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Jews boycott Israel

August 3, 2009

It is really very important to distinguish betweens Jews and Zionists as groups: and to realise that many Jewish people do not support the atrocities of Israel. While Jewish refers to race, Zionist refers to a political attitude about Israel. I do not have any argument with Jews; but I do with Zionists who support Israel’s occupation of Palestine, whether they are Jewish or not.

Among Jews who don’t support Zionists are Gilad Atzmon, Leonard Cohen, Noam Chomsky among so many others, all geniuses in their own fields.

Many Israeli soldiers have spoken out against the atrocities of Israel here (30 min) and here (6 min). You tube has many such videos in which young jews in Israel have condemned their own government’s occupation of Palestine which are very sobering.

Since France recently made it illegal to boycott Israel, I find the article below quite refreshing.


Jews plan Israel’s boycott


From The Jewish Chronicle
Leon Symons
July 30, 2009
Source

The JC has revealed plans developed by Jews For Justice For Palestinians (JFJFP) to cause maximum damage to Israel by extending boycotts.

At the anti-Israel organisation’s recent annual meeting, activists discussed a survey of its members which showed clear support for a comprehensive boycott. More than 400 JFJFP activists responded to the survey.

The meeting considered three options, based on the survey results: “1. That we maintain our present position; 2. That we will consider, on a case-by-case basis, smart boycotts against the occupation; 3. That we will consider, on a case-by-case basis, smart boycotts but
not restricted to the occupation.”

The meeting voted for the third option, which would enable JFJFP to initiate or support boycotts of all Israeli goods and services.

In a letter sent to members on Monday, after the meeting, the executive recommends option two, which would widen the group’s activities beyond its current focus on the settlements to taking in everything connected to what it terms the “occupation”.

This would mean boycotting companies, goods and services that could be shown to be connected directly to the Occupied Territories. That would include targeting those who refuse to say whether or not they worked in the Occupied Territories.

In explaining the detail of this option, the JFJFP executive say: “By targeting Israel’s policy of colonisation, this also avoids the accusation — important for an organisation like JFJFP — of being anti-Israel.”

Recommending option two, the executive say it is, among other things, best “for minimising the inevitable misrepresentation of our position in such a way as to make work directed at those who belong to Jewish communal organisations much harder than it is at present”.

The survey shows that the executive is worried about the impact of adopting a wider boycott strategy on the group’s reputation among Jews. Question two asks: “Do you think adopting a broader boycott position would make JFJFP more, or less, attractive to Jews in Britain who take issue with Israeli policy but have not chosen to express that concern by becoming a JFJFP signatory?”

Two-hundred and forty seven out of the 417 respondents said they thought JFJFP would be much less attractive. Another 96 stayed neutral.

JFJFP currently supports a ban on the importation of all settlement produce and claims it was “a very significant contributor to the process whereby the UK government strongly objected to the mislabelling of goods produced in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

It also supports the boycott of companies such as Caterpillar, which it says is “involved in home demolitions and the destruction of, for example, olive groves in order to build the barrier”.

It backs the boycott of companies involved in supporting settlements and demands “an end to the sale of arms to Israel and any purchase of arms or security equipment from Israel”.

The meeting also included a series of workshops exploring how anti-Israel activists should respond to various situations, using recent events as the basis for discussion.

These included the Zionist Federation’s hire of the Bloomsbury Theatre, the Edinburgh Film Festival’s acceptance of Israeli sponsorship and the announcement of a Leonard Cohen concert in Israel.

Read the full results here

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Police Brutality USA – Interactive map

June 21, 2009



Since the recent infamous Grandma tasering, I have found many incidents of similar brutality by police. The following links are VIDEOS of such events.

Girl shoes cop – Cop beats girl

Then they came for me….and there was noone…

Police Overreact with a Taser Gun – AGAIN!

Ambulance driver brutalized by police: cops did it right!

Grandma tasered update – Police: we did it right!

Grandma tasered – Unedited video from dash cam

Ambulance driver brutalized by police

SWAT bust down wrong door

I had wondered how long it would take to compile a relatively complete list of all the incidences. Luckily I found that someone has done this already and presented it neatly in an interactive map.

I spent hours examining incidences from the map – it was horrifying and enlightening to see how widespread abuse of civil rights is in the USA – and how many innocent people have been killed or irreparably damaged.

Take a look if you dare.

An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids,” by Radley Balko.

Related:

Medals for Botched SWAT Raid Officers

Police SWAT teams: Overused?

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Man demolishes house before repo

June 19, 2009

With all the tragic foreclosures going on, it’s nice to see at least one person getting some satisfaction from losing his home to the bank.  My guess is this: if people were going to destroy their homes before the bank reposessed them, the banks would be much more flexible.  Or maybe, the destruction of foreclosed homes would help to stem the glut of homes on the market, meaning that the bottom of the housing bubble might finally arrive.

In either case, it’s refreshing to see one man who refused to walk away with nothing, not even satisfaction.

Enjoy the video.

Related:
Worse than subprime? Other mortgages imploding slowly

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Why the dollar is dying

June 18, 2009

Updates: June 18, 2009
Fed Buying Treasuries; China Selling Treasuries

Russia, China to Promote Ruble, Yuan Use in Trade


Probably the most important meeting in the world is going on right now in Russia: but, only a few people will notice the article below. Yet, it details the most critical change occurring currently creating a new world order and eradicating the United States financial and military hegemonic plans. And the change will be soooo quiet. Not really quiet; it’s just that people’s attentions are being focussed elsewhere. The information is here for all who are interested in it.

As the dollar enters its death cycle, Americans are focussed on GM and Sarah Palin’s new blooper. The fall of the dollar will be a big surprise for many….but don’t worry, it will happen gradually (for the near future).

I highly recommend this long but lucid article on why the US Empire is being superceded by the power of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO; and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, Inda and China). See When China awakes, it will shake the world. – Napoleon Bonaparte

If switching to another reserve currency or basket of currencies disables the American military stranglehold on earth, I say, Bring it on!

For those of you who prefer the Americanised version of news with its ‘happy ending’ see Dollar poses dilemma for Bric countries , the BBC version of the SCO summit.


De-Dollarization: Dismantling America’s

Financial-Military Empire

The Yekaterinburg Turning Point

by Michael Hudson
Global Research, June 13, 2009
Source

The city of Yakaterinburg, Russia’s largest east of the Urals, may become known not only as the death place of the tsars but of American hegemony too – and not only where US U-2 pilot Gary Powers was shot down in 1960, but where the US-centered international financial order was brought to ground.

Challenging America will be the prime focus of extended meetings in Yekaterinburg, Russia (formerly Sverdlovsk) today and tomorrow (June 15-16) for Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The alliance is comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Uzbekistan, with observer status for Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia. It will be joined on Tuesday by Brazil for trade discussions among the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

The attendees have assured American diplomats that dismantling the US financial and military empire is not their aim. They simply want to discuss mutual aid – but in a way that has no role for the United States, NATO or the US dollar as a vehicle for trade. US diplomats may well ask what this really means, if not a move to make US hegemony obsolete. That is what a multipolar world means, after all. For starters, in 2005 the SCO asked Washington to set a timeline to withdraw from its military bases in Central Asia. Two years later the SCO countries formally aligned themselves with the former CIS republics belonging to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), established in 2002 as a counterweight to NATO.

Yet the meeting has elicited only a collective yawn from the US and even European press despite its agenda is to replace the global dollar standard with a new financial and military defense system. A Council on Foreign Relations spokesman has said he hardly can imagine that Russia and China can overcome their geopolitical rivalry,1 suggesting that America can use the divide-and-conquer that Britain used so deftly for many centuries in fragmenting foreign opposition to its own empire. But George W. Bush (“I’m a uniter, not a divider”) built on the Clinton administration’s legacy in driving Russia, China and their neighbors to find a common ground when it comes to finding an alternative to the dollar and hence to the US ability to run balance-of-payments deficits ad infinitum.

What may prove to be the last rites of American hegemony began already in April at the G-20 conference, and became even more explicit at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 5, when Mr. Medvedev called for China, Russia and India to “build an increasingly multipolar world order.” What this means in plain English is: We have reached our limit in subsidizing the United States’ military encirclement of Eurasia while also allowing the US to appropriate our exports, companies, stocks and real estate in exchange for paper money of questionable worth.

Members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

“The artificially maintained unipolar system,” Mr. Medvedev spelled out, is based on “one big centre of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks.”2 At the root of the global financial crisis, he concluded, is that the United States makes too little and spends too much. Especially upsetting is its military spending, such as the stepped-up US military aid to Georgia announced just last week, the NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe and the US buildup in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia.

The sticking point with all these countries is the US ability to print unlimited amounts of dollars. Overspending by US consumers on imports in excess of exports, US buy-outs of foreign companies and real estate, and the dollars that the Pentagon spends abroad all end up in foreign central banks. These agencies then face a hard choice: either to recycle these dollars back to the United States by purchasing US Treasury bills, or to let the “free market” force up their currency relative to the dollar – thereby pricing their exports out of world markets and hence creating domestic unemployment and business insolvency.

When China and other countries recycle their dollar inflows by buying US Treasury bills to “invest” in the United States, this buildup is not really voluntary. It does not reflect faith in the U.S. economy enriching foreign central banks for their savings, or any calculated investment preference, but simply a lack of alternatives. “Free markets” US-style hook countries into a system that forces them to accept dollars without limit. Now they want out.

This means creating a new alternative. Rather than making merely “cosmetic changes as some countries and perhaps the international financial organisations themselves might want,” Mr. Medvedev ended his St. Petersburg speech, “what we need are financial institutions of a completely new type, where particular political issues and motives, and particular countries will not dominate.”

When foreign military spending forced the US balance of payments into deficit and drove the United States off gold in 1971, central banks were left without the traditional asset used to settle payments imbalances. The alternative by default was to invest their subsequent payments inflows in US Treasury bonds, as if these still were “as good as gold.” Central banks now hold $4 trillion of these bonds in their international reserves – and these loans have financed most of the US Government’s domestic budget deficits for over three decades now! Given the fact that about half of US Government discretionary spending is for military operations – including more than 750 foreign military bases and increasingly expensive operations in the oil-producing and transporting countries – the international financial system is organized in a way that finances the Pentagon, along with US buyouts of foreign assets expected to yield much more than the Treasury bonds that foreign central banks hold.

Click to enlarge image

The main political issue confronting the world’s central banks is therefore how to avoid adding yet more dollars to their reserves and thereby financing yet further US deficit spending – including military spending on their borders?

For starters, the six SCO countries and BRIC countries intend to trade in their own currencies so as to get the benefit of mutual credit that the United States until now has monopolized for itself. Toward this end, China has struck bilateral deals with Argentina and Brazil to denominate their trade in renminbi rather than the dollar, sterling or euros,3 and two weeks ago China reached an agreement with Malaysia to denominate trade between the two countries in renminbi.[4] Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad explained to me in January that as a Muslim country, Malaysia wants to avoid doing anything that would facilitate US military action against Islamic countries, including Palestine. The nation has too many dollar assets as it is, his colleagues explained. Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan of the People’s Bank of China wrote an official statement on its website that the goal is now to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations.”5 This is the aim of the discussions in Yekaterinburg.

In addition to avoiding financing the US buyout of their own industry and the US military encirclement of the globe, China, Russia and other countries no doubt would like to get the same kind of free ride that America has been getting. As matters stand, they see the United States as a lawless nation, financially as well as militarily. How else to characterize a nation that holds out a set of laws for others – on war, debt repayment and treatment of prisoners – but ignores them itself? The United States is now the world’s largest debtor yet has avoided the pain of “structural adjustments” imposed on other debtor economies. US interest-rate and tax reductions in the face of exploding trade and budget deficits are seen as the height of hypocrisy in view of the austerity programs that Washington forces on other countries via the IMF and other Washington vehicles.

The United States tells debtor economies to sell off their public utilities and natural resources, raise their interest rates and increase taxes while gutting their social safety nets to squeeze out money to pay creditors. And at home, Congress blocked China’s CNOOK from buying Unocal on grounds of national security, much as it blocked Dubai from buying US ports and other sovereign wealth funds from buying into key infrastructure. Foreigners are invited to emulate the Japanese purchase of white elephant trophies such as Rockefeller Center, on which investors quickly lost a billion dollars and ended up walking away.

In this respect the US has not really given China and other payments-surplus nations much alternative but to find a way to avoid further dollar buildups. To date, China’s attempts to diversify its dollar holdings beyond Treasury bonds have not proved very successful. For starters, Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs steered its central bank into higher-yielding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities, explaining that these were de facto public obligations. They collapsed in 2008, but at least the US Government took these two mortgage-lending agencies over, formally adding their $5.2 trillion in obligations onto the national debt. In fact, it was largely foreign official investment that prompted the bailout. Imposing a loss for foreign official agencies would have broken the Treasury-bill standard then and there, not only by utterly destroying US credibility but because there simply are too few Government bonds to absorb the dollars being flooded into the world economy by the soaring US balance-of-payments deficits.

Seeking more of an equity position to protect the value of their dollar holdings as the Federal Reserve’s credit bubble drove interest rates down China’s sovereign wealth funds sought to diversify in late 2007. China bought stakes in the well-connected Blackstone equity fund and Morgan Stanley on Wall Street, Barclays in Britain South Africa’s Standard Bank (once affiliated with Chase Manhattan back in the apartheid 1960s) and in the soon-to-collapse Belgian financial conglomerate Fortis. But the US financial sector was collapsing under the weight of its debt pyramiding, and prices for shares plunged for banks and investment firms across the globe.

Foreigners see the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization as Washington surrogates in a financial system backed by American military bases and aircraft carriers encircling the globe. But this military domination is a vestige of an American empire no longer able to rule by economic strength. US military power is muscle-bound, based more on atomic weaponry and long-distance air strikes than on ground operations, which have become too politically unpopular to mount on any large scale.

On the economic front there is no foreseeable way in which the United States can work off the $4 trillion it owes foreign governments, their central banks and the sovereign wealth funds set up to dispose of the global dollar glut. America has become a deadbeat – and indeed, a militarily aggressive one as it seeks to hold onto the unique power it once earned by economic means. The problem is how to constrain its behavior. Yu Yongding, a former Chinese central bank advisor now with China’s Academy of Sciences, suggested that US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner be advised that the United States should “save” first and foremost by cutting back its military budget. “U.S. tax revenue is not likely to increase in the short term because of low economic growth, inflexible expenditures and the cost of ‘fighting two wars.’”6

At present it is foreign savings, not those of Americans that are financing the US budget deficit by buying most Treasury bonds. The effect is taxation without representation for foreign voters as to how the US Government uses their forced savings. It therefore is necessary for financial diplomats to broaden the scope of their policy-making beyond the private-sector marketplace. Exchange rates are determined by many factors besides “consumers wielding credit cards,” the usual euphemism that the US media cite for America’s balance-of-payments deficit. Since the 13th century, war has been a dominating factor in the balance of payments of leading nations – and of their national debts. Government bond financing consists mainly of war debts, as normal peacetime budgets tend to be balanced. This links the war budget directly to the balance of payments and exchange rates.

Foreign nations see themselves stuck with unpayable IOUs – under conditions where, if they move to stop the US free lunch, the dollar will plunge and their dollar holdings will fall in value relative to their own domestic currencies and other currencies. If China’s currency rises by 10% against the dollar, its central bank will show the equivalent of a $200 million loss on its $2 trillion of dollar holdings as denominated in yuan. This explains why, when bond ratings agencies talk of the US Treasury securities losing their AAA rating, they don’t mean that the government cannot simply print the paper dollars to “make good” on these bonds. They mean that dollars will depreciate in international value. And that is just what is now occurring. When Mr. Geithner put on his serious face and told an audience at Peking University in early June that he believed in a “strong dollar” and China’s US investments therefore were safe and sound, he was greeted with derisive laughter.7

Anticipation of a rise in China’s exchange rate provides an incentive for speculators to seek to borrow in dollars to buy renminbi and benefit from the appreciation. For China, the problem is that this speculative inflow would become a self-fulfilling prophecy by forcing up its currency. So the problem of international reserves is inherently linked to that of capital controls. Why should China see its profitable companies sold for yet more freely-created US dollars, which the central bank must use to buy low-yielding US Treasury bills or lose yet further money on Wall Street?

To avoid this quandary it is necessary to reverse the philosophy of open capital markets that the world has held ever since Bretton Woods in 1944. On the occasion of Mr. Geithner’s visit to China, “Zhou Xiaochuan, minister of the Peoples Bank of China, the country’s central bank, said pointedly that this was the first time since the semiannual talks began in 2006 that China needed to learn from American mistakes as well as its successes” when it came to deregulating capital markets and dismantling controls.8

An era therefore is coming to an end. In the face of continued US overspending, de-dollarization threatens to force countries to return to the kind of dual exchange rates common between World Wars I and II: one exchange rate for commodity trade, another for capital movements and investments, at least from dollar-area economies.

Even without capital controls, the nations meeting at Yekaterinburg are taking steps to avoid being the unwilling recipients of yet more dollars. Seeing that US global hegemony cannot continue without spending power that they themselves supply, governments are attempting to hasten what Chalmers Johnson has called “the sorrows of empire” in his book by that name – the bankruptcy of the US financial-military world order. If China, Russia and their non-aligned allies have their way, the United States will no longer live off the savings of others (in the form of its own recycled dollars) nor have the money for unlimited military expenditures and adventures.

US officials wanted to attend the Yekaterinburg meeting as observers. They were told No. It is a word that Americans will hear much more in the future.

Notes

1 Andrew Scheineson, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” Council on Foreign Relations,

Updated: March 24, 2009: “While some experts say the organization has emerged as a powerful anti-U.S. bulwark in Central Asia, others believe frictions between its two largest members, Russia and China, effectively preclude a strong, unified SCO.”

2 Kremlin.ru, June 5, 2009, in Johnson’s Russia List, June 8, 2009, #8.

3 Jamil Anderlini and Javier Blas, “China reveals big rise in gold reserves,” Financial Times, April 24, 2009. See also “Chinese political advisors propose making yuan an int’l currency.” Beijing, March 7, 2009 (Xinhua). “The key to financial reform is to make the yuan an international currency, said [Peter Kwong Ching] Woo [chairman of the Hong Kong-based Wharf (Holdings) Limited] in a speech to the Second Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top political advisory body. That means using the Chinese currency to settle international trade payments …”

4 Shai Oster, “Malaysia, China Consider Ending Trade in Dollars,” Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2009.

5 Jonathan Wheatley, “Brazil and China in plan to axe dollar,” Financial Times, May 19, 2009.

6 “Another Dollar Crisis inevitable unless U.S. starts Saving – China central bank adviser. Global Crisis ‘Inevitable’ Unless U.S. Starts Saving, Yu Says,” Bloomberg News, June 1, 2009. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=aCV0pFcAFyZw&refer=asia

7 Kathrin Hille, “Lesson in friendship draws blushes,” Financial Times, June 2, 2009.

8 Steven R. Weisman, “U.S. Tells China Subprime Woes Are No Reason to Keep Markets Closed,” The New York Times, June 18, 2008.

Related:
BRICs May Buy Each Other’s Bonds in Shift From Dollar
Is the First World Being Turned into the Third World?

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Man arrested/convicted for complaining to gov’t

June 15, 2009


Update June 20, 2009 Yep Freedom to petition gov’t – BYE BYE
(What is so striking about this recent update is that in my google search for printed articles, there are NO MAINSTREAM media sources. I wonder why?
)

U.S Judge Fines 40 people $80.000 for signing petition 6-18-09

Could this have happened 15 years ago in full view of the media? A citizen arrested and convicted for writing too many letters to his representative complaining of a menace to the community?

Anyone who saw the Shawshank Redemption and admired Andy Dufreyne for tirelessly writing letters to the governor requesting a better library for the prison – and got action…get your mind right…because this is now deemed ‘harassing’ the government.

Man arrested and convicted
for complaining about government

Sunday, June 14th, 2009
Source

Marshall Pappert waged a passionate, perhaps slightly obsessive, campaign of protest letter writing to Bridgeville, Pa. politicians and city officials to express his opposition to concrete plant. The city has responded, by arresting him, for criminally harassing the government.

View Video

ABC News Pittsburg reports: A Bridgeville man who was arrested and convicted after making repeated complaints to his local government took his appeal to one of Pennsylvania’s highest courts on Tuesday.Team 4 investigative reporter Jim Parsons, who originally broke the story, was in Superior Court for the arguments. At issue: How many letters to borough officials does it take to constitute a crime?

Marshall Pappert freely admits that when you add up all of the letters he has written to government officials — and include the copies of those letters he has sent to other public officials — the number of letters is about 350.While waiting for his case to be called, Pappert made no apologies for his letter-writing campaign to Bridgeville Borough.

“I did what any citizen should do when you see something that’s unhealthy to the community,” Pappert said. Pappert lives across Union Street from a Bridgeville concrete plant. The dust, the noise, the idling diesel trucks all combined to cause him to complain to the borough.

He wrote letter after letter — hundreds of them — and he left voice mail messages for the borough manager.In one message, Pappert said, “I’m asking you as a Bridgeville resident of 56 years to resign and get off of your position. Do the right thing.”

Instead, Pappert got arrested on a harassment charge and was convicted.At Tuesday’s appeal hearing, Assistant District Attorney Peggy Ivory told the court that Pappert “clearly crossed the line to a course of conduct designed to harass” the borough manager. Ivory declined an interview with Team 4 on Tuesday.

”We really maintain that this is about the First Amendment and that public officials just have to tolerate it,” said Bruce Boni, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union who’s representing Pappert. Bridgeville Councilman Pat DeBlasio said he doesn’t just tolerate Pappert’s actions, he embraces them.”We go to Memorial Day and stand there and listen to ‘Taps’ and honor the people who died. Well, they didn’t die so we could have five different choices of breakfast cereal. They sacrificed their lives so that you have the right to complain when you see something wrong,” DeBlasio said.

”If you can’t talk and do what I did to your government, what can you do? What are they going to do next to you?” Pappert said. A decision on whether to overturn Pappert’s criminal conviction is not expected until sometime in the summer.

Team 4 also learned on Tuesday that Ed Bogats — who arrested Pappert — submitted his resignation as Bridgeville police chief last month.The borough council unanimously accepted Bogats’ resignation. DeBlasio said Bogats cited medical reasons.Bogats did not return Team 4’s call to his home on Tuesday.

Thanks to Jonathan Turley
Phil Leggiere
http://mondoglobo.wftk.org/blog/qa/

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Recruiting children to kill and die

June 14, 2009

California towns face off with federal government

in court over military recruiting of minors

military_recruitment children

Source
June 12, 2009

Two towns nestled in the rugged coastline and the liberal politics of Northern California have fought the federal government by banning the U.S. military from recruiting minors within their city limits. Now the federal government is fighting back.

Arcata — a town known for taking a stand against the USA Patriot Act and repeatedly passing symbolic measures to impeach President George W. Bush — approved in November an ordinance that would limit Armed Forces recruiters’ ability to contact people under 18. And so did nearby Eureka, the Humboldt County seat.

The Department of Justice took the towns to court in December over their Youth Protection Acts, alleging they were attempting to interfere with the government’s ability to raise an army and protect the country. The department has said the ordinances are believed to be the only ones in the country with such blanket restrictions.

A federal judge is expected to rule on the case in coming days.

“We fully expected a challenge, and we got it,” said David Meserve, 60, a builder of environmentally friendly homes and former Arcata City Council member who spearheaded the measure. “But more importantly, people are becoming aware there is a problem — and the problem is the recruiting of minors.”

Although people must be 18 to enlist — or 17 with parental permission — recruiting manuals cited in the cities’ court filings show that contact with much younger children is encouraged.

“You will find that establishing trust and credibility with students, even seventh- and eighth-graders, can positively impact your high school and post-secondary school recruiting effort,” reads The Recruiter Handbook, published in 2008 by the United States Army Recruiting Command.

The push to reach the young makes sense. A 2007 Department of Defense study found that at 16 years old, more than 25 percent of students considered joining the Armed Forces. By the time they were 21, only 15 percent considered joining.

Towns and high school campuses around the country have tried to thwart the military’s access to their underage students. Berkeley declared that recruiters positioned within view of its high school were “unwelcome intruders.” San Francisco school board members moved to rid public schools of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps but this week restored the program.

Counter-recruiters across the country have sought to inform students of their perspective on military service in times of war. They also tell parents how to opt out of having their child’s contact information released to recruiters — a requirement for schools receiving federal funds under the No Child Left Behind Act.

military recruitment-748648

Allen Weiner, a senior lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, said he knows of no other cities besides Arcata and Eureka that have passed ordinances banning military officials within their boundaries from initiating contact with minors with the intent of attracting them to any branch of the military.

The law is clear, Weiner said, that recruitment is under the purview of the federal government.

“As a legal fight, it’s pretty clear to me who wins,” he said.

Department of Justice officials did not respond to calls for comment. But in written arguments, government attorneys said the local measures violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, which establishes the Constitution, federal statutes and treaties as the supreme law of the land.

“State and local governments lack the power to regulate the activities of the federal government,” said their motion to block the ordinances. “Even apart from this obvious constitutional flaw, the ordinances purport to legislate in a field that is committed to the sole discretion of the United States, namely, the Congressional power to raise armies.”

Local advocates such as Meserve remain undaunted.

Meserve said he took up the fight one morning while sitting in a coffee shop and overhearing a National Guard recruiter giving three high school girls a hard sell. The sharply dressed young man bought them fancy coffee drinks and pitched the career opportunities, the scholarships, the camaraderie, while assuring them there was virtually no chance they would end up in a war zone, Meserve said.

This was in 2005, when members of the National Guard were regularly being sent to Iraq, he said.

He found a supporter in Brad Yamauchi, an attorney working pro bono on the case.

The lawyer argues the ordinances prevent abuses without interfering with the federal government’s ability to fill the ranks of the military. Anyone, independent of age, can still reach out to the military, he said, and recruiters are free to contact adults.

“If they don’t contact minors, they can still meet their goals,” Yamauchi said. “We believe there are limits to the federal power to recruit children.”

Related articles

Non military options for youth

DC-area parents don’t want military survey for students

Military Recruiting Vans Draw Fire

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Rationalisations of the torturers

June 13, 2009

How do ordinary people come to justify torture?  It is impressive to read something written in 2000 that so accurately predicts events in 2009.  It would be a fair guess that these ‘predictions’ also describe many other countries besides Great Britain in 1971…i.e. the Bush Thugs in 2009.  I have edited the article to emphasize the principal thrusts of justification for torture.  Read the entire article here.

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People

by John Conroy
University of California Press, 2000, paper
Source
… It takes no genius to see a pattern … and that pattern is repeated throughout the world: torturers are rarely punished, and when they are, the punishment rarely corresponds to the severity of the crime.

When a dictatorship is overthrown by a democratic regime, torture squads typically elude punishment because the new government is not entirely secure.

Furthermore, it is often difficult to mount an effective prosecution. Torture usually occurs in a closed room without independent witnesses. Sometimes the victims have been blindfolded or they are dead..

A prosecutor’s task is made more difficult by the fact that torturers are often decorated soldiers or policemen who have served their country in time of need, men who often represent popular belief: they were tough on crime, or they were saving the country from subversion or immorality….

Consider, for example, the British reaction to the revelations that they were torturing the Northern Irish in 197I.

The first stage of response was absolute and complete denial, accompanied by attacks on those who exposed the treatment. Northern Irish Prime Minister Brian Faulkner announced that there had been “no brutality of any kind.”

The London Sunday Times was denounced for printing “the fantasies of terrorists.”

The second stage was to minimize the abuse….

A third stage is to disparage the victims. Lord Carrington judged them to be “thugs and murderers,” while Reginald Maulding proclaimed, “It was necessary to take measures to fight terrorists, the murderous enemy….
A fourth stage is to justify the treatment on the grounds that it was effective or appropriate under the circumstances. Lord Balniel, junior minister of defense, said that there was no evidence of torture, ill-treatment, or brainwashing, and that the methods employed had produced “invaluable” information about a brutal, callous, and barbaric enemy.

A fifth component of a torturing society’s defense is to charge that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state….

A sixth defense is that the torture is no longer occurring, and anyone who raises the issue is therefore “raking up the past.”…

A seventh component of a torturing bureaucracy is to put the blame on a few bad apples….

A final rationalization of a torturing nation is that the victims will get over it.
It is perhaps understandable that public officials accused of a crime as heinous as torture would react defensively and follow a predictable route of denial. What is perhaps more difficult to understand is the rampant indifference that grips most societies in the face of revelations of torture.

Does this sound uncomfortably current?