Friday, August 30, 2013

Good and Evil

Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at
August 30, 2013

                As I became acquainted with survivors of intergenerational satanic ritual torture twenty years ago, I became fascinated trying to understand the religious convictions that motivated those who led satanic ritual human sacrifice.  I found an answer in the writings of Albert Pike, who became the first grandmaster Scottish Rite free mason in the US in Charleston in 1803, and who also became an early KKK organizer, a white supremacist.  Pike celebrated human sacrificial rites in the US southwest.  He also avowedly worshiped Lucifer, God’s favorite son who betrayed his Father and was sent to hell.  Luciferans believe that Lucifer, God’s truly firstborn son, will ultimately prove supremely powerful over God the Father.  Whether or not Pike performed human sacrifices as occult masonic rites (as many survivors I know have experienced evenings in masonic lodges), this idea that by commanding life by mortal conquest and literal blood-and-flesh communion, one will prove to be among those chosen for the highest promise of everlasting life.
                Survivors, raised to believe that they were “illuminati,” which dovetails into those who believe themselves to be blood descendants of a child of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, smuggled out of the Holy Land into Europe, protected by descendants of the knights templar, told me of being privy to plans for closet political and military actors to cause enough chaos and war worldwide, for Lucifer’s apocalypse to have exterminated all inferior human life.  Essentially, might makes the right to get to heaven.
                As I hear relentless “red line” justifications for US military invasion of Syria, I hear conviction that right demands that we demonstrate might.  Historically, relentlessly, I see forces justifying and expanding “necessary” military, police and “intelligence”/propaganda extermination of people gone bad and their things.  I ask myself how people I believe sincere that destruction opposes evil justify their beliefs to themselves.  I find these days that people generally have no time to think much beyond deciding whose side to support or resist.  I’m sure President Obama is in that position, as his advisers continually present him with options to choose among, right now on what to do to maintain the credibility of US military superiority when he has publicly checked the box that says he believes the Syrian government is to blame for the nerve gas attack.  Regardless of the church Mr. Obama does or does not go to at the moment, I believe he is sincere in trying to do his personal best to serve his God in this life-and-death moment.  I don’t envy him his position.  Nonetheless, the only justification I can see for how US presidents keep relying on questionable, often made-up pretexts for bombing places around the world, in the name of befriending people and making ourselves safer, is Albert Pike and Prince Machiavelli’s prophecy that those the militarily mightiest are the supremely right guarantors of ultimate human social order.  I know the mix includes those who avow satanism and luciferanism, if known only to “chosen” people like the intergenerational survivors of their torture whom I have known, who have escaped.
                I come back to my conviction that it makes no sense to classify entire human beings as good or evil.  But I do in a sense consider the force of military-prison-industrial to be the force I am trying to counter, to resist, and that in this sense, I hold my god of love superior in my response to violence to the God that drives fear through us, which in its excesses, I consider to be embody what I treat as the forces of evil.  Love and peace--hal

Thursday, August 29, 2013

not again please

Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at
August 29, 2013

                At the moment, the best evidence I have found that the Syrian government launched the apparent nerve gas attack is that Israeli “intelligence’ has passed along cables shared with US intelligence purporting to be cables among Syrian military commanders talking somehow about the attack, which have “convinced” the US president and British prime minister that the Syrian government was “probably responsible” for the gas shelling.
                It is ironic that we are presented with the urgency of inflicting military retaliation against Syrian “assets” before the UN even completes the inspection that I’m sure the US government is responsible for barring from even asking who did the deed, just as many among us are questioning whether George Zimmerman was unfairly acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, where rules of evidence demanded that Zimmerman remain innocent unless the evidence the public saw proved him legally guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of intentionally, inexcusably, killing Mr. Martin.
                Fortunately, some voices are rising to the media surface recalling the confidence that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction justified the hundred-days 2003 invasion of Iraq.  I recently blogged my weariness at the number of times even in my lifetime, from the overthrown of Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, from the Tonkin fabrication that got us overtly into Vietnam in 1964, and on and on, until now Syria falls under the umbrella of the war on terror grounded on limited evidence of who all set 9/11 off.   Will it happen again?  The UN Secretariat devoutly hopes not.  How hard have I had to listen to pick up on the fact that Iran and Syria have a mutual defense treaty, where an attack on one is considered an attack on the other—akin to NATO and countless other mutual defense treaties the US holds with governments, the kind of agreements that justified the US invasion of Vietnam as national self-defense, lest Communist dominoes fall in Southeast Asia, to stop the Communists (now it’s to stop chemical weapons) before they landed on the U.S. West Coast, agreements made and broken as it suits “American interests.”
                I remember desperately thinking that the US could not invade Iraq as long as the Russians opposed it.  I keep hoping, please, not again…love and peace, hal

Monday, August 26, 2013

Control of Information is Where the Action Is

Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at
August 26, 2013

                Social control manifests itself to us as control of flows of information.  The ultimate agent of control over flows of information among people is the individual human mind.  The source of this agency is what each of us knows about her- or himself, in relation to what s/he knows about others.  At all moments in which we engage disarray in our relations, our response depends on choosing between two attitudes toward applying what we know to the situation.  We may give others information we think they need to know for their own good, and be prepared to silence or contest their voices if they don’t go with our program, or we may share information to learn from one another.  I was struck learning Norwegian that the basic Germanic word for learning also meant teaching.  Teaching was learning TO others, while learning was learning FROM others.   When the power of information flows is shared,  conversations about conflict become alternating flows of talking, listening and reflection, where what is talked about moment to moment, and who knows and learns what, moves back and forth among actors.
                Knowing better than others implies power over others.  Learning with others implies power sharing.  I have lately called taking the former approach to social control “violence,” and the latter “peacemaking.”   The former approach to social control is a matter of warfare, of mission, of contests of will, of superior control of information.   The latter approach is a matter of discovery, of creativity, of cooperation, of mutual learning, of conciliation.  In my case as a career teacher, adopting this attitude entailed my questioning the premise that I knew better than students what they needed to know, or that I knew what they had to teach me about myself.
                From my peacemaking point of view, the news these days keeps showing new knots of absurdity we humans getting tied up into trying to hold onto knowing things about ourselves and others which others don’t.  As I write, one hot political contest for information control is between establishing privacy of personal information, and assuring that only those in law enforcement and government-sponsored “intelligence” know what they know and think about us and everyone else in the world.
                   Trust that information about oneself can be shared and understood is requisite to sharing information with others rather than controlling information about them.  Trust depends on information being direct and honest rather than evasive and misleading.  We have limits to our honesty and openness.  We all protect zones of personal privacy.  From the times that created the story of Adam and Eve to this day, our most intimate struggles with power over others are to keep private our control over  where, how, and with whom we undress parts of ourselves, and over how and whether we let ourselves be touched.
We likewise set boundaries over other information about ourselves we will share with others.  I have my limits.  While I don’t mind Uncle Sam and others knowing my bank transactions, I don’t want anyone but myself and my wife to be able to take money out of the account.  While my liability for fraudulent use of my credit card is limited by federal  law to $50, I’d rather not deal with the hassle of anyone but my wife using our account.  I and the holders of my internet accounts share a major interest in cyber-security.  I don’t want uninvited people walking into my bathroom while I am taking a shower, or in bed.  When people get into my personal space while they are talking to me, my defenses go up.  I don’t want people trying to hurt me by saying things about me behind my back that they won’t say to my face.  And for years until I stopped drinking, my mind became increasingly consumed with hiding my inebriation from others.  I set boundaries on whom I invite into my home (notably, not solicitors).  I consciously monitor what I say and refrain from saying in serious discussions.  I have learned most of all that to enjoy others’ trust and openness, I need to respect their confidentiality.   All in all, I try to respect privacy where I encounter it in others as I reserve it for myself.  I do so because I believe that the honesty I get and the honesty I convey depend on it.  I have learned to prefer letting others disclose their personal secrets as they will, rather than as I want to know.  Hence for instance I have befriended prisoners and convicts for years without ever asking, or learning, what “their crimes” were, let alone knowing more than bits and pieces of those events, in order to let them tell me what they have wanted me to know about their pasts when they found it useful and safe to make those parts of themselves known.  The same goes for listening to stories from the many survivors of childhood sexual assault and torture whom I have gotten to know well.  In matters of conflict, I find it pays to hear others account for themselves before I presume to know anything else that needs knowing about them.
I am privileged.  I no longer need to work for anyone but myself.  There may be things I don’t care to tell people, but there is nothing much left I can think of that I fear becoming known about me by anyone who doesn’t already know.  Equally, I have learned never to presume that anyone else feels likewise about the privacy of what they know about themselves.   I see people’s demands for privacy escalating in face-to-face and cyber-reality, as now in epic struggles between maintaining privacy and confidentiality of information about ourselves, and government and for-profit corporate control of information about how to sort us out and manage us.  At law, what one can say and ask depends on being granted “standing to be heard,” which depends in turn on rules of words one can use, and information that is “competent” by be heard by arbiters of “facts,” on which judgments rest.  In job and student applications, essential information about oneself is reduced to categories, as in certificates and diplomas received, grade point averages, and having references say “strong” things.  In all contests over information about ourselves, there are winners and losers.  In the field of criminal justice, we call losers “offenders.”  We call those who control information about offenders “the authorities.”  Power over information about themselves and about those whom they regard as their subjects “of interest” is their game.
Meanwhile, we keep getting more demands to share personal information with public and private strangers who hold power over what to do to or for us to transact daily personal and professional business.  Examples of falls from among the high and mighty demonstrate that some information we have given up somewhere, sometime in the past, will come back to haunt us proliferating,  disparate storehouses of information about us, beyond our control, against our wishes.  The less we can foresee adverse consequences of each piece of ourselves we disclose.  The more guarded we become about what we say.  The warier we become of involving ourselves in other people’s lives.  The more diffident we become that others will want to hear what we are feeling or thinking about, in a climate that puts a premium on taking care of business, of getting to the point, of not putting people off by intruding our issues into others’ busy lives.  By the same token, we have less time for distraction from getting on with business, or in the long term, of achieving personal and professional goals “efficiently,” “productively.”  It is increasingly recognized that without practice we lose track of our own feelings and opinions.  As we attend more to limiting what we reveal about ourselves to anyone in particular, we lose our sense of self-identity, our knowledge and awareness of ourselves and of how others see us apart from whether they are for or against us.  I am reminded of a time when I entered therapy in a state of clinical depression, feeling useless and purposeless, thinking I might be going crazy.  My therapist would generally start our sessions by asking how I was doing.  I found myself saying “okay…” or “I dunno.”  I was so afraid that my feelings and thoughts were socially unacceptable that I literally felt my mind go blank in self-defense.  My therapist stuck with me through years of self-examination, of willingness to share parts of myself with so much as a single listener, let alone in moments alone with myself.   As I let myself know and embrace myself, I have become less inhibited about revealing myself to others, let alone becoming conscious of myself in others’ eyes.  As I give myself time to open myself to others, I find myself allowing more time to listen and learn from others.  In these moments I am able to share information with others rather than defining information for others or having their information define me.  In these moments, direct currents of power over others become alternating currents of power between and among each other, constantly shifting directions and agendas in social discourse.  In the realm of social control, power over others becomes power sharing.
In cyberspace and in everyday lives, time for one another is becoming scarcer.  The honest and openness to share information depends not only on acceptance of oneself and others, but on having time to talk and listen, time to explain ourselves, and to hear others explain themselves to us.  The more numerous the discrete demands that we provide or respond to information about ourselves and from others, the lower our capacity to notice and hear others and ourselves even when we say we are listening and taking note.  Without time to listen and reconsider what we do next, we are reduced to controlling and being controlled by others, or else to being out of control.  Without awareness of ourselves, we have no awareness of the effects of ourselves on others, and less information about our effects on others.  That leaves us more protective of our privacy, more guarded about becoming known.  It becomes safer and easier to talk about the weather or sports or what “those people” are doing, than to open ourselves to becoming subjects of our conversations.  And so police officers are trained to ask rather than answer questions, and as a professional I have been taught to set boundaries on how much I let students or clients know about myself—to keep the conversation focused on them and what they know and are learning.  This in turn limits what they are willing and able to tell me.  In this game of power over others, I become less able to depend on anything I hear, more insecure about the future of relationships, more subject to frustrated intentions for and expectations of others.  Social control spins out of the hands of those who would establish control over others by controlling information about themselves and others.  Essentially, how freely we know and share information about ourselves with others determines how much our relations with one another are under control.  Love and peace--hal

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Russian Human Rights Diplomacy

Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at
August 1, 2013

                Yesterday afternoon a military trial judge convicted Bradley Manning on multiple counts of espionage.  Thereafter what were probably the last clips of Edward Snowden’s Guardian interview were broadcast.  This morning the Guardian released what is probably the last of Mr. Snowden’s files to be revealed, describing “Operation Keystroke,” the capacity yes, even to read the president’s email.  At 8am ET in the US the Russians granted Mr. Snowden a one-year, renewable visa on political asylum.
I believe Russian diplomatic timing in this case is impeccable.  The Russian government allowed US “justice” with whistleblower Bradley Manning to run its course undisturbed.  The internationally accepted definition of espionage is aiding a foreign power.  By convicting Manning of espionage while acquitting him of the charge of aiding an enemy, the court in effect ruled that simply putting government secrets on the internet is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment per publication however nefarious the activity the secrets uncover, even if you can’t show the information aided an enemy.  So much for journalists publishing information about the government the powers that be don’t want known about themselves.  The verdict in the trial of Bradley Manning has demonstrated that Mr. Snowden cannot get a fair trial, according to international standards of what constitutes “espionage.”  Therefore the Russian government is justified in granting Mr. Snowden’s request for political asylum.  Quite the syllogism, that.
And so the former villain empire of the US Cold War, led by a president who is a former agent of the notorious KGB, emerges as the defender of freedom of the press.  And in the eyes of an international audience, the US justice system has embarrassed itself, and exposed the fact that congressional oversight of US international crimes and espionage is a farce.  Love and peace--hal

                                         A FURTHER COINCIDENCE, Friday, August 2:

             As the week ends in US duels over who benefits and loses over its "intelligence," the US State Department has partially closed embassies and warned US travelers worldwide to be on alert for unnamed yet somehow pervasive threats to national security centered in the Middle East.  I'm reminded of the yellow alerts we used to get from the department of homeland security at winter vacation travel time--a public reminder of how "our" safety depends on our official protectors knowing more and knowing better than we what is really in the national interest.  Is the US government capable of alerting us to phantom threats to "our" security?  That's what US wars pretexts have been made of from claims of a Mexican act of war, to remembering the Maine, to the Lusitania, to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq...How long will US media be fooled into taking these cries of wolf! seriously?  l&p hal