Consequences of Hate-Filled Political Rhetoric and Illegal Military Interventions

In recent years, the number of terrorist attacks and hate crimes in western countries has risen to levels never seen before, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens. Recent studies suggest that there are clear connections between terrorism, illegal military interventions in the Middle East, and those politicians who regularly use hateful rhetoric against immigrants.

This has been more evident in the UK, which has suffered four terrorist attacks in just four months, the latest against the Muslim community only a week ago. In the aftermath of those attacks, the number of hate crimes increased fivefold in London and 530% in Manchester, according to the Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).

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Source: The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime, Home Office. 12 months to March in year shown

A Met police spokesperson said that the number of hate crimes against Muslims had increased sharply in the last four years. They recorded 343 incidents in 2013, 1009 in the year before March 2016, and 1260 in the year prior to March of 2017.

Last year, the UN the body Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination argued that the continuous anti-immigration rhetoric used by British politicians during, and after the Brexit campaign, resulted in a significant increase in the number of hate crimes and in the potential radicalization of several individuals.

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The committee reported that more than 3,000 allegations of hate crimes were made to UK police in the week before and the week after the Brexit vote, an increase of 42% over the two corresponding weeks in the year before. It also pointed out that numerous politicians and journalists regularly fail to condemn hate crimes against ethnic minority groups.

The UK military interventions in the Middle East have not seemed to help reduce the level of terrorism. Instead, they have served as a platform for ISIS to carry out its massive proselytizing, especially to those vulnerable people who often feel discriminated against by society.

The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn recently said, “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought against other countries and terrorism here at home.”

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people and will fight rather than fuel terrorism.”

 

It seems clear that explicit support for an illegal war overseas often backfires with unpredictable consequences. And then that action, far from reducing terrorism, boosts it.

Rhetoric that is hostile to an ethnic group, including locals, or any action that could be understood as hostile by them, will do nothing but feed their perception that they will always be targeted, resulting in the radicalization of numerous individuals.

Numerous right-wing politicians and journalists remind us how the constant discrimination against ethnic minorities fuels terrorism, resulting in the backlash which the enormous tragedies previously mentioned represent.

To believe that Islamist terrorism is going to be eradicated anytime soon would be very naive. However, western governments could easily reduce the number of terrorist incidents in their respective territories by ending their hate rhetoric against immigrants and by building bridges between communities.

Tolerance is the key to reducing tensions and solving the existing problem. Although there are many distinct communities in the world, and each one has its own peculiarities and customs, all of them have things in common, and most importantly they are all made up of human beings.

For that reason, it is important to emphasize those common points and downplay the differences that set those community apart.  Even though this may sound utopic, it is crucial to remember that people and people alone determine what is real and what is not. By persuading governments of the importance of leaving their hateful rhetoric aside while showing the importance of building bridges between communities, global society will move a step closer to achieving unity and getting away from division once and for all.

 

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Conservative Organizations, Theresa May, and Their Connections with ISIS

Tomorrow, the world will watch the lastest episode of a long-term soap-opera involving conservatives and Islamist terrorism. The UK will hold a controversial general election that will be definitive in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

Over the years, western society has assumed that conservative parties such as the Tories in the UK are more reliable than the lefties in the fight against terrorism. In recent times, however, there has been clear evidence that ISIS and conservative forces have been helping each other. 

ISIS has used terrorism to spread chaos worldwide and thereby influence elections in Western democracies. Conservative forces have used this chaos to bolster racism and use the ready-made fear campaigns for their own ends, to ensure their re-election.

Recently, Theresa May has used the latest terrorist attack in London to launch a manipulative fear campaign to improve her chances of winning the election. Additionally, she has announced measures that purport to improve security but will not, and will bolster racism in UK society, which is the ultimate goal of ISIS.

Theresa May is trying to adopt the ploys used by George W. Bush’s campaign during his re-election in 2004. Bush was one of the first conservative world leaders to use terrorism as a tool to win elections and cause destruction overseas.

Bush had the lowest presidential approval ratings ever recorded in 2004 as a consequence of the Iraq War. Though most pundits contended that he did not have any chance of being re-elected in the presidential election that same year, he launched a mass “fear campaign” based on two points:

1. Vote for me, and you will be safe.

2. Vote for someone else, and terrorist forces will invade your country.

Bush’s fear campaign proved successful when he was re-elected. Within a few weeks, Americans started thinking that “Muslims” represented a real threat to their lives. As a result, there was an increase in the number of racial attacks across the US. This was later used by ISIS to attract new combatants. It targeted those “Muslims” who were born in the US and had suffered from harassment, intolerance, and racial attacks. That created hundreds of potential new terrorists ready to commit terrorist attacks in the US and the UK.

Theresa May, who is now following in the footsteps of Bush, could cause a catastrophe if she became Prime Minister. ISIS is actively helping her to win this election through terrorism. ISIS knows that terrorism bolsters conservative forces, which tend to react by using an anti-immigration narrative, leading to an increase in racial attacks. This is the best scenario for ISIS to recruit new militants. Consequently, it is clear that conservative parties cannot lead the fight against terrorism any longer.

Furthermore, May is still endorsing Saudi Arabia -the main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East- and led a cut off of 20,000 police officers as home secretary, leading terrorists to circumvent British security surveillance. For that reason, anyone who is still thinking of voting for May should think twice before casting their votes.

Jeremy Corbyn has made numerous mistakes during his life, like everyone else. However, he has spent most of his life by trying to integrate immigrants and unite UK society. If he became Prime Minister, he would commit more resources to security forces, allow them to monitor potential terrorists, thus resulting in a substantial reduction of terrorist attacks in the UK. This election is all about two options:

1. Theresa May: An increase in the number of terrorist attacks.

2. Jeremy Corbyn: A reduction of terrorist attacks.

If you are by chance a British person reading this piece, you must know that this is your time to take action to build a better world. Think about the aforementioned two options and vote for the better one, and remember that Corbyn’s victory would make the UK safer. In a certain way, the destiny of Europe, western countries, and the world is in your hands!

Note: In this opinion, piece I refer to the political class that represents conservative organizations. So I assume that not all conservative supporters endorse any sort of collaboration with Islamist terrorism.

Donald Trump: the Despicable Warmonger

When Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, not many people, including his most fervent supporters, could ever have imagined that his belligerent actions would one day place us on the brink of WWIII.

Despite his many promises, three weeks ago, Trump directed a tactical strike on al-Shayrat air base (Syria) that was designed to weaken Syrian military defenses against rebels and terrorists, but which also jeopardized diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States.

Prior to that, Trump had attempted to garner a green light from the international community at large in order to launch a preemptive strike against Iran. However, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, warned him that,

“it would be disastrous for the world if the U. S. that it would be disastrous for the world if the U.S. tore up the Iran nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear aspirations in exchange for sanctions relief, which brought stability to the region.”

Under the pretext of defending the U.S. against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Trump obtained the long-awaited international support needed to implement his imperialist, warmongering plans. Although the international community at first supported Trump, in the end, it established some boundaries aimed at avoiding global instability.

Ignoring international demands, Trump recently announced the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its carrier group to waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, with his usual belligerence, Trump threatened Kim Jong-un, saying that the next time that North Korea conducts either a new ballistic missile or other variety of nuclear test, the U.S. will launch a preemptive strike against North Korea.

According to yesterday’s breaking news revealed by the New York Times, the aircraft deployment was fabricated:

The carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.”

“The Carl Vinson is now on a northerly course for the Korean Peninsula and is expected to arrive in the region sometime next week,” Defence Department officials said. The White House declined to comment on the misunderstanding, referring all questions to the Pentagon.”

Amidst growing tension, China, and Russia warned the international community that the U.S. and North Korea are set for a head-on collision and called on Trump to de-escalate the tension in Korea.

Several pundits noted that North Korea does not yet have the capacity to fit miniaturized nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Nonetheless, North Korean military forces possess conventional weapons that can easily reach South Korean and Japanese targets and deal catastrophic damage.

Despite a multitude of warnings, Trump does not appear to be considering the consequences of a potential war with North Korea, and continues instead to escalate the tension with his usual belligerent rhetoric against Kim Jong-un. Each time this happens, Kim Jong-un announces counter-measures and elevates his nuclear threats against the U.S.

On Saturday, during the traditional military parade for the birth of Kim Jong-il, North Korea showed its armament’s capacity, including what appears to be an ICBM (an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching U.S. soil) However, most pundits think that it has never tested, and its purpose was to send a clear message to Trump.

On Sunday Kim Jong-Un unsuccessfully attempted to test a new ballistic missile, which exploded a few seconds after launch.

Due to the relentless escalation of the conflict, citizens living in the region are preparing for an imminent outbreak of violence. They say that they are used to this kind of narrative between the two countries. This time, however, it appears to be different with Trump, who is a very unpredictable president.

With the drums of war beating, the international community is warning Trump, saying that if he follows through on his threats and attacks North Korea, the outcome would cause up to 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 casualties (according to an investigation conducted two years ago by the Obama administration). It would primarily affect civilians in South Korea and Japan, but also the thousands of U.S. troops deployed in the region.

In response to the constant international pressure, Trump could decide not to attack North Korea. However, it is important to remember that Trump also said that he would never attack the Syrian government, but ended up putting the lie to those words and launched a nighttime attack.

Regardless of the outcome of the Korean conflict, it appears that Trump will continue following in the footsteps of previous warmongering presidents in pursuit of power and popularity. Thus, the only left question is whether Trump will cause more carnage than George W. Bush.

U.S. Strike on Syria

On Thursday night, Donald Trump directed a strike against a Syrian military airbase, which targeted fighter planes, ammunition bunkers, radars, and petroleum storage. The Syrian regime said that the attack killed 7 soldiers and wounded 3.

In a brief press conference, Trump assured the American public that the strike was in retaliation for the last chemical attack against innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, which caused as many as 80 casualties, including many children.

Despite the fact that the UN could not reliably determine the accountability of the Syrian regime over the chemical attack, the U.S. government and the mainstream media launched a campaign to accuse them.

Ignoring the resolution of the UN, the NATO and other allies expressed their support for the strike and said that it was proportional. On the other hand, the Russian government condemned the attack and said that the U.S. is helping terrorists on the ground. Furthermore, the Russian Army announced the cessation of its communications with the U.S. in Syria and reiterated its support for the Syrian regime.

48 hours after the strike, in a joint statement, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and several local militias said that the U.S. had crossed the line and that the next time they will respond with force. According to this coalition, there are many reasons to think that the U.S. wants to exert utter control over Syria due to its geolocation.

Despite their many lies, Russia and the U.S. have committed several war crimes in Syria. For years, the U.S. has bombed civilians and assisted rebel groups with ties to terrorist organizations, which have killed thousands of innocents. And Russia has supported the Syrian regime, which has also killed thousands of innocent civilians.

Everyone still remembers, when in 2003, at an assembly of the UN, the then U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, assured that the Iraqi government had WMD, which could soon cause carnage in the region and perhaps worldwide. As a result, the international community created a coalition to invade Iraq, which caused as many as 1 million of deaths. It was not until after some years that the international community found out that the CIA deliberately fabricated that story to intervene in Iraq.

By attacking Syria, Trump has gained as much popularity as Bush did during the Iraqi invasion. Since the strike, the mainstream media, including the most critical such as CNN, and The New York Times have praised Trump’s military action and elevated him as an excellent President.

It is deeply troubling that Trump has found out the key to gain popularity. Due to his incapacity to govern the country, it appears that he will launch more military interventions in countries such as North Korea and Iran.

It is important to remember that for years, Donald Trump suggested that Obama’s intervention in Syria was a political move to gain popularity. However, he is now adopting the same ploy. Fortunately for everyone, he could not delete his past tweets and here there is a sample of them:

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Despite the complexity of the Syrian conflict, this will only end when all parties negotiate a realistic resolution. Apparently, Trump is not willing to do so, but a strong antiwar movement may force him (like in the past with previous administrations) to step back in his bellicose decisions.

While the U.S. antiwar movement is organizing to become stronger, Trump is deploying warships, and troops in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. Over the next months, the world will observe whether the antiwar movement succeeds or Trump causes chaos everywhere.

 

North Korea and the U.S.: Dangerous War Games

Over the last month, the escalation of the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea has seriously threatened the social peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. government is seriously considering the launch of a preemptive strike against North Korean nuclear facilities to reduce its nuclear capacity.

In a recent visit to South Korea, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a quixotic statement,

“Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to the military conflict,…If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, then that option’s on the table.”
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures.”

On the face of Tillerson’s threats, the young North Korean Supreme leader Kim Jon-Un has intensified his endeavors to endow the regime with a modern nuclear defense system capable of repelling any form of aggression.

Since Trump got into office, the North Korean regime has successfully tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korean and American military bases in the region. Besides that, North Korea is also developing a new long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction as far as the U.S.

According to the American Intelligence, the regime is in advanced stages of testing this new weapon, which will endow the regime with new military power. Further, this month, the North Korean government announced that it will test the above mentioned ballistic missile some time soon.

While the escalation of the conflict in the Korean Peninsula is reaching an unsustainable level, the weak South Korean government has merely suggested that North Korea is a global threat. These weak statements come after its former President Park Geun-Hye was impeached.

The North Korean regime has always used the same belligerent narrative against its enemies to repel any potential aggression. In fact, the continual American threats against North Korea, far from calming the situation, have encouraged the regime to adopt stronger bellicose positions.

Without a doubt, the North Korean development of new long-range ballistic missiles is bad news and should be halted somehow but always intelligently. For that to happen, the international community should soon present a new realistic nuclear disarmament program, including all of the parties involved in the conflict.

It is a fact that the North Korean regime is a tyrannical one, which punishes its citizens on a regular basis. However, it is hard to think that North Korea is willing to begin a conflict in the region because it would be a suicidal act.

Despite the fact that several countries think that a preemptive strike against North Korea is the best option at this point, the truth is that there are better alternatives that would not entail a potential war that could cause a real carnage in the region.

Over the last decade, the international community has routinely failed in its endeavors to normalize its relations with the North Korean regime. In part, this is due to the bellicose narrative directed at them by the U.S. However, this strategy has been demonstrated to be inefficient with “delusional” leaders such as Kim Jon-Un who has the courage of his convictions and will follow them to the bitter end.

China is probably the only country which can exert influence over the North Korean regime. Such being the case, to de-escalate the conflict in the region, the international community should count on the Chinese government.

Several experts gainsay this approach, on the grounds that China would never, in their opinion, cooperate with the international community to solve this conflict. However, the bottom line is, the Chinese government does not want North Korea to expand its nuclear arsenal. They know that a potential war in the region would jeopardize part of its territory. And if a North Korean failed launch accidentally drops a rocket on its territory it could cause countless casualties.

These developments are leading up to an inordinate mutual distrust between the two major powers in the world.

If there is one thing that is certain, it is that a preemptive war against North Korea would cause an undetermined number of casualties in the region. If it is true that the North Korean regime will never begin any war, it is also certain that if it ever feels attacked, the regime would then launch a mass ballistic missile attack against different locations (including South Korean and American military bases in Guam and Hawaii). Without a doubt, it would be devastating for the Korean Peninsula, and would constitute a point of no return in the conflict, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

Whether you are from Europe, China, South Korea, or the US is not important anymore. The most important thing for one to better understand is that the potential outbreak of a new conflict on the Korean Peninsula would negatively impact on your everyday life.

By coming to this understand, every citizen of every country, first of all, is morally obliged to explain the conflict to the political cast of his or her country, and secondly, demand a change in their strategy on the North Korean conflict.

 

Wikileaks Revelations Expose How the CIA Wants to Destroy Everyone’s Privacy

On Tuesday, Wikileaks published 8,761 documents revealing how the CIA hacks Samsung TVs, computers, phones and cars to spy on civilians all over the world. A CIA team created a new program capable of infecting the above-mentioned devices, turning them into microphones ready to collect information on their owners, even when the devices are apparently off.

Once the device is infected, the CIA can bypass the encryption on apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal by using phones programmed with Google’s Android and IOS platforms to collect audio and message traffic before encryption is applied. Further, infected devices to the controlling agent the user’s current(geographic) location, audio and text communications as well as discreetly operate the phone’s camera and microphone.”

According to Wikileaks, each technique the CIA has created ‘forms a “fingerprint” that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity’.

A troubling piece of information is that, According to Wikileaks, the aforementioned cyber weapons were compromised and the tools are likely to be in the hands of criminals and foreign intelligence agencies.

As if that weren’t enough, the release also suggests that the U.S. consulate in Germany is in fact a secret American base. Apparently, most of the workers at the Consulate are undercover hackers that regularly collect information on Europeans, Africans, and Middle EasternersIt suggests that there could be many other secret hacking bases in unsuspected places worldwide.

A curious discovery from the disclosure is that the CIA had hidden its operations trying to appear as if they were Russian hackers.Moreover, when it has often been suggested that the Russian government interfered in the last election to help Trump winthis suggests that CIA agents might have fabricated part of that story.

Experts who have started to analyze Wikileaks revelations said they appeared legitimate. They added that the release was the biggest in the CIA’s history.

Wikileaks has a long history of publishing authentic documents that have been leaked from government agencies, corporations, and powerful individuals.

When asked, a CIA spokesperson said:

“We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”

Wikileaks announced that this is the first in a series of documents to be published which will cover the CIA’s full suite of hacking tools.

“We need to know if the CIA lost control of its hacking tools, who may have those tools, and how do we now protect the privacy of Americans… The potential privacy concerns are mind-boggling,” he said.

With this disclosure, Wikileaks has exposed how vulnerable we all are. Snowden’s disclosure exposed that the CIA had the capability to monitor and record conversations on the Internet and by phone. It also exposed the collaboration between the CIA and the biggest phone and computing companies by sharing data to spy on civilians. However, yesterday’s disclosure goes beyond this collaboration; the CIA can now spy on anyone through a broad spectrum of electronic devices. This disclosure indicates that, in the current technological era, there are few options to prevent such an espionage, removing any sort of privacy from people’s lives.

Privacy is important because it allows us to think as we please without any external manipulation. Without it, no one can develop critical thinking mind, which is central to becoming the owner of their life. People are all at risk of falling into a “vegetative state” in which people will passively accept everything told by their governments. One wants to believe that this phase is still far away, but if these surveillance methods are not phased out soon, we will reach a point of no return.

It is a fact that there is already a wide spectrum of journalists and citizens who are influenced by third parties. The way they investigate; act, or use the Internet is determined by the fear of being under surveillance. 

When critics thought that “1984” by George Orwell was just a fantasy novel, they were wrong. It is true that our society is not yet in the situation depicted therein, but no one can deny that there are many parallels and unless the CIA indefinitely suspends its surveillance programs, within a decade or two, everyone will be very tightly controlled by their government in all circumstances, even in those places without any electronic devices.

While we wait for the second part of the Wikileaks revelations, we should all think about what kind of world we want to build for future generations and start thinking about how to fight back to better protect their privacy.

Trump’s Decision to Reduce the Budget in Foreign Aid Will Not Make America Safer

A few days ago, Trump’s cabinet announced its plan to cut the State Department’s budget by 37 %, including a great reduction in foreign aid in order to increase U.S. defense spending by $54 billion. That’s a 10% increase over the cap on defense spending imposed by a budget deal that Congress passed six years ago. White House Office of Management Budget director Mick Mulvaney said:

“We are going to propose to reduce foreign aid and we are going to propose to spend that money here,“He added that the proposed cuts would include “fairly dramatic reductions in foreign aid.”

“The overriding message is fairly straightforward: less money spent overseas means more money spent here.”

Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid has been strongly responded to by both Republicans and Democrats who think it could help terrorist organizations to expand their operational capacities. Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said:

“I am very concerned by reports of deep cuts that could damage efforts to combat terrorism, save lives and create opportunities for American workers.”

Among Republicans, Service intelligence agents and several generals, there is an increasing concern that either Trump thinks that foreign aid means to help foreign charitable organizations or that he is just seeking a new war, probably against Iran or North Korea. In fact, a potential war with either of them would undermine any effort to make America safer. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, tweeted last week:

“Foreign Aid is not charity.We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of the budget & critical to our national security.”

Trump’s obsession to start his war games is blinding him from reading reality. Increasing the defense budget will not make America safer without diplomacy. Included in the State Department’s budget is: diplomacy task which is essential to prevent new conflicts from erupting, as Secretary of Defense Jim Matis who was a general, back in 2013 said:

“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately. So I think it’s a cost-benefit ratio,” Mattis told members of Congress.

“The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully, the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene.”

More than 120 retired three and four-star generals sent a letter to the House and Senate leadership calling on Congress to “ensure that resources for the International Affairs Budget keep pace with the growing global threats and opportunities we face.” They also warned that Trump’s budget proposal would be extremely dangerous for American citizens. They added:

“Elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense are critical to keeping America safe.”

“We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone,””The State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.”

The letter was signed by some of the most prominent U.S. military officers to serve in recent decades, including retired General George Casey, former chief of staff of the U.S. Army; retired General David Petraeus, the former CIA director and commander of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, the former commander of U.S. Central Command; retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO; and retired General Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency.

Apparently, the Congress with Republican majority will refuse Trump’s budget since most of the Congressmen think its approval would weaken the security of the nation. However, American society will still be concerned until it happens due to Republicans‘ tendency for mind changes at the last moment. During the last presidential campaign, there were many republicans who said they would never vote for Trump, but in the end, they did.

For now, Congress will wait for Trump’s proposal and see if there is any modification. Even if it is finally modified, there is great concern that the increase in the defense budget will remain, which would mean a threat to the safety of American society. Regardless of the result, the most important point is that Trump will not have the last word.