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Citizenship...  Original Intent

As Americans, we are socialized to believe that we are all Citizens of this great nation we call the United States of America. Quite frankly, most Americans are pretty emotional about the issue. Try telling your neighbor, who fought against Hitler in WWII, that he's not a citizen of the United States, and see what reaction you get!

The problem is that the people who write laws don't write them in the same manner that you and I speak. [See the section on "legal terms" within The Law page on this site.] Laws are written to achieve certain goals and the words used within laws are selected to achieve those goals. Sometimes the goals are legitimate and the language that is used, while confusing at times, is necessary to achieve the goal. Other times confusing language is used for no other reason than to obscure the truth from the casual reader.

The issue of citizenship is no less clouded by such use of language than is any other area of law. The definitions of words or "legal terms" must be sought out diligently and the context in which they are used always carefully considered. [See The Law for information on "words" v. "legal terms" and issues of "context".]

In the Constitution of the United States, the phrase "Citizen of the United States" appears. Because this phrase appears within a Constitution, not a statute, the meaning of the phrase is determined by the meaning intended by those who wrote and signed the Constitution. If the intended meaning is manifest, there is no power on earth, including that of a criminal in a black robe, which can alter the meaning of the phrase. The meaning of the phrase "Citizen of the United States" is well understood. That phrase is shorthand for the sentence, "All the Citizens of the 13 independent nations [called "states"] that are a party to this Constitution". The important element that you should understand is that the "Citizen of the United States" spoken of in the Constitution of the United States is more properly and accurately a Citizen of the state in which he lives. The phrase "Citizen of the United States" is actually a euphemism used for convenience and brevity, and not a legal title.

After the Constitution was signed by all the states, the federal government began acquiring "territories". At the time, these territories were limited to the lands west of the established boundaries of the states, and lands not claimed by the states. People born in those federally held territories, by parents who were not Citizens of a state, became de facto "citizens of the United States". Although at that time there was no statutory authority for such a thing, international law had (and still has) a long established doctrine that, absent any extenuating circumstances, a person is a citizen of the national jurisdiction (or sovereignty) in which he's born. The federal territories were outside of the sovereignty of the individual state governments, and within the sovereignty of the United States government; hence the de facto status as a "citizen of the United States". This principle also applies to persons in Washington DC, which is under the exclusive sovereignty of the United States. [For the sake of clarity, we use a lower case "c" for a citizen of the federal government and an upper case "C" to denote a Citizen of a state of the Union.] It should be noted that "citizens of the United States" are not The People who created the states, then by state action, created the federal government. These "federal citizens" are not "parties to the Constitution" and therefore did not have legal claim to the same rights, privileges, and immunities that state Citizens did.

One should take careful note that the Citizens of the states of the Union are the only Citizens who possess all the rights, privileges, and immunities spoken of in the US Constitution, plus whatever additional rights are secured to them by their own state Constitutions. At the end of this section you will see federal and state court cases that clearly show that the rights of one class of Citizen are thoroughly different from the "rights" (actually Congressionally granted privileges) of the other class of citizen. This distinction in the "class of citizenship" continued without significant comment or concern until the end of the Civil War.

Although the Civil War was not fought over slavery (despite what you were taught in the public schools), the end of the Civil War nevertheless brought about the end of involuntary servitude and slavery in America. [See Article XIII of the Constitution of the United States.]

Prior to the Civil War, the southern states did not recognize blacks as persons who could become Citizens of their states. In fact it was well understood by the Citizens of these southern states that when their state Constitutions protected the right to own "property" or "chattel", that right included holding slaves. That was exactly what the framers of these southern Constitutions had intended and so that understanding was accurate and factual.

After the South lost the rebellion, the United States took the opportunity to free the slaves. This was easier said than done because the Constitutions of the Southern states hadn't changed a bit just because the South had lost the War. Their Constitutions still did not recognize blacks as persons who could attain citizenship.

 

"Prior to the adoption of the federal Constitution, states possessed unlimited and unrestricted sovereignty and retained the same even afterward…except as such was surrendered to the federal government or they were expressly prohibited from exercising by the United States Constitution."
Blair v Ridgely, 97 D. 218, 249, S.P. People v. Coleman, 60 D. 581

Congress was faced with a difficult dilemma; it wanted the freed blacks to become Citizens, but there was nothing in the US Constitution that gave Congress the power to alter the Constitutions of the Southern states. The best Congress could do in an immediate sense was to consider the South under "military occupation" of the United States (which it was) and recognize that as such, the Southern states came within the authority of Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the US Constitution. [See US Territorial Authority in this site.] What this meant was that as long as the Southern states were held as a "defeated foe" Congress could pass legislation that would operate within the area known as "the Southern states". However, in the future, when Congress would restored the Southern states to their former status as regular states of the Union, all such federal legislation would cease to operate in the Southern states. This meant that Congress needed a two-phase solution. The first phase being the enactment of federal laws to operate within the "occupied territories" and the second phase being a Constitutional amendment to secure the principles of those laws even after the laws themselves lost authority in the Southern states.

It should be noted at this point that although the slaves were now free, and had been born in a state of the Union, they still were not Citizens of that state. In short, they had no citizenship at all. Under long established doctrines of law, a person who is not a citizen of a place in which he resides is an alien. The legal position of the freed slaves was tenuous - yes, they were free, but they were aliens in the land of their birth and were thus not entitled to the same rights, privileges, and immunities as Citizens. Although defeated in battle, the people of the South were not yet ready to capitulate on the slavery issue and they moved quickly to use the "alien" status of the blacks against them. Almost immediately after the surrender of the Confederacy, many Southern states started enacting "Black Codes". These laws were intended to operate only upon "persons not citizens" (a phrase right out of Dred Scott v. Sanford, 19 How. 393), and thus effectively limit the new found freedom enjoyed by the former slaves by requiring them to apply for licenses to do anything from holding a job, to hunting for food.

Because the Southern states were under the "exclusive legislative jurisdiction" of Congress at this time, any state or local laws that conflicted with federal law would immediately become void and unenforceable. Congress moved quickly to quash the Black Codes. In rapid succession Congress passed the Enforcement Act, the Freedman's Bureau Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Collectively, these acts prevented the enforcement of the Black Codes and simultaneously imbued the freed black slaves with federally granted privileges that are euphemistically called "rights". It is in the Enforcement Act that we first see the phrase "citizen of the United States" used as a "legal term" embracing only the recently freed black slaves. This term is then used again in the both the Freedman's Bureau Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 in the same limited manner. It should be noted at this point that the phrase "citizen of the United States" had been used for nearly 8 decades before the Civil War, but always to speak of persons within federal territories. This was the first time that Congress had used the phrase to denote a person who had been born within a state of the Union. Congress could only apply the term in this way, within federal law, at that specific point in history because the South (where the freed blacks lived) was "federal territory" as long as it was being held by the United States military as a "defeated foe".

Phase two of Congress' plan was put into action with the drafting of the 14th Amendment. Here are its pertinent parts to this discussion:

 

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

 

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

In drafting the Amendment, Congress was looking to make its federal laws (the Enforcement Act, the Freedman's Bureau Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866) a part of the US Constitution. In doing so they intended to ensure that the freed blacks would have certain privileges and protections remain in place after the United States pulled its army out of the South and restored the Southern states to their previous status as states of the Union. The Amendment would also insure that Congress had the national authority to enforce the provisions of the Amendment upon any state that attempted to violate them.

Because the Congressional Acts were merely intended to "hold the line" until the 14th Amendment was ratified, their intent is significant in determining the intent of the 14th Amendment.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866:

 

"All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States, and such citizen of every race and color shall have the same right in every state and territory of the United States to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens."

Please note that when the drafters of this bill meant to indicate a Citizen, they clearly used the word "citizen", however when defining "who" the Act applies to, the drafters used the word "person". As they used both words within the same paragraph, it is obvious that the drafters were keenly aware of the distinction.

Clearly Congressional intent was to provide non-citizens with the same fundamental rights as de jure state Citizens (who in that day, were exclusively white). This intent was further clarified in President Johnson's speech when he vetoed that bill. President Johnson made this statement as part of his speech:

 

"It [the Civil Rights Bill of 1866] comprehends the Chinese of the Pacific States, Indians subject to taxation, the people called gypsies, as well as the entire race designated as blacks, persons of color, Negroes, mulattoes and persons of African blood. Every individual of those races born in the United States is made a citizen thereof."

Once again, it can clearly be seen that the intent of the this Act was to embrace "persons" (as defined in Dred Scott case), but in no way was intended to address or alter the relationship of the de jure white Citizen to his state of birth or domicile.

In the case of United States v. Otherson, the US Supreme Court found it necessary to review the historical foundations of the Enforcement Act. The Court found that Senator Stewart, who had sponsored the Enforcement Act legislation, had made the following remarks regarding the Act's intent. Stewart noted that the bill,

 

"...simply extends to foreigners, not citizens, the protections of our laws".

He also added that,

 

"This bill extends [the equal protection of laws] to aliens, so that all persons who are in the United States shall have the equal protection of our laws."

These realities were not lost upon the various courts that were later called upon to make determinations as to the intent of the various civil rights acts or the 14th Amendment. In Van Valkenburg v. Brown, 43 Cal Sup Ct. 43, the Court made the following statement:

 

"No white person born within the limits of the United States and subject to their jurisdiction…owes his status of Citizenship to the recent amendments to the Federal Constitution."

As we are now repeatedly drawing a distinction between blacks and whites, this is probably a good point to stop and address the topic of racism as it relates to this article. This is a historical examination of the law as it existed in the various states and the United States prior to, and after, the Civil War, and how the foundations laid down in those laws and court decisions may still affect our lives today. This article is not intended to critique or pass judgment upon the moral correctness (or lack thereof) of the laws which existed at that time, or upon the decisions of the US Supreme Court in reference to slavery, the Civil War, the various Civil Rights Acts, or the 14th Amendment. It is merely a history lesson with certain inevitable conclusions drawn at the end. Please do not impute any bias, in either direction, to Original Intent. Having said that, let's carry on.

As we have examined, courts in the latter part of the 19th century were quite clear on the intended purpose of the Freedman's Bureau Act, the Enforcement Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the 14th Amendment. However, what has the Supreme Court said in this century?

In Hurd v. Hodge (1948), the court explained that in order to understand the Civil Rights Act of 1866,

 

"...reference must be made to the scope and purpose of the 14th Amendment; for that statute and the Amendment were closely related both in inception and in objectives which Congress sought to achieve".

The Court further stated that the purpose of the 14th Amendment,

 

"was to incorporate the guaranties of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 in the organic law of the land".

The "original intent" link can also be found in several other cases as well. Justice Harlan noted that privileges and immunities protected by the 14 Amendment included [used in its restrictive sense] those set forth in the first section of the Civil Rights Act. Justice Thurgood Marshall noted that,

 

"the Congress that passed the 14th Amendment is the same Congress that passed the 1866 Freedman's Bureau Act",

and he concluded that the rights set forth in the Freedman's Bureau Act were dispositive of Congress' intent in the 14th Amendment.

In 1987, Justice William Brennan traced the "rights" [actually congressionally granted "privileges"] that are secured by the 14th Amendment to the Freedman's Bureau bill. He then went on to state that,

 

"The main target of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 were the 'black codes' enacted in the Southern States..."

As can be readily seen, even relatively recent Courts have acknowledged the fact that the 14th Amendment was simply intended to integrate elements of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Freedman's Bureau Act into the Constitutional structure of the nation. Accordingly, the 14th Amendment only applies to non-citizens (aliens) who were the exclusive focus of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Freedman's Bureau Act.

Now that the intent, meaning, and proper application of the 14th Amendment have been illustrated, it is clear that the Amendment made "federal citizens" out of specific aliens who otherwise would have had no form of citizenship at all. By converting these "aliens" into "federal citizens", they fell under the protection of the federal government with regard to those "rights" that had been conferred upon them by the 14th Amendment.

In consideration of these facts, Black's Law Dictionary (6th Ed.) defines the 14th Amendment this way:

 

The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1868, creates or at least recognizes for the first time a citizenship of the United States, as distinct from that of the states;...

Note the vagueness in the definition - "...creates or at least recognizes for the first time...". This vagueness is because Congressional intent purported to embrace only the recently freed slaves, but at the same time, the bare language of the Amendment, (without consideration of Congressional intent) seems to merely recognize the long standing principle that the federal government has its own citizens, who are not state Citizens; a legal reality that existed long before the 14th Amendment.

We have covered a lot of ground in this piece and it is important to note that with all of the evidence that is available, it has never once been asserted by any member of Congress, or by the courts, that the 14th Amendment, or the phrase "citizen of the United States" as used before the ratification of the 14th Amendment, applies to native born Citizens of a state of the Union. It should also be noted that the original use and application of the phrase "citizen of the United States" still continues today, unaffected by the 14th Amendment, which embraced only a very narrow and specific group of persons.

To summarize the points that we have touched upon thus far:

 

  1. There is an original Citizen of a state of the Union.
  2. There is a "citizen of the United States" as that phrase has always been used.
  3. There is a "citizen of the United States" as that term is used in the 14th Amendment.

At this juncture one might rightly ask what the practical distinctions are in the three forms of citizenship. Before we move forward with that, we should observe that the 14th Amendment merely constitutionalized the concepts by which the United States had been operating for decades under the doctrine of international law, defining the derivation of citizenship. What made the 14th Amendment necessary was that for the first time the federal government intended to grant federal citizenship to persons born within a state of a Union.

 

Rights of Citizens of the states of the Union

The Declaration of Independence states that, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…" This clearly lays out the foundation of our rights - we are all equal before God, and the law; we possess rights which are "unalienable"; those rights are given to us by God (our Creator). Although the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence said that "all men" are created equal, when it came time to create the legal framework of a government, they understood that they could not include "all men" in a Constitution, but could only speak of those people who had formed the states, which then resulted in the states creating a national government of limited power. It is the state Citizens to whom the phrase "all men" would have to be limited for governmental purposes. Accordingly, as the form of our governments began to take shape, the people who would be able to claim these, "unalienable rights", which the "Creator" granted, would only be the Citizens of the states. While this may seem like a narrow restriction, one must remember that a government can only make laws (including its Constitution) for its own "body politic", and no one else.

So what are these mysterious "unalienable rights"? The Declaration of Independence says that, "among these [rights] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". While "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is pretty all encompassing, the words of the Framers tell us that there are more rights involved, and that "among them" are found the rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". In other words, the language of the Framers tells us that "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a designated group of rights within a larger body of rights referred to as our "unalienable rights".

This larger body of "unalienable rights" is vast. In fact, it is so vast that no one, not even the judicial branch, has ever attempted to list the rights contained therein. This is best illustrated by the old adage that, "My right to swing my fist ends somewhere before it hits your nose". In short, a Citizen can do virtually anything he or she wants, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of another Citizen, or endanger the community. Also inclusive in these rights are your protections against mistreatment by government; the primary protections being expressly stated in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution.

 

"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."

-- John Adams, Second President of the United States. (1792-1801)

The US Supreme Court has stated that because these rights existed antecedent [prior to] the formation of either the states or the national government they are outside the government's power to alter, modify, or abolish. How's that for some strong protection!

With these powerful rights in our hands, one might wonder what sort of "rights" are possessed by "citizens of the United States".

 

The Poor Stepchild "citizen"

If the Citizens of the states of the Union have their "unalienable rights", what then do "citizens of the United States" have? Frankly, not much of value. For the balance of this section, we will use the term "federal citizen" to denote a "citizen of the United States".

A federal citizen has only those rights that have been granted to him by Congress by way of the numerous and various civil rights acts, and such rights as may have been invested in him by an activist US Supreme Court that felt it could legislate from the bench.

Let's be clear - the "rights" of federal citizens are not given to them by God, as are our unalienable rights. Their rights are given to them by Congress alone, and the most significant point to understand and keep in mind is that, "What Congress giveth, Congress may taketh away". It has always been this way and it will always be this way. The only thing that may be surprising in all of this is that this is the first time you're hearing it! Most Americans have no idea that there are two "classes of citizenship", nor do they understand the vast distinction between the two, and what it means in their lives.

Let's look at what the courts have said about federal citizenship:

 

"A 'civil right' is considered a right given and protected by law, and a person's enjoyment thereof is regulated entirely by the law that creates it."
82 CA 369. 373, 255, P 760.

"The persons declared to be citizens are, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." The evident meaning of these last words is not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject..."
Elk v. Wilkins, 112 US 94, 101, 102 (1884)

While Elk v. Wilkins is a 14th Amendment case, the concept is still true concerning all federal citizens. In other words, all federal citizens must be, by their very definition, a person who is "completely subject" to the jurisdiction of the federal government (such as a citizen of Washington DC). Virtually any legal concept stated by the courts concerning a 14th Amendment citizen is operative upon all federal citizens.

 

"The privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment protects very few rights because it neither incorporates the Bill of Rights nor protects all rights of individual citizens. (See Slaughter House cases, 83 US (16 Wall.) 36, 21 L. Ed. 394 (1873)). Instead this provision protects only those rights peculiar to being a citizen of the federal government; it does not protect those rights which relate to state citizenship."
Jones v. Temmer, 839 F. Supp. 1226

"...the first eight amendments have uniformly been held not to be protected from state action by the privilege and immunities clause [of the 14th Amendment]."
Hague v. CIO, 307 US 496, 520

"The right to trial by jury in civil cases, guaranteed by the 7th Amendment…and the right to bear arms guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment…have been distinctly held not to be privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States guaranteed by the 14th Amendment…and in effect the same decision was made in respect of the guarantee against prosecution, except by indictment of a grand jury, contained in the 5th Amendment…and in respect of the right to be confronted with witnesses, contained in the 6th Amendment…it was held that the indictment, made indispensable by the 5th Amendment, and trial by jury guaranteed by the 6th Amendment, were not privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, as those words were used in the 14th Amendment. We conclude, therefore, that the exemption from compulsory self-incrimination is not a privilege or immunity of National citizenship guaranteed by this clause of the 14th Amendment."
Twining v. New Jersey, 211 US 78, 98-99

"There are, then, under our republican form of government, two classes of citizens, one of the United States and one of the state".
Gardina v. Board of Registrars of Jefferson County, 160 Ala. 155; 48 So. 788 (1909)

"The governments of the United States and of each state of the several states are distinct from one another. The rights of a citizen under one may be quite different from those which he has under the other".
Colgate v. Harvey, 296 U.S. 404; 56 S.Ct. 252 (1935)

"...rights of national citizenship as distinct from the fundamental or natural rights inherent in state citizenship".
Madden v. Kentucky, 309 U.S. 83: 84 L.Ed. 590 (1940)

"There is a difference between privileges and immunities belonging to the citizens of the United States as such, and those belonging to the citizens of each state as such".
Ruhstrat v. People, 57 N.E. 41 (1900)

"We have in our political system a government of the United States and a government of each of the several States. Each one of these governments is distinct from the others, and each has citizens of it's own..."
United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875)

"It is quite clear, then, that there is a citizenship of the United States, and a citizenship of a state, which are distinct from each other and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances in the individual".
Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36; 21 L.Ed. 394 (1873)

It should be noted that many of the rights not attributed to federal citizens in the cases above have since been granted to them either by Congress or by the courts. These early decisions simply clarify and solidify the reality that federal citizens are not the same "class of citizen" as state Citizens.

Like so many areas in which the federal government has tread, it has unbalanced the equation. Where at one time there was no real problem with there being different classes of citizenship, with the ratification of the 14th Amendment, Congress went into overdrive with civil rights legislation. The result was a labyrinth of "rights" and protections for federal citizens. Some of these have even found their way into additional Constitutional amendments. Because the state Citizen is a member of The People; the people in whom the sovereignty of the states, and by association, the national government resides, such a Citizen is left to protect his own rights, with no special process to help him accomplish that end. In short, he must defend his rights with all his will, his energy, his money, and passion in the courts for as long as it takes to reach a final outcome.

Conversely, the federal citizen need only lodge a complaint with the appropriate federal agency and the power of the federal government moves to punish the person who has allegedly violated that federal citizen's rights. Of course this is legally appropriate since a federal citizen is little more than a ward of the national government. Such second-class citizens must be cared for by the government as they are not the masters of their government, but mere servants to it, and it is the master's responsibility to care for his servants.

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Police want power to crack down on offensive demo chants and slogans



· Present curbs are too light, Met chief to tell Goldsmith
· Rights groups say officers would be 'censors in chief'


Vikram Dodd
Monday November 27, 2006
The Guardian


Police are to demand new powers to arrest protesters for causing offence through the words they chant and the slogans on their placards and even headbands.

The country's biggest force, the Metropolitan police, is to lobby the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, because officers believe that large sections of the population have become increasingly politicised, and there is a growing sense that the current restrictions on demonstrations are too light.

Trouble at recent protests involving Islamic extremists has galvanised the Met's assistant commissioner, Tarique Ghaffur, into planning a crackdown. His proposals are due to be sent to Lord Goldsmith, who is reviewing how effective the current laws are in tackling extremists.

The police want powers to proscribe protest chants and slogans on placards, banners and headbands. Human rights experts say that such powers could also be used against protesters such as animal rights and anti-globalisation activists. The civil rights group Liberty said the powers would make the police "censors in chief".

Mr Ghaffur has previously advocated banning flag burning. But this document would take the police a lot further. Mr Ghaffur says there is a "growing national and international perception" that the police have been too soft on extremist protesters, which has led to rising anger across the country. "The result has been to create an imbalance in public perception that is manifesting itself in passionate responses from elements of the community not traditionally given to publicly protesting. What we are seeing in effect is a rise in the politicisation of middle England and the emergence of a significant challenge for capital city policing."

As well as the absence of a law banning the burning of a flag, there is no law banning the burning of a religious text.

The police want powers to tackle a "grey area" in the array of public order laws. At present, causing offence by itself is not a criminal offence.

"There must be a clear message that we will not allow any extremist group to display banners or make public statements that clearly cause offence within the existing law," the document says.

The document continues: "Is the sand shifting in our collective viewpoint around what constitutes 'causing offence'? Equally, we need to have a clearer determination of current community perceptions around what 'public offence' actually means. We also need to think more laterally around how we police public demonstrations where 'offence' could be caused, while still respecting the British position around freedom of speech."

The document, entitled "The widening agenda of public demonstrations and radicalisation", says Islamic extremists have learned how to cause offence without breaking the law. It also reveals that the government has yet to implement the bill outlawing religious hatred which received royal assent in February. It says that the law may prove useless against extremists: "Virtually all activity by protesters could constitute insulting or abusive language, behaviour or banners towards particular religions, but would fall outside the remit of inciting religious hatred."

The director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, said: "[The proposal] misunderstands the nature of law and free expression in a democracy and casts the police as censors in chief. It aims to protect people from 'offence' rather than harm, slates the CPS and muses wildly on 'public perceptions'."

After protests against the Danish cartoons in London, organised by a radical Muslim group, Scotland Yard received 100 complaints demanding action against the protesters.

A solicitor who has defended protesters, Mike Schwarz, said: "Causing offence, if there is no other ingredient, is not against the law." He said such proposed powers would clash with article 10 of the European convention on human rights which protects freedom of expression.

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Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”


Global Research, November 18, 2006
 
 

“Hegemony is as old as Mankind…” -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor


The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.” 

This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of  the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.  

This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the  planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” --which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region-- would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives.

New Middle East Map

Secretary Condoleezza Rice stated during a press conference that “[w]hat we’re seeing here [in regards to the destruction of Lebanon and the Israeli attacks on Lebanon], in a sense, is the growing—the ‘birth pangs’—of a ‘New Middle East’ and whatever we do we [meaning the United States] have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the New Middle East [and] not going back to the old one.”1 Secretary Rice was immediately criticized for her statements both within Lebanon and internationally for expressing indifference to the suffering of an entire nation, which was being bombed  indiscriminately by the Israeli Air Force. 

The Anglo-American Military Roadmap in the Middle East and Central Asia 

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s speech on the "New Middle East" had set the stage. The Israeli attacks on Lebanon --which had been fully endorsed by Washington and London-- have further compromised and validated the existence of the geo-strategic objectives of the United States, Britain, and Israel. According to Professor Mark Levine the “neo-liberal globalizers and neo-conservatives, and ultimately the Bush Administration, would latch on to creative destruction as a way of describing the process by which they hoped to create their new world orders,” and that “creative destruction [in] the United States was, in the words of neo-conservative philosopher and Bush adviser Michael Ledeen, ‘an awesome revolutionary force’ for (…) creative destruction…”2

Anglo-American occupied Iraq, particularly Iraqi Kurdistan, seems to be the preparatory ground for the balkanization (division) and finlandization (pacification) of the Middle East. Already the legislative framework, under the Iraqi Parliament and the name of Iraqi federalization, for the partition of Iraq into three portions is being drawn out. (See map below)

Moreover, the Anglo-American military roadmap appears to be vying an entry into Central Asia via the Middle East. The Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are stepping stones for extending U.S. influence into the former Soviet Union and the ex-Soviet Republics of Central Asia. The Middle East is to some extent the southern tier of Central Asia. Central Asia in turn is also termed as “Russia’s Southern Tier” or the Russian “Near Abroad.”

Many Russian and Central Asian scholars, military planners, strategists, security advisors, economists, and politicians consider Central Asia (“Russia’s Southern Tier”) to be the vulnerable and “soft under-belly” of the Russian Federation.3

It should be noted that in his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geo-strategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. National Security Advisor, alluded to the modern Middle East as a control lever of an area he, Brzezinski, calls the Eurasian Balkans. The Eurasian Balkans consists of the Caucasus (Georgia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Armenia) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan) and to some extent both Iran and Turkey. Iran and Turkey both form the northernmost tiers of the Middle East (excluding the Caucasus4) that edge into Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The Map of the “New Middle East”

A relatively unknown map of the Middle East, NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, and Pakistan has been circulating around strategic, governmental, NATO, policy and military circles since mid-2006. It has been causally allowed to surface in public, maybe in an attempt to build consensus and to slowly prepare the general public for possible, maybe even cataclysmic, changes in the Middle East. This is a map of a redrawn and restructured Middle East identified as the “New Middle East.”

MAP OF THE NEW MIDDLE EAST


Map: click to enlarge

Note:
The following map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. 

 

This map of the “New Middle East” seems to be based on several other maps, including older maps of potential boundaries in the Middle East extending back to the era of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and World War I. This map is showcased and presented as the brainchild of retired Lieutenant-Colonel (U.S. Army) Ralph Peters, who believes the redesigned borders contained in the map will fundamentally solve the problems of the contemporary Middle East.

The map of the “New Middle East” was a key element in the retired Lieutenant-Colonel’s book, Never Quit the Fight, which was released to the public on July 10, 2006. This map of a redrawn Middle East was also published, under the title of Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look, in the U.S. military’s Armed Forces Journal with commentary from Ralph Peters.5

It should be noted that Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, and has been one of the Pentagon’s foremost authors with numerous essays on strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy.

It has been written that Ralph Peters’ “four previous books on strategy have been highly influential in government and military circles,” but one can be pardoned for asking if in fact quite the opposite could be taking place. Could it be Lieutenant-Colonel Peters is revealing and putting forward what Washington D.C. and its strategic planners have anticipated for the Middle East?

The concept of a redrawn Middle East has been presented as a “humanitarian” and “righteous” arrangement that would benefit the people(s) of the Middle East and its peripheral regions. According to Ralph Peter’s:

"International borders are never completely just. But the degree of injustice they inflict upon those whom frontiers force together or separate makes an enormous difference — often the difference between freedom and oppression, tolerance and atrocity, the rule of law and terrorism, or even peace and war.

The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East. Drawn by self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers), Africa’s borders continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants. But the unjust borders in the Middle East — to borrow from Churchill — generate more trouble than can be consumed locally.

While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone — from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism — the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region’s comprehensive failure isn’t Islam, but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats.

Of course, no adjustment of borders, however draconian, could make every minority in the Middle East happy. In some instances, ethnic and religious groups live intermingled and have intermarried. Elsewhere, reunions based on blood or belief might not prove quite as joyous as their current proponents expect. The boundaries projected in the maps accompanying this article redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant "cheated" population groups, such as the Kurds, Baluch and Arab Shia [Muslims], but still fail to account adequately for Middle Eastern Christians, Bahais, Ismailis, Naqshbandis and many another numerically lesser minorities. And one haunting wrong can never be redressed with a reward of territory: the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the dying Ottoman Empire.

Yet, for all the injustices the borders re-imagined here leave unaddressed, without such major boundary revisions, we shall never see a more peaceful Middle East.

Even those who abhor the topic of altering borders would be well-served to engage in an exercise that attempts to conceive a fairer, if still imperfect, amendment of national boundaries between the Bosphorus and the Indus. Accepting that international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war — for readjusting faulty borders, a mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s “organic” frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with colossal, man-made deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are corrected."6

(emphasis added)

"Necessary Pain"

Besides believing that there is “cultural stagnation” in the Middle East, it must be noted that Ralph Peters admits that his propositions are “draconian” in nature, but he insists that they are necessary pains for the people of the Middle East. This view of necessary pain and suffering is in startling parallel to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s belief that the devastation of Lebanon by the Israeli military was a necessary pain or “birth pang” in order to create the “New Middle East” that Washington, London, and Tel Aviv envision.

Moreover, it is worth noting that the subject of the Armenian Genocide is being politicized and stimulated in Europe to offend Turkey.7

The overhaul, dismantlement, and reassembly of the nation-states of the Middle East have been packaged as a solution to the hostilities in the Middle East, but this is categorically misleading, false, and fictitious. The advocates of a “New Middle East” and redrawn boundaries in the region avoid and fail to candidly depict the roots of the problems and conflicts in the contemporary Middle East. What the media does not acknowledge is the fact that almost all major conflicts afflicting the Middle East are the consequence of overlapping Anglo-American-Israeli agendas.  

Many of the problems affecting the contemporary Middle East are the result of the deliberate aggravation of pre-existing regional tensions. Sectarian division, ethnic tension and internal violence have been traditionally exploited by the United States and Britain in various parts of the globe including Africa, Latin America, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Iraq is just one of many examples of the Anglo-American strategy of “divide and conquer.” Other examples are Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, and Afghanistan. 

Amongst the problems in the contemporary Middle East is the lack of genuine democracy which U.S. and British foreign policy has actually been deliberately obstructing.  Western-style "Democracy" has been a requirement only for those Middle Eastern states which do not conform to Washington's political demands. Invariably, it constitutes a pretext for confrontation. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan are examples of undemocratic states that the United States has no problems with because are firmly alligned within the Anglo-American orbit or sphere.

Additionally, the United States has deliberately blocked or displaced genuine democratic movements in the Middle East from Iran in 1953 (where a U.S./U.K. sponsored coup was staged against the democratic government of Prime Minister Mossadegh) to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, the Arab Sheikdoms, and Jordan where the Anglo-American alliance supports military control, absolutists, and dictators in one form or another. The latest example of this is Palestine. 

The Turkish Protest at NATO’s Military College in Rome

Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters’ map of the “New Middle East” has sparked angry reactions in Turkey. According to Turkish press releases on September 15, 2006 the map of the “New Middle East” was displayed in NATO’s Military College in Rome, Italy. It was additionally reported that Turkish officers were immediately outraged by the presentation of a portioned and segmented Turkey.8 The map received some form of approval from the U.S. National War Academy before it was unveiled in front of NATO officers in Rome.

The Turkish Chief of Staff, General Buyukanit, contacted the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, and protested the event and the exhibition of the redrawn map of the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.9 Furthermore the Pentagon has gone out of its way to assure Turkey that the map does not reflect official U.S. policy and objectives in the region, but this seems to be conflicting with Anglo-American actions in the Middle East and NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan. 

Is there a Connection between Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Eurasian Balkans” and the “New Middle East” Project?

The following are important excerpts and passages from former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geo-strategic Imperatives. Brzezinski also states that both Turkey and Iran, the two most powerful states of the “Eurasian Balkans,” located on its southern tier, are “potentially vulnerable to internal ethnic conflicts [balkanization],” and that, “If either or both of them were to be destabilized, the internal problems of the region would become unmanageable.”10

It seems that a divided and balkanized Iraq would be the best means of accomplishing this. Taking what we know from the White House's own admissions; there is a belief that “creative destruction and chaos” in the Middle East are beneficial assets to reshaping the Middle East, creating the “New Middle East,” and furthering the Anglo-American roadmap in the Middle East and Central Asia: 

"In Europe, the Word “Balkans” conjures up images of ethnic conflicts and great-power regional rivalries. Eurasia, too, has its “Balkans,” but the Eurasian Balkans are much larger, more populated, even more religiously and ethnically heterogeneous. They are located within that large geographic oblong that demarcates the central zone of global instability (…) that embraces portions of southeastern Europe, Central Asia and parts of South Asia [Pakistan, Kashmir, Western India], the Persian Gulf area, and the Middle East.

The Eurasian Balkans form the inner core of that large oblong (…) they differ from its outer zone in one particularly significant way: they are a power vacuum. Although most of the states located in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East are also unstable, American power is that region’s [meaning the Middle East’s] ultimate arbiter. The unstable region in the outer zone is thus an area of single power hegemony and is tempered by that hegemony. In contrast, the Eurasian Balkans are truly reminiscent of the older, more familiar Balkans of southeastern Europe: not only are its political entities unstable but they tempt and invite the intrusion of more powerful neighbors, each of whom is determined to oppose the region’s domination by another. It is this familiar combination of a power vacuum and power suction that justifies the appellation “Eurasian Balkans.”

The traditional Balkans represented a potential geopolitical prize in the struggle for European supremacy. The Eurasian Balkans, astride the inevitably emerging transportation network meant to link more directly Eurasia’s richest and most industrious western and eastern extremities, are also geopolitically significant. Moreover, they are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.

 The world’s energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy, and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea.

Access to that resource and sharing in its potential wealth represent objectives that stir national ambitions, motivate corporate interests, rekindle historical claims, revive imperial aspirations, and fuel international rivalries. The situation is made all the more volatile by the fact that the region is not only a power vacuum but is also internally unstable.

(…)

The Eurasian Balkans include nine countries that one way or another fit the foregoing description, with two others as potential candidates. The nine are Kazakstan [alternative and official spelling of Kazakhstan] , Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia—all of them formerly part of the defunct Soviet Union—as well as Afghanistan.

The potential additions to the list are Turkey and Iran, both of them much more politically and economically viable, both active contestants for regional influence within the Eurasian Balkans, and thus both significant geo-strategic players in the region. At the same time, both are potentially vulnerable to internal ethnic conflicts. If either or both of them were to be destabilized, the internal problems of the region would become unmanageable, while efforts to restrain regional domination by Russia could even become futile."11

(emphasis added)

Redrawing the Middle East

The Middle East, in some regards, is a striking parallel to the Balkans and Central-Eastern Europe during the years leading up the First World War. In the wake of the the First World War the borders of the Balkans and Central-Eastern Europe were redrawn. This region experienced a period of upheaval, violence and conflict, before and after World War I, which was the direct result of foreign economic interests and interference.

 

The reasons behind the First World War are more sinister than the standard school-book explanation, the assassination of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo. Economic factors were the real motivation for the large-scale war in 1914.


Norman Dodd, a former Wall Street banker and investigator for the U.S. Congress, who examined  U.S. tax-exempt foundations, confirmed in a 1982 interview that those powerful individuals who from behind the scenes controlled the finances, policies, and government of the United States had in fact also planned U.S. involvement in a war, which would contribute to entrenching their grip on power.

The following testimonial is from the transcript of Norman Dodd's interview with G. Edward Griffin;


We are now at the year 1908, which was the year that the Carnegie Foundation began operations.  And, in that year, the trustees meeting, for the first time, raised a specific question, which they discussed throughout the balance of the year, in a very learned fashion.  And the question is this:  Is there any means known more effective than war, assuming you wish to alter the life of an entire people?  And they conclude that, no more effective means to that end is known to humanity, than war.  So then, in 1909, they raise the second question, and discuss it, namely, how do we involve the United States
in a war?

Well, I doubt, at that time, if there was any subject more removed from the thinking of most of the people of this country [the United States], than its involvement in a war.  There were intermittent shows [wars] in the Balkans, but I doubt very much if many people even knew where the Balkans were.  And finally, they answer that question as follows:  we must control the State Department.

And then, that very naturally raises the question of how do we do that?  They answer it by saying, we must take over and control the diplomatic machinery of this country and, finally, they resolve to aim at that as an objective.  Then, time passes, and we are eventually in a war, which would be World War I.  At that time, they record on their minutes a shocking report in which they dispatch to President Wilson a telegram cautioning him to see that the war does not end too quickly.  And finally, of course, the war is over.

At that time, their interest shifts over to preventing what they call a reversion of life in the
United States to what it was prior to 1914, when World War I broke out.

(emphasis added)

The redrawing and partition of the Middle East from the Eastern Mediterranean shores of Lebanon and Syria to Anatolia (Asia Minor), Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and the Iranian Plateau responds to broad economic, strategic and military objectives, which are part of a longstanding Anglo-American and Israeli agenda in the region.

The Middle East has been conditioned by outside forces into a powder keg that is ready to explode with the right trigger, possibly the launching of Anglo-American and/or Israeli air raids against Iran and Syria. A wider war in the Middle East could result in redrawn borders that are strategically advantageous to Anglo-American interests and Israel.

NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan has been successfully divided, all but in name. Animosity has been inseminated in the Levant, where a Palestinian civil war is being nurtured and divisions in Lebanon agitated. The Eastern Mediterranean has been successfully militarized by NATO. Syria and Iran continue to be demonized by the Western media, with a view to justifying a military agenda. In turn, the Western media has fed, on a daily basis, incorrect and biased notions that the populations of Iraq cannot co-exist and that the conflict is not a war of occupation but a "civil war" characterised by domestic strife between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Attempts at intentionally creating animosity between the different ethno-cultural and religious groups of the
Middle East have been systematic. In fact, they are part of carefully designed covert intelligence agenda.

Even more ominous, many Middle Eastern governments, such as that of Saudi Arabia, are assisting Washington in fomenting divisions between Middle Eastern populations. The ultimate objective is to weaken the resistance movement against foreign occupation through a "divide and conquer strategy" which serves Anglo-American and Israeli interests in the broader region.  

 

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is in an independent writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern and Central Asian affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG). 

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Americans Surprised, Concerned that 90% of Flu Shots Contain Mercury

  • Health Officials' Aggressive Flu Shot Campaign May Disregard Safety, According to Survey of 9,000 Americans
    74 Percent of Respondents Unaware Flu Shots Contain Mercury, 78 Percent Disagree with CDC About Vaccinating Pregnant Women and Children
    PRNewswire, Nov 13, 2006
    Straight to the Source
PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- As health officials step up their effort to vaccinate Americans against the flu, a new survey suggests serious concerns over the toxin mercury, an ingredient in over 90 percent of this season's flu shot supply. PutChildrenFirst.org, a parent-led organization advocating vaccine safety, commissioned a survey of over 9,000 Americans to learn their plans for getting flu shots, their knowledge of its ingredients, and who they hold responsible for making sure vaccines are safe.

The survey revealed that the overwhelming majority of Americans were unaware that most flu shots contain mercury and that they would refuse a shot with mercury. (See page two for the key findings.)

"More than 75 percent of Americans feel a mercury-containing flu shot should not be given to a pregnant woman or a child, despite recommendations from medical authorities to do just that," said Lisa Handley, a founding parent of PutChildrenFirst.org. Her own son, Jamison, had an adverse reaction to a flu shot containing mercury in 2003. "I know firsthand how life-changing a flu shot with mercury can be, since our son began his regression into autism after his flu shot."

In 1999, government agencies called for the removal of Thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative in most vaccines. Then, in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that, "mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children, and efforts should be made to reduce exposure to the extent possible to pregnant women and children as well as the general population." Despite these actions, 90 percent of this season's flu vaccines still contain Thimerosal, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending the vaccine for pregnant women and children six months and older.

These recommendations come on the heels of recent studies that reveal new findings about the neurological effects of mercury and question the effectiveness of flu shots. Mercury, the second most toxic element after plutonium, is estimated to be 500 to 1,000 times more toxic than lead.

"A common myth is that Thimerosal is added to vaccines in 'trace' amounts," said Mike Wagnitz, who has over 20 years experience evaluating materials for mercury and is employed as a senior chemist with the University of Wisconsin. "The concentration of mercury in a multi-dose flu vaccine vial is 50,000 parts per billion. To put this in perspective, drinking water cannot exceed 2 parts per billion of mercury, and waste is considered hazardous if it has only 200 parts per billion. Is it really safe then to inject pregnant women, newborns, and infants with levels of mercury 250 times higher than what is legally classified as hazardous waste?"

Agreeing that mercury has no place in vaccines, seven states have passed Thimerosal bans in recent years: California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York, and Washington. California is the first to have implemented the ban for the current flu season, but Governor Schwarzenegger temporarily overturned the ban on November 2 after a shortage of mercury-free flu shots led to pressure from state medical groups.

"Parents need to be informed about all aspects of their children's healthcare, including vaccines," said Deirdre Imus, President and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center and co-founder and co-director, with husband Don Imus, of The Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. "It doesn't make common sense to inject Thimerosal, a known neurotoxin, into the bloodstream of our babies."

This fall, two studies were published in leading medical journals admitting that limited data exists to support the effectiveness of flu shots. One study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, noted that, "there is scant data on the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccine in young children."

"So, not only is the flu shot's effectiveness in doubt, there is plenty of evidence revealing the devastating effects of mercury," said J.B. Handley, Lisa's husband and a founder of PutChildrenFirst.org. "Our health authorities are not being forthcoming about mercury's presence in shots and its toxicity to the nervous system. Our children deserve better."

"With everything we know about the dangers of mercury and the havoc it can wreak on young, developing brains, there is no excuse for any vaccine to contain mercury," said Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, President of SafeMinds, a nonprofit committed to ending mercury-induced neurological disorders. "The survey reveals that Americans are overwhelmingly in the dark about what is in most flu shots. They do not want a known neurotoxin injected into their children, and they believe Congress and medical professionals must be more vigilant about keeping vaccines safe and mercury-free."

Key findings from the poll, conducted October 27-30 by Zogby International, include:

* 74 percent of respondents are unaware that most flu shots contain    mercury. 
* After learning that mercury is an ingredient, 74 percent are less likely    to get a flu shot and 86 percent of parents say they are less likely to    get their child a flu shot. 
* 78 percent of respondents believe mercury should not be an ingredient in flu shots given to pregnant women and children. 
* 73 percent believe the government should warn pregnant women not to get a flu shot if it contains mercury. 
* More than 70 percent agree that Congress, doctors and medical groups (e.g., the American Academy of Pediatrics) should take responsibility for ensuring that vaccines do not contain mercury. 
* 80 percent of respondents and 82 percent of parents are willing to pay the $2.50 additional cost for a mercury-free flu shot.

PutChildrenFirst.org is a parent-led initiative advocating vaccine safety and a division of Generation Rescue, a nonprofit organization providing parents with information on the relationship between mercury and its relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders. Generation Rescue gives parents information to make informed decisions about treatment options and physicians. Generation Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2005.
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