Earth Day Greenwash: API Front Group Iowa Energy Forum Sponsors Pro-Keystone XL Event

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

War Cost World $9.46 Trillion in 2012

By Talia Hagerty, Pacific Standard

Economists are not new to the study of war. Many in the U.S. have argued that war is good for the economy, and those in Washington have seemed eager to believe them. Indeed, war is an ideal economics topic. It’s very expensive, and the numbers involved—money spent, weapons used, casualties—can be easily counted and crunched.

There is, however, a more challenging topic that has recently caught the eye of economists: peace.

In the last decade, researchers and economists from all over the world have made great gains in the nascent field of peace economics. They’re finding that violence and war are terrible for the economy, but also that we can use economics to prevent them.

Obama Endorses a Forgery

The Smoking Pop-Gun
by DIANA JOHNSTONE, CounterPunch

On Friday, April 18, President Obama voiced his righteous indignation over anti-Semitic fliers pasted on synagogue walls in the pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.  The fliers, calling on all Jews to register or face expulsion, had appeared the day before and were instantly denounced by Donetsk leaders as a gross provocation and a forgery.

The next day, however, Obama “expressed his disgust quite bluntly”.  At least, that is what his hawkish national security advisor, Susan Rice, told the public. “I think we all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening, and they have no place in the 21st century,” she declared.

War Destroys Environment

Costs of War

The impact of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can be seen not only in the social, economic and political situations of these areas but also in the environments in which these wars have been waged. The long years of war have resulted in a radical destruction of forest cover and an increase in carbon emissions. In addition, the water supply has been contaminated by oil from military vehicles and depleted uranium from ammunition. Along with the degradation of the natural resources in these countries, the animal and bird populations have also been adversely affected. In recent years, Iraqi medical doctors and health researchers have called for more research on war-related environmental pollution as a potential contributor to the country’s poor health conditions and high rates of infections and diseases.

27 Water & Soil Pollution: During the 1991 aerial campaign over Iraq, the US utilized approximately 340 tons of missiles containing depleted uranium (DU). Water and soil may be contaminated by the chemical residue of these weapons, as well as benzene and trichloroethylene from air base operations. Perchlorate, a toxic ingredient in rocket propellant, is one of a number of contaminants commonly found in groundwater around munitions storage sites around the world.

The health impact of war-related environmental exposure remains controversial. Lack of security as well as poor reporting in Iraqi hospitals have complicated research. Yet, recent studies have revealed troubling trends. A household survey in Fallujah, Iraq in early 2010 obtained responses to a questionnaire on cancer, birth defects, and infant mortality.  Significantly higher rates of cancer in 2005-2009 compared to rates in Egypt and Jordan were found.  The infant mortality rate in Fallujah was 80 deaths per 1000 live births, significantly higher than rates of 20 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan and 10 in Kuwait.  The ratio of male births to female births in the 0-4 age cohort was 860 to 1000 compared to the expected 1050 per 1000. [13] 

Toxic Dust: Heavy military vehicles have also disturbed the earth, particularly in Iraq and Kuwait. Combined with drought as a result of deforestation and global climate change, dust has become a major problem exacerbated by the major new movements of military vehicles across the landscape. The U.S. military has focused on the health effects of dust for military personnel serving in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.  Iraq service members’ exposures to inhaled toxins have correlated with respiratory disorders that often prevent them from continuing to serve and performing everyday activities such as exercise.  U.S. Geologic Survey microbiologists have found heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cobalt, barium, and aluminum, which can cause respiratory distress, and other health problems. [11] Since 2001, there has been a 251 percent rise in the rate of neurological disorders, a 47 percent increase in the rate of respiratory problems, and a 34 percent rise in rates of cardio-vascular disease in military service members that is likely related to this problem.[12]

Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution from Military Vehicles:  Even setting aside the accelerated operational tempo of wartime, the Department of Defense has been the country’s single largest consumer of fuel, using about 4.6 billion gallons of fuel each year.[1] Military vehicles consume petroleum-based fuels at an extremely high rate: an M-1 Abrams tank can get just over a half mile on a gallon of fuel per mile or use about 300 gallons during eight hours of operation.[2]  Bradley Fighting Vehicles consume about 1 gallon per mile driven. 

War accelerates fuel use.  By one estimate, the U.S. military used 1.2 million barrels of oil in Iraq in just one month of 2008.[3]  This high rate of fuel use over non-wartime conditions has to do in part with the fact that fuel must be delivered to vehicles in the field by other vehicles, using fuel.  One military estimate in 2003 was that two-thirds of the Army’s fuel consumption occurred in vehicles that were delivering fuel to the battlefield.[4]  The military vehicles used in both Iraq and Afghanistan produced many hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide in addition to CO2. In addition, the allied bombing campaign of a variety of toxics-releasing sites such as ammunition depots, and the intentional setting of oil fires by Saddam Hussein during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to air, soil, and water pollution.[5]

War-Accelerated Destruction and Degradation of Forests and Wetlands: The wars have also damaged forests, wetlands and marshlands in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.  Radical deforestation has accompanied this and the previous wars in Afghanistan.  Total forest area decreased 38 percent in Afghanistan from 1990 to 2007.[6]  This is a result of illegal logging, which is associated with the rising power of the warlords, who have enjoyed U.S. support.  In addition, deforestation has occurred in each of these countries as refugees seek out fuel and building materials.  Drought, desertification, and species loss that accompany habitat loss have been the result.  Moreover, as the wars have led to environmental destruction, the degraded environment itself contributes in turn to further conflict.[7]

War-Accelerated Wildlife Destruction: Bombing in Afghanistan and deforestation have threatened an important migratory thoroughfare for birds leading through this area. The number of birds now flying this route has dropped by 85 percent.[8]  U.S. bases became a lucrative market for the skins of the endangered Snow Leopard, and impoverished and refugee Afghans have been more willing to break the ban on hunting them, in place since 2002. [9] Foreign aid workers who arrived in the city in large numbers following the collapse of the Taliban regime have also purchased the skins.  Their remaining numbers in Afghanistan were estimated at between 100 and 200 in 2008.[10](Page updated as of March 2013) 


[1] Col. Gregory J. Lengyel, USAF, Department of Defense Energy Strategy: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks. 21st Century Defense Initiative. Washington, DC:  The Brookings Institution, August, 2007, p. 10.

[2]Global Security.Org, M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m1-specs.htm

[3] Associated Press, "Facts on Military Fuel Consumption," USA Today, 2 April 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-04-02-2602932101_x.htm.

[4] Cited in Joseph Conover, Harry Husted, John MacBain, Heather McKee. Logistics and Capability Implications of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle with a Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Unit. SAE Technical Papers Series, 2004-01-1586. 2004 SAE World Congress, Detroit, Michigan, March 8-11, 2004. http://delphi.com/pdf/techpapers/2004-01-1586.pdf

[5] United Nations Statistics Division. "United Nations Statistics Division - Environment Statistics." United Nations Statistics Division. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/Questionnaires/country_snapshots.htm.

[6] Carlotta Gall, War-Scarred Afghanistan in Environmental Crisis, The New York Times, January 30, 2003.

[7] Enzler, S.M. "Environmental effects of war." Water Treatment and Purification - Lenntech. http://www.lenntech.com/environmental-effects-war.htm.

[8] Smith, Gar. "It's Time to Restore Afghanistan:  Afghanistan's Crying Needs." Earth Island Journal. http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/its_time_to_res... Noras, Sibylle. "Afghanistan." Saving Snow Leopards. snowleopardblog.com/projects/afghanistan/.

[9] Reuters, "Foreigners threaten Afghan Snow Leopards," 27 June 2008. http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/37501

[10] Kennedy, Kelly. "Navy researcher links toxins in war-zone dust to ailments." USA Today, May 14, 2011. http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2011-05-11-Iraq-Afghanistan-dust-soldiers-illnesses_n.htm.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Busby C, Hamdan M and Ariabi E. Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009. Int.J Environ.Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 2828-2837.

[13] Ibid.

Appeals Court Rules Government Can't Have It Both Ways on Targeted Killing

In an important opinion issued today in the ACLU's ongoing litigation surrounding the government's targeted killing program, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit roundly rejected the government's extreme claims of official secrecy over information about the program.

Did Israel steal bomb-grade uranium from the United States?

Victor GilinskyRoger J. Mattson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Last month the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), the nation’s highest classification authority, released a number of top-level government memoranda that shed additional light on the so-called NUMEC affair, "the story that won't go away—the possibility that in the 1960s, Israel stole bomb-grade uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant.”

Ukraine News - Apr 22, 2014

 

Joe Biden arrives in Ukraine as militants seize more buildings in east - latimes.com


Press Briefing on Biden's Trip to Ukraine: Focus on constitutional reform including decentralization, free elections and economity stability - White House


Biden offers Ukraine U.S. help on energy, aid allocation - Reuters


Russia accuses Ukraine of violating Geneva peace deal - theguardian.com


Kiev should put end to violence of "Right Sector”: Lavrov to Kerry by phone - The Voice of Russia


VIDEO: Russia accuses Kiev of violating Geneva agreement on Ukraine - YouTube


Photos suggest that many of the green masked men in East Ukraine are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces (PHOTOS) - NYTimes.com

 

Ukraine hunts for suspected undercover Russian agent Igor Strelkov, releases a sketch of what it says is his face (SKETCH) - National Post

 

OSCE mission in Donetsk doesn't exclude presence of foreign 'consultants' on Ukrainian soil - interfax.com

 

OSCE mediator in Ukraine meets Slaviansk militants - Reuters

 

VIDEO: OSCE mediators arrive in eastern Ukraine - CCTV News

 

VIDEO: Ukraine: OSCE Deputy Chief interview - YouTube

 

Over 200 Russian Bank Branches to Open in Crimea: Central Bank - RIA Novosti

 

Russian CB halts operations of units of several Ukrainian banks in Crimea - The Voice of Russia

 

Ukraine crisis: Russia plans Crimea casino boom - BBC News

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

VIDEO: Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk Meet The Press 4/20/14 (COMPLETE INTERVIEW) - LiveLeak.com


Kiev authorities deny involvement of Ukrainian organizations in Slavyansk killings, Right Sector badge found among belongings of attacker - ITAR-TASS


VIDEO: 'Right Sector' radicals behind deadly gunfight in eastern Ukraine? - YouTube


VIDEO: 'Right sector' marching through Ukraine on Easter Sunday - YouTube


Pro-Russian rebels create Management Headquarters in Southeastern Ukraine - Prensa Latina News Agency


New governor of Lugansk region takes control of courts and police: media - The Voice of Russia

 

VIDEO: Hundreds of pro-Russian Ukrainians rally in Lugansk - Yahoo News

 

 'People's governor' elected in Kharkov - The Voice of Russia

 

Pro-federalization activists rally outside authority buildings in Ukraine's Kramatorsk - The Voice of Russia

 

Unidentified people take control over Ukraine's Kramatorsk police office - The Voice of Russia

 

Federalists Rally by Administration Building in Ukraine’s Donetsk - RIA Novosti

 

Ukrainian journalist held by separatists says conditions 'OK' - Reuters

 

Woman detained in eastern Ukraine denies being spy, says she's reporter - RT News

 

Ukraine Conflict Becomes Hostage Crisis as Separatists Take Prisoners - TIME.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Protest at NSA Headquarters Planned Over Role in Drone Murders

JOIN US CALLING OUT THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY!
 
STOP THE ARMED DRONE WARS!
 
HOLD THE WAR CRIMINALS ACCOUNTABLE!
 
COME OUT SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014 at 1 PM TO THE NSA HEADQUARTERS in FORT MEADE, MARYLAND.
 
Just the other day yet another US drone strike took place in Yemen killing dozens of "suspected terrorists" we are told. However, due to the US Government’s lies, both the Obama and Bush Administrations, keeping us in perpetual war, we cannot take these official statements on face value. We know that innocent civilians including children have been killed by US drone strikes and other acts of violence. The NSA plays an integral role in providing information, including faulty data as reported by leading award-winning journalists, to the Central Intelligence Agency and US Military which in turn carry out the drone strikes. US militarism including the illegal drone program is responsible for violations of international law and is going unchecked by the US Congress. We must hold the US and NSA accountable for the illegal and immoral drone program.
 
The US/NSA is spying on US citizens, our friends around the world, foreign leaders, while waging -Thanks to revelations by courageous whistle-blowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden- extra-judicial killing and war crimes in countries like Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
 
We must speak out FOR the voiceless victims and AGAINST the US aerial assassination program, the death squads of the skies, and unbridled US military aggression.

 
"I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."
 
-- Edward Snowden
 
 
TIME AND DATE: 1 PM, SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014
 
LOCATION: NATIONAL SECURITY HEADQUARTERS, FORT MEADE, MARYLAND
 
DIRECTIONS:
 
From I-95 take Route 32 towards Fort Meade, enter on Canine Road, bear to the left and park in the visitor’s parking lot and wait.
 
For those risking arrest and those directly supporting them there will be a meeting before at 10AM. For more information contact: joyfirst5@gmail.com
 
JOIN US ON MAY 3,
 
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE

President Obama: Commutation for Weldon Angelos - 55 years for marijuana

Lisa Angelos:

My brother Weldon Angelos, has already been in a federal penitentiary for 10 years.  He faces 45 more years in prison.  All because he sold small amounts of marijuana and possessed – only possessed, didn’t use – guns at the same time! Even the judge who sentenced Weldon disagreed with the mandatory sentence of 55 years.

The father of two young boys and a daughter, Weldon had never before been in trouble with the law.  He was convicted when he was 24 years old of selling small amounts of marijuana to a federal law enforcement informant three times.  The informant testified that a gun was present (never displayed or used) during two of the pot deals.  

When police officers presented a warrant for Weldon’s arrest, he consented to a search of his apartment, where officers found some marijuana, a handgun in his briefcase, and two guns in a locked safe. 

A Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

During the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 25, 2014, you cited a number of concrete measures to secure highly-enriched uranium and plutonium and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime that have been implemented as a result of the three Nuclear Security Summits, concluding: “So what’s been valuable about this summit is that it has not just been talk, it’s been action.”

Ten Years Later: Questions Still Surround Pat Tillman’s Death

Dave Zirin, The Nation

When someone dies of decidedly unnatural causes, two words come immediately to mind: “closure” and “accountability.” The idea is that by holding the perpetrators of a crime accountable, we can both provide a measure of closure for the family and friends of the deceased as well as limit the possibility of such a fate befalling our own loved ones too.

Legalize it!: NJ Gov. Christie Castigated for Cannabis Law Roadblocks

By Linn Washington, Jr.


The spirited protest outside the front door of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, where nearly 150 demonstrators bashed NJ Governor Chris Christie for scandalous obstruction of the state's medical marijuana law, featured the presence and participation of the youngest offspring of two of the most legendary stars in reggae music history.

Easter and Weaponry

By Winslow Myers

When Jonathan Schell, the most cogent moral philosopher of the nuclear age, died of cancer last month, it left a rift in the moral fabric of our small planet, a hole similar in size to those left by the three Alberts—Camus, Einstein and Bigelow. Never heard of Bert Bigelow? He was the Harvard grad who in 1958 twice tried to sail his ketch, the Golden Rule, into the waters of the South Pacific where nuclear weapons were being tested—and found time as well to be beaten up by racist thugs alongside Congressman John Lewis while protesting for civil rights.

Compared to giants like Schell, Bert Bigelow, or General Lee Butler, a former head of the Strategic Air Command who now advocates for nuclear abolition, the people who presume to military, political and industrial leadership here and abroad sometimes seem, from top to bottom, like a bunch of corrupt, deluded, hypocritical flunkies.

I take this indignant tone not out of moral superiority, but because like many ordinary citizens I experience periodic spasms of hopelessness. I have no say—except here—in deliberations over war and climate change that could affect the lives of billions of my fellow inhabitants of spaceship earth.  

I take comfort that a similar spleen occasionally overtook the prophet of love whose rise from death into new life we celebrate on Easter: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness!”

NATO presses against the Western flank of Russia, risking a game of nuclear chicken, and then feigns surprise when Russia pushes back. While the U.S. administration self-righteously excoriates Iran for its mere intent to build a nuclear weapon, our Congress in January happily funds the production of the latest version of a 700-pound hydrogen bomb that will be fitted to fighter planes in Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Germany and Italy. A more blatant violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is hard to imagine.  

That the law of force still prevails over the force of law has its roots in a collective insanity, a gigantic echo chamber of projection. Possessing such enormous destructive power themselves, the nuclear nations cannot afford to acknowledge that they are potential agents of genocide—even omnicide—so we project onto each other the malevolence contained in our own weapons. The effect is a grotesque chimera, a monster “meme” that does nothing but make apocalypse more likely. Some in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) coalition which focuses on genocide, have rightly turned their attention to the genocide-in-waiting that reside under the wings, in the silos, and within the submarines of the nuclear powers.

Do Costa Rica or Sweden feel so threatened by each other that they obsess with obtaining nuclear weapons to keep them “safe”? They do not. Nonetheless if, God forbid, nuclear winter happened, they would perish alongside those in the nuclear club. The whited sepulcher of our international system is based in the gross illusion that the potential for perfect destruction will maintain perfect security. And behind that looms a far older illusion, that the best way to resolve a conflict is to kill those with whom you disagree.  Did this work between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda 20 years ago? It did not. Will it work between separatists and their opponents in the Ukraine—or between Russia and NATO? It will not. 

The vast majority of our leaders and lawmakers do not yet seem to understand that national interest can no longer be at cross-purposes with planetary interest.  Spending billions more on nuclear weapons will do nothing to solve growing climate instability or the withering away of life in our oceans.

Effective leadership must now initiate on the basis that the self-interest of my country is intimately bound up with the self-interest of my “adversaries.” Shia will not be secure until Sunnis feel secure. Israelis will not feel secure until Palestinians feel secure. Ukraine will not feel secure until Russia feels secure. No one will feel secure until we start spending less on weapons and more on clean, renewable energy.

Out of the crucifixion that was Dresden and Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, out of the crucifixion that is Iraq or Syria or the Central African Republic today, may a resurrection come where military creativity measures its effectiveness by something other than the sheer level of destruction at its command. Let us call upon all the institutions that enshrine our values and powers, the governments and their armies, the churches and mosques and synagogues and temples, the universities, and the corporations, to turn their creativity toward the life-affirming mission of caring for the entire earth community.

Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide, writes on global issues and serves on the Advisory Board of the War Prevention Initiative.

“Crimes against Peace”: Historic Class Action Law Suit against George W. Bush

published on Global Research 21 Apr 2014

bushcriminal

The case for Aggressive War against George W. Bush

On March 13, 2013, my client, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a class action lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz in a federal court in California.

Ukraine in Context of Other Major Missed Opportunities

 

Trying Not to Give Peace a Chance

April 20, 2014

Editor Comment: The trust between President Obama and President Putin helped avert a U.S. war on Syria and get Iran to agree to limit its nuclear program, but the neocon-driven crisis in Ukraine has dashed hopes of building on that success for a more peaceful world.

By Ray McGovern

The unnecessary and regrettable conflict between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine brings to mind sad remembrances of important junctures at which I watched – as a citizen and a CIA analyst – chances for genuine peace with Russia frittered away.

End the Drug War: Happy Pot Legalization Day!

A Special Report today on the issue of ending Marijuana Prohibition and the massively destructive War on Drugs, by TCBH! collective journalist Linn Washington, Jr. and three students in his Temple University journalism class:


Marijuana: Facts and Falacies, by Linn Washington


Forgiveness is Dysfunctional

Certain religious traditions, including Christianity, emphasise the importance of forgiveness. I want to explain why forgiveness is misconceived and, therefore, a bad idea. And why there are important psychological reasons for this. In essence, the key question is this: What is the appropriate psychological response to inappropriate behaviour if we want change in the direction of improved functionality in future?

Three Images the World Needed

Employees of the U.S. government refer to people they murder as "bugsplat." They pretend that the men, women, and children they are killing with drones are just bugs, because they just look like little fuzzy creatures on a computer screen. Thank goodness for the artists who have put a giant portrait of a child in a field for the drone murderers to see and think about.  Maybe the rest of us could think about it, and do more than think about it, too.

In Davidson, North Carolina, among many other places in the world, wealthy people ignore the suffering of the poor right nearby them as well as thousands of miles away. A fraction of what the U.S. government spends killing people with drones could end starvation in the world, and many certainly seem not to care. A fraction of what someone spends in a shopping mall could make a real difference in the life of someone sleeping on a bench, but most people provide no help.

But in an odd irony, many people in North Carolina, among many other places in the world, cling to ancient magical beliefs that just happen to include worshiping a man who was poor and who recommended caring for the poor. A sculpture of a homeless Jesus, a man you're supposed to worship because he has nail marks on his metallic feet, has got some people wondering whether they should find a little decency and compassion for those homeless people on benches who are made of flesh and blood.

CIA Director John Brennan, aka Obama's Cheney, was dispatched to Ukraine, where the U.S. had already spent $5 billion stirring up trouble. Ukrainian troops were immediately sent to attack protesters in eastern cities. Brennan may have had drones in his head. Drones have been known to crash, but never to stop and have a beer with the enemy.  Drones often blow up the "wrong people," but they don't invite people to climb on board and share a laugh.  When unarmed Ukrainians confronted tanks, many soldiers joined the people. How Brennan thought Ukrainians could be sent to kill Ukrainians seems a mystery after the images of human decency have taken over.  How Christians think the poor and homeless, the hungry and ill-clothed can be blamed for their own inability to satiate their greed seems baffling when faced with the homeless Jesus.  How drone "pilots" can sit and take part in the world's worst real-life Milgram experiment ought to horrify anyone who stops and thinks -- and nothing can make people stop and think the way a great work of art can. A picture is worth a million words, and a few lives let's hope.

US Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: We’re No. 1!

By John LaForge

The corporate media is focused on the question of how or if Iran could ever break out of its promise under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to eschew nuclear weapons, to use reactors only for civilian purposes. So many headlines refer to sanctions imposed against Iran that millions of people mistakenly think Iran has a nuclear arsenal. It doesn’t.

Meanwhile the Congress in January fully funded production of a new B61 thermonuclear gravity bomb, a program dubbed “Life Extension.” This year’s $537 million is the down payment on the 12th version of the B61 that the millionaires in DC agreed should get $11 billion over the next few years.

Dubbed the “solid gold nuke” by critics, the 700-lb. H-bomb is running $28 million apiece at the moment. That much gold bullion is only worth $16 million.

The program to replace today’s B61s with a new “mod12,” is being condemned by our allies in NATO, by Congressional budget hawks and of course by the entire arms control community. Even former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright has said the bombs are “practically nil” in military value. (Gen. Cartwright only is partly right: Since it seems the Department of Defense is in the business of producing suicides by the thousands, among veterans and active duty soldiers, the suicidal mission of deploying B61s across Europe — for detonation there — seems a perfectly ghastly fit.)

“This decision represents the triumph of entrenched nuclear interests over good government. The B-61 is no longer relevant for U.S. national security, but continues to rob billions of dollars from programs that would make America safer,” President Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund told Hans M. Kristensen for the Federation of American Scientists.

Kristensen reported March 12 that the Pentagon has decided that the new B61 will begin its deployment in Europe next year.

This 300-to-500 kiloton “variable yield” thermonuclear device has 24 to 40 times the destructive power of the US bomb that killed 170,000 people at Hiroshima in 1945. Still, this machine’s threat of meaningless, genocidal, radioactive violence is called “tactical.”

Rush to Deploy New H-bomb Before It’s Killed by Public Opposition

The Air Force budget makes it appear that the older B61s will all be replaced — in Turkey, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany — by 2020. This rush job is being hustled through the military-industrial-complex in a very big hurry because the broad international condemnation of the program is gaining depth and breadth.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., along with Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Rep Jared Polis, D-Colo., tried to curtail the program last year. Five NATO partners — Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Norway — asked four years ago that all B61s be removed permanently from Europe. In Germany, every major political party has formally resolved to pursue final withdrawal of the 20 remaining B61s at Buchel AFB.

Major US allies in Europe informed Gen. Cartwright’s critical opinion. High-level European politicians have been saying the B61s are “militarily useless” since the end of the Cold War. In a widely published op/ed in 2010, former NATO secretary-general Willy Claes and three senior Belgian politicians said, “The US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe have lost all military importance.”

Still, Kristensen reports, “integration” of the new B61 is supposed to take place on Belgian, Dutch, and Turkish F-16 jets and on German and Italian Tornado fighter-bombers soon.

Another reason for the rush to deploy this perfect candidate for dumb bomb retirement is that Germany is considering replacing its Tornado jets in short order. All the expense of refitting its current Tornadoes to carry the “more accurate” and “more usable” B61-mod 12 would be wasted. New B61 production could also be made expensively moot by progress in arms control.

The “nuclear sharing” arrangement with the five technically non-nuclear NATO partners glaringly contradicts, in Kristensen’s words, “the non-proliferation standards that member countries are trying to promote in the post-Cold War world.” In its 2012 posture review, even NATO’s ministers pledged to work for a world without nuclear weapons.

So as the White House and its Secretary of State wag fingers at Iran, we and our NATO friends openly violate the binding promise made in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty “not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly.”

Maybe Iran can arrange for some sanctions to be imposed on us.

—end—

– John LaForge writes for PeaceVoice,is co-director of Nukewatch—a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group—andlives at the Plowshares Land Trust out of Luck, Wisconsin.

Saudi and Alkhalifa rulers increase military spending to stop change

In its annual report the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has reported an increase in the military expenditure by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The report says: Military spending in the Middle East increased by 4.0 per cent in 2013, reaching an estimated $150 billion. Saudi Arabia’s spending increased by 14 per cent, to reach $67 billion, possibly due to tensions with Iran but also the desire to maintain strong and loyal security forces to insure against potential ‘Arab Spring’ type protests. AS for Bahrain’s military expenditure the report says: “Maintaining regime survival in the face of internal opposition is also the likely motive for Bahrain’s 26 per cent increase.”

Bahrain’s dictator has meanwhile, sought to recruit more mercenaries to crush Bahrain’s native population seeking political and economic rights. Earlier this week Hamad bin Isa Alkhalifa visited Kazakhstan and held meetings with President Nazarbayev. Speculations have mushroomed about the aims of the visit, but indications point to the desire by Alkhalifa dictator to recruit more mercenaries from that country for use against the natives. Two weeks ago Bahrain’s dictator visited Pakistan to recruit more mercenaries. In a grilling questioning to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Naela Chohan, Additional Foreign Secretary (Middle East & Africa) admitted that currently 10,000 Pakistanis were serving in Bahrain defence services.  About the visit of the King of Bahrain to JSHQ, she said:. "The visit was not meant for anything but due to the fact that we've 10,000 Pakistanis in their defence forces," she added. Commenting on the issue, chairman of the c ommittee Haji Adeel stated that they were not only serving in the defence force of Bahrain but also enjoying their nationality.

On Tuesday 15th April, the Alkhalifa junta told a senior religious figure to leave the country within 48 hours. Ayatullah Sheikh Hussain Najati, 60, had his house and office raided by members of Alkhalifa Death Squads in clear provocation. His Bahraini nationality had been revoked with thirty other Bahrianis in November 2012 for opposing the hereditary dictatorship. There has been an outcry amongst the natives who see these acts as evidence of the regime’s enmity to the natives and determination to change the demographic composition of the country. Last year the senior Ayatullah, who is a representative of Grand Ayatullah Sayed Ali Sistani of Iraq, was asked by the Alkhlalifa to condemn the people’s Revolution, but he refused on the basis that he had not been engaged in politics.

At another level, one of the most senior figures of the popular leadership has suffered serious deterioration in his health and is now in serious condition. He has been transferred to the military hospital but his family has not been allowed to visit him. Abdul Wahab Hussain, 60, who has been in jail for more than three years had asked the prison authorities for urgent medical treatment but his request has been turned down. He has several symptoms including general weakness in his body, burning feeling in his limps and inability to move his legs. Ten years ago he had been treated in UK for neurological ailments and loss of feelings and control of his limbs. when he was arrested in March 2011 he was severely tortured and denied medical treatment. There is now serious concern for Mr Abdul Wahab Hussain’s life and calls have been made to international bodies to put pressure on Alkhlaifa junta to allow him sufficient medical care.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, has issued an Urgent Action highlighting the plight of a torture victim and shed light on the policy of impunity adopted by the regime. Mr Ahmad Mushaima, the son of the jailed leader, Hassan Mushaima, has been put on trial for his pro-democracy activities. He had been subjected to horrific torture to extract “confessions” which have been used as the basis of his ongoing trial. Amnesty has urged the authorities to release Ahmed Mushaima immediately and unconditionally, allow him full access to lawyers, investigate allegations of torture and bring those responsible to justice and provide Mr Mushaima medical attention. Another internationally-renowned journalist, Ahmad Humaidan, is serving ten years sentence for his activities as photographer that expose the Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
16th April 2014

Full Show: Climate Catastrophe Now + The Most Important Question About Obamacare {aTV 001}

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Dennis talks with Dr. Jill Stein, President of the Green Shadow Cabinet about the recently published U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment on climate change. The findings, combined with the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, paint a picture of humanity committing a collective genocide and ecocide. The end of civilization scenarios, once projected for your grandchildren’s grandchildren are now a reality for anyone ho plans to be alive in 2050.

Ukraine News - Apr 19, 2014

 

Pro-Russian militants continue occupations, PM Yatsenyuk says constitutional reform to decentralize power and protect Russian language - Washington Post


VIDEO: 'Not going anywhere' say Ukraine separatists - YouTube


VIDEO (Ukrainian): Statements of PM Yatsenyuk and President Turchynov on Ukraine Constitutional Reform - YouTube


Ukraine’s Tymoshenko in favor of a reform promoting local self-government, calls for giving ‘stronger status’ to Russian language - ITAR-TASS


Ukraine govt sets October 1 deadline for power decentralization debates - Interfax


Kiev Says Protest Crackdown in East Switches to ‘Inactive Phase’ - RIA Novosti

 

Luhansk Protesters in Talks with Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to Make Local Militia Legal - RIA Novosti

 

Protesters take control of Seversk in Donetsk region - ITAR-TASS

 

Anti-Government Protests Continue in Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk - RIA Novosti

 

People's Mayor, Assistants Reported Missing in Ukraine's Donetsk Region - RIA Novosti

 

Welcome to the People's Republic of Donetsk - foreignpolicy.com

 

VIDEO: Thousands flock to Party of Regions congress in Donetsk - YouTube

 

VIDEO: 'We Don't Need Russia's Help' - Donetsk Residents Rally For Sovereign United Ukraine - rferl.org

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Kiev should immediately and fully implement the Geneva agreements: Lavrov to Kerry on phone - The Voice of Russia


Ukraine should start implementing measures to overcome crisis in coming days: Kerry - The Voice of Russia


57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role - Yahoo News


OSCE Ukraine peacemakers say they need more help - theguardian.com


Pentagon mulls sending ground troops to Poland amid Ukraine crisis - Fox News

 

Response of EU President Barroso to President Putin’s letter - europa.eu

 

Need for Russian Gas Creates Eastern EU Split on Sanctions - Businessweek

 

Poland’s reverse supplies of gas to Ukraine currently limited to 1.5 billion cubic meters - ITAR-TASS

 

Ukraine’s Naftogaz Says Gazprom Controls Direction of Slovak Gas Flow - RIA Novosti

 

Ukraine must repay $9 billion of foreign debt this year: Ukraine Finance Minister - ITAR-TASS

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

"Russia with Love": Alaska Gas Scandal is Out-of-Country, Not Out-of-State

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

A legal controversy — critics would say scandal — has erupted in Alaska's statehouse over the future of its natural gas bounty.

It's not so much an issue of the gas itself, but who gets to decide how it gets to market and where he or she resides.

The question of who owns Alaska's natural gas and where they're from, at least for now, has been off the table. More on that later.

War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims

Ian Morris has stuck his dog's ear in his mouth, snapped a selfie, and proclaimed "Man Bites Dog." His new book War: What Is It Good For? Conflict and Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots is intended to prove that war is good for children and other living things.  It actually proves that defenders of war are growing desperate for arguments.

Morris maintains that the only way to make peace is to make large societies, and the only way to make large societies is through war. Ultimately, he believes, the only way to protect peace is through a single global policeman.  Once you've made peace, he believes, prosperity follows.  And from that prosperity flows happiness.  Therefore, war creates happiness.  But the one thing you must never stop engaging in if you hope to have peace, prosperity, and joy is -- you guessed it -- war.

This thesis becomes an excuse for hundreds of pages of a sort of Monty Python history of the technologies of war, not to mention the evolution of chimpanzees, and various even less relevant excursions.  These pages are packed with bad history and guesswork, and I'm greatly tempted to get caught up in the details.  But none of it has much impact on the book's conclusions.  All of Morris's history, accurate and otherwise, is put to mythological use.  He's telling a simplistic story about where safety and happiness originated, and advocating highly destructive misery-inducing behavior as a result.

When small, medium, and large societies have been and are peaceful, Morris ignores them.  There are lots of ways to define peaceful, but none of them put the leading war maker at the top, and none of them place at the top only nations that could be imagined to fall under a Pax Americana. 

When societies have been enlarged peacefully, as in the formation of the European Union, Morris applauds (he thinks the E.U. earned its peace prize, and no doubt all the more so for its extensive war making as deputy globocop) but he just skips over the fact that war wasn't used in the E.U.'s formation.  (He avoids the United Nations entirely.) 

When the globocop brings death and destruction and disorder to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Yemen, Morris sticks his fingers in his ears and hums.  "Interstate wars" he informs us (like most of his other claims, without any footnotes) have "almost disappeared."  Well isn't that great news?!  (Morris grotesquely minimizes Iraqi deaths from the recent [nonexistent?] war, and of course supplies no footnote.)

In a culture that has long waged wars, it has been possible to say that wars bring courage, wars bring heroism, wars bring slaves, wars bring cultural exchange. One could have asserted at various points that wars were the only way to a great many ends, not just large societies that reduce small-scale murders.  Barely a century ago William James was worried there was no way to build character without war, and defenders of war were advertising it as good for its participants in a much more direct way than Morris has been reduced to.  Has war been the means of building empires and nations? Sure, but that neither means that empires are the only way to peace, nor that war was the only nation-building tool available, nor that we must keep waging wars in an age in which we aren't forming empires or nations any longer.  That ancient pyramids may have been built by slaves hardly makes slavery the best or only way to preserve the pyramids.

Tying something good, such as ending slavery in the United States, to a war, such as the U.S. Civil War, doesn't make war the only way to end slavery.  In fact, most nations that ended slavery did so without a war.  Much less is continuing to wage wars the only possible way (or even a useful way at all) to hold off the restoration of slavery or to complete its eradication.  And, by the way, a great many societies that Morris credits with making progress through war also had slavery, monarchy, women-as-property, environmental destruction, and worship of religions now defunct.  Were those institutions also necessary for peace and prosperity, or are they irrelevant to it, or did we overcome some of them through peaceful means?  Morris, at one point, acknowledges that slavery (not just war) generated European wealth, later crediting the industrial revolution as well -- the godfather of which, in his mind, was no doubt peace created by war.  (What did you expect, the Spanish Inquisition?)

The tools of nonviolence that have achieved so much in the past century are never encountered in Morris' book, so no comparison with war is offered.  Nonviolent revolutions have tended to dismember empires or alter the leadership of a nation that remains the same size, so Morris must not view them as useful tools, even when they produce more free and prosperous societies.  But it's not clear Morris can recognize those when he sees them.  Morris claims that in the past 30 years "we" (he seems to mean in the United States, but could mean the world, it's not totally clear) have become "safer and richer than ever." 

Morris brags about U.S. murder rates falling, and yet dozens of nations from every continent have lower murder rates than the U.S.  Nor do larger nations tend to have lower murder rates than smaller nations.  Morris holds up Denmark as a model, but never looks at Denmark's society, its distribution of wealth, its social supports.  Morris claims the whole world is growing more equal in wealth. 

Back here in reality, historians of the Middle Ages say that our age has the greater disparities -- disparities that are growing within the United States in particular, but globally as well.  Oxfam reports that the richest 85 people in the world have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion.  That is the peace that Morris swears is not a wasteland.  The United States ranks third in average wealth but 27th in median wealth.  Yet, somehow Morris believes the United States can lead the way to "Denmark" and that Denmark itself can only be Denmark because of how many people the United States kills in "productive wars" (even though they have "almost disappeared").  Morris writes these scraps of wisdom from Silicon Valley, where he says he sees nothing but wealth, yet where people with nowhere to sleep but in a car may soon be banned from doing so.

We're also safer, Morris thinks, because he sees no climate emergency worth worrying about.  He's quite openly in favor of wars for oil, yet never notices oil's effects until the end of the book when he takes a moment to brush such concerns aside. 

We're also safer, Morris tells us, because there are no longer enough nukes in the world to kill us all.  Has he never heard of nuclear famine?  Does he not understand the growing risks of proliferating nuclear weapons and energy?  Two nations have thousands of nukes ready to launch in an instant, every one of them many times more powerful than the two nuclear bombs dropped thus far; and one of those nations is prodding the other one with a stick in Ukraine, resulting in more, not less, violence in the beneficiary of such expansionism.  Meanwhile the officials overseeing U.S. nukes keep getting caught cheating on tests or shipping nukes across the country unguarded, and generally view nuclear weapons oversight as the lowest most dead-end career track.  This makes us safer?

Morris hypes lies about Iran pursuing nuclear weapons.  He opens the book with a tale of a near nuclear holocaust (one of many he could have chosen). And yet, somehow disarmament isn't on the agenda, at least not with the priority given to maintaining or increasing war spending.  Not to worry, he assures us, "missile defense" actually works, or might someday, so that'll protect us -- although he parenthetically admits it won't.  The point is it's warlike, and war is good, because war spreads peace.  That's the role the U.S. must play for the good of all: policeman of the world.  Morris, while clearly a huge fan of Barack Obama, believes that all recent U.S. presidents should have a Nobel Peace Prize.  Never does Morris comment on the fact that the rest of the world sees the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.

Morris admits that the United States is encircling China with weapons, but he describes in sinister tones China's response of building weaponry that will only serve a function near China's own shores, not as defensive or unimperialistic, but at "asymmetrical" -- and we all know what that means: unfair!  China might make it hard for the globocop to wage war on and around China.  This Morris sees as the looming danger.  The solution, he thinks, is for the United States to keep its militaristic edge (never mind that its military makes China's look like a child's toy).  More drone killing is not only good but also (and this sort of nonsense always makes you wonder why its advocate bothers advocating) inevitable.  Of course, the United States won't start a war against China, says Morris, because launching wars hurts a nation's reputation so severely.  (You can see how badly the U.S. reputation has suffered in Morris' eyes following its latest string of wars.) 

And yet, what lies on the horizon, almost inevitably, Morris contends, is World War III.

There's nothing you can do about it.  Don't bother working for peace, Morris says.  But a solution may arrive nonetheless.  If we can go on dumping our money into wars for just one more century, or maybe more, proliferating weapons, destroying the environment, losing our liberties in the model land of the free, then -- if we're really lucky -- the computer programmers of Silicon Valley will save us, or some of us, or something, by . . . wait for it . . . hooking us up to computers so that our minds all meld together. 

Morris may be more confident than I that the result of this computerized rapture will be worldwide empathy rather than revulsion.  But then, he's had longer to get used to living with the way he thinks.

Informed Activist

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