The American Party of Labor, and Marxism-Leninism in general, defines fascism as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinist and most imperialist elements of a ruling class exercised through a fascist political party or organization having a mass base.
The current era is one of a weakening U.S. imperialism, wedged as it is in between rising Chinese social-imperialism and a less powerful but important E.U. imperialism. Moreover, under the impetus of the U.S. industrialists’ wish to outsource manufacturing jobs overseas because of cheap labor costs, they have unwittingly laid the seed of a manufacturing boom in many otherwise under-developed parts of the world. These have developed their own infrastructures and now possess a trained proletariat that is poised to become an increasing challenge to U.S. industrial market share.
As Bill Bland previously stated while analyzing American capitalism in the era of the Watergate Affair, the Democratic Party had become the representative of financial capital – so-called “Yankee capitalists.”
The Republican Party had become the party of the advanced aerospace and technology industries, and the oil industry – the so-called “cowboy” wing of the capitalists.
The Great Recession of the 21st century is one where financial capital created a vortex of debt based on no real working class-produced assets, known to Marx as “mythical” or “fictional capital.” Accordingly, its political representatives Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton shored up its profits and gave Wall Street new lease on life. They intend to continue this path. The Democratic Party nailed the pseudo-socialist Bernie Sanders for his attempts to raise these issues. They have also sidelined the capable Elizabeth Warren for daring to disagree with the Clinton Dynasty.
The Republican Party has been unable to define a clear path forward. They are in a true crisis – not one just depicted as such by the bourgeois press.
Firstly, the dramatic surge in oil supply, and the challenges of liquid oil have been a challenge to the profits and power of one traditional stalwart of the Republican Party.
Added to which the high-tech service industry of this era, namely “Silicon Valley” and its denizens, have been until now fed by intellectual labor immigration from overseas, especially from India and China. But increasingly this sector has been under attack from E.U. challenges and labor unrest in China, where much of their products are made in the labor-hells of Guangzhou and Shenzen, etc. Finally, the recent FBI attacks can be seen as an attempt by the finance capitalists to undermine the Silicon Valley capitalists.
In this situation, the difficulties of the capitalist state are exacerbated by a rising unemployment rate, a move towards declining real wages, and the movement from below to raise the minimum wage.
All this has created an enormous pressure on the Republican Party. Hence the rise of the “Tea Party,” which represented the restless petty-bourgeois and elements of the disenfranchised white working class. But the “Tea Party” was not able to put a mass party together or to gain mass support. Hence, the rise of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump represents the interests of the most reactionary wing of the monopoly bourgeoisie, with the support of the petty-bourgeoisie and small producers, and trying to build a mass movement by penetrating into the working class as far as possible based on demagogy and right-wing populism.
Trump’s wealth is mainly based on the real estate market and service industries, run through the multinational conglomerate known as the Trump Organization.
A fascist dictatorship makes use of an organized social base, particularly among the petty-bourgeoisie. Fascism seeks to build its mass base primarily among the petty-bourgeoisie and lumpenproletariat, but also seeks to extend its influence as far as is possible into the working class and its organizations.
Let us look the facts straight in the eye: the Trump campaign is neo-fascist in character, adapted to the conditions of American monopoly capitalism.
It is a fallacy to think that a fascist movement only arises in response to a mass working class movement. The Italian fascists had already smashed Gramsci and the worker’s movement when it launched itself. Similarly in the USA, a real, mass working class movement is absent.
The objective of the turn to fascism is not to smash the organized working class, but to preempt it from developing.
Fascism has taken many forms historically dependent on the specific material conditions in the given nation in which it manifests. Being openly anti-rational, fascism in its initial stages is more a collection of attitudes formed by a particular world outlook than a coherent movement or organized party. Fascist ideology belongs to reactionary and radically right-wing sentiments that are amorphous by their very nature. The Trump campaign represents a proto-fascist movement rapidly developing in the direction of full-blown fascism, acquiring more and more of the characteristics of a fascist movement, even if the details of its program are constantly changing, full of inconsistencies and blatantly opportunistic. This opportunism is typical of fascist movements.
Signs of this include its repeated pledges to “restore American greatness,” talk of national decline and aggressive foreign policy, abusively racist and extremist rhetoric appealing to voters’ worst fears and prejudices, openly chauvinist attitudes towards women, and demagogic “anti-capitalist” propaganda. The xenophobic, rabble-rousing billionaire Trump has made mass mobilization his main goal, urging his followers to blame their economic troubles on Mexican immigrants and Muslims, exploiting ethnic stereotypes and fear of foreigners. He threatens to ban Muslim immigration, place Muslims on a national registry and murder the relatives of terrorists, even while he pays lip service to pseudo-radical “anti-capitalism,” attacking Wall Street for ruining the economy and making puppets out of mainstream politicians. Recently Trump has begun opening condoning and encouraging violence at his rallies, and a paramilitary known as the “Lion’s Guard” has formed around him.
Trump’s brand of atavistic, reckless American ultra-nationalism can only be defeated through militant, organized mass action in the streets of every city he attempts to speak at and at the Republican Convention itself. Should Trump win the nomination, revolutionary, progressive and mass organizations must prepare themselves for prolonged and intensified struggle.
The Cinematheque (legal name: Pacific Cinémathèque Pacifique), founded in 1972, is a Canadian charity and non-profit film institute, media education centre, and film exhibitor based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The organization’s mission is to foster the appreciation of the art and legacy of cinema, and to advance critical thinking and thoughtful education about the impact of moving-images and screen-based media in society.
The Cinematheque was one of several Vancouver cultural organizations to emerge from the vibrant avant-garde and alternative arts scene that developed on Canada’s West Coast in the late 1960s and early 1970s. An important hub of this activity was Vancouver’s Intermedia Society, a multidisciplinary collective, founded in 1967, of visual, performance, and media artists, including those interested in experimental, poetic, and “personal” cinema. In 1969, the Intermedia Film Co-op, a distributor and presenter of Vancouver-made independent film, emerged as an offshoot.
In 1971, Kirk Tougas, a young Vancouver filmmaker and film programmer and member of Intermedia, was asked by Werner Aellen, the director of Intermedia, and Tony Emery, the director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, to organize regular film screenings at the Art Gallery. With further institutional support from the National Film Board of Canada and its regional director Bruce Pilgrim, this led to the founding of the Pacific Cinémathèque as “as a film museum, archive, and showcase.” The organization was incorporated as a non-profit society in the Province of British Columbia in August 1972, with Tougas as its first director, a capacity in which he served until 1980.
Tony Reif, a Vancouver critic and curator of avant garde cinema, and now the owner of the Vancouver-based avant jazz record label Songlines, served as The Cinematheque’s film programmer through much of the 1970s. Jeff Wall, the Vancouver artist now internationally renowned for his large-scale photo-based work, served as a film programmer in 1975-76. Tom Braidwood, the filmmaker and actor who later played Melvin Fohike, one of the three “Lone Gunmen” on the television series The X-Files and its spin-off series The Lone Gunmen, was The Cinematheque’s manager in the early 1980s.
The Cinematheque was without a permanent home in its early years and used several local auditoriums for its public film screenings, including the old National Film Board of Canada theatre on West Georgia Street; the provincial government’s Robson Square facility in downtown Vancouver; and the Vancouver Museum in Vanier Park on Vancouver’s West Side.
In March 1986, The Cinematheque moved to its current home in the new, purpose-built Pacific Cine Centre at 1131 Howe Street, a facility developed to also house two other local film organizations, the Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society (still a co-occupant) and Canadian Filmmakers Distribution West (since relocated, and now known as Moving Images Distribution). The Cine Centre was heralded as “Canada’s first cultural centre dedicated to the cinematic arts to house under one roof production and distribution facilities for independent filmmakers and exhibition facilities for the community at large.”
In a notorious incident of anti-institutional artistic vandalism, on March 28, 1986, during one of the Cine Centre’s official opening-week events, the filmmaker Al Razutis, while participating in a panel on experimental film practice, defaced the front wall of Cinematheque’s brand-new theatre by spray painting, below the movie screen, “Avant-garde spits in the face of institutional art.” This “direct action” performance was documented in the 1986 short film On the Problems of the Autonomy of Art in Bourgeois Society or… Splice, co-directed by Doug Chomyn, Scott Haynes, and Razutis.
The Cinematheque has been led since 1991 by Jim Sinclair, who holds the title of Executive and Artistic Director. Sinclair joined the organization in 1987, was appointed its program (now artistic) director in 1988, and named its executive director in 1991.
The Cinematheque conducted its public activities under the name “Pacific Cinémathèque” until 2012, when it began operating publicly as, simply (and without accents), “The Cinematheque.”
Team Andromeda’s latest Panzer Dragoon game is the finale of its trilogy on the Saturn and is, of all things, a role playing game. But what a role playing game it is. I’m sure many had doubts as to whether a straight up 3D shooter could actually translate to an RPG. But Team Andromeda has done it, and done it with style. They’ve wrapped up their trilogy and answered all of the questions left in mystery from the first two chapters in an incredible game that really defines the term, “cinematic RPG”.
The game spans 4 CD’s with many high-quality CG FMV cut scenes, and incredible voice acting. Thankfully, Sega decided to simply subtitle the original Japanese dialogue. Not only does this create an even greater sense of playing a game in an entirely different world, but also saves us from the usually awful English dubbing from American voice actors with no understanding of the characters or the emotions involved. The Japanese voice actors do a wonderful job and breathe real life into the hero, Edge, and the supporting cast. The cinemas are top of the line and are by far the best ever seen on the Saturn. The biggest improvement in the FMV is the excellent array of facial expressions on the characters. Characters no longer act like plastic toys that walk, but like real people.
The story is one of numerous twists and turns that keep you wondering and enthralled to the very end. You control Edge, a young mercenary in the hire of the Empire to protect one of the ancient ruins from the monsters and thieves that roam the world. The story opens with a monster appearing in the ruin Edge is helping to protect. In the ensuing battle with the beast, a strange artifact is uncovered. It is a beautiful girl enclosed in some kind of cocoon, hidden underground for ages. Before Edge can even begin to wonder what she’s doing there, a distress call that was sent out earlier is answered by a rebellious faction of the Empire led by Lord Craymen. Craymen’s henchmen kill Edge’s comrades and knock him unconscious. He awakens to see them leaving with the girl, and begins running after them. But before he gets very far he is shot and falls into a deep chasm.
He miraculously finds himself alive at the bottom of the chasm. He swims out of a large pool of water near the entrance to a hidden area underneath the ruin. Shortly, he is attacked by a countless number of monsters and his demise seems imminent. But he is saved at the last second by a dragon. This is the beginning of a unique bond and friendship that will lead Edge and the dragon on an incredible journey with an astounding climax that ties together all 3 Panzer Dragoon games and explains the purpose of the dragons and the mysteries of the towers.
The graphics in Panzer Dragoon Saga are wonderful, and at times simply breathtaking. It starts out rather slowly, flying through bare canyons and deserts, but when you reach areas like Georgius and Uru, you’ll find yourself simply staring at the screen with your jaw on the floor. The beauty and sheer creativity of many of the levels is incredible. Team Andromeda has not only created a living, vibrant world, but they’ve also given it a style that is unique to the series. You’ll see quite a few similar elements from the previous games, and many new surprises. The environments range from futuristic, to organic, to classical architecture from Greece, Rome and nomadic cultures. And at many times it is a combination of all of these together to create a unique look, which invokes a sense of the past, overlapped by nature and technology. It really has to be seen to get the sense of what I’m trying to convey with words.
The entire game is fully 3D and made up of textured polygons. They really pushed every ounce of power out of the Saturn’s 3D engine to create the look of the game. It makes for a very immersing experience. There are very few polygonal glitches and the game runs at a very smooth frame rate. There is some slowdown in spots when Edge is exploring a town and goes through an enclosed area. But it is brief and effects the gameplay not at all. There is excellent use of light sourcing in areas like the camp and the caravan at nighttime and excellent transparencies on some levels. The battle scenes run very fast and look wonderful. Some of the monsters look so amazing that it’s a shame you have to kill them. Your dragon’s Berserker spells are very impressive and use every graphical trick the Saturn has.
The music and sound are equally impressive. The music combines the same aspects as the graphics with classical arrangements supported by tribal drum beats with some futuristic sounding instruments to give that same sense of historical layering that you get from the graphics. All of the dialogue in the game is done with Japanese voice actors and English subtitles. I was very happy when I heard that this is what they were doing for the US version. Not only does it further enhance the feeling of being in a different world; the English dubs are generally awful and often ruin the experience. The Japanese voice actors did an incredible job, especially for the main characters of Edge and Azel. Every emotion is expressed wonderfully and it makes the characters seem so real that you begin to empathize with them during the game. Panzer Saga is a visual and aural masterpiece, and Team Andromeda deserves much praise for putting so much effort into making a world for us to play in.
The gameplay in Panzer Saga is equally impressive and is likely a glimpse into the future of the traditional RPG’s gameplay. I highly recommend using the Nights analog controller for this game as it works perfectly with it. You control the dragon’s flight with the pad and you can perform barrel rolls and fly anywhere you please in the area you’re in. By pressing the A button you bring up the lock on sights which you use to explore and examine various items and creatures. These can open items, battles or one of the many secrets hidden throughout the game. It’s well worth it to explore everything and look everywhere.
Most battles occur randomly as you’re flying around. The battles are run in real time and use a variation on the active time battle system of Squaresoft’s. It also incorporates movement during battles which is something that I’ve always felt should be used in traditional RPG’s. It adds a higher sense of realism as well as more complex strategies. The center of your battle menu is the radar display. Your dragon can move to four points around its enemies. Where to move is determined by the radar display. A green section is safe and you can stay there without fear of being attacked. A clear section indicates an area where you can be attacked by a weak enemy weapon. Red areas are to be avoided at all costs as they represent a powerful attack by the enemy. Next to the radar are your three charge bars. Depending on what type of attack you wish to make will determine how many bars you need to let charge. One bar allows a basic attack with your gun or the dragon’s homing laser’s. Two bars allow for a Berserker, or magic, attack. Your dragon has 6 berserk classes with certain spells in each class. Some classes are best against single enemies, others for large groups, and others for healing. You gain new berserk attacks as you gain levels, but two are earned by finding certain items during the course of the game and one class takes 3 charge bars to use. Every battle requires you to be on your toes and manage your attacks properly. It’s rare in an RPG to have random battles that are so much fun. Usually they become tedious rather quickly, but the pace of the ones in Saga keep you interested and always looking for more. They’re fun, and that makes a big difference in the gameplay.
At the end of each battle you receive a ranking based on your performance. The rankings go from Narrow Escape (the worst) to Excellent (the best). How you do determines how much experience and money you receive, and also whether you’ll receive an item. Some items are rare and can only be found by defeating a monster with an excellent rating. And after you gain a certain number of levels, your dragon will evolve into a new form with stronger lasers and statistics.
Panzer Dragoon Saga is a revolutionary RPG that combines elements from numerous genres into an incredible whole that could very well change the way RPG’s play in the near future. My gripes with the game are few and barely worth mentioning, but I would be remiss as a reviewer if I didn’t. The game is a bit too short. Total gameplay time is around 18 hours without cinemas. With all the cinemas it runs around 25 to 30 hours. The game didn’t feel unfinished or rushed; you just want it to last longer. A few more areas to explore and side quests couldn’t have hurt, but storage limitations were likely what prevented that.
Another problem was that it was a very easy game. Yes, there are a lot of secrets to find and plenty of replay value, but to finish the game doesn’t take much. I didn’t die once and I wasn’t trying to level up to become stronger than the enemies. A game doesn’t need to be mind numbingly hard, but some intense battles that are tough to win really increase a sense of accomplishment on completion of the game. And finally, the ranking system was fairly inconsistent. Most of the time I couldn’t understand why I received the rank that I did. I could take a ton of damage from an enemy and have to heal more than once in the course of the battle, and still receive an Excellent rank. Other times I could take no damage and not even be close to danger and receive a Close Call rank. It just rarely made sense and I still haven’t figured it out. The manual says that high ranks are given for fighting “efficiently”. What that entails, I do not know.
But all of those gripes are minor and don’t effect the experience negatively. This is an incredible game and one that every RPG fan should own. And hopefully it will hook many that never considered playing an RPG, and make them love the genre. RPG’s are experiencing a renaissance right now, and Panzer Saga is a Michelangelo in the genre. Team Andromeda is a rising star in the industry and are easily the equal of the greatest developers in the industry. You can tell when a developer really cares about making a great game, and it’s obvious everywhere you look in Panzer Saga that they love what they do.
Neo-noir is a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that prominently utilize elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in films noir of the 1940s and 1950s.
40. Slam Dance (1987) – Wayne Wang 39. I, The Jury (1982) – Richard T. Heffron 38. Murphy’s Law (1986) – J. Lee Thompson 37. Body Double (1984) – Brian De Palma 36. 8 Million Ways To Die (1986) – Hal Ashby 35. The Border (1982) – Tony Richardson 34. Against All Odds (1984) – Taylor Hackford 33. The Dead Pool (1988) – Buddy Van Horn 32. True Confessions (1981) – Ulu Grosbard 31. Year Of The Dragon (1985) – Michael Cimino 30. Cop (1988) – James B. Harris 29. Sudden Impact (1983) – Clint Eastwood 28. Still Of The Night (1982) – Robert Benton 27. Mike’s Murder (1984) – James Bridges 26. Black Rain (1989) – Ridley Scott 25. Tightrope (1984) – Clint Eastwood 24. Sea Of Love (1989) – Harold Becker 23. Trouble In Mind (1985) – Alan Rudolph 22. Kill Me Again (1989) – John Dahl 21. Eyewitness (1981) – Peter Yates 20. Fatal Attraction (1987) – Adrian Lyne 19. Thief (1981) – Michael Mann 18. D.O.A. (1988) – Annabel Jankel 17. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) – Richard Donner 16. Cutter’s Way (1981) – Ivan Passer 15. The Big Easy (1987) – Jim McBride 14. Jagged Edge (1985) – Richard Marquand 13. Dressed To Kill (1980) – Brian De Palma 12. To Live And Die In L.A. (1985) – William Friedkin 11. No Way Out (1987) – Roger Donaldson 10. Manhunter (1986) – Michael Mann 09. Lethal Weapon (1987) – Richard Donner 08. Angel Heart (1987) – Alan Parker 07. Prince Of The City (1981) – Sidney Lumet 06. House Of Games (1987) – David Mamet 05. Body Heat (1981) – Lawrence Kasdan 04. Witness (1985) – Peter Weir 03. Die Hard (1988) – John McTiernan 02. Blood Simple (1984) – Joel Coen 01. Blue Velvet (1986) – David Lynch
Welcome to 1950’s America – immersing itself in all things gloriously Atomic – from kaleidoscopic barkcloth to sleek stylish boomerang tables to an episode of The Jetsons. An amorous affair with the molecular which would ultimately shift into a universal apocalyptic dread unprecedented in human history. North American paradox at its best.
And here’s where it all began. In 1939 the physicist, Enrico Fermi, succeeded in splitting the first atom. Fission – and the beginning of the scientific and technological advances that would lead to the creation of the Atom Bomb.
Essentially, the detonation of the first atomic bomb (oddly named “Trinity”) ushered in what came to be known as The Atomic Age. The Atomic Era could be described as a surreal and bizarre period of atomic optimism which initially infused an entire culture with promises of the wonders of a nuclear future. And it left no stone unturned.
This collective obsession with the alluring atom found its way into virtually every aspect of popular culture. Design driven by technology – architecture, industrial design, advertising, interior design, fine arts and entertainment. Feast your eyes – The elemental became “all”.
Atomic Design became irresistible with the use of atomic motifs and abstract organic forms finding their way into all aspects everyday America.
The wallpaper you woke up to, the curtains you closed, the radio you cranked up, the tea towels you dried with, the counter you spilled milk on, the ashtray you filled, the games you played, the motel you heard rumours about. You get the picture.
Meanwhile across the pond the Soviet Union pursued its own atomic technology. Runners at your marks. Ready. Set. And the race had begun.
The Soviet Union worked steadily on its nuclear technology and conducted its first nuclear tests on August 29, 1949 becoming the second nation after the U.S. to create an atom bomb.
And though the USSR didn’t seem to share the same all-encompassing aesthetic obsession with all things Atomic, who could resist that little atom’s appeal?
It seems that while the U.S. loved exploring the marvels of Atomic energy, it wasn’t too pleased that another country could possess it as well. And, slowly but surely, an ominous cloud overcast the carefree days of boomerang bobby-socks, molecular malts and a visit to the Atomic Drive-In. A national sense of unprecedented apocalyptic dread crept insidiously into the American collective consciousness.
ISIS™ is a trademark, it’s a catch-phrase, it’s a marketing slogan for an unpopular and unwanted war… at least, an unpopular and unwanted war if anyone really knew why we were there and who we were bombing.
That’s why ISIS™ always seems to be their own worst enemy; making fake beheading videos in which no one gets beheaded, producing said videos at just the right time to provide cover for U.S. or British legal actions against ISIS™, meeting with American politicians in order to get huge amounts of unconventional warfare cash, committing the Yasidi Genocide that turned out to be nothing at all, beheading babies that turned out to not have happened at all, recruiting toddlers and giving them guns bigger than they are and generally parading around in U.S. surplus military gear waving flags and looking about as menacing as your average Junior ROTC Float on Independence Day.
The “ISIS™ is EVERYWHERE!” story has become so ludicrous even the leading propagandist for everything Obama, Jon Stewart, had poke fun at the stupidity of it all last night.
“You guys said ISIS is the most evil thing since Hitler’s sliced bread. For God’s sakes, you broke into ‘Dancing With The Stars’ to tell us we’re hunting down members and assets wherever they are,” Stewart said. “Well, these guys are burning tank donuts on a Kobani hilltop and they are ISIS so what’s up?” Huffington Post
Of course, Stewart was “jokingly” prodding the Obama administration into bombing a Syrian town, getting his fake “liberal” audience to laugh along with his backhanded warmongering.
However, the point here is, the ISIS™ Crisis story is wearing thin and even those dedicated to it’s continual promotion are starting to poke fun at it if for no other reason than their instinct for self-preservation.
I’m often asked “if I don’t believe the stories about ISIS, then why are we there?” and that is a legitimate question. Here’s the answer:
“The stabilization of Iraq has become wedged on a plateau, beyond which further improvement will be a slow process” absent some critical catalyzing event or events like a New Pearl Harbor.
ISIS™ Defined Part 1: It Ain’t ISIS
In a June 2009 communiqué issued to celebrate the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq’s cities, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri stressed the goal of “resistance unity on the battlefield.” One U.S. officer noted: “We believe now that JRTN’s intent is to coalesce as many insurgent groups…under a common theme of removing the occupiers (the Coalition Forces) from Iraq and, second, to overthrow the government of Iraq for a Ba`athist regime or something similar.” JRTN states that it would be willing to negotiate a cease-fire with the government of Iraq and the United States, but only once many of the changes wrought in Iraq since 2003 are reversed, including the unattainable stated aim of restoring all of the 600,000-odd security personnel to their former statuses and disestablishing all government organs and laws introduced since the occupation began.…
…JRTN’s video productions have consistently focused on the concerns of mainstream Sunnis, such as the fear of an Iranian-influenced Shia government in Baghdad, concerns about Kurdish activities in the disputed areas (termed “the occupied territories” by JRTN), and general discontent about the apparent chaos and corruption since the end of Baathist rule. Michael Knights, Combating Terrorism Center, July 2011
The 2008 U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. signed by George W. Bush on Nov. 17th, 2008 (just AFTER the election), stipulated U.S. forces would begin leaving Iraq in mid-2009 and be completely withdrawn by Dec. 2011. The schedule was maintained as Nuri al-Maliki refused several offers by the Obama administration to extend the withdrawal date as he thought he could maintain control over the vast majority of the population who were rightly upset about how the New Iraq was going.
This is what motivated Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, Saddam’s Vice President, in 2009 to announce his call to arms to all Iraqis who wanted to see the neoliberal laws and organs of corruption installed by the Bush regime wiped clean from their nation in the wake of the occupier’s exit.
I mention his name because he is still involved in this insurgency as you can see from this June 2014 article from Reuters detailing the recent fall of Mosul:
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki blames his Sunni political opponents for conspiring against him and supporting armed groups like those that took Mosul, while his Kurdish and Sunni rivals – including Mosul governor Atheel Nujaifi and brother Usama, the outgoing speaker of parliament – say he failed to heed their warnings that Mosul’s implosion was coming.
While the politicians were deadlocked in charge and counter-charge, the Sunni militants grew in strength and took advantage of their divisions, which could lead to Iraq’s break-up into Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish territories.
It had long been known that Mosul, a city of 2 million people, hosted not just the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but also the Baathist militant group the Jaish Naqshbandi, believed to be headed by Ezzat Ibrahim al Douri, a former close aide to Saddam Hussein. Reuters
I toss that in there just so you understand this isn’t about some legitimate uprising that was hijacked by ISIS™ as I am sure many of the Cass Sunstein types in the alternative media will try to have you believe. Fact is, the Jaish Naqshbandi have been fighting and winning their insurgency against our corrupt client state in Iraq since early 2011, hitting targets that were instrumental to al-Malaki’s holding power. Their efforts have been so successful, they have pushed from the north to the very edges of the Green Zone in Baghdad and al-Maliki had to reverse his previous position and publicly ask for the U.S. to come back to Iraq to help him maintain control.
Not only did our puppet dictator have to humble himself and ask us for help, but he has also been seen cutting deals with the Russians in exchange for oil drilling rights in southern Iraq for their support as well. Piece by piece Maliki is pawning off what rightfully belongs to the people of Iraq in exchange for more time in charge of our client state. It doesn’t matter who he sells it too or how cheaply he gives these precious assets away just so long as he remains in power and Iraq remains a neoliberalized state.
The Jaish Naqshbandi (JTRN) are not ISIS. Not even close.
Remember when they lied to us about Saddam supporting al Qaeda when they wanted to invade Iraq back in 2003? Remember how some of us pointed out that was a complete lie because the Ba’athists were secular and hated terrorist groups, especially al Qaeda. Learned scholars from the area repeatedly pointed out that Saddam had standing orders to capture and kill any al Qaeda members who strayed into his country and eventually even the MSM and the Bush administration had to give up on that particular lie.
Well, remember, the Jaish Naqshbandi (JTRN) are Ba’athists, they are in fact the remains of Saddam’s old regime and they have absolutely no interest in supporting terrorists of any kind, not even when one tries to claim “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. It didn’t work that way with Saddam (he was no friend of the U.S. in the end and supposedly neither was al Qaeda) and it doesn’t work that way with the Naqshbandi army nor the larger umbrella organization which the Naqshbandi army is part of, the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (GMCIR) which was founded later in the struggle in mid-2013 and announced in Jan. 2014.
“GMCIR members state that JTRN members and former Ba’athist officers are represented in their organization, including in its Political Council; however, they assert that these officers are not the most important figures within it.  Arabic media report that social media sites affiliated with JRTN claim it is operating in Ninewah and Salah al-Din governorates in close cooperation with the GMCIR and its affiliate, the Military Council of Iraqi Tribal Revolutionaries (Dunya al-Watan [Ramallah], June 12).” Jamestown Foundation
Let’s take a look at what one high ranking GMCIR had to say in a recent interview about “ISIS” and their revolution:
Maj. General Mizher Al Qaissi, Official Spokesman for The General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries:
Today, the Tribal Revolutionaries have lit a flame for a Revolution that will never be put out; this Revolution began since our people asked for legitimate rights and they asked for them through their constitutional sit-ins but they were met with fire and brimstone…
The person who started it is Maliki – Maliki forced us to behave in this manner. For when (army) divisions are sent to our areas and checkpoints and inspection points are set-up in our areas the intention is to degrade and subjugate people and this is what we will not accept and this is what we mentioned in our first statements when we stated and defined the enemy as whoever hurts the Iraqi people and insults their dignity as well as attacks them and their possessions…
There are no connections nor is there coordination. As I have previously said – the organization exists and it has some fighters and it has some areas in which it moves, but this revolution is that of Tribes and this is what we want to get to the whole world – that this Revolution is a new Iraqi Spring and that it is an armed Revolution to end repression and injustice. It has no connection with any other agendas. And it has no relationship to any terrorism or any other parties…
We are not bombing ISIS™ in Iraq. We are bombing the Naqshbandi army , the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (GMCIR), the Military Council of Iraqi Tribal Revolutionaries and various other tribal militias which have all risen up in response to the repressive behavior and extremely harsh living conditions created by the neoliberal client state we illegally installed back in 2003.
But these are not random subgroups with opposing ideologies who have come together… there is something very specific that unites them… they are all socialist in nature. And God knows, Barack Obama can’t be the president who allows Iraq to return to a socialist state under his watch.
That’s what Ba’athist means – the slogan “Unity, liberty, socialism” is the key tenet in Ba’athist thought.
As you might imagine, socialist Ba’athists might find it a bit hard to align themselves with Salafist/Wahhabist far-right wing ISIS members.
In fact, the Salafists and Wahhabists hate socialists with a passion and do everything they can to destroy Arab socialist states. That’s why they were brought in to aid in the overthrow of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the socialist leaning government of Morsi in Egypt. Curious now that one is threatening to form in Iraq and Obama has ISIS to justify his bombing campaigns… curious… and rather obvious when you think about it in those terms.
What is it exactly that the Sunnis and most Iraqis hate about the government that we installed in Iraq?
Well, let’s go back to what Maj. General Mizher Al Qaissi said: this Revolution began since our people asked for legitimate rights and they asked for them through their constitutional sit-ins but they were met with fire and brimstone…
Though the revolution really started quite a bit earlier than that with the rise of the Arab Spring (some real, some manufactured), what the general is referring to is the Al-Hawija Massacre of 2013. Exact numbers on how many protesters were killed are hard to come by. The al-Maliki government had shut down access to the 4,000 or so protesters who had been sealed off by government soldiers for days with no food or water or medical supplies.
GICJ has informed UN officials that the army and militias stormed the demonstration area at about 5 a.m. Iraqi time, Tuesday, 23 April 2013, attacking protestors who have been demanding that their basic rights be respected. This was a direct attack where forces went in and began to shoot heavily and indiscriminately using live ammunition, tanks and helicopters. Forces also brought in trucks with water hoses and hosed demonstrators down using extremely hot water, causing serious burns and deaths. According to our direct source in Hawija, at least 50 demonstrators have been killed, an additional 150 injured, and more than 400 have been arrested. Forces were also reported to have attacked the injured and set fire to civilian vehicles. Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) April 29, 2013
It’s curious isn’t it that this slaughter received so little attention here in the states while the fake revolution in China gets constant airtime if one of the police there teargases some protester. Well, actually, it isn’t all that hard to understand, now is it?
After the slaughter, al-Maliki was emboldened by his relative success… no one in the international community condemned his brutality and certainly the “socialist” president in America didn’t say anything… so, he promised through his generals, to continue the behavior:
Recently, General Ali Ghaidan Majid, Iraqi Land Forces Commander, openly threatened protestors around the country affirming that he is both authorized and determined to take serious actions against all demonstrators, calling them terrorists and Ba’athists. This is a commonly used excuse by Maliki and his forces to arrest, detain, torture and execute citizens. Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) April 29, 2013
You notice how those two are intertwined? Terrorists and Ba’athists? They were peaceful protesters who were slaughtered by our puppet regime in Baghdad and since then countless more have been murdered by Maliki’s death squads or arrested and whisked off to black site prisons, probably run by U.S. contractors, for simply believing in an alternative form of government… a more inclusive form of government, of the people, by the people and ultimately for the people.
“if I don’t believe the stories about ISIS, then why are we there?”
Well that is simple folks.. we are there for the same reason we supported the Batista dictatorship in Cuba, theAtlacatl Battalion in El Salvadore that killed 70,000 or so in support of the far-right fascism we established there… for the same reason we overthrew the liberal government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 and for the same reason the CIA and the U.K.’s MI6 overthrew the popular, elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. It’s the same reason we destroyed Aristide’s Lavalas movement in Haiti.
“In 1965, General Suharto seized effective power from President Sukarno on the pretext of combatting a failed coup and unleashed an orgy of mass murder that killed at least half a million people. U.S. diplomats later admitted providing lists of 5,000 Communist Party members to be killed. Political officer Robert Martens said, “It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.”
Obama’s mother and adoptive father both worked for the Suharto regime while President Peace Prize was a little boy just then forming his views on socialism.
And yes, there was the Iraqi death squads or the Salvador Option from back in 2005-2006
After the U.S. invaded Iraq on false pretenses in 2003, the CIA recruited 27 brigades of “Special Police,” merging the most brutal of Saddam Hussein’s security forces with the Iranian-trained Badr militia to form death squads that murdered tens of thousands of mostly Sunni Arab men and boys in Baghdad and elsewhere in a reign of terror that continues to this day.
There is a long sordid, horrific list of crimes against humanity we have either endorsed or created in pursuit of our special brand of democracy, freedom and social justice. Most would just call it fascism.
Today’s story is not entirely unique or new for that matter. It’s really just more of the same. The only difference is, because of an open and free internet, a world of information is readily available for you at the touch of a button. These are not conspiracy theories I reference, but historical fact many coming straight from the horse’s mouth at the CIA and State Department’s archives. They are as undeniable as the fact that we aren’t bombing ISIS anywhere except in our imaginations. And we’re only still bombing them there because we choose to as the brutal reality of our even more brutal foreign policy is simply too ugly to look at anymore.
Yeah, I would love to BELIEVE in the goodness of our cause. I would love to hate on ISIS as everyone else does. It’s so simple a child could do it. Which may in fact be a hint if you know what I mean.
But the real world is a bit more complicated than “they hate us for our freedom” and it’s only if we choose to understand it that we will. So, you asked, I told you. Now do with it what you will. But you can’t ignore it. Once your eyes adjust to the light, you have to leave the darkness behind whether you want to or not.
Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, known in Europe as Albucasis, is considered one of the most outstanding physicians of the al-Andalus region and one of the greatest surgeons of his time. His patronym (name passed down from his father), al-Zahrawi, indicates that his native city was Madinat al-Zahra, the governmental centre and cultural metropolis established in 936 AD near Cordoba, in southern Spain. We do not know exactly when he was born but it is considered that it was some time after 936 AD. He died around 1010 AD.
We have little information about his life. He lived in the territory of al-Andalus, during the second half of the 10th century AD, when Andalusian medicine was reaching high levels of advancement, surpassing the medical knowledge and practices inherited from the Romans. This was a period when physicians such as al-Zahrawi participated in scientific sessions where disciplines such as astronomy, mathematics and philosophy were discussed.
We know of only one work of al-Zahrawi’s that has survived: a medical encyclopaedia entitled Kitab al-tasrif li man ‘ajiza min al-ta’lif roughly translating as “The arrangement of medical knowledge for one who is not able to compile a book for himself”. It is an illustrated 1500-page encyclopaedia of medicine and surgery.
This work was the result of almost 50 years of medical practice and experience and arose in the second half of the 10th century AD, almost without precedent. It is one of the greatest works in Andalusian history and can only be compared to the level of the great physicians practising 200 years later in the 12th century AD. Like other early Arabic medical writers, a1-Zahrawi based his work on Greek authorities. In fact, he mentions more than 60 sources, among them Galenus, al-Razi and Ibn al-Jazzar. In some instances, he draws heavily upon Alexandrian physician Paul of Aegina who practised in the 7th century AD.
With his work, al-Zahrawi aimed to help train students and to provide a reference manual for the practising physician. His work allows the reader to be self-sufficient and alleviates the need to consult the manuals produced in the East, which al-Zahrawi describes as “inexplicable works of the ancients”, referring to the difficulties encountered in understanding the Arabic translations of Greek medical texts. However, this comment does not mean that he did not know the contributions of Arabic classical oriental medicine – quite the contrary. The Tasrif is not only a collection of quotations from the medical literature known to the author but also the work of a physician and surgeon with extensive experience, which is evident on almost every page of his work.
The Tasrif is divided into 30 books. The author first reviews clinical and general medicine (Books 1 and 2), studying human nature and temperament, anatomy, pathology, classification of diseases, symptoms and treatment. It is surprising to note the care with which al-Zahrawi develops anatomy, a discipline that is essential knowledge for any surgeon. His study of pathology is also remarkable.
He analysed 325 diseases, paying close attention to al-Razi, from whom he learnt the treatise on the differential diagnosis of smallpox and measles. His study on fevers closely follows that of an earlier physician, Ishaq b. Sulayman al-Isra’ili, who published one of the earliest known descriptions of haemophilia. Books 26 and 27 deal with hygiene and diet but al-Zahrawi seems to be more interested by the study of pharmacology, a topic dealt with in chapters 3 to 25 and 28 to 29. Worth mentioning is chapter 19 which details the first-known independent treatment of cosmetics in al-Andalus.
The concept of pharmacology that al-Zahrawi presents is primarily the work of a doctor rather than a naturalist. He is concerned with the technique of preparation of drugs from substances of vegetable, mineral or animal origin, a topic dealt with in chapter 28. This is one of the most well-known chapters of the book as it was translated into Latin as Liber Servitoris in the late 13th century AD by Abraham Judaeus of Tortosa and Simon of Genoa, and printed in Venice in 1417 AD. On this topic, al-Zahrawi seems to be much influenced by Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist Dioscorides but still adds many details not found in the Greek work, especially as far as drugs used in al-Andalus are concerned.
Books 25 and 28 describe laboratory techniques in detail, which gives an interesting insight into the history of chemistry. The remote origin of some of these techniques can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia. Al-Zahrawi also follows the techniques used by craftsmen and perfumers of Iraq and Egypt, thus widening the geographic reach of the narrow academic circle of the time.
Despite the importance of the medical and pharmacological parts of the Tasrif, the fame of this work comes from book 30 which is a treatise on surgery, based on the work of Paul of Aegina and al-Zahrawi’s own experience. In the foreword to this chapter, he regrets the low scientific level of surgery reached in his time and gives several examples in which the patient died due to the surgeon’s incompetence. Prudence has to be applied in this professional activity and al-Zahrawi presents clear criteria to determine when surgery is feasible and when it is useless and dangerous. For example, he advises to refrain from intervening in cases of hydrocephalitis, even though he describes the surgical technique used. He says that all children who suffer from this disease die without remedy and that he has always refused to intervene in these cases.
Book 30 is divided into three parts. The first deals with the cauterisation applied to 50 types of disease. While it was sometimes used improperly, in many cases it probably gave good results, such as for the removal of tumours or in cases of arterial bleeding. This part also contains the first known description of haemophilia and one of the first descriptions of leprosy.
The second part of Book 30 deals with surgeries performed with a knife. It is divided into 99 chapters. Here, al-Zahrawi gives a detailed account of surgical interventions he knows and practices, and provides some ‘case studies’. Some involve removing tumours or growths, while others involve treating men struck by arrows. In some cases, al-Zahrawi extracted the arrowhead, but in others no extraction was attempted and the wound healed with the arrowhead in place.
Al-Zahrawi also discusses in detail the issue of suturing techniques, referring to the use of giant ants for abdominal sutures. The ant is used to bite on the lips of the wound and its head is then cut off. Using wool, silk, flax and horse hair as suture material, al-Zahrawi seems to be the first surgeon to document the use of animal guts, i.e. catgut, which is still universally used today.
In his clinical accounts, al-Zahrawi appears to be a physician well-versed in Greco-Roman medical writings (through Arabic translations). He was able to apply techniques in an emergency, although he also stated that some operations were unknown in his time.
Since al-Zahrawi was both a good surgeon and interested in the topic of cosmetics, he could not be indifferent to plastic surgery. He described interesting techniques to reduce the size of enlarged male breasts and to correct excessively large breasts in women. In this section, he describes the extraction of varicose veins, surgical solutions for suspected cases of hermaphroditism and clearly shows the technique to apply in circumcision (substituting the knife for scissors) and even for castration, although he is not very fond of it.
Al-Zahrawi warns against attempting amputation when gangrene has spread above the elbow or the knee, but also reports that he examined a man who had amputated his own foot after gangrene had attacked it. Moreover, he requested al-Zahrawi to amputate his hand when the disease appeared in that organ. Al-Zahrawi, however, refused to perform the operation, fearing the man would die at the amputation of his hand. Interestingly, he later heard that the patient had himself cut off his entire hand and had recovered.
The third part of the book deals with fractures, sprains and dislocations. In it, the author describes in detail the techniques used in the treatment of fractures of various body parts, based on the general principle of starting to reduce the fracture and then proceed to restrain it. A fracture of the pelvis is mentioned and, in the case of shoulder dislocation, al-Zahrawi describes the use of a kind of plaster mixed with egg.
One of the greatest qualities of Book 30 and an important innovation in the history of surgical literature is the abundance of surgical instruments that appear in the manuscripts. They acquire a special significance, given the limited knowledge that can be gleaned from the real instruments recovered in archaeological sites. The instruments described and drawn in this book include scalpels, scissors, hooks, forceps, syringes, saws, needles, spoons and wooden instruments to reduce fractures and dislocations.
The chapter on surgical techniques was well-known in Latin Europe from the translation made by Gerard of Cremona (1114-1187 AD) in the 12th century AD. It comprised some 200 pages in the 1531 Strasburg printing of the Latin translation (it went into at least 10 Latin editions between 1497 and 1544 AD). The most prominent surgeons of the Latin Middle Ages, such as William of Saliceto (d. 1277) and Guy de Chaulliac (d. 1368), used it extensively. After that, it was used as a standard reference on the subject in all universities of Europe for over five hundred years. The contributions of al-Zahrawi in this field are indeed remarkable.