How Mainstream Media Handles Situations That Involve ‘Lone Bombers’

In a time where senseless acts of terrorism are splashed across front pages and news outlets on a far too common basis, how can informed citizens like us be sure what mainstream media is reporting is the whole story?

People globally were both shocked and stunned over the events that occurred at the Manchester Arena, on May 22. While media outlets and citizens alike seem to be sure of suicide bomber, Salman Abedi’s sole involvement, how can we truly and confidently be sure that Abedi was working alone?

It was at an Ariana Grande concert when ISIS sympathiser, Salman Abedi, detonated a sophisticated homemade bomb that killed 22 people and injured hundreds more. This attack sparked widespread chaos and a country-wide manhunt.

Firstly, it is important for me to illustrate that this is by no means any sort of condonement for the heinous acts that Abedi conducted. Rather it is an alternative look at how mainstream media (MSM) reacts and responds to these terrorist acts.  

Sidenote: informed citizens are people that don’t take issues at face value. They conduct their own research to form their own opinions. As the great comedian, George Carlin once said: ‘they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want a well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking.’

Stand Up Comedy Clinic

Now I am not saying that mainstream media is regularly reporting propaganda to misinform the population, however in more recent times, there has been some steady and solid evidence that mainstream media has its own agenda and hidden ambitions behind the scenes. [5]

I think what is so peculiar about the Manchester Bombing lies in several key points:

  1. Eyewitnesses originally heard two explosions [1]
  2. Some outlets state that it was a suicide bomber whilst others believe that it could be a remote-controlled detonation [2]
  3. Allegedly,a prominent ‘bomb-maker’ was living on the same street as the Abedi family in the early 2000’s [3]

So onto point number 1: original newscasts and radio sound bites revealed that two explosions went off at the Manchester Arena. Later this was reduced to one explosion that was triggered by Salman.

According to a Bloomberg article: ‘police in Manchester say a lone bomber with an improvised device died in the attack. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility and that several bombs were involved.’ [4]

So there is a contradictory of events between what eyewitnesses heard and saw and the resulting news articles that were publicized. While ISIS purports that more than one ‘bomb’ or ‘explosion’ went off, official reports that came out later state there was only one detonation.

This does not necessarily deduce into some false flag conspiracy instead it could simply be deduced to echoes bouncing off the arena or just people in a state of chaos not remembering things correctly.

Secondly, Salman is largely regarded as the sole person responsible for these gruesome murders, however, investigators found a circuit board with a detonator switch which would allow an accomplice to set off the bomb(s) if Salman were to change his mind.

‘STARTLING new evidence suggests suicide bomber Salman Abedi had an accomplice lurking nearby to trigger the bomb if he bottled out at the last minute.’

‘Experts reported to have examined the detonator switch found near Abedi’s body revealed it contained special circuitry which suggests the nail-packed explosive could be operated remotely.’ – The Sun [2]

And lastly, it is alleged and reported by many news outlets that a prominent bombmaker associated with al-Qaeda lived on the ‘same street as the bomber in Manchester around the year 2000.’ [3]

According to London publication, Standard, it was revealed that ‘detectives are believed to be investigating possible links between Abedi and al-Qaeda bombmaker Abd al-Basset Azzouz, who lived on the same street as the bomber in Manchester around the year 2000.’

This points to a severe lack of foresight since officials not only let a ‘prominent bombmaker’ into the country but they also let him instill ideas and possibly assist in the creation of the ‘rucksack bomb.’

According to The Standard: ‘the development will raise further questions for the security services as to how the 22-year-old bomber was allowed to slip through the net and travel with ease around Europe without apparently being on a terror watchlist.’

Furthermore, a less noticeable point is the international anger that has ensued since US officials have leaked information to the New York Times in regards to the Manchester bombing investigation. [6]

Officials are unhappy since the leak could have grave implications on their investigation in terms of ‘scope, frequency and potential damage.’

Rather than hiding ‘sensitive information’ from neighboring countries, I think that it is not only essential to share information with other nations but it is also necessary to get the citizens involved. This is so that eyewitnesses can come forth about their version of events and for people who used to live with Abedi or go to school with him to come forth with any information that they might glean important.

An interesting tidbit to keep in mind would be the correlation between search engines and MSM. A simple search of any topic will result in some pretty identical articles albeit with different logos (New York Times, NBC, etc.) Therefore, we should keep in mind that just because we read 5 or 6 different versions of the SAME article does not mean that we have performed sufficient research. Sometimes all it takes is the use of a different word in conjunction with your topic in a search engine to reveal some drastically different results.

[1] https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8c9_1495495355

[2] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3645891/manchester-another-bomber-nerve-failed/

[3]http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/salman-abedi-had-help-constructing-bomb-but-may-have-made-it-himself-a3548396.html

[4]https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-23/urgent-the-latest-22-dead-in-blast-at-ariana-grande-concert

[5]http://www.globalresearch.ca/mainstream-media-fake-news-through-lying-by-omission/5582944

[6]https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/25/uk-police-stop-passing-information-to-us-over-leaks-of-key-evidence

Early Resolution (On Traffic Tickets) Is A Thing Of The Past

Approximately 5 years ago (in 2012) a new procedure was implemented in the Ontario Highway Traffic Court known as ‘Early Resolution.’ On the backside of most tickets, people were offered 3 choices. One to plead guilty and pay the fine, one to go to court and a third to meet with the prosecutor for an early resolution. [1]

The last option is what many Ontarians would choose since it saves them time from going to court, (usually) reduces the fine, and eliminates or reduces the amount of demerit points. It allows residents to meet with prosecutors in order to reach an agreement (although the prosecutors are the ones who stipulate the regulations and boundaries of said agreement) and if they happen to disagree on the terms of the agreement then the resident can always take the option to go to court.

So it is quite disheartening to know that there will no longer be any more ‘Early Resolutions.’ Without so much as a notice, an article or any sort of media coverage, early resolution has completely been banished.

No longer will this option be available to drivers thus leaving Ontarians to either plead guilty or go directly to court. (Talk about choices.)

toronto-parking-ticket-back

So what is this new option? You can meet the Justice of the Peace (who is a Judicial Officer that acts to ‘keep the peace’ [2]) that same day to pay the fine or to  discuss about additional options. (They may or may not reduce the fine/demerit points.)

But it was a shock to be informed that there is no set schedule that designates when the JP would come in. According to the staff at the provincial offenses office, they are unsure of when the JP would be coming in and the ‘best’ thing to do would be to call the office on a daily basis and come in whenever the JP is in…

So not only is the previously favored option reduced to nothing, but the very person that was supposed to supplant the Early Resolutions Officer can come and go as they please (as if a government appointed position was akin to that of a self employed businessperson…)

So if you’re wondering, yes, there is a perfectly good chance that you can go into the provincial offenses office, attempt to set up an appointment with the Early Resolutions Officer just to find out that they no longer exist. And then when you go to ask for the Justice of the Peace there is a good chance that you will be informed that they don’t work that day and no one is sure when they will be in next.

poaticket_380

This is all in addition to the fact that these offices don’t open on weekends, certainly don’t open on holidays, and close right as the clock strikes 5pm.

What is just as aggravating as this sudden change of jurisdiction is the complete lack of publicity. Nothing can be found online or on the city website and certainly nothing was promoted on media to notify residents. The only way an Ontarian would have known of this sudden and abrupt change would have been to go directly to the courthouse.

It is laughable that the most popular option was removed in order to ‘streamline the process.’ Funny how of all the options that the government decides to remove, they choose to ‘streamline’ the one option that most Canadians like to use.

In a time and place where government offices and salaries are paid by taxpayers, at least give us a heads up before you blatantly and retroactively change the rules of the game.

[1] http://carl-wais.com/blog/?p=62

[2] https://www.google.ca/search?q=justive+of+teh+peace&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=L4cpWZrrJYjojwTAiKboCg

Turkey is the most dangerous place for journalists

Turkey, as ranked by Reporters Without Borders, is the leading country in imprisoned journalists. [1] In an effort to suppress dissent, journalists that go against the status quo are routinely detained in Turkey. And since the attempted coup in 2016, even more stringent measures have been enforced to ensure that opposing views are not expressed. Living in a modern and ‘civilized’ world, it’s shocking to see the self proclaimed ‘World’s Police’ not only stand idly by in the destruction of the freedom of speech but also help those in the ruling class of Turkey.

Serena Shim was an American journalist who was reporting on Turkey IN Turkey and was subsequently killed after exposing the Turkish government for allowing foreign terrorists to enter into Syria. [2]

Serena’s sister, Fatmeh, stated in 2015 that Serena caught Turkey using refugee camps as a cover to smuggle terrorists into Syria. She also caught trucks from the World Food Organization smuggle arms into the hands of the terrorists.

She predicted her death when she stated in an interview that she was worried about her safety after Turkey accused her of being a spy.

This is what she told Press TV, two days before she was assassinated. “Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists, so I am a bit frightened about what they might use against me… I’m hoping that nothing is going to happen, that it’s going to blow over. I would assume that they are going to take me in for questioning, and the next hope is that my lawyer is good enough to get me out as soon as possible.”

Two days later she (and her cousin who was the driver) was killed in a ‘car accident’ when a heavy vehicle collided with her vehicle. Initially, Turkish officials said they could not locate the car or the driver. They also stated that Serena died at the scene and both Serena and her cousin were sent to separate hospitals.

As Fatmeh stated in an interview, those same officials reported days later that they found the vehicle and the driver and that Serena had died in a hospital due to heart failure.

“There’s so many different stories. The first was that Serena’s car was hit by a heavy vehicle, who proceeded to keep on driving. They could not find the vehicle nor could they find the driver. Two days later, surprisingly, they had found the vehicle and the driver, and had pictures of the heavy vehicle hitting my sister’s car. Every day coming out with new pictures of different degrees of damages that have happened to the car.”

These contradictory stories only add to the ‘conspiracies’ and what is equally as appalling is the complete lack of accountability that the US has asked for.

The United States are not only not doing anything to investigate into Serena’s obviously suspicious death but mainstream media in the US has done absolutely nothing to report on this. Furthermore, the US government hasn’t even so much as offered their condolences to the Shim family.

It is downright disgusting that the United States, claiming to be the ‘World’s Policeman’ can just let one of their own citizens be killed while they are doing their job in reporting truthful, honest and necessary news.

Even though she suspected her life to be in danger from the Turkish intelligence, and stated it on national TV, the American embassy as well as the government did absolutely NOTHING to investigate her murder.

The fact that the US did nothing to help Serena or her family is incriminating in itself. Was it because the US were arming these terrorists? Or did they fear the repercussions that would inevitably come if an US ally was blatantly caught helping and arming ISIS militants?

While journalists like James Foley [3] were described as martyrs and heroes, Serena was left to die without so much as an inquest into her death.

Serena was 28 at her time of death with two children. Her motto was ‘I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.’

A martyr to journalism and an example to all.

[1] https://rsf.org/en/news/turkey-world-leader-imprisoned-journalists

[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca/american-journalist-killed-in-turkey-for-revealing-the-truth-regarding-isis-daesh/5551946

[3] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2014/08/james-foley-an-american-hero/

The story of a 20th century child laborer

Iqbal Masih was 13 years old when he was assassinated in his home country of Pakistan. Born in 1983 in Muridke, Pakistan, Iqbal was forced into child labor when his mother ‘loaned’ his name to a local businessman for Iqbal’s older brother’s wedding. When 2 years went by and the debt still unpaid, Iqbal’s mother was forced to give him up for child labor.

Bonded labor is essentially selling your services in an attempt to pay off a debt. It is the promise of physical labor in return for a loan. [1]

He worked in the businessman’s carpet factory for 14 hours a day and 6 days a week. Not only was the pay minimal (didn’t support basic needs or even come close to buying his freedom back) he was also beaten and whipped when his work suffered or when he wasn’t moving as fast. [2]

Although bonded, slave and child labor are all outlawed in Pakistan, rampant corruption within the government and the police force allow children to be taken advantage of.

At 10 years old, Iqbal was able to flee with some fellow youths who also worked at the carpet factory.When they ran to a police station to report the heinous crime, the officers were more inclined to collect on the ‘finder’s fee’ than to protect the young boys.

He was forced back to Arshad, Iqbal’s ‘owner’ and under the direction of the police, was chained to his carpet machine. He was forced to continue to work through a combination of beating and starvation.

His determination and relentlessness allowed him to attend a freedom day celebration of the Brick Layers’ Union 2 years later where he learned of his rights as a laborer and also the unlawful nature of child slaves.

He volunteered to speak in regards to his story that day and union leaders decided to help him and fight for his freedom. After numerous inquests into the legality of the carpet factory (which employs many child slaves), Arshad decided to free Iqbal.

There Iqbal went on to become an advocate, leader and literal poster child for the fight against child slavery. His small stature due to numerous beatings and malnutrition made him appear to be 6 or 7 years old when he was already 12. He used his size to sneak into factories and talk to the children to see if they were forced labor.

He eventually joined the Bonded Labor Liberation Front School, a school for child slaves or escaped child slaves, where he finished his schooling in 2 years as opposed to 4. He wanted to become a lawyer so that he could continue his fight against child slavery.

After flights, speeches and conferences around the world advocating for the freeing of all child laborers, he returned home on April 16, 1995. He was assassinated in broad daylight as he was shot in the back with a 12 gauge shotgun.

Police documents claim the killing was an accidental firing caused by a local, Ashraf Hero, whilst many around the world believe that this is a blatant coverup for big manufacturers who wanted Iqbal dead.

The Human Rights Commission looked into this case and agreed with the police’s findings although controversies and rumours are still floating about more than 20 years later.

At only 13 years old he not only helped free hundreds (if not thousands of slaves) but he also stood up for what he believed in. He was and is REAL and TRUE to what he is. He died for his cause. He is a martyr.

We can only hope that there are more people who are willing to fight for a just cause. Or simply stand up and say ‘That’s wrong.’

Actors or celebrities with a big platform and a large following need to use that as a megaphone to pine for justice. People such as Ashton Kutcher [4] , Akon [5] and Zach Galifianakis [6] are doing the right things with their popularity.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt_bondage

[2] http://moralheroes.org/iqbal-masih

[3] http://thefreethoughtproject.com/tag/pakistan-iqbal-masih/

[4] https://www.infowars.com/ashton-kutcher-in-war-against-pedophiles-and-sex-trafficking/

[5] https://globalgrind.com/4081754/akon-launches-solar-academy-provide-electricity-africans/

[6] https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/13jhsx/til_that_zach_galifianakis_was_approached_by_nike/

 

Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods is a declassified US document that undoubtedly showcases ‘false flag’ attacks. (Pictures of the actual document can be seen at [1])

A false flag attack is essentially that of a set-up. The attacker creates a situation in which innocent people are attacked or killed in order to frame another person/entity. In this case, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff attempted to create a scenario that would implicate Cuba in an attempt to justify an invasion and a subsequent war against Castro.

This document is not only available to the public at the National Security Archive but there is also a critical and in-depth published examination of the NSA and Operation Northwoods written by James Bamford. In his book, he states that the intent is to showcase the extent in which US officials tried to justify the use of military intervention in Cuba. [2]

Under the guise of ‘anti-communism’, officials attempted to fake assassinations of Cubans living inside the US, sink a ship filled with Cuban refugees, bomb a ship in Cuban waters and also shoot down a passenger airline while over Cuban airspace. All of these proposed scenarios, which can be found in the Operation Northwoods document, were the attempt to justify the invasion of Cuba.

By illustrating terrorist acts ‘performed by Cuba’ the U.S. can justify attacking Castro and invading Cuba with the backing of not only the American citizens but also the global public.

When President Kennedy decided to end this program (as well as break up the CIA, and end the private bank known as the Federal Reserve) he was subsequently assassinated by a ‘lone gunman.’

Now this blog post is not an in-depth look at Operation Northwoods. By no means do I even attempt at being more intricate and forthright than the actual documents shown at the National Security Archive. There are in fact a multitude of much more legitimate and experienced sources than I that can prove that this operation is real. [3]

What I am trying to showcase is that if false flag attacks have been around since AT LEAST 1962 (when the invasion of Cuba was first proposed) then how many other false flag attacks have there been since then?

If high level government officials can attempt to deceive not only their citizens but also the world, what other covert operations have they attempted since then?

Is it so far-fetched to believe that 9/11 wasn’t a false flag attack to justify the invasion of Iraq? And is it really that hard to believe that the Sandy Hook shooting wasn’t a false flag to justify disarming the American public?

What else do we not know about? How many more years do we have to wait until such revealing documents become ‘declassified’? How does hiding information and documents, such as Operation Northwoods, protect American citizens or infringe on national security?

History has shown us that taxpayers are lied to and those who try to do right (President Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, just to name a few) do not live that long. When do we, the people who keep this system upright and running, decide that enough is enough?

As the author of Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, James Bamford said: ‘Operation Northwoods may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.’

 

[1] http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/northwoods.html

[2] https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/Northwoods.html

[3] http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/news/20010430/

They need us more than we need them

Time and time again we hear of CEO’s and upper management taking home nearly 50 to 100 times more than those on the lower rungs of the ‘corporate ladder.’ According to Canadian Business Insider, the top 100 CEO’s of Canada brought home an annual salary of approximately 9.5 million dollars, which is a whopping 193 times more than the average annual wage of a Canadian! [1]

Now a common rebuttal to this statement is that CEO’s who have better degrees and subsequently a higher education, deserve a higher wage. Which MAY be true in SOME cases, but it is factual that not ALL CEO’s work 193 times harder than your average Canadian.

In our capitalist society, wages and promotions are not given due to merit or hard work. It is NOT the case that those who work hardest and produce the most results get the highest pay.

From working recreation to retail to construction, myself and others in Generation Y, have seen that it is not what you know these days but more so who you know. [2] So, is it the case that these CEO’s enter into their position of power due to merit and hard work, or is it due to them knowing the right people, and kissing the right babies?

Now let’s suppose in this Utopia we live in that these high level executives have reached their place of superiority due to merit. When they enter into this executive role, do they continue to work just as hard? Do they honestly deserve such a high wage when some Canadian families are struggling to make ends meet? Do they consistently work 193 times harder than an average Canadian? And is it even remotely possible for others along the corporate ladder to achieve such a high status?

More often than not the answer is no. Very rarely do we see CEO’s, principals [3] or managers give up their wage to ensure that those ‘beneath’ them are making their fair share.

So what can we do?

We are the oil and grease that allows the giant wheels of the system to turn. We are the key players in this one-sided game. We are the ones helping the CEO’s make millions of dollars. And as a result, we are the same people who are limiting our own resources.

Instead of fighting each other, we need to band together to focus on the real enemy. It is not each other that we should be worried about, rather we should be concerned about those hoarding money, resources and necessities from us.

There are way more employees than CEO’s. There are way more staff than managers. So what is it that we can do to ensure that we get our fair share?

Unions. The IDEA of unions.

If we all decided to stop working right now, what can the upper echelon do? Shut down the whole system to hire and train new staff? Hope that one or two of us changes our minds? Beg for our return with the offer of same if not slightly better wages? It’s simply too cumbersome for them, and not worth it for us.

Now suppose they do such things, how effective is it going to be? How quickly can upper management train these new employees and get the ship upright once more? How long until we realize that the 50 cent increase in our hourly wages isn’t enough? And how much longer will we stand to see managers and executives roll into work in Mercedes and Bentleys whilst the majority of others is stuck taking buses and trains.

Now suppose once again that they do right this ship. How will it look when a majority of their employees are striking outside of where they work? How will it look when media shines a light on corporations whose employees are LITERALLY outside railing against them?

Strikes and unions DO work; whether it’s teaching assistants [4] , nurses, or garbage collectors; when the little fishes band together and fight for what they deserve, results will appear and even sharks and killer whales can get eaten alive.

It is time to get rewarded for the hard work you put in.

If you truly believe that a wage should be judged based on merit, and not the suit you wear or the piece of paper you hold, then stand up, band together and defend yourselves.

If we all decided to stop working, the system stops running. Banks shut down. Grocery stores stop working. Gas stations stop becoming effective.

They need us more than we need them.

[1] http://www.canadianbusiness.com/lists-and-rankings/richest-people/canada-100-highest-paid-ceos/

[2] https://newsgathererblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/its-not-what-you-know-its-who-you-know/

[3] http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/08/05/kentucky-state-university-president-gives-90000-his-own-salary-so-low-paid/

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/oct/10/teaching-assistants-derby-durham-striking-new-contracts-pay-cuts

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission came into existence to examine the atrocious human rights abuses that occurred during the times of Apartheid in South Africa. The TRC was split into three distinct committees; one for the examination of human rights violations, another for reparations and rehabilitation, and the final, and possibly most controversial one; amnesty. [1]

Any and all people were subject to the investigation of the TRC, including citizens, police and most importantly, members of the ruling class at the time, the African National Congress.

The TRC focused on the years between 1960 and 1994; where apartheid was legal. Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, who later won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, was the Chairperson of the TRC. Tutu is a South African social rights advocate and a staunch opponent of apartheid policies in the 80’s. [2]

It is important to note that during the TRC’s investigation, members of the National Intelligence Agency destroyed large quantities of reports whilst defying government orders to cease and desist. [3] The TRC asserts that although the destruction of material complicated their investigative efforts, it did not hamper the clear evidence of apartheid and its inherent human rights violations.

An in-depth look into what types of human rights abuses occurred in South Africa can be found on the full TRC report at: http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/trc_0.pdf [4]

Now the most controversial part of this commission was the committee that handled amnesty. The amnesty program only provided immunity for those who conducted a violation of humans rights, those violations had to have occurred between 1960 and 1994, it had to originate from a political perspective, had to admit fault (even in the case of self-defense) and had to provide full disclosure (all relevant information.)

In order for it to be considered political, the individual asking for amnesty must be a member of one of the political parties at the time, and the committee also had to determine whether or not it was committed on behalf of the political party. The act had to be ‘proportional’ to its political objective.

If these criterion were met then the individual asking for amnesty would be granted a pardon. Any legal proceedings pertaining to that individual would be terminated, and they would be released if they were previously incarcerated. Furthermore, any criminal record would be erased and any criminal or civic liability would be removed. But, any civil judgements that had already been granted would not be reversed (money would not have to be given back.) [3]

Given that apartheid was and still is a sensitive topic, it is clear why some individuals would find amnesty for those perpetrators as an atrocious act of injustice.

Over 7,000 people applied for amnesty and 849 individuals were granted immunity. Although the report recommended prosecution for those not granted immunity, no such act was performed after the publication of the report.

A Truth Commission would truly be necessary in every country. It is in my opinion, too late to set up a Truth Commission after atrocities and mass murders have occurred. It is safe to say that there are human rights violations all over the world, whether it be in a Third World country or a developed western nation.

The Truth Commission is simply a committee that holds powerful people and organizations accountable for their actions. No one group was larger than the TRC in South Africa, and a committee like the TRC should be implemented in every country so that it’s people are protected.

It is too often and evident that our country and regions are run by people who do not have our best interests at heart. And when such things are exposed, those individuals or corporations should be held accountable. It is not acceptable for rules to apply to some people and not others. The world is not a game where rules are altered for those in a ‘higher’ place. Everyone should be held to the same standard; if rules are broken, and basic human rights are violated, they should ALL be punished equally.

[1] http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/truth-and-reconciliation-commission-trc

[2] http://www.usip.org/publications/truth-commission-south-africa

[3] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/south_african_truth_commission

[4] http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/trc_0.pdf

Iran to drop the use of US dollar

On a January 29 television interview, Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor, Valiollah Seif, announced that in the coming fiscal year, March 21st, Iran would no longer use the US dollar in its official financial and foreign exchange reports. [1]

In a report by the Financial Tribune (the first Iranian-English economic daily), Seif, who is also the head of the Money and Credit council, declared that Iran would convert to a currency that is more suitable for their trade deals.

Iran conducts the majority of its trades with China, the European Union and the United Arab Emirates. [2] The CBI hinted that Iran would either use the Euro, or a ‘basket of currencies in all official financial and foreign exchange reports.’

The move to switch to another currency has been in the works since 2016, but some speculate that Trump’s ban on seven Muslim-majority countries for at least 90 days (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) sped up this process. [3]

In response to Trump’s ban, Iran has announced that it will stop issuing Visas to US citizens. [4]

In a hidden retaliation, Congress passed a bill that authorized the US Armed Forces to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. [5] Thereby, justifying the use of force and invasion into Iran so long as Congress assumes Iran is stockpiling nuclear weapons. This is an eerily similar statement to when George W. Bush invaded Iraq looking for ‘weapons of mass destruction.’

A look back into history will reveal that anytime a country’s leader has attempted to shift away from the US dollar, their countries have been invaded and ransacked. From Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to Saddam Hussein of Iraq, all these countries have been demolished and outright bombed since their stray from the United States’ currency.

Only time will tell if this match-up between Iran and the US will be any different.

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2017/01/30/iran-to-ditch-dollar/#3f88974a676d

[3] http://thefreethoughtproject.com/iran-dollar-trump-war/

[4] http://wearechange.org/iran-drop-us-dollar-response-trumps-travel-ban/

[5] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/10

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

“There are times when they bite their tongues or keep their mouths shut because to reveal it would lose a relationship, or a job, or a career. Then you said, but there comes a time when the level of wrongness or inhumanity is so great that you have to cross over that line.” – Daniel Ellsberg

The first Edward Snowden was Daniel Ellsberg.

Daniel Ellsberg was a former RAND (California Think Tank) and Pentagon employee. After volunteering for the US Marine Corps and then becoming a platoon leader, he finished his graduate studies at Harvard and earned his Ph.D. [1]

Ellsberg’s involvement in the Pentagon and subsequently the Vietnam war was more than just nominal. In 1950, he visited South Vietnam with a group of researchers to look at alternative, non-nuclear assault options. In August of 1964, he began working for the Defense Department as an assistant to John McNaughton. [2]

His expertise in crisis decision-making and of nuclear weapons gave him access to secure, top-secret documents.

One of these classified documents was the Pentagon Papers, formerly known as the History of US decision making in Vietnam. This document spanned over 7000 pages and was contained in 47 volumes. [1]

After reading the Pentagon Papers, he decided to leak it to the American public in order to bring about an end to  US involvement in Vietnam.

Ellsberg realized that American involvement in Saigon was not justified, and that the deaths of thousands of Vietnamese  and Americans were a result of mass murders. He wanted to expose President Nixon’s lies and reveal to the American public that they were endlessly dumping money, resources and lives into an ‘unwinnable war.’ [1]

In a time when Wikileaks was not yet present, and social/digital media still yet to be born, his dissemination of classified information was fraught with difficulty. Ellsberg along with his anti-war friend, Anthony Russo, had to manually photocopy the 7,000 page document.

After leaking the document to the New York Times, he was forced into hiding where he later turned himself in to the FBI on espionage charges.

These charges were later dropped citing ‘a gross misconduct by the government’ [1] after a Supreme Court Judge, William Byrne, revealed that three Cuban-American Bay of Pigs veterans had broken into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in order to obtain files that would smear his name and denounce his credibility.

His truly genuine patriotic act was rewarded by the subsequent end of US involvement in Vietnam and the resignation of President Nixon.

Most recently, in 2014, Ellsberg has gone on to compliment the work of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. [3]

[1] http://law2.umkc.edu/Faculty/projects/ftrials/ellsberg/ellsbergaccount.html

[2] http://www.pbs.org/pov/mostdangerousman/timeline/

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/07/daniel-ellsberg-snowden-honored-his-oath-better-than-anyone-in-the-nsa/375031/

[4] http://www.pbs.org/pov/mostdangerousman/the-penagon-papers-and-wikileaks/

Addiction in Canada

Addiction and the war on drugs has long been a problem in countries all over the world, regardless of status: third world, developed, developing, etc. But aside from the fact that the term ‘addiction’ is general and vague, what can we, as society, do to help those who are ‘addicted’ and how do we combat that?

Google defines “addicted” as ‘physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.’ Firstly, anyone can practically be addicted to anything. An avid basketball player can be addicted to playing basketball to the extent where his knees or ankles can be hurting, thus creating an ‘adverse effect.’ An obese man can be addicted to cheeseburgers thus leading to the adverse effect of being morbidly obese. A businesswoman can be addicted to caffeine simply because she relies on 3 cups of black coffee a day to function. So why is it that an addiction to food, sports, television or coffee is okay but another arbitrary substance defined by the government is not?

Let’s disregard the definition of addiction and deal with how we HANDLE addiction. Well, addiction is simply a dependence on something that causes negative effects. So how can we deal with these adverse effects whilst helping the individual wean off that substance?

It’s clear that mass incarceration doesn’t work since drug users (or ‘abusers’) have not shown a significant decline in Canada since Health Canada conducted a study in 2004. [1] Health Canada surveyed Canadians on cannabis, cocaine/crack, heroin, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, and ecstasy in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. The study illustrates that since the war on drugs, there has not been a significant drop in drug users. In fact, the number of drug users has basically stayed the same!

Furthermore, according to the Government of Canada website, 11 per cent of Canadians reported using 1 out of the 6 elicit drugs (cannabis, cocaine or crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens or heroin) in 2012 within that year. The same study was conducted in 2013 and once again, 11 per cent of Canadians (or 2.9 million Canadians) reported using 1 out of the 6 elicit drugs. [2]

So what does work?

Montreal has begun implementing safe injection sites where drug users can visit the site to use their drugs in a safe manner. In 2016, Montreal has pledged to invest 12 million dollars to fund these open injection sites. [3]

Open injection sites or supervised injection sites are areas where drug addicts can go to ‘shoot up’ in a safe manner. They are guaranteed clean needles and a place free from judgement and prosecution. They are given doses that are safe thus preventing overdoses, and they can be sure that they are truly getting what they ask for (ie. fentanyl instead of heroin [4])

If in the unfortunate event that an overdose does occur, staff and other medical personnel are present in order to prevent deaths.

Moreover, in countries such as Portugal where all drugs have been legalized (ala libertarianism) for at least 14 years and open injection sites are implemented, there has been a SIGNIFICANT decrease in drug users of all drugs. [5] Moreover, the amount of cases involving HIV and AIDS has severely declined due to open injection sites offering clean needles and users not having to share needles.

14 Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here's What Portugal Looks Like

Now I am not condoning the legalization of ALL drugs (although it has shown to be effective in some countries) but I am an advocate of open injection sites. Instead of shunning those who need our help and throwing them into jail cells, we should provide them with the necessary tools to get through their addiction. Quitting anything cold turkey is hard enough (whether it be smoking, drinking, or even eating healthier foods) and it becomes that much more difficult when society chooses to simply abandon you.

[1] http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/drugs-drogues/stat/_2011/summary-sommaire-eng.php

[2] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canadian-tobacco-alcohol-drugs-survey/2013-summary.html

[3] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-to-invest-12m-in-safe-injection-sites-1.3783424

[4] http://www.cpha.ca/en/about/digest/40-2/5.aspx

[5] https://mic.com/articles/110344/14-years-after-portugal-decriminalized-all-drugs-here-s-what-s-happening#.9iCFWIDHg