Monday, February 24, 2014

Economic Democracy : Creating The World We Want, Knowing What We Oppose

When the rich become too rich and the poor too poor; an age old scenario plays out again

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

February marks the third anniversary of the 2011 revolt in Wisconsin, the occupation of the state capital and mass protests against the attack on workers. Wisconsin was the largest of the protests at that time, but across the United States there were a series of protestsagainst foreclosures, austerity and the unjust economy.

The Wisconsin uprising, along with the Arab Spring and Indignado movement in Europe, inspired Occupy, a revolt that began on Wall Street and spread across the nation. It was a revolt against an economic system – big finance capitalism – that is causing a corrupt and unfair economy; as well as against a government that serves the interests of the wealthiest before meeting the necessities of the people. 

People often want to know what the movement for social and economic justice wants. Occupy Wall Street issued its Declaration of the Occupation of New York City which laid out a series of grievances. But, in addition to knowing what we oppose, we need to define what we stand for. If we do not like big finance capitalism, what will take the place of the current economy?

During the organizing of the occupation in Washington, DC on Freedom Plaza we developed a list of 15 core crisis issues that the country is facing and we outlined solutions to them. These solutions are supported by super-majorities of Americans who, polls show, could rule better than the elites.

At the core of these solutions is the desire to put in place an economic democracy agenda, building institutions that are controlled by and benefit communities while also protecting the planet.

By building wealth in a way that is more equitable and democratic, the rule of money is weakened. A democratized economy shifts political power away from concentrated capital to the public and further empowers people by meeting their basic needs for shelter , food, education, healthcare and income.

In many respects we are in a conflict with big finance capitalism and seeking to birth a new economy that serves the people. How do we get there? In her book, Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope, Cynthia Kaufman suggests we are in a variety of struggles and rather than seeking total replacement, we need to build healthy institutions while challenging those unhealthy ones we can defeat. Gar Alperovitz defines the transition as ‘evolutionary reconstruction’, a way that we gradually build a better world.

Economic Democracy

This week, we re-launched It’s Our Economy, a project dedicated to reporting on and assisting the growing movement for economic democracy. We define economic democracy as:

… premised on the idea that people should not cede power to mega-corporations, big finance, or a “professional” political class. The people have the shared knowledge to help build an economy that works to strengthen communities and build wealth for all, not just a few. We recognize the internal contradictions of big finance capitalism and we have seen the failures of state-based socialism and are seeking to create a new type of economy that is democratized, empowers people to gain control over their economic lives and encourages cooperative solutions that create wealth for ourselves and our communities…. 

Economic democracy also emphasizes the commonwealth. The commons includes not only roads, land, water and resources but also the knowledge and technology developed, often with public dollars, which has been built up over generations….

Economic democracy stands in contrast with neoliberal economics. Neoliberalism privatizes public goods and seeks to commodify everything possible to create profit-centers while cutting public services in the name of austerity.

One way to understand what makes healthy institutions that serve the people is to use a human rights framework. There are five human rights principles. These include:

Universality: Human rights must be afforded to everyone, without exception.

Equity: Every person is entitled to the same access to services and public goods.

Accountability: Mechanisms must exist to enforce the protection of human rights.

Transparency: Government institutions must be open and provide the public with information on the decision-making processes.

Participation: People need to be empowered to participate in the decision-making process.

The need for a new economy based on the goal of benefitting all people, not just the wealthiest, has become more urgent as the impact of the economic collapse and its false recovery are felt. These include high rates of Americans dropping out of the labor force, the wealth divide expanding, record poverty and lowered incomes for most people.

People Are Creating the New Economy in Many Ways

Political and economic leadership continues to go in the opposite direction of what people want: cutting the social safety net and doing little to invest in re-building the economy while the costs of energy, food, healthcare and other necessities rise. People across the country are acting on their own to build an economy that will serve them.

The building of the new economy, sometimes called a ‘solidarity economy,’ has been developing for many years, particularly in other areas of the world such as Latin America. As a result we can now see reports of its success. A fundamental belief of economic democracy is to build from the bottom up, starting with local communities. A report this week from the Institute for Self Reliance found that communities with buy local programs have seen local businesses grow three times as fast as communities without such programs and businesses report a 75% increase in customer traffic.

One key aspect of buying local is our food supply. The International Forum on Globalisation reports that “the average plate of food eaten in western industrial food-importing nations is likely to have traveled 2,000 miles from source to plate.” Around the country people are working to change that. Two programs that were in movement news this week were “Our Harvest” and “CropMobster.”

Our Harvest comes out of a 2009 agreement between the United Steelworkers and the Mondragon Co-op to create union co-ops. Our Harvest is a produce farm and food hub for aggregation and food processing. The goal is to re-create this model around the country to provide local foods and good jobs in union co-operatives.

CropMobster is a project from Petaluma, CA that seeks to redistribute food to reduce waste and to provide healthy food while growing a shared economy. CropMobster is an instant-alert service linking communities-in-need with local farmers, producers and food purveyors who have excess food to sell or donate. In one year it has spread to the greater SF Bay Area, with a dozen counties participating. Already, more than 300,000 pounds of food has been saved and over 1 million servings eaten; more than 4,000 participants and hundreds of farmers and small food businesses are joining with CropMobster.

Another issue that has been in the news lately because of multiple environmental disasters is the quality of drinking water. The chemical spill in West Virginia, coal slurry spills, hydrofracking and pipelines bursting in multiple states have been a few examples of how fresh water is now at risk. In addition, the extraction of fossil fuels and uranium are consuming tremendous amounts of water even in areas that are facing droughts. Water will be an item on the political agenda at the state and national level. This week in Europe, 1.66 million people were able to put the issues of the right to clean water and stopping water privatization before the European Parliament.

At the center of so many issues – the environment, climate, water, air, jobs – is energy. President Obama and the bi-partisans in Congress continue to push a disastrous “all of the above” energy strategy that is leading to extreme energy extraction with terrible environmental consequences. The corporate duopoly seems unable to challenge big oil, gas, coal and nuclear to put in place the carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy that is needed.

In the absence of national leadership, people are moving forward. Over 80 landowners have dedicated nearly 20,000 acres to what will become the largest wind farm in South Dakota that will increase the wind energy output in the state by 50%. As solar rapidly grows in the United States, research is now showing that more people will be employed by solar than by oil and coal combined.

Big changes are also on the horizon in the labor front. There are widespread battles for raising the minimum wage to a living wage, and while many companies treat their employees as if they were disposable, in other workplaces employees are becoming owners so they can share in the wealth created by their labor. There is a growing movement for worker-owned cooperatives with national meetings in the United States and in Europe.

An example that was in the news this week was WinCo, a growing competitor to Walmart. WinCo is now operating 93 employee-owned stores in seven states with nearly 15,000 employees. The company has lower prices than Walmart and provides employees with a health plan that includes dental and vision as well as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan for their pension.

Other businesses are creating a more just world by redefining corporate charters so that one of their purposes is to provide public benefits rather than profits to investors. In the past few years, 20 states, including the District of Columbia, have enacted legislation that allows companies to register as benefit corporations and 16 more states are considering it. Delaware, the home of half of US corporations and two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, enacted a B Corp. law. This status protects corporations from lawsuits by shareholders for not maximizing profit, and it even gives shareholders the right to sue the corporation for failing to optimize its social mission.

We are Creating a Renaissance

The examples above just give a taste of all of the changes that are taking place to create new systems that replace the old failing ones. For more ideas, visit the “Create” section of or

What is amazing is that around the world, the same ideas and values are being put forward. People are joining together to create societies that respect life and the planet and that are more horizontal and just. We are truly in a time of transformation which is made more urgent by the many crises we face.

There has been talk of global revolution, and in some areas, revolution – the changing of governments – is occurring. But we are not yet in a global revolution. In his article, “Revolution, or Digital-Age Renaissance,” Bernardo Gutierrez writes, “Ruskoff argues that the revolution has not arrived and what we are experiencing is a new renaissance. ‘Renaissances are historical instances of widespread recontextualisation. It is the rebirth of old ideas in a new context. Renaissance is a dimensional leap, when our perspective shifts so dramatically that our understanding of the oldest, most fundamental elements of existence changes. The stories we have been using no longer work.’” Gutierrez explains that revolutions come after the renaissance.

Currently people are not only creating new systems, but they are questioning the stories that have been told to maintain the status quo and are recognizing that many of our restraints are artificial. People do have the ability to rethink the premises upon which we base our assumptions and to change their views and behaviors.

For decades we have been taught to believe in capitalism and neo-liberalism. We have been told that there will always be poor people and we must accept that. We’ve been told that wealth trickles down and that we should all compete to achieve the “American Dream.” We’ve thought that in order to achieve that dream we must go into debt. And we’ve believed that the people in power should be trusted to make decisions for us, that we didn’t have the capacity to make them.

All of that is changing and being turned in its head. Awareness is growing that we can do things differently. People are actively confronting the old ways through both resistance and the creation of new approaches or the re-emergence of older methods. One area is the recognition that there are alternatives to debt-based economies. This is not a new idea. There were debt jubilees in ancient history.

In the article, “Debt Refusal Essential To Rebuilding Popular Democracy,” the editor writes that “resisting debt is not only moral, it may be essential to re-envisioning a democracy built on legitimate bonds to our community.” StrikeDebt, which was organized out of Occupy Wall Street, teaches us that “working together to build greater economic democracy would mean weaving a dense, creative network where our debts are to each other, not to them (read: the big banks).”StrikeDebt created a Debt Resister’s Manual and is organizing a nationwide debt resistance movement. Their new manual is due out soon.

Another area of renaissance is globalization. To date, globalization has been based on the neoliberal economic model that leaves poverty and environmental destruction in its wake. But now that we understand these consequences , it is becoming more difficult for governments to continue on this path. A case in point is the current Trans-Pacific Partnership which was negotiated for years in secret and the plan was to pass it quietly through Congress using Fast Track. That effort has stalled for now and instead civil society groups are working together to redefine what global trade should look like and how it should be governed.

There is a call for ‘deglobalization’ which does not oppose global trade but refers to orienting trade so our communities can build local economies, to produce goods that are needed and to become more self-reliant. A detailed plan for this is outlined in the blog on systemic alternatives. They write that deglobalization is not about withdrawing from the world economy but is about restructuring it: “Today’s need is not another centralized global institution but the deconcentration and decentralization of institutional power and the creation of a pluralistic system of state and non-state institutions and organizations interacting with one another, guided by broad and flexible agreements and understandings, which receive their authority and legitimacy from below.”

We have an opportunity right now while trade deals are stalled to redefine global governance. Collectively, the people can confront the dominant paradigms and global power structure and rebirth a world grounded in the principles of human rights and protection of the planet. Resistance is not only protest, but includes acts of creation. When you get involved in your community to build democratized economies, you are part of the global transformation.

This article is produced by in conjunction with AlterNet. It is based on’s weekly newsletter reviewing the activities of the resistance movement.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants in; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Risk Of Nuclear Leak Sparks Call For Installation Of Flood Defences

The UK's pending Fukushima with the same international fallout

By Mark Leftly

Managers of a nuclear waste dump on the Cumbria coast have been ordered to start preparations to defend the site against floods and erosion, amid fears that radioactive material could one day leak into the sea.
The Low Level Waste Repository
Much of the waste buried in vaults and concrete trenches at the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) near the village of Drigg originates from one of the world's most contaminated nuclear sites, Sellafield, a few miles away. The waste dump is expected ultimately to require protective flood barriers.

Experts at the Environment Agency fear that future generations could suffer from waste with a long radioactive half-life leaking into the Irish Sea as the pace of climate change quickens and its effects become less predictable. The agency has been heavily criticised for its tardy response to the recent floods.

Campaigners seized on the warnings yesterday as proof that toxic waste should not be buried by Britain's coastline, particularly after the devastation caused this winter by seas pounding the coastline and by flooding rivers inland.

Local politicians say they have been shocked at the degree of concern expressed by agency officials about the possibility of flooding and coastal erosion at Drigg during a consultation about altering the terms of the site's environmental permit.
Arial view LLWR
The agency has asked the private sector consortium led by the US engineering firm URS, which is contracted to manage the LLWR to 2018, to look into the long-term need for additional flood defences and the feasibility of building these.

It is understood that engineers from a leading UK consultant, Halcrow, have privately warned the agency that these issues must be addressed soon to prevent units holding radioactive scrap metal, plastics and protective clothing from eventually being compromised.

The facility, which also stores low-level radioactive waste from Ministry of Defence sites, hospitals and the oil industry, has been in operation since 1959.
Nuclear waste in grouted cement mix
 Although the site is considered safe for the next 100 years, there is already a risk of flooding to the southern area of the site. 
The Environment Agency wants, as a precaution, to make sure that no action is taken at the LLWR that would prevent the future installation of flood defences. 
A source close to the agency said that the operators of the LLWR had been asked "to consider long-term coastal erosion at the site".

In a 19-page briefing pack given to delegates at a workshop during the consultation, which ended last week, the agency admitted that a recent study showed that "in the future there may be increased risk of flooding to some areas of the site". Ultimately, it predicted "erosion and inundation" of the Drigg dump, although the situation was unlikely to be severe for hundreds of years.

The briefing also conceded that coastal erosion was a "key issue" for the LLWR. Any permit variations allowing the site to dispose of waste currently considered safe would also have to be "demonstrated to be acceptable" against the agency's existing guidance on the erosion threat.

A workshop delegate said this weekend that the twin problems "seemed to be way up the Environment Agency's agenda" during presentations, with coastal erosion a particular concern as it is "not an exact science".
Keith Hitchen, a Conservative councillor for the borough of Copeland in Cumbria who attended the workshop, said: "My concern for this project [the LLWR] is that it goes so far into the future that there is no certainty of any predictions. How accurate are the predictions? 
You just have to see what's been happening around the country this winter: in securing the integrity of the site I'm not sure that there is much you can do about controlling coastal erosion."

Dr David Lowry, a member of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates and the Department of Energy's Geological Disposal Implementation Board for Radioactive Waste, said: "One of the certainties of climate change is that the sea level will rise – therefore, developing a huge nuclear waste storage site on the coastline is a problem for future generations."

A spokesman for the Office of Nuclear Regulation, which jointly regulates the nuclear industry with the Environment Agency, said: "Site operators have arrangements in place to ensure that their sites remain in a safe condition in the event of severe weather, and to take whatever action is necessary to secure the safety of personnel on their sites."

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Australian Government Prepares Cover-Up Of Refugee Detention Camp Atrocity

Obama poodle Abbot attempts to emulate U.S. master, establish ASEAN Guantanamo

By Patrick O'Connor

Responding to the brutal suppression of a protest staged on Monday night by refugees detained on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, the Liberal-National government has boasted of its draconian “border protection” regime. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his colleagues are preparing a cover-up of the atrocity, while effectively welcoming what happened as a “deterrent” to other people thinking about seeking asylum in Australia.
Many details of what happened in the Australian-run refugee detention camp remain unclear—reflecting the blanket censorship imposed by the government on every aspect of the military-led “Operation Sovereign Borders.” 
What is known is that a 23-year-old Iranian Kurd, Reza Berati, was killed, suffering unspecified head injuries, while another 77 refugees were injured, 13 seriously. 
One has been flown to an Australian hospital in a critical condition after suffering a skull fracture, another man was shot in the buttocks, while multiple witness reports indicate that another survivor had his throat slashed with a machete. Those responsible for the violence were likely Australian-funded Papua New Guinea (PNG) paramilitary police and detention centre security personnel.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott justified the crackdown, declaring on Thursday that the government “will not be deterred or intimidated by anyone when it comes to doing what we need to do to protect our borders” and would not “succumb to pressure, to moral blackmail.” He warned yesterday that “we will keep control of these centres and if people are in riotous assembly, they will be dealt with at all times fairly, but if necessary, firmly.”
Manus Island refugee camp

The statement amounted to a threat of further violence against any asylum seekers who protest against their illegal detention in the squalid Australian-run camps in the Pacific states of PNG and Nauru.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison provided a chilling reply when asked if the government guaranteed the safety of the asylum seekers it imprisons. He said he could only do so “when they remain in the centre and act co–operatively” with those in charge. Anyone who engages in “disorderly behaviour” or who flees the Manus camp, he added, “will be subject to law enforcement as applies in Papua New Guinea.”
The minister supported the violent suppression of the refugee protest. “In situations like this, if you’re able to restore order promptly, which was done within a matter of hours, and ensure the facility is maintained and able to resume operations then that is an outcome which is positive.” 
In a calculated attempt at intimidation, Morrison condoned future violence, saying: “Things like this can happen and do happen and may happen again.”

The Manus Island incident recalls the “SIEV X” disaster in 2001, when Australian authorities deliberately allowed a refugee vessel to sink at sea, killing 353 refugees. Then Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock declared that this “may have an upside, in the sense that some people may see the dangers inherent in it [seeking asylum in Australia].”

As in the case of the SIEV X tragedy, an official cover-up of the Manus Island violence is underway. The government’s review has been commissioned by the immigration department—which is the body responsible for what has happened—and will be conducted by a Canberra insider, the former head of the attorney-general’s department, Robert Cornall. Any other investigations, Morrison declared, such as police investigations or coronial enquiries, “are matters for the Papua New Guinean government.”

The government was clearly preparing for a crackdown when it deployed an additional 130 security staff to the Manus camp on February 1–3. In a press conference on Tuesday, Morrison acknowledged that the refugee protests this week came as “no surprise to us, that is why the government was increasing security at the centre.” The minister explained that there had previously been a “rolling series” of what he acknowledged were “peaceful protests” of asylum seekers against the conditions in the camp.
The reasons for the protests are obvious. The Manus Island camp was reopened in 2012 by the former Labor government, and currently detains 1,300 asylum seekers, all men, kept in indefinite detention in deliberately overcrowded and squalid conditions. The whole purpose of creating this hell-hole is to deter other asylum seekers from attempting to reach Australia by boat.

An Amnesty International investigation of the Manus facility, published in December 2013, concluded that the Australian government was not only breaking international law governing the treatment of refugees but also violating its obligations under the UN Convention against Torture. It found that detainees were forced to queue for one to five hours a day for meals, toilets and showers and medical treatment, with almost no shade provided to protect people from the tropical heat.

When it rains, Amnesty reported, “the camp smells strongly of sewage.” The provision of essential items such as drinking water, hygiene products, shoes and clothes, and telephone and Internet services is all strictly rationed. The investigation also found: “Detainees also reported instances of verbal aggression or abuse by some staff. The most frequent was being told to return to their country of origin, ‘go home’ or ‘go back to your country’.”
Tensions escalated sharply on Sunday afternoon, after a meeting at the camp organised by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority. The details of what was said have not been released, but it was almost certainly bad news about asylum applications. 
Under the regime devised by former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and maintained by the current government, even those who are found to be officially recognised refugees are denied asylum in Australia and permanently settled in PNG.

According to Morrison’s own account, the refugees “became agitated and commenced chanting.” At 6.15 p.m., 35 detainees escaped the camp but “were quickly located and returned to the centre.” That evening there was “minor damage to the centre,” including broken light poles and detainees knocked over eight foot high internal and external metal fences. Nineteen asylum seekers subsequently received medical treatment for non-specified injuries, suggesting a crackdown by security guards.

The following morning, Monday at 7 a.m., another provocation was staged by the camp authorities when eight refugees were arrested and detained at Lorengau Police Station, facing charges relating to criminal damage.

That evening, again according to Morrison’s account, 50 to 70 detainees staged another protest inside the Manus camp, demanding the release of the arrested refugees. At 9.45 p.m., internal fences separating different compounds within the camp were reportedly torn down. The protests then “escalated quickly with several hundred transferees involved” and only at 2 a.m. was “order was restored to the centre.”

G4S, the British-based security corporation contracted by the Australian government to run the Manus facility, issued a public statement on Tuesday categorically insisting that “G4S staff were able to restore order within the Centre without the use of force.” The same day, Morrison issued his own statement declaring: “I am advised that G4S were able to protect critical infrastructure and take control of the facility within the centre without the use of batons.”

Lies Exposed

These statements have since been exposed as outright lies—security personnel used extreme force against the refugees. Australian-funded PNG paramilitary police were also involved in the violence. Numerous witnesses, including refugees, detention centre staff and security guards testify to what happened.

The Daily Telegraph ’s Paul Toohey yesterday reported that Reza Berati, the Iranian Kurd who was killed, “may have been murdered by out-of-control guards who stomped his skull as he lay defenceless on the ground.” The journalist continued: “According to an account from an Australian guard working for security contractor G4S, local guards working for G4S were in a frenzy and jumped on the man’s head in a rage on Monday night, inside the detention compound.”

The ABC’s correspondent in PNG, Liam Cochrane, reported the comments of one eye-witness who did not want to be identified but said he watched PNG guards beat detainees with sticks, iron bars and rubber hoses, as well as fists, boots and shields. “When they pulled them outside they started beating them with the sticks... some of them with sticks, and some of them with all these hose, rubber hose and pipes,” he told the ABC. The witness also described refugees trying to protect themselves by hiding in their rooms—“but the G4S went in, opened the room and pulled them out and [belted] all of them.”

An Iranian-Australian interpreter at the camp, Azita Bokan, has also reported what she saw on Monday night, courageously defying a confidentiality agreement imposed by the Australian immigration department as part of the conditions of her employment. In the makeshift triage area where the injured refugees were initially treated she saw horrific injuries. “There was blood everywhere,” she told Fairfax Media. “The number injured was horrific: people with massive head injuries, at least one with a slashed throat.”

Several media outlets have also cited witnesses reporting that at least one person had their throat slit, with the ABC citing an unnamed G4S security guard confirming this. Morrison, however, has insisted that he “has no reports” of such an incident.

Police officers from PNG’s paramilitary mobile squad were also involved in the violence. The mobile squad is notorious for its brutality, with numerous assaults, murders, and rapes catalogued by human rights organisations. The PNG government has previously deployed the mobile squad to suppress protests of local residents against lucrative logging and mining projects. Now the unit is on the Australian government payroll, with each officer receiving a $100 a day “living away allowance” from Canberra, an enormous sum in PNG.

Scott Morrison admits that the PNG police fired at least two bursts of live rounds, at around 11.20 p.m. and 1 a.m. He maintains, however, that the police never entered the detention centre and only clashed with refugees who left the camp. According to the government’s account, external fences were torn down and several protestors moved outside before the PNG police responded. Several refugee advocate organisations, however, say that the asylum seekers fled in panic after security personnel entered the facility and began attacking people.

Morrison also claims that there is no evidence yet to determine whether police shot the man who was hit in the buttocks. No one should “join the dots,” he said, between the shooting and the confirmed reports that police fired their weapons on at least two occasions. Fairfax Media has reported, however, that initial X-rays of the man shot “suggests a projectile from a large calibre weapon such as those used by police.”

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill appeared to contradict Morrison’s claim that police never entered the camp, saying: “Police were called into the centre only at the request of the management of the processing centre because their security guards were unable to control the situation.” He claimed that police only fired warning shots, absurdly claiming that they did so “to calm things down.”

Local parliamentarian for Manus Island, Ron Knight, also hinted that the police went further than just firing warning shots, telling the Australian that the protesting refugees “did OK until they ran into the mobile police unit, whose methods, though brutal, are effective.”

Prime Minister O’Neill is a trusted stooge of the Australian government. His government will collaborate with Canberra to suppress the truth of what happened on Manus Island. O’Neill issued a statement to the country’s parliament, declaring: “I am told that from the initial investigations, that there may have been some firearms in the camps as well.” This baseless accusation that the refugees were armed is aimed at providing a justification for the extreme violence inflicted by the police and security personnel.

The Australian government has responded by doubling the number of security personnel at the Manus Island camp. Morrison also dispatched Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, the commander of “Operation Sovereign Borders,” to the facility to assess the security situation.

The unrest on Manus Island has all the hallmarks of a calculated provocation orchestrated by the Australian government to provide the pretext for a violent crackdown, designed to serve as a warning to asylum seekers within the detention regime and as a deterrent to others considering exercising their right under international law to seek refuge in Australia. The violent suppression of refugee protests underscores the extraordinary criminality that is central to the reactionary “border protection” regime that is supported by the entire Australian political establishment.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Americans Paralyzed By Fear As Government Terrorizes Own Citizens

Desperate White House criminals now turn to domestic terror as the ongoing, devastating Snowden revelations put Obama on the road to impeachment

By Dr. Kevin Barret

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Yesterday it was a tag-line from a horror movie, but today it is the unofficial motto of the US government.
David Cronenberg's film The Fly told us to “be very afraid” of human beings turning into insects – a warning originally issued by Franz Kafka's novel The Metamorphosis. 
Kafka and Cronenberg were right. Behavior control experts have learned to “hive” the mass mind, effectively turning human beings into the moral, intellectual and spiritual equivalent of insects. And their biggest social control tool is fear.

When people are terrorized, they let their leaders get away with murder. So corrupt leaders have applied “Terror Management Theory” to controlling and exploiting populations.

The Wikipedia entry on Terror Management Theory explains: “When a follower's mortality is made prominent they will tend to show a strong preference for iconic leaders. An example of this occurred when George W. Bush's approval rating jumped almost 50 percent following the September 11 attacks in the United States.” 
George W. Bush an iconic leader?! The notion is laughable. Bush is a doltish drunk who failed at everything he tried. 
Unlike Obama, Bush is a bad liar – which would have disqualified him from political office were it not for his money and connections and ties to the companies that manufacture voting machines.
But when Americans were terrorized by hideous images of plane crashes, fireballs, and tall buildings exploding into pyroclastic dust clouds chasing screaming crowds through the streets of New York, they would have willingly submitted to a chattering purple-rump baboon as their “iconic leader.” Though Bush's ratings rose 50 percent, the baboon probably could have gotten 60 percent.

How does Terror Management Theory (TMT) work? 

According to TMT, human activity is driven by fear of death. People keep busy to avoid facing their own mortality. When reminded of death, they react in predictable ways – including giving up their rights and handing money and power to authoritarian leaders. So unscrupulous leaders, by highlighting certain kinds of threats, can terrorize people into submitting to corrupt authority.

In reality, lightning strikes and bathtub drownings are more of a threat than terrorism. But no politician can get away with saying “give me money and power and I will protect you from bathtubs and lightning.” 
Instead, they say: “Be afraid that a plane you are on will be hijacked and crash into a building. Be afraid that a building you are in will be demolished by a plane. Be afraid that anthrax may arrive in your mailbox. 
Be afraid that a bomb may explode next to you on the street, or that your children will be shot by a maniac while they are at school, or that you and your family will be mowed down by a crazed gunman in a theater or a house of worship.”

Spectacular Hollywood-style violence featuring terror attacks, crazed gunmen firing into crowds, and similar imagery is – according to Terror Management Theory – the perfect tool of social control. All the leaders need to do is stage a certain number of terror incidents and blame someone else. Then they can “crack down on the terrorists and criminals” and keep the population in a state of slavish obedience.

Have US leaders ever staged a fake terror incident?
The answer is yes. The CIA has used false-flag terror attacks to overthrow leaders it doesn't like, and empower leaders on its payroll, all over the world. Recently-declassified documents confirm that the CIA used false-flag shootings and bombings when it installed the Shah on the throne in Iran in 1953.

Another example: Operation Gladio. This was a US-led terror operation that slaughtered European civilians in shootings and bombings during the Cold War. 
Caught and prosecuted, one low-level participant explained: “You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple: to force...the public to turn to the state to ask for greater security.” 
Though an investigation by the European Parliament proved that the American Pentagon was behind the wave of “radical leftist” terror that swept Europe during the Cold War, none of the planners or commanders of Operation Gladio has ever been prosecuted. 
So Europeans have good reason to suspect that the Madrid train bombings of 2004, the 7/7 London bombings of 2005, and other “terror attacks” are also Gladio operations directed by corrupt elements of the Western military and intelligence apparatus.

Today, a growing number of Americans believe that Operation Gladio never ended. They suspect that the Colorado theater shooting, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Sandy Hook school shooting were Gladio-style operations.

These skeptics have good reason to be suspicious.

The Boston bombing was an obvious false-flag operation. Photographs taken at the scene show that Craft International paramilitary forces carried out the bombings, while the Tsarnaev brothers were innocent patsies.
Now the authorities are killing everyone who could reveal the truth. Corrupt police shot Tamerlan Tsarnaev to death while he was naked and handcuffed; then repeatedly ran over his body with a vehicle. Witness Ibragim Todashev was arrested by the FBI, interrogated for several hours, then murdered execution-style – probably because he knew the Tsarnaevs were innocent and refused to change his story. Honest FBI agents connected with the Boston bombing have been “falling out of helicopters.” 
Now the Terror Management Theory forces are seeking the death penalty for Dzokhar Tsarnaev in hope of pressuring him to falsely admit guilt by accepting a plea bargain.

The Sandy Hook school shooting also appears to have been an exercise in Terror Management Theory. A recent article entitled ”Top Ten Reasons: Sandy Hook Was an Elaborate Hoax” by professors James Fetzer, James Tracy, and co-authors builds a compelling case that this “school shooting” was a contrived spectacle. 

During an interview Friday on Truth Jihad Radio, Drs. Tracy and Fetzer discussed evidence that both the Boston bombing and the Sandy Hook shooting may have featured “crisis actors” posing as victims and survivors. If so, both events must have been “terror drills” that “went live” as part of a highly-classified Terror Management Theory social-engineering project.
James Fetzer cited a recent investigation by former Florida State Trooper and school security expert Wolfgang Halbig: “Wolf thinks this (the Sandy Hook false-flag event) was in the planning for was very elaborate.” Halbig's investigation has been hampered by the pervasive secrecy surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting. For example, when Halbig asked for the FBI's report on Sandy Hook, Fetzer says, the FBI personnel “laughed in his face and told him it wouldn't be released in his lifetime.”

Why would a domestic school shooting be a classified national security secret?

James Tracy speculated on possible motives for staging a school shooting at Sandy Hook: “There was the realization that it would have given a two to three week window in terms of gun control legislation. And keep in mind that this is also the rationale in the matter of school safety and safety in public places. If we can't expect our children to be safe in public schools, can we expect ourselves and our families to be safe in broader public spaces?”

A nation that cowers in fear at home in front of the television is a nation vulnerable to being manipulated and swindled by its corrupt leadership. 

Dr. Fetzer has been targeted by bomb threats and Dr. Tracy by media and academic harassment. The media will not mention the obvious questions about these events, except to heap ridicule on those asking them. This adds yet another layer of terror – fear of ridicule and social ostracism – to the mix.

It seems that scary television images are capable of terrorizing people so badly that they become incapable of asking questions. That was the lesson of 9/11.

Today, America is a nation paralyzed by fear; while its larcenous leaders – empowered to shred the Constitution and steal trillions of dollars through the shrewd use of Terror Management Theory – are laughing all the way to the bank.


Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America's best-known critics of the War on Terror. Dr. Barrett has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications. Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin, where he ran for Congress in 2008. He is the co-founder of the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Alliance, and author of the books Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie (2007) and Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters (2009). His website is More articles by Dr. Barrett

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