards, the executive director of Green Dot, an organization that offers bystander-intervention training for different forms of violence worldwide. "But put in the same situation, every person would run up against their own barriers."

By barriers, Edwards means the very legitimate cultural, psychological, or physical hurdles an individual might be confronted with when witnessing a violent assault like Lopez's. You might reasonably fear for your own life by physically intervening: Who knows if the perpetrator is armed? You might not speak the right language or know what to say to get them to stop. Maybe you've had your own trauma, and seeing something similar is too much to bear.According to a 2007 survey, 63 percent of New York City subway riders reported that they'd been harassed on a train. Ten percent said they'd been assaulted.

Faced with any form of violence, what can a bystander do? There's no single prescription, says Edwards. The trick is to recognize your own personal barriers in responding to an emergency, and then the range of options you actually have to help the victim. Whether you're in a crowd or all alone, "you can be direct, you can distract, or you can delegate," says Edwards. "Those are the basics."

Taking a direct tack is the most obvious option: You insert yourself directly into the situation to attempt to stop it. "But that's stranger danger," says Edwards. "Probably 97 percent of us would be intimidated by that."

And if that includes you, distraction is a useful alternative. You can make a noise, throw something against the wall, swear, talk loudly on your cellphone—anything to create a scene, and in a case like Lopez's, wake the victim up. "There is a lot of power in letting to perpetrator know they're being seen, and that neither they or the victim are invisible in this," says Edwards. "Making noise can also be a catalyst for someone else to step in and help in some other way."

If that doesn't work, or if you're not comfortable creating a distraction, delegate. Find somebody else who's willing to step in to help. "You can create momentum," says Edwards, by simply asserting to other people that something needs to be done.

And what about cell phones? Edward strongly condemns the fact that Smiley's cell phone footage made it online: "It's outrageous. It's its own broken law and violation." But, she says, capturing video is a legitimate and powerful mode of intervention. It lets the perpetrator know they're being watched, and can obviously be later used to prosecute, as with Chuvas. "Or you could just throw your phone at the guy's head," says Edwards, only mildly kidding.

Finally, maybe obviously, you can go the authorities. On New York City's subway, some cars are equipped with intercoms that you can use to alert the conductor. MTA has also been rolling out platform "help points" since 2011, which contact emergency personnel in a jiffy. A spokesperson from the NYPD, which patrols the subways, also pointed out that some stations get cell service, and you can call 911 that way.

Could cities do more to prevent public transit assaults? Studies have found that more law enforcement dedicated to patrolling transit could deter sexual harassment and assault. Surveillance cameras might help emergencies, too. As CityLab wrote in 2012, research shows that by making us all a little more self-aware, cameras can actually reverse the bystander effect. An MTA spokesperson stated that while most NYC buses are equipped with surveillance cameras, subway cars aren't—but a roll-out is in the works.

For Edwards, reducing violence is about creating an aggregate social effect, intervention by intervention—small, uncomfortable, and imperfect as our interventions may be.

"When we as a society watch something like that on the train happen over and over, it communicates two things: One, it says to both victim and perpetrator that what's happening is socially acceptable enough that none of us will act. And two, that to the other bystanders that this isn't worth reacting to in any way," Edwards says. "We can reset these norms by taking small steps to diffuse these situations. It's the sum total that counts."

As for Lopez's assault, "Watching that video made me want to vomit," Edwards says. "Of course I wish someone had intervened. But I also have empathy about how hard it is to act."

*CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Lopez was traveling on the 4 train from Queens." Lopez was traveling from the Bronx.

--Joe

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is This What's Wrong With the City of Eureka?

When the City of Eureka was looking for a new Police Chief they had, what was supposed to be several opportunities, meetings, where local Eureka citizens could voice their wants and needs in their selection. What I heard was the strong desire of the many to avoid hiring someone with the policing policy like the retiring Murl Harpham. However, the voting citizens had already voiced their opinions when they elected the various members of Eureka City Council. Those public meets turned out to be nothing more than a ruse to placate some people who honestly believed they might have some say in the actual selection - they did not. Problem was, the person ultimately responsible for that choice, the City Manager, was a person selected without any public input. So what did the people of Eureka get for a new Police Chief. Someone that serves the people of Eureka, someone that upholds and enforces law, or the City Manager who serves the political interest of the City Council? We've had over a year for him to define and answer that question. Tragically, from what I've observed, the Eureka people got another Murl Harpham. Either way, that's what the people voted for.

Ferguson City Manager Faulted in DOJ Report Resigns

The city manager of Ferguson, Missouri, has resigned in the continued fallout from a federal probe into systemic racial bias. In its report last week, the Justice Department blamed John Shaw for overseeing a municipal system that targets African Americans for arrest and then profits off of their fines. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced Shaw’s departure.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles: "I think the city and John came to a mutual agreement that we want to be able to move forward as a community. John and the city felt this was an opportunity to do that and start fresh."

As city manager, Shaw was the most powerful local official in Ferguson. His departure comes one day after the local municipal court judge, Ronald Brockmeyer, was also forced to resign his post. A court clerk and two police supervisors were forced out last week for sending racist emails.
Here's a description of the Eureka City Managers job in Eureka as detailed on the city's website.
"Duties and Responsibilities: Serves as the chief administrative officer of the City and is responsible to the City Council for the effective administration of all affairs of the City; attends all meeting and sessions of the City Council; recommends for adoption by the City Council such measures as deemed necessary  or expedient; ensures that all laws, ordinances, and policies of the City Council are faithfully executed; prepares and submits to the City Council such reports as may be required by that body and as he may deem advisable to submit; keeps the Council and the community fully advised of the financial condition of the City and prepares a preliminary annual budget for consideration by the City Council." [Emphasis added]
Then there's is this update on the Ferguson situation: 2 Officers Shot at Ferguson Protest Marking Police Chief’s Resignation - a rather tragic reality to the enforced blanket impunity.
Two police officers have been shot during a protest outside the Ferguson police headquarters early this morning. The shooting came just hours after Police Chief Thomas Jackson quit following last week’s Justice Department report finding widespread racial bias in the city’s criminal justice system. Jackson is the sixth Ferguson official to be forced out in the wake of the report, including the city manager and the top municipal judge. Police say both of the wounded officers have "serious" injuries.
All you have to do is listen to the explanations from St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and you know exactly why people are so upset in Ferguson. You can readily see what his attitude is.
Yet Belmar believes someone targeted the police, who have braved heated criticism for months, for a reason.
"These police officers were standing there, and they were shot just because they were police officers," he said. [Emphasis added]
Hardly.
--Joe

Monday, March 9, 2015

Real Heroes Still Live

This woman, Diane Nash, will make you proud to be an American. She is a real hero. Something I can't say about the gutless Democrats that walked with Barack Obama. Then there are the turncoats that brought Netanyahu into the austere halls of congress to disparage and insult the country and its President. More importantly she has solutions for dealing with corrupt elected officials and a government that doesn't work for the people. Unfortunately she conflates "nonviolent campaign" with a "campaign of noncooperation."

Civil Rights Pioneer Diane Nash: I Refused to March With George Bush During Selma Anniversary 
One notable civil rights activist who did not take part in this weekend’s commemorative march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma was Diane Nash, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She spoke at an event honoring civil rights foot soldiers and explained her opposition was based on the participation of former President George W. Bush. "The Selma movement stands for nonviolence and peace and democracy and fairness and voting rights. And George Bush stands for just the opposite. He stands for violence and war and stolen elections, and, for goodness sake, his administration had people tortured." She argues it is a "huge mistake for Americans to leave the future of this country in the hands of elected officials. … Suppose we had waited for elected officials to desegregate lunch counters, buses, and to get the right to vote. I think 50 years later we would still be waiting." 
AMY GOODMAN: After President Obama spoke, he walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge along with Michelle and their daughters, Congressmember Lewis, former President George and Laura Bush and few dozen others. One notable civil rights activist who refused to take part in the symbolic walk was Diane Nash, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Later in the day, she spoke in Selma and explained why. 
Coordinating Committee. Later in the day, she spoke in Selma and explained why.

DIANE NASH: After the event, there was a—like a march, and photographers. And I was all set to march with them. They had—they placed us—they had me in the front line. And then George Bush came out and got in the march. And I left. I decided I wasn’t marching anywhere with George Bush. The Selma movement stands for nonviolence and peace and democracy and fairness and voting rights, and George Bush stands for just the opposite. He stands for violence and war and stolen elections, and, for goodness sake, his administration had people tortured. I think this occasion was not appropriate for him to be here. I think for him to appear to be leading people involved in the nonviolent movement in this country, for photographs of that to go across the world would make it look as though we have sold out. I think that is an insult to people whose lives were taken—Reverend Reeb, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Viola Liuzzo. It’s an insult to me. And I think it’s an insult to everybody who really does believe in nonviolence.

That being said, I want to mention just a couple of things that I think might be of value as we continue the struggle now. And the first thing is, I think it would be a huge mistake for Americans to leave the future of this country in the hands of elected officials. Elected officials are not going to do what’s necessary in the interest of this country. It’s important—critical, in fact—that citizens take the interests of this country into our own hands, use nonviolence and make the necessary changes. I like to ask—suppose we had waited for elected officials to desegregate restaurants, lunch counters, public accommodations, buses, and to get the right to vote. I think 50 years later we would still be waiting.

My second point that I’d like to bring up is the issue of protest versus a nonviolent campaign. We’ve seen like the Occupy movement a few years ago, and now the hands up movement, and I believe that young people are on the right track. They are taking matters into their own hands. But one thing that I have observed is that I think sometimes we do not know how to differentiate between protest and a movement. In protests, it’s just what the word says: "I protest this. I do not like this." Very often, the powers that be know that we don’t like what’s going on, but they’re determined to do it anyway. On the other hand, a nonviolent movement or a nonviolent campaign starts where you are right now, causes you to set a very clear, concrete objective. And I like to say also that it should be a written objective. Nobody can give you what you want unless you know what that is.

AMY GOODMAN: That was civil rights leader and SNCC co-founder, Diane Nash, speaking in Selma on March 7th, 50 years after the first Selma march that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

--Joe

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I Couldn't Say This Any Better

Why not lob a nuke at the war profiteers?

By Tim Martin, Eureka Times Standard Newspaper


America is like the school bully that didn’t evolve after graduation. We are still beating up on weaker life forms and acting like we’re the toughest kid in town. Thanks to the dangerous and regressive thinking of our country’s leaders, we are hung up on power and colonialism … Whoops! Excuse me, I mean national security. We’ve been in an almost constant state of war since the 1960s. The U.S. spends close to a trillion dollars a year on our military but the war lobby believes this is not enough. Their mantra is more, more, more.

We have the scent of death in our nostrils and the stain of it on our hands. Why is America so addicted to bloodshed? Who’s in charge here? Why, it’s our military of course, a taxpayer-funded Ponzi scheme with an allegiance to the ultra-rich and a license to kill. Their adventures have become our burdens. Their profits are our sacrifices. Even worse, our paint-by-numbers politicians are either too dumb or dishonest to understand the damage this is causing.

We’re sick of the constant ruses, dodges, and lies from our military leaders. They create imaginary enemies to justify future increases in war budgets, enrich the MIC, and further impoverish our nation. We need to get out of the Toppling Dictators and Empowering Rebels game and stop arms manufacturers from dictating our foreign policy. It’s a recipe for disaster.

We’re tired of the depths of insincerity within our government. The amount of blood letting and de-humanizing of people who live outside (and inside) of the U.S. is sickening. America cannot solve religious war in other countries. Besides, we have terrorists to fight here at home. The KKK, the Family Research Institute and the Family Research Council immediately come to mind. These hate groups claim to be Christian, but they are to Christianity what al-Qaida is to Islam.

We’ve had it with conflict. It’s destroying our young men and women. Sending soldiers off to war and telling them to come back sound of mind is like telling a person heading out in a rainstorm not to get wet. Our troops return to us from countries where the ground can no longer soak up the blood that’s being spilled. They arrive home angry, frightened, and wrapped too tight. Others come home wrapped in body bags.

We’re nauseated with battle. We no longer fight for freedom, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. Our wars are waged to maintain an empire of banks and multinational corporations. We can count on one hand the number of times U.S. military intervention has worked since the end of WWII. We worry deeply about the unintended consequences of the next military venture, and the part our young men and women will play in it.

One does not have to be Sun Tzu to understand that the best way to win a war against terrorists is to stop making more terrorists.

We’re burnt out on hostilities and the lame reasons our leaders keep coming up with to start new ones. Crying wolf about “weapons of mass destruction” doesn’t cut it anymore. Chemical weapons are no different. It’s odd how chemical war becomes a “game changer” when small, powerless countries engage in it. Remember how we dumped Agent Orange from one end of Vietnam to the other? How about Israel and its horrifying use of white phosphorous on Palestinian civilians, and the chemical weapons we supplied Saddam with to use against Iran?

Is this a pathetic case of the pot calling the kettle black, or what?

We’ve had our fill of war. Americans are no longer in a blissful stupor of cheering on our favorite hawkish politician. We want to end the military bloodletting and our mounting war debt. We want to stop slaving and dying for greedy national security contractors. We realize that missile technology has made war seem “cleaner” and “more sanitized” in our collective minds, but only because we’ve become jaded by the horrendous collateral damage caused by a drone strike. We know that war does not create jobs or provide us with cheap oil. It only benefits companies like United Technologies, the Carlyle Group, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, and Halliburton.

So let’s turn off that patriotic music and put away those flag magnets. Banging the war drums is doing nothing to advance peace or preserve our national security. It’s time for Americans to forever say no to war. Are you ready to give peace a chance?

Tim Martin resides in Fortuna and writes this column for the Times-Standard. Email him at tmartin@northcoast.com.

I couldn't have said it any better. Other than add, if you really want peace stop cooperating with the psychotic police state and its lawless impunity. Stop voting for the corrupt liars and their arrogant gods.
--Joe

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The REAL Tragedy In Eureka

You can read all about it here. [UPDATE :: More fool's gold]

Their deceitful blog nonsense is the reason why the people of Eureka accept what happened to Tommy McClain with barely a whimper.

This statement is so misleading I call it an out and out deliberate lie.
"The point was simple and clear.  EPD makes a negligent mistake and kills an innocent young man…..too bad."
These scummy people, I call them "Blackshirts," as that's what they are, present the pretty face of decency, law and justice while offering the very opposite, that of corruption, lawlessness and deviant indecency. They would have everyone believe that "THEY" have stood behind the Tommy McCain family right from the beginning. When if fact they never pushed or advocated for a just legal resolution to his murder. The outgoing D.A. Paul Gallegos puts forth his worthless opinion on what happened and buries the crime with impunity and what do these people do? NOTHING, that's what - not a word. Right from the beginning all you herd from them was for the "family" to get "their justice" from the Civil Courts. Thus protecting the Eureka Police Department and its offending officers from ever paying any kind of personal criminal penalty. They whine and cry about the inaction and failure to take a verbal position by the City Council, in particular the two newly elected members. But, you'll never read anything from them that is a constructive solution to the matter. They chafe away at the Police Chief and one of his newly appointed Captains, while at the same time carry on and praise the virtues of the other Captain ad nauseum.

The simple truth is, according to already admitted facts by those involved, those officers deliberately murdered Tommy McClain in cold blood. To say otherwise is to support criminal impunity and lawless anarchy - the total destruction of law and order as epitomized in Chief Mill's so-called "thin blue line." The police are NOT the law. They are ONLY empowered with that right when the people believe they are and give them that right. Stop cooperating with the liars.

That is the real crime.

The average 99.9% of the people that live and work in Eureka are at war with that so-called "thin blue line." It's high time they got that simple fact figured  out. No one is going to come to their defence. Not the courts, the city councils, the county supervisors or anyone else. The police serve ONLY to protect them and their pocketbooks. As long as you want to be a second-class American, the police and their apologists will promptly oblige you.

There's  more on the City Council action in the Times-Standard March 4, 2015, edition:  Eureka City Council rejects McClain claim.

Also, maybe it's time for Tommy McClain's family and friends to take a lesson. Their Facebook Page.
--Joe

[UPDATE :: March 6, 2015]
I read in the Times-Standard newspaper yesterday that Rio Del City Council had approved buying and installing body cameras and other recording devices for their police. Then I checked local blogs to see what they had to say. The above blog links are good examples. Never you mind that the real issue is not more transparency by more video, which is already proven worthless to most District Attorneys and juries granting blanket immunity. Just another feel-good knee-jerk response from the weasel face good ol' boys and girls.

Unfortunately, the solution to this lawless corruption is not found in Eureka, Rio Del or anywhere else in Humboldt County. That is why I posted the above examples of what is and why it is. The blood of Tommy McClain screams at everyone.

By the way, if anyone is interested in a good example of a weasel face, 0.09% apologist, just read the comment section of the postings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Netanyahu in Congress - Deferring Sanity


Deferring Sanity
Netanyahu in Congress
by JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN

The special US-Israeli relationship is as secure today as it has ever been. There is no danger that Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress will have a “destructive” effect on our commitment to Israel’s “security”. After listening to National Security Adviser, Susan Rice’s, speech to AIPAC this evening, I shut off the television and realized, to my chagrin, that, if anything, Israel may even benefit from the international media soap opera touched off by Netanyahu’s hubris: shame on our political leaders, news commentators and spin doctors for allowing the personal animosity between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, divert us, yet again, from the real issues.

Bypassing President Obama, Netanyahu accepted an invitation by Senate Majority Leader, John Boehner, to address the US Congress on the topic of Iran. It would hardly surprise me to learn that this invitation was deliberately engineered to humiliate Obama publicly; to bolster the mainstream Republican agenda on Iran; and to elevate Netanyahu’s standings in the upcoming Israeli elections this March 17th. Whether his speech to Congress will, in fact, have a positive effect on the latter is arguable and depends, to some extent, on just how outrageous and duplicitous the content of Netanyahu’s lecture turns out to be.

A few things remain unclear: either Netanyahu doesn’t read the news, he is hoping that nobody else notices Israel’s de facto alliance with ISIS, or he is more concerned with poking Obama in the eye publicly than in the future of his country, a fact that would not surprise me. Focusing on the dangerous forces lurking in his “neighborhood”, Netanyahu singles out Iran, Lebanon (by which he presumably means Hizbullah), Syria, and Hamas. Unlike most Americans, Netanyahu views the potential of a nuclear capable Iran as a greater threat to regional stability than the spread of ISIS and extremist groups, such as al-Qaida.

With even Saudi Arabia, fearing Blowback, reversing course on its official policy toward ISIS by making it illegal for its nationals to fight in foreign wars (an about face from the nation whose extremist, fundamentalist form of Islam — Wahhabism — has been among its leading exports for over 40 years, and certainly its deadliest) it is that much more disturbing to note the silence echoing from Tel Aviv.

Instead Netanyahu has regaled us with tirade after tirade on the ramifications of an Iranian nuclear bomb and the existential threat it poses little Israel — ironic since Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has categorically stated that his country doesn’t want one.

Why would he lie? A nuclear-armed Iran would be its country’s suicide note to the world before being “obliterated” (to use former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s, word) by the United States. Iran would like to acquire nuclear technological know-how – not an atomic arsenal – the sanest possible acquisition in a ‘neighborhood’ where the only nuclear-armed power, Israel, threatens Iran’s destruction almost daily, and has wreaked havoc on the region routinely for nearly 7 decades. How else might Iran succeed in deterring Israeli militarism, and how else might Iran – a country whose conventional armed forces barely allow a defensive capability – move forward into a future in which it is not bullied and brow-beaten into submission, preferring instead to seek the option of independent energy efficiency, and freedom from a regional hegemon whose godfather already enjoys unrivaled authority over most of that hemisphere?

All speculation aside, what strikes me as the most obvious piece of information to re-emerge from the tempest now brewing in Washington is that Benjamin Netanyahu is an unscrupulous, scheming, vile man who has taken the meaning of “chutzpah” to new heights in his display of unseemly and undiplomatic behavior. That no world leader has yet demanded that he and his regime be made to answer for its brutally criminal, scandalous policies time and again compels us to recognize how grievously weak and flawed the ‘international community’ is, and by extension, how depraved those leaders are whose actions are considered most synonymous with it. It takes the unknown human rights organizations on the ground in the Gaza Strip, the Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Palestine Center for Human Rights, to have to beseech the world repeatedly, day after day, to compel Israel and the United States to adhere to the most fundamental precepts of international law and accepted standards of humanitarian and diplomatic behavior.

What we are watching today, and have been a party to for the past few weeks is yet another media-political circus for the sake of narrow sectarian interests. A genuine rift in US-Israeli relations would manifest itself in long overdue concrete policies the US would demand of its client regime: an immediate end to the building of illegal Jewish settlements on all occupied Palestinian land; recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state; a full moratorium on the on-going theft and use of natural resources outside the boundaries of the Green Line, or borders that existed prior to June 4th, 1967; a complete withdrawal of all military checkpoints and barriers within occupied Palestinian land; an immediate halt to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the withholding of tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority, and the closure of crossing points into and out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

It would mean the end to all restriction of movement by Palestinians to and from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and the right of any Palestinian to return to that land now recognized by a majority of the world’s nations as a Palestinian state.

In short, a genuinely ‘destructive’ rift in US-Israeli relations would suggest at the very least a beginning to the end of America’s unconditional support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine. It would commence the end to an occupation whose accompanying militarization and brutalization has had ramifications for countries as far away as Iran and that will continue to contribute to the growing havoc and destruction Western colonial and United States’ imperial history have wrought on the region we know as the Middle East.

Jennifer Loewenstein is a human rights activist and faculty associate in Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be reached at: amadea311@earthlink.net

Some additional information on this subject from Noam Chomsky.
--Joe

Friday, February 27, 2015

US Propaganda Driving Situation Toward War

Washington has destroyed trust between nuclear powers, thus raising the specter of war

What is the purpose behind Washington’s cause and misrepresentation of the Ukraine conflict?
Ambassador Jack Matlock made an important speech at the National Press Club on February 11. Matlock served as US ambassador to the Soviet Union during 1987-91. In his speech he describes how President Reagan won the trust of the Soviet leadership in order to bring to an end the Cold War and its risk of nuclear armageddon. 
Reagan’s meeting with Gorbachev did not rely on position papers written by staff. It relied on a hand-written memo by Reagan himself that stressed respect for the Soviet leadership and a clear realization that negotiation must not expect the Soviet leaders to do something that is not in the true interest of their country. The way to end the conflict, Reagan wrote, is to cooperate toward a common goal. Matlock said that Reagan refused to personalize disagreements or to speak derogatorily of any Soviet leader.
Matlock makes the point that Reagan’s successors have done a thorough job of destroying this trust. In the last two years the destruction of trust has been total.
How can the Russian government trust Washington when Washington violates the word of President George H.W. Bush and takes NATO into Eastern Europe and places military bases on Russia’s border?
How can the Russian government trust Washington when Washington pulls out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and places Anti-Ballistic Missiles on Russia’s border?
How can the Russian government trust Washington when Washington overthrows in a coup the elected government of Ukraine and installs a puppet regime that immediately expresses hostility toward Russia and the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and destroys Soviet war memorials commemorating the Red Army’s liberation of Ukraine from Nazi Germany?
How can the Russian government trust Washington when the President of Russia is called every name in the book, including “the new Hitler,” and gratuitously accused of every sort of crime and personal failing?
Washington and its neoconservative monsters have destroyed trust with demonization and blame of Russia for violence in Ukraine for which Washington is responsible.
Washington has forced Europe to impose economic sanctions on Russia that are based entirely on lies and false accusations. The Russians know this. They recognize the blatant hostility, the blatant lies, the never-ending crude propaganda, the hypocritical double-standards, the push toward war.
Simultaneously China is experiencing hostile encirclement with Washington’s “pivot to Asia.”
By destroying trust, Washington has resurrected the threat of nuclear armageddon. Washington’s destruction of trust between nuclear powers is the crime of the century.
On February 24, I held accountable Alexander J. Motyl and the Council on Foreign Relations for publishing on February 5 a large collection of blatant lies in order to create a false reality with which to demonize the Russian government. I observed that the publication of ignorant nonsense in what is supposed to be a respectable foreign policy journal indicated the degradation of the Western political and media elite.
I did not think things could get any worse, but one day later I came across Andrew S. Weiss’ article in the Wall Street Journal. 
Weiss’ article is the most amazing collection of misrepresentations imaginable. It is impossible to believe that the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment could possible be so totally misinformed. The false reality that Weiss creates precludes any diplomatic resolution of the conflict that Washington has created with Russia.
What is the explanation for Weiss’ misrepresentations of Putin, the origin of the conflict and the cause of its continuation?
Recalling the confession of Udo Ulfkotte, an editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, that he published under his name articles handed to him by the CIA and that the entire European press does the same, was Weiss handed the disinformation by the CIA, or by Victoria Nuland, or is the answer simply that Weiss worked on Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Defense Department and is one of Washington’s propaganda operatives currently operating out of a think-tank?
The more important question is: What is the purpose behind Washington’s cause and misrepresentation of the conflict? Was the destruction of trust between nuclear powers intentional or a consequence of other purposes? Is Washington simply using its ability to control explanations in order to cover up its involvement in the overthrow of a democratically elected government, an outcome that has gone bad? Or is the answer merely that Washington is peeved that it failed to get its hands on Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Crimea and has had to give up, at least for now, on getting Russia out of the Mediterranean and out of the Russian naval base at Tartus, Syria?
As I explained today to an international conference hosted by institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony requires the prevention of “the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere” with sufficient resources and power to be able to serve as a check on unilateral action by Washington.
When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed in their “first objective” and were now faced with a check on unilateral action. The attack on Russia instantly began. The $5 billion Washington had spent funding NGOs in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians produced the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government. Washington imposed a puppet government that instantly employed violent words and deeds against the Russian population, resulting in the secession of Crimea and the formation of other break-away provinces.
With English as the world language and the compliant media or presstitutes in Washington’s service, Washington has been able to control the explanation, blame Putin for the crisis, and force Europe to breakup its economic and political relations with Russia by imposing economic sanctions.
In a vain and failed attempt to keep the US as the Uni-power capable of dictating to the world, the neoconservatives have recklessly and irresponsibly resurrected the threat of nuclear armageddon. The neoconservative dominance of US foreign policy makes impossible any restoration of trust. Washington’s propaganda is driving the situation toward war. As neither Washington nor the Russian/Chinese alliance can afford to lose the war, the war will be nuclear. Any survivors will be doomed by nuclear winter.
The entire world must quickly become aware of the danger and confront the evil regime that the neoconservatives–the Sauron of our world–have created in Washington. To do otherwise is to risk life on earth.
This article originally appeared on paulcraigroberts.org. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Mirrored from PressTV.com
--Joe