Burkely Hermann
NOC Featured Blogger
Published: Saturday 30 August 2014

Across the political spectrum, there is outcry against drones. In Kansas, libertarians, peace activists and a local republican party joined together to request that “Lawrence city government officials to protect residents from drones and legislate against their local use” in order secure “citizens’ civil liberties.” Almost one year later, in Texas's western Brewster County, commissioners “passed a resolution plainly stating that unmanned aerial systems are not welcome in their skies, citing a lack of public input in the state’s drone plans,” which Vice Magazine said was not only the “third such resolution passed by local Texas officials since November” but that it underscored “underscoring a growing anti-drone sentiment that has taken hold around the state, particularly in rural areas.” The sentiment against drones is growing and has moved to state legislatures. This article will examine the groups that support anti-drone resolutions in state legislatures no matter the ideology. So far, fourteen states have passed anti-drone resolutions and seven states have proposed legislation on the topic. In Virginia, groups including the “ACLU, the Tea Party Federation and agriculture groups supported” a measure proposed by a Democratic state senator that put in place “a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by police and government agencies.” As of now, the law has been enacted and is part of Chapter 755 of the Virginia code. However, this law has some ...

Published: Wednesday 20 August 2014

Recently, President Obama declared that “we tortured some folks” admitting that the CIA engaged in torture following 9/11, and then he went on to defend the practices as necessary. As Kevin Gosztola noted on Firedoglake, Obama’s statements echoed those of Cheney following 9/11, including his infamous statement that “we have to work toward the dark side, if you will.” Through some searching on YouTube I found a video of Obama in 2009 declaring that the US will not torture, and another two years earlier of Bush saying that the US doesn’t torture people. As the record has shown, we as a collective do not torture people; rather the US government tortures people. As Obama admitted, he only banned some of the torture techniques. The story doesn’t stop here. Newspaper headlines told how the CIA was apologizing to Congress for spying on the committee compiling the report on the agency’s torture. Still, like Obama decriminalizing the agency’s crimes in the past, most likely no one will be held accountable for this crime since the Justice Department already said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to investigate it, further proving the idea of what Glenn Greenwald calls “public-sector immunity.” After all, whistleblower John Kiriakou who revealed CIA torture is in prison rather than the torturers themselves. Lest us forget that the CIA

Published: Saturday 2 August 2014

Over 1200 Palestinians massacred, and 53 Israeli soldiers are dead, which is twenty times less deaths than Palestinians. These deaths were not due to a set of attacks by rogue, paramilitary elements. Rather they were caused by the military of what FLAME, a pro-Israeli group, even calls, “America’s unsinkable aircraft in the Middle East,” in a recent ad in The Nation: Israel. Since June, the Israeli military has pummeled the citizens of the Gaza Strip with bombs, naval bombardment, mortars, white phosphorous, and more. As a result, thousands have been displaced, six UNRWA schools have been bombed, Gaza’s only power plant has been destroyed, meaning the thousands will not have electricity and are plunged into darkness, andhospitals have been bombed. On July 22nd, the UN’s Office of Humanitarian Affairs painted a bleak picture of conditions in the Gaza Strip, saying there is “no safe place for civilians,” and that there are “critical shortages of hospital supplies and medicines,” at least 107,000 children requiring “specialized psychosocial support to deal with the trauma” from the attacks, “no or limited access to water” because of power systems being destroyed or “no fuel to generate them,” and reports “of sewage flooding.” Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Published: Monday 4 November 2013

I have been deeply troubled by the recent statements that Mel Watt should be confirmed as the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which oversees 60% of the country’s loans. I have had two conversations on twitter about this very subject with a user calling themselves ‘snapdragon’ (@dravazed) as shown here and here. This article is meant to provide a counterpoint and show why Mel Watt is someone who should be opposed. The first of these articles was by Richard (RJ) Eskow of the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF). What is CAF anyway other than being a ‘progressive’ organization? A 2005 Washington Post article that was noted by CounterPunch but missed by many, noted that: “at least 80 wealthy liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million or more apiece to fund a network of think tanks and advocacy groups to compete with the potent conservative infrastructure built up over the past three decades…The Democracy Alliance will act as a financial clearing house…The alliance is the brainchild of longtime Democratic strategist Rob Stein…Jockeying for cash among possible recipient organizations has already begun. Robert L. Borosage, director of the liberal Campaign for America's Future, said the alliance will fund a "set of institutions in this city to be in the national debate, and we would like to be one of them."” Additionally, their board of directors ...

Published: Sunday 28 July 2013

“The objective of Sweden's contribution is to help stabilise the situation in Mali.”- Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt as noted by the APO. Sweden is held up as a welfare state that benefits its people. After all, while the “working class did indeed win very substantial gains in Sweden after World War II. They made Sweden a "good capitalist" nation...[and] did not...abolish capitalism” which is part of the reason for the current unrest. The Guardian notes that “the country...is becoming polarised, and is surrendering more of its public services over to private businesses” and that the “"Nordic model" of progressive politics, low unemployment and a generous social safety net appears to have been singed in the flames.” Taking this all into account, we cannot be mislead to think Sweden is a socialist country as closeted progressive Democrat Bernie Sanders puts it. Per Olsson wrote on socialistworld.net that “what is sometimes called the ‘mixed economy’ in Sweden was never a mix of public and privately owned companies...big monopolies...dominate the economy...the concentration and centralisation of capital probably went further in Sweden than in most other advanced capitalist countries.” All of these factors come into play when one considers how Sweden is helping maintain the imperialist UN-enforced occupation of Mali, after a war that ...

Published: Tuesday 9 July 2013

“This is only the first phase. It is going to take time. I think people should not be into the illusion that it is going to be quick. It is going to take a long time and time means that it could take several years. And you got do it right.”- Don Yamamoto, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs at the State Department speaks to the Associated Press about the French mission, Operation Serval, in January 2013 The next stage of the imperialist intervention and current occupation of Mali has begun. The country's state of emergency has been lifted while a UN force has been brought to the country to officially bring stability with the upcoming vote. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spoke to a parliamentary hearing on Mali in February 2013 that the country was not “going to get into another Afghanistan in this region” on quick notice, which could allude to the fact that maybe Mali will become another Afghanistan, another Vietnam. As I wrote on twitter, now the “UN imperialist occupation has begun” while in Operation Serval, headed by France,  660 'militants' have been killed while less than 100 soldiers of the invading countries have died. Let us not forget the imperialist war for oil in Libya which caused the war in Mali which will cause horrible blowback. The U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilised Mission in Mali or MINUSMA has interesting origins. A press release from the UN News Centre notes: that “the transfer of authority from the forces of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) to....MINUSMA took place during a ceremony in Bamako, capital of the West ...

Published: Tuesday 11 June 2013

At a recent DNC fundraiser 56- year old LGBTQ advocate Ellen Sturt heckled Michelle Obama  to ask for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to be signed via executive order. This was a simple demand, as she notes in her Washington Post op-ed where she says she could no “longer remain silent.” Although this was brave, what about famed gay whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning? Would he get the same treatment? Glenn Greenwald wrote that Chair of the San Francisco Pride Parade overode the board's decision declaring that Manning would not be one of the Grand Marshals of the parade while huge corporations like AT&T, Verizon, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, sponsored the Parade. What he wrote next was a bombshell: “[the] remarkable shift in public opinion on gay equality…is less significant than it seems because...gay equality poses no real threat to elite factions...If anything, it bolsters those power structures.” One must ask: does the cause of gay equality “pose no threat” to the ruling elite?First one, one must understand, that the LGBTQ rights movement has changed over time. BusinessWeek calls the gay rights movement, “one of the most successful political enterprises in history” because of its contributions in the last 40 years. However, this “enterprise” has led people to worry: lesbian host Ellen DeGeneres is perceived as the mainstream gay perspective, that there is a

Published: Sunday 9 June 2013

We information renegades have been fighting for free information and an open net free of censorship. But, those wanting to control information have struck back. The digital imperialists are those companies that exploit our online information and gather it to blast advertising at us while violating the basic right to privacy at the same time which is part of the globalization of the surveillance state. As the late Aaron Swartz said in a speech at the Freedom to Connect Conference in 2012, “The enemies of the freedom to connect have not disappeared. The fire in those politicians’ eyes hasn’t been put out. There are a lot of people, a lot of powerful people, who want to clamp down on the Internet. And to be honest, there aren’t a whole lot who have a vested interest in protecting it from all of that.”I was reminded of this reality when AnopsLegion tweeted that “Liberty Reserve's domain has been officially seized,” in this case by the dirty five: the Secret Service, the DHS, the Treasury Department, DOJ and the Global Illicit Financial Traffic Team. To give some background, I used the Internet Wayback Machine and found an archived page from April, in which the site defines itself as “an account-based payment system where you can store value in U.S. Dollars, Euro or Gold Grams and transfer payments to others and receive payments from others. It is safe, reliable and confidential. Payments are irrevocable...In just minutes, you can send and receive payments from anyone, anywhere on the globe!” A BBC article on the subject noted that “Authorities in the Central American country said Arthur Budovsky [the founder of the Liberty Reserve] had been taken into custody in Spain on suspicion of money laundering...[but that] the closure of Liberty Reserve has the potential to "cause a major upheaval in the cybercrime economy" [and that while] there had been "anxious discussions" about ...

Published: Wednesday 22 May 2013

 I was searching around the internet for the full video of the recent hearing on the Authorization of Military Force where Pentagon officials said the “war on terror” would last another 10-20 years and claimed powers beyond the constitutional requirements set under the War Powers Clause and elsewhere. Eventually, I watched the video on Democracy Now! and another one on The Pentagon Channel which just happens to be run by the Pentagon. The videos were very different as one was propagandistic and another was not at all. That is what inspired me to write this article. Usually when propaganda is talked about it is either emanating from the corporate mass media, covert operations or otherwise. But with the recent changes to the Smith–Mundt Act, which specifies which global audiences will receive US propaganda officially called "public diplomacy," the dissemination ban on distributing this information domestically was eliminated. Those outlets affected by this act and other similar ones must be discussed. The reason for this, is that information from such government outlets is either white or gray propaganda. Wikipedia on their page titled CIA influence on public opinion they write that: "white [propaganda] is acknowledged as an official statement or act of the U.S. Government, or emanates from a source associated closely enough with the U.S. Government to reflect an official viewpoint. The information is true and factual. It also includes all output identified as coming from U.S. official sources." However, there is likelihood that some of the outlets are spreading gray propaganda or when “the true source (U.S. Government) is not revealed to the target audience. The activity engaged in plausibly appears to emanate from a non-official American source, or an indigenous, non-hostile ...

Published: Monday 4 March 2013

 Very early in the morning, the historic sit-in was ended. Police swarmed in and arrested all whom were involved. I had been following it all night, even writing an article about it. This political disturbance is in the place one would least expect it: Saudi Arabia. A sworn ally of the United States, the monarchy rules over the people with an iron fist. Amnesty International in a post calling for the release of female prisoners who had participated in demonstrations wrote that “criticism of the state is generally not tolerated in Saudi Arabia. Those who do criticize the government, their policies or practices are often held incommunicado without charge, sometimes in solitary confinement, and denied access to lawyers or the courts to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. Torture or other ill-treatment is frequently used to extract “confessions” from detainees.”This is not the beginning of disturbances in this country. Already back in January 2011, following the shockwave coming from the “Arab Spring,” one man lit himself on fire, beginning mass demonstrations. As I wrote in a post on the Culture of Resistance tumblr blog, “demands throughout have included changes in political and economic conditions, suffrage for women, giving women the right to drive, the release of all political prisoners, taking the Saudi forces out of Bahrain which are participating in crushing the uprising, equality for Shias in the country along with a Constitution and independent legislature in the country’s Eastern Province.” There have been very few concessions to meet these demands, as most of them are just meant to stop further protest, not eliminate the root ...

Published: Tuesday 19 February 2013

 Opening my inbox, an unread email reads “It’s official: CISPA is back.” I remember that I signed up for that mailing list of Fight for the Future. I continue to scroll through the message which says the following: “We just got the official word that CISPA is back. CISPA would let corporations share all of your private, personal information with the government... with no restrictions…Congress needs to hear a strong, clear message from Internet users…This email, your love letters, your secrets and private conversations, your search and email history, what you say and do anywhere on the web...All these things could become a part of a government file on you that everyone from the IRS to local police would have access to.” Next the email tells me to sign a petition on cispaisback.com. I do so but with reluctance, realizing that much more needs to be done than just signing a petition by entering my email into a bar or donating to their cause. There is a good graphic describing what CISPA is and how it will affect people in the United States.  Still, it just seems too passive to just sign a petition. In an instant, the words of Anti-Flag’s song calling for  all political prisoners to be released, Mumia's Song, comes to mind where the singers yell that we must “keep hope alive!” So, I decided to write this article because I thought that it could do what the Anti-Flag song recommended that listeners do: inspiring people to fight back, in this case to fight for the internet. For those fighting for free information the future looks bleak. Tuesday President Obama implemented new cybersecurity measures with an executive order. A technology magazine, The Verge, wrote that it opened “the door for ...

Published: Monday 11 February 2013

 As I continue to highlight the war in Mali, I realized the need for an update. Putting posters around my campus is raising awareness but it’s not doing much of anything to stop the war. Not much else other action has occurred on my campus. I contacted the ten organizations listed in my last article and only two responded. I can’t find the email I got back from Global Exchange, but I do have the one from Veterans for Peace. According to the email, Vice President, Matt Southworth added onto their statement about AFRICOM that “our best message is that US counterterrorism policies have many negative consequence--some immediate--in Africa. The intervention in Libya, which the US participated in (spending over $1 billion is just a few months) has contributed to fall out in Mali, where the US trained military leaders that then undertook a coup [sic] of the Mali government. US logistical support for the French (and British) in both Libya and Mali represent participation in a war that Congress has not authorized. US support for militant leaders and dictatorial governments in Africa will inevitably backfire, leading to untold blowback. After over a decade of US led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should take pause to re-evaluate failed US policies, rather than double down on them in countries all over Africa to further undefined ends. Training foreign military leaders, conducting drone strikes and providing logistical support for various interventions by US allies will inevitably prove counterproductive and undermine true US security interests.” Off-campus, an online hacker “breached into the official website of French Ministry of Defense,

Published: Sunday 3 February 2013

 I have written many times already about this subject, but I feel that few are following in my lead. The New York General Assembly, what is the center of the Occupy Movement, is doing great work but has no actions planned to protest the war. I have seen few mentions on their twitter feed about this at all. While some spread my articles on twitter and reddit (I applaud you), the subject still doesn’t seem to be getting out there. In a sense, saying there is no resistance is unfair because of actions that have occurred previously. In April of last year activists protested against those behind the coup,  Islamists have protested the war in Egypt, local residents have instigated an uprising against the Islamist forces in northern Mali, in October of last year, over 100 women protested the implementation of Sharia law in Timbuktu, in May of last year Malians held a sit-in against these same Islamists, this month protesters in Kuwait protested by carrying banners saying that France should end its war in Mali, and before ECOWAS joined in, hundreds marched in Mali’s capital to protest their deployment to the country. Even Tunisia’s government said they were against the war. However, even with these actions there hasn’t been the organized effort of the peace movement to oppose this war. That is what I wish to counter.Some peace organizations have offered hope that this criminal and imperialist war which is about getting natural resources or protecting French-backed economic unions (in the case of most African countries involved) can be opposed on a larger scale. A press release by Veterans for Peace is good in a sense. They mention that “the expansion of AFRICOM in Africa in ...

Published: Thursday 24 January 2013

 On Tumblr I found a map which peaked my interest. A user had uploaded a map from AFP showing how different countries are involved in the war in Mali (other than France) including the EU, US, Germany, Belgium, Canada, UK, Italy and the UAE, among others. Of these countries, currently Nigeria (as shown by a Reuters picture) and Togo (according to Euro News) have troops on the ground. The French seem to be the main players in the war which I noted was imperialistic and violated international law. I also already knew that four governments (Israeli, Spanish, French and Ukrainian), the chairman of the German aerospace defense industry association, a French multimillionaire, the CEO of Daimler AG, the  CEO of Dassault Aviation, anti-gay multibillionaire named Serge Dassault, the CEO of the Boeing Company, the French company Panhard, and Virginia-based Geo-Eye Inc. are directly profiting from France’s share of the war. It seemed obvious why UK, Italy and Belgium would participate since they wanted to regain control of Africa, the same with the US which is engaging in the next imperial ‘scramble for Africa’.  As for Canada, EU, UAE, and Denmark, it seemed that these countries liked the spoil of war and wanted to follow along, supporting their allies ...

Published: Thursday 17 January 2013

 After I saw that there was another war in Mali I shook my head in dismay. I had predicted this war back in November, saying it would be fought under the guise of fighting terrorism, but would actually be about securing gold deposits, undiscovered oil and the drug trade. There is one aspect I didn’t necessarily predict which was that America would not lead this war. The “socialist” in France, Francois Hollande who was elected with messages mirroring what propelled Obama into power in 2008, is leading the war effort but the U.S. is the secret force behind this intervention. As Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! put it “the U.S. has backed France’s offensive in Mali…ferry[ing] hundreds of additional French troops to Mali…[and] U.S. officials say they’re also making plans to send drones or other surveillance aircraft.” In addition to this, France also wants 3,300 troops from West African states to “deploy in support of the Malian army.” The questions that must be asked are: why would France engage in such a imperialistic war in its former colony, does this war violate international law and what should we do about it  First, the background of this war is important to understand. Glenn Greenwald lays this out in his piece in The Guardian. He writes that the war in Mali will be the eighth war in which “western powers…have bombed and killed Muslims,” saying it will fuel anti-western extremism. Greenwald further notes that the war for oil in Libya, which I described in May as an imperialistic intervention, caused instability in the country, ...

Published: Sunday 30 December 2012

In the morning after Christmas, I listened to a video from Democracy Now! detailing the day’s headlines. What I heard announced by Amy Goodman angered me greatly: “U.S. Army teams will be deploying to as many as 35 African countries early next year for training programs and other operations as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa. The move would see small teams of U.S. troops dispatched to countries with groups allegedly linked to al-Qaeda…The teams are from a U.S. brigade that has the capability to use drones for military operations in Africa if granted permission. The deployment could also potentially lay the groundwork for future U.S. military intervention in Africa.” President Obama echoed this sentiment when he nominated John Kerry; he congratulated his previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on restoring “our global leadership” and declared triumphantly: “the United States will continue to lead in this world for our lifetimes.” These statements and the headline from Democracy Now! didn’t surprise me one bit. Already, I had heard that an imperialist intervention will begin in the West African state of Mali next year, fighting over uranium deposits, gold deposits and untapped oil deposits, which is exactly what I predicted back on November 3rd. I had already written a year earlier, criticizing the war for oil in Libya for the same reasons, saying that “the extent of imperialism in this war is very troubling…[and] is not debatable…The war is imperialist, ...

ABOUT Burkely Hermann
Burkely Hermann is a writer, activist, and researcher who tries to challenge perceptions about the world we all live in and pushing for the creation of discussion spaces to talk about pertinent issues. In doing this, Burkely has not only written articles but also used his tech savvy skills to aggressively fight for an internet that serves the masses.
Follow Burkely Hermann via RSS
Make your voice heard.
Write for NationofChange
After flying from San Diego to Texas, a group of Central American immigrant families were met with...
Across the political spectrum, there is outcry against drones. In Kansas, libertarians, peace...
Why are we shocked by the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levantine (ISIL)? Why have...
Living here in Florida during these, the dog days of summer, invites memories of some 50 years ago…...
Oncology nurses provide support and care for patients and their families when they're facing a...
It is common knowledge that you cannot rely on the government to feed you – after all, you do not...
1. What would Olivia Pope advise me to do in this situation? 2. Francis J. Underwood murdered two...
It is very hard to comment and talk about Robin Williams’ death. It is a tragedy that practically...
Part I - The Liberal Ideal Liberalism, framed as a socio-political ideal, argues that human...
Recently, President Obama declared that “we tortured some folks” admitting that the CIA engaged in...
For that minority of us who reject both this Military Industrial Empire and its Two Party ‘One...
As my heart bleeds for those of you suffering in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine, I want to add my...
The general presumption is that skin cancer is more prevalent in people with lighter skin color....
During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position...
The Economist recently published an essay asking, “What’s gone wrong with democracy?”. Why has...