Tuesday, June 7, 2011





The United Nations counts internet access as a basic human right in a report that bears implications both to on-going events in the Arab Spring and to the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers. Acting as special rapporteur, a human rights watchdog role appointed by the UN Secretary General, Frank La Rue takes a hard line on the importance of the internet as "an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress."
Presented to the General Assembly on Friday, La Rue's report comes as the capstone of a year's worth of meetings held between La Rue and local human rights organizations around the world, from Cairo to Bangkok. The report's introduction points to the impact of online collaboration in the Arab Spring and says that "facilitating access to the Internet for all individuals, with as little restriction to online content as possible, should be a priority for all States."
The UN report overwhelmingly supports the internet as a communication platform, a boon to all democratic societies, but it also warns how the internet's unique architecture threatens power brokers in those societies:
The vast potential and benefits of the Internet are rooted in its unique characteristics, such as its speed, worldwide reach and relative anonymity. At the same time, these distinctive features of the Internet that enable individuals to disseminate information in "real time" and to mobilize people has also created fear amongst Governments and the powerful. This has led to increased restrictions on the Internet through the use of increasingly sophisticated technologies to block content, monitor and identify activists and critics, criminalization of legitimate expression, and adoption of restrictive legislation to justify such measures. 

La Rue's mention of reach and anonymity celebrates Twitter and Facebook role in Egypt as much as it validates WikiLeaks in the United States. The Electronic Freedom Foundation says that the UN's support for anonymous expression and the protection it affords should inform how governments regulate security and surveillance.
 Forms of online surveillance--be it Facebook's privacy policy or the United States government's expanding treason law to document leaks--"often [take] place for political, rather than security reasons in an arbitrary and covert manner," La Rue argues. In short, broad surveillance powers or the erosion of privacy online endanger anonymity's ability to protect dissenters and journalists alike when they speak out.
Stacked against the administration's assault on whistleblowers, La Rue's warnings are condemning:
The Special Rapporteur remains concerned that legitimate online expression is being criminalized in contravention of States' international human rights obligations, whether it is through the application of existing criminal laws to online expression, or through the creation of new laws specifically designed to criminalize expression on the Internet. Such laws are often justified as being necessary to protect individuals' reputation, national security or to counter terrorism. However, in practice, they are frequently used to censor content that the Government and other powerful entities do not like or agree with.

La Rue acknowledges the logistical barriers that some nations face when it comes to delivering internet service. Without the proper infrastructure, some nations simply can't engage the internet as the "revolutionary" and "interactive medium" it's proven itself to be. However, all nations should make plans to offer universal access and also maintain policy that won't limit access for political purposes. In doing so, La Rue calls on governments to decriminalize defamation, do away with real-name registration systems--including the parameters in Facebook's terms and conditions that allows governments to collect users' names and passwords--and restrict rights only in the face of an imminent threat.
The United Nations' strong position on anonymity online reads like a hat tip to WikiLeaks and its campaign for transparency, but it also sounds scolding towards governments like the United States' that have waged wars against transparency. Likening the Obama administration's increasing number of convictions using old treason laws against information leakers is censorship in no uncertain terms, the UN seems to say. And the government's bad track record of protecting this type of free expression is ideologically just as bad as shutting the internet down altogether.

·         United Nations report: Internet access is a human right, Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times

·         U.N. Special Rapporteur Calls Upon States to Protect Anonymous Speakers Online, Katitza Rodriguez, Electronic Freedom Foundation

LONDON — It Is The Nation That Once Ran The Largest Empire The World Has Ever Known, A Country So Powerful That It Claimed To "Rule The Waves" In A Patriotic Anthem.

But Last Month A "Political Tsunami" Struck The United Kingdom And This Once-Mighty State Faces Being Broken Up.

An Astonishing Victory For Nationalists In The Scottish Parliamentary Elections Means It Is Almost Certain That A Referendum Will Be Held Within Five Years On Whether Scotland Should Leave The U.K. And Become An Independent Country.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 69 out of 129 seats in Edinburgh's Holyrood parliament, with about 45 percent of the vote, up by more than 12 percentage points. Their three main rival parties — Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats — all lost ground.

Polls currently suggest only a third of Scots back independence, but the unionist campaign is in disarray and the nationalists boast a leader who even his opponents admit is a highly skilled political operator.

Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister and leader of the SNP, is the man plotting the demise of the 304-year-old union of the two countries. He hopes his fellow citizens will heed the message of another tune, "Flower of Scotland," the unofficial national anthem which urges Scots to "rise now and be a nation again."

While the U.K. has been one of America's staunchest allies — often concerned with the state of the so-called "special relationship" between the two countries — an independent Scotland would likely be at odds with the U.S. on many issues.

The SNP would rid Scotland of nuclear weapons on moral grounds; it would also take Scotland — which lies in a strategically important position in the North Atlantic — out of NATO. And despite being a significant oil producer, the SNP has already introduced what it describes as "world-beating" climate change legislation with a target to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

'Illegal, Immoral Conflict'

Moreover, the Iraq War was "an illegal, immoral conflict," Salmond told reporters at the Foreign Press Association in London last month, and something that an independent Scotland would never have become involved in.

Leaving the U.K. would give Scotland the chance to create "a socially just, economically prosperous society," Salmond added, and not be "a country that excels in nuclear weapons and dominating others."

"Being a big country is not a question of size and scale, but of the size of your ideas, the scale of your contribution to humanity," he said.

Speaking to msnbc.com, Salmond dismissed suggestions an independent Scotland might have a poor relationship with the U.S., pointing to the mutual warmth between America and the Republic of Ireland, which is not a NATO member.

"We'd be in exactly the same position as Ireland is at the present moment," he said.

"There's a lot of goodwill towards Scotland from people in America," Salmond added, noting Scots had made a "fairly substantial contribution to the intellectual backbone of the American Revolution."

Scotland and the U.S., he said, had "a positive relationship" and that would improve after independence.

Salmond Told Reporters That Separation From The U.K. Was An Idea "Whose Time Has Come."

'Psychological Battle'

Asked about the poll ratings, he admitted there was a "psychological battle" to be won to persuade Scots to vote for change in the face of a "scare-mongering campaign" by unionist parties.

But Salmond said the SNP's victory in the May election showed that Scots were gaining in confidence and had rejected the "mendacious message" that Scotland was "too small and too poor to look after its own affairs."

"It was a political tsunami that occurred in Scotland," he said, days after announcing a referendum on independence would be held within the next five years.

But tsunami warnings can come to nothing.

John Curtice, a professor of politics at Strathclyde University and an expert pollster, said the SNP victory appeared to be partly because of dissatisfaction with the other political parties, particularly left-of-center Labor.

Surveys had consistently showed support for independence at between a quarter and a third of voters, he said.

However, Curtice said Salmond had a "remarkable ability to spin a positive case for his party and his country."

And the unionists, Curtice argued, needed to find "a positive argument for staying in the union," rather than rely on negative campaigning, as well as a leader to sell that message.

"Who is going to lead the campaign? Who is there who has the ability to campaign effectively? It's not entirely obvious," Curtice said. "The SNP starts from behind, but you can see the structural weaknesses of the the unionist camp."

One possible candidate, Annabel Goldie, currently leader of the staunchly unionist Scottish Conservative Party, has effectively stepped out of contention, saying after her party came third in the elections that she plans to resign.

She insisted that "overwhelmingly, people do not want independence, whatever AlexSalmondhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2_11pxw.gif may claim," while admitting he was a "very astute politician" with "a very formidable political presence."

"We are at ease with being part of the U.K.," Goldie said. "It is a relationship that many people acknowledge has served people well, not least in the recent recession and banking crisis."

Traditional Goodwill

She feared an independent country might lose some of the traditional goodwill Americans have toward Scotland if it was "constantly trying to make grandstanding gestures on the world stage."

Goldie said it "undoubtedly would be a left-of-center, socialist administration with already well articulated views on issues like nuclear — Trident (nuclear missiles) or nuclear energy — and very strong views on social issues ... all sorts of views which are somewhat alien to the American ethos."

One decision that was entirely alien to U.S. traditions was the early release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi — the only person convicted in the bombing attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie — on compassionate grounds in 2009, just eight years after he was found guilty of the mass murder of 270 people.

SNP Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made the decision after doctors reportedly told him that al-Megrahi, suffering from cancer, likely had three months to live. Nearly two years after his release, al-Megrahi remains alive.

The SNP's stance on NATO is another possible source of friction.
The naval base at Faslane on the west coast of Scotland — home to the U.K.'s nuclearsubmarinehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2_11pxw.gif fleet — and the safe harbor at Scapa Flow off the country's northern coast are strategically important locations.

Cold War Tracking Stations

Scotland is also part of a network of sonar monitoring stations — built during the Cold War to track Russian submarines moving into the North Atlantic — that could become important should the old tensions flare up again.

A senior SNP source admitted there was a difference of opinion within the party about NATO membership, with some members so strongly opposed to nuclear weapons on moral grounds that they did not want to be under NATO's "nuclear umbrella."

Defense commentator Stuart Crawford, who served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.K.'s Royal Tank Regiment and later became the SNP's junior defense spokesman, said senior party figures had long wanted to get rid of the party's "bonkers" opposition to NATO.

Crawford, who has since left the SNP but still supports independence, said the idea of a complete disassociation from nuclear weapons had taken hold among grassroots supporters and the party was "painfully democratic."

He said Scotland might have limited significance to the U.S. now, but suggested a possible scenario that would radically change that.

"In 2030, the expanding power that is China says, 'Can we lease a naval base from you Scotland?" ... We'll pay you billions of dollars for the privilege' — then I suggest Scotland becomes very important to the U.S.," he said.

Crawford compared such a move to the Cuban missile crisis, but added: "China is a friendly country, so what could the objection be?"

'Good For The Country's Psyche'

Crawford said he doubted Scotland would vote for independence in the planned referendum, but said he expected it would happen within 10 to 20 years.

"I'm an emotional nationalist and I think it would be good for the country's psyche and soul as a whole," he said.

For Alan Roden, an Englishman who covers Scottish politics for the Daily Mail newspaper, that would be a shame.

A photo on his Facebook page shows him wearing a traditional Scottish kilt, but makes clear his passion forEnglish football team York City. Many on either side of the border have similar ties and feelings toward the two countries.

One of his "favorite quotes" listed on Facebook makes his opinion clear, paraphrasing a line from the 1707 Act of Union that "England and Scotland shall forever after be united into one Kingdom."

"People want their MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) to stand up for Scotland, but Scotland within the union," he said, noting the same polls highlighted by Curtice.

However, Roden admitted that "you can never underestimate Alex Salmond," saying he was "incredibly popular" and left other Scottish politicians "in the shade."

"This is a man who at the start of the Holyrood election campaign was significantly trailing the Labour Party in the opinion polls but who turned that round … and ended up with the first majority in the Scottish parliament's history," Roden said.

Partly because of the proportional voting system, previous Scottish administrations have been coalitions or have governed with only a minority of the lawmakers, relying on ad hoc support from other parties.

Echoing other commentators, Roden said the unionists needed to unite and "put forward a positive message about why Scotland and England are better together" as well as find a Scot good enough to stand up to Salmond to lead the campaign.

A claim made by some in the unionist camp is that businesses, people generally and English people in particular would leave if Scotland became independent.

'Scotland Is My Home'

But Roden plans to stay. "Scotland is my home and I do believe the people of Scotland have a right to choose their own future," he said.

Another foreign-born resident of Scotland with a keen interest in the debate is Dr. Mark Aspinwall, head of politics and international relations at Scotland's Edinburgh University.

A native of Massachusetts, Aspinwall said he was "very neutral" about the idea when talking with students, but had been "sort of opposed to it" because Scotland and England "are so linked economically."

But Aspinwall, who has dual citizenship, showed signs of wavering. "I'm not sure how I would vote to be honest," he said of the referendum.

He told msnbc.com that independence was "conceivable," but rated the chances as "less than 50-50."

Scotland "would certainly have a future as an independent country," he said, comparing it to Norway.

"There's something that is Scottish, there is an identity, a pride, a history that's a bit different," Aspinwall said.

"I love Scotland ... It's clean and fresh, open and green. It has the same topography as northern New England, the same mountains, not the same trees ... it's a great place, friendly people, and Edinburgh is a wonderful city, a really cosmopolitan place. It's great here."

There might have been a difference of opinion between the classical Greek dramatist Aeschylus and British romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley regarding the circumstances of the release of the Titan god Prometheus from captivity: whether it followed reconciliation with Jupiter, as the classicist thought, or a rebellion, as the romantic insisted. In either case, Prometheus was "unbound".

The exact circumstances of the endgame in Iraq and Afghanistan will remain a moot point, but the outcome is certain to be that the United States, which like Prometheus was chained to a mountain where he was daily punished by Jupiter's eagle and underwent immense suffering, is being "released" to normal life.

For Prometheus, it came as an existential moment and when Hercules came to unbind him, he was so relieved at the freedom "long desired/And long delayed" that he pledged to his love that they "will sit and talk of time and change/As the world ebbs and flows, ourselves unchanged".

The United States, too, is re-emerging "unchanged". There is a flurry of activity as if making up for lost time - "unilateralist" military intervention in Libya; deployment of a F-16 squadron in Poland; establishment of military bases in Romania; resuscitation of the George W Bush era plans for deployment of a US missile defense system in Central Europe; revival of the entente cordiale among "new Europeans"; threatened "humanitarian intervention" in Syria; renewed talk of military action against Iran; a push for a long-term military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan; revving up of the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Central Asia; violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan; the threat of "regime change" in Sri Lanka; and last weekend the announcement of the deployment of light combat ships in Singapore.  (More…)

The Real Meaning of Santorum

Before He Was An Internet Punchline, Rick Santorum Was The Baby Face Of Compassionate Conservatism. Remember That?

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is ardently anti-gay and has an acute talent for tapping into the homophobic imagination of social conservatives. “Man on child,” “man on dog,” incest, “priests with 3-year-olds,” polygamy, the welfare of children, the decline of Western civilization—if it’s in the vocabulary of anti-gay hysteria, Santorum has been there, done that.

As a result, he’s become the target of a Google bomb, led by gay columnist Dan Savage, that successfully redefined “santorum” as a substance most straight people probably didn’t know existed and most gay men never thought to name, especially not in honor of a Republican US senator. But hey, shit happens—and now Santorum is widely considered a joke. The launch of his presidential campaign today was greeted with a chorus of knowing sneers.

No, not just because of the internet prank, but for all that lies behind its mockery: a generational shift away from right-wing sanctimony and its preoccupation with the decline of the traditional family towards are more mass-mediated, liberal, tolerant, laissez-faire approach to sexuality. Santorum seems dated. In addition to mean and bigoted, his views appear nonsensical and unserious. The great cultural bellwether known as  Miley Cyrus’s twitter account has come out against him, and even his remaining die-hard supporters, like National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, struggled to answer the question: “Why would he bother?
Laugh away—for now he has the support of just two percent of Republican voters—but remember, Santorum wasn’t always just for shits and giggles. Before he crashed and burned in his race for a third Senate term, Santorum was considered a golden boy of the GOP. He had won four elections in a row in a swing state against well-financed Democrats. He was the youngest member of the GOP Senate leadership and, for much of the early 2000s, one of its most frequent TV spokesmen.
Most importantly, Santorum was the baby face of compassionate conservatism and an important architect of its signature pieces of legislation. As head of the House GOP Task Force on Welfare Reform, Santorum wrote key parts of what became the landmark 1996 welfare reform bill signed by Bill Clinton. He championed No Child Left Behind and proposed the Santorum Amendment to it, which attempted to insert teaching on the theory of intelligent design. Along with Democrat Dick Durbin, Santorum crusaded for increasing US spending on the global fight against HIV/AIDS, especially if it went to church groups and controversial abstinence-only programs. He considered enlarging the US role in fighting AIDS integral to "American exceptionalism," and he earned the praise of Bono, among others, for his advocacy. Throughout it all, he worked behind the scenes to increase government funding for faith-based social services.
As conservative pundit Kathleen Parker lamented in September 2006, when it was clear that Santorum would go down to Bob Casey, “Santorum has been the conservatives’ point man for the world’s disenfranchised—the poor, the sick and the meek. If he loses, the face of compassionate conservatism will be gone.”
Parker was right. Nobody on the right talks of compassionate conservatism anymore, especially now that the Tea Party is running the show. In part that’s because it collapsed on its own internal contradictions. As an ideology, compassionate conservatism championed state support for social justice —to fight poverty, illiteracy or disease, for example—but it opposed the state doing that work itself. In practice, that meant turning the state into a giant, heavily politicized pass-through mechanism that redistributed tax-payer dollars to private charities and corporations without meaningful accountability. Because compassionate conservatism is rooted in Christian missionary zealotry, it inevitably engaged in social engineering—abstinence-only sex education and discrimination against gays and lesbians, for example. And most importantly for the Tea Party right, it ran up the deficit. Along with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for Tea Party conservatives, it is the most visible symbol of how Bush went wrong, corrupting real conservatism with profligate cronyism.
That’s the real reason why Santorum’s candidacy seems so laughable now. He’s a relic from another time, one marked by plentitude and optimism, when conservatives embraced a global role for the United States, attempted to hijack American progressivism and above all, needed a new brand to bring them back from the mean years of straight-up bashing welfare queens and fags with AIDS (see Jesse Helms). Santorum fulfilled that role, speaking of America’s great and charitable mission to aid the poor while retaining enough smiling hatred to stoke the old base. It didn’t really make sense then. It really doesn’t make sense now.

It’s a story CNN won’t report. Late at night there’s a pounding on the door in Misurata. Armed soldiers force young Libyan women out of their beds at gun-point. Hustling the women and teenagers into trucks, the soldiers rush the women to gang bang parties for NATO rebels or else rape them in front of their husbands or fathers. When NATO rebels finish their rape sport, the soldiers cut the women’s throats.
Rapes are now ongoing acts of war in rebel-held cities, like an organized military strategy, according to refugees. Joanna Moriarty, who’s part of a global fact-finding delegation visiting Tripoli this week, also reports that NATO rebels have gone house to house through Misurata, asking families if they support NATO. If the families say no, they are killed on the spot. If families say they want to stay out of the fighting, NATO rebels take a different approach to scare other families. The doors of “neutral homes” are welded shut, Moriarty says, trapping families inside. In Libyan homes, windows are typically barred. So when the doors to a family compound get welded shut, Libyans are entombed in their own houses, where NATO forces can be sure large families will slowly starve to death.
These are daily occurrences, not isolated events. And Gaddafi’s soldiers are not responsible. In fact, pro-Gaddafi and “neutral” families are targeted as the victims of the attacks. Some of the NATO tactics may have occurred in hopes of laying blame on Gaddafi’s door. However the attacks are back firing.
Flashback to Serbia
The events are eerily reminiscent of Serbia’s conflict in the Balkans with its notorious rape camps — except today NATO itself is perpetrating these War Crimes — as if they have learned the worst terror tactics from their enemies.
Their actions would be categorized as War Crimes, just like Serb leader, Slobadon Milosevic—except that NATO won’t allow itself to face prosecution. According to NATO, International Law is for the other guy.
NATO is wrong. So long as NATO governments provide the funding, assault rifles, military training, ground advisers, support vehicles and air power, they are fully responsible for the actions of their soldiers in the war zone. Libya’s rebels are not a rag tag fighting force, either. Thanks to NATO’s largesse, financed by U.S. and British taxpayers, they’re fully decked out in military uniforms, parading through the streets with military vehicles for all the people to see.
And they do see. In Washington, Congress likes to pretend that America has not become involved in the day to day actualities of military planning. However refugees have observed U.S, British, French and Israeli soldiers standing by as rebel soldiers attack civilians.
“Rape parties” are the most graphic examples of NATO’s loss of moral control. One weeping father told the fact-finding delegation how a couple of weeks ago NATO rebels targeted seven separate households, kidnapping a virgin daughter from each pro-Gaddafi family. The rebels were paid for each kidnapped girl, just as they are paid for each Libyan soldier they kill — like mercenary soldiers. They hustled the girls into trucks, and took them to a building where the girls were locked in separate rooms.
NATO soldiers proceeded to drink alcohol, until they got very drunk. Then the leader told them to rape the virgin daughters in gang bang style. When they’d finished raping the girls, the NATO leader told them to cut the breasts off the living girls and bring the breasts to him. They did this while the girls were alive and screaming. All the girls died hideous deaths. Then their severed breasts were taken to a local square and arranged to spell the word “whore.”
The grieving father spoke to a convention of workers, attended by the global fact-finding delegation. He was openly weeping, as all of us should. NATO’s offenses in Libya are as terrible and unforgivable as Syria’s castration and mutilation of the 13 year old boy that shocked the world. Yet so long as NATO’s the guilty party, the western media has looked the other way in distaste.
Some of us are paying attention. We can see that NATO has gone rogue in Libya. And the Libyan people themselves consider it unforgivable. Last week, 2000 Tribal Leaders gathered in Tripoli to draft a Constitution for the country, as demanded by the British government. Notoriously, British warships and U.S. drones pounded the streets of Tripoli with bunker bombs and missiles for days and nights close to where the Tribal Leaders were meeting. From Tripoli, it felt awfully like the British were trying to stop the Libyan people from bringing this Constitution to life.
Tribal Leaders Condemn British Aggression
Here’s what those 2,000 Tribal Leaders had to say about British aggression, in a statement approved unanimously on June 3. Sheikh Ali, head of the Tribal Leaders, delivered it to Joanna Moriarty and other members of the global fact finding mission:
The Libyan people have the right to govern themselves. Constant attacks from the skies, at all hours of the day have completely disrupted the lives of the families of Libya. There has never been any fighting in Tripoli, yet we are bombed every day. We are civilians and we are being killed by the British and NATO. Civilians are people without guns, yet the British and NATO protect only the armed crusaders from the East by acting as their attack army. We have read the UN resolutions and there is no mention of bombing innocent civilians. There is no mention of assassinating the legitimate authorities in all of Libya.
The Libyan People have the right to select their own leaders. We have suffered occupation by foreign countries for thousands of years. Only in the last 41 years have we Libyans enjoyed property ownership. Only in the last 41 years have we seen our country develop. Only in the last 41 years have we seen all of the Libyans enjoy a better life, and know that our children will have a better life then we have had. But now with the British and NATO bombings of our country, we see the destruction of our new and developed infrastructure.
We leaders see the destruction of our culture. We leaders see tears in the eyes of our children because of the constant fear from the “rain of terror” in the skies of Libya from the British and NATO bombings. Our old people suffer from heart problems, increased diabetes and loss of vigor. Our young mothers are losing their babies every day because of the stress of the British and NATO bombings. These lost babies are the future of Libya. They can never be replaced. Our armies have been destroyed by the British and NATO bombings. We cannot defend ourselves from attacks from anyone.
As Tribal Leaders of Libya, we must ask why have the British and NATO decided to wage this war against the Libyan people? There are a small percentage of dissidents in the east of Libya that started an armed insurrection against our legitimate authority. Every country has the right to defend itself against armed insurrection. So why cannot Libya defend itself?
The Tribal Leaders of Libya demand that all acts of aggression, by the British and NATO, against the Libyan People stop immediately.
June 3, 2011
Does that sound like NATO’s got a winning strategy? If so, they should think again. Even if Gaddafi falls, NATO has no hope of eliminating the entire tribal structure of the Libya, which embraces all families and clans. Instead NATO is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the people with every missile that smashes into another building.
Tribal Backlash
The Libyan people are fighting back. This report arrived from Tripoli today. It is not edited, and describes a backlash in tribal warfare from the City of Darna in the East, where the rebellion is supposed to be strongest:
People found the body of Martyr Hamdi Jumaa Al-Shalwi in Darna city eastern Libya. His head was cut off and then placed in front of the headquarters of the Internal Security Dernah. That was after being kidnapped from a checkpoint complex Herich. In response to this Al-Shalwi family erected a funeral tent to receive condolences in which the green flag [of Libya] was raised. After the funeral the whole city of Darna rose up with all its tribes which include:- the Abu Jazia family, Al-Shalwi family, The Quba families, Ain Marra families. After that, Al-Shalwi family and Bojazia tribe attacked the headquarters of the Transitional Council and shot all the rats (rebels) and green flags were raised. Furthermore, the son of Sofian Qamom was killed, also two members of Al- Qaeda got killed by residents of the city of Darna. The flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya was raised above Darna after the clashes.
CNN has reported none of this. The corporate media continues to lull Americans into false confidence in the progress of the Libyan War. Americans are way out of the loop as to the failures of the War effort. As a result, Libyans are losing trust in the potential for friendships with the West. An unlikely champion might restore that faith. Right now a team of international attorneys is preparing an emergency grievance on behalf of the Tribal Leaders and the Libyan people. The International Peace Community could contribute substantially to restoring Libya’s faith in the West by supporting this human rights action. Indeed, the Libyan people and Tribal Leaders deserve our support. Together we must demand that NATO face prosecution for War Crimes, citing these examples and others.
NATO governments must be required to pay financial damages to Libyan families, on par with what the U.S. and Britain would demand for their own citizens under identical circumstances. The world cannot tolerate double standards, whereby powerful nations abuse helpless citizens. The International Geneva Conventions of War must be enforced, and equal force of the law must be applied.
The Fight for Misurata
Though attacks are widespread, some of the worst abuses are occurring in Misurata. The City has the only mega port in Libya, and handles transportation for the country, including the largest oil and gas depots. NATO will stop at nothing to take the City.
Refugees report that the Israeli Star of David flag was draped over the largest Mosque in Misurata on the second day of fighting, actions guaranteed to humiliate and antagonize the local population.
NATO forces have cut off food and medical supplies throughout Libya. But the seas are plentiful with fish in Mediterranean waters. Brave fishermen have taken their boats out of port, trying to harvest fish for the hungry population. To break their perseverance, American drones and British war planes steadily fire missiles on the fishing boats, deliberately targeting non-military vessels to chase them out of the waters.
Yet for all of its superior fire power and tactical advantages, NATO still appears to be losing. According to the fact-finding delegation, reporting today, many rebels have left Misurata and have taken boats back to Benghazi. The big central part of Misurata is now free and under central military control. The Libyan people shot down two helicopter gunships near the town of Zlitan. And although Al Jazeera played a grand story about a major uprising against Gaddafi in Tripoli, one of the Tribal leaders’ wives lives on the street that claims to be the center of the demonstration, and declared that she saw no crowds out of her window. Buses pictured in Al Jazeera video do not run in Tripoli.
One has to ask: What kind of society does NATO think it’s creating, if in fact Gaddafi can be deposed — which looks very unlikely? Have Washington and London learned nothing from their failure in Iraq? The cruelty and debasement of NATO’s forces is already fueling profound hatreds that will continue for the next generation.
Who could be proud of such “allies?” Not the Libyan people, surely.
NATO soldiers are no better than thugs. Anyone else would be labeled terrorists. Most worrisome, NATO’s actions are guaranteed to have serious consequences for long term political stability in Libya. Vendettas are forming between tribes and family clans that will carry over for decades. It is extremely short-sighted and self destructive.
NATO should take this warning to heart: Its soldiers are not legal-proof. The International Peace Community is already taking action to uphold Libya’s natural rights at the United Nations. Many of us in the International Peace Community shall defend Libya’s women. And we shall demand War Crimes prosecution and major financial damages against NATO governments, on behalf of the people.
Nobody’s fooled by NATO’s story that Gaddafi’s the guilty party. We know that Washington, Britain, France, Italy — and Israel are the real culprits.
The murdered women of Misurata shall have justice. NATO can count on it.
Susan Lindauer covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years before the invasion. She is the author of Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq. Read other articles by Susan.  
By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus

As AmpedStatus readers know, when I’m not analyzing, aggregating and summarizing the news, I’m conspiring with activists in hopes of launching a non-violent revolution to keep our society from collapsing into complete neo-feudalism. Yeah, yeah, that may sound a bit extreme to people who don’t pay attention to what is happening, but as Tom Paine said, “Time makes more converts than reason.”

To say that this is a frustrating battle is an understatement.

To keep my sanity in an insane world, sometimes I just close my office door and rant at the wall or scream at the TV.

It always comes down to this one baffling question: How can people be so passive and apathetic as our future is going up in flames? W…T…F!

At this point, I usually need some comic relief. George Carlin always works! Bill Hicks will make you laugh at some deep truths. Bill Maher maybe, sometimes. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on occasion, but they spend way too much time playing the divide and conquer status quo supporting court jester role.

Their multi-million dollar contracts have dulled their edge, to say the least. But lately, every few days, I get the joy of watching Lee Camp rant for a few minutes. He delivers his blistering Moment of Clarity with much needed insight and passion. He actually makes me want to be a comedian. Maybe that’s the only way to speak the truth in a way that can wake people up.

So here’s a post in support of my long lost brother from another mother, who I never met. He is a bit stuck in the Democrat Vs Republican trap, but… he gets it. He speaks truth to power and makes enough funny pop cult references to make people understand the urgency of the moment.

Wake ‘em up Lee!

Let’s Take Apathy Out To The Shed And Shoot It In The Face
You Are Not Alone OR Fighting Back Is Bad For Ratings
Lee’s site: http://leecamp.net/

Unemployment Now Worse than During Great Depression

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

June 06, 2011 "AlterNet" --  Despite the Republican rhetoric of "jobs jobs jobs," the country is stunningly lacking them. We knew it was bad, but the latest US Unemployment Report, released Friday, proves that we are in the worst slump since the 1930s. This puts it in perspective:

About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression...

Here's another problem: more than 1 million of the long-term unemployed have run out of unemployment benefits, leaving them without the money to get new training, buy new clothes, or even get to job interviews.

If you need a visual, here's a terrifying chart from Business Insider. And for another perspective, The New Republic has published an illuminating piece comparing the onset of the Great Depression to the political circumstances we face now: 
There was no economic reason that the government could not have spent on this scale in 1931, as opposed to 1941; the obstacles were political. Then, as now, politicians in Washington were obsessed with the budget deficit. They never would have countenanced such spending, apart from the threat to the nation posed by Hitler and the Axis powers. The New Deal deficit spending helped boost the economy and bring the unemployment rate down to single-digit levels, but fear of deficits limited the scale of New Deal programs and caused Roosevelt to reverse course and cut back on spending in 1937, just as the economy was gaining momentum.

Unfortunately, the country seems destined to follow the same course in the current slump as it did in the 30s. The May jobs report should have provided the sort of stiff kick that is needed to revive discussion of additional stimulus. Instead, it seems to have barely shaken Washington’s ongoing obsession with deficits.

The repercussions of the global financial crisis are still part of the problem, to be sure -- as this report notes, the UK, China and Europe are all experiencing a broader slowdown. Housing prices are still falling, and big lenders are only just beginning to be taken to task for the mortgage crisis (if at all). But another big issue is the extinction of many types of manufacturing jobs that have been cornerstones of the economy since the industrial revolution -- a disappearance that makes it necessary to focus on newer industries like technology and clean energy. Here's another interesting perspective.

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