Striking A Balance Between Security & Freedom

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STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN SECURITY AND FREEDOM

by Anisa Mehdi at Stratfor

(Charles Sulka comments)

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While I do not agree with this writer’s liberal stance on the immigration issue and her politically correct religious tolerance, I do recognize a master at work. I must acknowledge sound reasoning (sophistry at its best), beautiful writing, and a knowledge of America’s early political history. Anisa Mehdi is definitely in the top echelon of her field. That field is: corporatist propaganda & New Age multiculturalism.

I disagree with the writer’s conclusion that the US Constitution has weathered the test of time well, and is adequate for the nation going forward. Quite the contrary, I say that the political system is broken, and that there is no solution to the nation’s problems within the framework of the existing Constitution. I advocate a new political system based on an updated U.S. Constitution. With regard to religious tolerance, I totally disagree with the proposition that America’s Constitutionally-protected ‘freedom of religion’ is overall a good thing. My position is that religion is the single greatest factor hampering the development of the human race. Most religions are nothing more than product of the warped and twisted human imagination combined with a lust for power over others on the part of the most deviant members in human society. All religions are false religions, save (at most) one. It is my position that we need a Constitutional protection FROM religion.

What America really needs is for government to protect the people from the evil done in the name of God. What passes for religious tolerance is cowardice — being reluctant to take a stand, or to engage — or else stupidity, plain and simple. Some religions, such as cannibalism, voodoo, witchcraft, Satanism, and Mohammedanism are inherently evil and should be outlawed. Many religions are inherently evil because they incorporate animal or human sacrifice or they advocate the murder of innocents, the enslavement of others, the submission to arbitrary authority, the destruction of personal freedoms, or utilize mind control techniques that deprive the adherents of free will. The practice of these religions — and in particular the teaching of these religions to children — should be outlawed. I can say such things because I make no pretense of being politically correct.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with nation-states. The civilized world (such that it is, anyway) is at war with a *religion*. The West, too meek to take a firm stand in the face of evil, seems to be totally unable to defend itself against the encroachment of the caliphate in the making. History shows that as soon as the religion of the blood-thirsty ‘prophet’ Mohammed achieves dominance, all other faiths are brutally extinguished. Only when we recognize the evil that emanates from this and other false religions, and take action to stop the spread of such destructive evil forces, can the human race more forward.

One way to accomplish this would be to incorporate a formal policy of what constitutes acceptable religious practice in the (new and improved) US Constitution. The place to start would be to outlaw the recognition of state religions or religious states — thus assuring religious liberty for practitioners of beneficent religions. Under such a new Constitution, America should formally recognize only democratic governments that grant this degree of religious freedom to all peoples. The list of countries that would be denied formal recognition — or else be granted recognition only as second-class nations — would include all so-called Islamic states, Israel (as long as it pretends to be a ‘Jewish’ state (a ruse)), and the Vatican (which is not a country at all.) Iran, for example, would not qualify for recognition as a legitimate government because it refers to itself as an Islamic Republic. Saudi Arabia would not be accorded recognition because it adheres to a feudal system with inherited rank and privilege, a concept which is abhorrent to advocates of democratic rule. The pariah state of Israel would not qualify for recognition because of its apartheid policies and genocide against the Palestinian people (and others.) There is a fairly long list of countries that are hold-overs from the age of feudalism and which should not be accorded recognition until they embrace democratic principles.

Taking this to its obvious conclusion, the new Constitution should also prohibit the government from in any way limiting the people’s right to support democracy anywhere on earth. The government has no right to criminalize support of revolutionary movements — which are often mislabeled terrorist organizations — so long as the revolutionary movement advocates democratic principles. It’s time that America supported democracy rather than dictators, fascists, kings and princes.

I, for one, am sick and tired of the government — a government comprised of criminals, torturers, murderers, liars, cheats, and thieves — telling me I must support evil or else go to jail. The government uses my tax money to support terrorism worldwide — indeed, America is by far the leader in state-sponsored terrorism everywhere in the world. This same murderous government then makes it a federal crime to support those risking their lives to fight for freedom and independence. For example, in America it is a criminal offense to support democratic movements struggling to break free of oppression in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country which hosts what is probably the most repressive regime on earth. Most of all I resent the government’s support of Zionist atrocities and apartheid Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians in the occupied territories. The people’s right to oppose oppression and support democracy needs to be enshrined in the Constitution … because the present Constitution is inadequate.

With regard to this writer (Anisa Mehdi), a word of warning: Mehdi is on the board of Esalon Institute, an influential New Age organization. Accordingly, it should be assumed that her writings are influenced by dark forces and serve the purpose of undermining the Christian faith. (Nothing good comes out of Esalon or the New Age movement.) Her words and her work need to be carefully scrutinized.

Importantly, Mehdi fails to comprehend the danger posed to civilized society by the spread of the Mohammedan religion. She has a naive view of the realities that led to the repressive measures taken by the governments of Europe in the past when those countries expelled Middle Eastern immigrants. And while the Inquisition was deplorable, recent events have shown that had the Mohammedans not been run out of Europe, the Christians (and their Jewish neighbors) would have paid a dear price in repression, even slaughter, at the hands of the caliphs (Mohammedan overlords.) The woman apparently does not yet comprehend the danger of unchecked immigration and the spread of infectious religions. She fails to grasp that the Islamic faith is pure evil. It looks like she has devoted her entire life to buttressing liberal multiculturalism and advancing a false view of reality — trying to disprove a fundamental truth. That basic truth is: Mohammed was a false prophet and Islam is the work of the devil, bringing only death and destruction. There are no ‘moderate’ Muslims. But she is right about one thing — there are victims of ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Middle East. Everyone who lives under Islamic rule is a victim, many times over.

The writer is embedded in the corporatist/security establishment. Basically, Stratfor gets US taxpayer funding through secret CIA contracts (without the taxpayers having any say in the matter) to preach the neocon gospel to American security and intelligence agencies, with the obvious aim of influencing government policy. Someone described it as a think tank and propaganda mill where American tax payers pay to have their money used against them.

Because the writer is a corporate propagandist (and a very good one at that) there will no doubt be hidden meaning in her writing. In this essay Mehdi reminds us of the injustice — no, the evil — of collective punishment. On the surface level, the article propounds that collective punishment is always wrong. She insists that ‘bigotry’ toward Islamic peoples is wrong, suggesting that enlightened people are questioning the fairness of the president’s recent travel ban and immigration restrictions. (Admittedly it is hard not to see the new president’s actions — all of them — as anything other than asinine.) The writer uses examples from history to emphasize her point, although some of the examples are questionable. It is a stretch to claim that Europe suffered in its cultural development by expelling the Middle East immigrants. European culture is fine without the beheadings, the brutality, the genital mutilation of young girls, the rape of child ‘brides’ in forced marriages, and the virtual enslavement of women. Europe was almost certainly better off without the usurious practices of the money-lenders. But that’s just my opinion. As I said before, I make no attempt at being politically correct.

There could also be a deeper, hidden meaning in this essay. Consider: after more than a decade of in-depth examination by a diligent free press spear-heading an open-source investigation of monumental proportion involving architects, engineers, public safety officials and first responders, there is a growing realization that the 9-11 World Trade Center attack was a false-flag operation. A growing number of people now realize that 9-11 WTC was not the work of Islamic terrorists at all. It could not possibly have been. This almost unimaginable treachery was in fact the work of insiders at the highest levels of the US government. The Jews were the masterminds behind the false flag operation used by the neocons to incite public outrage to justify further military aggressions in the Middle East. In other words, 9-11 WTC was a ruse to trick America into doing Israel’s dirty work for them.

But to what end? Speculation abounds: in a video documentary on Israel’s MOSSAD, produced by Zionist supporters, it was stated that the Israelis believed that an alien weapon or ‘power source’ was to be found in Iraq. [Perhaps even the Arc of the Covenant, which according to legend was wrested from the Jews when their enemies defeated them in battle. Maybe Israeli psychic Uri Geller (a consultant to the CIA) received an ESP message from the aliens he claims communicate with him via satellites stationed in earth orbit.] It could be that the Israelis envisioned the war on Iraq as a real-life version of ‘Raiders of the Lost Arc’. It would make sense that the Jews would try to enlist America in their scheme to take possession of the weapons that rained fire and brimstone down on them in the plains cities of Sodom and Gomorrah … lest the alien weapons be turned against them again. [Jews do tend to make a lot of enemies….] After all, the American government has proven itself all too willing to be suckered into Israeli’s nefarious schemes in the past. This could be the real reason America was tricked into invading the beleaguered nation of Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction, indeed.

9-11 WTC was the work of this nation’s military and security forces linked to the CIA, taking direction from the neocons and the Zionists. The Muslim terrorists who supposedly piloted the most advanced jet airliners on a daring suicide mission — after flunking out of flight school, being unable to fly a single-engine Cessna — were almost certainly fictitious. Several have been found alive in other countries, a fact that has been well documented. The official report is yet another government cover up, this one scripted well in advance of the operation. [The ever-vigilant Democratic Party leadership can be expected to claim that the cover-up was the work of Vladimir Putin and the Russians, who, according to well-placed sources (who really should remain anonymous) are in total control of the American government.] Yes, a great number of people were involved in 9-11, and many of them were (are) in the American government. That is the sad reality of 9-11 WTC.

A look at the list of those directly involved in 9-11 WTC or the official cover-up is telling: they are all corporatists (neocons) working under contract for the CIA. (Your tax dollars at work.)

It is possible that Mehdi foresees serious consequences — ‘blowback’, it is called in intelligence circles — from this treachery. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that operatives from the Middle East were behind 9-11 … people just disagree on which tribe of Semites were responsible, and to what extent insiders in the U.S. government were complicit. In the expectation of public outrage, Mehdi’s article could be intended to defuse this blowback (in intelligence circles, this is referred to as ‘damage control.’) In her pleading against collective punishment, is she suggesting that it would be wrong to retaliate against all Semites for the horrendous crimes of a few? After all, not all American Jews support Israel and the Zionist movement. (But most do.) Maybe the writer hopes her words will temper the mounting anti-Zionist sentiment, lest it turn to widespread anti-Semitism and overt hostility. Her concerns are understandable, in a way. As propaganda, then, this piece is remarkable for the different levels of meaning, all tied together through masterful sophistry. In this regard her writing is nothing less than brilliant.

Hopefully, Mehdi will use her talents to help in the struggle to raise the level of the human spirit. As she comes from an Islamic background, she must be familiar with the evil done in the name of religion, especially the so-called “Abrahamic’ religions of the Middle East. It is time she took a stand against this evil.

Some of what this woman says is true, and her writing is exemplary. Because of her involvement in the corporatist/intelligence world, her writings could influence any number of policy makers and business leaders. Let’s face facts here. Businessmen — neocons and corporatists in particular — are not burdened with concerns about ethics and religious truth. They don’t find themselves unable to sleep at night because of worries that something they might have done is unethical. Businessmen have one concern: the single-minded pursuit of profit. With their focus on markets and profits, they recognize that it is difficult to profit from people who have been exiled or exterminated. Justice — especially collective punishment — can be really bad for business. For the businessman, short term profits will always trump national security and long-term concern about the social welfare. This is the danger of allowing businessmen to control the government. This is the danger of allowing corporatists to influence public policy. This is the danger inherent in allowing the security services to contract out intelligence functions.

Corporatists, individually and as a group, are ruled by their base nature: power lust and the love of money. Raising the consciousness of such people is thus of the highest priority. The writer is in an ideal position to do just that.

(chs 02-17-2017 11:17 -0500)

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Striking a Balance Between Security and Freedom
By Anisa Mehdi
Stratfor
04 February 2017.

(Article reposted on the Fabius Maximus web site 02-05-2017.)

URL: https://fabiusmaximus.com/2017/02/05/stratfor-looks-at-collective-guilt-punishment/

In the winter of 1917, the French freighter Mont Blanc, laden with picric acid and TNT destined for the European war effort, headed into the great harbor of Halifax to join a convoy bound for Bordeaux. A Norwegian ship, the Imo, was leaving Halifax at the same time, destined for New York. Its mission was to bring food and supplies back to people in German-occupied Belgium and northern France.

On that cold December day, it should have been an ordinary passing of two ships. But as a result of miscommunication, navigational protocols were violated. Seamen, civilians and members of the Royal Naval College of Canada looked on in horror as the Mont Blanc and the Imo collided. The impact caused a fire on the French ship that eventually caused its explosive payload to ignite. For Haligonians, all hell broke loose. As well as destroying much of the harbor, the resulting blast killed almost 2,000 people. The captain of the HMCS Acadia, located 15 miles (24 kilometers) outside of Halifax that day, estimated the smoke rising from the seat of the explosion to be more than 2 miles high.

The Halifax disaster {Wikipedia} was the largest man-made explosion on Earth until World War II, when the United States’ atom bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The small German population of Nova Scotia came under attack as the slogan “Place the Blame” riled people toward vengeance. Because who else could be responsible for the calamity besides the Kaiser? And weren’t all Germans, therefore, collectively culpable? At first, reports emerged of rampaging crowds stoning neighbors with German-sounding names. But less than a week after the explosion, before the fires were even put out or all the bodies recovered, let alone buried, the Canadian military ordered the arrest of every German citizen.

Collective guilt {Wikipedia} is all too common throughout history, regardless of whether punishment is meted out because of political, economic or religious differences. The Jews, cruelly oppressed by Pharaoh. The Christians, persecuted by Nero. Non-Catholics on the Iberian Peninsula, tortured by inquisitors, and the reverse: Catholics, tormented by Oliver Cromwell. The consequences of collective blame and punishment — people leaving their homes en masse in search of freedom and safety — are also familiar. We see them today as people flee Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and as refugees flood into Europe or knock at America’s door. Can looking back inform our present and mitigate the problems ahead?

(Graphic): Harrah Arendt on collective guilt (AZ Quote)

A Breach of Trust

Throughout the millennia, the human family has responded to crises of citizenship and migration in different ways, particularly when religion seemed to lie at the heart of them. Exodus chapters 7-11 detail negotiations between Pharaoh and Moses as the prophet seeks freedom for his people; Pharaoh promises to release them, and reneges. In return God sends plagues, collectively punishing the Egyptians, and hatred for the Hebrews rises. Moses restates his case, and eventually, after a bloodbath of Egyptian firstborns, the Red Sea parts. For those migrants, it was the beginning of a perilous 40-year trek across Sinai. The book of Joshua recounts that when finally they arrived at their destination, the Divine instructed them to destroy the city of Jericho and all of its inhabitants. Alas, the story of migrants leaving disaster behind, only to carry it with them to a new place, is as old as the River Jordan.

Another famous story of flight from religious persecution arose in the 15th century, when Andalucia — an 800-year-old, Muslim-majority civilization on the Iberian Peninsula — fell to Catholic invaders from the north. Jewish and Muslim converts to Catholicism were brought before a tribunal of inquisitors bent on flushing out religious heretics. Their torture tactics are legendary. In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella enacted a charter ordering the “Jews and Jewesses of our kingdoms to depart and never to return or come back to them or to any of them.” Men and women whose ancestors had lived there for hundreds of years were given three months “to dispose of themselves, and their possessions, and their estates,” and to leave with royal safeguard. About 165,000 people immigrated to Europe and North Africa. Some 20,000 of them died as they searched for new homelands, a statistic that brings to mind the perilous journeys of migrants who have fled Africa and Asia over the past three years.

Migrant Jews streaming south across the Mediterranean in 1492 joined a diverse religious population that included Jews who came after the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C., Christians who came in the first and second centuries in the wake of Jesus’ disciples, and Muslims who arrived with the expansion of the Islamic empire in the seventh century. What may have been lost from the multiconfessional society of Andalucia was resurrected along the southern Mediterranean. For 450 years these cultures co-mingled, until a backlash against the creation of the State of Israel resulted in the expulsion of Jews from many Arabic-speaking, Muslim-majority nations.

As for Spain, it finally revoked the Edict of Expulsion banishing Jews in 1968, after the Second Vatican Council decreed in the seminal document “Nostra aetate” that,

“what happened in [Jesus’] passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.”

The Germans of Halifax were slowly exonerated after the captain of the Mont Blanc was arrested and charged with manslaughter. (The charges against him were later dropped for lack of evidence.) But trauma within their community remained. In addition to experiencing the fires, tsunami and deaths that followed the Mont Blanc explosion, the trust of neighbors had been breached.

A Global Ethic

How might nations today avert collective blame and punishment while finding the right balance between security and compassion? What constitutes the legitimate control of borders? How do we vet perfect strangers and identify the atypical threats? How do we articulate our moral and ethical stances to reflect respect for where we come from, what our nation is today and what it may someday become? With cooperation and trust, advises Jeffrey D. Sachs in his 2011 book, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity:

“Many of our major global problems — climate change, global population growth, mass migration, regional conflicts, and financial regulation — will require a much higher level of political cooperation among the world’s major powers than we have so far achieved.

“Without sufficient trust across national borders, the growing global competition over increasingly scarce resources could easily turn into great power confrontations. Without trust, there is little chance for the coordinated global actions needed to fight poverty, hunger, and disease. Without trust, governments will be at the mercy of footloose global corporations that move their money to tax havens around the planet and pressure governments to lower tax rates, labor standards, environmental controls, and financial regulations. Mindfulness of the world therefore really amounts to a new readiness to adopt global norms of good behavior that aim to protect poor countries as well as the rich, weak countries as well as the powerful.”

Today’s growing global trend toward nativism evidences lack of trust, competition for resources and blindness to the wisdom of the elders, prophets and ethicists. Theologian Hans Kung would argue that our norms must include inclusivity, that “there will be no better global order without a global ethic.” Kung drafted the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic for the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993:

“By a global ethic we do not mean a global ideology or a single unified religion beyond all existing religions, and certainly not the domination of one religion over all others. By a global ethic we mean a fundamental consensus on binding values, irrevocable standards, and personal attitudes. Without such a fundamental consensus on an ethic, sooner or later every community will be threatened by chaos or dictatorship, and individuals will despair.”

The consensus should include the sustainable treatment of the natural environment, the rule of law, distributive justice and solidarity, and the core value of mutual esteem.

But long before Sachs and Kung, the founders of the United States maintained an ethical sensibility made manifest in the Bill of Rights. The founders, with Bibles and Korans in their libraries, were cognizant of the religious persecutions of the past — including instances of religious tyranny in pre-colonial and colonial times. They chose to guard citizens’ right to worship in different ways by preventing the “misconstruction or abuse” of congressional powers.

It wasn’t easy coming up with the words to describe the rights that would protect and dignify the people of a nascent nation. James Madison’s original provision on religion read: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretense, infringed.” The House of Representatives altered the text to read: “Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.” The Senate then refined it even further to say, “Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” In 1791 — three years after the Constitution was ratified — the First Amendment was finally adopted:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Ours is the oldest written constitution still in use. Its checks and balances have safeguarded democracy for nearly 230 years. The establishment and exercise clauses keep a wall of sanctity between religion and state. This system is one with enough flexibility to grow gracefully with our nation’s changing political, economic and cultural norms. And it may see its mettle tested in the coming years, particularly if the question of registering people according to their religion is pursued.

Unlike the forced diaspora of Jews from the newly Catholic Spain, the fate of Nova Scotia’s innocent Germans, and the Muslim victims of the Islamic State, the United States will not sanction collective punishment — the establishment and exercise clauses proscribe such retribution on religious terms. Religious affiliation is not listed on the country’s national census or on American passports. Thanks to the First Amendment, it’s really nobody’s business what faith a person practices. Someday the strengths of the American dream may go global. Someday nations may sign up for Kung’s dream of a global ethic. At the very least, as Sachs exhorts, “We need to return to a spirit of true deliberation at all levels of society, one that reconceives politics as honest group problem solving, grounded in mutual respect and shared values.”

“Striking a Balance Between Security and Freedom” is republished with permission of Stratfor.

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Anisa Mehdi

About the author

Anisa Mehdi is a documentary filmmaker, journalist and current adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. She has won two Emmys, a Cine Golden Eagle, and numerous awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She was the first American to cover the Hajj pilgrimage on location in Saudi Arabia and made National Geographic’s acclaimed “Inside Mecca” as well as two other hajj films for PBS. Her work on Arabs and Muslims has appeared on CBS, PBS, and ABC’s Nightline.

Ms. Mehdi is a consultant for the U.S. State Department as well as the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. She also serves on the boards of the Abraham Path Initiative and the Esalen Institute. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Jordan from 2009-2010. She studied at Wellesley College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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