Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Daniel Berrigan

10 May

Remembering Daniel Berrigan


I was privileged to know Daniel Berrigan in the last stages of the Vietnam War, not well, but well enough to appreciate his quality of moral radiance and to admire the spiritual dedication that he exhibited in opposing the Vietnam War, and later nuclearism. I also knew Dan’s brother, Phil, who shared these remarkable qualities, although Phil exuded an earthy embrace of life while Dan seem to keep his distance from quotidian pursuits by living a meditative life as a poet and devoted member of the Jesuit order, as well as being inspirational anti-war activist. In contrast, Phil gave up the priesthood to marry Elizabeth McAlister, herself a former nun and a deeply committed lifelong partner with respect to social and political engagement. Together they established Jonah House (community nonviolence center) in Baltimore that continues to serve the poor and stand for peace and justice in our society and in the world. Despite leaving the Church in a formal sense, Phil never departed from his religious vocation and Christian commitment, to help the poor and struggle against abuses of state power. As I recall when I was in contact with them, because of their parental and community responsibilities, Phil and Liz took turns engaging in the kind of political actions likely to land them in prison, both exhibiting this extraordinary willingness to sacrifice their freedom to exhibit the seriousness and depth of their engagement in the struggle against injustice and evil.


Actually, I knew Liz socially before she and Phil were publically together, finding her an astonishingly lively, warmly challenging, and playfully serious personality; Eqbal Ahmed was our close common cherished friend responsible for our initial meetings, and Eqbal and Liz were both Harrisburg defendants being accused of dreaming up the kidnapping caper, which was a fanciful caper that was taken seriously only by our paranoid government security services that had planted an informer in Phil’s prison cell and then proceeded to act as if phantasy was plot. At the same time, it was not so fanciful if international law was taken as seriously as it deserves to be, and the dangers of allowing Henry Kissinger to remain at large were as understood as they ought to be.


It is perverse how our government continues to prosecute as criminals those who are its most loyal patriots (for instance, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning) and rewards with the highest offices of the land and the greatest honors those who degrade the nation by rampant militarism responsible for massive suffering in distant lands.


My contact with Dan, Phil, and Liz, as well as other Catholic anti-war activists, resulted from my participation in several criminal trials, acting on their behalf as an expert witness. Two trials stand out in my mind—the Harrisburg 7 trial in 1971 held in Harrisburg Pennsylvania of seven defendants, including Phil and Liz (Dan was noted in the government complaint as an unindicted co-conspirator); and the Plowshares 8 case in the early 1980s that resulted from an action damaging the nose cones of the Mark 12A missile and pouring blood on documents while trespassing on the General Electric Nuclear Re-entry Division, located at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. My main contribution was to visit Ramsey Clark in his Washington office, shortly after he had resigned at Attorney General, and persuade him to represent the Harrisburg defendants, which he did in an effective and deeply committed manner that changed him forever.


I also testified in both trials. My line of testimony was along two major lines: first, that it was reasonable to believe that the conduct of the Vietnam War and the development of nuclear weapons were contrary to international law; and secondly, since the Nuremberg Judgment against surviving Nazi leaders after World War II it was reasonable for individuals to believe that they had a right, and possibly, a duty, to act nonviolently in an effort to oppose internationally unlawful behavior on the part of the government.


It was apparent to me that the motivation for the actions undertaken by the Berrigans derived from their profound devotion to pre-Constantine Christian ethics, and was coupled with an ambivalence toward institutionalized Christianity. At the same time I felt that both Dan and Phil, in their separate styles, welcomed the legal reinforcement that my testimony attempted to provide. It overcame the widely voiced liberal objection that such disruptive behavior as burning draft cards or damaging potential nuclear weapons was unacceptable in a democratic society as it claimed the right to take the law into one’s own hands, and thus warranted indictment, prosecution, and punishment, and at best, represented ‘civil disobedience’ in the Thoreau sense of exposing the immorality of the law on the books but at the same time backing the governmental responsibility to uphold the law as it existed.


Reliance on international law and what I called ‘the Nuremberg obligation’ offered an objective platform upon which to rest such symbolic challenges to lawlessness on the part of the state. In effect, the defense rested on the necessity of such exceptional acts of obstruction as part of a wider effort to halt this lawlessness in view of the failure of governmental institutions to uphold what they believed the law required with respect to war and peace. In this regard, what the Berrigans did was more radical than civil obedience, contending that the government and political leaders were engaged in criminal activities that needed to be stopped by all possible nonviolent means. In this fundamental sense, what the Berrigans di should not be confused with the challenge to the morality of law mounted by Thoreau. The Nuremberg tradition provides a normative foundation for engaged citizenship, and claims that the sovereign state is itself constrained by law, which if it disobeys in matters of war and peace should politically empower citizens to act as enforcers of this higher law.


In a manner similar to whistleblowing, these kinds of anti-war actions undertaken by citizens should be appreciated as a populist check on war making and criminality by the state. We the people should support such defiance with gratitude and celebrate its occurrence as signs of democratic vitality and vigilance. This post-modern supplement to republican constitutionalism, distinguished by its reliance on checks and balances, seems currently more necessary than ever given the failure of Congress to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to agree upon a declaration of war as a prerequisite to lawful war making and even more so, given the regulation of recourse to war that is part of contemporary international law and is the core undertaking of the UN Charter, an international treaty, that by virtue of Article VI of the US Constitution is ‘the supreme law of the land.’ In this respect, what Dan and Phil believed with their whole being was the sacred importance of repudiating aggressive war making and reliance on weapons of mass destruction, and holding the state and its representatives, including in relation to their own country, fully accountable if they fail to uphold and respect obligations under international law. This is their moral, political, and legal legacy that should be reminding all of us that passivity in a constitutional democracy should be condemned as a form of lethal complicity in the nuclear age. That such a message seems ‘radical’ is itself a sign of democratic entropy and fatigue. The degree to which the citizenry of this country has been pacified at the very moment when it desperately needs to be awake and vigilant should alarm us all.


In these respects, honoring our remembrance of Daniel Berrigan, including being attentive to his poetry that was an organic dimension of his moral and spiritual witnessing, is both a gift and a challenge. What I find most enduring about the lives of the Berrigan brothers is its call to all of us to act as engaged citizens if we want to save our planet from depravities of war, injustice, and avoidable ecological collapse.


By highlighting the significance of Dan’s personal resistance to abuses of state power, I would not want to leave the impression that this signified all that made him special. Even aside from such public contributions, it was apparent to all whom Dan touched in the course of his long life that he was an exceptional human being, transparent in moral and spiritual coherence, mindful in his attentiveness to the suffering and wellbeing of others, a powerful and unforgettably vivid and loving presence, a challenge to our daily complacency. In the end, I will keep remembering Dan and Phil as an inspiration and as a challenge, as well as appreciating Liz for all that she continues to achieve by way of spiritual community.

30 Responses to “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Daniel Berrigan”

  1. Corinne Whitaker May 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    Richard, So beautifully said.

  2. Gene Schulman May 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    “That such a message seems ‘radical’ is itself a sign of democratic entropy and fatigue. The degree to which the citizenry of this country has been pacified at the very moment when it desperately needs to be awake and vigilant should alarm us all.”

    The above is worth the whole essay. Thank you.

  3. ray032 May 10, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    “a challenge to our daily complacency”

    Thirteen years after this photo appeared in The Ottawa Citizen, the 1st Gulf War of 1991 happened, when gas masks were the biggest concern of the US Coalition of the Willing.

    There is no doubt the 1991 War was a prime example of economic, military and political pollution. In retrospect, I wished I included religious pollution. There is too much of that.

  4. Fred Skolnik May 11, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    As long as we are all still here, permit me to offer a mild dissent, for I have been convinced for a long time now that the antiwar movement probably prolonged the Vietnam War by years:


    • Richard Falk May 11, 2016 at 9:58 am #

      This is a perceptive commentary on the Vietnam War experience that makes instructive points. But
      knowing the practicalities of operational warfare is not something you can expect the antiwar movement
      to be knowledgeable about. I recall that someone as intelligent as Noam Chomsky was convinced all along
      that Washington/Saigon would prevail. I think it is the government that should be held responsible for
      undertaking a war in which it could not win at a reasonable cost by acceptable means. Among others, I did
      make the argument that the Vietnamese were capable of extending the war for another 50 years, if necessary,
      and the only way for the US to prevail was by recourse to genocidal tactics.

    • ray032 May 11, 2016 at 10:29 am #

      Why does your dissent not surprise me?

      Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his plan to control “all of the territory” and “live forever by the sword.”

      • Kata Fisher May 11, 2016 at 10:37 am #

        A Note:

        “So be it” “You can’t bind it.” “So be it.” “The sword to the Land of Israel.” “It is right and just, just as it would be right and just that you shall not bind.”

      • Kata Fisher May 11, 2016 at 10:41 am #

        A Note:

        “Occult will bind the Spirit, and occult will release the sword by it.”

      • Kata Fisher May 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

        A note: I am stressed out. I just started understanding what a part of Prophesy (in Isaiah) means – and I think it may be taking place right now. Has been happening. I am getting sick. (To my belly).

  5. Kata Fisher May 11, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    I have to put the exactly same note here as well:

    “The basic element”

    “The Basic Element: What do you want to do in this negotiation day/process”

  6. Kata Fisher May 11, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Professor Falk,

    A Note:

    You may not be aware that you have have altered (made unauthorized / invalid alternation) to the civil-eccalical items in a public seting.

  7. Laurie Knightly May 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    A statement of Dan Berrigan following the Catonsville Nine incident:

    “We confront the Roman Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country’s crimes. We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor.”

  8. ray032 May 12, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    If Dan Berrigan knew your Blog existed, he would be a formidable presence arguing for Justice for the Palestinians. Fred and Aaron would hate him with much more hate than the Jew hate they would accuse him of harbouring.

    The New York Times published a long obituary, but did not mention at all, his vocal plea for Justice on behalf of Palestinians under the Israeli Military Dictatorship in the occupied territories..

    Here is a report from 1973 when the American Jewish Congress lobbied to have the Ghandi Peace Award for anit-war activities he was to receive cancelled for his Jew hate.

    Click to access berrigan.pdf

  9. Fred Skolnik May 12, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Anyone who reads Berrigan’s remarks in the Times would have to conclude that his hatred of Israel is pathological.

    By the way, Prof. Falk, I see that you haven’t taken up my challenge to point to anything you specifically disagree with in my antisemitism essay, so I conclude that your views about the causes of antisemitism are indeed “profoundly” different from mine, which can only mean, and you have suggested as much in your remarks about Jewish arrogance and on other occasions, that it is the Jews themselves – their crimes and bad character – that are responsible for antisemitism, and given the universal and violent scope of antisemitism in the Christian world over a period of 2000 years, one can only conclude, according to this thesis, that Jews are monsters, and as Walker Percy once asserted, have only themselves to blame for the Holocaust. Is this really what you think, Prof. Falk?

    • Richard Falk May 12, 2016 at 11:00 am #

      Fred: It is a difficult challenge, and I have been busy, and it seems correct that our understanding of anti-Semitism is profoundly
      I knew Dan Berrigan well enough to be utterly certain that nothing about his temperament could be fairly described as ‘pathological.’
      Perhaps, his knowledge was incomplete or he responded to what he perceived to be evil, but his heart and spirit were among the strongest
      I encountered. He likely derived his views of Israel from our common friend Eqbal Ahmad who was a humane critic of Israel, but also of
      oppressive tendencies in the Islamic world.
      Also, I never believed or meant to convey my sense that the Jewish sense of superiority should be described as ‘arrogance’ or that this
      idea of belonging to those ‘chosen’ by God was at the root of anti-Semitism, which I relate more closely to Christian perception of the
      execution of Jesus and to the Jewish role in medieval Europe and early capitalism relating to money and finance, which itself was an outcome
      of the earlier anti-Semitism that barred Jews from owning land, etc.. I do not claim to be an expert on any of this, but these are my
      sincere beliefs and impressions. I think you misrepresent Walker Percy’s views, and what you attribute to him, I reject, and have never
      suggested. The one time I made a comparison to Nazi behavior related to the stereotyping of Palestinians, and the imposition of what I
      regard as collective punishment (I know you reject this view of Israeli behavior, and endorse Israel’s policies and practices under
      the banner of ‘security’; here we are in fundamental disagreement).

      • Fred Skolnik May 12, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

        Here, for what it is worth, is Walker Percy’s view:

        “Jews are always ultimately the victim, having set up circumstances to ensure their persecution by the larger community in response to their unethical business dealings, cultural insensitivity to other groups, nepotism, flaunting of wealth, and self-organization into exclusive ethnic enclaves…. If you go back to the 1930′s, you find the same complaints about German Jews.”

      • Richard Falk May 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

        We read this differently. I know Walker. In my view this is an attempt to overcome
        anti-Semitism through self-scrutiny, not to justify or rationalize it. You may disagree
        with these perceptions of his but they are widely believed, and self-scrutiny is always
        a healthy impulse for a vulnerable group or individual. There is no reason to be at such
        sharp odds. Of course, our contradictory attitudes toward Israel as a state is a barrier to mutual understanding,
        and although I like the idea of a Jewish homeland with deep roots, I do not endorse the Zionist
        project built around this aspiration.

      • Fred Skolnik May 12, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

        You are giving Mr. Percy a little too much credit:

        “Jewish people… have decided to bring down human civilization (like Sampson [sic]) rather than admit their perfidy in establishing a new crusader state in Jerusalem”; “this conflict is simply an artifact of Jewish neurosis.”

        “It is this systematic indoctrination, the Jewish religion itself, which causes these problems, and probably always has”; “Israel itself is only the latest embodiment of this peculiarly Jewish neurosis, the mother of all self-fulfilling prophecies, and one of the greatest danger that human civilization has ever faced.”

        “The jewish religion is nothing but a vast, loathesome ponzi scheme of shaming and coercion, whose practitioners will eventually be forced to renounce it.”

      • Kata Fisher May 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

        “The jewish religion is nothing but a vast, loathesome ponzi scheme of shaming and coercion, whose practitioners will eventually be forced to renounce it.”

        A Note:

        “Religion” … ” What is occult in jewish religion?” “Religion is occult” “Religion is as equal to myths and lies”

        “What are Jewish myths in this point in time?”

  10. Kata Fisher May 12, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    A Note:

    “They procrastinated and did evil by it.”

    It was procrastinated. Everyone is entitled to enjoy their desserts. But the fact is as long as they denied the basic right to another they remained in hate (regardless of all that took place/is taking place) – they may continue in hate to another.

    There was Population swap! Arabs did not want Jews in their Lands. Now, Jews can’t be in Land of Israel that Arab-conquests?

    Let is not be foolish but understand spiritual and natural consequences to our convictions/view and deeds after that.

    Folks have their Scriptures, and they should look at them. Not only look at them but also, take them at face value – and figure out where to fit what and when.

    They may repent whenever they can. Or they can continue to take their Scripture out of its context (or Prophesy in Church Age, not discerning it – for Islam followers) – with that continue in the occult and all that comes along with it. Hate.

    There is not much that can be done. All generational (and personal) sins are upon them.

    Please, let Arab exiles do better then their ancestors – let them discern their undiscerned prophesy in Church Age, and repent.

    When Prophets gave them Original Word given by God they killed prophets and had their own prophesies – of false prophets.

    I tell you the Truth, let them discern their own prophesies and also prophets and let them repent whenever they can.

    Maybe then, maybe just then there will be some civility and hope to the Land of Israel between Arabs and Jews.

    They are stubborn; they need exactly what they are getting – it seems that they have not suffered just enough – they remain stubborn.

    They have the international darling of the bride in Holy Land – not only themselves, the Arabs and Arab tribes. Hey, its 2000 year A.D. and still no one is Faith-civil.

    What a shame to all.

    • rehmat1 May 14, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      Jews lived amongst Christian majority nations for centuries but not only discriminated by Christians as co-citizens but also were not allowed to immigrate to Palestine until late 19th century.

      After WWII, the same Jew-hating Christian nations dumped millions of their Jewish citizen into Arab Palestine against the wishes of the Native Muslim, Christian and Jewish population.

      However, the Zionist Jews are still not happy with European Christians – and called them world’s most anti-Semite people especially the Hungarians.

      What a pathetic lot.

      In November 2013, president of Hungary’s White nationalist opposition party Jobbik, Gabor Vona visited Turkey where he called for the unity of Muslims and Christians against the Organized Jewry.

      “I didn’t come here to talk to you about the transitory subject of diplomatic and economic relations, others will do that on behalf of me, I came here to meet my brothers and sisters, to offer a fraternal alliance and bring you the good news: Hungarians are awakening. Our common mission and the universal task of Turanism are to build bridges between East and West, between Muslims and Christians, to be able to fight together for a better world – to show to the world that Christians and Muslims are not enemies but brothers and sisters. No one can accomplish this mission more effectively than Hungarians and Turks because we are connected by common blood,” said Vona.


      • Kata Fisher May 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

        I understand consequence to the Jews in Holy Land when they violate “You shall” and “Do Not” of ten commandments. What shall protect them?

        In fact, Jews corporately and individually did not have difficulty giving themselves over to the devil, along with all their communities since A.D. 70 (officially). It is about that time that Name of God was changed in the Scripture (was not passed down) and preserved just as it was.

        But at this point in time, Jews went even further (as I understood) altering things of the Church Order – trough supposedly some secret cults / Masonic conspiracies against the Church. When Church Order is altered and / or Annulled, authentic Antisemitism will be at work (in the world). Not to regret that there is Satanic disorder with the abuse of the Church Charismatic Order – but where does it come from?

        I would not even wonder why Antisemitic Christianity would dump all Jews to the Holy Land. It can be for many reasons, including future time holocaust of the Jews by Jihadist Arabs.
        (Herem warfare) in Church Age in essence, in essence, is what Jews should worry about upon themselves – to be under a penalty of (the Law of the Spirit) for the wickedness.

        If for some reason Jordan would be unstable, and overrun by Jihadist – Israeli would be overrun by Jihadist, as well. There is absolutely nothing that they could do about that – it is right there, and it has not a legit Landmark. They certainly can’t use Nukes for some defense against jihadists – if they would that itself would come back right upon them.

        (Herem warfare) in Church Age in essence, in essence, is what Jews should worry about upon themselves – to be under a penalty of (the Law of the Spirit) for the wickedness.

        There is so much tp all of that.

        Natanjahy thinks that moving Israeli Army over Arab populated areas will solve their ultimate problems.

        Resolving their ultimate problems will only be possible with rational negotiations with Jordan – otherwise, both Jordan and Israel are “hot potato” are ready to be inflamed with wishes of devils and glory of the devils among them.

        “Let them understand the powers of hell” … “Let them understand the curse of destruction by Spirit of God” … “It is Church Age and rule of acidic line in natural and spiritual.”

  11. rehmat1 May 14, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    Catholic Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan (died April 30, 2016) earned his Antisemitism Award in 1973 after his speech at a meeting of the Association of Arab University Graduates in Washington in 1973 where he made a prophetic statement about the Zionist entity that had become a criminal Jewish community and, alongside South Africa under apartheid and the US embroiled in Vietnam.

    “The state is a Jewish settlers colony seeking Biblical justification to ethnic-cleansing and occupation of a non-Jewish land – a crime against humanity,” he said. He lamented that Jews after suffering discrimination for centuries in Europe and experiencing Holocaust during WWII, became oppressors themselves.

    Rev. Berrigan defended his statement on the Zionist entity against a vicious campaign run by Jewish lobby groups demanding an apology to Israel and Jews.

    Several Zionist Jews authored books to equate Berrigan with Hitler, such as, The New anti-Semitism (1974) by Arnold Forster and Benjamin E. Epstein. Read the book review by Sharon Rose here.

    To large numbers of Americans, Daniel Berrigan is a hero; his anti-Zionism remarks are particular threatening to Zionists. Thus they must be quickly branded ‘antisemites’, so that no one but the lunatic fringe will consider them worthy of further discussion. It’s a familiar message which the Jewish lobby has successfully preached since 1948.

    Rabbi Arthur Hurtzberg called Berrigan statement, an old-fashioned theological anti-Semitism. Professor Noam Chomsky in his book, Middle East Illusions, blasted Rabbi Hurtzberg by calling his attack on Berrigan as ‘fabrication’.

    American author Kurt Vonnegut (died 2007) called Daniel Berrigan, Jesus as a poet.


  12. ray032 May 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

    And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be DIVIDED; but there shall be in it of the STRENGTH OF IRON, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.

    And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be PARTLY STRONG, and PARTLY BROKEN. And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

    And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
    Daniel 2

    The Great Leap Backward: America’s Illegal Wars on the World

    Can we face it in this election season? America is a weapons factory, the White House a war room, and the president the manager of the neoliberal conspiracy to recolonize the planet. It exports war and mass poverty. On the economic front, usurious neoliberalism; on the military front, illegal wars. These are the trenches of America’s battle for world domination in the 21st century.

    If not stopped, it will be a short century.

    Since 1945, America’s Manifest Destiny, posing as the Free World’s Crusade against the Red Menace, has claimed 20 to 30 million lives worldwide and bombed one-third of the earth’s people. In the 19th century, America exterminated another kind of “red menace,” writing and shredding treaties, stealing lands, massacring, and herding Native populations into concentration camps (“Indian reservations”), in the name of civilizing the “savages.” By 1890, with the massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee, the frontier land grab—internal imperialism– was over. There was a world to conquer, and America trained its exceptionally covetous eye on Cuba and the Philippines.

    American external imperialism was born.

    Then, something utterly dreadful happened in 1917—a successful social revolution in Russia, the second major after the French in 1789, to try to redistribute the wealth of the few to the advantage of the many. The rulers of the world—US, Britain, France and sundry acolytes—put aside their differences and united to stem the awful threat of popular democracy rising and spreading. They invaded Russia, fomented a civil war, funding and arming the counter-revolutionary forces, failed, and tried again in 1939. But Hitler’s war of extermination on the USSR ended in a spectacular victory for Moscow.

    For a while, after 1945, the US had to behave as a civilized country, formally. It claimed that the USSR had a barbarian, all-conquering ideology, rooted in terror, disappearances, murder, and torture. By contrast, the US was the shining city on the hill, the beacon of hope for a “the free world.” Its shrine was the United Nations; its holy writ was international law; its first principle was the inviolability of the sovereignty of nations.

    All this was rubbish, of course. It was an apartheid society. It nuked Japan not once but twice, deliberately selecting civilian targets. It shielded from justice top Nazi criminals to absorb them as partners in intelligence structures. It conducted virtual “show trials” against dissidents during the hysteria of the McCarthy congressional hearings, seeding the country with a harvest of fear. It waged a genocidal war on Vietnam to prevent independence and unification. It assassinated African independence leaders and bestowed fascist dictators on Latin America. It softly occupied Western Europe, tied it to itself through military “cooperation” in NATO, and it waged psy-op war on its opposition parties. Behind the civilized façade was a ruthless effort to take out the Soviet Union and crush self-determination in the colonial world.

    By hook and by crook, the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and America went berserk with triumphalism. Now, at last, the conquest of the world, interrupted in 1917, could resume. The global frontier reopened and America’s identity would be regenerated through violence, which had delivered the American West to the European invaders in the 19th century. The benign mask dropped. Behind it came a rider on a pale horse. According to the ideologically exulted, history had ended, ideologies had died, and the messianic mission of the US to become the steward of God’s property on earth could be fulfilled.

    The “civilizing mission” was afoot.

    A cabal of neo-conservative policy wonks first sketched what I call the Great Leap Backward into lawlessness as a revival of the myth of the frontier in the 1990s. “The Plan for a New American Century” (PNAC) envisaged the 21st century as a unilateralist drive to entrench American values globally—what the PNAC ideologues call “freedom and democracy”—through preemptive wars and regime change. This frenzied delirium of US military domination turned into official foreign policy with the Bush Doctrine after 9/11, but it was the Clinton administration’s Doctrine of Humanitarian Warfare before 9/11, that shut the door on the prohibition of aggressive wars by the UN Charter, remaking the map of the world into a borderless American hunting reserve by removing the principle of sovereignty and replacing it with “right to protect” (R2P)—or humanitarian pretext for use of force.

    Clinton’s doctrine was an act of supreme, even witty, exploitation of liberal principles and commitment to policies of human rights. It was how the liberal left was induced to embrace war and imperialism as the means of defending human rights. The Carnegie Endowment cooked up the doctrine in 1992. Its report, “Changing Our Ways: America’s Role in the New World,” urged “a new principle of international relations: the destruction or displacement of groups of people within states can justify international intervention.” The report recommended that the US use NATO as the enforcer. It must be noted, too, that the principle of “humanitarian war” has no authority in international law. The Charter of the United Nations sought to outlaw war by making it impossible for unilateral interventions in the business of sovereign states by self-appointed guardians of human rights. The reason behind the proscription was not heartlessness but the consciousness that WW II had been the result of serial violations of sovereignty by Germany, Italy, and Japan—by militarist imperialism, in other words.

    The bell tolled for the UN and the old order in the 1999 Kosovo War. The bi-partisan effort to dismantle the architecture of the post war’s legal order played out there. With the Kosovo War, the Clinton administration launched the first humanitarian war and set the precedent for waging war without Security Council clearance of many to follow by both Republican and Democrat administrations. The Clintonites who used NATO to bomb Serbia to protect ethnic Albanians in Kosovo from non-existing Serbian genocide may or may not have appreciated the fact that Hitler had used the pretext of R2P—humanitarian intervention—to launch WW II by claiming to protect German minorities in Poland, but they certainly knew that the monopoly on use of force rested with the UN’s Security Council. This monopoly was secured after WW II precisely to prevent unilateral attacks on sovereign states through bogus claims of altruistic interventions, such as Hitler had championed and pursued. Ironically for critics of the Soviet leader, it was Stalin who insisted at the Yalta Conference that if the USSR were to join the United Nations a veto in the Security Council was a must to insure that any war would be a multilateral consensus and a multilateral action.

    As the Clintonites understood, the postwar legal authority for peacekeeping and the prevention of war entrusted to the UN Security Council posed a colossal obstacle to the pursuit of American world domination. For the vision of PNAC and the Carnegie Endowment to become reality, the United Nations, the guarantor of sovereignty, had to go. In the run-up to the Kosovo War, the Clintonites fatally and deliberately destabilized the United Nations, substituting the uncooperative UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali with the subservient NATO shill, Kofi Annan. Annan obligingly opined that in the matter of war and peace, UN Security Council resolutions were not the only way to skin a country– especially one chosen by the US for remaking, partitioning, or regime changing, a cynic might add.

    So now we live in a dangerous world. Once again, since the 1930s, the world is being stalked by an expansionist power answering to no law but its own unilateral, humanitarian vigilantism. The Kosovo precedent has spun out of control. Libya smolders in the ashes of NATO bombs, dropped to prevent “genocide”; Syria fights for survival under attack by genocidal terrorist groups, armed, trained and funded by genocide preventers grouped in the NATO alliance and the Gulf partners; Afghanistan languishes in a permanent state of war, present ten thousand American troops which bomb hospitals to promote human rights; in Iraq, the humanitarians are back, after twenty-five years of humanitarian failure. And in Ukraine, Nazi patriots are promoting American democratic and humanitarian values by shelling Donbass daily. I hesitate to mention Africa, where humanitarian Special Forces are watering the fields where terrorists sprout like mushrooms after rain—in Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya.

    Then there is Yemen, perhaps the most callous, vicious, and careless humanitarian crime of a litany of crimes against humanity in the Middle East. The US government has recently admitted deploying troops to Yemen. The Pentagon claims that the deployment will assist Saudi Arabia (“the Arab coalition”) to fight al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula. Can a sentient being meet such a grotesque claim with anything but infernal laughter? Help Saudi Arabia to fight its own creature? Are we stupid yet?

    $4 trillion dollars later, spent on the War-on-Terror/Humanitarian-R2P, the pattern of military destabilization of sovereign states proceeds apace, one recalcitrant, independent country at a time in the Middle East and North Africa. For the rest of the world, the surrender of sovereignty is sought by means of economic globalization through trade pacts—TTP, TTIP, etc.—that virtually abolish the constitution of states, including our own. Spearheading the economic effort to control the periphery and the entire world is the so-called “Washington Consensus.”

    It hugs the market-fundamentalist idea that global neoliberalism and core finance capital’s economic control of the planet by means of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the option to poverty and social chaos.

    Neither military nor economic war on the sovereignty of nations has yielded anything close to a stable, prosperous, and peaceful world. It had delivered death, destruction, debt, market crises, tidal waves of refugees and displaced persons, and concentrated masses of wealth in a few but powerful hands. What the poet W.H. Auden called “the international wrong,” which he named “imperialism” in his poem “September 1939,” is the crisis that stares out of the mirror of the past into our faces, and it bodes war, war, and more war, for that is where imperialism drives.

    In this scenario, no potential presidential candidate—even establishment-party dissenter—who does not call for both the end of the bi-partisan “Washington Consensus” and the end of bipartisan militarist aggression can reverse the totality of the “international wrong” or stem the domestic descent into social brutalization. If none calls this foreign policy debacle “imperialism,” elections will be a sleepwalker’s exercise. Nothing will change. Except, almost certainly, for the worse.


  13. Kata Fisher May 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    Its difficult to debate kingdom of antichrist.

    “America’s Illegal Wars on the World” would not be it.

    Its not America (as nation/institution of a govremen) – it is else what: overthrowing of Americas government lilt by little by external things/peoples and/or org’s. Its difficult to debate kingdom of antichrist.
    So, it is not all Americas fault.


    There were things that were stolen between Church and Jews .

    Let’s not even involve things stolen between Jews, Church and Arabs.

    All in a direct quote (as noted) by John:

    Published on Dec 9, 2015
    Hopefully, Youtube will not attempt to suppress this upload like they did with my upload of Scott Nobles HUMAN RESOURCES Social Engineering In The 20th Century film a few years ago.
    Just in case, you can view the film in it’s entirety here:
    Watch this presentation now while you can in case YT loses it’s mind again and decides to unfairly censor this one also.
    I HAVE PERMISSION TO UPLOAD THIS FILM! Contact: Scott Noble Website: http://metanoia-films.org
    Special thanks to Scott Noble of Metanoia Films for granting us permission to post his Amazing documentary on our YouTube Channel. We are looking forward to viewing your future projects Scott,God Bless.
    F r o m t h e G r e e k – to p e r c e i v e , t o t h i n k , t h e r e s u l t of p e r c e i v i n g o r o b s e r v i n g – m e t a n o i a m e a n s ” a c h a n g e o f m i n d ” .
    In Theology, metanoia is used to refer to the change of
    mind which is brought about in repentance.
    The prefix “meta-” carries with it other variants that are
    consistent with the Eastern Greek philosophical mindset,
    “Meta-” is additionally used to imply “beyond” and “outside of.”
    E.g., metamorphosis as a beyond-change; and, metaphysics as
    outside the limits of physics.
    The Greek term for repentance, metanoia, denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transformation of outlook, of an individual’s vision of the world and of her/himself, and a new way of loving others and the Universe. In the words of a second-century text, The Shepherd of Hermas, it implies “great understanding,” discernment.
    In Carl Jung’s psychology, metanoia indicates a spontaneous attempt of the psyche to heal itself of unbearable conflict by melting down and then being reborn in a more adaptive form.
    Bacon, Katie — The Dark Side of the Gilded Age
    Brecher, Jeremy — Strike!
    Chacon, Justin Akers and Davis, Mike — No One is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the US-Mexico-border
    Chomsky, Noam — Notes on Anarchism
    Corbin, David Alan, ed. — The West Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology
    Dolbeare, Keneth M. — Democracy at Risk: The politics of economic renewal
    Foner, Philip S. — A History of the Labor Movement in the United States
    Giardini, Denise — Storming Heaven
    Goad, Jim — The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks and White Trash became America’s scapegoats
    Harris, West — What if we really own the battle of blair mountain?
    Preservation Alliance of West Virginia — Blair Mountain: The History of a Confrontation
    Smith, Sharon — Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States
    Zinn, Howard — A People’s History of the United States
    Zinn, Howard — Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting spirit of Labor’s Last Century
    “Scott Noble’s work is a pioneering development in documentary filmmaking in its content, documentary technique, and even distribution method. Watch his stuff, use it, and build on it.”
    – Chris Simpson, Professor, School of Communication, American University
    PLUTOCRACY Political Repression In The U.S.A. (2015) HQ FULL
    Plutocracy is the first documentary to comprehensively examine early American history through the lens of class. A multi-part series by filmmaker Scott Noble, Part I focuses on the the ways in which the American people have historically been divided on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex and skill level.
    Plutocracy: Divide et Impera (Divide and Rule) includes sections on Mother Jones, the American Constitution; the Civil War draft riots; Reconstruction; Industrialization; the evolution of the police; the robber barons; early American labor unions; and major mid-to-late 19th Century labor events including the uprising of 1877, the Haymarket Affair, the Homestead strike and the New Orleans General Strike. The introduction examines the West Virginian coal wars of the early 20th Century, culminating in the Battle of Blair Mountain.
    Part II (‘Solidarity Forever’) will cover the late 19th Century to the early twenties.
    The filmmaker is currently seeking donations to complete the project. If you’d like to help, you can donate to their Patreon account.
    Sources: http://metanoia-films.org/plutocracy/
    DVDs: contact[at]metanoia-films.org
    Thank-You for your time reading all of the above, and for helping Scott Noble in any way that you can. The upcoming films will be even better.
    Category – Nonprofits & Activism
    Standard YouTube Licens – Source videos
    View attributions
    “Six Gnossiennes: No. 1” by Lang Lang
    Plutocracy is the first documentary to comprehensively examine early American history through the lens of class. A multi-part series by filmmaker Scott Noble, Part I focuses on the the ways in which the American people have historically been divided on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex and skill level.
    Plutocracy: Divide et Impera (Divide and Rule) includes sections on Mother Jones, the American Constitution; the Civil War draft riots; Reconstruction; Industrialization; the evolution of the police; the robber barons; early American labor unions; and major mid-to-late 19th Century labor events including the uprising of 1877, the Haymarket Affair, the Homestead strike and the New Orleans General Strike. The introduction examines the West Virginian coal wars of the early 20th Century, culminating in the Battle of Blair Mountain.
    Part II (‘Solidarity Forever’) will cover the late 19th Century to the early twenties.
    The filmmaker is currently seeking donations to complete the project. If you’d like to help, you can donate to their Patreon account.
    Sources: http://metanoia-films.org/plutocracy/
    DVDs: contact[at]metanoia-films.org
    Thank-You for your time reading all of the above, and for helping Scott Noble in any way that you can. The upcoming films will be even better.
    Nonprofits & Activism
    Standard YouTube License
    Source videos
    View attributions
    “Six Gnossiennes: No. 1” by Lang Lang

    • ray032 May 15, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Long but interesting video and still relevant to the issues of these days.

  14. ray032 May 15, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    Posted this new article to my Blog on the 13th. It’s part of hoping there will be a human legacy the way this world is turning?


    Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14


    • Kata Fisher May 15, 2016 at 11:59 am #


      UN wants money! – From Governments/tax payers! Let them ask money from their corporation/s company co-operations among governments. They can back-bill as well (starting with League of the Nations and up to 1945 and after that its co-operations of the corporation/s.)

      Is the end near?

      Ask Rabbi’s to cut behinds! Cut the but.

      There was a cut, cut, cut to the Landmark of the Holy Land – why? The self-interest of the wicked! They are accursed given over to the devil and curse of destruction. It shall come upon them just as they did. It shall come upon them – just as they did (the Spirit said so).

  15. ray032 September 4, 2016 at 4:00 am #

    Richard, I didn’t know where to place this which I just read Today.

    Daniel Berrigan’s 1973 prophecy: Israel is becoming ‘the tomb of the Jewish soul

    This is a small excerpt:
    These are among the most sorrowful facts of the world we live in. Israel, that millennial dream, belonged not only to Jews, but to all of mankind—it belonged to me. But the dream has become a nightmare; Israel has not abolished poverty and misery; rather, she manufactures human waste, the byproducts of her entrepreneurs, her military-industrial complex. Israel has not written justice into law; she has turned the law of nature to a mockery, creating ghettoes, disenfranchised peoples, exiles, hopeless minorities, cheap labor forces, Palestinian migrant workers. Israel has not freed the captives; she has expanded the prison system, perfected her espionage, exported on the world market that expensive blood ridden commodity, the savage triumph of the technologized West; violence and the tools of violence.

    In Israel, military might is increasingly both the method and the goal of political existence. Her absurd generals, her military junk, are paraded on national holidays before the narcoticized public. The model is not the kingdom of peace, it is an Orwellian transplant, taken bodily from Big Brother’s bloody heart. In Israel, the democratic formula is twisted out of all recognition; the citizens exist for the well-being of the state; it follows, as the imperialist corollary, that that measure of terrorism and violence and murder is applied to dissidents, as shall guarantee the “well-being of the state,” as the ominous phrase is understood by those in power.

    Who will save us from such saviors? I venture to say; neither Egypt nor Libya nor Syria nor Al Fatah nor Golda Meir nor General Dayan; neither Migs nor Phantom jets nor nuclear skills. After such saviors do the gentiles lust.

    The present course, I suggest, leads to the same dead end for both sides. The settler state and the long settled state, both are in mortal danger, daily increasing, of metamorphosing into slave states, clients of the fascist super powers. At home, a slave mentality is progressively created; the reduction of rights of citizens, slave labor forces, slave wages, the domination of slave masters, politicized police, the militarization of national goals and policies.


    • Richard Falk September 4, 2016 at 8:12 am #

      Ray: I am glad that you found this piece. Daniel Kerrigan was a exceptional person, deeply religious
      while often critical of religious institutions, and uncompromisingly moral in his judgments and willingness
      to put his body behind his sentiments, which landed him in jail on several occasions. I acted as an expert witness
      in his court cases on more than once. Greetings, Richard

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