Prescriptive Maths Teaching Impedes Real Understanding

Adnan Al-Daini

Having trashed teaching qualification (QTS)[*] by telling academies that they could appoint teachers without QTS qualifications, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is at it again, this time telling teachers how to teach mathematics.  Whatever next? Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, telling doctors how to treat patients?

The arrogance of politicians, from all parties, when it comes to education is breathtaking. Micromanaging lessons to the extent of compulsory rote learning of the times tables, counting, Roman numerals etc., is a vote of no confidence in the professionalism of teachers that will lower their morale and impact negatively on standards.

Teaching in a school is not for the fainthearted.  I should know, for I taught mathematics in a school, taught engineering in a university and worked in industry.  School teaching was the most demanding, the poorest paid, and the least appreciated, and that was before government interference in the minutiae of education became fashionable.

Julian Assange: Political Refugee

Stephen Lendman

International law protects refugees and asylum seekers. Article 1 of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees calls them:

"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country."

Post-WW II, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established to help them. To gain legal protection, they must:

• be outside their country of origin;
• fear persecution;
• be harmed or fear harm by their government or others;
• fear persecution for at least one of the above cited reasons; and
• pose no danger to others. calls asylum and refugee status "closely related." They differ "only in the place where a person asks for asylum status." Refugee status is asked for outside countries of origin. "However, all people who are granted asylum status must meet the definition of a refugee."

Assange is entitled to political refugee rights. Britain won't grant them.

Crimes of War: Afghanistan

Patricia Gossman

Conflict has raged in Afghanistan since April 1978. It has been marked by brutality on a massive scale. Although the major fighting ended with the defeat of the Taliban in 2001, conflict continues especially in the south and east of the country, and many of those responsible for war crimes in earlier phases of the war continue to wield power. During every phase of the fighting, Afghan and foreign armed factions committed crimes against humanity and serious war crimes. These included large-scale massacres, disappearances and summary executions of tens of thousands of Afghans, indiscriminate bombing and rocketing that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, torture, mass rape and other atrocities. There has never been any serious effort, international or domestic, to account for these crimes.

South African police massacre striking miners

Bill Van Auken

South African police opened fire with automatic weapons on striking platinum miners in the country’s North West province on Thursday, killing at least 30. Other reports cite a death toll as high as 40.

Corpses were strewn on the ground after a three-minute hail of gunfire. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told the media, “A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up.”

The mass killing came on the sixth day of a strike by miners at Marikana operations of the British-owned Lonmin Plc, the world’s third-largest platinum mining company. Thousands of rock drillers walked out of the mines last Friday to press their demand for a doubling of salaries. The platinum mines are among the lowest paying in South Africa, and miners charge that little has changed in their conditions since the end of apartheid nearly two decades ago.

Ecuador to Washington and Britain: Go to Hell!

Stephen Lendman

For around two months, Julian Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy after requesting political asylum. Sweden wants him extradited on spurious charges. They include unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape. Allegedly it's for having nonconsensual condomless sex. A honey trap snared him. Sex charges are bogus. Sweden represents Washington's interests. Obama officials wants him extradited to stand trial for whistleblowing. They want him put away and silenced. Sweden's playing willing co-conspirator. So is Britain.

On August 16, word came. Asylum was granted short of freedom to leave Britain unarrested. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said "Ecuador decided to grant political asylum to Julian Assange following the request sent to the President."

He faces likely extradition to a third country without proper guarantees. If tried in America, it won't be fair. Patino called Ecuador's decision "protected by international law."

Shortly before Patino's announcement, President Raphael Correa signaled his likely decision by twittering "No one is going to terrorize us."

Ecuador President Rafael “We Are Not A Colony” Correa Stands Up To The Jackbooted British Gestapo

Paul Craig Roberts

A coward dies many deaths; a brave man dies but once.

The once proud British government, now reduced to Washington’s servile whore, put on its Gestapo Jackboots and declared that if the Ecuadorean Embassy in London did not hand over WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, British storm troopers would invade the embassy with military force and drag Assange out. Ecuador stood its ground. “We want to be very clear, we are not a British colony,” declared Ecuador’s Foreign Minister. Far from being intimidated the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, replied to the threat by granting Assange political asylum.

The once law-abiding British government had no shame in announcing that it would violate the Vienna Convention and assault the Ecuadorean Embassy, just as the Islamic students in the 1979 Khomeini Revolution in Iran took over the US Embassy and held the diplomatic staff captive. Pushed by their Washington overlords, the Brits have resorted to the tactics of a pariah state. Maybe we should be worried about British nuclear weapons.

Let’s be clear, Assange is not a fugitive from justice. He has not been charged with any crime in any country. He has not raped any women. There are no indictments pending in any court, and as no charges have been brought against him, there is no validity to the Swedish extradition request. It is not normal for people to be extradited for questioning, especially when, as in Assange’s case, he expressed his complete cooperation with being questioned a second time by Swedish officials in London. [So] what is this all about?

Memo allegedly exposes Israeli war plan against Iran

Bill Van Auken

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud
Barak at the IDF air base in Hatzerim.
(IDF handout, Haaretz)

A leaked memo that surfaced Wednesday provides a detailed blueprint for an unprovoked Israeli war against Iran. The publication of the memo coincides with multiple Israeli media reports indicating that such an attack may be imminent.

The memo was first published by US blogger and journalist Richard Silverstein and was subsequently picked up by the BBC and other media. Silverstein said that the document had been passed by a member of the Israel Defense Forces to a politician, and then on to him. He said it had been prepared for the eight-member Israeli Security Council as part of a bid by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to convince other members of the government to support an early and unilateral Israeli strike.

The memo posted on Silverstein’s blog, Tikun Olam, states: “The Israeli attack will open with a coordinated strike, including an unprecedented cyber-attack which will totally paralyze the Iranian regime.” The aim is to shut down all communications between the Iranian government and military, leaving the country’s leadership in the dark about what is happening at key installations and bases. Carbon fiber munitions would be employed to shut down the country’s electrical grid.

Meanwhile, “A barrage of tens of ballistic missiles would be launched from Israel toward Iran,” the memo states. These would be fired by Israeli submarines from the Persian Gulf region against Iranian nuclear facilities at Arak, Ishfahan, Fordo and elsewhere. They would be supplemented by “a barrage of hundreds of cruise missiles” aimed at destroying the regime’s command and control capacity and decapitating Iran’s nuclear and missile development program, targeting the “residences of senior personnel.”

These attacks would be followed up by Israeli Air Force warplanes carrying out air strikes against “targets which require further assault.”

Clearly, such an assault would inflict massive civilian casualties while plunging the entire region into chaos.

Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?

Paul Craig Roberts

The morons who rule the american sheeple are not only dumb and blind, they are deaf as well. The ears of the american “superpower” only work when the Israeli prime minister, the crazed Netanyahu, speaks. Then Washington hears everything and rushes to comply.

Israel is a tiny insignificant state, created by the careless British and the stupid americans. It has no power except what its american protector provides. Yet, despite Israel’s insignificance, it rules Washington.

When a resolution introduced by the Israel Lobby is delivered to Congress, it passes unanimously. If Israel wants war, Israel gets its wish. When Israel commits war crimes against Palestinians and Lebanon and is damned by the hundred plus UN resolutions passed against Israel’s criminal actions, the US bails Israel out of trouble with its veto.

The power that tiny Israel exercises over the “worlds’s only superpower” is unique in history. Tens of millions of “christians” bow down to this power, reinforcing it, moved by the exhortations of their “christian” ministers.

Netanyahu lusts for war against Iran. He strikes out against all who oppose his war lust. Recently, he called Israel’s top generals “pussies” for warning against a war with Iran. He regards former Israeli prime ministers and former heads of the Israeli intelligence service as traitors for opposing his determination to attack Iran. He has denounced america’s servile president Obama and america’s top military leader for being “soft on Iran.” The latest poll in Israel shows that a solid majority of the Israelis are opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran. But Netanyahu is uninterested in the opinion of Israeli citizens. He has Washington watching his back, so he is war mad. It is a mystery why Israelis put Netanyahu in public office instead of in an insane asylum.

The American Way

Stephen Lendman

Past and present leaders reveal the soul of their nations. Arguably America never had one. Current domestic and foreign policies provide convincing evidence. Police state harshness targets defenders of right over wrong everywhere. National resources go for militarism, belligerence, and making super-rich elites richer. Corporations are licensed to steal, exploit, and plunder. Wars ravage one country after another. Humanity is ruthlessly destroyed. Battlefields shift from one theater to another. Gangsterism writ large reflects official policy.

Syria is ground zero. Months of Western generated violence left thousands dead, many more injured, and countless numbers displaced. Nothing deters America's war machine madness. Bloodlust defines it. Dominance matters most. Body counts mount. Rule of law principles and democratic values are considered quaint and out of date.

Stomping on people is policy. Concern for human and civil rights is off the table. Winning hearts and minds was never America's game. Crushing the will to resist is more important. Repression enforces the message harshly. Death squad diplomacy eliminates non-believers. Where it ends, who knows! Despite ongoing direct and proxy wars, hawkish US lawmakers want more. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are three of America's worst. Peace they believe is abhorrent.

Death squad massacres in Syria aren't enough. As a 2008 presidential candidate, McCain's advocated bombing Iran. "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," he sang on his "Straight Talk" tour to the tune of a popular Beach Boys song. Lunatics like this run America. Now McCain wants more. So do Graham and Lieberman. They're not alone.

A law unto themselves

Barry Grey

The role of the government in shielding the financial mafia shatters all claims that the financial system can be reformed.

On August 9, the US Justice Department announced it was ending a criminal investigation into allegations that Goldman Sachs committed securities fraud in its underwriting and marketing of mortgage-backed securities in the months leading up to the Wall Street crash of September 2008. The department said it would not file charges against the bank or any of its employees.

As a special favor to Goldman, the Obama administration’s Justice Department took the unusual step of making a public announcement that it had cleared the bank of wrongdoing.

The allegations stemmed from a detailed, 640-page report on the financial crisis issued in April of 2011 by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The report, based on a two-year investigation and 56 million pages of evidence, documented rampant fraud and criminality by major banks and the complicity of credit rating firms and federal bank regulators. In releasing the report, the chairman of the committee, Senator Carl Levin, said the panel’s two-year probe had uncovered “a snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest and wrongdoing.”

Rumblings in Sinai

Philip Giraldi

The recent killing of 16 Egyptian military police by militants in Sinai, part of an unsuccessful attempted penetration of the nearby Israeli border using a captured armored personnel carrier, appears to have been carried out by jihadi groups from the north of the peninsula along with Palestinians infiltrated from Gaza.

But is the accepted narrative true? For a number of years both Egypt and Israel have been having problems with Bedouin tribes in Sinai and across the border inside the Jewish state. The tribesmen, generally regarded as bandits, have carried out kidnappings, sabotage, and have killed Egyptian officials when the opportunity has arisen. Recently, the situation in Sinai has deteriorated due to a weakening of security in general as a consequence of the Arab Spring.

Al-Qaeda affiliated militants carried out a spectacular attack on hotels in the southern resort area of Sharm el-Sheikh in 2005, but there is some legitimate skepticism as to whether the group has much of a permanent presence in Sinai. It is particularly interesting to note that the attackers in the latest incident, eight of whom were reported killed by the Israelis, have not been identified, while no one has claimed responsibility.

The Yinon Thesis Vindicated: Neocons, Israel, and the Fragmentation of Syria

Stephen J. Sniegoski

Stephen Lendman, Israel's Longstanding Middle East Plan
Oded Yinon, "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" /
Israel Shahak, "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East"[*]

If everything goes according to plan, the end result will be a Middle East composed of disunited states, or mini-states, involved in intractable, internecine conflict, which would make it impossible for them to confront Israeli power and to provide any challenge to Israel’s control of Palestine.

It is widely realized now that the fall of President Bashar Assad’s regime would leave Syria riven by bitter ethnic, religious, and ideological conflict that could splinter the country into smaller enclaves. Already there has been a demographic shift in this direction, as both Sunnis and Alawites flee the most dangerous parts of the county, seeking refuge within their own particular communities. Furthermore, it is widely believed in Syria that, as the entire country becomes too difficult to secure, the Assad regime will retreat to an Alawite redoubt in the northern coastal region as a fallback position.

Colonizing Nations 101

Stephen Lendman

Last December, Truth offered a model for destroying and colonizing nations. In Orwellian newspeak, it said:

(1) Global "Mafia" scoundrels target nations "ripe for 'Regime Change.' " Calling them rogue states enlists support.
(2) CIA/Mossad/MI6 and collaborators "arm, train, (and) finance local and foreign mercenaries/terrorists." Freedom fighters they're called for the same reason.
(3) With or without Security Council authorization, mass killing and destruction follow. At the same time, sanctions suffocate nations economically. Political isolation harms them further. Civilians always suffer most.
(4) Media propaganda glorifies war in the name of peace. Managed news enlists public support. Mind manipulation convinces people to back what they should condemn.
(5) Invasions and occupations are called liberation. Plunder is called economic development. Exploitation and imperial control are called democracy.

Might justifies right. Nations are destroyed to free them. Code language conceals real motives. Policy involves ravaging the world one country at a time or in multiples. Nations are destroyed for their own good. Monied interests alone benefit.

Bloody fighting in Syria as US-backed forces slaughter prisoners

Patrick Martin

American imperialism is planing atrocities in Syria that would put the events in Libya in the shade, and dwarf the killings that have already taken place.

US-backed forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are stepping up their offensive in Aleppo, the country’s largest city, amid with reports Wednesday that the rebels had engaged in summary execution of dozens of captured loyalist police and soldiers. A gruesome video of one such slaughter was widely distributed on the Internet.

The scale of the fighting was shown in the reported storming of a police station at al-Marju in the Salhein district of Aleppo by a force of more than 700 "rebel" fighters. The 45-man security detachment inside resisted the attack fiercely until a large bomb was thrown into the building, killing at least 15 of the defenders. Most of the rest then surrendered.

One video showed four men, accused of being members of the pro-Assad Shabbiha militia force, lined up against a wall and forced to kneel, then mowed down with automatic weapons as their killers chanted “Allahu Akbar.” The victims were said to be members of the Barri family, a clan linked to Assad through adherence to the Alawite religion, a branch of Shiite Islam. In another video, from the al-Marju police station, showed a rebel desecrating the corpse of the station commander, blowing his head off.

War Without Mercy in Syria

Stephen Lendman

If wars had labels, Syria's conflict would be called Made in America

Paul Wolfowitz and other Project for the New American Century (PNAC) ideologues planned it years ago. They also targeted half a dozen or more other countries. PNAC's Statement of Principles called for "shap(ing) a new century favorable to American principles and interests." Doing so it said requires:

"increase(ing) defense spending significantly;"
"challeng(ing) regimes hostile to our interests and values;" and
"accept(ing) responsibility for American's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles."

PNAC effectively declared war. Independent nations were targeted. Implementing policy required a "catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." False flags provide pretexts for militarism, wars, occupations, domestic repression, national security state extremism, and other policies antithetical to free and open societies. PNAC members got what they wanted. They comprise a rogues gallery of hardcore neocon extremists. Charter members included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Jeb Bush, and others.

In 2009, PNAC reinvented itself as the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI). Policies remain unchanged. Regime change in Syria is prioritized. Direct intervention is urged. Obama is criticized for inaction. "What is clear," it says, is that America "sent a horrible message to tyrants elsewhere about the (non-existent) costs of mass killings of innocents." FPI knows Washington bears full responsibility. It's not enough. FPI wants full-scale war initiated.

September 11, 2001 was the Big Lie of our time. It was a classic false flag. It launched a decade of wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Palestine. Proxy wars rage in Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain, and elsewhere.

Full-scale ones are planned against Syria and Iran. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. Western and/or regional intervention looks certain. Proxies alone can't match Syria's superior military capability.

Expect Libya 2.0 in some form. Initiating it could happen any time or might follow US November elections. Electoral priorities dictate policy.

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