Q&A with Occupy Peace founder Gerald Celente
On Sept. 20, Gerald Celente and his Trends Research Institute launched Occupy Peace in Colonial Kingston, NY. This unique and powerful movement is designed to reinstate the core values that gave birth to this nation and provide the tools for advancing peace and prosperity. Occupy Peace will be birthed at the heart of the oldest intersection in the country, with thousands of peace-minded people ready to take action.
Institute staffers sat with Celente for a question-and-answer feature about the roots, ambitions and passions inspiring Occupy Peace.
How and why was Occupy Peace created?
There is no major, unified peace movement going on in America. The constant talk from Washington, presidential candidates and media is war, war and more war. Since George W. Bush launched the War on Terror in 2001, every few years there is a new enemy to attack, another country to invade and occupy, a new enemy to fear and hate. Following 9/11, Bush said America had to attack Afghanistan and bring back Osama bin Laden “dead or alive” since he was allegedly responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon. Bush also said the Taliban was our enemy because it provided a training ground and safe haven for bin Laden to launch the attacks. The Bush tale is not quite as simplistic as the simpleton that sold it to the public.
In the meantime, bin Laden is long dead and, 14 years later, the longest war in American history continues with no end in sight. President Obama, who sold himself as a man of peace when he was candidate Obama, launched a massive troop surge in Afghanistan that accomplished none of its goals except to kill more Afghans and US troops, and destroy more of the nation. Most recently, he reneged on his pledge to cut the US troop force in half this year. Where is the outrage? Where are the protests?
Then there was the Iraq War, sold to the American people under the pretense that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda. If he were not stopped, we were told, our national security and planet Earth were threatened. In the buildup to that war, many of us saw through the propaganda; we covered it in the Trends Journal. And while there were some serious peace protests, they were drowned out by war drums the presstitute media beat in support of Washington’s war.
Then there was al Qaeda, Libya, Syria — and now, ISIS. Another day, another enemy. The American mindset has become militaristic, and it is morally and economically bankrupting the nation. Politicians lecture us to support our troops, who, we are told, keep us safe by invading and occupying foreign nations. America’s favorite pastimes, sports, have become showcase platforms that glorify the military and pledge eternal allegiance to eternal war. National advertisers keep playing the “hero troop” angle to sell anything from dog food to automobiles. Yet, there’s not a peep about peace.
And what is the justification for America’s never-ending wars? You know! It’s not US foreign policy that breeds the hate I, and others, have been documenting and writing about for some 30 years. No, little boys and girls, they hate us Americans because of our freedom and liberty. And if you disagree, as Bush declared, “You are either with us or with the terrorists.”
Liberty? Go to the Statue of Liberty, sporting events, museums, concerts, airports — they’re all militarized war zones. Liberty? The federal government listens to and watches everything we do under the guise it’s protecting us from terrorists. Liberty? The National Defense Authorization Act has robbed us of our basic rights of habeas corpus, permitting the government to kill Americans suspected of terrorist ties. And it has repealed the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which had prohibited the military from domestic law-enforcement activities.
Occupy Peace was created to reinstate the values upon which this nation was founded by honoring thy founding fathers. George Washington, a real commander in chief, was a warrior who led and fought in battles, unlike little chicken hawks today who call themselves commander in chief. They themselves can’t fight, but are willing send others to fight and die in “the ultimate sacrifice.” In his farewell address, Washington was emphatic in his call for no foreign entanglements. War hawks and apologists for the politicians that beat war drums are quick to say times were different back then. That’s a copout for peace. Nothing has changed. The world was at war back then. Only the weapons and the means to deliver them have changed. Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin — the founding fathers, scholars many of them -- made it clear that the business of America was to mind its own business and build the nation’s business and commerce, not focus on nation building.
Why will this peace initiative be different?
Unlike other protests where people turn out, sing, pray, yell, dress in black or stand on street corners in silence holding signs, get back on the bus, go home and nothing is accomplished, Occupy Peace will have action plans with specific goals and objectives. For example: Close all foreign bases. Bring home the troops. Seal borders to keep our nation safe. Use the military budget and military personnel to rebuild America — a 21st century model of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration project. Rather than Washington taking billions of our hard-earned money to give to military contractors to build roads to nowhere in war-torn nations, we will rebuild America.
Despite America’s numerous wars fought since World War II, not one has been voted on by Congress and declared a war. One objective of Occupy Peace is that any time America becomes involved in a foreign entanglement, the president will be forced to follow the Constitution: Congress, not the president, must declare war. And, it is our objective to have a referendum on each state ballot that will allow citizens of that state to vote yes or no to war. That is direct democracy; Congress, as representatives of the people, will abide by the people’s vote rather than bow to special interests and foreign interests that line their pockets with campaign contributions and foundation donations.
We’re looking for other tools to put in the Occupy Peace toolbox so the people, not politicians, have a voice in who should be killed, who should be bombed, who should be invaded, and who should be occupied. We’re open to any suggestions that can bring true peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Please let us know your thoughts and do what you can to contribute to peace by going to our website, www.occupypeace.us
What is your vision for Occupy Peace?
That the concept of a national state of peace becomes the norm rather than the constant state of war. Fear has been marketed and sold as the natural way of life. For example, we hear madmen — or should I say little men, like Leon Panetta, former US defense secretary — tell us that we should be ready for a 30-year war. How dare he? Dwight D. Eisenhower, five-star general, supreme commander of the Allied Forces in World War II and two-term president, warned us about the military-industrial complex taking over the nation. That now has become stark reality. As our nation sinks lower economically, precious human and financial capital are being squandered on the war machine. Today, median household income is below 2001 levels, yet the defense budget has surged some 45 percent since 9/11.
With peace comes prosperity. Instead of the tens of trillions that have been wasted on the military industrial/cyber complex, that money would be more productively spent rebuilding America, which by all socioeconomic standards is in dramatic decline. I get disgusted each time I hear politicians and retired military madmen posing as “experts” turn up in the media proclaiming they have the strategies to solve the problems in Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and countries around the world when Washington can’t fix Detroit, Camden, Trenton, East St. Louis and Ferguson. Hundreds of US cities large and small are rusting and rotting in front of our eyes. How can any self-respecting person believe these politicians? All they have to show for years of military intervention is a military track record of TOTAL failure. SHOW ME THEIR SUCCESSES! SHOW ME ONE! How can any self-respecting human being buy their nonsense after producing nothing but long track records of monumental failure? Yet, with each new war, the same experts, pundits and politicians promote the same arrogance of their strategy being the winning strategy. And they rant on regarding why the US has the right to overthrow the ruler of another country; bomb and slaughter innocent civilians; and invade, occupy and destroy a nation that was no threat to our national security.
Why hold it in Kingston?
The seeds of democracy were sown here. Kingston is the first capital of New York State. Ninety percent of the US Constitution was taken from the Constitution written here in Kingston at the spot where the courthouse still stands and where four Supreme Court justices, including John Jay, were jurors. We will hold Occupy Peace at the most historic four corners in America — the only place where pre-Revolutionary War stone buildings still stand. Right around the corner is the 1777 Senate House, the oldest building open to the public in America. We are using Kingston to bring America back to its roots.
You are known as a vehement advocate for peace. But you’re no peacenik. Explain.
I am not a pacifist. I’ve been a close-combat practitioner for decades and had my own school for many years. If someone tries to kill me, I’ll kill them. I will attack the attacker. As a fighter, the last thing I want to do is fight. I’ll do my best to avoid it, as will any real fighter. Regardless of how good you think you are, defeat, serious injury or even death are always a possibility and reality. My passion for peace is based on my knowledge of reality — and that reality is that the war in Iraq has left more than 1 million dead and the country in ruins. Afghanistan is the longest war in American history, with no end in sight. Libya, a country that was no threat to our national security, is now destroyed because America and its always-willing Coalition of the Willing destroyed it. Doing so dramatically compounded the destabilization of that already destabilized region. The options are simple: Keep following the leaders that lead us to war. Keep depleting our already depleted treasury. Keep slaughtering millions more. Create more hatred. Sow the seeds for retaliation. Or Occupy Peace and restore prosperity.
Is peace really possible?
On a personal level, who would want to be in a relationship if it’s a constant battle? Whether between a couple or among nations, the choices are clear. Who doesn’t prefer peace to war? Living in peace provides many more benefits, is more joyous, enhances beauty and encourages creativity. The march to war brings only death and destruction and breeds hatred and revenge. Some 22 US veterans commit suicide each day; another 53 attempt suicide each day. That should be headline news. How can the rationale that war is both a moral and an acceptable way of life be promoted while peace is just brushed off and dismissed as just a remote possibility? If that is true, then maybe we should be called the “inhuman” race because there is nothing human about a constant state of war.
When religions, religious orders and those preachers who claim to be messengers of God begin to preach peace as God’s will to their congregations, there will be crusades for peace. Most definitely, when Americans who “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God …” actually believe in the God they “pledge” to, we will Occupy Peace.