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Crimes Against Humanity in Gaza: Is it Really a 'Buffer Zone' – or a Bigger Plan?

Gaza Buffer Zone

Late last week, the White House decried Israel’s attack on a UN school in Gaza as “totally unacceptable” and “totally indefensible”, then proceeded to approve $225m in funding for its Iron Dome. On Monday, the US state department went further, calling the airstrikes upon a UN school “disgraceful” – and yet America provides Israel with more than $3.1bn every year, restocking the ability of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to hit more schools, and to wage total war against an imprisoned people, because of their nationality.

American taxpayers should not be paying for this. And the western world should stop rejecting serious inquiries about Israel’s moral inconsistencies, or allow it to benefit from cognitive dissonance and information overload amid the current crisis in Gaza.

There is a land grab going on. The Israeli prime minister, Binjamin Netanyahu, has shrunk Gaza’s habitable land mass by 44%, with an edict establishing a 3km (1.8-mile) buffer zone, a “no-go” zone for Palestinians – and that’s quite significant, because a good part of Gaza is only 3 to 4 miles wide. Over 250,000 Palestinians within this zone must leave their homes, or be bombed. As their territorial space collapses, 1.8m Gazans now living in 147 square miles will be compressed into 82 square miles.
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We’re All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State

Prison

Why are we seeing such an uptick in Americans being arrested for such absurd “violations” as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater and snow runoff on their own property, growing vegetables in their yard, and holding Bible studies in their living room?

Mind you, we’re not talking tickets or fines or even warnings being issued to these so-called “lawbreakers.” We’re talking felony charges, handcuffs, police cars, mug shots, pat downs, jail cells and criminal records.

Consider what happened to Nicole Gainey, the Florida mom who was arrested and charged with child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to visit a neighborhood playground located a half mile from their house.

For the so-called “crime” of allowing her son to play at the park unsupervised, Gainey was interrogated, arrested and handcuffed in front of her son, and transported to the local jail where she was physically searched, fingerprinted, photographed and held for seven hours and then forced to pay almost $4000 in bond in order to return to her family. Gainey’s family and friends were subsequently questioned by the Dept. of Child Services. Gainey now faces a third-degree criminal felony charge that carries with it a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in jail.
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Ron Paul on C-SPAN, Ron Paul on Everything

Dr. Paul is on C-Span for three full hours, discussing his philosophy, Washington, the futility of compromise, the dysfunction of government, the horror of the Republicans and Democrats, the end of the US economy. He discusses his friendship with Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader and what it means to work with those with whom one might disagree on some issues, while not compromising one's own values. Make some tea, pour some coffee, sit down and enjoy three hours of respectful discussion without the normal rancor of the mainstream media...
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The State’s Worst Atrocity

WWI Recruit Poster

“The lamps are going out all over Europe,” Sir Edward Grey famously said on the eve of World War I. “We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” 

It was 100 years ago this week that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, setting in motion the unspeakable calamity that contemporaries dubbed the Great War. Well in excess of 10 million people perished, and by some estimates, many more. 

Numbers, even staggering ones like this, can scarcely convey the depth and breadth of the destruction. The war was an ongoing slaughter of devastating proportions. Tens of thousands perished in campaigns that moved the front just a matter of yards. It was World War I that gave us the term “basket case,” by which was meant a quadruple amputee. Other now-familiar tools of warfare came into common use: the machine gun, the tank, even poison gas. Rarely has the State’s machinery of senseless destruction been on more macabre display. 

The scholarly pendulum has swung back in the direction of German atrocities having indeed been committed in Belgium, though perhaps not quite as gruesome as the tales of babies being passed from bayonet to bayonet that were disseminated to Americans early in the war. In turn, a vastly larger number of Germans, with estimates as high as 750,000, died as a result of the British hunger blockade that violated longstanding norms of international conduct, even during wartime.
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Why Won’t Obama Just Leave Ukraine Alone?

President Obama announced last week that he was imposing yet another round of sanctions on
Rp Weekly Button Russia, this time targeting financial, arms, and energy sectors. The European Union, as it has done each time, quickly followed suit. 
 
These sanctions will not produce the results Washington demands, but they will hurt the economies of the US and EU, as well as Russia. 
 
These sanctions are, according to the Obama administration, punishment for what it claims is Russia’s role in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and for what the president claims is Russia’s continued arming of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Neither of these reasons makes much sense because neither case has been proven.

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Political Purges Loom as Ukraine Falls Apart

The US-installed regime in Ukraine is collapsing, says RPI Academic Advisor John Laughland. The protests that eventually led to the overthrow of democratically-elected President Yanukovych were animated by demands that the power of the presidency be decreased and that of parliament increased. However, now that the new president, Poroshenko, has taken power he wants nothing of a reduction in power and has taken to outlawing opposition parties and stigmatizing as "fifth columns" his political opponents.
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'We Tortured Some Folks' — Obama Admits United States Committed Acts Violating Federal and International Law

Abu Ghraib 56

Following the admission that the CIA hacked Senate computers and lied to Congress, President Obama today affirmed that it did indeed torture people. This admission (while belated) is an important recognition by the United States of what is obvious from a legal standpoint. However, that also means that CIA officials violated both federal and international law. The question is why Obama began his first term by promising CIA employees that they would not be tried for what he now describes as “tortur[ing] some folks.”

Despite the prior lying to Congress, Obama insisted that he had “full confidence in John Brennan.” As noted before, the Obama Administration is clearly unwilling again to discipline, let alone charged, any CIA personnel for hacking into congressional computers.

The President then turned to the Senate report on our torture program and affirmed his earlier 2009 statement that this was torture — plain and simple...
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Not Talking to Vladimir Putin Signals Impotence, Not Strength

Understandable outrage at the terrible fate of the 298 innocent passengers on flight MH17 has led Western leaders to reach for their favourite way of coercing rogue states into better behaviour. Sanctions have been ramped up on Russia, targeting key personnel around President Vladimir Putin and cutting specific sectors of the Russian economy off from fruitful business with US and EU partners.

Russia now joins countries ranging from Belarus to Zimbabwe on the US Treasury’s list of states, groups and individuals that fall into the 27 broad headings for its sanctions. The EU’s members have almost as extensive an itinerary of blacklists.
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CIA Admits Hacking Senate Computers After Months of Denials

Brennanfinal 1

In the same week as the State Department report endorsing findings that the CIA lied to Congress and brutalized suspects, the CIA is now admitting that its recent denials of hacking Senate computers was also false. Once again, however, there is not even a suggestion of discipline, let alone criminal charges, for CIA officials who lied to Congress (or allowed others to lie) and hacked into congressional computers.

CIA Director John Brennan used the type of Orwellian speech that we have come to expect when discussing CIA abuses. He admitted that employees “acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” between the agency and the Senate. That “inconsistency” just happened to involve hacking into computers during an investigation of the CIA itself on Bush-era interrogation practices.

Keep in mind that it was Brennan who just a few months ago mocked the allegations and said “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. … That’s beyond the scope of reason.” Now one of two possibilities exist. First, Brennan lied to the Senate and then lied to the American people. Second, high-ranking CIA officials lied to Brennan and then sat back as he lied to the Senate and the public. I am not sure which is worse but both would seem a logical basis for a criminal investigation.
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The Rise of the 'Petro-yuan' and the Slow Erosion of Dollar Hegemony

Yuan Dollar

For seventy years, one of the critical foundations of American power has been the dollar’s standing as the world’s most important currency. For the last forty years, a pillar of dollar primacy has been the greenback’s dominant role in international energy markets. Today, China is leveraging its rise as an economic power, and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy—with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position.       

Since World War II, America’s geopolitical supremacy has rested not only on military might, but also on the dollar’s standing as the world’s leading transactional and reserve currency. Economically, dollar primacy extracts “seignorage”—the difference between the cost of printing money and its value—from other countries, and minimises US firms’ exchange rate risk. Its real importance, though, is strategic: dollar primacy lets America cover its chronic current account and fiscal deficits by issuing more of its own currency—precisely how Washington has funded its hard power projection for over half a century.  

Since the 1970s, a pillar of dollar primacy has been the greenback’s role as the dominant currency in which oil and gas are priced, and in which international hydrocarbon sales are invoiced and settled. This helps keep worldwide dollar demand high. It also feeds energy producers’ accumulation of dollar surpluses that reinforce the dollar’s standing as the world’s premier reserve asset, and that can be “recycled” into the US economy to cover American deficits.
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