Columbus Lives

Columbus was not a particularly evil person. He was a murderer, a robber, an enslaver, and a torturer, whose crimes led to possibly the most massive conglomeration of crimes and horrific accidents on record. But Columbus was a product of his time, a time that has not exactly ended. If Columbus spoke today's English he'd say he was "just following orders." Those orders, stemming from the Catholic "doctrine of discovery," find parallels through Western history right down to today's "responsibility to protect," decreed by the high priests of the United Nations.

A sense of where Columbus was coming from can be found in a series of, aptly named, papal bull(s). These decrees make clear that the church owns the earth, bestows privileges on Christians, hopes to plunder riches, hopes to convert non-Christians, and considers non-Christians devoid of any rights worthy of any respect -- including any non-Christians yet to be encountered in lands completely unknown to the church. Native Americans were literally pre-judged before the church (and its kings and captains) knew they existed.

The Dum Diversas Bull of 1452 gives the King of Portugal permission to attack Muslims in North Africa and begins by declaring them to be full of "the rage of the enemies of the name of Christ, always aggressive in contempt of the orthodox faith," and hopes that they can "be restrained by the faithful of Christ and be subjugated to the Christian religion." Attacking North Africa was "defensive" even then, as the king would "eagerly defend the faith itself and with powerful arm fight its enemies. We also look attentively to labor at the defense and growing of the said Religion."

The Pope adds other unnamed people can be attacked too: "[W]e grant to you full and free power, through the Apostolic authority by this edict, to invade, conquer, fight, subjugate the Saracens and pagans, and other infidels and other enemies of Christ, . . . and to lead their persons in perpetual servitude."

In 2011, the U.S Department of Justice submitted to Congress a written defense of attacking North Africa claiming the war on Libya served the U.S. national interest in regional stability and in maintaining the credibility of the United Nations. But are Libya and the United States in the same region? What region is that, earth? And isn’t a revolution the opposite of stability? And does the United Nations gain credibility when wars are waged in its name?

The Romanus Pontifex Bull of 1455 was, if anything, even more full of bull, as it pontificated on places as yet unknown but fully worthy of judgment and condemnation. The church's goal was "to cause the most glorious name of the said Creator to be published, extolled, and revered throughout the whole world, even in the most remote and undiscovered places, and also to bring into the bosom of his faith the perfidious enemies of him and of the life-giving Cross by which we have been redeemed, namely the Saracens and all other infidels whatsoever." How could someone unknown be an enemy? Easy! People unknown by the church were, by definition, people who did not know the church. They were, therefore, perfidious enemies of the life-giving Cross.

When Columbus sailed, he knew beforehand that he could not possibly enounter any people worthy of any respect. The Inter Caetera Bull of 1493 tells us that Columbus "discovered certain very remote islands and even mainlands that hitherto had not been discovered by others; wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and, as reported, going unclothed, and not eating flesh." Those very many peoples had not discovered the place they were living, because they did not count as being anyone able to discover anything for Christianity. "You purpose also," wrote the pope, "as is your duty, to lead the peoples dwelling in those islands and countries to embrace the Christian religion."

Or else.

Or else what? The Requerimiento of 1514 that conquistadores read to the people they "discovered" told them to "accept the Church and Superior Organization of the whole world and recognize the Supreme Pontiff, called the Pope, and that in his name, you acknowledge the King and Queen, as the lords and superior authorities of these islands and Mainlands by virtue of the said donation. If you do not do this, however, or resort maliciously to delay, we warn you that, with the aid of God, we will enter your land against you with force and will make war in every place and by every means we can and are able, and we will then subject you to the yoke and authority of the Church and Their Highnesses. We will take you and your wives and children and make them slaves, and as such we will sell them, and will dispose of you and them as Their Highnesses order. And we will take your property and will do to you all the harm and evil we can, as is done to vassals who will not obey their lord or who do not wish to accept him, or who resist and defy him. We avow that the deaths and harm which you will receive thereby will be your own blame, and not that of Their Highnesses, nor ours, nor of the gentlemen who come with us."

But otherwise it's great to see you, beautiful land you have here, and we hope not to be too much inconvenience!

All people have to do to save themselves is bow down, obey, and allow the destruction of the natural world around them. If they won't do that, why, then a war on them is their own fault. Not ours. We're pre-absolved, we've got an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, we're packing U.N. resolutions.

In 1823 Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall cited the "doctrine of discovery" to justify stealing land from Native Americans in the case Johnson v. M'Intosh that has ever since been seen as the foundation of land ownership and property law in the United States. Marshall ruled for a unanimous court, uncontroversially, that Native Americans could not own or sell land, except when selling it to the federal government which had taken over the role of conqueror from the British. Natives could not possess sovereignty.

"The Responsibility to Protect (R2P or RtoP) is a proposed norm that sovereignty is not an absolute right," according to Wikipedia, which is as authoritative a source as any, since R2P is not a law at all, more of a bull. It continues: ". . . and that states forfeit aspects of their sovereignty when they fail to protect their populations from mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations (namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing). . . . [T]he international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort."

If we understand "sovereignty" to mean the right not to be attacked by foreigners, the high church on the East River does not recognize it among the pagans. Saudi Arabia may murder many innocents, but the church chooses to bestow grace and weapons shipments. The same for Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, etc. The church, under the influence of Cardinal Obama, does not recognize sovereignty but bestows mercy. In Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Ukraine, Honduras, and other troubled lands of Saracens and infidels, they bring righteous rape and pillage on themselves. It's not the fault of the armies performing their duty to attack and enlighten.

Back in the 1980s I lived in Italy and there was a funny movie called Non resta che piangere (Nothing left to do but cry) about a couple of buffoons who were magically transported back to 1492. They immediately decided to try to stop Columbus in order to save the Native Americans (and avoid U.S. culture). As I recall, they were too slow and failed to stop Columbus' departure. There was nothing left to do but cry. They might, however, have worked on altering the people who would welcome Columbus back with collectively sociopathic ideas. For that matter, they might have returned to the 1980s and worked on the same educational mission.

It's not too late for us to stop celebrating Columbus Day and every other war holiday, and focus instead on including among the human rights we care about, the right not to be bombed or conquered.

Congress-backed Interstate Oil Commission Called 911 When I Came To Ask About Climate

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On October 1, I arrived at the Oklahoma City headquarters of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)  a congressionally-chartered collective of oil and gas producing states  hoping for an interview.

Nobel Peace Prize for Peace

Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Most winners in recent years have either been people who did nice things that had nothing whatsoever to do with the relevant work (Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for promoting education, Liu Xiaobo for protesting in China, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for opposing climate change, Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for economic development, etc.) or people who actually engaged in militarism and would have opposed the abolition or reduction of standing armies if asked, and one of whom said so in his acceptance speech (the European Union, Barack Obama, etc.).

The prize goes disproportionately, not to the leaders of organizations or movements for peace and disarmament, but to U.S. and European elected officials. Rumors swirled, prior to Friday's announcement, that Angela Merkel or John Kerry might win the prize. Thankfully, that did not happen. Another rumor suggested the prize could go to defenders of Article Nine, the section of the Japanese Constitution that bans war and has kept Japan out of war for 70 years. Sadly, that did not happen.

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday morning to "the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011." The Nobel Committee's statement goes on to actually cite Nobel's will, which Nobel Peace Prize Watch ( and other advocates have been insisting be followed (and which I'm a plaintiff in a lawsuit demanding compliance with, along with Mairead Maguire and Jan Oberg):

"The broad-based national dialogue that the Quartet succeeded in establishing countered the spread of violence in Tunisia and its function is therefore comparable to that of the peace congresses to which Alfred Nobel refers in his will."

This was not an award to a single individual or for work in a single year, but those are differences from the will that no one has really objected to. This was also not an award to a leading war maker or arms dealer. This was not a peace prize for a NATO member or a Western president or foreign secretary who did something less awful than usual. This is encouraging as far as that goes.

The award did not directly challenge the arms industry that is led by the United States and Europe along with Russia and China. The award did not go to international work at all but to work within a nation. And the leading reason offered was the building of a pluralistic democracy. This verges on the watered-down Nobel conception of peace as anything good or Western. However, the effort to claim strict compliance with one element of the will is quite useful. Even a domestic peace congress that prevents civil war is a worthy effort to replace war with peace. A nonviolent revolution in Tunisia did not directly challenge Western militarized imperialism, but neither was it in line with it. And its relative success, compared with the nations that have received the most "assistance" from the Pentagon (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc.) is worth highlighting. An honorable mention for Chelsea Manning for her role in inspiring the Arab Spring in Tunisia by releasing communications between the U.S. and Tunisian governments would not have been out of place.

So, I think the 2015 award could have been much worse. It could also have been much better. It could have gone to work opposing armaments and international warmongering. It could have gone to Article 9, or Abolition 2000, or the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, or the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, or the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Arms, or the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, all of which were nominated this year, or to any number of individuals nominated from around the world.

Nobel Peace Prize Watch is far from satisfied: "An encouragement to the Tunisian people is fine, but Nobel had a much greater perspective. Indisputable evidence shows that he intended his prize to support a visionary reorganization of international affairs. The language in his will is a clear confirmation of this," says Tomas Magnusson, Sweden, on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize Watch. "The committee continues reading the expressions of the testament as they like, instead of studying what type of 'champions of peace' and what peace ideas Nobel had in mind signing his will on Nov. 27, 1895. In February the Nobel Peace Prize Watch lifted the secrecy around the selection process when it published a list of 25 qualified candidates with the full nomination letters. By its choice for 2015, the committee has rejected the list and, again, is clearly outside the circle of recipients Nobel had in mind. In addition to not understanding the least bit of Nobel's idea the committee in Oslo has not understood the new situation in the committee's relation to its principals in Stockholm," continues Tomas Magnusson. "We must understand that the whole world today is under occupation, even our brains have become militarized to a degree where it is hard for people to imagine the alternative, demilitarized world that Nobel wished his prize to promote as a mandatory urgency. Nobel was a man of the world, able to transcend the national perspective and think of what would be best for the world as a whole. We have plenty for everyone's needs on this green planet if the nations of the world could only learn to co-operate and stop wasting precious resources on the military. The members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation risk personal liability if a prize amount is paid over to the winner in violation of the purpose. As late as three weeks ago seven members of the Foundation's Board were hit by initial steps in a lawsuit demanding that they repay to the Foundation the prize paid to the EU in December 2012. Among the plaintiffs are Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, a Nobel laureate; David Swanson, USA; Jan Oberg, Sweden, and the Nobel Peace Prize Watch ( The lawsuit follows after a Norwegian attempt to regain the ultimate control of the peace prize was finally turned down by the Swedish Chamber Court in May 2014."

Focus: Hillary Clinton - Oct 9, 2015

In a letter Trey Gowdy says Democrats thwarting Benghazi investigation, plans new release of Clinton emails - Washington Times

Emails suggest Clinton pushed Libyan business interests of off-the-books adviser, shared classified identity of CIA source - Washington Free Beacon

Emails show Qaddafi son offered talks – but Clinton ordered top general to 'not take the call,' source says - Fox News

VIDEO: Emails show Clinton rejected peace talks with Libya in 2011 - Fox News

New Hillary Clinton Emails: Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sidney Blumenthal Urged Libya Military Action - In These Times

Statement by the Benghazi Committee Informing State Department of Intent to Add to Public Record with Release of New Clinton Emails - Benghazi Committee

Text of the Gowdy's letter to Ranking Member Cummings -

VIDEO: Trey Gowdy Schools the Media on Benghazi - The American Spectator

Gowdy: Benghazi panel to interview Blumenthal again - Washington Examiner

Gowdy says McCarthy ‘screwed up’ with Clinton, Benghazi committee remarks - McClatchy DC

House blocks attempt to disband Benghazi committee -

The White House did not join Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in calling for the House Select Committee on Benghazi to be shut down - Breibart

NY Times helped turn Clinton's call to disband the Benghazi Committee into action - Washington Examiner

NBC furious at Hillary Clinton editing news clip for attack ad addressing Benghazi (VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online

Benghazi Committee Democrats Launch "Asked & Answered" Website as well as Cost Tracker -



Clinton server hack attempts came from China, Korea, Germany - AP

Clinton e-mails were vulnerable to hackers, Datto tech firm warned - The Washington Post

Datto revealed: Nerf gun fights, costume parties and exotic dancers, The data security firm was hacked with a basic password - Daily Mail Online

Employees at Platte River working with Clinton email server expressed concerns, ‘Really is covering up some shady shit’ -

Unbeknownst to Clinton, IT firm Datto had emails stored on cloud; now in FBI’s hands - McClatchy DC

Clinton tech company Platte River: Cloud backup was 'enormous surprise' - Washington Examiner

Court refuses to combine Clinton email cases - Washington Times

Judicial Watch: New State Department Documents Raise More Questions on Clinton Conflict of Interest Reviews - Judicial Watch

Conservative opposition PAC American Rising drops report on top Clinton aide Huma Abedin - Washington Examiner

The Complete Huma Abedin Report - America Rising PAC

Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, paid by firm to stage event with Bill Clinton while at State - Washington Times

Lobbying Firm Discloses Communications with Top Clinton Aide Cheryl Mills After Email Surfaces - Washington Free Beacon

Hillary Clinton's chief of staff gave advice to Clinton Foundation - POLITICO

State Department Clarifies Clinton Aide’s Position, Cheryl Mills unpaid ‘advisor’ during first four months at the agency - Washington Free Beacon

How Hillary Clinton kept her wealthy friends close while at State Department - The Washington Post

Clinton e-mails: Did donors get special State Department access? -

The Mystery Of Hillary's Missing Millions - Forbes

Drip, drip, drip: New Clinton Foundation scandal involves millions of dollars! - WND

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

‘We’re sorry’: America’s Latest War Crime is the Murderous Destruction of a Hospital in Afghanistan

By Dave Lindorff


            Really? The best that Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama can do after the US bombs and destroys a hospital in Afghanistan, killing 22 people, including 12 volunteer doctors from Doctors Without Borders, is to say, “We’re sorry”?


New TCBH! Poem: 'Grieving and Praying'

Pray for the day
When the gun-god turns to salt
And melts away.
Grieve our helplessness
To change what we believe in.
I had a gun once
With a silver bullet,
A gold bullet,
A diamond bullet.
I loved my gun so much,
I loved the bullets.
I shot the silver bullet into a cloud
And it rained.
I shot the gold bullet into a dream
And it landed on my pillow.
I shot the diamond bullet at a star.
It circled the earth
And it came down
And told me stories.
But I wanted more from my gun and bullets.
I had one more bullet
That was made of clay.
I shot that bullet into the ocean.
It didn’t change a thing.
I threw away my gun.
I turned to the land of my home
And I walked
Toward the far horizon,
Grieving and praying.
           --Gary Lindorff


Syria/Russia News - Oct 8, 2015

Russia says it fired cruise missiles from warships in Caspian sea to Syria provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib - AP

Syrian troops launch ground offensive backed by Russian airstrikes - The Guardian

VIDEO: Russian Defence Ministry publishes a video featuring a massive 'precision weapon strike' in Syria - Russia Ministry of Defence

Russian warplanes in Syria destroy U.S.-trained rebels' weapons depots: commander - Reuters

Moscow ready to establish contacts with FSA, help it unite forces with Assad against ISIS: Putin - RT News

Syrian rebel commander rejects idea of working with Damascus against Islamic State - Reuters

France dismisses Russian suggestions that Syrian government forces and moderate rebels could join in fighting Islamic State - Reuters

NATO says Russian ground troops in Syria, Turkey's airspace violated again - CNN

Foreign Ministry: No volunteers recruited in Russia to fight in Syria - TASS

Spy Planes, Signal Jammers, and Putin’s High-Tech War in Syria - Foreign Policy

Iraq may request Russian airstrikes: Official - NBC News

Saudi opposition clerics make sectarian call to jihad against Syria's government and its Iranian and Russian backers - Reuters



Pentagon chief: US not cooperating with Russia against Islamic State in Syria, as long as Moscow continues to strike other rebel groups - ABC

VIDEO: Pentagon chief: ‘Don’t listen to Russia, US has not agreed to cooperate in Syria' -

US Rules Out Intelligence Sharing With Russia on Fighting ISIL -

U.S. diverts aircraft to avoid Russian fighter -

Russian jets 'intercept' US predator drones over Syria, officials say 'the Russians flew very close, but did not impede the drone flight’ - Fox News

No decision made on no-fly zone in Syria: U.S. State Department - Reuters

VIDEO: State Department Press Briefing on Syria (starts at 12:40 minute) - YouTube

VIDEO: White House Press Briefing on Syria (starts at 50:30 minute) - YouTube

Washington says Kurds waged an effective war against the Islamic State, distinguishes between the PKK and the YPG - Rudaw

Syria's Kurds Are Contemplating an Aleppo Alliance with Assad and Russia - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Kurds say blood tests show Islamic State used mustard gas in Iraq - Reuters

What an ISIS Chemical Strike Did to One Syrian Family - The New York Times

Nuclear Smugglers Tried Selling Radioactive Materials To ISIS - AP

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Undrone Upstate


Oct. 7th – 21st, 2015

Oct 7, 2015: Undrone Upstate is a pro-peace, anti-drone demonstration and walk to educate the public on drone operations in the Western New York region.  The group will be walking about 165 miles from the Hancock Air National Guard Base, a national Reaper hub, to the Niagara Falls Air National Guard Base. Both bases are sites of drone operations, including training and remote piloting of drones over Afghanistan. The walk will include outreach programs at colleges and community centers along the way, including Rochester, Brockport, and Niagara Falls.

Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence will speak at a kickoff event Sept 6 at 7pm at All Saints’ Church, 1340 Lancaster Avenue, Syracuse and join the walkers for the first few days.  Kathy has been to Afghanistan many times as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, joined other walks for peace and justice, and has been arrested protesting drone warfare outside of U.S. military bases.

Medea Benjamin of CodePink will join the walkers when they arrive for a rally at Niagara Falls Air Base.  (Details on website below)  Medea has written ‘Drone Warfare’, a book that clearly describes the disturbing issues that surround drone warfare.   CodePink has facilitated anti-drone conferences in Washington DC and CodePink members are a regular force at drone protests at Creech Airforce Base in Nevada.   

Targeted drone assassination is Obama’s favored weapon against "global terrorism." Outdoor markets, wedding parties, and village meetings have all been subjected to drone attacks, carried out on secret evidence and with little regard for human bystanders. The Department of Defense plans to increase its use of drones by 50 percent over the next four years.

The purpose of the walk is to heighten public awareness of the mindless murder and relentless terror perpetrated in our names by the criminal use of killer drones on terror suspects. Members of Upstate Drone action were among the first to investigate drone warfare and actively begin protesting this illegal and immoral campaign.  

 For details of events associated with the Undrone Upstate walk,  go to, or go to the Undrone Upstate Facebook page.

Nobel Foundation Sued Over Peace Prize

A Press Release from the Nobel Peace Prize Watch

RE: Nobel Foundation - lawsuit against misappropriation of funds – violating intended antimilitarist purpose of the Nobel peace prize

The controversy over peace prizes disconnected from the specific peace vision of Alfred Nobel is now coming to a head in a lawsuit initiated by Mairead Maguire, a Nobel laureate; David Swanson, USA; Jan Oberg, Sweden; and the Nobel Peace Prize Watch. None of the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation had responded when the time limit set in a notice of litigation expired on Tuesday. The plaintiffs have retained attorney Kenneth Lewis, Stockholm, to have the Stockholm City Court declare the prize to the EU an illegal use of the Foundation´s funds. In December 2012 the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation did not heed protests from four Nobel laureates, Mairead Maguire, Perez Esquivel, Desmond Tutu, and the International Peace Bureau, who in a letter had warned that “The EU is clearly not 'the champion of peace' that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he wrote his will."

Living in a Conflict Zone

I think the last few days have been the first time that I have really felt like I live in the Occupied Territories.  The Wall, the soldiers, the checkpoints, the questions, the stories, the excitement, the feeling that it is dangerous.  Don’t get me wrong the injustice that I have witnessed over the past 6 months is hard to describe and the sadness and oppression all around me is hard to deal with but all of that just seems like nothing now.  Now it feels more like a conflict zone. 

There have been clashes and riots everyday all over the West Bank including in Bethlehem.  The Israelis cleansed the Temple Mount of Muslims last week for a Jewish holiday and there have been settler attacks around the West Bank.  The West Bank is in an uproar.  Meanwhile, Hamas fires rockets to Sderot…the same town I visited a few weeks ago.  There is talk of the third intifada.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership - Oct 6, 2015

TPP deal: US and 11 other countries reach landmark Pacific trade pact - The Guardian

Pacific Deal Rewrites Rules on Trade in Autos, Patented Drugs, Agriculture - Bloomberg Business

Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - United States Trade Representative

VIDEO: TPP Atlanta Ministerial Press Conference - United States Trade Representative

The U.S. Official Website On The Trans-Pacific Partnership - United States Trade Representative

Statement by President Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership -

White House: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Boosts Made in America Exports, Supports Higher-Paying American Jobs, and Protects American Workers -

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Regarding the Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership - USDA Newsroom

Statement Of U.S. Conference Of Mayors President On Announcement Of Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Deal - PRNewswire

Trade deal seen as win for tech, apparel, agriculture; negative for pharma, manufacturing - MarketWatch

Most agriculture groups favorable to TPP - Capital Press

Drugmakers say Pacific trade pact to stifle investment in cures, negotiators should have extended protection for 12 years -

Medicines won't be more expensive under Trans-Pacific Partnership: Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull -

Statement of American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association: Trans-Pacific Partnership Protects Public Health from Tobacco Industry Attack -

Trade deal could curb cyber theft, advocates say - TheHill

How Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Impact Hollywood - Variety

Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal: US Banks Get Victories In TPP Agreement -

China left out of landmark trade deal, but door is left open for the future - LA Times

S. Korea welcomes TPP agreement, will strive to join mega trade bloc - The Korea Observer



AFL-CIO Statement on TTP: We will evaluate the details carefully and work to defeat this corporate trade deal if it does not measure up -

Statements of Five Union Presidents Opposing TPP Treaty - Talking Union

Bernie Sanders bashes trade deal as 'disastrous' - POLITICO

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - Congressional Progressive Caucus

Levin Statement Following Conclusion of TPP Negotiations in Atlanta - Congressman Sandy Levin

Exclusive — Donald Trump Declares War On Obamatrade: ‘Time To Send A Real Businessman’ To White House To End This - Breitbart

Will The Trans-Pacific Partnership Improve Labor Standards? -

Automaker Ford, others say trade deal lacks currency protections -

Statement: Ford Calls for ‘Better Plan’ on Trade -

Domestic Manufacturers' Council Rejects TPP Deal as Inadequate and Harmful to US National Interests -

National Farmers Union Vigorously Opposes TPP Without Currency Manipulation Enforcement - BARN OnAir

White House Says Enviros Love This Trade Pact, But Enviros Say Otherwise -

Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal Has Some Environmentalists Celebrating — and Others Crying Foul - VICE News

Sierra Club: Congress Should Reject Polluter-Friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership - Sierra Club National

Friends of the Earth: The U.S. cuts an ugly deal on Trans Pacific trade agreement - Friends of the Earth

Statement by Doctors Without Borders on the Conclusion of TPP Negotiations in Atlanta - Doctors Without Borders

Users Have Been Betrayed in the Final TPP Deal—Help Us Tell Washington How You Feel - Electronic Frontier Foundation

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Can Corporatized Universities Allow Criticism of Israel?

The University of California is seeking to ban criticism of Israel. This is a widespread phenomenon in the United States, as attested by two new reports and cases like that of Steven Salaita, author of Uncivil Rights: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom.

Salaita was fired by the University of Illinois for criticizing Israel on Twitter. Norman Finkelstein had been denied tenure by DePaul University for criticizing Israel. William Robinson was almost driven out at UC Santa Barbara for refusing to "repent" after criticizing Israel. Joseph Massad at Columbia had a similar experience.

Why, in a country that stretches "freedom of speech" to the point of covering the bribery of politicians, should it be acceptable to criticize the United States but not a tiny, distant country only just created in 1948? And why should such censorship reach even into institutions that usually pile "academic freedom" on top of "freedom of speech" as an argument against censorship?

First and foremost, I think, is the nature of Israel. It's a nation practicing apartheid and genocide in the twenty-first century using U.S. funding and weaponry. It can't persuade people of the acceptability of these policies in open debate. It can only continue its crimes by insisting that -- precisely as a government serving one ethnic group only -- any criticism amounts to the threat of apartheid and genocide known as "anti-Semitism."

Second, I think, is the subservience of the contemporary degenerate educational institution, which serves the wealthy donor, not the exploration of human intellect. When wealthy donors demand that "anti-Semitism" be stamped out, so it is. (And how can one object without being "anti-Semitic" or appearing to dispute that there actually is real anti-Semitism in the world and that it is as immoral as hatred of any other group.)

Third, the crackdown on criticizing Israel is a response to the success of such criticism and to the efforts of the BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) movement. Israeli author Manfred Gerstenfeld published openly in the Jerusalem Post a strategy for making an example of a few U.S. professors in order to "diminish the threat of boycotts."

Salaita called his book Uncivil Rights because the accusations of unacceptable speech typically take the form of proclaiming a need to protect civility. Salaita didn't tweet or otherwise communicate anything actually anti-Semitic. He tweeted and otherwise communicated many statements opposing anti-Semitism. But he criticized Israel and cursed at the same time. And to compound the sin, he used humor and sarcasm. Such practices are enough to get you convicted in a U.S. Court of Indignation without any careful examination of whether the sarcastic cursing actually expressed hatred or, on the contrary, expressed justifiable outrage. Reading Salaita's offending tweets in the context of all his other ones exonerates him of anti-Semitism while leaving him clearly guilty of "anti-Semitism," that is: criticizing the Israeli government.

This criticism can take the form of criticizing Israeli settlers. Salaita writes in his book:

"There are nearly half a million Jewish settlers on the West Bank. Their population currently grows at double the rate of other Israelis. They use 90 percent of the West Bank's water; the 3.5 million Palestinians of the territory make due with the remaining 10 percent. They travel on Jewish-only highways while Palestinians wait for hours at checkpoints (with no guarantee of passing through, even when they are injured or giving birth). They regularly assault women and children; some bury alive the natives. They vandalize homes and shops. They run over pedestrians with their cars. They restrict farmers from their land. They squat on hilltops that don't belong to them. They firebomb houses and kill babies. They bring with them a high-tech security force largely composed of conscripts to maintain this hideous apparatus."

One could read even such a longer-than-twitter criticism and imagine certain additions to it. But, reading the whole book from which I've quoted it, would eliminate the possibility of fantasizing that Salaita is, in this passage, advocating vengeance or violence or condemning settlers because of their religion or ethnicity or equating all settlers with each other except in so far as they are part of an operation of ethnic cleansing. Salaita does not excuse either side of the conflict but criticizes the idea that there is a conflict in Palestine with two equal sides:

"Since 2000, Israelis have killed 2,060 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 130 Israeli children. The overall death count during this period is over 9,000 Palestinians and 1,190 Israelis. Israel has violated at least seventy-seven UN resolutions and numerous provisions of the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Israel has imposed hundreds of settlements on the West Bank, while Palestinians inside Israel increasingly are squeezed and continue to be internally displaced. Israel has demolished nearly thirty thousand Palestinian homes as a matter of policy. Palestinians have demolished zero Israeli homes. At present more than six thousand Palestinians languish in Israeli prisons, including children; no Israeli occupies a Palestinian prison."

Salaita wants Palestinian land given back to Palestinians, just as he wants at least some Native American land given back to Native Americans. Such demands, even when they amount to nothing but compliance with existing laws and treaties, seem unreasonable or vengeful to certain readers. But what people imagine education consists of if not the consideration of ideas that at first seem unreasonable is beyond me. And the notion that returning stolen land must involve violence is a notion added to the proposal by the reader.

However, there is at least one area in which Salaita is clearly and openly accepting of violence, and that is the United States military. Salaita wrote a column criticizing "support the troops" propaganda, in which he said, "My wife and I often discuss what our son might grow up to accomplish. A consistent area of disagreement is his possible career choice. She can think of few things worse than him one day joining the military (in any capacity), while I would not object to such a decision."

Think about that. Here is someone making a moral argument for opposing violence in Palestine, and a book-length defense of the importance of this stand outweighing concerns of comfort or politeness. And he wouldn't so much as object to his son joining the United States military. Elsewhere in the book, he notes that U.S. academics "can travel to, say, Tel Aviv University and pal around with racists and war criminals." Think about that. This is an American academic writing this while David Petraeus, John Yoo, Condoleezza Rice, Harold Koh, and dozens of their fellow war criminals teach in U.S. academia, and not without huge controversy about which Salaita cannot have avoided hearing. In response to outrage at his criticism of "support the troops," his then-employer, Virginia Tech, loudly proclaimed its support for the U.S. military.

The U.S. military acts on the belief, as found in the names of its operations and weapons as well as in its extended discussions, that the world is "Indian territory," and that native lives don't matter. A West Point professor recently proposed targeting critics of U.S. militarism with death, not just denial of tenure. And why is such criticism dangerous? Because nothing the U.S. military does to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, or anywhere else is any more defensible than what the Israeli military does with its help -- and I don't think it would take much consideration of the facts for someone like Steven Salaita to realize that.

22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan

By Kathy Kelly

Before the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, a group of activists living in Baghdad would regularly go to city sites that were crucial for maintaining health and well-being in Baghdad, such as hospitals, electrical facilities, water purification plants, and schools, and string large vinyl banners between the trees outside these buildings which read: “To Bomb This Site Would Be A War Crime.”  We encouraged people in U.S. cities to do the same, trying to build empathy for people trapped in Iraq, anticipating a terrible aerial bombing.

Tragically, sadly, the banners must again condemn war crimes, this time echoing international outcry because in an hour of airstrikes this past Saturday morning, the U.S. repeatedly bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, a facility that served the fifth largest city in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

U.S./NATO forces carried out the airstrike at about 2AM on October 3rd.  Doctors Without Borders had already notified the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces of their geographical coordinates to clarify that their compound, the size of a football field, was a hospital.  When the first bombs hit, medical staff immediately phoned NATO headquarters to report the strike on its facility, and yet strikes continued, at 15 minute intervals, until 3:15 a.m., killing 22 people. 12 of the dead were medical staff; ten were patients, and three of the patients were children. At least 37 more people were injured.  One survivor said that the first section of the hospital to be hit was the Intensive Care Unit.

“Patients were burning in their beds,” said one nurse, an eyewitness to the ICU attack."There are no words for how terrible it was."  The U.S. airstrikes continued, even after the Doctors Without Borders officials had notified the U.S., NATO and Afghan military that the warplanes were attacking the hospital.

Taliban forces do not have air power, and the Afghan Air Force fleet is subordinate to the U.S., so it was patently clear that the U.S. had committed a war crime.

The U.S. military has said that the matter is under investigation.  Yet another in an endless train of somber apologies; feeling families' pain but excusing all involved decision makers seems inevitable. Doctors Without Borders has demanded a transparent, independent investigation, assembled by a legitimate international body and without direct involvement by the U.S. or by any other warring party in the Afghan conflict.  If such an investigation occurs, and is able to confirm that this was a deliberate, or else a murderously neglectful war crime, how many Americans will ever learn of the verdict?  

War crimes can be acknowledged when carried out by official U.S. enemies, when they are useful in justifying invasions and efforts at regime change.

One investigation the U.S. has signally failed to carry out would tell it how much Kunduz needed this hospital. The U.S. could investigate SIGAR reports ("Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction") numbering Afghanistan's "U.S. funded health care facilities," allegedly funded through USAID, which cannot even be located, 189 alleged locations at whose coordinates there are demonstrably no buildings within 400 feet. In their June 25th letter they astoundingly write, “My office’s initial analysis of USAID data and geospatial imagery has led us to question whether USAID has accurate location information for 510—nearly 80 percent—of the 641 health care facilities funded by the PCH program.” It notes that six of the Afghan facilities are actually located in Pakistan, six in Tajikstan, and one in the Mediterranean Sea.

Now it seems we've created yet another ghost hospital, not out of thin air this time but from the walls of a desperately needed facility which are now charred rubble, from which the bodies of staff and patients have been exhumed. And with the hospital lost to a terrified community, the ghosts of this attack are, again, beyond anyone's ability to number.  But in the week leading up to this attack, its staff had treated 345 wounded people, 59 of them children.

The U.S. has long shown itself the most formidable warlord fighting in Afghanistan, setting an example of brute force that frightens rural people who wonder to whom they can turn for protection.  In July of 2015, U.S. bomber jets attacked an Afghan army facility in the Logar Province, killing ten soldiers. The Pentagon said this incident would likewise be under investigation.  No public conclusion of the investigation seems ever to have been issued.  There isn't always even an apology.  

This was a massacre, whether one of carelessness or of hate.   One way to join the outcry against it, demanding not just an inquiry but a final end to all U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, would be to assemble in front of health care facilities, hospitals or trauma units, carrying signage which says, “To Bomb This Place Would Be a War Crime.” Invite hospital personnel to join the assembly, notify local media, and hold an additional sign which says: “The Same Is True in Afghanistan.”

We should affirm the Afghans' right to medical care and safety. The U.S. should offer investigators unimpeded access to the decision makers in this attack and pay to reconstruct the hospital with reparations for suffering caused throughout these fourteen years of war and cruelly manufactured chaos. Finally, and for the sake of future generations, we should take hold of our runaway empire and make it a nation we can restrain from committing the fathomlessly obscene atrocity that is war.

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( She returned from Afghanistan in mid-September, 2015 where she was a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers  (

The Incomprehensible Idea: What Opposing All Wars Means

The world’s two big nuclear militaries are in the same war now in Syria and, if not on opposite sides exactly, certainly not on the same side. A primary, if not the primary, goal of the United States in Syria is overthrowing the Syrian government. A primary, if not the primary, goal of Russia is maintaining the Syrian government. Hostilities are building in each nation toward the other. Republican candidates for president are trying to outdo a certain Democratic candidate for president in bellicosity toward Russia. Forces armed by the U.S. in Syria are eager to shoot down Russian planes. Russia and the U.S. and its allies are clearly unhappy about each other’s flights. Hillary Clinton wants a no-fly zone. Israeli and Russian planes have already come close to fighting. Israel has attacked the base Russia is using, or at least Russia says it has.

To my mind this is more dangerous that the Cuban missile crisis. This is the Cuban missile crisis with way more nukes, way crazier elected officials, numerous state and non-state actors in the mix, an unpredictable civil war underway, a propaganda machine of higher sophistication and extreme corruption, and the public too confused and deluded to impose any sort of positive influence at all.

And when I mock the public I include myself in that. Let me give you an idea of how out of touch I am. I would have thought that every peace activist in the United States would oppose the new development of Russia bombing Syria. We’ve always said, and some of us have even believed, that war was immoral and illegal and unacceptable no matter who did it. We’ve opposed primarily U.S. wars because the U.S. is the primary wager of wars and because we live in the U.S. We’ve always said that if some other nation were to begin adventuring around the world bombing countries we would oppose that too. And some of us meant it. We’ve always argued that bombs kill civilians along with ordinary soldiers stuck on the wrong side. We’ve always pointed to all the evidence that bombs generate more hatred, more violence, more enemies. U.S. bombs, we’ve said, don’t plant flowers of democracy; they plant seeds of violent blowback. Are we now to suppose that Russian bombs are different? Because I couldn’t have been more wrong about how people were going to react.

Many, it turns out, see Russian bombs as imposing law and order, bombing the proper people which the U.S. was failing to do, and resisting the evil warmaking efforts of the United States.

Of course, Russia is supporting a legal government, not a bunch of rebel groups. Of course the United States and every other party involved was on a years-long course of disaster and horror before Russia reached this stage of involvement. But how does supporting a legal government give you a blank check for dropping bombs on people? If Russia had supported the legal government of Egypt by bombing Tahrir Square in 2011 would all the same observers have cheered? Russia has been arming and supporting a brutal murderous government in Syria for years, fueling a proxy war. The United States and its gulf allies have been arming and training and assisting various sides in the war for years now. The constant flow of weapons has been worsening the situation for years. The steady escalation of the violence has been worsening the situation for years. Why wouldn’t it? It always does.

Of course those many “peace” activists who have supported U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian government for years might be expected to possibly denounce Russian bombing. But what about those of us who’ve opposed U.S. imperialism and rejected with indignation all the accusations of being big fans of Bashar al Assad?

I’ve been on Russia TV dozens of times in recent years to denounce U.S. actions in Iraq and Syria. Often RT creates a Youtube video and a text story about the interview afterwards. Last week I was on and they apparently expected me to cheer for the Russian bombs, but I denounced them as well, and the Syrian government as well, along with the United States and its many allies. The interviewer seemed shocked, but it was live — what could they do? I haven’t seen any Youtube. I haven’t had another call from RT yet. (In fairness, I opposed U.S. warmaking on MSNBC over a year ago and have yet to hear from them.)

I was so out of touch on Friday that, even though I expected that line of questioning and that response to my answers from RT, I assumed peace activists all agreed with me. It turns out that many clearly do not, and many others assume the same thing about me that RT did, namely that I must be thrilled that Russia is dropping bombs on Syrians.

When you engage in online activism, and you send out emails to hundreds of thousands of people, you get back quite a variety of responses. One type of response that often gets on my nerves is the why-didn’t-you-mention-my-cause-in-your-email response. It’s just not fun to receive outraged messages that your petition against a corporate trade agreement failed to mention the Citizens United decision, or your campaign to end the war on Afghanistan failed to mention the war on Yemen. These complaints are usually accompanied by accusations of evil intent and corrupt complicity. This phenomenon has been increasing as the wars have been proliferating. And it’s merged with the ages-old tradition of assuming that opposition to one side in a war equals support for the other side. If you don’t want Israelis killing Palestinians then you must want Palestinians killing Israelis. This line of thinking is ubiquitous. So, now I receive angry emails attacking me for supporting Russian bombs in Syria or Syrian bombs in Syria when I send out an email opposing a fracked gas pipeline or denouncing the bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan.

Some wise souls began, immediately upon the commencement of the Russian bombing of Syria, to declare that we must oppose bombing by all sides. I stupidly assumed this went without saying. I ignored constructive criticism that I shouldn’t say anything about anything without opposing the Russian bombing or everyone would conclude I favored it. Huh? Why in the world would they think that? I’ve been working on a set of arguments for the complete abolition of war. Why would I favor war all of a sudden — and the most dangerous development in war in the history of the planet? That’s crazy, I thought. But I was way out of touch.

The idea of opposing all war, though many thousands sign their names onto it, is really not understood by very many, I’m afraid. I think it’s taken as meaningless rhetoric, harmless simplification. Of course they don’t mean all war, they just mean the bad wars, I’ll go ahead and sign that. Deep in the minds of even some of the most dedicated and courageous and principled peace activists lies faith in the power of brute force, reliance on the strategy of a balance of powers, hope that war waged properly by the right parties in the right places can end the improper wars and bring about war’s absence.

I believe I am going to make a list of all active wars, and all parties in them, with the words “I oppose these:” at the top. Of course I oppose secret actions by “special” forces too. I oppose drone murders I’m never told about. And of course I’m holding out hope that drone war opponents will be saddened rather than encouraged when nations other than the United States begin to get caught committing drone murders. Come to think of it, there is no way to create a comprehensive list. You’re just going to have to believe I oppose all war, and I’m just going to have to keep saying so over and over and over. After all, I may not have long left to say it if U.S.-Russian relations continue on the course they’ve charted.

Talk Nation Radio: Maria Santelli on Conscience and War 

Maria Santelli is Executive Director of the Center on Conscience & War, a 75-year old organization founded to provide technical and community support to conscientious objectors to war. Based in Washington, D.C., Santelli has been working for peace and justice since 1996. She discusses conscientious objection and this week's attack on a hospital in Afghanistan.


Read her articles at

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VCNV Calls for Emergency Protest of Airstrike on Afghanistan Hospital

During the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing on Iraq, and afterwards, anti-war campaigners with Voices for Creative Nonviolence were encouraging people around the country to go in front of hospitals with signs and banners saying, "To bomb this site would be a war crime!"

At around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, Oct. 3, 2015, U.S./NATO forces carried out an airstrike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Medical staff immediately phoned NATO headquarters to report the strike on its facility, and yet strikes continued on for nearly an hour. At least nine medical staff were killed and seven patients including three children. At least 35 more people were injured.
Taliban forces do not have air power, and the Afghan Air Force fleet is subordinate to the U.S., so it is patently clear that the U.S. has committed a war crime. This occurred just days prior to the 14th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, which was itself the "supreme war crime" of aggression against a nation that posed no imminent military threat. The U.S. remains culpable for all the chaos that has followed its invasion. Now, almost 6 years after Obama’s 2009 “surge," there remain close to 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with the Pentagon talking up the need to keep those troops there.

We want to affirm the Afghans' right to medical care and safety, and we want the aggression to end. Only Afghans themselves can engineer their own society to fit their aspirations. If the U.S. has any role to play at all, it is only to provide reconstruction funds for Afghan-led projects that can actually uplift civil institutions.
VCNV is mobilizing activists to gather in front of hospitals around the U.S. and beyond, under the message, "Dropping Bombs Here would be a War Crime!" and "The same is true in Afghanistan." We will be protesting in Chicago on Tuesday, October 6, at 3 PM in front of Stroger Hospital (at Ogden and Damen). We are joined by our partners: Chicago World Can't Wait, Chicago Area Peace Action, and Gay Liberation Network.

Ruminations of an Afghan Girl Burning to Death in a Hospital Bed

Life is a very jumbled mixture. The pain of it, if you're awake and thinking, brings into your mind the happiest moments you can remember and transforms them into agony unless you resist bitterness with every drop of strength you have left, if not more. Physical pain makes clear-thinking and generous thinking more difficult, until death appears in front of you, and then the physical pain is as nothing.

I know that I'm not supposed to be bitter, and yet that somehow makes it harder not to be. When my father and sister and two cousins were blown into little pieces last year, it was the action of some distant office worker pushing a switch on a remote-controlled airplane. And I'm supposed to believe that they meant well. And this is supposed to make it better. But somehow it makes it worse.

The war that landed me in this hospital in Kunduz, along with all of the screaming men, women, and children around me whose voices have now faded into what I imagine the roar of the ocean must be, this war comes from a distant land that we are told means well. Yet it generates enemies through its horrors. It funds those enemies through its incompetence, corruption, and insistence on buying protection for its occupiers. It fights those enemies with such marvelous weaponry that it kills and kills and kills until many more enemies face it, and it goes on fighting from afar. I'm told the people in America believe the war ended, that it isn't even happening, that it isn't entering Year 15 in four days, while I will never enter Year 14.

I've only known war. I've only heard of peace. Now I will know only the peace of the dead. And I've been told that the dead go on with living somewhere else, but I'm told this by people whose other statements are nothing but lies, so I prefer to wait the endless moments of this hospital burning to the ground with me inside it, and then see for myself.

I understand that I am only an Afghan. I am not an American school student wrongly murdered. I am not an Israeli settler brutally blown up. I'm not a U.S. soldier or a Syrian or Ukrainian who was killed by the wrong side. But this is what makes my bitterness so hard to push back against. I'm an Afghan being bombed for women's rights that I will never ever have a chance to exercise, because I will never ever be a woman. So, I must focus on my gratitude to those who have been kind to me, including those who left this world ahead of me to guide the way.

When I focus on the good in my life intensely, I can shut out any echoes of the evil. I can almost even come back to the evil with a sense of forgiveness and the realization that really, truly, the people who do these things must not know what they are doing. I understand that no one could really begin to understand my experience who isn't me.

Syria/Russia News - Oct 4, 2015

Kremlin claims its strikes destroyed major Islamic State command post and bunker in its ‘capital' Raqqa - LA Times

Air Force decimating terrorist command centers, bunkers, camps, workshops: Russian Defense Ministry - RT


Russia warned U.S. ‘ahead of latest Syria strikes’ - Al Arabiya News

Russia says to step up air strikes in Syria, 'We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity' - Reuters

Russian Air Group in Syria Fully Deployed, Ready to Strike Targets - Sputnik

Russia Deploying Marines to Syria to Guard Airbase -

Inside the Russian airbase in Syria: RT checks out everyday life at Latakia airfield (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) - RT News

Russian Navy Positions Itself Off the Coast of Latakia -

Russian military assets in Syria -

US Media: Russia Is Using Old, Dumb Bombs, Making Syria Air War Even More Brutal - The Daily Beast

Russia Media: Despite Video Evidence, Pentagon Slams Moscow for Using 'Dumb Bombs’ - Sputnik

People in different areas in Northern Syria tell me: Russian planes are flying in pairs during bombing raids. Never a plane alone - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Russian Warplanes Have Registered No ISIL Air Defense Activity in Syria - Sputnik

Russian jets kill eight members of Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib, including a media person with the group - Hassan Hassan on Twitter


Russians hit town Ihsem controlled by Jaish alFatah (Nusra, AlQaeda) + Ahrar + others who kicked out FSA Jamal Maruf last year - Jenan Moussa on Twitter

PHOTOS: Al Nusrah Front tweets photos of Russian airstrikes - The Long War Journal

Syria FM urges Russia to send troops to protect Assad from ISIS - NY Daily News



Obama says Putin wrong on Syria but no proxy war between the United States and Russia - AP

Allies demand Russia to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL, immediately cease its attacks on the 'Syrian opposition and civilians' - Reuters

Joint Declaration by France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK and US on the Russian Military Actions in Syria -

Pentagon considering protections for U.S.-trained rebels in Syria if they come under fire by the Russians - CTV News

Clinton joins some Republicans in breaking with Obama on Syria no-fly zone - The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders sides with Obama and against Clinton on no-fly zone in Syria - The Washington Post

U.S.-backed Syrian rebels appeal for antiaircraft missiles - The Washington Post

Syrian opposition rejects UN plan on Syria -

U.S. Syrian Kurdish allies welcome Russian airstrikes in Syria - The Sacramento Bee

Iraqi Kurdish leader urges Russia, U.S. to coordinate in anti-IS fight - Reuters

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel's relationship with Russia is good - Jerusalem Post

Egypt says Russia's intervention in Syria will counter terrorism - Yahoo News

Canada notably absent from coalition criticism of Russian Syria action - The Globe and Mail

Opinion: Deal with Saudis? Why does the US care if Russia bombs al-Qaeda and its Allies in Syria? - Informed Comment

WikiLeaks Cables Portray Saudi Arabia As A Cash Machine For Terrorists - The Guardian

Opinion: Syria, the New York Times and the Mystery of the "Moderate Rebels” -

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Of scientists and charlatans: Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster

By Robert M. Nelson


Republican presidential aspirants Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum all describe themselves as devout Catholics and, like most Republican candidates, they argue that religion should play an expanded role in American politics and government. However, on matters related to global warming, Messrs. Bush and Rubio both agree with Mr. Santorum, stating that we should, “...leave science to the scientists.”


Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi's Dream


On behalf of those of us who struggle to honor Gandhi's legacy to the world, I would like to wish Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi 'happy birthday!' Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 and had he defied both the assassin's bullet and the aging process, he would have been 146 years old this year.


In a letter to Secretary Carter, Secretary Kerry and CIA Director Brennan, the bipartisan group of Senators urge U.S. officials to cease unsuccessful program and seek alternative ways forward


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mike Lee (R-UT) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, U.S. Department of State Secretary John Kerry and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan urging them to end the Syria Train and Equip Program – an unsuccessful effort to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters – which has endangered Americans and further escalated conflict in the region.


The Senators wrote in part: “The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat. On Friday, USCENTCOM confirmed that some of the fighters that we trained and equipped had turned over ammunition and trucks to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra Front. In exchange for safe passage, the fighters, trained by the U.S., gave up approximately 25% of their U.S.-issued equipment.”


Please read the full text of the Senators’ letter below or here.


Dear Secretary Carter, Secretary Kerry, and Director Brennan:


We write to express our deep concern about the Syria Train and Equip Program and to call for an end to this failed initiative. When Congress was considering the program last year, many of us expressed concerns about this program endangering Americans and further escalating the conflict. The evidence further supports our belief. It is time for the Department to find a new path forward.


Authorized at $500 million for Fiscal Year 2015, the program has struggled to graduate “vetted” opposition fighters. When General Lloyd Austin III, the commander of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said that only "four or five" U.S.-trained opposition fighters were on the ground fighting in Syria. It has since been reported that another 75 United States-trained rebels have entered the fight, but this is still a far cry from the 5,000 fighters the program aimed to train each year.


The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat. On Friday, USCENTCOM confirmed that some of the fighters that we trained and equipped had turned over ammunition and trucks to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra Front. In exchange for safe passage, the fighters, trained by the U.S., gave up approximately 25% of their U.S.-issued equipment.


With over 200,000 persons killed, 4 million refugees, and 7.6 million internally displaced people, the situation in Syria is absolutely tragic, and we must ensure that any U.S. efforts do not cause additional harm. We ask that you cease the Syria Train and Equip Program and look for alternative ways forward.



Hillary Offers Syria a Libyan-Iraqi-Style Paradise

Americans may find Syria a bit confusing. David Petraeus, sainted hero, has proposed arming al Qaeda, organized devil. Vladimir Putin, reincarnated Hitler, is bombing either ISIS or al Qaeda or their friendly democratic allies, but he shouldn't be because he's against overthrowing the Syrian government, also run by Hitler living under the name Assad. Hillary Clinton, liberal socialist, wants to create a no-fly zone, but wouldn't that make it hard to bomb all the scary Muslims? Wait, are we against Assad or the scary Muslims or both? Aaaaaarrrrgghh! How does this make any sense?

Let's start over, shall we?

Some basic facts?

We'll start with the most uncomfortable fact, but one that helps begin to make sense of everything, OK?

The United States military wants to dominate the earth, has "special" forces active in 135 countries, and has troops stationed in some 180 countries. On a map of the world showing nations with no U.S. troops in them, Syria and Iran stand out like sore thumbs, as once-upon-a-time did Iraq and Libya. Syria not only has no U.S. troops; it has Russian troops, and it's friendly toward Iran, which has no U.S. troops. Overthrowing the Syrian government, like Iraq's and Libya's and Iran's, has been on the Pentagon's bucket list for the 21st century. As early as 2006, the U.S. government had people on the ground in Syria working to overthrow the government. With the 2011 Arab Spring, the U.S. thought it saw an opportunity, and helped turn the protests violent.

The Syrian government is awful and murderous. It used to torture people for the U.S. government. It, indeed, attacks "its own citizens" (which is always who governments attack that aren't escapading around the globe attacking other people's citizens, which in fact most governments never do). If every government that attacked its own citizens had to be overthrown, the list would be unending, and could begin with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and various other governments just in that region that the U.S. -- far from overthrowing -- props up, funds, and arms with the weaponry used to commit the attacks. Overthrowing foreign governments and launching wars are in fact illegal acts, and rightly so, regardless of the nature of the governments.

The criminal acts of overthrowing the horrible governments of Iraq and Libya resulted in millions of people being killed, injured, traumatized, and turned into refugees, and the creation of not only worse governments but deadly chaos in those nations and spilling out into the rest of the region. This cannot be a model for what to do to Syria.

Russia should not be arming Syria or bombing Syria. We're so well trained to think in terms of war, that when we hear that one side of a war is in the wrong, we imagine that must be an argument for backing the other side. "You don't want the United States bombing Syria? Then you must want Russia bombing Syria! You must want Assad using his deadly 'barrel bombs'!" In fact, nobody should be arming or bombing anyone in Syria. The United States and numerous allies that have been bombing Syria need to stop. Russia, which has just started, needs to stop. The U.S. media says Russia is bombing where there's no ISIS, although it said ISIS was there a week ago and seems to have forgotten. Russia shouldn't stop bombing because it's bombing the wrong people. There are no right people to bomb. The majority of people who die from bombs are civilians. The majority of people involved with any of the many opposition groups in Syria are opportunists and misguided desperate souls. Every single person in Syria is a person deserving better than a crude "barrel bomb" from a helicopter they hear coming or a far more deadly missile from a foreign jet or drone.

A no fly zone is not a zone in which nobody can fly. It's a zone in which the United States claims the exclusive right to fly and to shoot out of the sky anyone else who tries it, and to bomb out of existence any weaponry that could threaten U.S. planes, along with any people who happen to be anywhere near any suspected weaponry or near any locations accidentally hit in the process. The history of human catastrophes facilitated by humanitarian "no fly" zones includes Iraq and Libya. Hillary Clinton, motivated by interest in Libya's oil, wanted a no fly zone in Libya, urged that it be used to overthrow the government, laughed gleefully about killing Gadaffi, and would prefer that you now not look at Libya too closely. A no fly zone for Syria is a declaration of war on Syria.

Hillary Clinton, just to be clear, is not an office holder. She is a private citizen who ought to be shunned from all public discourse. As Secretary of State, she waived restrictions on shipping weapons to brutal governments if they made large "donations" to her foundation. For that, she should be in prison. Nothing worse will be found, no matter how many of her emails are read in a mad pursuit of more minor but colorful offenses.

In 2013, the Obama Administration demanded the right to send missiles into Syria. The plan, kept private, was a massive bombing campaign that would have leveled Syria and set it on a more rapid course toward utter chaos. Obama made claims about chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government that have never yet been documented, and alleged proof for which fell apart.

The U.S. public helped prevent that attack in 2013 and was, according to polls, even more strongly against arming and training Syrians. So, the CIA and the Pentagon went right ahead with arming and training Syrians. They have had a very hard time recruiting, and have seen their trained and armed troops desert and join other groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS. The U.S. dismissed out of hand a Russian proposal for peace, including Assad stepping down, in 2012, under the delusion that Assad would be quickly overthrown by violence in a manner less advantageous to Russia. That hasn't happened. U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia keep funding and arming ISIS and allied groups. The U.S. keeps arming supposedly "moderate" murderers who supposedly oppose both ISIS and Assad. The various opposition groups keep fighting Assad and each other. And Assad gets support from Russia, and has begun working with Russia, Iran, and Iraq against its opposition / ISIS.

The United States still dreams of overthrowing Assad on the cheap without a massive U.S. occupation, and without bombing quite the whole country. The U.S. keeps fueling the fires that sooner or later could escalate into the kind of war that could overthrow Assad, generate lots more hatred of the United States, empower ISIS, and kill millions.

Russia hopes to keep Assad or a Russia-friendly government in power without a massive Russian occupation, and without bombing quite the whole country. Russia keeps fueling the fires that sooner or later could escalate into the kind of war that could put an end to major opposition in the short term, generate hatred of Russia, empower ISIS, and kill millions.

The global threat is, of course, that this could escalate into a war between Russia and the United States.

What can be done? From the U.S. side that's not hard to answer, though it may be hard to accept.

1. Apologize to the people of Iraq and Libya, abandon the overthrow of Syria, apologize to the United Nations for promoting war at the General Assembly.

2. Cease all weapons shipments to the Middle East and pull all U.S. troops out of the Middle East.

3. Launch a massive campaign of no-strings-attached aid as restitution to the region, costing of course many times less than the ongoing militarism.

4. Work to negotiate an arms embargo and a weapons-of-mass-destruction free Middle East, including Israel.

5. Work to cut off the funding to armed groups.

6. Ask the United Nations to convene peace talks with all parties, including the Syrian opposition, including Iraq, including Iran, including Russia, including Turkey, including the Syrian government, but not including nations that are not even located in the region, such as the United States.

Syria/Russia News - Oct 2, 2015


Russian air strikes hit CIA-trained Free Syrian Army rebel faction, commander says - Yahoo Maktoob News

What Is The Free Syrian Army? Russia Targets CIA-Trained Rebels Opposed To Assad Regime -

Geolocated Evidence points to Russian airstrikes on TOW-operating FSA affiliate (VIDEO) - Syria Direct

Russia warplanes target in Syria the Army of Conquest, an alliance that includes Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and CIA-trained FSA factions - VOA

A look at the Army of Conquest, a rebel alliance in Syria - New York Times

Russia admits ISIS is not only target in Syria, says it supports the Syrian armed forces in the struggle with extremist groups - Fiscal Times

Russia does not consider Free Syrian Army a terrorist group, Lavrov says - Reuters

VIDEO: Lavrov speaks at a news conference at the United Nations about Russian airstrikes (Full) - Bloomberg Business

Kremlin officials accuse U.S. of 'war of disinformation' on Syria airstrikes - LA Times

Vladimir Putin signs decree drafting 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military - Daily Mail Online

MAPS: Mapping the Battle for Syria: Russian Airstrikes Hit Rebel Areas - The New York Times

Al Qaeda brigade claims attack on Russian forces in Syria - The Long War Journal

Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources - Reuters

Iraq would welcome Russian strikes against Islamic State in Iraq: Iraqi prime minister Abadi - Reuters

VIDEO: Prime Minister Abadi: Iraq welcomes Russia in Islamic State fight - PBS

Syrian Kurdish fighters welcome Russian strikes, demand weapons for anti-IS fight - Middle East Eye

PYD leader: Russia will stop Turkey from intervening in Syria - Al-Monitor


Foreign ministers of Russia and China discuss fight against Islamic State, crisis in Syria - TASS



White House complains to Russians on their airstrikes as 'indiscriminate military operations against the Syrian opposition' - ABC News

U.S. seen unlikely to defend Syrian rebels from Russian strikes - Reuters

Pentagon: US and Russia hold  'cordial and professional’ talks to clear up Syrian airspace, present proposals for minimizing risks - ABC

VIDEO: White House Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria (Starts at 5:15 minute) -

VIDEO: Department Defense Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria -

TRANSCRIPT: Department of Defense Press Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

VIDEO: Russian approach in Syria 'doomed to fail': Pentagon chief - YouTube

U.S. and Russia unlikely to share intelligence on Syria -

Pentagon Worried Iraq Will Share U.S. Intel with Russia -

Lack of targets, not Russians, seen affecting number of US airstrikes in Syria - Stripes

Members of Congress: Leave Syria’s Assad for later in face of Russian offensive, 'The key is to defeat ISIS' - The Washington Post

Republican-led Senate panel opens review of Syria intelligence - Business Insider

Syria conflict: Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists show off weapons allegedly seized from-US trained rebels -

Saudi Arabia demands Russia end Syria raids, criticises Iran -

Erdoğan: Turkey will not allow ’fait accompli situations’ next to its borders, in an apparent reference to Russian air strikes in Syria -


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, How Trump Became Trump and What That Means for the Rest of Us

This article originally appeared at To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

The Record U.S. Military Budget

To listen to the Republican candidates' debate last week, one would think that President Obama had slashed the U.S. military budget and left our country defenseless.  Nothing could be farther off the mark.  There are real weaknesses in Obama's foreign policy, but a lack of funding for weapons and war is not one of them.  President Obama has in fact been responsible for the largest U.S. military budget since the Second World War, as is well documented in the U.S.


Campaigners aim to prosecute British state

On 1st October campaigners will begin a new and ambitious project to institute a citizen’s prosecution of the Government and specifically the Secretary of State for Defence for breaching international law by its active deployment of the Trident nuclear weapon system.

PICAT is co-ordinated by Trident Ploughshares and will involve groups across England and Wales in a series of steps which will hopefully lead to the Attorney General’s consent for the case to go before the courts.

Groups will begin by seeking an assurance from the Secretary of State for Defence that the UK’s nuclear weapons will not be used, or their use threatened, in such a way as to cause wholesale loss of civilian life and damage to the environment.

In the case of no response or an unsatisfactory one groups will then approach their local magistrates to lay a Criminal Information (1). If consent for the case is not forthcoming from the Attorney General the campaign will then consider approaching the International Criminal Court.

Veteran peace campaigner Angie Zelter (2), who has developed the project along with international lawyer Robbie Manson (3), said:

War Abolition Books Proliferate

When I wrote War Is A Lie in 2010 (second edition coming April 5th!) it was a condemnation of war, but not exactly a manifesto for abolishing it. I wrote that in War No More: The Case for Abolition in 2013. But John Horgan wrote The End of War in 2012. Douglas Fry wrote Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace in 2009. Russell Faure-Brac wrote Transition to Peace in 2012. Winslow Myers wrote Living Beyond War in 2009. Judith Hand wrote Shift: The Beginning of War, the Ending of War in 2013. Colleagues of mine at and I wrote A Global Security System: An Alternative to War in 2015. And I’ve just picked up a copy of Roberto Vivo’s War: A Crime Against Humanity (2014). There are others out there, and others in the works. Some readers may point to Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature (2012), although it’s not so much a rallying cry to end war as a misleading claim that war is ending itself. There are other books as well that are more straightforwardly responses to the growth of war abolitionism, such as War: What Is It Good For? by Ian Morris in 2015, which, yes, argues that wars are good for us and shouldn’t be abolished.

There were a lot more war abolition books in the 1920s and 1930s, and of course there was a much bigger peace movement in the 1960s than now, but I think it can safely be argued that a new trend is emerging in opposition to the institution of war, a trend possibly brought on in part by the end of the Cold War and by the 8-year reign of a Republican U.S. President (or was it Vice President?) who engaged in aggressive war with unapologetic rhetoric and extremely careless propaganda. Certainly the end of the (Bill) Clinton years was not greeted by the publication of a pile of books seeking to rid the world of war. Some of the books above are quite explicitly reactions to the George W. Bush wars, some include misguided apologies for the Barack Obama wars, some claim weapons companies can coexist with peace, some suggest that women must end the male scourge of war, some condemn capitalism as a root problem, some are religious, some focus on scientific studies. No two agree with each other on every point. They all — certainly including mine — have flaws.

But the cumulative effect of these books is bound to be more persuasive than any one of them. They all or virtually all point to the current understanding of pre-history as a time free of war, slavery, major agriculture, cities, and other accouterments of “civilization,” although not, of course, free of violence or anger. All of these books recognize war and these other developments as relatively new in human existence and argue that if some can be ended (such as slavery, which few now dispute can be ended) then war can be ended too. All make the case that war since World War II has killed primarily civilians and cannot be morally defended. All make the case that war while nuclear weapons exist risks human annihilation. All argue that developments in peace studies and nonviolent action render war obsolete as a tool for political change. All point to examples of “primitive” and “civilized” cultures choosing to live without war for centuries on end. All point to examples of particular wars being prevented, and ask “If that war could be stopped, why not every war?” All strive to identify some of the factors facilitating war (cultural attitudes, profiteering, corruption, propaganda, etc.) and to propose courses of action that will move us toward abolition.

Roberto Vivo’s book is no exception. Its initial sections are among the best I’ve read on the evitability of war, the evil of war, and the unjustness of war. The whole book is full of intriguing nuggets for further exploration of other authors, ancient Chinese philosophers, and anecdotes from centuries gone by. The third of the four sections of Vivo’s book seemed rather irrelevant to me. We read about George Soros’ late-in-life discovery that self-identified “democracies” use propaganda; yet we read page after page about the development and politics of democracy — always credited ultimately to the ancient Greeks, never the Iroquois. And I think the short section in which Vivo claims that weapons industries can coexist with peace while generating economic benefits ought to address the serious arguments that the weapons industries are actually an economic drain, that restraining them is not easy, that they want their weapons tested and demonstrated, and that they want their weapons eliminated and replaced.

Vivo’s final chapter looks at slavery, torture, and racism as practices that are being ended — or at least we hope so, and I think the arguments used are good ones despite the significant comeback for torture in recent years. Vivo sees part of the solution to war as resting in criminalizing it. He’d like to transform the International Criminal Court into an independent and effective institution with the ability to prosecute what he calls “aggressive war” and what I would call “war.” Vivo accurately identifies the United States government as the major force working against such application of the rule of law. But he writes about the idea of criminalizing war as if it’s never been done, and claims that the effort to prosecute the crime of starting World War I failed because it has always been believed that no single individual could be held accountable for something so enormous.

But in fact roughly half the world is represented by governments that are parties to a treaty banning all war, and it was the existence of this treaty that allowed the United States to claim that war was a crime when it was committed by Germany and Japan (though, for some reason, not when it was committed by the victors of World War II). This treaty, which did not exist when World War I was launched, is called the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and I wrote about it in When the World Outlawed War. Vivo’s nation of Uruguay is not a party to the Pact, but its current president seems just the person to change that. Were Uruguay to send a letter to the U.S. State Department joining the Kellogg-Briand Pact, it would then be a party to it. That’s all that is required. Uruguay might then send a note the following week respectfully urging the United States to comply with the treaty.

Of course, bringing the nations of the world together to create something like the Kellogg-Briand Pact from scratch would work just as well, but no single country could do that alone, and no group of countries could do it in this day and age without some sort of magical powers. The victors of World War II, also known as the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, think they have got a good thing going. Why would they choose to put themselves on an equal level with others and ban all war when they can maintain impunity and choose which wars are “defensive” and which are “authorized”?

The secret of Kellogg-Briand is that four of the big five are already on board with banning all war and just need to be reminded of it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Uruguay were to play that role?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if war abolition literature were read, studied, discussed, refined, and acted on?

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