Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 2012

Mania of “Rebranding Africa” disaster: Vogue of Italy

Every now and then, someone is trying to rebrand Africa, and it isn’t going so well. Vogue Italia’s latest issue — boosted by great billowing gusts of editorial hot air from both the New York Times and the Guardian — is called “Rebranding Africa.
 
  posted on June 6, under “Vogue Italia’s Rebranding Africa disaster”

“First.   Suppose you’re re-branding the continent of Africa:  who do you pick as your cover star?  What self-inflating fashion magazine wouldn’t lead their Africa edition with a picture of a South Korean diplomat sitting behind a desk in Manhattan?

The new face of Africa is none other than UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. There are so many ways to read this choice. An obvious take is that Vogue Italia, despite their claims of “rebranding” Africa must have decided Africans can’t govern themselves and need UN intervention.

The interview with Ban is very curious reading indeed. Apparently, the man is just world-class at regurgitating very precise development statistics. It reads like an annual report of a large multinational NGO.

Either that, or what we’re reading is a mashed up press release or a stilted email exchange dressed up as a conversation that actually took place (the latter is most likely the case).

Ban Ki-Moon drones endlessly on about the Millennium Development Goals, which is exactly what you’d expect him to do, but is also precisely the opposite of the kind of thing which invites the readers of Vogue Italia to think of Africa in a new way.

With Ban Ki-Moon as its new face, Africa is (a) boring and uncool, and (b) a stubborn problem to be managed by foreign technocrats. No change there.

So why is he on the cover? We have absolutely no idea. The man dresses like any other boring technocrat. The Guardian said the Vogue Italia coverage showed that the effort to rebrand the continent “wasn’t just a token effort” and that it made us (in the West, naturally) sit up and take notice. How?

To us, all that this shows is that the addled people at Vogue Italia are incredibly unimaginative, and quite weird when it comes to its coverage of the unfamiliar — that is, the dark continent/country of Africa.

One guy they could have picked instead for the cover is Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, whose moribund interview with chief editor Franca Sozzani really ought to be somehow preserved in formaldehyde and wheeled out at journalism school graduations as a chilling example of just how bad journalism can get. Much of the copy is taken up with Sozzani’s worrying whether they can photograph Goodluck the Vogue way.

The “interview” is really long passages of Sozzani generously offering her explanation to Jonathan of exactly what is wrong with Nigeria:

All the richest Nigerians spend their money abroad because there a no shops here, no hotels with a chic African flair, no hip restaurants or clubs.

Why not build an African Rodeo Drive in Lagos or Abuja, with boutiques carrying both imported and Nigerian goods?

Finally, there’s a single lonely quote from Jonathan in there, in which he agrees with the long speech Sozzani has made. It’s not often we feel sorry for Goodluck Jonathan, but seriously, poor chap.

It’s also not sure when they did the interview. There’s no word of Occupy Nigeria, which showed Jonathan up to be insensitive and dithering.

You also get the sense that the next time Vogue Italia “do” Africa, Nigeria’s notoriously corrupt and terrifyingly incompetent oil minister will probably be the new cover star, as Sozzani drools mindlessly over one of Nigeria’s most detested politicians:

We are joined by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, a gorgeous and elegant woman – who also happens to be a princess – dressed in traditional robes, with a Master’s from Cambridge and the distinction of being the first woman to run Nigeria’s most important ministry.

Actually they did already. In the same issue.

Sozzani’s representation of Nigeria’s complex social and political situation is as astute as you’d expect it to be, and thanks to the internet, she gets called out big-style by a Nigerian called “Rachel”, whose comment on the website is by far the best piece of writing in the entire magazine, print or online:

This is possibly this worst piece of journalism on Nigeria I have EVER read. I cannot tell you how angry people are reading this. It is a shallow piece of vanity which glosses over the complexities of the tensions in Nigeria.

When you say ‘Muslim’s ultimatum to the Christians’ – do you mean that all the Muslims who make up half of the 158 million people living in Nigeria have a vendetta against Christians? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT????

It was Boko Haram’s ultimatum – you can’t just say ‘Muslims’ throwing in millions of people into a sentence who have felt just as much violence and suffering as Christians in Nigeria. It isn’t just Christians who have died during the violence but many Muslims.

Sweeping statements like this fuel tensions between Christians and Muslims but of course that is perfect for the American audience who probably believe every Muslim is part of Al Q’aeda.

Your dramatic entrance to Nigeria was completely unnecessary. There are thousands of expats who have lived here for years in complete safety. It is reports like this that do nothing for the country. Do not flatter yourself to believe that you would be of ANY value to a terrorist.

You would probably annoy the hell out of them. WHY did the editors think it would be important for readers to hear what you think what should be done in Nigeria?

You were talking to the President of the country who is dealing with increasing rates of poverty and a decline in security and you are telling him to build an African Rodeo Drive? Oh yes, please build it so the 5% of the super wealthy population that can actually afford to buy from these sort of shops will no longer travel.

The rest of the population can look on with their begging bowls in envy.

And the Petroleum Minister is probably one of the most corrupt people in Nigeria who has only added to the poverty, and therefore the security problems in the country.

Don’t you know ANYTHING about the fuel subsidy scandal here? Do you know how many people are calling for her resignation? I feel so disappointed. I dread to think what the issue is like.

I agree with you on one thing, it is important that people see beyond the famine and death in Africa and see the potential it has to grow but the potential has to be found in communities who are doing what they can to get out of poverty whether it be telecommunications to do banking, solar energy to power their small businesses or community initiatives to support women. What use is a Banana fricking Republic?”

What’s common in Yom-Tov, Eid, Tobie, Zaki and Theophile…?

I was born of two Jewish parents. Tradition wanted the first-born boy to be named after the paternal grand father, and the second boy after the maternal grand father. I am the second son, and it happened that mother was not in good term with her father after he remarried six months only after her mother died.

My mother’ father Zaki (for Yaacoub) had this reasoning: “I am meat eater, and it is such a waste to keep having wet dreams…”

Before I was born, mother had her great grand father (Yom Tov Israel Sherezli) visit her in her dream. Rabbi of the Jews in Egypt (1867-91) asked my mother to taste all kinds of jams that she had prepared…My mother aunts interpreted the dream as the grand father inviting himself to the house, and the second boy must take the name of Yom-Tov (Holy Day).

As my father was carrying me to the civil department to register my name, a violent demonstration was sweeping the streets: Israel was just voted in at the UN (by a single vote) as an independent State in part of Palestine. My father had to name me Eid (Holy Day in Arabic).

I was Tobie at home and Eid officially. When we immigrated to France, and at the age of 21 for my naturalization as French citizen, I had to change my name to one of the French calendar acceptable names: names from the Bible were of no consequence and totally irrelevant.

After a week of reflection, I decided on Theophile (Lover of God). I am still Tobie at home.

Hi Tobie. Now that you selected Theophile, all the meat in the world won’t be enough

 

Note: This post is a childhood story that Tobie Nathan contributed to the French book “A Jewish childhood in Moslem Mediterranean States”. Tobie was born in Cairo in 1948 and immigrated to france in 1957 after the coordinated attack of France, England, and Israel on Egypt to recapture the Suez canal…Tobie is a into ethnospychiatry and published “The new interpretation of dreams, 2011”, “Who murdered Arlozoroff, 2009”, and “My patient Sigmund Freud, 2006”

Perfect Thesis to whom? Get on with it and wrap it up…

Richard Butterworth finally got his PhD in Nov.2011 and could not help but extend his 10 tips (with slight editing, and sentences in parenthesis are mine)

Tip 1 – Academics need you.  Most PhD supervisors are keen to speak to any potential student who has a good research idea:  a good record of successful PhD supervision is essential to build a successful academic career.

Don’t be afraid to approach a potential supervisor directly. I developed a rudimentary research proposal and emailed every academic I could identify in my local region whose research interests seemed to fit.

Tip 2 – Its YOUR PhD – Take ownership: Whether the research idea is your own, or you have been appointed to research a topic as an advertised position, YOU are the one working day and night and living the research.

Your supervisors will have opinions or perhaps an agenda which will shape the direction of your research.  It is YOU alone who will have to defend it in the viva.

I have spoken to many PhD researchers who felt that their research was not their own and they were merely doing the bidding of their supervisor.

The result can be mixed – some drop out as the lack of control leads to a lack of interest or focus. Many work day and night to please their supervisory team and burn out, many are successfully awarded their PhDs but feel that they are a sham as their work was not entirely their own.

(I may add another reason why a graduate steers clear from academia after earning a PhD: They learn nothing in the last two years of the hard work…Totally dejected from the untenable and time-wasting process…)

Tip 3 – Write up as you are going: I am always amazed when I speak to PhD students who are in the third year and entering their ”writing up stage” and tell me that they have not written more than a few thousand words. They feel daunted and overwhelmed by the huge task of meeting that 40-80,000 plus word count (depending on the discipline).

“But you must have the literature review almost completed at least?” I say.  Many just have pages and pages of notes. I had written complete drafts of my Introduction, Background, Literature Review, Methodology and Scoping Study by the Midpoint of my PhD – 18 months since I began.

Sure, I would have to update and re-draft these sections – some of them extensively, but the knowledge that I had written about 40,000 words of what became a 90,000 document was of great comfort to me. I could pass these sections off to my supervisors for review whilst I embarked on my data analysis.

(Mind you that it is not that you have written something that the advisor will find time to read your stuff: While the advisor is lacking the courage of taking a look at your draft, start another draft. You are writing to understand your research…The more you write the better the picture…)

Tip 4Love to Hate your Thesis: You will at some point hate your thesis, trust me…This is OK, its normal – most people seem to go through it at some point – usually about two-thirds of the way through. This is completely normal and to be expected. Don’t panic, take a break – yes a break.

PhD students need a holiday too, even if it’s just a break from the research to do something different. When you return to the topic, your brain will have sorted out some of the problems you are struggling with on its own.

(The process is meant to make you hate yourself more than the research...You take a break from hating yourself for taking this stupid decision to go for a PhD…)

Tip 5Finished is better than perfect. I am a perfectionist by nature and I had to learn over the last few years the finished is better than perfect. Perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

If you are lucky enough to reach the mythical land of perfection (which only exists in your own head), it is still highly likely that readers, and more importantly, examiners will find fault. This is what examiners are paid to do. The same advice applies to writing papers too.

(The best dissertations are from students who finished the PhD programs in less than 2 years…The thesis were follow ups on their masters thesis… and they were relatively thin books…)

Tip 6 – The written Thesis is just part of the PhD: The majority of PhDs have some form of wording on the first page which states something like the document is “submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy” .

Spot the keyword? “partial”. Before and during the viva the examiners will be considering many criteria in addition to the thesis such as the administration of the PhD, your training record,  publications and impact activities to name a few.

The point is, the Thesis does not have to be – nor is expected to be – perfect. The examiners will always have an opinion on how you have presented the results or the approach you took.

You will not know what this opinion is until you put the work in front of them – so don’t try to second guess but ensure that you can defend why you took a certain approach as opposed to another.

You made the decision (see Tip 2) based on the evidence in front of you at the time and you are the expert in this subject. So defend.

Tip 7Enjoy the Viva! Really. This is your chance to communicate your research, your passion, to at least two leading academics – sounds scary, but they will be genuinely interested in what you have done.

Most examiners want to pass a student – despite the horror stories that are popular amongst PhD students.

The truth is in the majority of cases they will have already made a decision about whether to pass you or not. I will be following this up with a more detailed post on my viva experience later.

(It is hard to fail someone after spending over 6 years in the program…)

Tip 8Have a plan for life post PhD.  Start looking for a job etc…although of course this is important – more how are you going to fill the void? And it is a void.

You will have been immersed in a particular subject and culture for at least 3 years, probably more. Once you have completed any changes demanded post viva and submitted the final completed thesis – the silence is deafening

(Most academics are those who started sending drafts of their research to various universities before even finishing the PhD…They want to teach and want to accumulate contacts and connections... Another reason to keep revisiting your drafts as you receive feedback from contacts…)

Tip 9 – It is worth it.  Completing the PhD was an anti-climax for me. (And for me. There were never a climax in the procedure…). There were no trumpets or angels, no being carried through the university on the shoulders of my peers, no huge pay-rise or immediate offers of employment, not even any champagne (although there was, strangely, many flavors of Schnapps…)

However, 6 months on from the viva and corrections it feels worth it. It is a validation of your research skills and prowess… You feel a little more authoritative when speaking to peers or students (although inside, you know that you are not any smarter than before), and you have survived – almost mentally intact….

(The company that had the monopoly to publish the thesis in official books for the university library discovered a blank page and wanted a good reason.  The error was that a blank page got inserted amid the over 300 pages while printing…It was the last straw, and I relieved the university shelves of my famous thesis… What I gained was establishing an experimental mind.)

Tip 10– Ignore tips 1-9

Is TAFTANAZ still a town in Syria?

Taftanaz is a jumble of simple concrete homes surrounded by golden wheat fields some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the northern city of Idlib (see link in note), by the border with Turkey, and it had 15,000 villagers. It is located near a military base

Ben Hubbard spent two weeks inside Syria with a team of AP journalists. Taftanaz was among the hardest-hit areas the team visited.

“TAFTANAZ, Syria (AP) — The main street of this once-bustling Syrian farm town now stands eerily quiet, its shops charred black from arson, its shoppers replaced by cats roaming the rubble of homes destroyed by tank fire.

At dawn on April 3, Syrian forces shelled the town in the first volley of what residents say was a massive assault after a string of large protests calling for the end of the regime of President Bashar Assad. Soldiers then stormed in, torching homes and businesses and gunning down residents in the streets. By the time they left on the third day, at least 62 people were dead.

Two months later, the destruction remains, but most residents are gone. Locals estimate that about two-thirds of the town’s 15,000 people have left. Most don’t expect them to return.

Resident Bassam Ghazzal, who lost more than 20 members of his extended family in the attack, said:” There is nothing for people to come back to, and they worry that if they rebuild, the army will destroy it again. People don’t want to become refugees twice. Residents had long complained of State neglect and corruption that left many living in poverty. So when protesters inspired by the successful uprisings against autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt took to the streets in Syria, they followed along, first demonstrating for change in April 2011″

Local security officers quickly ended the protest, but the town organized more, sparking further crackdowns and arrest campaigns by regime authorities.

The Syrian army raided the village three times in the next four months. During a June raid, Ghazzal’s cousin was shot dead at a regime checkpoint while trying to flee, making him the first of the town’s “martyrs.”

Others followed. Some in the town took up arms, and an October clash between the army and local rebels killed 5 residents. Other residents buried them and held another protest the same day, Ghazzal said.

Then all was quiet until April 3, when tanks shelled the town from four sides before armored cars brought in dozens of soldiers who dragged civilians from their homes and gunned them down in the streets, witnesses said. The soldiers also looted, destroyed and torched hundreds of homes, bringing some down on their owners’ heads.

Videos shot at the time show tanks posted near the town’s entrance and huge columns of smoke rising throughout the area. Photos of the dead show bodies torn apart by shrapnel, charred by fire, crushed under rubble or with bullet holes in their chests, foreheads and temples.

Local activist Abdullah Ghazzal, a university student in English, says 62 people were killed during the attack, four of them burned beyond recognition. Two others have never been found.

The town had only a small rebel presence, though fighters from the area had killed soldiers at nearby checkpoints or destroyed regime tanks, said local fighter Sahir Schaib. Rebels also blew up 9 tanks as they left the town, mostly with homemade bombs planted along the roads.

Schaib said the onslaught was to send a strong message to neighboring villages: “There were lots of villages around that had just started protesting and they wanted to say, ‘This is what we can do to you. They committed the massacre to teach the entire region a lesson.”

Since the start of the anti-Assad uprising in March 2011, the regime has responded to unrest with brute force, dispatching snipers, troops and tanks to quash dissent. Activists say more than 14,000 people have been killed since, many of them civilians.

In general, the violence has not stopped the uprising, emboldening protesters, galvanizing international condemnation and leading many in the opposition to take up arms.

Taftanaz is a place where overwhelming force appears to have not only crushed a burgeoning protest movement but struck a blow against a community that may never recover.

The Syrian government rarely comments on its military actions and blames the uprising on armed terrorists acting out a foreign conspiracy. It bars most reporters from working in the country, and the AP was able to visit Taftanaz only after entering from a neighboring country.

The price of Taftanaz’s defiance is obvious around town. Homes have been reduced to rubble. Most shops along the town’s main street are shuttered, their thick metal doors scarred by shrapnel and gunfire. Black soot lines the windows of others. Yet others lie collapsed in piles of bricks and mortar.

“They took what they took and burned what they burned,” said Abu Eissa Ghazzal, 75, another member of the extended Ghazzal family. Standing near his torched grocery store on the ground floor of a three-story building, he despaired for the future.

“They didn’t leave me a single nail,” he said.

His younger brother had built the building after working for two decades in Saudi Arabia and lived with his family in the top two floors, Ghazzal said. Now all had been torched, and his brother and family had fled to a refugee camp in Turkey.

His older brother lived across the alley and refused to leave his home when the army came. When the attack was over, rescue teams found the 81-year-old man’s body still in his home, burned to a crisp.

“Now there is nobody left,” he said. “Who is going to rebuild all of this, now that all of those with children have left?”

The army has not returned since the April raid. Local activists still organize protests, though many fewer people attend, and rumors of impending military incursions often terrify residents.

Most of the dead rest in a long mass grave on the village’s east side, their names scrawled in marker on cinder block headstones.

Preceding most names is the honorific “hero martyr.” One inscription for the unidentified bodies reads simply “four people.”

“Most of them were my friends,” said Abdullah Ghazzal, the English student, walking among the graves. He pointed out the grave of his 44-year-old brother, shot dead that day.

“They also burned down his house,” he said.

Note  https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/syria-city-of-edleb-by-turkish-border-10-checkpoints-on-a-70-mile-stretch/

How the Federal Reserve Bank behaved since early 20th century?

The US Federal Reserve Bank, an owned private institution, was created on December 23, 1913. It was planned at a secret meeting in 1910 on Jekyll Island, Georgia, by a group of Zionist bankers and politicians.

The power to print money was transferred from the US Government to a private group of Zionist bankers.

The Federal Reserve Act was hastily passed just before the 1913 Christmas break. Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr. warned: “This act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President signs this act the invisible government by the money power, proven to exist by the Money Trust Investigation, will be legalized. The new law will create inflation whenever the trust wants inflation….From now on, depression will be scientifically created.”

Three years after signing the Federal Reserve Act into law, US President Woodrow Wilson made the following statement:

Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world–no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.”

During the Great Depression people who had gold in the banks wanted the banks to honor their contract to redeem the paper currency for gold…

The fraudulent nature of fractional reserve banking was at risk of being exposed because there was not enough gold on deposit in the banks to redeem all Federal Reserve Notes issued promising payment in gold.

That was when US President Roosevelt declared a national emergency and closed the banking system for two days as recommended by the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act declaring it illegal for US citizens to own gold under penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and/or up to 10 years in prison.

The people exchanged their gold and gold certificates for Federal Reserve Notes of created dollars based on debt, which stated a promise of redemption in lawful money.

Gold was now removed from the system, leaving silver dollars as the only lawful money available. Silver was eventually eliminated from the money system in 1965, leaving the public with a totally scam money system of irredeemable paper currency and copper-nickel clad tokens.

This money system represents a debt owed to the owners of the Federal Reserve Banking System, the payment of which is guaranteed by the collateral of all property and income of all US citizens.

When banks cannot honor their contract to redeem their notes for gold or silver coins, they are bankrupt. The contract between the people and the Federal Reserve printed on each bank-note promising to pay in lawful money was invalidated because:

1. the system went bankrupt and

2.  the amended version of the “Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917” placed all US citizens in the category of enemy, and no contract is considered valid between enemies.

American citizens were declared to be the enemy by their own government.  Indeed they would be the enemy if the people ever discovered what had happened to their money.

Being unable to trade in wealth such as gold and silver coin enslaves the people to those who create and control what is being called money. All it took to rob the public was to convince the people that “paper and credi”t are money.

The Federal Government and the Federal Reserve have the power to create unlimited amounts of credit because credit does not exist. Credit is not a tangible substance, but an idea represented by bookkeeping entries and computer symbols.

To pay means to deliver a tangible substance as money like gold and silver coin. Where there is no substance, there is no payment. There is only pretend payment.

Banks do not really lend money, they only pretend to lend money. They put no money in a borrower’s account. They only make bookkeeping entries that are reduced as the borrower writes checks against imagined deposits.

When the banks charge interest on a loan they do not make then banks impart psychological value to numbers of nothing. Charging interest sustains the illusion that banks loan something of value, when all they do is rent the appearance of money.

The Secretary of the Treasury is not the US Secretary of the Treasury because:

1. the US Treasury was bankrupted in 1933.

2. The Secretary of the Treasury is not paid by the United States Government. The Secretary serves as US Governor of the International Monetary Fund as receiver of the bankrupt United States, collecting the debt from US citizens.

The Federal Reserve Bank has provided the needed sleight-of-hand credit financing to involve America in every foreign war during the twentieth century. The net result of America getting involved in one foreign war after another has been a consequent steady decline in personal freedom; the growth of a highly centralized, bureaucratic and fascistic government.

A horrendous rise in taxation and the planned destruction of the gold standard, which used to give some degree of protection to American citizens against an out-of-control, profligate, high-spending government in Washington.  

The value of the US$ in 1940 was worth 17 times more than the value of the US$ now as a result of the Federal Reserve’s long-term monetary policy, which has quietly cooperated with the federal government to finance government deficits with Federal Reserve credit.

The Federal Reserve made extensive usage of the misleading words “Federal” and “Reserve” and has over time replaced our system of real money of gold and silver coin with worthless paper, which is against the law according to the US Constitution.

Alan Greenspan, served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, stated at the annual Dinner and Francis Boyer Lecture of The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on December 5, 1996:

 “Augmenting concerns about the Federal Reserve is the perception that we are a secretive organization, operating behind closed doors, not always in the interests of the nation as a whole. This is regrettable, and we continuously strive to alter this misperception.”

The only solution to this problem is to do away with the Federal Reserve and go back to the way it used to be and have American money system based on gold and silver coin.  The only solution to the problem is honest money.

Thomas Jefferson saw it coming more than 150 years ago and wrote:

“If the America people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currencies, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their prosperity until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

The Ninth Circuit Court adjudicated in 1982:

“Examining the organization and function of the Federal Reserve Banks, and applying the relevant factors, we conclude that the Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA, but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.”
– Lewis vs. U.S., 680 F. 2d 1239, 1241]

Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, delivered a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, June 10, 1932:

“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.  I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks.  

Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions.  They are not government institutions.  They are private credit monopolies; domestic swindlers, rich and predatory money lenders which prey upon the people of the united States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers.  

The Federal Reserve Banks are the agents of the foreign central banks.  

The truth is the Federal Reserve Board has usurped the Government of the United States by the arrogant credit monopoly which operates the Federal Reserve Board.” End of quote

Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee, speech on the House floor, 1967:

“In the united States we have, in effect, two governments….We have the duly constituted Government….Then we have an independent, uncontrolled and uncoordinated government in the Federal Reserve System, operating the money powers which are reserved to Congress by the Constitution.”

Teddy Roosevelt said:

“These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of newspapers and the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of public office officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government.”

Americans have to ask themselves why they were not taught the truth about the Federal Reserve in school.

The US Congress initially defined a lawful money “dollar” as being and consisting of (at least) 371.25 grains of pure silver.  Before 1965, anyone could exchange one paper dollar for one real silver dollar.  

However, in 1965 the united States’ mint stopped minting silver dollars.  When this occurred inflation began to skyrocket.  Now it takes an entire fist full of paper dollars (i.e., “Federal Reserve Notes”) to buy one real silver dollar.  

It now takes two working parents to support a family and the national debt is shooting over 12 trillion dollars!  And this is not even counting the private debt by individuals and corporations, which is somewhere over 50 trillion dollars.

The paper and digital currency that bankers create out of thin air is backed by nothing. The more paper “dollars” they roll off the printing presses or digital “dollars” created by computers, the less each one is worth.  Therefore, it takes more of ’em to buy the things people need, so the price of everything has to go up and up and up in endless inflation.  

Wages for most people will not increase fast enough to stay ahead of the game.  But not to worry, the international bankers have created plastic credit cards – VISA, MasterCard, American Express etc., to help the people out.  Of course, they don’t bother to tell us that they do not create enough paper/digital currency to pay off the debt plus interest so mathematically the economy will eventually collapse as has always occurred in history with paper currencies.

The Federal Reserve system was created by international banking families such as the Rothschild, Wartburg and Rockefeller.  This international banking cartel creates “money” out of thin air.  It only costs them a few cents to print each Federal Reserve Note “dollar bill”, and then they “bill” the American people for the full face value of the note.  

To add insult to injury, they charge Americans interest to borrow their so-called “money”.  If you or I did this, we would be arrested for counterfeiting and fraud.  This system was instituted gradually, starting with the Civil War and culminating with the fraudulent passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913.

The passage of the Federal Reserve Act was unconstitutional because:

1) the US Constitution prohibited “bills of credit” (i.e., paper notes) and

2) the US Constitution would have to be amended to go off the silver and gold coin standard for money.  The US Constitution, the supreme Law of the Land, can only be amended pursuant to Article V.  The US Constitution cannot be amended by statute.  These unlawful actions by a criminal Congress remind me of a quote by Alfred E. Neumann of Mad Magazine fame: “America is that land which fought for freedom and then passed laws to get rid of it.”

The Federal Reserve is also a monopoly– in a country where monopolies are supposed to be illegal.  

The US income tax department – Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – deposits people’s income tax payments directly in the Federal Reserve Bank (not in the United States Treasury).  Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an unconstitutional entity, is merely the collection agency for the international bankers.  

Over the years the IRS has become a tool of the elite banking families to financially attack and/or imprison people who expose the Federal Reserve.

If you take out a paper dollar and look at it, you will notice that it states at the top of the “bill”:  “FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE”.  A “note” is, by definition, an “instrument of debt” and “evidence of debt”.  

According to BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY (Sixth Ed.) “MONEY” is defined:  

“In usual and ordinary acceptation it means coins and paper currency used as circulating medium of exchange, and does not embrace notes, bonds, evidences of debt, or other personal or real estate.”  

Now this may come as a shock to some people, but those paper “Federal Reserve Notes” are not money and they are not dollars.  Federal Reserve Notes are merely an informal document acknowledging debt.   There is nothing backing these “bills” except debt.  However, people voluntarily use them as instead of money and as dollars.  The key word is “as” – The smallest words can have the biggest meanings.

Banks can create this phony “currency” out of thin air.  Banks can loan out “currency” that they don’t even have.  When you apply for a loan from a bank, the bank does not have anything to back up that loan because they are allowed to loan out about 7 to 10 times more “currency” than they have on deposit.  

This is not mere speculation; this is a matter of court record, testimony under Oath, by a former lawyer for the Federal Reserve.  In other words bankers create “currency” with just the stroke of a pen or the keystroke of a computer.  These bankers then charge you “interest” to borrow this “currency”, which is nothing more than some numbers typed on a piece of paper!  If American People ever did this they would be spending many years in an US federal prison.  

Unfortunately, they do not print enough currency to pay the interest so more pseudo-dollars must be borrowed to pay off the interest, resulting in ever-increasing debt that cannot be paid.” End of quote

Countless preemptive wars were waged, and many political and physical assassinations of leaders and Presidents in the USA were direct results of preserving this privately owned Federal Reserve Bank.

Seek knowledge and get engaged to change mankind’s lot.

Note 1: The article is a section of a lengthy reply by Nalliah Thayabharan in response to my post: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/super-nationalist-zionism-contributed-to-the-rise-of-the-third-reich/

What Lebanese daily Al Akhbar has to do with Max Blumenthal?

Lebanon has a dozen dailies for barely 4 million people. People who cannot afford to buy a daily even for less than $1.5, and barely read anything.  Most of the dailies are selling for $75 cents and there are no takers.

Issuing a daily is a very expensive enterprise, in a country lacking public electricity and potable water…How these dailies cover their expenses?

Obviously, not from ads…Lebanon has a dozen banks and their subsidiaries of other businesses, and nothing else to display any kinds of ads that might generate sales or profits…

The dailies in Lebanon are directly funded by the oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Gulf Emirates, the US and the western States secret services…Particular stories and editorials are essentially paid for by the absolute monarchies and the superpowers having vested interest in keeping the pseudo State of Lebanon in a state of social and political destabilization…

The daily Al Akhbar is less than three years old, and funded mainly by Iran and Syria, just to exhibit another version of the stories and editorials.

Max Blumenthal wrote on June 20, under ” The right to resist is universal: A farewell to Al Akhbar and Assad’s apologists” (with slight editing):

“When I joined the fledgling Al Akhbar English website last fall, I was excited to contribute my writing on the Israel-Palestine situation and US foreign policy to a paper that I considered one of the most courageous publications in the Arab world.

At the time, the Syrian uprising had just begun, and apparently, so had the debates inside Al Akhbar, which reflected the discussions within the wider Lebanese Left.

Almost a year later, the results of the debate have become clear on the pages of the paper, where despite the presence of a few dissident voices, the apologia for Assad and his crimes has reached unbearable levels.

I learned of a major exodus of key staffers at Al Akhbar caused at least in part by disagreements with the newspaper leadership’s pro-Assad tendency.

The revelation helps explain why Al Akhbar English now prominently features the propaganda of Amal Saad Ghorayeb and the quasi-analysis of Sharmine Narwani, alongside editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin’s friendly advice for Bashar Assad…

 Ibrahim al-Amin’s is attempting to depict Bashar as an earnest reformer overwhelmed by events…

I considered responding on my blog to some of the more outlandish ravings published at Al Akhbar, but eventually decided my energy would be better spent on covering the topics I knew best — and which I could discuss with the authority of journalistic experience.

Ghorayeb’s daftest work to date: an attack on Arab Third Wayers (supporters of the anti-imperialist, anti-authoritarian political tendency) in which she asserted that “the real litmus of Arab intellectuals’ and activists’ commitment to the Palestinian cause is no longer their support for Palestinian rights, but rather, their support for the Assad leadership’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis’ onslaught against it.”

Ghorayeb’s rant, condemned by As’ad Abu Khalil (see link on note 2) as an “outrage,” was of a piece with the Syrian regime’s long record of exploiting the Palestinian struggle to advance its self-interests.

For me, it was the final straw. 

I was forced to conclude that, unless I was prepared to spend endless stores of energy jousting with Assad apologists, I was merely providing them cover by keeping my name and reputation associated with Al Akhbar. 

More importantly, I decided that if I kept quiet any longer, I would be betraying my principles and those of the people who have encouraged and inspired me over the years. There is simply no excuse for me to remain involved for another day with such a morally compromised outlet.

I can not disagree with anyone who claims that the United States and the Saudi royals aim to ratchet up their regional influence on the backs of the shabby Syrian National Council while Israel cheers on the sidelines.

Though it is far from certain whether these forces will realize a fraction of their goals, it is imperative to reject the foreign designs on Syria and Lebanon, just as authentic Syrian dissidents like Michel Kilo have done.

Yet the mere existence of Western meddling does not automatically make Assad a subaltern anti-imperial hero at the helm of a “frontline resisting state,” as Ghorayeb has sought to paint him. Nor does it offer any legitimate grounds for nickel-and-dime civilian casualty counts, blaming the victims of his regime, or hyping the Muslim Threat Factor to delegitimize the internal opposition.

Bashar Assad will be remembered as an authoritarian tyrant whose regime represented little more than the interests of a rich neoliberal business class and a fascistic security apparatus.

Those who have thrown their intellectual weight behind his campaign of brutality have cast the sincerity of their commitment to popular struggle and anti-imperial resistance into serious doubt.

By denying the Syrian people the right to revolution while supporting the Palestinian struggle, they are no less hypocritical than the Zionists who cynically celebrate the Syrian uprising while seeking to crush any iteration of Palestinian resistance. In my opinion, the right to resist tyranny is indivisible and universal. It can be denied to no one.

Throughout the past weeks, as my sense of anguish mounted, I have thought about the bravery of the Lebanese leftists who fought beside the Palestinian fedayeen at Sidon in 1976, halting the US-approved Syrian invasion of Lebanon, which Hafez al-Assad had designed in part to break the back of the Palestinian national cause.

And I recalled stories of the Lebanese activists who broke through the Syrian army’s blockade of Tal al Zataar to provide food and supplies to the Palestinian refugees defending their camp against imminent destruction (see note).

The long history of sacrifice and courage by the Lebanese and Syrian people in support of the Palestinian struggle — and in defiance of self-interested autocrats — crystallizes an important fact that should not have to be repeated: Palestine will never be free as long as the Arab world lives under the control of dictators.

At Al Akhbar English, Ghorayeb has attempted to advance the opposite argument: that supporting Assad regime is synonymous with support for the Palestinian struggle, and possibly more important. This is what prompted her to falsely claim that “Syrian officials do not meet with their Israeli counterparts,” ignoring the fact that Syrian and Israeli officials dined together at a 2007 commemoration for the Madrid peace talks, and that the Syrians offered the Israelis negotiations over the Golan Heights “without preconditions,” a position the regime maintained until as late as December 2009.

Outside of negotiations with Israel, it is unclear what concrete steps Syria’s government was willing to take to regain the Golan.

In the same column in which she praised the Assad regime for blocking Syrian access to Israeli websites, and for refusing to give interviews to Israeli reporters, she cited an Israeli professor and an article in the right-of-center Israeli news site, the Times of Israel, to support her points. Apparently the Syrian people must do as Assad says, but not as his apologists in Beirut do.

Besides exploiting the Palestinian cause, the Assad apologists have eagerly played the Al Qaeda card to stoke fears of an Islamic takeover of Syria.

Back in 2003, Assad accused the US of deliberately overestimating the strength of Al Qaeda in order to justify its so-called war on terror. Assad had said: “I cannot believe that bin Laden is the person able to outmaneuver the entire world. Is there really an entity called Al Qaeda? It was in Afghanistan, but is it there anymore?” 

But now, in a transparent bid for sympathy from the outside world, Assad insists that the Syrian armed opposition is controlled almost entirely by Al Qaeda-like jihadists who have come from abroad to place the country under Islamic control.

In his address to the Syrian People’s Assembly on June 3, the dictator tried to hammer the theme home by using the term “terrorists” or “terrorism” a whopping 43 times. That is a full ten times more than George W. Bush during his speech to Congress in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Echoing Assad, Ghorayeb has referred to the Syrian army’s pornographically violent crackdowns on what by all accounts is still a mostly homegrown resistance as “the regime’s war against the foreign sponsored terrorists and insurrectionists,” calling for “a security solution to root [them] out.”

At the Al Akhbar’s Arabic site, Jean Aziz predicted a complete Salafi takeover of Syria if Assad falls. Meanwhile, Ibrahim al Amin claimed that the Syrian opposition “cop[ied] the modus operandi which was devised by the leadership of al-Qaeda,” then uncritically quoted an unnamed regime source who insisted that “a hardline majority of the armed groups have come to be led by non-Syrians.”  

Similarly, Narwani asserted that a shadowy 5000-man ultra-Islamist militia has been operating inside the city of Homs with “plans to declare an Islamic Caliphate in Syria” — Creeping Shariah! She based her remarkable assertion on a single conversation with an anonymous journalist.

In joining the Assad regime’s campaign to delegitimize the Syrian opposition by casting it as a bunch of irrational jihadis, Assad’s apologists have unwittingly adopted the “war on terror” lexicon introduced by George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon, and the neocon cabal after 9-11.

Not only have they invoked the scary specter of The Terrorists to justify morally indefensible acts of violent repression, like pro-Israel hasbarists, they have resorted to rhetorical sophistry to dismiss the regime’s atrocities as necessary evils, unfortunate accidents (what al-Amin called “mistakes”), or fabrications of the regime’s opponents.

I wonder, as I do with Zionist fanatics, if there is any limit to the carnage Assad’s apologists will tolerate in the name of the greater cause.

In the true spirit of the Israeli occupation, which refused to allow reporters into Gaza to document the horrors of Operation Cast Lead, and which has stripped journalists of their press credentials as punishment for their perceived “anti-Israel bias,” Narwani spent several thousand words breathlessly complaining about “Western journalists” who “head straight for the Syrian activist, the anti-regime demonstration, the man with the gun in a ‘hot spot.’”

Narawani’s justifications for keeping the foreign press corps away from the scene of Assad’s crimes were disturbingly similar to those of Danny Seaman, the Israeli Government Press Office director during Cast Lead, who said, “Any journalist who enters Gaza becomes a fig leaf and front for the Hamas terror organization, and I see no reason why we should help that.”

Narwani  attempted to spin the regime’s artillery assault on the neighborhood of Baba Amr. Her analysis  immediately reminded me of US military propaganda following the attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a “shake-and-bake” artillery assault that included the firing of white phosphorous shells on a city center in order to, as Ghorayeb might have said, “root out” the terrorists.

Narwani wrote: “While the dominant narrative in the international media assumed an unprovoked army attack on a civilian population in Homs neighborhood, there remains little evidence to back this scenario, particularly after information emerged that the neighborhood was an armed opposition stronghold, most of the population had vacated the neighborhood in advance, and reports of activists exaggerating violence trickled out.”

Like the neocon chickenhawks who cheered on America’s invasion of Iraq from the offices of Washington’s American Enterprise Institute, none of Assad’s apologists appear to have done any journalistic fieldwork to support their opinions.

Ghorayeb and Narwani seem to have confined themselves to Beirut, where Ghorayeb consults the writings of V.I. Lenin and Paulo Freire to back up her hallucinatory portrayal of Assad as a subaltern freedom fighter, while Narwani cobbles together a scatter shot of YouTube clips and hearsay from journalists she hangs out with to justify the regime’s very own “war on terror.”

Al-Amin’s sourcing is even more dubious. In a column about supposed armed infiltration from Lebanon to Syria, for example, he cited “records of investigations with those detained for transporting and smuggling weapons and explosives…”

Perhaps al-Amin could clarify his cryptic language. In particular, he might explain whether he was referring to notes of interrogations of imprisoned opposition members that he received from regime sources. If so, can he confirm that these interrogations did not involve torture?

My issues with Al Akhbar are not limited to its opinion section.

A profile originally published at Al Akhbar’s Arabic site (later translated into English) of Bassel Shehadeh, the video journalist killed inside Homs, did not even bother to note that he was killed by the Syrian army — “bullets” were said to be the cause of his death. And it was the only coverage I could find about his death in the paper, which has too often presented events in Syria in curiously vague terms, especially when they concern the regime’s misdeeds.

According to a close friend of Shehadeh who was also covering the opposition in Homs and across Syria, “Bassel was an essential part of the Homs revolution. He was close to the leadership of the Homs resistance, and he lived on the front lines.”

Before he decided to return to Syria to support the uprising, Shehadeh was a Fulbright scholar studying at Syracuse University’s fine arts program. He put his studies on hold to train activists inside the besieged city of Homs, believing all along that his history of good luck in the midst of danger would somehow protect him from death.

As a Christian who fiercely rejected sectarianism, Shehadeh’s very presence shook the Syrian regime. After he was killed, the army shelled the Christian neighborhood of Hamidyeh to prevent his funeral, then a gang of shabbiha attacked a memorial service for him in Damascus that would have presented a rare display of Christian-Sunni solidarity. It was this sense of solidarity that appeared to threaten the regime the most. As Shehadeh’s mother reportedly said, “They feared him in life, and they feared him in death.”

A few years ago, while visiting the offices of the Nation Magazine, a publication I frequently write for, I reflected on what it might have been like to be working there during the 1930’s when its editorial leadership supported Stalin and willfully ignored his crimes.

What were the internal debates like, I wondered, and how would I have reacted? The past few weeks at Al Akhbar have brought those questions back into my thoughts, and they are no longer hypothetical. The paper’s opinion pages have become a playpen for dictator enablers, but unlike the 1930’s-era Nation Magazine, there is less excuse for their apologia.

Indeed, given the easy accessibility of online media produced by Syrian activists and journalists, there is no way for Assad’s apologists to claim they did not know about the regime’s crimes.

At this point, I have no excuse either. I am no longer a contributor to Al Akhbar. It is time to move on.” End of quote

May I assume that Max Blumenthal waited until the Zionist State government of Israel decided that Bashar of Syria has to go to desist participating in the discussions in the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar?

Note:  In the summer of 1976, Syrian and Christian militias surrounded and blockaded the Palestinian Tal al Zataar refugee camp in order to “ethnically cleanse foreigners” from East Beirut.  Hundreds of children died of hunger and thirst and when the camp surrendered after a month of total blockade, about two thousands residents were massacred in front of correspondents.

On July 13, 1976, the residents of Tal al Zataar camp, had dispatched an open letter to the World:

“Syrian weapons are being used – most unfortunately – against our camp, while the rulers of Damascus continue to repeat that they are here in Lebanon in order to defend our camp. This is a murderous lie, a lie which pains us more than anyone else…

But we wish to inform you that we will fight in defense of this camp with our bare hands if all our ammunition is spent and all our weapons are gone, and that we will tighten our belts so that hunger will not kill us. For we have taken a decision not to surrender and we shall not surrender…”

Apparently, the world was restricted to the US and the US administration was totally oblivious to crimes against humanity, as it is today, but forced to bow down under the strong beam projected by new audio-visual technologies available to people to editing and sending instant pictures and videos on social platforms

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/litmus-test-for-arab-intellectuals-so-many-of-these-litmuses-and-so-few-to-pass/

 


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