The BAR Staff & Brian O’Leary – 2009-01-03 00:47:03
McKinney to Obama: “Say Something” About Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
The BAR Staff
January 1, 2009 — Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has called upon President-Elect Barack Obama to “please, say something about the humanitarian crisis that is being experienced by the Palestinian people, by the people of Gaza.”
McKinney spoke to CNN news from the Lebanese city of Tyre, where she had debarked from the relief vessel Dignity after it was rammed on the high seas by an Israeli patrol boat, early Tuesday morning. Passengers also report the Israelis fired machine guns into the water near their ship.
McKinney was among the passengers on an attempted voyage from the island of Cyprus to Gaza, where Israeli bombs and missiles have killed hundreds of Palestinians, including many civilians, since Saturday. The Dignity carried three tons of medical supplies and a number of doctors prepared to treat the more than 1,000 Gazans wounded in the Israeli attacks. The 66-foot craft had made two previous humanitarian relief trips to Gaza since the summer. Israel has blocked food, medicines and other essentials from entering Gaza in a campaign of collective punishment against the 1.5 million Palestinians that live there under a Hamas Party administration.
President-Elect Obama has been silent on the Israeli attacks, while President George Bush has supported Israel’s actions.
“I would like to ask my former colleagues in the United States Congress to stop sending weapons of mass destruction around the world,” said McKinney, who was the Green Party’s presidential candidate in November. “As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, let us remember what he said. He said that the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. And guess what: we experienced a little bit of that violence, because the weapons that are being used by Israel are weapons that were supplied by the United States government.”
A CNN reporter who accompanied the passengers and crew of the Dignity confirmed that the boat “was sailing with full lights” when “one of the Israeli patrol boats, with no lights on, rammed the Dignity, hard.”
Israel blames the collision on the relief vessel.
Said McKinney: “Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front, once on the side…. What the Israelis are saying is outright disinformation.”
McKinney compared the Israeli action against the Dignity to the attack on a U.S. naval vessel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. “I recall that there was another boat that was attacked by Israelis, and it was the U.S.S Liberty.” Thirty-four crewmen died and 170 were wounded by fire from Israeli planes and torpedo boats. The Israelis claim it was a case of mistaken identity. “People would like to forget about the U.S.S. Liberty,” said McKinney, “but I haven’t forgotten about it and the people who were on that ship have not forgotten what happened to them.”
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Open Appeal to Mr. Obama
From a Fellow Achiever Who Is
Gravely Concerned about Our Future
Dear President-Elect Obama,
(Dec. 26, 2008) — I congratulate you on your election. As a former astronaut, Eagle Scout, Ivy League professor, frontier scientist, futurist, advisor to presidential candidates, and an international author and speaker, I can identify with your feeling of significant motivation and achievement.
But, in my later years as I now approach the age of seventy, many of those perks of recognition pale before a sense of urgency with which I feel we must approach our task of transforming humanity and nature into an environmentally, socially and morally sustainable future.
I honestly don’t know whether we’ll make it through these times. You’re in the driver’s seat now, and your task is daunting. You will have to stand up to some very powerful interests who do not want to live under those public policies that will become necessary for us to survive these times. You must understand this most basic conflict of interest in your position. But are you aware enough of what is really happening to us all? Do you truly know the depth of the crisis and the breadth of opportunities that lay outside the box of conventional thinking?
I must admit that during my days of relative fame, I was largely oblivious of the deeper issues before us. The spotlight itself has a way of distorting our perceptions of reality.
In today’s world, there is so much suffering, ignorance, neglect and corruption. Leaders nowadays prey on this condition. By supporting some of the most criminal actions in human history, the powerful elite have created an atmosphere of mass obedience by a fearful and helpless populace to wanton genocide and ecocide.
We are destroying ourselves and each other and nature through the selfishness and greed of the few. As a result, unrest is brewing in response to monumental military, economic and political tyranny.
You must know that true knowledge, wisdom and compassion are threats to the status quo. George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” and Isaac Asimov wrote, “When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.” I believe we now live in such a time to the extreme, and this situation is particulary poignant for us Americans now living under the tyrannies of empire and economic collapse.
You come into office on the wings of conflict between a private power that has incubated you and a public clamoring for authentic change which so many of us have entrusted in you. You stand in the middle of an enormous gulf of interests, and you must know that at its deepest levels.
Those of us who take the road less traveled towards a greater truth always have been, and still are, martyrs placed on the altar of change. These heroes, often unrecognized in their own time, become the objects of religions and nation-states, which then become self-aggrandizing dogmatic institutions that have nothing to do with the original intentions and spirit of the founders. The founders could only be rolling in their graves about how their contributions have become so distorted.
Continuity and bipartisanship cannot be nearly as important as returning to the basic principles of integrity, civility and public trust. You’ll need to confront the tyranny of our recent past. Sacred myths such as the official stories of the JFK assassination and 9/11, for example, become enshrined in a fog of deception, lies and ignorance that distract us with bread and circuses, which, if perpetuated, can only precede the inevitable fall.
You must know the truth of all this, it’s too obvious for you or any other intelligent and sentient being not to be able to recognize.
You must know that we have an imperiled planet and civilization that cannot endure the collective neglect of humanity.
You must know that we cannot rely on half-measures such as a slow withdrawl from Iraq, miniscule reductions in the defense budget, insignificant nuclear arms reductions, bank and Wall Street bailouts, or advocating nuclear power, “clean coal” and carbon cap-and-trading as lasting remedies to climate change.
You must know that such minutiae cannot solve these problems. You must know, at some level, about Einstein’s dictum that no problem can be solved at the level at which it was created.
Our species has invaded our home planet with such cancerous vengeance and with such little conscious awareness or acknowledgement of the depth of our dilemma, it is hard to imagine how we can get out of this matrix.
But get out we must. It is much too late for us to fulfill your mandate to “change” in the way you have embarked on choosing your advisors and cabinet members. You must know that these individuals are throwbacks to prior administrations who are the epitome of an old ideological paradigm of a rule that cannot work in these times.
Many of us have become suspicious that you are only paying back those elite individuals and groups that paved and payed your way towards where you sit now. Have they so threatened you to conform-or-else that you can’t act differently?
For you to succeed you’re still going to have to bite the hand that fed you. You will have to feint your way like in a basketball offensive around and through the broken field of defending opponents, who include those who have supported you so well financially. You will have to stand up in your courage and “betray” them (from their point of view).
Are you up to the task? Are you willing to risk life and limb to lead us into taking those actions needed to create a viable system of governance? Are you motivated enough to join the ranks of our brothers Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and John F. Kennedy to take bold actions toward a peaceful, just and sustainable future for humankind? Are you willing to evict the money-changers and militarists from the temple?
At some level, I think that you’re aware that your definition of “change” in no way resembles the kind of “change” any sensible and knowledgeable person not beholden to vested interests would feel is truly necessary for our own survival.
Mr. President-elect, we’re all in great trouble if you are unwilling or feel unable to address the pleas of the vast majority of the people of our nation and of the world. They cry out for peace, sustainability and justice. You must also address the fact that nature, too, has rights.
Reforming the voracious appetites of the moneyed interests and of the military-industrial complex will not be enough. Look all around you at the degraded environment, at the suffering of the peoples of the world longing for food in their mouths and for the kind of leadership that could relieve their pain and give us all a reasonable chance to move forward.
The crisis of America is first and foremost a moral crisis that has moved us away from the fact that we have a physical situation that demands physical solutions to have even the possibility of peace, sustainability and justice.
We must now stop the wars, stop the torture, stop the criminal corruption and the lies, stop the theft of the common weal, stop the surveillance of the innocent, stop all the polluting, stop the suppressions of true innovation. You must courageously lead us into a state of truth and reconciliation of our culture and stop the acting and pretending that authentic change is what you say you intend to create, because that isn’t what you’re doing—yet anyway.
I suggest to you that we need to define what is meant by “change.” The change you could believe in and you have often expressed is what we might call incremental change. These are the small rhetorical feel-good kinds of changes that separate Democrats from Republicans, the liberals from the conservatives, the Tweedledees from the Tweedledums, all inhabiting a narrow spectrum of ineffective “centrism,” holding onto power for dear life as Rome burns.
These are the kinds of changes that got you elected as you navigated through the narrow passage between the special interests and the appearance of a public interest.
Beyond all that, we could consider what one might call a progressive structural change, such as eliminating electoral fraud, serving justice upon past criminality in high places, reregulating Wall Street, restoring the Constitution and the rule of law, re-establishing the “real economy” based on productivity rather than gambling away and squandering the public treasury, controlling the excesses of the Pentagon and an imperial aggressive foreign policy, restoring to Congress the power to print money and declare and fund wars, and allocating more resources to health, the environment, education and infrastructure.
Many progressives are desperate to restore this kind of common sense at the structural level and to create another New Deal for the economic crisis. The liberals would be grateful if all that were to happen, just to get us out from the deep hole we now find ourselves in.
They would be satisfied to go back to the Clinton and Roosevelt years, to have just a bit more common sense in a world-gone-mad. Even some degree of neoliberalism, or ecomomic globalization (i.e., exploitation and biocide by other means), might seem sort of OK, in this view. Yet we know these measures are not OK legally or morally; they are only the actions of economic imperialism.
But in today’s world, you must know that even structural changes in and of themselves will produce too little too late, and may be counterproductive in the long run, as we again become lulled into a false sense of security and buy a little more time before the inevitable collapse. Whereas incremental changes address mild corrections that really don’t amount to much, structural changes look at how the current system can be modified to bring things back to where they were in somewhat better times.
These approaches can only give us a frame of reference to launch authentic change. What we must have is systemic change to an entirely new paradigm of governance in the public interest that truly addresses the challenges of our times at the level they will need to be met.
Structural change cannot truly answer grievous violations of the public trust nor can they answer today’s deepest issues. Only systemic change can do that. Whereas structural change can relieve the stress of a crisis in the short term, it cannot survive the test of time.
Structural change can restore some sort of sanity to our systems, it cannot address the systems themselves. We must now challenge the precepts upon which our political, economic and military systems are based. We must deeply question the “isms” upon which we depend such as capitalism, militarism, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, centrism, monetary socialism, economic globalism, Zionism, terrorism.
A new era must dawn, a new set of systems will need to be put into place in the near future for us to survive. Can you in your heart agree with what I suggest here? Or will you deny the gravity of these problems from your high and removed perch? Will you solely rely on probably misinformed and outdated advice coming from your cabinet and your staff? For you to advocate and map out systemic change, you will need all the help you can get from other quarters.
What would a world of positive systemic change look like? Generally, it should have the following features in which you will need to take the lead:
1. Restore the letter and spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is the most
major structural change we should do immediately.
2. Fearlessly initiate a program of truth and reconciliation, overseen by a jury of citizens
without vested interests in the current system. Truth-telling cannot any longer be
dismissed as conspiracy theory. The greatest conspirators are now holding all the
political and economic cards and they must be exposed, whether it be electoral fraud,
excessive private campaign financing, illegal surveillance, torture, illegal war, false flag
operations, pollution or the embezzlement of the public treasury. All these things, and
many more, will need to come to the light of public scrutiny. The process of
reconciliation seeks to return us to the rule of law and to serve justice upon those who
have violated it, with fairness and compassion for all.
3. Dissolve or stop funding those influential institutions with agendas that are blocking
change toward global peace, justice and sustainability. Start over. Dismiss the leaders
of most of our public institutions and build new ones from the ground up. Stop
funding those private institutions that dip into the public treasury in ways that are
clearly immoral and unproductive. This will require a courageous stand to dissolve
the current federal bureaucracy as it is (Dod, CIA, NSA, the current treasury, the
FBI, Department of Justice (sic), Department of Energy, etc.). Expose international
institutions such as the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg
Group, the Trilateral Commission, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World
Trade Organization, the Federal Reserve and other central banks, big oil, big pharma,
big agriculture, weapons manufacturers, and other groups representing existing elite
monied interests. The current priorities of the U.S. federal government and of globalist
New World Order organizations directly fly in the face of what we must do to survive
the crisis of civilization. We need a clean-up like we’ve never seen before and some
heads are likely to roll. So be it. The world can only be thankful for getting out from
under this oppression.
4. Start over the entire systems of federal and global governance. Yes, we can still have a
Constitutional executive, legislative and judicial system. We can still have a (much
smaller) military, a justice department, an energy department, a treasury, publicly
funded health care, environmental protection, quality education, infrastructure
and all the rest. Yes, we can formulate a transition strategy to convert institutions and
manpower toward the public interest, free of vested powers. Yes, we can convert our
massive military, dirty energy and aeorospace capabilities toward innovation in energy,
the environment, food, water, health, education and infrastructure. Yes, we can create
an Earth corps to clean up the environment instead of having of an aggressive Army,
Navy and Air Force. We can do all this without workers having to lose their jobs. Yes,
we can come to peace with the rest of the world through diplomacy and compassion.
The world awaits a restoration of good will coming from a rogue nation that has
outlived its usefulness as a warmongering and fearmongering empire.
5. Form a global green democracy whose agenda would be almost diametrically opposed
to the New World Order agenda. Representatives of all nations must come together to
formulate and enforce a system that would ensure peace, sustainability and justice for
all peoples, while encouraging local rule wherever possible. In no case should special
interests, money or secrecy determine the agendas of these governments. At the root
of this should be the principles of life, liberty, equality, justice, peace and
6. Fearlessly foster (suppressed) innovation such as free energy. Any systemic change will
require the utmost attention to honestly assess those new sciences and technologies
that can change the world. Only these systemic changes will be able to open the door
to authentic transformation of the culture. We must get beyond the rhetoric of weak
policies that would only slightly mitigate the effects of global climate change and
pollution. We’ll have to think outside the box and get into the meat of the matter. We
should quickly develop those energy sources that are truly cheap, clean, safe and
decentralized, such as vacuum energy, cold fusion and advanced hydrogen
technologies. No existing technologies such as solar, wind or biofuels are up to most of
the task; we will need to innovate and transcend the promotions of the multitude of
special interests that become vested in this or that existing technology. Following the
latest fad can only cloud our judgment and action. No existing public or private
institution wants to support these hidden truths and so it will become necessary to
dissolve those institutions vested in old ways and start new ones that can support
rather than suppress the deeper truths and opportunities of our times. The unsung
heroes of innovation will need all the help they can get to team together in an Apollo
program for new energy development, frontier science and consciousness. These
research and development projects will become the cornerstones of a whole new
civilization that could save us from ourselves and from those of us who insist that
change can only be incremental or structural.
Mr. President-elect, you must know we all are entering the gravest crisis the world has ever experienced and that the situation can be addressed only by implementing the kinds of systemic changes listed above. Many of us are willing to support these efforts in team-work with you. I believe you will have no other choice but to move into these changes briskly. Otherwise, the degree of unrest, fear and repression will be too great to allow us to act without further violence, totalitarian control and ecological and economic collapse. We don’t want that kind of world, we want to have room in which to innovate our way from the very systems that have become so decadent, so destructive, so tyrannical.
Is this an impossible task? Not if we act radically, decisively and quickly. We can only try. Crisis breeds opportunity. It is time to restore the ideals upon which our nation was founded. We have grievously lost our way from practicing those principles. We are also rapidly losing a natural environment that can nurture us all on this fragile spaceship we call Earth.
Mr. Obama, I appeal to your intelligence, wisdom and compassion to begin to facilitate the dialogue that will allow us to create those new systems that can foster the kind of future world we really want to enjoy for ourselves, our children and their children. I in no way mean my critique to be personal, I only want to help build a fire under all of us to begin the journey toward an exciting and positive new paradigm. Thank you.
Brian O’Leary, Ph.D.