Archive | August 11, 2015

Why the ‘women of ISIS’ Narrative is Dangerous*

Why the ‘women of ISIS’ Narrative is Dangerous*

As it becomes crystal clear that there are few indigenous Iraqis/Syrians, and mostly foreigners (acting on behalf of Britain, Israel, France, U.S., and Saudi Arabia) terrorists amongst the rebel factions creating the image of ISIS and the like, one should re-question who is committing the atrocities…

By Janine Rich

This picture is circulated on the internet as being a slave market in Mosul, Iraq. In fact it was an anti-government protest in Egypt. ( See:

Deeply problematic media narratives on Islam and women go unchallanged distracting from the difficult questions and warping perceptions directly involved in justifying western military intervention in the Middle East.

The startlingly swift rise of the terrorist group self-titled the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) has once again fuelled the fire of the endlessly futile and reductive debate in western media about the “real” nature of Islam (Is it peaceful? Is it evil? Shall we ask Bill Maher again?).

As this hopeless tug-of-war match rages on, another deeply problematic media narrative has once more risen to the surface and gone largely unchallenged: Muslim women, and particularly the “women of ISIL.” The terms “ISIS Bride”, and “ISIS sex slave” scream hysterically from the tickers of Fox News and grab readers by the collar in 36-point font from MSNBC online. They are meaningless terms, useful only to tantalise and titillate viewers into reading past the headline.

If one Googles the term “women of ISIS”, some of the first words that pop up in the headlines of stories written by the likes of Vox, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, are “jihadist”, “sex slave”, “rape”, and so on and so forth. For example, in the English version of Al-Arabiya, a recent headline reads, “UK female jihadists run ISIS sex-slave brothels.” Leaving aside the verbal equivalent of cardiac arrest that is the headline, the tone in the body of the article is one of bafflement, quite understandably. It is certainly not in question that ISIL’s treatment of women is appallingly inhumane, and the idea that women themselves are playing an active role in perpetuating this brutality seems beyond all logic and reason.

In a recent story covered by CNN on western women leaving to join the fight for ISIL, the reporter speculates on the phenomenon of ISIL using images of kittens and Nutella to appeal to young women and lure them into fighting for ISIL. Leaving aside the blatantly sexist assumption that women can be easily hoodwinked en masse into joining a militant Islamist group by chocolate and Grumpy Cat, this stance touches on a number of fears and assumptions currently running through western media coverage on the issue.

During this report, the newscaster interviews Nimmi Gowrinathan, a visiting professor at the City College of New York, for her opinion on how it is possible for western women to “choose a life of oppression.”

Gowrinathan helpfully points out what is perhaps the most commonly ignored piece of the puzzle of what could possibly appeal to women “from here” about this group: namely, that these women are not joining to fight for women’s rights. They may in fact be fighting for political rights that they believe have been taken away from them. They may see the current threat to their religious identity, and to the society they wish to create, as greater than the oppression that they face as women in this envisioned society.

This explanation is a good start, but it is frankly insufficient. Perhaps, rather than pontificating on the efficacy of Internet memes in encouraging terrorism, we should be examining what aspects and elements of our own societies have caused these women to feel so deeply marginalised, and subsequently, what has caused them to choose violence as an answer to this marginalisation.

Why do we not look at these women’s lives critically, rather than making shallow statements about their dangerously misguided silliness? Why has there not been any serious research done, outside of the insular world of academia, about the myriad forces acting on these women that bring them to this point? Simply having problems with ‘the West’ by no means causes women to join extremist groups, so what does?

Talking without actually saying anything has become de rigueur for mainstream news outlets, but as the death toll skyrockets, as the US debates yet another military intervention, we cannot allow this type of vapid pseudo-analysis to continue—the stakes are simply too high.

The western self-censorship that allows for this kind of wilful blindness is the real crux of the matter. Whenever we talk about ‘terrorists’, a term that has become synonymous with Muslim extremists, we talk about them in absolutist terms. That is, we automatically assume an absolute difference between ‘them’ and ‘us.’

If these people are the opposite of us, the antithesis of western values, then by definition they must originate in a place wholly different from ours. The fact that they sometimes come from here, and that they are women no less, becomes impossible to fathom. It does not fit within the carefully constructed framework by which we understand our own society, and it flies in the face of the lies we tell ourselves about the world: that things are great ‘here’ and terrible ‘there’, and that it is even possible to describe ‘the West’ and ‘the Middle East’ as two separate, inherently conflicting civilisations.

And so, faced with this discomfort, we turn to the media to entertain us, to shock us with the stories of ISIL’s brutality and of the women who partake in it.

The images that accompany any and all stories about female jihadists are telling: regardless of the angle of the story, the image is one of a fully veiled woman, usually wearing a black niqab, sometimes carrying a gun or a copy of the Qur’an, or both. Sometimes they are wearing the white letters of the shahada that ISIL has appropriated as their symbol, but more often than not they are pictured unmarked, as if their actions fall outside the male-gendered violence of ISIL and remain in a category of their own, one which is even more terrifying and unfathomable.

This type of perverse fascination with Muslim women and their potential violence has its roots in colonial history, and European fascination with “the Exotic Orient.” The prominent critical theorist Edward Said labelled this type of attention as “Orientalism”, and deconstructed the process by which this portrayal of the “Orient” as a mystical and paradoxical place of both sexual indulgence and sexual repression have historically been used to justify European colonial projects, as well as ongoing US military intervention in the region.

The veil itself has become deeply politicised, and has been imbued with so many different potential meanings that it has become an empty signifier. In western media, it has come to symbolise a status of otherness, of total difference from western values, and of a woman’s apparent helplessness and victimhood at the hands of her own religion.

This image of the ‘veiled Muslim woman’, however, has shifted slightly since the golden ages of colonialism. Initially, this image was either explicitly or implicitly used to demonstrate the supposed total removal of Muslim women from society, their complete lack of agency and the apparent evilness of the tradition that would imprison women in this manner.

But now, the same subjects are being viewed by a western audience in socially active, politically charged atmospheres. They are pictured walking through the crowded streets of Middle Eastern cities, taking part in politics and social organisations, casting their votes alongside the men who have supposedly oppressed them for so long. The notion of the veil as a signifier of the sexist oppression of Islam has not been challenged; rather, the newly-politically active Muslim woman is now one who is assumed to have chosen her own oppression.

It is a dangerous, narrow, and ultimately dehumanising portrayal, and it serves precisely the same function that images of veiled Muslim women served during the height of colonial domination in the region: to justify violent intervention, and to paint a black-and-white, good vs. evil image of the relationship between western powers and the Middle East.

It is relevant to mention that women who are not active supporters or militants for ISIL, but are victimised by ISIL’s practices fare no better under the spotlight of western media. A CNN video titled ‘Prisoner, Maid, Sex Slave: ISIS bride shares her story’ recently covered the story of a Syrian woman, forced into an arranged marriage with an ISIL militant, who ultimately managed to escape with her family to Turkey. It is a “to hell and back” narrative that is utterly irresistible to the target audience, and the author chose to devote an inordinate amount of print space to her veiled appearance, which he describes as “a suffocating black fabric.”

The coverage and reporting that these stories receive are not intended to respect the lives and experiences of the women they talk about, or to complicate the conversation around these issues. Their intention is, first and foremost, to appeal to a western audience. They are intended to shock the reader with the brutality of “Islam”, to excite people with the scandal, intrigue, and hint of sexual perversion, and to perpetuate the image of the oppressed, veiled Muslim woman, a two-dimensional character who can only be saved through the kind-hearted intervention of the enlightened west.

The disturbing reality is, whether it is for political reasons or merely entertainment value, these stories are geared towards achieving a reaction of shock, horror, and enjoyment from a western audience, one which has increasingly become guilt-free about viewing the violence and pain of others.

We have become so deeply entangled in the pornographic consumption of these images that we have become incapable of seeing past them, of asking real questions about why some women are joining militant groups. Any nuanced analysis of the causes would require more demographics, such as age, social class, education, and a nuanced examination of the myriad complex factors that drive any individual to act in any way.

We should be demanding this of our media, but we do not, for the simple reason that we do not demand it of ourselves. Reductive stories of the violence and/or victim-hood of Muslim women, of the brutality of rape and the horrors of religious extremism are published because we cannot get enough of them. The images and narratives of women combatants are framed through such a vapid, pointless lens that we have become unable, or unwilling, to expand the conversation or to learning anything new or useful.

This points to something significantly more disturbing: we are in no way just inactive observers of violence. The stories that get published do so because there is an audience waiting hungrily. Consumption is an activity, not something we do passively—we consume violence and rape, and thus we support the industry that publishes it, that gives us the stories that we want to see rather than the ones that we might be challenged by.

Not only are we consumers of this violence, but we also create it—let us not forget that we voted, twice, for the architects of the invasion of Iraq, that we’ve voted countless times for policies that have endangered the lives of millions and irrevocably destabilized entire regions of the world.

So why does any of this matter? Because these stories, of violence and rape, and of the ridiculous portrayal in western media of Muslim women as either dangerously unhinged extremists or desperate, helpless victims are not merely stories. They feed public opinion and warp perceptions that are directly involved in justifying western military intervention in the Middle East.

This is in no way to suggest that these media narratives caused the invasions and ongoing political involvement in the region. If the Middle East did not have an abundance of coveted natural resources, and if weapons production was not such a lucrative business, there would be little reason for the west to bother with the region at all.

But justifying a war requires more than simply telling people that we are going to invade sovereign territory, destabilise the region and secure resources that are not ours to begin with. American wars require a moral justification, which has become embedded in the bodies of women. They require us to see ourselves as heroes, and everyone else as distantly removed enemies who stand opposed to “Our Values.”

The same media tropes that were used to justify the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the disastrous “war on terror” are still being used to not only rationalize immense violence, but to justify the type of American self-censorship that has ruled media outlets since September 11th, 2001. The way that stories are covered and presented, and the details that are included or omitted, are always tilted and adjusted towards the biases and desires of the audience they are intended for, to entertain rather than to examine.

We blanket ourselves with stories of titillating violence and the scandal of female extremists because it is easier than asking difficult questions about what motivates these women, and what our own role might be in all of this. The dominant coverage of “the woman of ISIL” has been a politicized simplification of women’s lives and stories for the sake of a western audience that is eager for more, that refuses to face itself in the mirror and see its own complicity as consumers of violence.

When looking for signs that the next American intervention in the Middle East is already being constructed, one need look no further than this.


Related Topics:

A True Story of Prejudice: The Shepherd and the Wolf

Gender Equity in Islam

Hope for Womanhood as Non-Muslims Sympathize with Attacked Pregnant Muslimah

British SAS Special Forces “Dressed Up as ISIS Rebels” Fighting Assad in Syria*

Syrian Army Kills 50 Al-Nusra Front Terrorists, Mostly Foreigners*

Staged ISIS Beheading Video Hacked from McCain Staffer*

Sexual Assaults on Children Rise to 85 a Day in the U.K.*

Why Billionaire Oligarchs Bankroll Feminism*


Evoking the Wrath of Nature*

Evoking the Wrath of Nature*

By Chris Hedges

Mount Washington in New Hampshire

The wind on the peak of Mount Washington—the East Coast’s highest point, where some of the most erratic and treacherous weather in the world occurs—reached 60 miles an hour the day I was there with my family. Backpackers huddled in the biting chill next to large boulders or congregated in the lobby of a snack bar and gift shop that extract money from the thousands of tourists who ride the cog railroad or drive up the auto road from the base of the mountain each summer.

This strange confluence, where those who hike to the peak and those who ride in cars and trains meet in uneasy silence, is emblematic of the clash of cultures that threatens to doom the planet and the human species. One group knows and respects the power of nature, is able to feel its majesty and is aware of our insignificance and smallness before the cosmos. The other, enamoured of the machines that obliterate distance and effort, and that insulate us from the natural world in a technological bubble, is largely dead to the rhythms that sustain life.

The narration given during the rail trip up the mountain is about the technological glory of the rack-and-pinion rail line, in place since 1868. This narrative presents the weather and steep slopes as ominous elements that human engineers defeated. In truth, the lacerations caused by the rail tracks and the automobile road—along with the tawdry tourist attractions on the summit that include a small post office from which visitors can mail picture postcards—desecrate the mountain.

The backpackers at the summit were resting; many after climbing up Tuckerman’s Ravine, where parts of the rocky ledges are at 45 degrees, a trek that can take five hours. Some had been hiking for days or weeks. Half a dozen thru-hikers, instantly recognizable by their spartan backpacking gear, motley clothing, layers of dirt and bedraggled hair, had started in Georgia last spring at Springer Mountain. By the time they finish this fall atop Mount Katahdin in Maine, they will have walked 2,181 miles at a pace of about 15 miles a day and largely cut themselves off from the outside world for almost half a year. They and the other hikers watched the gaggle of tourists, many of whom rushed a few steps to the official summit of Mount Washington to get their pictures taken, buy sweatshirts at the gift shop or eat hot dogs, chips or plastic-wrapped sandwiches in the snack bar.

Those whose lives pay homage to the sacred are considered by many in the modern world to be eccentrics and cranks. On the other hand, those who live disconnected from the sources of life, who neither fear nor honour nor understand the power of nature, who place their faith in human technology and human power, are celebrated and rewarded with power as they propel the planet and the species toward extinction. The natural world, if we do not radically reconfigure our relationships with each other and the ecosystem, will soon teach us a severe lesson about unbridled hubris.

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization, and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world,’ ” Max Weber wrote.

“Precisely the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from public life either into the transcendental realm of mystic life or into the brotherliness of direct and personal human relations.”

Hannah Arendt called our malaise “world alienation.” She warned that it leads to contempt for all forms of life.

StormWe do not have the power to make a new world. We only have the power to destroy or preserve the world we inhabit. We will either recover the sacred or vanish from the Earth. Those who do not respect the force of nature, who do not intimately know and understand its power, are doomed by it. The Native Americans got this right.

The Abenaki (pronounced OBB-uh-nan-hee and translated as “people of the dawn”) lived for thousands of years in the shadow of what we know as Mount Washington. The tribe called the mountain Agiochook, or “Home of the Great Spirit,” and named the life force Manitou. The Abenaki believed that when one violated or desecrated the natural world, Manitou unleashed destructive fury. Within the tribe, the mountain and the rest of the natural world were infused with spirits for good and spirits for evil. The Abenaki knew the destructive power of hurricane-force winds, subzero temperatures, floods and avalanches and the inevitability of death, which could arrive without warning. They had the capacity for awe. They did not venture above the tree line onto the tundra and rock near the summit of Agiochook. This space was reserved for the gods.

But the arrival of the Europeans, driven by an avarice that blinded them to all but profit, saw in the mountain potential riches—they mistook crystals in the rock formations for diamonds. Darby Field, an Irishman hoping these “diamonds” would make him wealthy, climbed the summit in 1642 despite warnings from his Indian guides, who refused to go with him. Later, farms, homesteads and settlements sprouted. Armed Europeans—aided by the diseases they brought, such as smallpox, tuberculosis and syphilis, as well as alcohol—obliterated native communities. The few Abenaki who remained were often kidnapped and enslaved domestically or sent in chains to work in the sugar plantations of the West Indies. Land, timber, minerals, animals and mountains—as well as human beings—had no intrinsic value to the Europeans. Nature existed only to make money.

The Abenaki engaged in three armed rebellions—King Philip’s War, Queen Anne’s War and later Father Râle’s War, the last named for a French Jesuit priest, Sébastien Râle, who spent 30 years with the Abenaki. The priest was murdered and scalped by the British militia in a night-time raid on an Indian settlement along the Kennebec River in what is now southern Maine. The attack also left 80 Indians dead, many of them women and children. The attack was not part of a war. It was, like other raids on Indian settlements, part of a massacre. The Massachusetts provincial assembly had placed a 100-pound scalp bounty on Râle’s head, along with bounties for any Abenaki scalps. By the Revolutionary War, there were fewer than 1,000 Abenaki left. They had once numbered in the tens of thousands.

The Europeans of the era ridiculed the beliefs of the American Indians, along with their communal structures, in which everything was shared and all had a voice in tribal decisions. They routinely referred to them as “savages” or “heathens.” They painted the militiamen who terrorized and slaughtered Indian communities as military heroes and agents of Christian civilization and progress. They scoffed at legends and beliefs like the one that the remarkable stillness of the lake at the base of Mount Chocorua was sacred to the Great Spirit and should not be violated by the sound of the human voice. The Europeans did not believe that nature could seek vengeance. They were sure they could domesticate and control the wilderness.

Mount Chocorua is named for the great chief Chocorua, one of the last of the Abenakis, who was killed around 1720. He was hounded to the summit of the mountain that now bears his name by white settlers and either shot or pushed off its precipice. He is reputed to have damned the Europeans before he died, saying:

“May the Great Spirit curse you when he speaks in the clouds and his words are fire! May lightning blast your crops and wind and fire destroy your homes.”

Chocorua’s grim curse is now reality. Greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, continue to rise. Last year was the hottest since we began scientifically tracking weather, and 2015 is expected to top 2014. Glaciers and ice sheets are melting at an accelerated rate, causing the oceans to rise. Even if we stop all carbon emissions today, some scientists say, sea levels will rise by 10 feet by 2065 and as much as 70 feet over the next couple of centuries. Major coastal cities such as Miami and New York will be underwater. Droughts plague huge swaths of the planet. Wildfires, fuelled by parched forests, have been burning out of control in Southern California, Canada and Alaska. Monster cyclones and hurricanes, fed by warming air currents, are proliferating, ripping apart whole cities. Massive species extinction is underway. And we could face a planetary societal collapse due to catastrophic food shortages within the next three decades, according to Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute. Food shortages are being driven by the warming of the planet, an ever-burgeoning population and “widespread shifts in consumption patterns as countries develop”—code for the growing and unsustainable global demand for animal protein as developing countries urbanize and income levels rise.

The blind, self-destructive exploitation that lies at the heart of capitalism, the placing of monetary profit above the maintenance of life, the refusal to understand and accept limits, have turned the victimizers into the victims. Ignoring the warnings of native communities, we have evoked the deadly wrath of nature. And I fear we may not be able to find our way back.

“These differences in theology, in myth and ritual, in politico-economics, and in psychological theory produced entirely different conceptions of the place of man in the natural world and of the divine scheme of the cosmos,” Richard Slotkin wrote in “Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier.” “To the Indian the wilderness was a god, whether its face at the moment was good or evil; as a god it deserved and received worship for both its good and its evil, its beauty and its cruelty. Similarly, all the gods and the earth itself were referred to as members of one’s own immediate family, as close blood relations. For the Puritan the problem of religion was to winnow the wheat from the chaff, the good from evil, and to preserve the former and extirpate the latter. The evil was of the world, of nature; the good was transcendent and supernatural. Hence it was quite appropriate to destroy the natural wilderness in the name of a higher good—and quite inappropriate for anyone to worship, as the Indians did, the world or the things of the world, such things being evil by nature.”

There were a handful of Europeans and Euro-Americans who understood the sanctity of the natural world, including the Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King, whose 1860 book, “The White Hills: Their Legends, Landscapes & Poetry,” called on the reader to respect natural beauty and power and drew on poems on nature by writers such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. King, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed that humans cut off from nature and the plight of the oppressed—he was a fierce abolitionist and advocate for the poor—could not grasp the power of the divine, that morality was formed primarily by empathy and intuition, not religious doctrine. Respect for the natural world, he argued, connected human beings with the sacred and the interdependence of life.

King’s book remains the best work about the White Mountains. He wrote:

The world, as the almighty has made it, is not such a world as a monk, a mystic, a broker or a Calvinist would have made. They would have left out the pomp of sunsets and the glory of dawns, the delicious tints and harmonic hues of flowers and meadows, the grace of movements, the witcheries which moonlight works, the spiritual fascination which the gleam of stars produces. The broker would say it is a useless waste of Heavenly chemistry; and would have gone for the cheapest furnishings; the Calvinist that it injures the religious faculty of man and would have robed the earth and hung the heavens in black and grey. But God thinks differently. His universe is not only an algebra for mathematicians, and a sermon for theologians, but also and equally, a poem for the taste and heart of man. And I cannot interpret beauty in any other way than as one evidence, and a splendid revelation, of God’s love.

I spent last week backpacking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains with my wife and two youngest children. One night, before the moon rose to a height that dimmed the constellations, I stood in an open meadow with one of the children. The dark silhouettes of the peaks at the southern end of the Presidential Range loomed with a reassuring comfort above us. He and I searched out constellations—Orion, Ursa Major—and stars such as Polaris. We held our fingers up to the night sky. In the space covered by just one of our thumbnails were 100,000 galaxies. We reminded ourselves we were specks that lived on the tip of an ever-expanding universe, the surface of a vast and constantly inflating balloon.

“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society,” Emerson wrote.

“I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime.”

We peered out to where the super-massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy is supposed to be, somewhere near the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. This supermassive black hole has perhaps 4 million times the mass of the sun and is 25,000 light-years from Earth. It is a place where space and time bend until time stops, where all our equations and understanding of the physical universe no longer make sense, where what we perceive as reality is overthrown. Light, trapped inside, cannot escape. No physicist can explain the internal dynamics of a black hole. Yet it seems probable that 13.8 billion years ago a black hole exploded and caused the universe to be created. At the core of a black hole, from all we can determine, lies the infinite or perhaps portals to other places in the universe. No one knows.

The world does not fit into the rational boxes we construct. It is beyond our control and finally our comprehension. Human beings are not the measure of all things. Existence is a mystery. All life is finite. All life is fragile. The ecosystem on Earth will die. It will be slain by our failure to protect it, or it will succumb to the vast array of natural forces, from colliding asteroids to exploding stars—including, one day, our sun—which turn into supernovas and throw out high-energy radiation that have doomed countless planets in the 100 billion galaxies beyond ours. We have lost the capacity for reverence. We slew those who tried to warn us. Now we slay ourselves.


Related Topics:

Far from the Delusional World: Turkey’s ‘School of Nature’*

Al-Biruni’s “Economy of Nature” in Modern Biotechnology

End to Nature’s Greatest Migration on Earth

Nature Helps Our Brain Connect!

HAARP: Playing with Nature!

Nature not 9/11 is the Major National Security Threat to Watch Out For!

Forcing Nature to Co-exist with Pharmaceuticals

Ireland Refuses to Extradite Man to US Because Prison System is too Inhumane*

Ireland Refuses to Extradite Man to US Because Prison System is too Inhumane*

By Cassius Methyl

Throughout the world, the U.S. prison system is often seen as inhumane and excessively large.

The American prison system is so reviled, in fact, that Irish officials recently refused to extradite an alleged terrorist to the U.S. The court cited concerns that if he were sent to the U.S., he would probably be placed in Colorado’s “Supermax” prison, ADX Florence (Administrative Maximum Facility). The prison is nicknamed Colorado’s “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

Irish High Court Justice Aileen Donnelly went as far as to write a 333-page report about why the suspect shouldn’t be extradited. One highlight from the court’s ruling was that incarceration at ADX Florence prison would amount to “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Donnelly said the prison “amounts to a breach of the constitutional requirement to protect persons from inhuman and degrading treatment and to respect the dignity of the human being.”

“[P]rolonged exposure to involuntary solitary confinement exacts a significant physiological toll, is damaging to the integrity of the mind and personality, and is damaging to the bodily integrity of the person,” she continued.

According to the Los Angeles Times,

“An Irish resident originally from Algiers, Damache, 50, [is] accused of using online chat rooms to recruit American women into a would-be terrorist cell operating in this country and Europe.

One man and two women, including Damache’s wife, have already been convicted in U.S. courts of providing material support to terrorists. And Damache was captured by Irish authorities in 2010 in Dublin on a separate charge of making a telephone death threat and held without bail.”

In 2011, Damache was indicted from a distance in a Philadelphia court on “charges of plotting to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the prophet Muhammad as a dog.”

Damache was released in May after serving his time, but the U.S. is still pushing for his extradition.

“I always had faith in the Irish legal system,” he said in a statement presented by his lawyers. “After more than five years in jail, I am looking forward to moving on with my life here.”

The Colorado prison has held some of the most well-known criminals in American history, keeping them in solitary confinement with extremely limited access to outside communication. Notorious inmates include Timothy McVeigh and other people accused of high level terrorism—such as Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted in a civilian court for involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Lawyers have even argued that incarceration at ADX Florence is worse than the death penalty. Defense expert Mark Bezy called it “a mechanism to cut off an inmate’s communications with the outside world.”

The Irish court’s refusal to extradite Damache adds to a growing trend of nations that opt to exercise their own sovereignty amid pressure from powerful American influence. Such nations are increasingly moving to decide issues for themselves as they refuse to be persuaded into following the orders of a more p


Related Topics:

Land of the Incarcerated*

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression of Blacks Continues in U.S.*

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression of Blacks Continues in U.S.*

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression of Blacks Continues in U.S.*

A U.S. civil rights group presented its evidence of genocide against black people to the United Nations in 1951, but has anything improved since then?

By Kit O’Connell

Genocide is a word which may bring to mind images of large-scale ethnic cleansing and mass graves like those created by German Nazis or Bosnian Serbs. Some acts of genocide, however, are slower, more subtle, and a good deal more insidious, like the acts the United States continues to carry out against its black- and brown-skinned population.

The word “genocide” was defined in the 1940s, as the world struggled to deal with the massive body count from Nazi Germany, whose supporters killed some 6 million Jews and another 5 million from other groups like Roma Gypsies, LGBTQ people, and citizens of Russia and Poland. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, ratified in 1951, defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” This includes not just killing and bodily harm, but also any deliberate acts which make survival difficult or impossible, like the removal of children from their families. While the Nazis were explicit about their policies of racial extermination, the convention admits that in most cases, genocide “must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.”

One of the most well-known groups to argue that the U.S. is committing genocide against its black population was the Civil Rights Congress, an advocacy group formed in 1948. The Civil Rights Congress opposed racial injustice in the U.S., particularly within the criminal justice system. In December 1951, they presented a paper, “We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of The United States Government Against the Negro People,” at U.N. meetings in Paris. This document outlined both the historic and modern oppression of black Americans, from murders by lynching to police brutality, but also documented systematic inequalities in quality of life and health care.

Over 60 years later, another group took the name “We Charge Genocide” and brought their concerns to the United Nations once again, showing how systematic inequality and oppression had not gone away in the ensuing decades. Appearing before the U.N. in late November, this group of activists presented a report documenting a repeated and disturbing pattern of violence and killings of black and Latino youth by the Chicago Police Department. The U.N. Committee Against Torture responded by condemning pervasive police violence and demanding that steps be taken to ensure the officers’ responsible were held accountable.

Of course, these problems aren’t unique to Chicago. In October, ProPublica reported that young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than whites. Figures are similar for police killings of Native Americans and Latino Americans. And genocide in the U.S. isn’t limited to just police murder: The U.S. rate of incarceration, which is the highest in the world, targets black people more than any other. Black people are incarcerated at roughly six times the rate of whites. While some studies have shown black crime rates higher than white for some crimes, most experts agree that poverty is a bigger factor than race when it comes to crime rates, suggesting that most crime epidemics could be alleviated through greater equality.

Even U.S. schools seem designed to tear families apart and take children away from their parents, a key factor in identifying genocide. The so-called “school-to-prison pipeline”  criminalizes student misbehaviour, and the system that pushes offending students out of school and into the criminal justice system disproportionately affects non-white students.

Problems in health care and quality of life are also apparent. In January 2014, Psychology Today highlighted what it called “The Silent Genocide in Black America,” an epidemic of heart problems in America’s black population that cannot be blamed on genetic factors:

“Forty-nine percent of black men and 46% of black women have some form of heart disease in the U.S. Once, medicine mistakenly attributed this to Sub-Saharan genetic predisposition for hypertension. However, a World Health Organization study compared blood pressures in blacks from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S. The study found the following gradient from lowest to highest: African, Caribbean, and American. A racial admixture study of blood pressure by Harvard geneticists, which studied over a thousand subjects, found no connection between Sub-Saharan African ancestry and hypertension.”  

In 2012, Glenn Ford, editor of Black Agenda Report, wrote that the crime of genocide was meant to be “more than a kind of legal epitaph for the dead,” which is why the U.N. included other crimes besides killing, such as mass incarceration. While Americans are reluctant to call this genocide, Ford imagined what an alien visitor, free of cultural prejudices, would see when visiting the U.S.:

“ET would quickly learn that one out of every eight incarcerated persons in the world is African American – about 12 percent of the inmates on Planet Earth – although Black Americans make up less than six tenths of one percent of the global population. ET would recognize that such numbers can only mean that a genocide is in progress that African Americans have been singled out for some horrible fate by the U.S. government.

We cannot sit and wait for the post-mortem. We charge genocide, now!”


Related Topics:

Leading #BlackLivesMatter Activists Arrested*

Discovering Black Identity*

Israel, Ebola and Black Genocide*

Black Wall Street*

Pentagon Admits 60,000 Black Soldiers Used in Human Experiment*

Danny Glover: Venezuela Vindicating Afro-descendents*

You’re not a ‘Hitler’ if you Kill Ten Million Africans*


Secret Obama Deal to Fund Planned Parenthood*

Secret Obama Deal to fund Planned Parenthood*

By Bob Unruh

There’s a new push at the U.S. Supreme Court right now to open up the records, planning and documentation behind what so far has been a secret Obama administration strategy to give federal taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion industry player in the nation, after a state cut off funding.
The fight has been going on since long before a recent series of videos emerged – undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress that reveal numerous Planned Parenthood executives coldly discussing the cash they would expect for various body parts of unborn babies – or even whole “cadavers.”

That’s apparently in conflict with federal law that says it is illegal to sell those parts.

Now a brief has been filed at the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the federal government needs to open up about its dealings in New Hampshire, where a sudden Title X “Family Planning” grant was delivered by the Department of Health and Human Services to Planned Parenthood just after the state decided to withhold funding for the abortionists.

“HHS has continued to refuse to provide certain grant documents on the grounds that they might affect Planned Parenthood’s ‘competitive position’ if it faces a commercial grant competitor in the future,” explains a statement from Alliance Defending Freedom, which has worked on the case on behalf of New Hampshire Right to Life for several years.

Read the tested and proven strategies to defeat the abortion cartel, in “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time.”

WND reported in 2011 that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire $1 million just after the state legislature voted to cut off the stream of taxpayer money to the largest operator in the nation’s abortion industry.

What;s in a VaccineSusan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said at the time it was just another example of the Obama administration’s abuse of states’ rights.

She described the executive action through the Department of Health and Human Services nothing less than a fiat.

Even though the state itself cut funding,

“Obama and Planned Parenthood together have said, uh-uh, no way. You step aside will of the people. We are going to move in there because we know better than you do about how you ought to run your own state.”

The American Life League’s Rita Diller said then the action by the administration violates New Hampshire’s sovereignty.

“It is an outrage to learn that the Obama administration has awarded a contract worth more than $1 million directly to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England – in direct circumvention of the wishes of the executive council of the state of New Hampshire,” Diller said then.

“The direct administration of family planning funds by the federal government is a dramatic departure from the way these funds are normally administered,” she said.

Dannelfelser said that Planned Parenthood argued that its abortionists had a right to taxpayer funding because of the abortion group’s mentality.

“Planned Parenthood has always had an entitlement approach to public policy, as if they’re the only folks who can take care of women, even though they’re the largest abortion provider in the nation,” Dannenfelser said.

“But if states awaken to the reality of how they operate, they have defunded them. So … Planned Parenthood’s stronghold is either through the courts or through HHS and ultimately through President Obama,” she said.

In the developing case in New Hampshire, the state’s Right to Life group is seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act about the Title X “Family Planning” grant that was awarded.

In February, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled HHS could “shield” information about the grant and the department’s procedures from the public.

But ADF allied attorney Michael Tierney and others are fighting back.

Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funnelled to groups that are misusing it,” said Tierney, one of more than 2,600 private attorneys allied with ADF, which in April asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the case.

“The government is withholding documents that are critical in evaluating this apparently illegal funding, which the Obama administration granted despite New Hampshire’s grave concerns and without following standard protocols. The administration’s ongoing defence of Planned Parenthood and the secrecy surrounding its funding is completely unacceptable.”

The filing Monday provided additional information in support of the request to review the case and change its outcome.

The state decision in 2011 came “in part because of concerns that [Planned Parenthood of Northern New England] was improperly using the funds to subsidize its abortion business and was not being transparent about its activities,” the ADF reported.

“HHS responded by providing Planned Parenthood a controversial sole source non-competitive replacement grant,” ADF reported.

But when New Hampshire Right to Life sought documents concerning the grant, HHS stonewalled until a federal court order required it to produce some, but not all, requested information about the grant.

Now, it is even arguing, ironically, that because of some potential for competition in the future, it cannot provide details about the non-competitive grant.

But ADF noted that the FOIA “requires ‘full agency disclosure unless information is exempted under clearly delineated statutory language.’”

“Americans are already being forced to fund Planned Parenthood, which has become the subject of numerous state investigations in recent days, with more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars annually,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox.

“At the very least, the government must be transparent about this money. Since Planned Parenthood is already the subject of repeated state and federal audits and whistleblower lawsuits for waste, abuse, and potential fraud of taxpayer dollars, not to mention ongoing federal and state investigations over possible baby parts trafficking, the government should comply with the law and come clean about the funding.”

New Hampshire again, in just the past few days, voted against state funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Louisiana also recently took similar action.

The ADF, in arguing to the Supreme Court that it should take the case and reverse the outcome, noted there is a conflict among the courts on the issue.

Further, the ADF said,

“No government agency should be allowed to cherry pick what information it will disclose in order to most effectively sell the agency’s chosen policy choices. Such a conclusion runs directly contrary to the express purpose of FOIA.”

WND has reported in recent weeks on the videos being released by the CMP, including an expert opinion that judges’ rulings that several of the undercover videos that cannot be released, at least now, because of the “privacy concerns” of those caught on video, easily could be overcome by someone in Congress obtaining those select videos and posting them on a congressional website.

The CMP sent undercover operatives to Planned Parenthood and other locations to find out about the industry’s trade in the body parts of unborn infants.

Five videos already made public have revealed Planned Parenthood executives callously talking about what they would get – one infamously stated “I want a Lamborghini” – for allowing a company to collect and sell body parts.

But two interests – the commercial StemExpress which operates in the industry and the National Abortion Federation which represents abortion businesses – both went to court to ask that any videos including their own statements be suppressed.

In a commentary published by the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, legal experts say that may not make any difference.

Hans von Spakovsky, an authority on a wide range of issues including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform, and Elizabeth Slattery, who writes about the rule of law, the role of courts, civil rights and equal protection, both are in the foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

They write:

“[An] action that one or both of these congressional committees [investigating Planned Parenthood] should consider taking is immediately to request or subpoena all of the remaining videos from CMP that have not yet been released.

“The actions of StemExpress and NAF, who are allies of Planned Parenthood, reveal the tactics that these abortion providers and organ buyers intend to use to prevent or delay the release of these videos: seeking out sympathetic judges who will prevent the further release of videos that severely damage the image of the abortion industry and reveal in gory detail their inner workings.”

The commentary continued,

“No federal or state judge has the authority to prevent a congressional committee from holding a hearing at which witnesses – like representatives of CMP – testify about their experiences or where the committee presents evidence it has obtained such as the undercover videos, which could also be posted on the committee’s website.”

There already are multiple states, several congressional committees and others investigating Planned Parenthood’s operations now.

When CMP released its fifth video, WND reported another Planned Parenthood executive was caught discussing the prices for the bodies of unborn babies. The executive noticed that “it’s all just a matter of line items” for “intact foetal cadavers” or dissections from them.

That statement was from Melissa Farrell, of the Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast, one of the biggest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country, who said,

“If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact foetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the videos were just too much.

“I am very troubled by the callous behaviour of Planned Parenthood staff in (the) recently released videos,” he explained,

“which casually discuss the sale, possibly for profit, of foetal tissue after an abortion. Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization.”

From statements by Planned Parenthood officials that ranged from

“I want a Lamborghini” to discussion about how to salvage certain saleable parts by crushing surrounding parts, the videos are self-explanatory.

An old story

WND also has reported that as horrific as the videos appear, they should surprise no one, since such practices have been documented for nearly two decades already.

One price list uncovered by a pro-life organization dated June 1998 shows that the price per specimen from a second trimester abortion is $90 fresh and $130 frozen.

Mark Crutcher, whose Life Dynamics organization was a ground-breaker in investigating the abortion behemoth that gets some $500 million annually from U.S. taxpayers, worked on that investigation.

His group reported back in February 2000 how the baby parts market works:

“A baby parts ‘wholesaler’ enters into a financial agreement with an abortion clinic in which the wholesaler pays a monthly ‘site fee’ to the clinic. For this payment, the wholesaler is allowed to place a retrieval agent inside the clinic where he or she is given access to the corpses of children killed there and a workspace to harvest their parts.”

He continued: “The buyer – usually a researcher working for a medical school, pharmaceutical company, bio-tech company or government agency – supplies the wholesaler with a list of the baby parts wanted. … when such orders are received … they are faxed to the retrieval agent at the clinic who harvests the requested parts and ships them to the buyer.”

The documentation was provided at that time to Life Dynamics by a worker who left Comprehensive Health for Women, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park, Kansas.

Among the documents was a “Fee-for-Services” Schedule A, effective June 1998, which outlined a charge of $220 per specimen for first-trimester aspiration abortions and $260 if the baby parts were frozen.

Crutcher’s report, citing Planned Parenthood’s own paperwork, found that one agent sold during February 1996 alone 47 livers, 11 liver fragments, seven brains, 21 eyes, eight thymuses, 23 legs, 14 pancreases, 14 lungs, six arms and one kidney-adrenal gland.

He also sold three orders of blood from the unborn child. The retrieval agent “harvested all of the parts,” the report said, explaining that “in order for the blood of an aborted child to be sold, the dead baby had to be brought to him intact.”

The “specimens,” the report said, would have generated up to about $25,000 in revenue for one month from one retrieval agent at one Planned Parenthood business.

Crutcher reported that the tissue logs reveal that one baby is often chopped up and sold to many buyers.

For example, babies taken from donors 113968 and 114189 were both killed late in their second trimester and cut into nine pieces. By applying the price list, buyers would have been invoiced between $3,510 and $5,070 for these parts, he said.


Related Topics:
They’re Not Baby Parts, They’re ‘Products of Conception’*

Top Scientists Tell Russia Foetus is Human. Ban Abortion.*

WHO Tells Governments they must Provide Abortion and Sex Change*

The Satanic Temple Unveils a Massive Statue of Baphomet in Detroit*

What Burning a Baby says about Israel*

Battle On To Keep Ambiguous Language about Family Out of Major UN Agreement*

Rich Corporate Elites are Trying to Crush Marriage Advocates*