Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 2011

Open Source Ecology, Do it yourself civilization, Global Village Construction Set…: Do they reform communities? 
Suppose that you dispose of a complete set of design drawings and instructions to build an entire manufacturing plant, would you undertake the job?
For example, instead of purchasing spare parts, you are enabled to manufacturing them yourself from scratch, then would you feel emboldened to try, or to associate people into “do it yourself” communities for particular ecological culture…?  Do you think spare parts would drop in price, drastically, as manufacturers feel threatened that communities might contemplate such crazy enterprises if the prices are high and worth trying?
Have you ever heard of  groups such as:  Practical Action, or Appropedia, or Howtopedia?  Apparently, they all provide instructional knowledge repositories.  What’s that again?
For example, two Swedish designers released a new gold standard for the “how to genre”  (taking a cue from IKEA) of  instructions for a pedal-powered industrial juicer (in pictograms), which enable semi-literate engineers in Kenya’s informal maker economy.
In the US, Farm Hack is working to publish improvised solutions useful to young farmers.
LasersaurDIYLILCNCReprap, and others are all sharing plans and promoting a culture of Open Hardware, and a resurgence of consumer kits.
There are scattered networks of engineers, farmers and supporters who are  working to build the Global Village Construction Set.
Well, this is a modular kind of Do it yourself (DIY), of low-cost, open source, high performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines.  These assortment of machines are considered to extend the basis for building a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.
The primary aim of these DIY net-workers is to lower the barriers-to-entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. If they succeed, the implications would be incredible.  So far, they’ve prototyped 8 of the 50 Machines, such as the tractor, drill press, soil pulverizer, torch table, hydraulic power unit, compressed earth brick press, walk-behind tractor, and 150-ton hole puncher.

They’ve been publishing the designs and instructions on their wiki. They’ve been financially supported by the crowd of a growing base of the more than 400 “true fans”.  The fans pay a small amount every month, and their recent successful Kickstarter campaign will help to build a 5k sq. ft. fabrication training facility at OSE’s rural Missouri headquarters.

In Missouri, Marcin Jakubowski (see note) leads research, prototyping and testing of the machines. It’s a constant adventure and displayed on OSE’s blog. However, the whole point is to share the instructions, and they’ve got to be comprehensive.

So, for every machine they build, OSE is publishing an online library that includes pretty much everything.  For example, the design rationale, 3d CAD files, 2d fabrication drawings, circuit board design files, wiring diagrams, machine-readable CAM files, exploded parts diagrams, CAE analysis, step-by-step videos, control codes for automated devices, scaling calculations, the physics of why it works, and the performance and cost analysis vs. industry standards. They’re also promising a user manual that will include the operation procedures, safety, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair.

Isaiah Saxon posted on his blog something on Open Source Ecology.  It reads:

“Our species is defined by our relationship to machines, the countless “extensions of man”, which now completely encase our lives. The quality, style and outcomes of this relationship are of utmost importance to everyone.

The general story is that over the last 10,000 years, mankind increased specialization, scale, and efficiency, which has led to an abundance of nearly everything. We are told, its only a matter of time before everyone lives longer, and wealthier lives.

However, there is a growing desire around the world to fundamentally remix this relationship with machines and specialization.  For example, to increase access, engagement, and understanding. This movement wants to put people at the center in order to democratize and demystify technology.

A few in this movement are fueled by necessity, while others are uncomfortable with passive consumption, while others seek out fun. The DIY ethic unites them. Their banner is Open source appropriate technology OSAT.

OSE’s next step in 2012 is to build the next 8 prototypes of the GVCS, focused exclusively on fabrication tools. This “Open Source Microfactory” would make it possible to transform scrap metal into the products of advanced civilization. Currently, to build one of the GVCS machines, you need to order parts online, but the Microfactory would enable DIY production of a majority of those components, including ball bearings, hydraulic motors, electrical generators, microcontrollers, nuts and bolts, and steel tubing.

The lineup of the Microfactory looks like this: CNC Multimachine, CNC Circuit Mill/3d Printer, Induction Furnace, Ironworker, CNC Torch Table, Universal Welder, CNC Lasercutter, Hot Metal Roller.”

The science fiction author Robert Heinlein once said “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Isaiah Saxon resumes: “The GVCS is distinguished from the other DIY projects in that it seeks to create an entirely new, integrated ecology of machines. Their thinking is that we can’t always rely on fixing old stuff, and old stuff is different wherever you go. Decisions regarding which machines to include in the GVCS are made using a rigorous selection matrix that skews towards robust utility and the fulfillment of necessities.

Their design methodology emphasizes user serviceability and heirloom strength. Remember, its the 50 machines that it takes to build civilization from scratch and scrap.

A lot of people think this is ridiculous and overly ambitious. It is. It’s a big, hairy, audacious goal.  They’ll need more project managers and more full-time leaders like Marcin. Ironically, their first sign of real success might be to see the plans being used in cheap Chinese factories.

Whatever happens, I think there’s a lot being discovered by this project. Can people from all over the world come together over the internet to recreate their relationship to industrial machines? We’ll shall see.” End of quote

Let us not be blinded by these beautiful missions: It is the political system and structure that brought about our current civilization.  All the DIY alternative projects will revert to the same social structure if political systems are not reformed and revisited.

Most probably, the DIY missions might be catalyst to quicker review of political structures by the possibility of pressuring current industrial and business systems into further participatory projects and extending more decision powers to the workers and employees…

Reforming election laws for wider representation of all citizens and minority groups, and facilitating the voting procedures and the candidacy processes for public jobs should be the primary focus. All these reforms will be taken seriously after financial and economic pressures are concentrated on the 10% elite class in every society…

Note: Open Source Ecology founder, Marcin Jakubowski, is a Princeton graduate and earned a PhD in fusion energy.  He spends his time in the muddy trenches of a cold farm in the middle of nowhere, fabricating, farming, and building. He is entirely and unyielding concentrated at this project

How many ways to get engaged in Syria’s problems?

The latest news is the arrival to Syria of a few dozen “on the field” Arab observers:  The ultimate purpose of the observers is still not clear, on the ground that any resolution of the situation in Syria has been frozen for a couple of months, until Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Russia, France, and Israel… get their plans together of “what the next regime should look like, to the benefit in stability of every major regional State…”

The quick coming to power of the Moslem Brotherhood and the strong show of force of the extremist Salafist Moslems in the voting booth are giving serious worries to every State, even the most obscurantist Wahhabi Saudi Arabia monarchy

Do you feel like getting engaged in current Syria turmoil?

Why should you? If the only news you are getting are from one side of the equation?

Are you ready to invest time to understanding both sides in the upheaval, or you think that you are not into a “legal situation” and one killing of an “unarmed” civilian is fair enough to destitute an entire political regime?

Would 4,000 deaths be considered a valid cut-off number to start the process of comprehending “what’s going on in Syria”?

There are many groups of western hackers supporting the internal “revolutionaries” in exporting their photos, videos, stories in a way to bypass the Syrian “sophisticated” counter-digital insurgencies

That is very commendable. Do the hackers ask the insurgents or opposition groups: “what are your political program after the demise of the regime?  Have you been engaging in dialogue and discussion with the “neutral” communities, the minority communities, the “silent majority” who prefer Law and Order above any kinds of reforms, biased election laws, skewed democratic processes…”

The strategic importance of Syria in this volatile region, the unity of its large army, and the many effective ways that Syria can disturb the political state of affairs in the entire Middle East are not to be taken lightly.

International military action without an agreement with Russia, and full coordination with Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq is nearly impossible to bear any fruit, except more social disturbances and political instabilities in every regional State.

Do strategic values supersede any inaction on the ground?

And would that means staying cool and witnessing the “senseless slaughter” of thousands of civilians?

A new term has been put forward: “civilian diplomacy”, channel the power of citizens around the world to pressure State governments from sending arms to both parties and blocking infiltration of foreign elements to Syria…

There are a variety of civil disobedience alternatives in order to built a unifying pragmatic programs for before and after the fall of the regime.

Many people wrote on social platforms on the ways to support the opposition movement. For example:

1. Support forums for civil resistance planning and evaluation: Any strategic plan for a transition government should ideally be drafted by Syrians living inside Syria.  Such a plan could be generated through an iterative process involving inside and outside activists. There are NGOs already working with Syrian exile members to help them think through civil resistance options.  Tight coordination with Local Coordination Committees (LCCs)/activist youth on the inside (via secure communications), and their feedback in the evaluate and execution processes has to be worked out first thing first.

2. Encourage the internal opposition movements to consider unity “shock tactics”: Christians and Alawi religious sects and minorities may not like the regime, but they prefer an unsatisfactory status quo to an uncertain and potentially hostile future. They need reassurances that go beyond words. Potentially powerful symbolic actions include:

One: a Friday “protest” whose theme is unity and involves repairing Christian churches and picking up trash in mixed communities;

Two: candlelight vigils in Damascus and Aleppo organized by a cross-confessional group of Syrian women to commemorate all victims of the uprising;

Three: strong, well-publicized denunciations of violence targeting minorities by influential Sunni leaders.  So far, the external transitional government, and appointed externally,has not demonstrated any willingness to condemn atrocious activities by its members that are not within the human rights programs and behaviors…

Four: letters hand-delivered to Christian leaders requesting their participation in the Arab League monitoring mission.

3. Encourage inside opposition to strengthen parallel structures and institutions: In an environment where street protests and labor strikes are risky, the opposition should be encouraged to continue to strengthen autonomous local institutions. It is difficult for the regime to target large numbers of people who stop supporting state-run schools and clinics and instead set up their own parallel systems – but the message of non-cooperation with the regime would be clear.  The diaspora and business community should be involved in supporting private clinics and charities to help build local autonomy, possibly under the LCCs’ organizational umbrella.

4. Connect/train Syrian opposition in crowd-sourcing technology: Crowd-sourcing technology can help the Syrian opposition plan and execute protests, monitor security force movements, collect and document evidence of human rights abuses and atrocities…

There are teams that follow and help apply all the technology tools (Martus, Mobile Accord, Frontline SMS, Ushahidi, Cognitive Edge) that could provide the Syrian opposition a very useful parallel communication structure.

5. Help the nonviolent opposition publicize successes: Syrians need to see that civil resistance is working to discourage them from giving up, taking up arms, or waiting for outside military intervention.  Every regime concession (e.g. release of prisoners, allowing in monitors, etc.) and concrete sign of regime isolation needs to be credited to the courageous nonviolent resistance.  Embassies should publicly credit the nonviolent opposition for successes and help them publicize victories over the TV, radio and other channels of communication.

6. Encourage the opposition to negotiate unified programs in any kind of elections:  It is unclear how the regime will approach upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, but the opposition should at least have a plan for whether and how to participate in elections. Boycotting might seem like the obvious thing to do unless the opposition could take advantage of any political space opened up by elections.

Although it is likely that Assad would rig the elections, this course of action is fraught with risk, particularly if the opposition is prepared to show the fraud and mobilize around it.  Training Syrian youth in election monitoring and parallel vote tabulation (ideally by an Arab NGO) could be very helpful down the road.

7. Help the opposition think through strikes and boycotts: There are dozens of different types of strikes, boycotts, and “go slow” tactics available to nonviolent activists. These dispersed actions could allow more Syrians to participate in the opposition while minimizing the risk of regime repression. Syrian activists and sympathetic businessmen should be encouraged to first analyze which businesses (in Syria and outside) would be most vulnerable to consumer boycotts, which industries would be most susceptible to worker strikes or collective “underperformance”, and then develop a plan to target those businesses and industries.

The oil sector, pro-regime businesses, and companies whose workers are unhappy with pay or working conditions would be obvious candidates.  Syrian exile communities could be encouraged to develop campaigns targeting pro-regime businesses on the outside using well-publicized boycotts, sit-ins, and pickets.

8. Encourage diaspora and business community to develop a solidarity/strike fund: Striking Syrians need to know that there is funding available to support themselves and their families, particularly in the event that they lose their jobs or other sources of income. Bank accounts could be set up in Lebanon, Dubai, Turkey or elsewhere for that purpose (and other Embassies in Damascus could help distribute quick response funds to needy families). This is currently being done piece meal, but greater coordination would help the nonviolent protestors.

9. Tap into celebrities and famous Syrian diaspora: There are a number of famous Syrians (actors, singers, comics, etc.) in the exile community whose popularity transcends sect, ethnicity or confession. These are the figures whose star power could help spread support for the opposition, make special appeals to minorities, and focus media attention on the nonviolent resistance. We should encourage the Syrian opposition to tap into this potentially huge resource.

Ideally, famous Alawi and Christian Syrians who sympathize with the opposition should lead outreach efforts to prominent Christian leaders.

10. Encourage the opposition to embrace tactical negotiations: By demonstrating openness to negotiations, the opposition reinforces its image as a force of moderation rather than a bunch of extremists. The perception of moderation, in the case of Syria, could help sell the opposition to minority members and fence-sitters.

More importantly, being open to informal negotiations with members of the regime’s remaining pillars (security forces, bureaucracy, business elite), whose loyalties might be wavering, allows the opposition to communicate their intentions related to a post-Assad Syria – i.e. that these individuals have a future in it.

The opposition risks losing the street if their representatives in the negotiating table is not acceptable by the vast majority of opponents, especially internal groups.  The representatives must be able to explain the purpose and parameters of the negotiations to the resisting population and maintain transparency. Most importantly, opposition movements who choose to negotiate should never lose the ability to mobilize the masses and target the regime with nonviolent sanctions.

11. Dealing with the armed opposition: It is unlikely that the “Free Syrian Army” and other armed groups will disappear. The nonviolent opposition should maintain informal but regular communication with the armed groups.

Ideally, defectors will be kept busy in neighboring countries and limit their armed attacks inside the country. Also, defectors could be involved in nonviolent forms of sabotage that obstruct the regime’s killing machine but do not result in injuries or deaths.  To the extent possible, defectors should be exposed to civil resistance materials, training, and also face trials for activities outside human rights limits.

12. A special legal department must be appointed to condemn all activities and speeches by the opposition members who emulate the regime speeches and actions against freedom of opinion, discussion, and human rights behaviors…

Where’s my money gone?

I mean the money of the other citizens:  You never had any in the last two decades to wonder where’s your money had gone.  Or at least, you know exactly how your few dollars were spent, and you are ashamed to divulge their destination.

Your few dollars were not directed to be fed adequately, to wear sensibly, to drink soberly, to get entertained among good friends, to taking your kids to the zoo, to public parks…

Where the money of those who earned just enough to think high and wide: Taking vacation trips overseas, buying over-sized individual residences, faster and newer cars…

Hodgson wrote in The Guardian: “Wages for everybody else (guess who are these people) have either been in decline or stagnated in this period, and that’s for those who are working. I had a feeling that we would see some significant increases this year. But 30-40% was something of a surprise.”

Bosses won in every area, with dramatic increases in pensions, payoffs and perks – as well as salary.

Apparently, 2010 was a great year to lose your job as a CEO.

Four of the 10 highest paid CEOs in the US were retired or departing executives.

Ronald Williams, former head of Aetna, a health insurer, exercised 2.4m options for a profit of $50.4m.  Why? Because Aetna’s stock price declined by 70% from when Williams assumed the role of CEO in February 2006 until his retirement.

At pharmacy chain CVS, Thomas Ryan made a $28m profit on his options. During Ryan’s 13-year tenure as CEO, CVS Caremark’s stock price decreased almost 54%.

Omnicare’s Joel Gemunder retired last August and received cash severance of $16m, part of a final-year pay package worth $98.28m.

Adam Metz, the former boss of General Growth Properties, a real estate company that specialises in shopping malls, walked away with a $46m cash bonus in 2010. GGP executives received nearly $115m in bonuses from the firm as it emerged from bankruptcy.

Have you noticed the trend?

The faster a company worth declines, the richer is the departing CEO, not to mention those hidden members of the boards, who are never mentioned, and are effectively the same names recurring in almost every big company.

Where the money of these bankrupt companies gone?

Not on employees who didn’t get raises for years because syndicates are no longer doing their job right and have misplaced their mission toward the companies and liberal capitalism “wealth generator” mechanism…

Where’s my money gone? How my taxes have been spent?

On the top 100 enterprises that Federal government contract out their services and products. Mainly on military hardware…Otherwise, these fat companies would have closed their shops decades ago…

Toxic spitting in Bet Shemesh (Israel): 8 year-old girl Naama lived
It is becoming common habit for males in this State of Israel to spit on girls who don’t dress or act as the Talmud (or some other Books) demand from them to behave.
A girl is a girl, and it doesn’t matter if the woman is your mother or grandmother.
It cannot be worse if the girl is “goyim”:  Women are women and “unclean” until cleansed by the rabbi or the husband or the brother…
What difference with the Islamist salafists? Salafist at least respect the behavior of girls who didn’t reach the age of puberty (12 year-old?): The Dirty Blood is not seeping out yet!
Let us read this report:
Naama Margolis, an 8-year-old from Bet Shemesh, is the most famous girl in Israel today. In fact, nobody can stop talking about her.

And why is that?

On Friday evening, Naama told her story on the most watched news show in the country.

Interviewed by Channel 2’s Shai Gal, Naama told how she was afraid to go to school, just a few hundred meters from her house in Bet Shemesh, because Haredim Jews cursed and spit on her for being dressed “immodestly.”

The report, translated in full below, has sent Israeli public discourse on relations between secular and religious into a frenzy.

Since the report, the Israeli Prime Minister (Netenyahu?) has spoken!  The Haredi Beit Shemesh Mayor has condemned i! Haredim in Beit Shemesh attacked a Channel 2 news team who came to town again on Sunday, and rioted when municipal workers took down signs calling for segregation between men and women.

Haredim in Beit Shemesh later put the signs back up.

Today, the city announced plans to put up 400 security cameras. (To do what? Filming with no active responses? The right-wing Orthodox Jews are the government! They are the army!)

The rabbis, not a single one said anything,yet.

What do you think they have to say? Women are at the same pedestal as men in front of Yahweh?

That modern Israeli State is a branch of western civilization? That segregation between blacks and white is different from segregating between women and men?..

Apparently, the rabbis don’t care. And why should they? It’s not like they do have to recognize the State or anything, and they don’t have to.

The invalid Haredi (mentally handicapped too?) who spoke from inside his car at the end of the item is actually right. Out of all the ignorance he spewed, he managed to say one correct thing at the end:

“All of Israel will be Haredi, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”  He’s about right with decades in the trend.

The numbers speak for themselves: (the recent surveys and statistics have demonstrated what the vast majority of Israelis stand for…)

Actually, it makes the entire two-State (Palestinian and Israeli),or the alternative one-State discussion seem like a waste of time.

What does it matter when in a few decades, between the river and the sea, secular people of any nationality will be a small minority? Would you just have to choose your theocracy State to transfer to?” End of quote

(I don’t need development of what a Haredi is:  The title is clear in its action…)

Actually, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are far more secular than the current Israeli social structure: 60 years of resistance against infamy, apartheid, racism, and now segregation between genders have polished their resistance to all kinds of indignities and value civic laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender, color, or religious beliefs…

Do you recall what was the comment of  Malcolm X (the Black US revolutionary of the 60’s) when president Kennedy was assassinated?

Malcolm X was fighting the good fight against this racist capitalist system in the USA, the Protestant Anglo White Capitalist system, and said: “Kennedy came home to roost“.  Meaning, the system corrected the small deviation by electing a Catholic, and a president who alarmed Israel by his frequent and consistent demand to have Israel’s nuclear installations inspected!

Has “Zionism come home to roost“? Do the western “civilization” propaganda media still have any guts to go on proclaiming Israel “The only democratic, liberal, and secular State in the Middle East“?

Note 1: I saw a recent picture of little Naama and her mother walking the street: They were both wearing long (black) pretty shabby coats, but no veils, yet.

Note 2: Read the recent Israel Peace Indicator survey

Do you live amid hard of hearing community?Are you able to bypass social background noise?

As you get hard of hearing, and I am not there yet, but living among hard of hearing parents and people, you discover two distinct types of people:

Those who keep their quiet, and those who keep talking.

The ones who stay silent, on the premises that they are unable to hear questions, or prefer not to submit to the humiliating habit of “What? Would you please repeat your question? Not as loud please. Move your lips more intelligibly…”

The ones who never cease of talking prefer to be constantly on the offensive, in both meaning of offensive. Since they are unable to listen, they decide to describe all the ache and pain of their daily living, blaming everyone around for their nonchalance toward her “few” requests…

Since at this advanced age many people in the larger neighbourhood have passed away, for one reason or other, the talk revolves around reminiscing on the dead ones, how we knew them, how we failed to get intimate with, the kinds of diseases we are afflicted with…

Actually, when the non-stop hard of hearing talker get started, and immediately, they are not in the mood of hearing other people telling their stories:  They cut off the speaker frequently for questions that the storyteller was supposed to fill them in.

For example, when, who, where, how…They want answers to these questions because they have no patience to sit still for the entire story of the other one…

How wonderful it would be if the hard of hearing talker could write their diaries: Everyone would benefit from the extensive details of describing a locality and the hardship of living in old age…reading these exciting and uplifting diaries in the silence of the night…

I am leaning to conjecture that older hard of hearing people revert to their childhood behaviors.

The quiet ones were quiet as kids, on the ground that they had no questions for the stupid adults. Simple because they are smart enough to realize that as kids, they are in the stupid stage and need some growing up before learning to ask the “right questions“…

The breathless talker (and short on breathe too) were kids who never stopped asking questions, on the assumption of the adults that they are, the curious kinds of kids, they want to know everything, even if they refuse to listen to what the answer is, and keep cutting off the adults stories….

You might have read these statements very often: “I’m often stunned by the lack of questions that adults are prepared to ask. When you see kids go on a field trip, the questions pour out of them. Never ending, interesting, deep… even risky. How wonderful…”

I guess it depends of whom is submitting to these questioning and how they think the questions of these turbulent kids are that deep and risky…

“And then the resistance kicks in and we apparently lose the ability to asking questions…” The ability will inevitably kicks in as we get hard of hearing, you can bet on it, though not in the same wide range of the kids’ types of questions, or the ones expected by Seth Godin

For example, “is the weather the only thing you can think to ask about? A great question is one you can ask yourself, one that disturbs your status quo and scares you a little bit…” Like what kinds of scary questions?

Is it like: “I am not interested that people do die. What I need to know is that why me?”, or

“When am I going to die? When am I going to win the lottery ticket, when am I going to have an entire day of rest, when am I going to be able to block background social noises, at what stage of preparation is the next US preemptive war, and launched against which “terrorist State”?

Any “rogue State” whose dictator refused to purchase “sophisticated”, expensive, and useless military hardware weapons from the USA, England or France… Any State with promising raw materials whose penniless dictator has declared his wish to build a nuclear bomb…

Scary question like what?

Like when the US Special Forces nabbed Qadhafi and he asked them “What do you want from me?”.  Qadhafi must have asked the US Administration that question when negotiating the dismantling of Libya nuclear installations in 2001.  Anyhow, nobody believe that any US Administration ever has taken seriously its “written oats“…

Scary question like “What are the proper processes to build an international financial institution, to prepare to run for Congress…?”

Scary question like “How can we pressure the system in the US to start taking seriously the 15% of the population that modern market oriented production system has no use of them, and give them a job to live decently as full citizens, and away from ghetto mentality…”

Scary question like “How to build a reputation that’s worth owning and an audience that cares?”

Have you learned to listen? Are you still in the mood of asking questions?

As Seth Godin wrote: “If we put a number on it, people will try to make the number go up. Now that everyone is a marketer, many people are looking for a louder megaphone, a chance to talk about their work, their career, their product… and social media looks like the ideal soapbox, a free opportunity to shout to the masses.

But first, we’re told to make that number go up.

Increase the number of fans, friends and followers, so your shouts will be heard. The problem of course is that more noise is not better noise. In Corey’s words, the conventional, broken wisdom is:

  • Follow a ton of people to get people to follow back
  • Focus on the number of followers, not the interests of followers or your relationship with them.
  • Pump links through the social platform (take your pick, or do them all!)
  • Offer nothing of value, and no context. This is a megaphone, not a telephone.
  • Think you’re winning, because you’re playing video games (highest follower count wins!)

This looks like winning (the numbers are going up!), but it’s actually a double-edged form of losing.

First, you’re polluting a powerful space, turning signals into noise and bringing down the level of discourse for everyone.

Second, you’re wasting your time when you could be building a “tribe” instead, (tribe?) could be earning permission, could be creating a channel where your voice is actually welcomed.

Leadership and even “idea leadership” scares many people, because it requires you to own your words, to do work that matters. The alternative is to be a junk dealer.

The game theory pushes us into one of two directions:  Either be better at pump and dump than anyone else, get your numbers into the millions, out mass those that choose to use mass, and always dance at the edge of spam (in which the number of those you offend or turn off forever keep increasing), or “Relentlessly focus”.

Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that’s worth owning and an audience that cares.

Only one of these strategies builds an asset of value.” End of quote

Late Steve Jobs position was: “customers have no idea what they want.  It is our duty to train them to like our products and love our design...” This line of thinking…

If you maintain a blog, do you take the time to reedit your posts, and add and comments on the replies you get?

Maintenance is the name of the game of whatever you undertake: This is the other truth of life, beside inevitable death…

Note: Actually I was to comment on Seth Godin post “The trap of social media noise” and  I got carried away in my essay.

Chased out? Changing strategy: Occupy Wall Street occupy Foreclosed residences

US City governments, backed by Israeli trained police forces, have continued to remove Occupy Wall Street protesters from their encampments. Occupy has responded to these ejections by changing its focus from public spaces toward private property: Foreclosed homes. You may get a taste of what’s going on

Never feel sorry: setbacks generate inventive tactics and greater resolutions. Occupying foreclosed residences is the answer to critics who have accused Occupy of lacking a political program.  Occupying foreclosed homes is guiding the Occupy movement to structuring stronger ties with working-class Americans.   Earlier social movements that employed similar tactics fall within this context.

To clarify the problem, these same banks, which received billions in bailouts showered on them by a federal government, have brazenly abused foreclosure procedures through practices like robo-signing. As numerous State courts have observed, abuse of the foreclosure process has been the rule rather than the exception. The bankers’ claims to foreclosed properties are morally suspect, and occupation of those properties directly confronts this illegitimacy.

Sonia K. Katyal and Eduardo M. Peñalver wrote (I edited slightly and re-arranged paragraphs):

“The sit-down strike movement began January 27, 1936, when workers at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio, sat down on the job to protest the company’s suspension of an official in the workers’ union. Fifty-five hours later, the company capitulated, reinstating the union official with back pay and even compensating the strikers (at half-pay) for the time during which they occupied the plant. Successful imitation strikes were soon launched at other tire factories.

Workers were willing to use nonlethal force to defend their occupations, and they managed to repel attempts to forcibly remove them. The number of strikes mushroomed. In 1937 alone, roughly 400,000 workers participated in nearly 500 sit-down strikes. The GM sit-down strike in Flint involved tens of thousands of workers and was resolved just as the Supreme Court was hearing arguments in a pivotal case concerning the constitutionality of federal labor laws. Indeed, several legal historians attribute the court’s famous “switch in time” — upholding the National Labor Relations Act in the case of NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. — to the sit-down strikes.

A straight line runs from the 1930’s sit-down strikes in Flint, Michigan, to the 196o lunch-counter sit-ins, to the occupation of Alcatraz by Native American activists,  to Occupy Wall Street. Occupations employ physical possession to communicate intense dissent, exhibited by a willingness to break the power-to-be law and order of the oligarchic class and to suffer the violent of its “armed forces”.

Effective occupations, however, have managed to do more than convey intensity. They have crafted visible signs of the reality protesters hope to create, in order to spurring legal change. The sit-down strikes in Flint laid the groundwork for the enforcement of federal labor laws; the lunch counter sit-ins led to the enactment of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Alcatraz occupation paved the way for a milestone reversal in Federal Indian policy: President Nixon was to support tribal self-determination.

Sonia K. Katyal

Sonia K. Katyal
Eduardo Peñalver

Eduardo Peñalver

A generation later, the 1960 sit-ins began as seemingly spontaneous lunch-counter occupations by college students in Greensboro, North Carolina. They quickly spread to dozens of cities throughout the South.  The extremely controversial lunch-counter occupations are currently “canonized”, even among African-American civil-rights veterans. For example, Supreme judge Thurgood Marshall was furious with the students for violating private property rights in a way that he opposed in principle and he feared that this civil disobedience might generate a backlash.

Despite Marshall’s worries, the students were more successful than anyone could have hoped. They were well-organized and committed to nonviolence, and their quiet discipline was only made more visible by the hoodlums who frequently assaulted them. Their actions smoothed the road for the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also prohibits racial discrimination at lunch counters.

Although political theorists typically make room in their accounts of democratic politics for principled disobedience, most distinguish conscientious lawbreaking from disobedience motivated by self-interest. But the categories of self-interested and conscientious lawbreaking are not easily separated. Moreover, far from discrediting acts of disobedience, an intermingling of the strategy of principled lawbreaking with a degree of self-interest can actually render a protest more intelligible to non participants.

Many observers lamented that the Occupy Wall Street protests is lacking of an obvious connection between their disobedience (the occupation of parks and streets) and their political and economic complaints. This is why Occupy’s turn toward foreclosed housing is so important.

While it takes heroic acts of imagination to connect the dots between the occupation of Zuccotti Park and worries about economic inequality, political corruption and the excessive power of banks, the connection between these issues and the occupation of foreclosed housing is obvious:  A great deal of America’s vacant housing sits in the hands of the very financial institutions whose profiteering brought us the current Great Recession.

Not content with the billions in bailouts showered on them by a federal government that seems beholden to their interests, those institutions have resisted efforts to get them to restructure underwater mortgages.

The ejection of the Occupy Wall Street protesters from public spaces may, in the long run, work to the movement’s benefit. In shifting their efforts away from public parks and toward foreclosed homes, Occupy is forging a tighter link between its acts of occupation and its political objections.

This unforeseen good alternative will ultimately enhance the effectiveness of its message. It also brings Occupy Wall Street more closely into line with the most effective occupation movements of the past century”. End of quote

What do you think? How about occupying fancy residences not inhabited by the filthy rich and let the supreme court decide on the justice and fairness of vacant homes prohibited to be dwelt in by homeless citizens…

In around 1880, Chicago witnessed a monster demonstration by workers demanding an 8-hour work day.  A home-made bomb exploded and injured a few police men.  The authority condemned 5 innocent workers and hung them.  Many years later, the innocent martyred workers Albert Parsons, Adolf Fisher, George Engel, August Spies, and Louis Lingz (23 years) were deemed innocent and a monument was erected for them called “The Martyrs Grave” or Martyrs Tomb?  Most probably, the State government wanted urgently to set an example to the growing workers’ activism.

Note 1: Sonia K. Katyal is the Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. Eduardo M. Peñalver is a professor of law at Cornell Law School. Their book, “Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership,” was published last year by Yale University Press.

Note 2: You may read

Note 3

How US Administrations struggle to be “master of the situation” in the Middle East?

How US Administrations have been struggling to get engaged in this region?

The 7 Lessons the “Arab” people learned long time ago

The people in the Middle East has never been fully “decolonized“. This feeling is true, in everyday aspirations, for almost all African States which were under colonial occupations of France, England, Portugal, Germany, and Belgium.

Sitting on top of over 60% of the globe’s oil reserves, the Arab world has been the target of continual interference and interventions ever since it became nominally recognized by the UN as “independent States”.

Britain, France, and Italy (before and after WWI ) agreed on the imaginary borders of what are to become the current States. Thus creating the impression of artificial States among the people.

Since then, the people in the Arab States have been bombed and occupied by foreign powers, including Israel on behalf of the US, England and France, and locked down with US, French, and English military bases and western-backed tyrannies.

The Palestinian blogger Lina Al-Sharif tweeted on Armistice Day this year, the “reasons World War One isn’t over yet is because we, in the Middle East, are still living the consequences”.

The 7 lessons that the “Arab people” have long learned and that the “Arab States” should have finally grasped from the Western imperialism behaviors and strategy in the Middle-East are:

1. The Western powers never gives up their drive to control the Middle East, whatever the setbacks
2. Imperial powers can usually be relied on to delude themselves about what Arabs actually think
3. The Big UN veto Powers are old hands at “beautifying” client regimes to keep the oil flowing
4. People in the Middle East don’t forget their history – even when the US and Europe do their best to erase violent colonial past from history books
5. The West has always presented “Arabs”, who insist on running their own affairs, as fanatics
6. Foreign military intervention in the Middle East brings death, destruction, and the game of “divide to rule”
7. Western sponsorship of Palestine’s colonisation is a permanent block for normal relations with the Arab world

It is refreshing that social platforms are recognizing these facts and daring to reflect on their own and publish their findings. Here are quick samples, in videos, pictures, and news dispatches, which do not provide enough details, but at least set the tone for further reflection and investigation:

1. The west never gives up its drive to control the Middle East, whatever the setbacks

Take the last time Arab States started dropping out of the western orbit – in the 1950s, under the influence of Nasser’s pan-Arabism. In July 1958, radical Iraqi nationalist army officers overthrew a corrupt and repressive western-backed regime (sounds familiar?), garrisoned by British forces. 1958 revolution in Iraq. Link to this video

The ousting of the reliably pliant Iraqi monarchy threw Pathé into a panic.  In its first despatch on the events, Pathé News wrote: ” Oil-rich Iraq had become the “number one danger spot” despite the “Harrow-educated” King Faisal’s. No one can question King Faisal’s patriotism, but this is unfortunate for western policy”.

But within a few days – compared with the couple of months it took them to intervene in Libya this year – Britain and the US had moved thousands of troops into Jordan and Lebanon to protect two other client regimes from Nasserite revolt. Or, as Pathé News put it in its next report, to “stop the rot in the Middle East“. troops fly out to Jordan, 1958. Link to this video

Nor did they have any intention of leaving revolutionary Iraq to its own devices. Less than five years later, in February 1963, US and British intelligence backed the bloody coup that first brought Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athists to power. 

Fast forward to 2003, and the US and Britain had invaded and occupied the entire country.

Iraq was finally back under full western control – at the cost of over $2 trillion and over one million killed of Iraqi citizens… It was the strength of the Iraqi resistance that ultimately led to this week’s American withdrawal – but even after the pullout, 16,000 security contractors, trainers and others will remain under US command. In Iraq, as in the rest of the region, they never leave unless they’re forced to.

2. Imperial powers can usually be relied on to delude themselves about what Arabs actually think

Could the Pathé News presenter – and the colonial occupiers of the day – really have believed that the “thousands of Arabs” showering petrified praise on the fascist dictator Mussolini as he drove through the streets of Tripoli in the Italian colony of Libya in 1937 actually meant it? You wouldn’t guess so to look at their cowed faces. visits Libya, 1937. Link to this video

No hint from the newsreel that a third of the population of Libya had died under the brutality of Italian colonial rule, or of the heroic Libyan resistance movement led by Omar Mukhtar, who was hanged in an Italian concentration camp. But then the “mask of imperialism” the voiceover describes Mussolini as wearing fitted British politicians of the time just as well. Queen visits Aden, 1954. Link to this video

And Pathé’s report on the Queen’s visit to the British colony of Aden (now part of Yemen) a few years later was eerily similar, with “thousands of “cheering loyal subjects” shown supposedly welcoming “their own Queen” to what she blithely describes as an “outstanding example of colonial development”.

So outstanding in fact that barely a decade later the South Yemeni liberation movements forced British troops to evacuate the last outpost of empire after they had beaten, tortured and murdered their way through Aden’s Crater district: one ex-squaddie explained in a 2004 BBC documentary on Aden that he couldn’t go into details because of the risk of war crimes prosecutions.

Aden soldier 1953

A British soldier seizes a demonstrator in Aden’s Crater district in 1967. Photograph: Terry Fincher/Getty

It’s far easier to see through the propaganda of other times and places than your own – especially when delivered by preposterous 1950s-style Harry Enfield/Cholmondley-Warner characters.

The neocons famously expected a cakewalk in Iraq and early US and British coverage of the invasion still had Iraqis throwing flowers at invading troops when armed resistance was already in full flow. And UK TV reports of British troops “protecting the local population” from the Taliban in Afghanistan can be strikingly reminiscent of 1950s newsreels from Aden and Suez.

Even during this year’s uprisings in Egypt and Libya, western media have often seen what they wanted to see in the crowds in Tahrir Square or Benghazi – only to be surprised, say, when Islamists end up calling the shots or winning elections. Whatever happens next, they’re likely not to get it.

3. The Big Powers are old hands at “prettifying” client regimes to keep the oil flowing

When it comes to the reactionary Gulf autocracies, to be fair, they don’t really bother. But before the anti-imperialist wave of the 1950s did for a slew of them, the British, French and Americans worked hard to dress up the stooge regimes of the time as forward-looking constitutional democracies.

Sometimes that effort came rapidly unstuck, as this breezy report on Libya’s “first major test of democracy” under the US-British puppet king Idris makes no effort to conceal. in Libya, 1952. Link to this video

The brazen rigging of the 1952 elections against the Islamic opposition sparked rioting and all political parties were banned. Idris was later overthrown by Gaddafi, oil nationalised and the US Wheelus base closed – though today the king’s flag is flying again in Tripoli with Nato’s assistance, while western oil companies wait to collect their winnings.

Elections were also rigged and thousands of political prisoners tortured in 1950’s Iraq. But so far as British officialdom – entrenched as “advisers” in Baghdad and their military base at Habbaniya – and the newsreels shown in British cinemas at the time were concerned, Faisal’s Iraq was a benign and “go-ahead” democracy. oilfields of Basra, 1952. Link to this video

Under the watchful eyes of the US and British ambassadors and “Mr Gibson” of the British Iraq Petroleum Company, we see the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Said, opening the Zubair oilfield near Basra in 1952 to bring “schools and hospitals” through the “joint labour of east and west”.

In fact that would only happen when oil was nationalised – and six years later Said was killed on the streets of Baghdad as he tried to escape dressed as a woman. Half a century on and the British were back in control of Basra, while today Iraqis are battling to prevent a new takeover of their oil in a devastated country.  The US and British politicians again like to insist current Iraq is a democracy.

Any “Arab spring” State that ditches self-determination for the West’s embrace can of course expect a similar makeover – just as client regimes that never left its orbit, such as the corrupt police state of Jordan, have always been hailed as islands of good government and “moderation”.

4. People in the Middle East don’t forget their history – even when the US and Europe does

The gap could hardly be wider. When Nasser’s former information minister and veteran journalist Mohamed Heikal recently warned that the Arab uprisings were being used to impose a new “Sykes-Picot agreement“:   The WWI carve-up the Middle East; England got mandated power over Iraq, Palestine, Jordan…and France ruled over Syria and Lebanon.  Egypt and Yemen were already British colonies before the Ottoman Empire expired… Arabs and others in the Middle East naturally knew exactly what Heikal was talking about.

It has shaped the entire region and its relations with the west ever since. But to most non-specialists in Britain and France, Sykes-Picot might as well be an obscure brand of electric cheese-grater.

The same goes for more than a century of Anglo-American interference, occupation and anti-democratic subversion against Iran. British media expressed bafflement at popular Iranian hostility to Britain when the embassy in Tehran was trashed by demonstrators last month. But if you know the historical record, what could be less surprising? overthrow of Mossadegh, 1953. Link to this video

The Orwellian cynicism of Britain’s role is neatly captured in Pathé’s take on the 1953 overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh after he nationalised Iran’s oil.

Pro-Mossadegh demonstrators are portrayed as violent and destructive, while the violent CIA-MI6 organised coup that ousted him in favour of the Shah is welcomed as a popular and “dramatic turn of events”. The newsreel damns as a “virtual dictator” the elected Mossadegh, who at his subsequent treason trial expressed the hope that his fate would serve as an example in “breaking the chains of colonial servitude”.

The real dictator, the western-backed Shah whose brutal autocracy paved the way for the Iranian revolution and the Islamic Republic 26 years later, is hailed as the people’s sovereign.

mossadegh trial

Mohammed Mossadegh, Iran’s ousted prime minister, during his trial in the wake of the CIA-MI6 orchestrated coup that overthrew his elected government in 1953. Photograph: AFP

So when western politicians rail against Iranian authoritarianism or claim to champion democratic rights while continuing to prop up a string of Gulf dictatorships, there won’t be many in the Middle East who take them too seriously.

5. The west has always presented Arabs who insist on running their own affairs as fanatics

The revolutionary upheaval that began last December in Sidi Bouzid is far from being the first popular uprising against oppressive rule in Tunisia. In the 1950s the movement against French colonial rule was naturally denounced by colonial governments and their supporters as “extremist” and “terrorist”. nationalist riots, 1952. Link to this video

Pathé News certainly had no truck with their campaign for independence. In 1952, it blamed an attack on a police station on a “burst of nationalist agitation” across North Africa. And as colonial police conduct a “vigorous search for terrorists” – though the bewildered men being dragged from their homes at gunpoint look more like Captain Renault’s “usual suspects” in Casablanca – the presenter complains that “once again fanatics intervene and make matters worse”.

The presenter meant the Tunisian nationalists, of course, rather than the French occupation regime. Arab nationalism has since been eclipsed by the rise of Islamist movements, who have in turn been dismissed as “fanatics”, both by the west and some former nationalists. As elections bring one Islamist party after another to power in the Arab world, the US and allies are trying to tame them – on foreign and economic policy, rather than interpretations of sharia.

Those that succumb will become “moderates” – the rest will remain “fanatics”.

6. Foreign military intervention in the Middle East brings death, destruction and divide and rule

It’s scarcely necessary to dig into the archives to work that out. The experience of the last decade is clear enough. Whether it’s a full-scale invasion and occupation, such as Iraq, where hundreds of thousands have been killed, or aerial bombardment for regime change under the banner of “protecting civilians” in Libya, where tens of thousands have died, the human and social costs have been catastrophic.

And that’s been true throughout the baleful history of western involvement in the Middle East. Pathé’s silent film of the devastation of Damascus by French colonial forces during the Syrian revolt of 1925 might as well be of Falluja in 2004 or Sirte this autumn – if you ignore the fezzes and pith helmets. defence of Damascus, 1925. Link to this video

Thirty years later, and Port Said looked pretty similar during the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in 1956 that marked the replacement of the former European colonial states by the US as the dominant power in the region. operation on the Suez canal, 1956. Link to this video

This newsreel clip of British troops attacking Suez, invading troops occupying and destroying yet another Arab city, could be Basra or Beirut – it’s become such a regular feature of the contemporary world, and a seamless link with the colonial era.

british troops port said two

British troops surround hungry crowds in front of the ruins of Port Said, destroyed during the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in 1956. Photograph: Getty

So has the classic imperial tactic of using religious and ethnic divisions to enforce foreign occupation: whether by the Americans in Iraq, the French in colonial Syria and Lebanon or the British more or less wherever they went. The Pathé archive is full of newsreels acclaiming British troops for “keeping the peace” between hostile populations, from Cyprus to Palestine – all the better to keep control.

And now the religious sectarianism and ethnic divisions fostered under the US-British occupation of Iraq have been mobilised by the West’s Gulf allies to head off or divert the challenge of the Arab awakening: in the crushing of the Bahrain uprising, the isolation of Shia unrest in Saudi Arabia and the increasingly sectarian conflict in Syria – where foreign intervention could only escalate the killing and deny Syrians control of their own country.

7. Western sponsorship of Palestine’s colonisation is a permanent block on normal relations with the Arab world

Israel could not have been created without Britain’s 30-year imperial rule in Palestine and its sponsorship of large-scale European Jewish colonisation under the banner of the Balfour declaration of 1917. An independent Palestine, with an overwhelming Palestinian Arab majority, would clearly never have accepted it.

That reality is driven home in this Pathé News clip from the time of the Palestinian civil disobedience revolt of 1936-1939 against the British mandate . It shows British soldiers rounding up Palestinian “terrorists” in the occupied West Bank towns of Nablus and Tulkarm – just as their Israeli successors do today.

England had to dispatch 100,000 soldiers to confront this incredibly tenacious Palestinian civil disobedience movement that lasted 3 years, and could have lasted longer, if WWII didn’t break out. England enacted military laws and invented large set of torture techniques that Nazi Germany studied and applied, as Israel did afterwards, even before the “creation” of the State of Israel.

The British colonial mandate refused any kind of “democratic elections” in Palestine, on the ground that Zionist organization refused such election since Jews were less than 10% of the population! troops in Nablus, 1939. Link to this video

The reason for the security of Jewish settlers, the presenter declares in the clipped, breathless tones of the 1930’s voiceover, are “the British troops, ever watchful, ever protective”. That relationship broke down after Britain restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine on the eve of the second world war.

Britain’s colonial reflex, in Palestine as elsewhere, was always to present itself as “guardian of law and order” against the “threat of rebellion” and “master of the situation” – as in this delusional 1938 newsreel from Jerusalem. troops in Jerusalem, 1938. Link to this video

But the original crucial link between western imperial power and the Zionist project became a permanent strategic alliance after the establishment of Israel – throughout the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinians, multiple wars, 44 years of military occupation and the continuing illegal colonisation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The creation of the State of Israel was to be the front post (in these “desert lands”…) for destabilizing the region, a hired “private security guard”: No one is better in inflicting direct harm and infernal suffering to others, but those who tasted it, or make you believe that they feel what their family members tasted in indignities and genocide…

The unconditional nature of that alliance, which remains the pivot of US policy in the Middle East, is one reason why democratically elected Arab governments are likely to find it harder to play patsy to US power than the dictatorial Mubaraks and Gulf monarchs. The Palestinian cause is embedded in Arab and Islamic political culture. Like Britain before it, the US may struggle to remain “master of the situation” in the Middle East.

The Arab uprisings that erupted in Tunisia a year ago have focused on corruption, poverty and lack of freedom, rather than western domination or Israeli occupation. But the fact that they kicked off against western-backed dictatorships meant they posed an immediate threat to the strategic order.

Since the day Hosni Mubarak fell in Egypt, there has been a relentless counter-drive by the western powers and their Gulf allies to buy off, crush or hijack the Arab revolutions. And they’ve got a deep well of experience to draw on:  Every centre of the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Yemen, has lived through decades of imperial domination.

All the main NATO Sates that bombed Libya (US, Britain, France and Italy) have had troops occupying the country well within living memory.

If the Arab revolutions are going to take control of their future they’ll need to have to keep an eye on their recent past.  So here are seven lessons from the history of western Middle East meddling, courtesy of the archive of Pathé News, colonial-era voice of Perfidious Albion itself.

Note 1: You may read how-many-kinds-of-wars

Note 2: Arab-Spring-seven-lessons-, and

Lawsuits over free speech: Cities that broke up Occupy camps face lawsuits

For the time being, most major Occupy Wall Street encampments in the U.S. have been dispersed, but regrouping around the corners. City governments are facing a flurry of lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities’ use of force to break up tent cities.

In this photo from Nov.18,  Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school’s quad in Davis, Calif. (The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock, File / Associated Press )

  • ( The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock, File / Associated Press ) - FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school’s quad in Davis, Calif. Most major Occupy Wall Street encampments in the U.S. have been dispersed, but they live on in a flurry of lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities’ use of force to break up tent cities.
  • ( The Tribune, Jane Tyska / Associated Press ) - FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2011 file photo, debris is strewn throughout the Oakland Occupy encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza after Oakland Police disbanded the tent community in Oakland, Calif. Most major Occupy encampments have been dispersed, but they live on in a flurry of lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities’ mass arrests and use of force to break up tent cities.
  • ( Darryl Bush, File / Associated Press ) - FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2011 file photo, Occupy Oakland protesters run from tear gas deployed by police at 14th Street and Broadway in Oakland, Calif. The National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sued the Oakland Police Department in federal court in November, saying police and other agencies violated demonstrators’ Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force _ including “flash-bang” grenades _ against demonstrators who posed no safety threat. The suit says officials also violated their First Amendment rights to assemble and demonstrate.
Yvette Felarca is among those suing campus police and administration officials at the University of California, Berkeley, after officers forcefully dispersed a group of Occupy protesters and others rallying for public education last month. Felarca, a middle school teacher and organizer with the civil rights organization “By Any Means Necessary” filed the suit. Felacra said: “I was standing, arms linked with other demonstrators’, before a line of police officers. The police moved in after some tents were set up on a lawn. I was chanting and yelling when a police officer hit me in the throat, in the ribs, abdomen and back with his baton, and I watched others bear repeated blows”.  She resumed: “The brutality was absolutely designed to chill the speech of students in the movement and literally try to beat and terrorize our right to criticize, to think critically and to act on that criticism.” The university has called it “disconcerting” that the suit contains “so many inaccuracies.”
Sobel, of the National Lawyers Guild, is planning a lawsuit in the case of the pepper-spraying by campus police of peaceful protesters at the University of California, Davis, video footage of which went viral.Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, called the lawsuits an important check on police power. She noted that authorities haven’t been uniformly excessive around the country, but pointed in New York City to mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge — which are under litigation — as well as the pepper-spraying of several women and the dark-of-night breakup of Zuccotti Park.

Donna Lieberman said that her group has been concerned for years about police tactics, but that the response to the Occupy movement shines a light on them in a way that “engages and offends a new sector of the public.” She predicted there will be other lawsuits about excessive force, civil rights violations and mostly likely people’s rights to get back into Zuccotti, which she said police have blocked from public usage with their pens.

Donna  said: “I think what’s been happening with Occupy is so reminiscent of what happened during the Republican National Convention in 2008, as people get together to engage in that most American of pastimes — protest — it almost always generates a defensive and repressive response from law enforcement. Occupy is no exception.”

Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn., said police overreacted to the Occupy movement in some cities, which probably earned protesters some new support. Still, he noted, protesters’ First Amendment rights are not without limitation.  Gene said: “We’ve always had to balance our rights. No one can really claim you have an unfettered unlimited First Amendment rights. The courts are there to say, wait a minute, that goes too far, or that’s OK. It is part of that give and take. Of course we all wish our rights were never intruded upon.”

Note 1: You may read

Note 2: Article reported by Niedowski from Providence, R.I. Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela in New York contributed.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Where is this Fallujah? In Iraq? What the US marines were doing there?
Do you know where is this godforsaken city of Fallujah in Iraq?
It is a city of vast majority Moslem Sunnis who were pretty angry with the US invasion of their country Iraq.
I read a couple of versions of what took place, how it happened that the US troops engaged in this genocide. It happened in 2003, a couple of months after the US troops entered the Capital Bagdad.
A group of “private security guards” hired by the US military to doing the “dirty jobs” got lost and entered the city of Falluja, a city they were warned never to enter.  The signal was sent in the city and 3 fighters managed to ambush the convoy and killed a couple of “private guards” and burned the body of one of them.
The US military decided to “avenge” the burning of a “guard”, simply because the video of the scene made the round of the social platforms.
How many civilians in Falluja were killed, and how they were killed? An eye-witness US marine veteran wrote part of the story:
US soldiers return to their barracks at a military base outside Fallujah

US soldiers return to their barracks at a military base outside Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. Photograph: Stefan Zaklin/EPA

 published this piece in the, on Thursday Dec. 22:

“It has been 7 years since the end of the second siege of Fallujah – the US assault that left the city in ruins, killed thousands of civilians, and displaced hundreds of thousands more; the assault that poisoned a generation, plaguing the people who live there with cancers and their children with birth defects.

It has been 7 years and the lies that justified the assault still perpetuate false beliefs about what we did.

The US veterans who fought there still do not understand who they fought against, or what they were fighting for.

I know, because I am one of those American veterans.

In the eyes of many of the people I “served” with, (they want to believe) that the people of Fallujah are terrorists, and not fighters resisting for their survival. But unlike most of my counterparts, I understand that I was the aggressor, and that the resistance fighters in Fallujah were defending their city.

It is also the 7th anniversary of the deaths of two close friends of mine, Travis Desiato and Bradley Faircloth, who were killed in the siege. Their deaths were not heroic or glorious. Their deaths were tragic, but not unjust.

How can I begrudge the resistance in Fallujah for killing my friends, when I know that I would have done the same thing if I were in their place? How can I blame them when we were the aggressors?

It could have been me instead of Travis or Brad. I carried a radio on my back that dropped the bombs (of the fighter jets and helicopters?) that killed civilians and reduced Fallujah to rubble.

If I were a Fallujan, I would have killed anyone like me. I would have had no choice. The fate of my city and my family would have depended on it. I would have killed the foreign invaders.

Travis and Brad are both victims and perpetrators. They were killed and they killed others because of a political agenda in which they were just pawns. They were the iron fist of American empire, and an expendable loss in the eyes of their leaders.

I do not see any contradiction in feeling sympathy for the dead US Marines and soldiers and at the same time feeling sympathy for the Fallujans who fell to their guns.

The contradiction lies in believing that we were liberators, when in fact we oppressed the freedoms and wishes of Fallujans. The contradiction lies in believing that we were heroes, when the definition of “hero” bares no relation to our actions in Fallujah.

What we did to Fallujah cannot be undone, and I see no point in attacking the people in my former unit.

What I want to attack are the lies and false beliefs. I want to destroy the prejudices that prevented us from putting ourselves in the other’s shoes and asking ourselves what we would have done if a foreign army invaded our country and laid siege to our city.

I understand the psychology that causes the aggressors to blame their victims.

I understand the justifications and defense mechanisms.

I understand the emotional urge to want to hate the people who killed someone dear to you. But to describe the psychology that preserves such false beliefs is not to ignore the objective moral truth that no attacker can ever justly blame their victims for defending themselves.

The same distorted morality has been used to justify attacks against the native Americans, the VietnameseEl Salvadorans, and the Afghans. It is the same story over and over again.

These people have been dehumanized, their God-given right to self-defense has been delegitimized, their resistance has been re-framed as terrorism, and US soldiers have been sent to kill them.

History has preserved these lies, normalized them, and socialized them into our culture: so much so that legitimate resistance against US aggression is incomprehensible to most, and to even raise this question is seen as un-American.

History has defined the US veteran as a hero, and in doing so it has automatically defined anyone who fights against him as the bad guy. It has reversed the roles of aggressor and defender, moralized the immoral, and shaped our societies’ present understanding of war.

I cannot imagine a more necessary step towards justice than to put an end to these lies, and achieve some moral clarity on this issue.

I see no issue more important than to clearly understand the difference between aggression and self-defence, and to support legitimate struggles.

I cannot hate, blame, begrudge, or resent Fallujans for fighting back against us. I am sincerely sorry for the role I played in the second siege of Fallujah, and I hope that some day not just Fallujans but all Iraqis will win their struggle.” End of quote

Note 1: This piece was originally run on

Note 2:  From this account, it appears that the US dropped toxic and highly poisonous bombs and “depleted uranium”, internationally prohibited like burning phosphorous bombs and biological bombs, that the civilians died for days, months, and years later…

A cousin of mine in Canada was attending mass, and the Falluja story was fresh and the preacher got it all wrong about Falluja.  My cousin burst out of church shouting: “Falluja! Why don’t you dare saying what really happened in Falluja? Thousands of civilians slaughtered in Falluja…”

Note 3: This update on Jan. 16, 2014: Falluja is now under siege by the Iraqi army. The city has surrendered to the extremist Islamist Da3esh faction and the Iraqi government is demanding from the tribal clans to quick out of the city these “intruders” who were actually welcomed by the city. The Iraqi army is trying to recapture its authority in the Anbar province, to close the passages for the volunteered Islamists going to fight in Syria.




December 2011

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