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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

“We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed”— Eddie Vedder

“A remarkable species capable of creating beauty and awe-inspiring advancements”…; the existence of global technological achievements, “enhanced communication and information devices”— must we reduce ourselves to accepting “the devastating reality that conflict is resolved by bombs, murder, and acts of barbarism?” 
From Pearl Jam News July 16, 2014, statement by musician Eddie Vedder
Copied with minor edit by Carolyn Bennett

I don’t know how to process the guilt and complicity I feel when hearing of the deaths of civilian families, resulting from strikes by U.S. drones; but I know we cannot let sadness turn to apathy. I do know we are better off when we reach out to one other.

Imagine That—I’m Still Anti-War

Most of us have heard John Lennon sing: ‘You may say I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one.’

And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news every day, with the stories becoming more horrific—the level of sadness becomes unbearable.  

What becomes of our planet when … sadness becomes apathy?  Because we feel helpless, we turn our heads and turn the page.

… I’m full of hope.

That hope springs from the multitude of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night…. To see flags of so many different nations; to have huge crowds gather peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay.


When attempting at a rock concert to make a plea for more peace in the world, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with—so that we may all have a better understanding of each other.  

That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon.

Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt, and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.

The majority of human beings on this planet are more consumed with the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than with any kind of war.

War hurts. 

It hurts no matter on which sides the bombs fall.

W
ith all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars … ─ do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder, acts of barbarism?  We are such a remarkable species: Capable of creating beauty ● Capable of awe-inspiring advancements.

We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.

I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. 

But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.

‘I hope someday you’ll join us…’ Won’t you listen to what the Lennon said?   

— Eddie Vedder —


Further notes

http://pearljam.com/news/0/1/22387/imagine_that_--_i%E2%80%99m_still_anti-war

An Illinois-born American musician “known for his social and political views” and famously “known for his distinctive and powerful vocals” (on compilation by Rolling Stone ranked at #7 on a list of ‘Best Lead Singers of All Time’), Eddie Vedder is “best known for being the lead vocalist and one of three guitarists of the alternative rock band Pearl Jam.” Ament, Gossard, and McCready  formed Pearl Jam in 1990 and “recruited Vedder and three different drummers in sequence.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Vedder


____________________________________________________


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Long years of dangerous US foreign relations incompetence must end


Hindsight appraisal of Washington leadership—former State official who wrote Powell’s false-claims-call-to-war at UN
Excerpt, editing by Carolyn Bennett

RT’s SophieCo’s Sophie Shevarnadze spoke with retired soldier and former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson. 

While I am leery of pensioners’ “moments of truth,” I think what Wilkerson said about our critically flawed leadership deserves attention—especially by Americans who care about their country, its future, and its relations in the world.  


DANGER OF STUPIDITY at helm of inordinate power

Un-indicted 
It is the job of leaders “to know what is happening in the world and to take [their] nation into that circumstance with some wisdom,” Wilkerson said. But for a long time, we in the United States have not had “really experienced” chief executives. “Arguably, the last [experienced chief executive] was George H. W. Bush.” 

But “Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama” assumed the US presidency “with very little if any experience in the international relations.”


DANGER OF EMPTY RHETORIC

Egypt
Tahrir Square
US President Barack “Obama has said many, many things that characteristically flurry in the field of … ‘high rhetoric’—his speech in Cairo, his speech in Turkey…”—and then he fails to follow up “on that high rhetoric with actions… 

“That’s the case in a lot of instances with this President: his rhetoric is fine and wonderful [but] his actions belie that rhetoric.”

 

DELIBERATE IGNORANCE

“‘Realist voices’, voices that see the world as it is, see power as it is and respond accordingly, are very, very seldom listened to in the White House.

“More often, the ideological, the neo-conservative, as we now call them in this country—though they are not conservatives by any stretch, but radicals”—theirs and voices like theirs are “more often listened to.… 

“This is the kind of ideology that dominates American decision-making these days.”

US Congressional Assembly 

What they did
Iraqis still suffer
DANGER OF CRAZIES

“There are mighty powerful forces … led by people like Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, Robert Menendez and others (Republicans and Democrats)  who … are warmongers more than they are supporters of diplomacy or genuine security of Israel, or the United States for that matter,” Wilkerson said. “I don’t know what motivates these people other than their love for interminable warfare. …”  


DANGER OF COWARDS at the helm, in the wings
In the wings

Iraqis  suffering

“[The] real problem with Hillary Clinton [is that] … she often speaks as if she were a chicken hawk [and] like the rest of the chicken hawks in this country”—people like Dick Cheney, who pushed the lie that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had developed weapons of mass destruction and whose former company, Halliburton, after that war, profited handsomely in U.S. government contracts to reconstruct what lies had destroyed.

In the wings
Haunting shadows 
These chicken hawks, Wilkerson said, “talk about war interminably” but “because they are too cowardly to do so…, they have never participated in [war] themselves.”



Sources and notes

“Ex-State Dept exec: US leadership is inept & incompetent, incl. president,” February 2, 2015, Sophie and Co, http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/228447-arab-spring-ukraine-turmoil/

Retired US Army Colonel and former chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence B. (Larry) Wilkerson “is a visiting professor at the College of William & Mary”   (Virginia) where he teaches courses on “U.S. national security.”  He also “heads the Colin Powell Leadership Club, a group of MacFarland Middle School students in Washington, D.C. and serves on the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.” In his post US government days, Wilkerson has been a critic of “many aspects of the Iraq War, including his own preparation of Secretary Powell’s notorious United Nations speech concerning entry into that war. A member of the Republican Party, he frequently appears as “Republican commentator” on broadcasts “commenting about the problems with Republican Party.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Wilkerson


Preying on others or using them as sacrifice: “chicken hawk n (1827): “a hawk that preys or is believed to prey on chickens” (Britannica).

__________________________________________________

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

KILLER GAME, SPORT AS WAR; citizen, patriot beware

Violence in whatever place, by whatever name—why I was never attracted to spectator sport and abandoned TV long ago
Excerpting, minor editing, interspersed comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

ENTRENCHED MADNESS

In the United States of America, “The defense industry has bound itself to the government and the blind acceptance of this by the American public has allowed the military-industrial complex to institutionalize itself in, and become an integral part of, the American economy.

“When an economy and a culture are based on a militarized society, it makes it more likely and close to inevitable that that society will go to war, that it will always find someone else to fight.

“The NFL, as an entertainment industry and the country’s most popular and profitable sport, is just the most transparent articulation of this society.  Patriotism is not a negative characteristic in a society. Militarism is.” [Rowan Kane writes September 9, 2013, in “The NFL and the Militarization of the American Public.”]
  
Pageantry, Props, LAZY PATRIOTS

“The military’s agitprop, exemplified in the Tillman story, actively fosters a kind of lazy patriotism that makes people disinclined to ask tough questions about the broader context of our soldiers’ sacrifice.

“Just snap a selfie with the statue, dutifully bow your head when some ‘support the troops’-type bromide gets blasted through stadium speakers during warm-ups, and that’s it. You’ve done your duty…. “

Use the, abuse them, discard them: “Tillman was a man possessed of exceptional bravery and a fiercely independent mind. But his story is also one of cynical image management conducted at the highest levels of the American military in order to foster public support for war. And it's precisely this kind of pernicious narrative building that animates much of the U.S. military’s marketing, which, it just so happens, thoroughly saturates NFL games.

“Tillman died from ‘friendly fire.’ His Ranger platoon was traveling through a valley in Southeast Afghanistan when, in response to a couple of rifle shots from local insurgents aimed at the back half of the convoy, Tillman, another ranger, and a local Afghan militia fighter set up position overlooking the mouth of the valley. One of the tail-end humvees emerged, mistook Tillman and the others for enemies, and opened fire. During several minutes of shooting, three bullets shattered his skull. He’d been repeatedly shouting—screaming— ‘Why are you shooting at me? I'm Pat fucking Tillman!’” [Rob Montz writes February. 1, 2015, in “Super Bowl XLIX as a Case Study in the Mechanics of Pro-War Propaganda”]

 
W
elcome home. Thanks for your service.

  
Montz: “The conception and execution of US wars in the 21st century has often been epically inept.

“In Iraq, as extensively documented, a complete lack of post-invasion planning left allied forces flat-footed once sectarian violence filled the power vacuum created by Saddam's fall.

“Seriously: a 21-year-old whose most significant job up to that point had been driving an ice cream truck was charged with purging the central government of Baathist militia.

“The cost of this ineptitude is denominated in corpses [not to mention countless millions of Iraqis birth deformed, maimed, and dead, whole systems, infrastructure, ways of living ruined]. Since 2001, 6,845 US soldiers have been killed in the United States’ Middle East war theater. Thousands more have returned home ruined by the physical and psychological ravages of combat.” [Montz]

Iraq's children

VIOLENCE, MORE VIOLENCE
Decades old barbarism needs to end

They do not fund nor do they value education but the violence of sport and the violence of war—
Monday nights and Sundays, ringside seats at the tube watching men “giving each other concussions.” [Echoes of an Abby Martin essay this week]

“There is a long tradition of likening football to war, from paeans to the ‘generalship’ of quarterbacks in the 1890s to the ‘wars in the trenches’ of the modern game.”

Swapping Nomenclature: “While coaches and sportswriters have adopted military language over the years, the military has sometimes adopted football terminology”: “‘Operation Goalpost’” and “‘Operation Varsity’” during World War II; “‘Operation Linebacker’” during the war against Vietnam.

In the 1960s, football was “warlike” and “political.” US President Richard Nixon “used football … to identify with his ‘silent majority’ against his enemies.…”

Orange Bowl (then the Super Bowl) “pregame and halftime” pageantry showcased “elaborate patriotic displays.” And brainwashed or brain dead football fans “came to take this football-related ‘patriotism’, a brand of flag-waving … super-patriotism, for granted—as if it were embedded in long tradition, perhaps even in the very nature of the game. [But] it was not and is not.” [Michael Oriard writes November 17, 2009, in “Flag Football: How the NFL became the American war game.”]


Sources and notes

Rob Montz is a Searle Fellow at Reason TV.

According to its website, Reason, a foundation and media outlet, “covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews; … provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity; is the monthly print magazine of ‘free minds and free markets.’… Reason and Reason.com are editorially independent publications of the Reason Foundation, a national, non-profit research and educational organization.”

Rowan Kane is a writer based in Connecticut and editor of The Volterra.

Michael Oriard is an author and filmmaker.

http://wordlink.com/l/VGUX

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2009/11/flag_football.html

http://thevolterra.com/2013/09/09/the-nfl-and-the-militarization-of-the-american-public/


_____________________________________________________

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Misguided policies have given rise to terrorists; negotiation essential: Fallon

Col. David Hackworth    
former 
military journalist
US Army soldier
(deceased)
Amidst rising extremist attacks in the news, Sophie&Co talks with veteran U.S. intelligence official
Excerpting from transcript, editing, end comment  by Carolyn Bennett

M
ark Fallon is Senior Vice President for Learning and Knowledge Development at The Soufan Group, a New York City enterprise that, according to its website, “provides strategic security intelligence services to governments and multinational organizations, training programs, security services, and research insights … knowledge and skills to prepare for, manage and respond to constantly evolving security needs; … applies decades of operational experience, supported by academic research, to all of [its] training programs and consulting engagements.… The Soufan Group’s representatives regularly appear as featured speakers at security, business, diplomatic, and social events.”

The her February 9, 2015 interview, Sophie Shevarnadze looks at the “Terror … trend of 21st century,” tied to the US “War on Terror”, its flourishing month by month as more and more people “from all strata of society” and from various countries join the ranks of “extremists.” These are some of the questions she ponders with Mark Fallon.

What moves them to war?

How can terror be fought?

Who’s to blame for a world in which we have to live under everyday threat of terrorist attack?

Should we talk with those labeled “terrorist”?

Origin in prior crimes, human rights abuse


The government in power created “misguided policies” and for decades to come, Mark Fallon said, we will pay “an incredible price.” Among the misguided policies he cited are “Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib” as “major recruiting assets for terrorists groups.” Programs such as the “CIA’s RDI program” and “EIT, which gravitated from the CIA to Guantanamo Bay”; individuals such as “the general in charge of Guantanamo Bay who was sent into Iraq and is credited with ‘Gitmo-izing’ Iraq and contributing to what happened at Abu Ghraib.” 

RDI: “rendition, detention and interrogation program” employed by US Central Intelligence Agency

Notorious
US Guantanamo Bay prison
EIT: enhanced interrogation techniques, “the U.S. government’s program of systematic torture of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and various components of the U.S. Armed Forces at black sites around the world, including Bagram, (Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, located next to the ancient city of Bagram), Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), and Abu Ghraib (a city in the Al Anbar Governorate of Iraq just west of Baghdad’s city center, northwest of Baghdad International Airport) authorized by officials of the George W. Bush administration.”

Torture methods [criminal acts, human rights abuses] included “prolonged stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, deprivation of food and drink; waterboarding, walling, nakedness, subjection to extreme cold, confinement in small coffin-like boxes, and repeated slapping or beating; also cases of forced rectal feeding and threats to harm family members” [Wikipedia]
Notorious
US Bagram Airbase
Afghanistan

F
allon continued

“From my perspective, my professional opinion is that RDI program was a significant threat to our national security because it actually enabled Al-Qaeda and other groups to recruit terrorists to fight against us and to raise funding to use against us.

“It was clearly, clearly, a terrible mistake [MISTAKE!?]; and it’s a price we’re going to continue to pay.”

Identity
Once US allied
during Cold Wa
r
Origin in Human beings disaffected, needing identity

Fallon said his investigations on the “terrorist” issue had taken him around the world, into Northern Ireland, France, Southeast Asia, some Scandinavian countries; he had participated in studies on the issue and had “talked to a number of violent extremists and other combatants”; and on the basis of this investigation, he concluded that “They all seem to want to belong to something,”

He said. “If you look at the backgrounds—if you look at that generally, across the spectrum—they are from disaffected groups, populations.… They all seem to want to belong to something.”

Talking to these individuals, he found, “there are triggers that might set them off but it is generally, … with them that sense of identity that drives them to group, and gets them to engage in the activities that that group wants them to do. …” Recruiters capitalize on their being from disaffected groups and needing a sense of identity “by giving them a source of identity.”

This need vulnerable to exploitation cuts across socio economic or class level and educational achievement, he said. “…Some people might be highly educated, some might be uneducated, but generally, across the board, it is that sense of identity that drives them.”

Seeming to bring the issue home to a shared humanity, Fallon says “We are all individuals …. We are all human beings; and as despicable as their actions might be…, they are human beings and the best way to approach them is through understanding. Then capitalize on their nature, once you understand where they are coming from.”


Negotiate with “terrorists”?
 
Round table illus. of equals
not terrorists 
Mark Fallon said, “I think they have to enter into some type of dialog. … I think there is room to have communications with ISIS.”

Elaborating further, he said that to say “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” might be, for example, in a context of hostage exchange but “we certainly have developed assets within terrorist organizations: we are listening to terrorists; we are creating counter-narratives to what they’re saying. So, it is important that we hear what message they are trying to send, and really determine the underlying messages that they are trying to communicate.”

As to communicating particularly with ISIS, he explained, “It depends on your definition of ‘negotiate with them’  Certainly, there was some type of dialog at some point because there were discussions about the pilot (the latest widely publicized incident) being released, although it seemed to be a ploy and a subterfuge on the part of ISIS.” 


T
he upshot is, Fallon says, “…You cannot expect to be totally devoid of any type of communications. There will be contact. There will be communications …in any type of conflict.”


US seat of
misguided
governance
US seat of misguidedgovernance

Any sane person can see what government officials refuse to see: That they must communicate. They must talk. They must negotiate—unless, of course, their intentions are anything but solving problems and resolving conflict.

Unless they want to perpetuate the terror their policies and practices create. Unless they want endless conflict, endless war that fills the personal coffers of corrupt leaders with military industrial complex kickbacks made possible by fear-driven public funding.



Sources and notes

Pegged to killings and executions in Middle East (Jordan), Sophie Shevarnadze speaks with Mark Fallon, veteran U.S. intelligence official, interrogation expert: “CIA torture based on ‘voodoo science’ of advocates - US intelligence expert”
February 9, 2015, http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/230475-cia-torture-terror-war/

Dissenter (2013): “A Comprehensive Look at the CIA’s Rendition, Detention & Torture Program” by Kevin Gosztola Tuesday February 5, 2013: “A major report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program was released today by the Open Society Justice Initiative. It is one of the most comprehensive examinations of the program to date.”
http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/02/05/a-comprehensive-look-at-the-cias-rendition-detention-torture-program/


The Soufan Group, http://soufangroup.com/

A prominent military journalist and highly decorated United States Army soldier, Colonel David Haskell Hackworth (November 11, 1930 – May 4, 2005).
_______________________________________________________


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

“No one has to obey an immoral law”— Martyr Óscar Arnulfo Romero 1917-1980

People of El Salvador
carry 
picture of martyr during march
Words rarely spoken, risks rarely taken by preachers, priests or politicians, pundits or proselytizers; church or state
Minor edit, excerpting by Carolyn Bennett

America Central 

“After witnessing numerous violations of human rights, Roman Catholic Priest Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (Monsignor Romero) began to speak out on behalf of the poor and the victims of repression.” This led to many conflicts with the El Salvadoran government and within the Catholic Church.


“After speaking out against US military support for the government of El Salvador and calling for soldiers to disobey orders to fire on innocent civilians, Archbishop Romero was shot dead” as he celebrated Mass at the small chapel within the cancer hospital where he lived. “It is believed that those who organized his assassination were members of Salvadoran death squads, including two graduates of the (US) School of the Americas.”

Now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), previously called the US Army School of the Americas, a US Department of Defense Institute located at Fort Benning, Georgia (near Columbus), this notorious entity “provides military training to government personnel in US-allied Latin American nations” [Wikipedia note].

Óscar Arnulfo Romero

People of
El Salvador
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (b. August 15, 1917 in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador; d. March 24, 1980, in El Salvadoran capital San Salvador), his body is buried in San Salvador Cathedral. A Roman Catholic priest ordained April 4, 1942, dedicated June 21, 1970, he was Bishop of Santiago de María (1974-1977), Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador (1970-1974), and The Most Reverend Venerable Óscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador (February 23, 1977-March 24, 1980)
  
People of
El Salvador
The unofficial patron saint of the Americas and/or El Salvador, beloved by Salvadorans, Romero is also “honored by other Christian denominations” including the Church of England and Anglican Communion through the Calendar in Common Worship and at least one Lutheran liturgical calendar. Archbishop Romero is also one of the ten 20th-century martyrs depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London, England.

When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises [Monsignor Romero, August 6, 1978].

Conservative, Progressive

“Romero spent the first two and half decades of his ministerial career as a parish priest and diocesan secretary in San Miguel. In 1970 he became auxiliary bishop of San Salvador and served in that position until 1974 when the Vatican named him to the diocese of Santiago de María, a poor, rural region which included his boyhood hometown. In 1977 he returned to the capital to succeed San Salvador’s aged metropolitan archbishop.”

Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty [Monsignor Romero, January 7, 1978].

“Romero’s rise to prominence in the Catholic hierarchy coincided with a period of dramatic change in the Church in Latin America. The region’s bishops, meeting at Medellín, Colombia, in 1968 to discuss local implementation of the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), had resolved to abandon the hierarchy's traditional role as defender of the status quo and to side, instead, with the continent's poor in their struggle for social justice.”

The church preaches your liberation just as we have studied it today. It is a liberation that has, above all else, respect for the dignity of the person, hope for humanity's common good, and… transcendence… [Monsignor Romero, March 14, 1980].

“This radical departure divided both the faithful and the clergy.

“During this period Oscar Romero’s reputation was as a conservative and on more than one occasion he showed himself skeptical of both Vatican II reforms and the Medellín pronouncements. For this reason his appointment as archbishop in 1977 was not popular with the socially committed clergy, to whom it appeared to signal the Vatican's desire to restrain them.”

People of
El Salvador
… One must not love oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history requires of us; … whoever seeks to avoid danger loses his or her life. Whoever out of love … gives oneself to the service of others lives…. Like the grain of wheat that dies—but only apparently… Only in undoing itself does it produce the harvest [Monsignor Romero, March 1980].

People of
El Salvador
“To their surprise, Romero emerged as an outspoken opponent of injustice and defender of the poor.”  Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez raised his voice in the causes against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. His final benediction, he said:

…May my death be for the freedom of my people….


Sources and notes

Archbishop Romero's biography (Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Monsignor Romero), International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, United Nations March 24, http://www.un.org/en/events/righttotruthday/romero.shtml

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93scar_Romero

http://www.share-elsalvador.org/get-involved/learn-more/current-issues/oscar-romero#sthash.ICb05PkZ.dpuf
http://www.share-elsalvador.org/get-involved/learn-more/current-issues/oscar-romero


Archbishop Oscar Romero The Last Sermon (1980)

“…I would like to make a special appeal to the men of the army, and specifically to the ranks of the National Guard, the police and the military. Brothers, you come from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God.

“No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order.

“The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.

“The church preaches your liberation just as we have studied it in just as we have studied it in the holy Bible today. It is a liberation that has, above all else, respect for the dignity of the person, hope for humanity's common good, and the transcendence that looks before all to God and only from God derives its hope and its strength.

“Archbishop Oscar Romero The Last Sermon (1980),” From The Church and Human Liberation, March 14, 1980, http://www.haverford.edu/relg/faculty/amcguire/romero.html

El Salvador

In Central America, the country El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated of the seven Central American countries. Despite having little level land, it traditionally was an agricultural country, heavily dependent upon coffee exports. By the end of the 20th century, however, the service sector had come to dominate the economy.

San Salvador

San Salvador is El Salvador’s capital and the country’s leading financial, commercial, and industrial center. Transportation is here, with railroads and highways linking it with the Pacific ports of Acajutla, La Unión (Cutuco), and La Libertad. Manufactures include textiles, clothing, leather goods, wood products, pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, and cigars; meatpacking and liquor distilling are also important. [Britannica notes]

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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reject HR orgs’ double-dealing, complicity in perpetuating war, war crimes: analyst Gearóid Colmáin

Critical alternatives apropos rights watcher’s latest outburst
Excerpt, minor edit by 
Carolyn Bennett

Why bad worsens endlessly

Paris, France-based political analyst Gearóid Ó Colmáin writing in 2013, also appeared in interviews today on Press TV pegged to release of the latest Human Rights Watch report.

This is some of what Colmáin wrote two years ago about human rights and human rights organizations.


“Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and similar rights-based organizations are the call girls and rent boys of a new type of hyper-individualist imperialism that threatens the future of human beings’ ability to empathize with the suffering of others.”

Dictionary definitions of Rent boy as male prostitute who is an adolescent or young adult; Call girl as woman prostitute who arranges appointments by telephone or computer.

Colmáin continued. “Amnesty International is a war propaganda organization for imperialism. In fact, the majority of the most highly publicized human rights organizations in the West function as ideological indoctrination agencies for neo-colonialism and imperialism.

“In this respect, they have replaced the Christian missionaries of the 19th century who provided the justification for colonial subjugation on the pretext of spreading ‘Christian civilization.’ Christian value-spreading colonialism has been superseded by human rights promotion.”

Propaganda departments of imperialism

“The concept of the ‘rights of man’ was born with the historical rise of the bourgeoisie and the capitalist mode of production. Therefore, human rights go hand in hand with the rights of property. Human rights are always property rights; the rights of exploiters; the rights of oppressors, of the terrorists.…”

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Britannica note)

“The basic principle of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was that all ‘men are born and remain free and equal in rights’ (Article 1)…

…which were specified as the rights of liberty, private property, the inviolability of the person, and resistance to oppression (Article 2).

“All citizens were equal before the law and were to have the right to participate in legislation directly or indirectly (Article 6); no one was to be arrested without a judicial order (Article 7).

“Freedom of religion (Article 10) and freedom of speech (Article 11) were safeguarded within the bounds of public ‘order’ and ‘law.’

“The document reflects the interests of the elites who wrote it: property was given the status of an inviolable right, which could be taken by the state only if an indemnity were given (Article 17); offices and position were opened to all citizens (Article 6).

“…The Declaration is also explicable as an attack on the pre-Revolutionary monarchical regime. Equality before the law was to replace the system of privileges that characterized the old regime. Judicial procedures were insisted upon to prevent abuses by the king or his administration, such as the lettre de cachet, a private communication from the king, often used to give summary notice of imprisonment.

Despite the limited aims of the framers of the Declaration, its principles (especially Article 1) could be extended logically to mean political and even social democracy. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen came to be, as was recognized by the 19th-century historian Jules Michelet, ‘the credo of the new age.’”

Colmáin continues his assessment. “…Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others, have been complicit in covering up [war] crimes [and] they should be held to account. It is not because Amnesty International is a phony human rights organization that it is complicit in the war crimes being committed against the Syrian people; rather, Amnesty’s war propaganda on behalf of imperialism is simply a corollary of the bourgeois ideology adhered to by all human rights groups.”


Taking what’s good and making it not worse but much better

Progressive


 alternative

“The current ‘humanitarian’ wars so zealously defended by human rights fanatics are symptomatic of a deep crisis of civilization,” Colmáin writes.

“We should reject abstract human rights and defend social rights.

…Proclaim concrete social rights;
rights to free housing;
the right to democratic ownership of means of production;
the right to live in peace;
the right to a job;
the right to privacy;
the right to free education, transport and health care;
the right to healthy food and water;
the right to freedom of expression.

The current ‘humanitarian’ wars so zealously defended by human rights fanatics are symptomatic of a deep crisis of civilization and should be condemned, exposed, rejected by peace activists, Colmáin writes.

“‘Man,’” he recalls Aristotle, “is a political animal, an animal whose being is inseparable from the polis, the social fabric, the community.…” Thus, contrary to the position of rights organizations and the philosophy of human rights, “Human beings cannot be conceptualized as entities born with inalienable rights but rather as… social beings growing and evolving in dynamic communities that impose ineluctable (inevitable, unavoidable) duties, debts and obligations upon them towards their fellow toilers and laborers.

Without such complex relations of interdependence, there would be no society and consequently no human beings.
 

Sources and notes

2013

“Amnesty International, War Propaganda, and Human Rights Terrorism,” by Gearóid Ó Colmáin: “Peace activists should not only denounce, expose, and condemn Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and similar rights-based organizations’ lies and manipulation but the very philosophy of human rights itself.” Posted at Dissident Voice: A radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice, August 8, 2013, http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/08/amnesty-international-war-propaganda-and-human-rights-terrorism/

Gearóid Ó Colmáin is a political analyst based in Paris and a frequent contributor to Russia Today, Radio Del Sur and Inn World Report. He also appears in interviews on Press TV.

Merriam Webster: Polis

po·lis \'pä-ləs\  n, pl po·leis \'pä-"lās\: (1884): broadly, “a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.  (2013). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Deluxe Edition.  Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

[1789] Adopted by the National Assembly during the French Revolution on August 26, 1789, and reaffirmed by the constitution of 1958.

Preamble: “The representatives of the French people, formed into a National Assembly, considering ignorance, forgetfulness or contempt of the rights of man to be the only causes of public misfortunes and the corruption of Governments, have resolved to set forth, in a solemn Declaration, the natural, unalienable and sacred rights of man, to the end that this Declaration, constantly present to all members of the body politic, may remind them unceasingly of their rights and their duties; to the end that the acts of the legislative power and those of the executive power, since they may be continually compared with the aim of every political institution, may thereby be the more respected; to the end that the demands of the citizens, founded henceforth on simple and uncontestable principles, may always be directed toward the maintenance of the Constitution and the happiness of all.”

2015

“Western countries including US responsible for world crisis: HRW”: “Human Rights Watch says Western countries, including the US, play a major role in generating or aggravating most of today's crises across the world by facilitating rights abusers' crimes. The director of the leading human rights group, Kenneth Roth, said governments increasingly deem human rights a luxury they fail to properly afford; and this in turn fans the flames of global crises. Roth stressed that the rights records of countries such as the US are full of wrongdoings, which provide a fertile ground for proliferation of extremist groups such as the ISIL. He specifically referred to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq as an instance of these violations. The HRW chief was citing the rights group’s world report 2015.” Press TV January 29, 2015,
 http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/01/29/395284/Western-countries-including-US-responsible-for-world-crisis-HRW


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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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