Archive for August, 2012

‘Humane’ Drones Are the Most Brutal Weapons of All

August 11, 2012

An Essay by Dirk Kurbjuweit, Speigel Online International. Aug. 9, 2012

Photo Gallery: The Future of War

Photos
USAF

The German military is considering the purchase of combat drones. But we should not allow ourselves to be seduced by the idea that an unmanned aircraft is a humane weapon. On the contrary, they expose the true nature of war in all its brutality.

 A suicide bomber needs to be 100 percent willing to sacrifice his life. With a drone pilot, on the other hand, the risk of pilot death drops to zero percent. The West’s war on Islamist terror is currently being waged between these two conflicting priorities. Nothing is more indicative of the asymmetry of the war, and nothing is as symbolic of the cultures that are waging it. It’s a war between those who are willing to sacrifice everything and those who are unwilling to give up anything — a war of sacrifice versus convenience, bodies versus technology and risk versus safety.

Like no other weapon, the drone stems from the needs and strengths of the West. Aside from convenience, technology and safety, it also represents a moral claim. In the world of weapons, the drone is a good weapon, at least at first glance. It claims no victims on one side and relatively few on the other, because it fires precision missiles.

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Kashmir Conflict At A Glance

August 11, 2012

kashmirawarness.org

The historical tragedy of Kashmir conflict goes way back in history. The political and cultural invasion started in 1585 with Mughal king, Akbar entrapping and imprisoning Yousuf Shah Chak, the king of Kashmir. Chak’s forces had earlier defeated the invading forces of King Akbar of India. Having failed in defeating the Kashmiri warriors outright he devised a devious scheme of controlling Kashmir by inviting the Kashmir ruler as a guest and then putting him in prison.

Then came the Afghan occupation at the end of Mughal rule in 1752. The Mughal and Afghan rule though an occupation, was not necessarily colonial in its modus operandi. Kashmir did enjoy a period of independence before the Sikh rule. Afghan rule was replaced by the Sikh occupation which put an end to that period of self rule.

Sikh rule was engineered through joint conspiracies of Ranjit Singh, a Sikh; Birbal, a  Pundit  from the Valley; and Ghulab Singh, a Dogra Hindu from Jammu.. The common cause among these parties was to end the  Muslim rule in Jammu and Kashmir. After two failed attempts Sikhs ( under Ranjit Singh ) occupied Jammu and Kashmir in 1819.The Sikh rule was a tyranny that lasted 28 years and came to an end after its treacherous relationship with the British rulers.

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US Drone Strikes Very Much a Human Rights Issue

August 10, 2012

By Martin Khor, uruknet.info, August 8, 2012

8drone_victim_pakistan_400.jpg
The use of drones by one state to kill people in other countries is fast emerging as an international human rights issue of serious public concern. This was evident in the recent session (June 18-July 6, 2012) of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, both in the official meetings and in NGO seminars.

The use of drones, or pilotless aircraft operated by remote control, by the government in one country to strike at persons and other targets in other countries, has been increasingly used by the United States, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Instead of following clear legal standards, the practice of drone attacks has become a vaguely defined and unaccountable “license to kill”, according to a 2010 report of a UN human rights special rapporteur.

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Joseph Lewis: The Philosophy of Atheism

August 9, 2012
by Joseph Lewis, Positive Atheism

(Address Delivered February 20, 1960,
Over Radio Station WIME, Miami, Florida)

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

This is Joseph Lewis speaking.

Although as a child I was instructed in the religion of my parents, I never came under the spell of religious training long enough to so warp my mentality as not to be able to see any other viewpoint.

I was never trained to espouse the cause of Atheism. I came to accept Atheism as the result of independent thought and self-study.

I came to my conclusions after a full analysis and an impartial consideration of the various religious creeds and the different systems of philosophy. In my study of the different fields of thought, I found no philosophy that contained so many truths, and inspired one with so much courage, as Atheism. Atheism equips us to face life, with its multitude of trials and tribulations, better than any other code of living that I have yet been able to find. It is grounded in the very roots of life itself. Its foundation is based on Nature, without superfluities and false garments. No sham or shambles are attached to it.

Atheism rises above creeds, and puts Humanity upon one plane. There can be no “chosen people” in the Atheist philosophy. There are no bended knees in Atheism; no supplications, no prayers; no sacrificial redemptions; no “divine” revelations; no washing in the blood of the lamb; no crusades, no massacres, no holy wars; no heaven, no hell, no purgatory; no silly rewards and no vindictive punishments; no christs and no saviors; no devils, no ghosts, and no gods.

Atheism breaks down the barriers of nationalities and, like, “one touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Systems of religion make people clannish and bigoted.

Atheism is a vigorous and a courageous philosophy. It is not afraid to face the problems of life, and it is not afraid to confess that there are problems yet to be solved. It does not claim that it has solved all the questions of the universe, but it does claim that it has discovered the approach, and learned the method, of solving them.

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Paul Craig Roberts: The Dispossessed Majority

August 9, 2012

Paul Craig Roberts, opednews.com, August 8, 2012

 

The bumper sticker on the beat-up pickup truck read: “Friends don’t let friends vote Democrat.”

The driver was obviously not affluent. Yet, despite all the news about mega-trillion dollar bankster bailouts, mega-million dollar bonuses for financial crooks, and unimaginable compensation packages for corporate CEOs who have moved middle class jobs out of America, something made the down-and-out pickup truck driver associate with the political party of the super-rich.

As I wondered at this strange alliance of the dirt poor with the mega-rich, I remembered that in 2004 Thomas Frank wondered about how the Republicans had managed to convince the poor to vote against their best interests. Frank’s answer, or part of his answer, is that the Republicans use “social issues,” such as gay marriage and Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple to work up indignation over the threat to moral values posed by liberal Democrats.

The working poor have been convinced by Republican propaganda that voting Democrat means giving the working poor’s tax dollars to the non-working poor, to providing medical care and schooling for illegal aliens, and being soft on terrorism.

To the pick-up truck driver, standing up for America means standing up for bankster bailouts and the military/security complex’s multi-trillion dollar wars.

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Francis A. Boyle: The Criminality Of Nuclear Deterrance

August 8, 2012
By Francis A. Boyle, Countercurrents.org, August 5, 2012

The human race stands on the verge of nuclear self-extinction as a species, and with it will die most, if not all, forms of intelligent life on the planet earth. Any attempt to dispel the ideology of nuclearism and its attendant myth propounding the legality of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence must directly come to grips with the fact that the nuclear age was conceived in the original sins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined by the Nuremberg Charter of August 8, 1945, and violated several basic provisions of the Regulations annexed to Hague Convention No. 4 Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907), the rules of customary international law set forth in the Draft Hague Rules of Air Warfare (1923), and the United States War Department Field Manual 27-10, Rules of Land Warfare (1940). According to this Field Manual and the Nuremberg Principles, all civilian government officials and military officers who ordered or knowingly participated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have been lawfully punished as war criminals. The start of any progress toward resolving humankind’s nuclear predicament must come from the realization that nuclear weapons have never been legitimate instruments of state policy, but rather have always constituted illegitimate instrumentalities of internationally lawless and criminal behavior.

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Chris Hedges: The Science of Genocide

August 7, 2012

Chris Hedges, truthdig.com, August 6, 2012

Illustration by Mr. Fish

On this day in 1945 the United States demonstrated that it was as morally bankrupt as the Nazi machine it had recently vanquished and the Soviet regime with which it was allied. Over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki, it exploded an atomic device that was the most efficient weapon of genocide in human history. The blast killed tens of thousands of men, women and children. It was an act of mass annihilation that was strategically and militarily indefensible. The Japanese had been on the verge of surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no military significance. It was a war crime for which no one was ever tried. The explosions, which marked the culmination of three centuries of physics, signaled the ascendancy of the technician and scientist as our most potent agents of death.

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Gora: THE NEED OF ATHEISM

August 4, 2012

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Published by: ATHEIST CENTRE Vijayawada — 520 006 India.
Printed at: INSAAN PRINTERS Benz Centre, Vijayawada — 520 006.


Contents


Preface

Gora propagated atheism as a positive way of life. He toured extensively in India and went round the world in 1970 and again in 1974.

He undertook many practical programmes to fight against social, economic and political inequalities and injustices. He conducted satyagraha campaigns before and after Independence and went to gaol many a time. As a social revolutionary, he took up programmes for the eradication of caste and untouchability and fought against superstitions and blind beliefs. Gora’s life was a saga of struggle for the propagation of atheism.

Gora was a prolific writer. He wrote extensively in Telugu and English on atheism for more than four decades. In this book we are publishing a collection of his articles written in The Atheist, between 1969-75. They deal with diverse aspects.

Atheist Centre intends to publish the select writings of Gora in English and Telugu. Already more than twenty books have been published. With the cooperation and support of innumerable friends, we wish to publish all other writings soon.

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Alistair Lamb: THE INDIAN CLAIM TO JAMMU AND KASHMIR – A REAPPRAISAL

August 2, 2012

Excerpts from ‘The Myth of Indian Claim to JAMMU AND KASHMIR ––A REAPPRAISAL’

by Alistair Lamb


The formal overt Indian intervention in the internal affairs of the State of Jammu and Kashmir began on about 9.00 a.m. on 27 October 1947, when Indian troops started landing at Srinagar airfield. India has officially dated the commencement of its claim that the State was part of Indian sovereign territory to a few hours earlier, at some point in the afternoon or evening of 26 October. From their arrival on 27 October 1947 to the present day, Indian troops have continued to occupy a large proportion of the State of Jammu and Kashmir despite the increasingly manifest opposition of a majority of the population to their presence. To critics of India’s position and actions in the State of Jammu and Kashmir the Government of New Delhi has consistently declared that the State of Jammu and Kashmir lies entirely within the sphere of internal Indian policy. Do the facts support the Indian contention in this respect?

The State of Jammu and Kashmir was a Princely State within the British Indian Empire. By the rules of the British transfer of power in Indian subcontinent in 1947 the Ruler of the State, Maharajah Sir Hari Singh, with the departure of the British and the lapsing of Paramountcy (as the relationship between State and British Crown was termed), could opt to join either India or Pakistan or, by doing nothing, become from 15 August 1947 the Ruler of an independent polity. The choice was the Ruler’s and his alone: there was no provision for popular consultation in the Indian Princely States during the final days of the British Raj. On 15th August 1947, by default, the State of Jammu and Kashmir became independent.

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On the 10th Anniversary of Yoo and Bybee’s “Torture Memos,” Col. Morris Davis Reminds Americans About Justice and the Law

August 2, 2012

Andy Worthington, uruknet.info, August 1, 2012


Exactly ten years ago, two memos written by John Yoo, a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, were signed by his immediate boss, Jay S. Bybee. In these two memos, Yoo, also a law professor at UC Berkeley, attempted to redefine torture so that it could be used on Abu Zubaydah, an alleged “high-value detainee” seized in the “war on terror,” even though the US is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the use of torture under any circumstances.

These two memos, generally known as the Bybee memos, but forever known to anyone with a conscience as the “torture memos,” marked the start of an official torture program that will forever be a black mark on America’s reputation — as well as providing cover for torturers worldwide, and turning America into such a dubious and lawless nation that President Obama and his administration have shied away form holding any of their predecessors accountable for their actions, and have swallowed the Bush administration’s rhetoric about a “war on terror” to such an extent that, although torture has been officially repudiated, the administration has presided over a massive increase in the use of unmanned drones to assassinate those regarded as a threat, without any judicial process, and in countries with which the US is not at war, including US citizens.

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