Statement and poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Climate Summit 2014 - Opening Ceremony

*** Incredibly moving and beautiful***

Statement by Ms. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Civil Society Representative from the Marshall Islands at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit 2014.

Inside the Mind of Rapper and Activist Marcel Cartier

by: Arash Sharifi

Q. First off thank you for the chance to inter­view. If pos­sible could you give us your thoughts on our magazine “I Am Hip Hop”?

I think that any pub­lic­a­tion that attempts to chal­lenge the main­stream nar­rat­ive about not only hip-hop, but the world at large should be sup­por­ted. In that sense, I see “I Am Hip-Hop” as an import­ant new con­tri­bu­tion to the media scene in the UK.

Q. How and why did you decide to get involved within the hip hop movement?

I received my ini­tial polit­ical edu­ca­tion through a num­ber of my favour­ite hip-hop artists. Dur­ing my form­at­ive teen­age years, I was listen­ing to tons of rap music that had a ser­i­ously revolu­tion­ary edge, from dead prez to KRS-One. This chal­lenged my world­view that I had been embed­ded with thus far. I decided to start writ­ing my own lyr­ics as a form of self-expression. Soon enough, I real­ized that it was prob­ably the best form of self-therapy and reflec­tion I could have ever hoped for.

Q. Through­out your music you touch on a num­ber of polit­ical top­ics and the affects they have on the people within a num­ber of coun­tries from Palestine, Syria to North Amer­ica. Why do you feel it is import­ant to you to cover these topics?

My true inten­tion is not to merely be a rap­per, if I am to be hon­est. What I genu­inely want is to con­trib­ute in the best way pos­sible to the lib­er­a­tion of human­ity. I see hip-hop as a poten­tial con­tri­bu­tion to this pro­cess, because to be hon­est our youth are listen­ing to the sounds of rap music more so than they are to any polit­ical lead­ers. Our young people are gen­er­ally very intel­li­gent, but also very ali­en­ated from polit­ical life for very good reas­ons. It is my hope that hip-hop will do for many what it did for me— to bring them closer to want­ing to trans­form the world. There is also an import­ant ele­ment that I need to dis­cuss, which is that as good as most “con­scious” rap­pers are, there is still ser­i­ous mis­un­der­stand­ing in hip-hop in regards to the most import­ant polit­ical issues of the day. For instance, the U.S. and NATO are on the verge of over­throw­ing the last remain­ing pan-Arab, nation­al­ist, and socialist-oriented state in the Middle East: Syria. Hon­estly, we live in an age where revolu­tion­ary polit­ical lead­er­ship is ser­i­ously miss­ing. If we had it—like Cuba and Venezuela do, for instance–we would be able to have the clar­ity to under­stand that revolu­tion and counter-revolution are dia­met­ric oppos­ites and that we should stand with the Syr­ian state against imper­i­al­ism. How­ever, we are miss­ing this lead­er­ship and increas­ingly get­ting it from rap­pers who just don’t know any bet­ter. Thus, we’re wind­ing up con­fused and if any­thing, con­trib­ut­ing to some­thing that is more than likely actu­ally going against our true inten­tions, which is sup­port­ing counter-revolution and imperialism.

Q. On your latest album His­tory Will Absolve Us you cover the very ser­i­ous topic of female abuse. Many people feel that our gov­ern­ments and police do not really take the issue of viol­ence towards women ser­i­ously. What do you feel we can do as the people to com­bat this issue?

Women are — or should be — equal with men in every single respect. This is the essence of what I am try­ing to get across. Lots of rap­pers have songs where they “give props” to the women in their life or say that women should be “respec­ted”. I think we need to go way bey­ond that. My under­stand­ing is that it is because of the cap­it­al­ist sys­tem that women have been releg­ated to sec­ond­ary and sub­ser­vi­ent pos­i­tions in soci­ety, where they are merely looked at as either sexual objects or as moth­ers. Women are not nat­ur­ally inferior to men. They are inferior only in the con­text of this oppress­ive sys­tem that needs to be thrown off our backs. Domestic viol­ence, which affects one in four women in both the UK and the United States, is an expres­sion of the ali­en­a­tion that both men and women exper­i­ence because of this back­ward social sys­tem. Often, men feel so furi­ous with their lack of “pro­gress” in soci­ety because of the immense pres­sures to “suc­ceed” (where they really can’t because upward mobil­ity is a joke) that they will take out their frus­tra­tions on their part­ners, who they are told are essen­tially their prop­erty. Many women feel com­pelled to sur­render to their men. There’s much more to be said here, and it’s deeply com­plex in many ways, but on the sur­face it is as simple as say­ing that cap­it­al­ism enslaves women and their lib­er­a­tion will only begin with the estab­lish­ment of socialism.

Q. As an artist who cov­ers a wide range of polit­ical top­ics who would you say were some of your main influ­ences with in your music?

Def­in­itely dead prez, who I have had the pleas­ure and oppor­tun­ity to work with over the last sev­eral years of my career. Also, amaz­ing artists such as Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Nas, KRS-One, my close friends Rebel Diaz and Lowkey. My favor­ite MC of all-time is Tupac Shakur, and I enjoy every type of music bey­ond the bound­ar­ies of hip-hop as long as it’s pleas­ur­able to the soul.

Q. You were very heav­ily involved in the occupy move­ment in New York. Could you talk a bit about why you felt it was import­ant to get involved and what you feel it achieved?

I lived for many years in the poorest dis­trict of the United States, which was Hunts Point in the South Bronx. There, I saw folks like Rebel Diaz doing incred­ible work. In addi­tion, I was involved with revolu­tion­ary polit­ical organ­iz­a­tions, because I have always con­sidered organ­iz­a­tion to be the essence of the fight back. Doing so alone will not yield any res­ults. Change comes through the organ­ized people. At the time of OWS, I was involved with the Party for Social­ism and Lib­er­a­tion (PSL). As a Marx­ist group, the PSL under­stood the sig­ni­fic­ance of the Occupy move­ment as the largest protest move­ment in the coun­try in nearly 40 years. Occupy showed that the people are not dormant, nor ignor­ant. It proved that the masses have an under­stand­ing that there is some­thing fun­da­ment­ally wrong in society—that is makes no sense at all for the rich to be get­ting excess­ively richer while the major­ity struggle to make ends meet. The move­ment had great con­tra­dic­tions, but was at the end of the day above all an expres­sion that the people when fed up will begin to fight back—one day we will not merely fight, but win.

Q. As a people what do you think the main battles that we at the moment need to over­come so we can live in a more uni­fied global society?

We need polit­ical organ­iz­a­tion. This can not be under­stated. The toil­ing peoples of the planet, the wretched of the earth, the impov­er­ished, the oppressed, require polit­ical edu­ca­tion and organ­iz­a­tion. There is no hope without this, period. There has never been an example of revolu­tion­ary change any­where in the world that was not pre­ceded by the build­ing of an organ­iz­a­tion or organ­iz­a­tions that could carry out this trans­form­a­tion. As far as the idea of a uni­fied soci­ety, it will only come when we live in a fra­tern­ity of nations. This will only hap­pen once imper­i­al­ism is done away with, and when cap­it­al­ism is abol­ished from the pages of his­tory. The dust­bin is wait­ing to receive the dec­ad­ent sys­tem that trashes the world and reduced more than two thirds to slaves. The future belongs to human­ity, to par­ti­cip­at­ory demo­cracy, to equality.

Q. Lastly what can we expect from Mar­cel Cartier in the future?

I will do whatever I can to best con­trib­ute to the new world that we need to build. Hip-Hop is one com­pon­ent of this. It’s import­ant, but if it ceases being so tomor­row then I will be oblig­ated to pick up whatever other tools are neces­sary to con­tinue humanity’s march toward liberation.


Sickening ISIS slaughter - 250 soldiers captured at Syrian airbase are stripped then led to the desert for mass execution


Marched to their deaths: Sickening ISIS slaughter continues as 250 soldiers captured at Syrian airbase are stripped then led to the desert for mass execution

Startling footage of vast pile of bodies circulated today on social media
Men in only their underwear form a long line stretching across the desert
Islamic State fighter said men were from Tabqa air base, captured this week
Human Rights Watch described shocking video as 'another ISIS war crime'

Sickening footage appears to show Islamic State militants parading around 250 captured soldiers through the desert in their underwear before they are killed and their bodies piled on the bare earth.

An Islamic State fighter claimed the men were from the Syrian government's Tabqa air base which extremists seized on Sunday, potentially handing them warplanes, tanks, artillery and ammunition.

The video, which has not been independently verified, is too graphic to be published in full.

It begins by showing dozens of men being marched through the desert wearing only their underwear. It then fades to black, resuming with a pile of bloodied bodies stacked on top of one another.


'Another ISIS war crime': Footage and photographs have emerged of Islamic State fighters marching more than 200 soldiers across the desert to their deaths in only their underwear after capturing Syria's Tabqa air base



Horror: The video, too graphic to be published in full, fades to black before revealing a chain of men's bodies


Slaughter: A separate image showed masked gunmen preparing to shoot seven men from the same air base. The chilling photograph was released by the Raqqa Media Center yesterday and tallies with other reporting

As the horrific footage progresses it pans slowly across a vast line of men who appear to be dead, and whose bodies have been laid out one by one.

The line forms a slow crescent across the desert, seemingly stretching to the horizon as militants stand beside it. Eventually, after more than a minute, the cameraman reaches the end of the line.

The precise death toll is uncertain and other sources put it at lower than 250, but at least 150 bodies are visible in the shaky video.

Its description on Youtube said it showed the execution of Army officers and Alawi people, a significant minority of Shia Muslims in Syria.

A caption to another version of the video said: 'The 250 shabeeha taken captive by the Islamic State from Tabqa in Raqqa have been executed.' Shabeeha is what soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are called.

An Islamic State fighter in Raqqa told Reuters: 'Yes we have executed them all'.

ISIS executes 250 Syrian soldiers (GRAPHIC CONTENT)



Marched: Earlier stills from the video showed men being paraded in their underwear and ordered to chant

Before they were killed, the men's captors chanted 'Islamic State' - to which they replied: 'It will remain'.

Islamic State won a week-long battle on Sunday to capture the Tabqa base, which is 25 miles from their Syrian stronghold in Raqqa.

Syria's authorities insisted at the time that their soldiers had 'successfully regrouped' - suggesting they were later hunted down by the militants and executed.


The captured men were escorted closely by Islamic State militants dressed in black and waving flags

Despite heavy losses on the Islamic State side, the base's capture prompted fresh fears that the fighters have got hold of advanced military technology which will allow them to cement their self-declared regime.

Video footage has already suggested Islamic State fighters have drones which were used to shoot reconnaissance footage of an army base.

Today's reported mass killing also underscores how the group uses images of violence as much as violence itself to terrorise its opponents, as it sweeps further into Syria and Iraq.

Nadim Houry, deputy director of Human Rights Watch for the Middle East, described the video as 'another ISIS war crime'.

And yesterday a UN commission accused the extremist group of committing crimes against humanity in Syria, similar to those it has already committed in Iraq.

Yet the extremists are also in touch with modern ideas of PR, releasing glossy magazines in English which feature mutilated bodies to promote their cause in the West.

The Home Secretary has sounded fresh warnings over the radicalisation of young Brits, with authorities fearing around 500 have joined an array of jihadi groups in Iraq and Syria.

Extremists have declared a self-styled caliphate, a Sunni regime ordering its subjects to operate under an extreme interpretation of Sharia law.

It has opened up three fronts in the fighting in Syria, which is already home to a bloody and long-running civil war between President Assad's forces and anti-government rebels.


Captured: A resident of Tabqa waves the Islamic State flag on Sunday after militants seized the nearby air base


Death march: Another video appearing to show the same march through the desert was put on social media



There were chants of 'Islamic State', to which the men replied 'It will remain', their hands behind their backs


Tormented: At one point the men appeared to be taunted by their captors as some turned towards the camera

Today CNN claimed the militants in Iraq have also been burning oil wells near the town of Zummar, which is crucial because it is near a road which links Mosul to the Syrian border.

The network suggested fighters are attempting to 'cover their tracks' as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters draw closer.

The Islamic State extremists now control roughly a third of Syria, mostly areas in the north and east of the country, as the U.S. threatens air strikes similar to those already used in Iraq.


Sprawling: An image of what is believed to be the air base, just south of the city of Tabqa, shows its long fence


Another video posted online today appeared to show at least one Syrian soldier being interrogated before a group of other captured men in their underwear.

The soldier identifies himself as a Shia Muslim officer from the same sect as many high-ranking military officers and President Assad. Islamic State members are Sunni Muslims.

'How many have you killed? How many have you raped?' the interrogator shouts. The soldier replies: 'None. I've been stationed here in the airport.'

The interrogator asks why the soldier had been fighting on behalf of Assad and did not defect, adding: 'We're going to send you right back to hell by slaughter'.


VIDEO: ISIS executes hundreds of captured Syrian soldiers in yet another atrocity
(The link for the full UNCUT video: (WARNING: GRAPHIC) )

Israeli intelligence veterans' HISTORIC letter to Netanyahu and military chiefs - in full

Read the letter from 34 reserve soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 explaining why they refuse to serve in Palestinian territories.

Friday 12 September 2014 
R to L: Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, defence minister Moshe Ya'alon and chief of staff Benny Gantz look at maps of Gaza during the recent conflict. Photograph: Ariel Hermoni/Israel Defence Forces/EPA

Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu

Chief of General Staff, Benny Gantz

Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi

Commander of Unit 8200

We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.

It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people. However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel's military occupation over the territories. The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection. There's no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence. Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state's efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act. We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state's actions against Palestinians. We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end. We believe that Israel's future depends on it.

Senior Academic Officer Or

First Sergeant Ori

Sergeant Ella

Sergeant ***

Sergeant First Class Amitai

Captain Assaf

Lieutenant Assaf

First Sergeant Ariel

First Sergeant Guy

Sergeant First Class Galia

Lieutenant Gilad

First Sergeant Doron

Captain D

Professional Academic Officer H

First Sergeant T

First Sergeant Tal

Sergeant First Class Yair

First Sergeant Yoav

First Sergeant Yuval

Lieutenant Yonatan

Sergeant First Class Lior

Sergeant Liron

Sergeant Maya

Sergeant Michal

First Sergeant Menahem

First Sergeant Nadav

Sergeant Noa

First Sergeant Sa'ar

First Sergeant Eden

Sergeant Idan

Professional Academic Officer Amir

First Sergeant Amit

Sergeant K

Sergeant Keren

Sergeant First Class Regev

First Sergeant Roi

Sergeant R

First Sergeant Rotem

First Sergeant Shira

Major Shmulik

First Sergeant Schraga

Sergeant Sheri

Senior Academic Officer Tomer



part one, section one of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar 

“I wish you a refreshing bath of conscience, I wish that you may be able to try out looking at others eye to eye, I wish that the spring of truth makes life more humane for you.” – Excerpt from the profound message to Avaaz by poet Gabriel Impaglione of Argentina


Image: U.S. President Barack Obama with Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello.

he Ivy League bourgeoisie who sit at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex will one day be known simply as charismatic architects of death. Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.

This investigative report examines the key founders of Avaaz, as well as other key sister organizations affiliated with Avaaz who, hand in hand with the Rockefellers, George Soros, Bill Gates and other powerful elites, are meticulously shaping global society by utilizing and building upon strategic psychological marketing, soft power, technology and social media – shaping public consensus, thus acceptance, for the illusory “green economy” and a novel sonata of 21st century colonialism. As we are now living in a world that is beyond dangerous, society must be aware of, be able to critically analyze, and ultimately reject the new onslaught of carefully orchestrated depoliticization, domestication of populace, propaganda and misinformation that is being perpetrated and perpetuated by the corporate elite and the current power structures that support their agenda. The non-profit industrial complex must be understood as a mainspring and the instrument of power, the very support and foundation of imperial domination.
Within part I of this investigative report:

The Simulacrum
Modus Operandi: The 21st Century NGO
2004: The Soft Power Imperative | 2011: Mission Accomplished
Introduction: The Non-profit Industrial Complex: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War
Historical Amnesia
Corporate “Green” Pedophilia
The Commerce of Trust
The Cat is Out of the Bag
New York City Occupy Wall Street Embraces Otpor and Bombing for Peace
The WikiLeaks Connection
Unidentified “Freedom of Speech”
15M – Europe’s Occupy Movement
The Commerce of Exploitation:
Indoctrinated Subservience & Whitism
Avaaz’s Founder and Announce the U.S. “Spring”

Part II:

Bread and Circuses
Avaaz: The Emperor of the NGO Network
Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention?
The Avaaz Gate-Keepers
Avaaz Co-Founder and Executive Director: Ricken Patel
Avaaz Co-founder: Tom Perriello
Indoctrination of the Youth is Essential
The Humanitarian Industrial Complex: The Ivory Towers Within the Dark Triad
The Empire
Avaaz Co-founder: Tom Pravda
Avaaz Co-founder: David Madden
Avaaz Co-founder: Eli Pariser
Avaaz Co-founder: Jeremy Heimans

Part III:

Behavioural Change
May 2010: Avaaz’s Co-Founders Seek a Purpose-Driven Consumer Life | Behavioral Economics
The Behavioral Economics of Hatred
Res Publica
Avaaz Founding Board Member: Ben Brandzel
Purpose: James Slezak
The 21st Century Social Movements
The Non-Profit Industrial Complex Finally Finds “Success”
Avaaz Co-founder: Andrea Woodhouse
Avaaz Co-founder: Paul Hilder
The Avaaz “Core Campaign Team Members”


“As regards the ‘foundations’ created for unlimited general purposes and endowed with enormous resources, their unlimited possibilities are so grave a menace, not only as regards to their own activities and influence but also the numbing effect which they have on private citizens and public bodies, that if they could be clearly differentiated from other forms of voluntary altruistic effort, it would be desirable to recommend their abolition.” – Senator Frank Walsh, 1915

In his Sophist, Plato speaks of two kinds of image-making. The first is a faithful reproduction, a precise copy of the original. The second is distorted intentionally in order to make the copy appear correct to viewers. Plato gives the example of Greek statuary, which was crafted larger on top than on bottom so that viewers from the ground would see it correctly, whereas if they could view it in scale, they would realize it was malformed.

This latter representation serves as a visual art metaphor for the non-profit industrial complex. A semblance of entities, united in an ideology encompassing truth, justice and ethics – which is false. This is the simulacrum, distorted in such a way that it appears accurate unless viewed from the proper angle. This report aims to allow you, the reader, to view the matrix from such an angle. By denying the reliable input of our senses while accepting the non-profit industrial complex’s manipulative constructs of language and “reason,” global society has arrived at a grossly distorted copy of ethics and intrinsic worth – a warped simulacrum of thespian complexity, a vast work of superficial depth.


 “What a cluster-fuck of disinformation this world has become. The sinister forces of greed and avarice are, through consolidation of wealth and power, more powerful than ever. Humankind has a huge uphill battle to wage.” — Comment at How Avaaz is Sponsoring Fake War Propaganda from Syria

The 21st century NGO is becoming, more and more, a key tool serving the imperialist quest of absolute global dominance and exploitation. Global society has been, and continues to be, manipulated to believe that NGOs are representative of “civil society” (a concept promoted by corporations in the first place). This misplaced trust has allowed the “humanitarian industrial complex” to ascend to the highest position: the missionaries of deity – the deity of the empire.

Modus operandi (plural modi operandi) is a Latin phrase, approximately translated and backronymed as “mode of operation.” The term is used to describe someone’s habits or manner of working, their method of operating or functioning. In English, it is frequently shortened to M.O.

The expression is often used in police work when discussing a crime and addressing the methods employed by the perpetrators. It is also used in criminal profiling, where it can help in finding clues to the offender’s psychology. It largely consists of examining the actions used by the individual(s) to execute the crime, prevent its detection and/or facilitate escape. [Source: Wikipedia]


“Existing soft power initiatives and agencies, particularly those engaged in development and strategic communications, must be reinvigorated through increased funding, human resources and prioritization. Concurrently, the U.S. government must establish goals, objectives and metrics for soft power initiatives. Furthermore, the U.S. government can better maximize the effectiveness of soft power instruments and efforts through increased partnerships with NGOs. By providing humanitarian and development assistance in areas typically inaccessible to government agencies, NGOs are often able to access potential extremist areas before the government can establish or strengthen diplomatic, developmental or military presence, including intelligence.” — Joseph S. Nye, former US assistant secretary of defense, June 2004

The non-profit industrial complex represents a rich portfolio of soft power tools readily available to the ruling elite. Today we witness the near complete metamorphosis of the complex having successfully morphed into the absolute idyllic clearinghouse for the collective and coordinated imperialist agenda shared by a broad spectrum of government institutions, dominated by the financial industrial complex, corporate power and hegemonic rule – all under the guise of a global conscience reflective of “civil society” via self-appointed NGOs.

Joseph S. Nye (quoted above) is a former US assistant secretary of defense, former chairman of the US National Intelligence Council and professor at Harvard University. A world renowned scholar of international relations, Nye co-founded the liberal institutionalist approach to international relations, theorizing that states and other international powers possess more or less “soft power” (a term first coined in the 1980s). In a 2004 article titled The Rising Power of NGO’s, Nye peddled his soft-power theory as the quintessential element that must be employed in order to protect the American public from “terrorists.” Of course, Nye neglected to include the fact that the true “terrorists” are those who hold power within our very own EuroAmerican governments/establishments, waging violence upon sovereign, resource-rich states. It’s an easy sell as it enables one to conveniently deny their assent to (our own) state-sponsored terrorism and continued collective and voluntary servitude as well-behaved, rapturous consumers under the influence of American (non) culture.

If a state can present its power as legitimate in the eyes of others, it will encounter far less resistance to its foreign policies and agendas. Further, if the Western states’ (non) culture and (illusory) ideology are desirable, other states will more willingly acquiesce. This is an area where the NGOs excel. They do so by never referring to their own “leaders” as dictators or fascists, yet more than willing to apply these derogatory terms to leaders targeted for regime change. Simultaneously, while reporting on human rights abuses or environmental violations in states exploited by industrialized capitalism, the NGOs neglect to comment on their own states’ escalating assault on “democracy.” Most important, the non-profit industrial complex certainly does not address the fact that industrialized and globalized capitalism (imposed by hegemonic rule) is the crux of most all suffering and ongoing crisis in the very states they criticize and deem culpable. A continuous subtle undertone of support/belief in their own states’ democracy is achieved simply by never opening a dialogue on the legitimacy of power structures within their own (imperialist) states.

In essence, soft power is “the universalism of a country’s culture and its ability to establish a set of favourable rules and institutions that govern areas of international activity [that] are critical sources of power” or, more simply, the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce and rather than using force or money as a means of persuasion. This is where states such as Bolivia (and Libya until its recent annihilation) are very real threats to the American superpower. States such as Bolivia and Libya (past-tense) serve the people to advance themselves to a more enlightened, more democratic existence in a very real sense, while democracy and freedoms in the Americas mean little more than “freedom to shop” and buy as much sweatshop junk as one can(not) afford. If corporate-owned/controlled media and corporate-funded/controlled educational institutes actually educated the American public on intellectual enlightenment and progressive advances in other countries – Americans would truly wonder what the fuck was going on. Rather, we are kept in the dark; doped up by big pharma and stupefied by Big Brother, all while such states and leaders are continually vilified and demonized in the media (both corporate and foundation-funded “progressive”), all while NGOs remain silent on their own accelerating fascist governments. American “exceptionalism” is, undoubtedly, the biggest lie ever told sold.


Packaging – Uncle Sam is the best in packaging and selling illusions.
 “I am convinced that some NGOs, especially those funded by the U.S.AID, are the fifth column of espionage in Bolivia, not only in Bolivia, but also in all of Latin America.” — Evo Morales, February 2012
In 2001, it was George W. Bush who propelled an illegal invasion of Iraq by way of relentless pounding of repetitive messaging of discovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq coupled with incessant images of the Twin Towers being destroyed. This psyop (or psychological operation, a new form or warfare) reverberated throughout a mainstream media that obediently fed the lies to the masses. The role of the media was absolutely essential. Yet, in spite of Bush calling for the invasion of Iraq, citizens of the globe, in united cohesion, held the largest mass protests and peace vigils the world had ever witnessed.

Today, however, the push to invade under the guise of humanitarianism is no longer a message from predominantly imperialist governments alone. Rather, there is a new game in town. Flash forward one decade to 2011 and the push for war no longer comes from the lone vacuity of despised war criminals such as George Bush or his charismatic alter-ego, Barack Obama. Rather, the message is now being spoon-fed to global society via the “trusted” NGOs, with Avaaz, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch at the forefront, as documented prior to and during the attack on and subsequent occupation of Libya, and more recently, the destabilization of Syria. [One of many reports of such malfeasance include "HUMAN RIGHTS" WARRIORS FOR EMPIRE | Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch", by Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report.]
“While much was made of the United Nations decision to establish a Human Rights Council in 2006, those who’ve witnessed the evolution of this institution are well aware that the UN was designed by (and functions to serve) the interests of modern states and their supplicants, not the Indigenous nations they rule. For those attached to charitable organizations like Human Rights Watch and other pashas of the piety industry, this is a bitter pill to swallow.” — Jay Taber, Obstacles to Peace, 13 July 2012

“The UN Human Rights Council stands as one of the significant obstacles to dynamic political development in the Fourth World. Many individuals and the peoples they represent in the Fourth World have come to believe that the UN Human Rights Council will relieve their pain from the violence of colonialism. It cannot, and it will not.” — Dr. Rudolph Ryser, Chair of the Center for World Indigenous Studies
A decade later, thanks to the non-profit industrial complex awash in an influx of money that flows like the river Nile, partnered with the corporate media complex, it is now “the people” – having been swayed by fabrications, omissions and lies – who lead the demand for invasion of these sovereign states. And, most ironic, it is not the so-called “right” at the vanguard; rather, it is the “progressive left.”


“False reality” requires historical amnesia, lying by omission and the transfer of significance to the insignificant. In this way, political systems promising security and social justice have been replaced by piracy, “austerity” and “perpetual war”: an extremism dedicated to the overthrow of democracy. Applied to an individual, this would identify a psychopath. Why do we accept it? — John Pilger, award-winning journalistin History is the Enemy as “Brilliant” Psy-ops Become the News, 21 June 2012

Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, David Hilliard, Fred Hampton, and Erica Huggins – forgotten heroes indeed. The Black Panthers, who emerged on the scene in 1966, drew much inspiration from the ideologies of Malcolm X. Rejecting pacifism and reformism, under the leadership of Fred Hampton, the Panthers recognized the necessity of militant action and self-defense (“by any means necessary”) against racists and the state. The Panthers were effective in organizing the struggle towards a true revolutionary faction, with the state full-well recognizing the very real potential the Panthers held to gain mass support for their revolutionary movement. The state was terrified at this very real threat. It must be noted that during this same time period, white youth were demonstrating against the Vietnam war while 45% of Blacks fighting inVietnam proclaimed they would be prepared to take up arms within their own state to secure justice for the American people. Considering that in 1960 almost half of America’s population was under 18 years of age, the ample surplus of youth made the threat of a widespread revolt against the status quo a very real possibility. By 1967, the rise in militancy and “Black Power” drew a very tactical response from very anxious foundations. Rockefeller and Ford created the National Urban Coalition (NUC) with the intent of transforming “Black Power” into “Black capitalism.” This was the vehicle designed/created to crush the building momentum that was confronting/challenging the prevailing system of economic control and oppression. By 1970, as Black capitalism took hold, foundations were funneling over $15 million into “moderate” Black organizations in order to effectively deflect the Black Power movement into non-threatening channels. With Black Power successfully transitioning itself into Black capitalism, American corporations utilized the opportunity to cast themselves in a liberal, progressive light by financing Black Power conferences.

The evidence that the Panthers’ revolutionary movement was a very real threat to the American state is indisputable: the FBI (under J. Edgar Hoover) declared the Panthers the number one threat to the internal security of the US. The state tried to eradicate the Panthers “by any means necessary,” gunning down scores of Panthers in the street.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was also closely affiliated with the Rockefellers via the 1957 founded Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), which received money from the church and the Rockefellers. Although quite radical, elites considered SCLC moderate and “workable” because of its stance on nonviolence (which protects the state), alongside goals of integration rather than revolution. However, by the late 1960′s, Martin Luther King, Jr. had embraced militancy and radical positions espoused by both the Panthers and Malcolm X. As Martin Luther King, Jr.’s refusal to compromise increased, the foundation funding decreased. A respected man of such stature, speaking out, thus educating a vast public of the oppression caused by the capitalist system/racism, was indeed (and remains so today) a great threat to the powers that dominate. Thus, King was assassinated. Today, in united cohesion, the states work ardently with “progressive” (foundation-funded) media and the non-profit industrial complex, in ensuring that the King legacy is continually and relentlessly sanitized, watered down and co-opted to serve the elitist agenda. The pacifist doctrine, fondly funded by hegemonic rule, is continuously pumped through and circulated throughout the gentrified “movement” like fluoride in the city water – a neutral benevolence of slow poison we drink in voluntary servitude. [June 27, 2012: Black On The Old Plantation | Civil Rights Organizations Enslave Themselves to Corporate Funding]
“We do not fight racism with racism. We fight racism with solidarity. We do not fight exploitative capitalism with black capitalism. We fight capitalism with basic socialism. We fight imperialism with proletarian internationalism.” — Bobby Seale, a founder of the Black Panthers

While Huey P. Newton advocated armed struggle, his ideology did not mean that the end product would be a world in which violence reigns. Rather, Newton believed that the oppressed must use guns as the means to a peaceful end of the oppression. He quoted Mao Tse-tung: “We are advocates of the abolition of war, we don’t not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.” Within the Panther Party, the gun was not upheld as a means of violence, rather, it was a symbol for empowerment and self-determination. [Huey P. Newton :: Philosophy :: Armed Self-Defense]

In October of 1969, hundreds of youth clad in football helmets marched through an elite shopping district of Chicago. Utilizing lead pipes, they shattered shop windows and demolished parked cars. This was the first demonstration known as the “Days of Rage” – organized by a group who called themselves the Weather Underground. Outraged by the war on Vietnam and the rampant racism in America, the Weather Underground waged a strategic low-level war against the state that continued throughout much of the seventies. The Underground had the state on the run. Members of the Underground bombed state property including the Capitol building (never incurring a single casualty) and even broke Timothy Leary out of prison all while successfully evading one of the largest FBI manhunts ever conducted in US history.

Weather Underground Bombs the Capitol, Pentagon, and State Department (Running time 10:00)

Today, most all the past revolutionary leaders of the Weather Underground, now conformed, apologize for their “tactics,” having been isolated and framed as “violent” by the co-opted left and status quo. []

It was during this time of true revolutionary uprising that money and “opportunities” began to siphon into the movements. The art of co-optation had begun with the only weapon (palatable to the public) the oligarchy possessed – money. This money would serve to indulge, thus co-opt, inflated egos scouted from within the left. Co-opting was an absolute necessity for the state to protect the dominant power structures from true systemic change that would effectively transfer power to the people. Examples of revolutionary movements in history, as evidenced in The Weather Underground, the Panthers and others, demonstrate unequivocally that the left became more jingoistic for war only after an influx of money began pouring in from the state and plutocrats via their foundations, which were in many cases set up for this very purpose.

A case in point: Roy Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality/CORE (who advocated “Black control of Black communities” in order to allow for the manifestation of “Black capitalism”) was named a Ford Foundation fellow and became a board member of the Rockefeller/Ford-created NUC/National Urban Coalition. Ford granted CORE Cleveland $175,000 in 1967 to help elect Carl Stokes, who was very much pro Black-capitalism.

Lesser known are the events led by CIA operant Gloria Steinem. The “Black Feminist” movement was created, funded and manipulated by the CIA from the very beginning with Steinem leading the charge. Steinem planted faux “Black feminists” in revolutionary Black Power movements/grassroots organizations in order to instill division and hatred and, ultimately, to dismantle the growing movement. Steinem’s “success” would assist the state’s crushing of the Black Power movement itself. [Read: BLACK FEMINISM, THE CIA AND GLORIA STEINEM]

Throughout the world, there are organizations identifying themselves as the Black Panthers and other true revolutionary movements in existence. However, blinded by the shiny veneer of the big NGOs, few people are aware that such revolutionary movements even exist today. It is the job of the non-profit industrial complex, while waving the pacifist bible in one hand, to deliberately ensure that these groups are not only marginalized, but ignored altogether. Such movements, which have to potential to disrupt (or even dismantle) the power structures that enslave us, must remain invisible or framed in a negative light – if co-opting them is not possible, that is.

And that is something that the Western culture has perfected: co-optation. Forrest Palmer writes: “I am writing a blog post called ‘Malcolm X on a postage stamp.’ It is exactly what you see here []. If you know that something is happening at the grassroots and you can’t stop it, the West accepts it, places their handpicked leaders in the forefront who appease the masses into thinking what they are doing is still ‘revolutionary,’ negotiate with the ‘leaders’ ensuring they acquiesce to the state, compromise and either end up with things status quo or so watered down that the compromise doesn’t help the masses at all, but instead helps the state. The best example of a singular event of this: The March on Washington. It went from a black mass rebellion to a benign walk in the park masquerading as a movement. They had all their speeches proofread by the state, including King’s ‘great’ I Have a Dream speech. If the speeches weren’t what the state wanted, they either changed them (John Lewis) or weren’t allowed to speak (James Baldwin).”

“Malcolm predicted that if the civil rights bill wasn’t passed, there would be a march on Washington in 1964. Unlike the 1963 March on Washington, which was peaceful and integrated, the 1964 march Malcolm described would be an all-Black ‘non-violent army’ with one-way tickets.” [Wikipedia, speaking of Malcolm X and his speech The Ballot or the Bullet.]

And so it goes. Malcolm X was assassinated on 21 February 1965. And while our brothers and sisters in Africa, the Middle East and the Global South continue to be grossly exploited or altogether annihilated by the imperialist forces, the movement is ever-so acquiescent. Five hundred dollars a day for lodging at the Rio+20 Summit has never been so easy for those within the champagne circuit. And with a Democratic administration and a Black American president in the White House, the modern civil rights movement and dominant left organizations have never found it so easy to remain silent, with little to no criticism from civil society who, self-appointed, they falsely claim to represent.
“While in the US those puppets have traditionally taken on the form of talking heads on corporate and public television, they are increasingly represented in the form of NGO PR puppets employed in the moral theatrics industry…. As the credibility of politicians and pundits plummets, it is these PR puppets that are increasingly responsible for bolstering public support for militarism in general and militarized humanitarian intervention in particular.” — Jay Taber, Intercontinental Cry; Pious Poseurs, 24 June 2012

Although now seemingly normalized, one must consider it slightly ironic that it is in fact no longer the dominant “progressive left” beating the drums against war. [Exceptions include legitimate grassroots groups such as Peacelink in Italy.] Rather, as in the case of climate change, it is primarily the countries seeking to free themselves from the chains of imperialist enslavement that vocally oppose the escalating destabilization campaigns, inclusive of the most recent, in Syria. On 16 February 2012, the 12 sovereign states who voted against the resolution to condemn Syria at the United Nations included North Korea, China, Russia, Iran and Syria, along with states who primarily compose ALBA; Bolivia, Belarus, Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua. And it is not coincidence that most all the leaders of all these same states, who continue the struggle for autonomy, are all similarly vilified and demonized by the corporate-media complex, joined recently by the non-profit industrial complex. It is critical to note that the imperialist powers (inclusive of the UN) do not criticize or demonize or withdraw their support from such leaders on any ethical or moral ground. Denunciation of state leaders and emotive language is merely theatre. Rather, the imperialist states strategically set out to destroy any state leader that is unwilling to be controlled by US interests and foreign policy. A case in point is unwavering support of the Saudi royal family responsible for atrocious human rights violations to which the imperialist countries turn a blind eye.

Demonization is a key psyop, directly sponsored by the US Pentagon and intelligence apparatus to influence and sway public opinion and build consensus in favour of invasion. [Prof. Michel Chossudovsky] A recent example can be extracted from the failed 2011 destabilization campaign against the Morales government in Bolivia led by US-funded NGOs including the “Democracy Centre,” which declared: “But the abuses dealt out by the government against the people of the TIPNIS have knocked ‘Evo the icon’ off his pedestal in a way from which he will never fully recover, in Bolivia and globally.” [Further reading: U.S. Funded Democracy Centre Reveals Its Real Reason for Supporting the TIPNIS Protest in Bolivia: REDD $$. ¿Por qué se defiende el tipnis?,]

A similar situation (developing nations, rather than the “environmental movement,” taking the lead) has taken place on the issue of climate change. ALBA nations, with Bolivia at the forefront, led while the non-profit industrial complex purposely and grossly undermined the strong positions necessary to mitigate the climate emergency. The climate justice movement was acquiescent and thus kowtowed to the “big greens”; “big greens” such as Avaaz, and Greenpeace who had partnered with HSBC, Lloyds Bank, nuclear giant EDF, Virgin Group, Shell (via TckTckTck partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change) and other corporate giants constituting the “TckTckTck campaign” whereby “the objective was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit” (Havas Press Release). There was no justice to be found, only a cohesive hypocrisy amongst the professional left that flourished like a cancer.
Next: Part one, section II.
 Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III |Part II | Section I
[Cory Morningstar is an independent journalist /ecological activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate ChangePolitical Context and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur]September 10, 2012


September 11, 2012 |  By Jay Taber

In his seminal study Science of Coercion, Christopher Simpson observed that communication might be understood as both the conduit for and the actual substance of human culture and consciousness. As Simpson noted, psychological warfare is the application of mass communication to modern social conflict.

In the U.S. Army War College manual on psychological warfare, the stated objective is to destroy the will and ability of the enemy to fight by depriving them of the support of allies and neutrals. Some of the methods used in the manual are sowing dissension, distrust, fear and hopelessness.

In the decades since these publications were first published,a new form of psywar has emerged in the form of false hope. With unlimited funding and organizational support from foundations like Ford, Rockefeller, Gates and Soros, U.S. Government propaganda now has a vast new army of non-profits that, along with corporate media and academia, serve as both a third wing of mass consciousness and a fifth column for destabilization campaigns worldwide.

As Cory Morningstar captures The Simulacrum in her multi-part series on the non-profit industrial complex, domesticating the populace is a fait accompli, and the only question remaining is what will happen if and when capitalist activism is seen for what it is. By following the money from aristocratic derivatives to embodiments of false hope like Avaaz, MoveOn, and Change, Morningstar steps through the looking glass to expose how NGOs have become a key tool of global dominance using social media as a means of social manipulation.

When the smoke generated by phony progressives clears, all that is left is an industrial wasteland of false hope and real threats. When the betrayals of NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are known, we can finally begin to exercise our responsibilities. Until then, programs like Democracy Now remain little more than adult versions of Sesame Street for the toy Che brigades.

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

Published at Sep 11, 2012 

The Truth about the IS

1 September 2014 -  by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar – TRANSCEND Media Service
Chandra Muzaffar

The Islamic State (IS) has been roundly condemned by everyone. It deserves to be. It deserves to be condemned because of its barbaric brutality and its harsh cruelty. It deserves to be condemned because of its collective massacres and its individual murders. It deserves to be condemned because of its oppression of Shias, of Christians, of Yazidis. It deserves to be condemned because of its degradation of women. It deserves to be condemned because of its distortion and perversion of Islamic law.

Nonetheless, many of those who have condemned IS do not want to know how this terrorist outfit came into being in the first instance. It is a direct consequence of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. In order to anchor itself in Iraqi society, the occupier zealously sought to eliminate the power base of deposed President Saddam Hussein by dismantling his security forces and emasculating related Baathist structures. At the same time, the Shias, the majority population, were strengthened in politics and the public services. This heightened resentment among the Sunnis and led to the formation of militias among them.

When democratic elections were held in 2005, Shia parties expectedly swept into power. Shia leaders reinforced their cordial ties with the Iranian Shia elite —- some of whom had been their mentors long before the 2003 invasion. Seeing the increasingly close bond between the Shias of Iraq and Iran, the US began to feel that its invasion of Iraq had enhanced Iranian influence in that country. Ironically, the US had strengthened the geopolitical hand of its adversary! More than the US, Israel which had also encouraged the invasion of Iraq in order to get rid of a staunch Israeli opponent in Baghdad was appalled that Iran, its other mortal foe, had now expanded its reach in the region. The Saudi elite and elites in a number of other Gulf monarchies and certain other Arab governments also viewed Iraq –Iran ties with much apprehension. To add to their apprehension, the Shia based Hezbollah in Lebanon was also emerging as a major actor in Lebanon following its steadfast defence of the nation against Israeli aggression in 2006. This is why a Sunni Arab leader warned his fellow Sunnis of the rise of a Shia arc in West Asia, centred in Tehran.

These Sunni fears, paralleling US- Israeli concerns about their dominance over West Asia, prompted these parties to try to stem what they perceived as Shia influence in Iraq by supporting Sunni militias with arms, intelligence and money. Sunni insurgencies like Al-Qaeda became stronger and created a lot of havoc in Iraq, directed mainly at the Shias. A more radical breakaway group from Al-Qaeda calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Shams (Syria) (ISIS) established itself as a tough fighting force and moved into Syria with the same aim of ousting a Shia government, namely the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

In Syria, ISIS has outdone other armed rebel groups in its insatiable appetite for violence. ISIS fighters have massacred Christian communities and beheaded scores of Shias. With ruthless efficiency they have captured strategic routes and oil fields. It is alleged that apart from the spoils of war, this terrorist outfit is also financed and armed by some of the same groups that helped the Sunni insurgents in Iraq between 2003 and 2008. It has even been suggested that ISIS has deep links with Mossad. After all, Israel which has conducted at least six military strikes against the Syrian armed forces in the current conflict is determined to oust Assad since he continues to oppose Israeli control over much of the strategic Golan Heights in Syria and insists on protecting his special relationship with Hezbollah and Iran as part of the resistance against US-Israeli hegemony over West Asia.

It is significant that ISIS brutalities in Syria — like those of the other armed groups — have only elicited whimpers from the US and the West. The reason is obvious. They support the larger aim of these groups which is the overthrow of Assad. The US and the West are (or were) on the side of ISIS in Syria. And yet in Iraq they are against ISIS which has now renamed itself as IS. What explains this seemingly glaring contradiction?

If the US has decided to fight IS in Iraq, it is because it threatens US and other Western oil companies in the Kurdistan region in the north. All the big Western oil players — Mobil, Chevron, Exxon and Total — are in the region. Kurdistan, according to Robert Fisk, “accounts for 43.7 billion barrels of Iraq’s 143 billion barrels of reserves, as well as 25.5 billion barrels of unproven reserves and three to six trillion cubic metres of gas.”

Preserving the West’s oil interests in Kurdistan is intimately connected to yet another factor. The US and Israel have always regarded Iraqi Kurdistan as a special ally. For decades its leadership has helped to further their agenda in West Asia. In the 2003 invasion of Iraq for instance the Kurds rendered much assistance to the US and Britain.

One should not be surprised therefore that the US has chosen to defend the Kurds against the IS menace. It is simply a matter of protecting its geo-economic and geopolitical interests. Similarly, if in Syria the US is against Assad, it is because of the pursuit of its hegemonic design over West Asia. Since the US will not be able to eliminate the IS threat to Kurdistan in Iraq without taking military action against the IS in Syria, it is now considering launching military strikes against the IS in certain parts of that country.

US military action against the IS in Syria should signal the beginning of the end of all direct and indirect assistance to the various armed groups in Syria, all of which have committed acts of terror at some point or other. The US’s European and West Asian allies should also desist from providing any form of military support to these groups. Without such external support it is very likely that the violence and bloodshed in Syria will come to a halt. Syrians would then be in a better position to bring about whatever change they feel is necessary through peaceful means.

What is more important, the end of crass political violence in Syria will undoubtedly help to reduce IS generated terror in Iraq. Terrorism in West Asia as a whole may witness a decline. If one is principled and not opportunistic or hypocritical in the fight against terrorism, it is not just IS in one corner of Iraq that will be one’s target. Terrorism, whether it is perpetrated by friend or foe, will be confronted and defeated with courage and integrity.


Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, and president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). He is the author of the e-book ‘Whither WANA?-Reflections on the Arab Uprisings,’ which is accessible through the JUST website,


How the Brutalized Become Brutal

The horrific pictures of the beheading of American reporter James Foley, the images of executions of alleged collaborators in Gaza and the bullet-ridden bodies left behind in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are the end of a story, not the beginning. They are the result of years, at times decades, of the random violence, brutal repression and collective humiliation the United States has inflicted on others.

Our terror is delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is, to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We are not conscious of the long night of collective humiliation, repression and powerlessness that characterizes existence in Israel’s occupied territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not see the boiling anger that war and injustice turn into a caldron of hate over time. We are not aware of the very natural lust for revenge against those who carry out or symbolize this oppression. We see only the final pyrotechnics of terror, the shocking moment when the rage erupts into an inchoate fury and the murder of innocents. And, willfully ignorant, we do not understand our own complicity. We self-righteously condemn the killers as subhuman savages who deserve more of the violence that created them. This is a recipe for endless terror.

Chaim Engel, who took part in the uprising at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in Poland, described what happened when he obtained a knife and confronted a German in an office. The act he carried out was no less brutal than the beheading of Foley or the executions in Gaza. Isolated from the reality he and the other inmates endured at the camp, his act was savage. Set against the backdrop of the extermination camp it was understandable.

“It’s not a decision,” Engel said. “You just react, instinctively you react to that, and I figured, ‘Let us to do, and go and do it.’ And I went. I went with the man in the office, and we killed this German. With every jab, I said, ‘That is for my father, for my mother, for all these people, all the Jews you killed.’ ”

Any good cop, like any good reporter, knows that every criminal has a story. No one, except for perhaps a few psychopaths, wakes up wanting to cut off another person’s head. Murder and other violent crimes almost always grow out of years of abuse of some kind suffered by the perpetrator. Even the most “civilized” among us are not immune to dehumanization. 

The enemies on the modern battlefield seem elusive because death is usually delivered by industrial weapons such as aerial drones or fighter jets that are impersonal, or by insurgent forces that leave behind roadside bombs or booby traps or carry out hit-and-run ambushes. This elusiveness is the curse of modern warfare. The inability of Sunni fighters in Iraq to strike back at jets and drones has resulted in their striking a captured journalist and Shiite and Kurdish civilians.

U.S. soldiers and Marines in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Israeli soldiers in assaults on Gaza, have been among those who committed senseless acts of murder. They routinely have gunned down unarmed civilians to revenge killings of members of their units. This is a reaction I saw in several wars. It is not rational. Those murdered were not responsible, even indirectly, for the deaths of their killers’ comrades, just as Foley and the Shiites and Kurds executed in Iraq were not responsible for the deaths of Sunni militants hit by the U.S. Air Force.

J. Glenn Gray, who fought in World War II, wrote about the peculiar nature of vengeance in “The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle”:

When the soldier has lost a comrade to this enemy or possibly had his family destroyed by them through bombings or through political atrocities, so frequently the case in World War II, his anger and resentment deepen into hatred. Then the war for him takes on the character of a vendetta. Until he has himself destroyed as many of the enemy as possible, his lust for vengeance can hardly be appeased. I have known soldiers who were avid to exterminate every last one of the enemy, so fierce was their hatred. Such soldiers took great delight in hearing or reading of mass destruction through bombings. Anyone who has known or been a soldier of this kind is aware of how hatred penetrates every fiber of his being. His reason for living is to seek revenge; not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but a tenfold retaliation.

Those killed are not, to the killers, human beings but representations of what they fear and hate. The veneer of the victim’s humanity, they believe, is only a mask for an evil force. The drive for vengeance, for “tenfold retaliation,” among those who are deformed by violence cannot be satiated without rivers of blood—even innocent blood. And Americans do as much of this type of revenge killing as those we fight. Our instruments of war allow us to kill from a distance. We therefore often lack any real consciousness of killing. But this does not make us any less depraved.

Christopher Browning in his book “Ordinary Men” tells of a German reserve police battalion that was recruited to carry out mass executions of Jews in World War II. Browning’s book echoed the findings of the psychologist Stanley Milgram, who concluded that “men are led to kill with little difficulty.” Browning, like Milgram, illustrates how easily we become killers. This is a painful truth. It is difficult to accept. It forces us to look into the eyes of Foley’s executioners and see not monsters but ourselves.

“Few of us ever know how far fear and violence can transform us into creatures at bay, ready with tooth and claw,” Gray wrote. “If the war taught me anything at all, it convinced me that people are not what they seem or even think themselves to be.”

I am teaching inmates at a supermax prison this summer. We are reading William Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Every student in my classroom was charged with murder, and, though the American judicial system imprisons its share of innocents, it is a safe bet that many if not most in my class have killed. At the same time, once you hear the stories of their lives, the terrifying domestic abuse, the crushing poverty, the cruelty of the streets, including police use of deadly force against unarmed people, the societal and parental abandonment, the frustration at not being able to live a life of dignity or find a job, the humiliation of being poorly educated—some went into prison illiterate—you begin to understand the power of the institutional racism and oppression that made them angry and finally dangerous.

Marguerite Duras in her book “The War” describes how she and other members of the French Resistance kidnapped and tortured a 50-year-old Frenchman they suspected of collaborating with the Germans. The group allows two of its members who were beaten in Montluc prison at Lyon to strip the alleged informer and repeatedly beat him as onlookers shout: “Bastard. Traitor. Scum.” Blood and mucus soon run from his nose. His eye is damaged. He moans, “Ow, ow, oh, oh. …” He crumples in a heap on the floor. Duras wrote that he had “become someone without anything in common with other men. And with every minute the difference grows bigger and more established.” She goes on: “Every blow rings out in the silent room. They’re hitting at all the traitors, at the women who left, at all those who didn’t like what they saw from behind the shutters.” She departs before finding out if he is executed. She and her small resistance band had become Nazis. They acted no differently than Hamas did when it executed more than 15 suspected collaborators last week in Gaza.

Our failure to understand the psychological mechanisms involved means that the brutality we inflict, and that is inflicted upon us, will continue in a deadly and self-defeating cycle in the Middle East as well as within poor urban areas of the United States. To break this cycle we have to examine ourselves and halt the indiscriminant violence that sustains our occupations. But examining ourselves instead of choosing the easy route of nationalist self-exaltation is hard and painful. These killings will stop only when we accept that the killers who should terrify us most are ourselves.