The anti-war report from Left Forum 2015 in New York


By Carrie Giunta, Stop The War Coalition


A strong contingent of anti-war groups gathered in New York at the annual Left Forum conference.

Left Forum 2015

Hundreds of participants turned out to converge on John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan last weekend for the annual Left Forum 2015 conference.

Each spring in New York City, activists and intellectuals from around the world and from a broad range of social movements come together for three days of discussion and events.

This year, 1,600 participants at the conference gathered around one theme: No Justice, No Peace: The question of confronting a crisis of capitalism and democracy. Of 420 panels, workshops and events, there was a strong contingent of organisers from anti-war groups like World Can’t Wait, World Beyond War, Roots Action and more.

No peace, no earth

In a morning session organised by World Beyond War, entitled War Normalized or War Abolished, speakers discussed drones, nuclear weapons and the abolition of war.

Drones activist Nick Mottern from Know Drones explained the US is building an international network of drone bases. He called for an international ban to stop all weaponised drones.

As we approach the seventieth anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this August, we must face the fact that will not just go away. They are “thoroughgoing and advancing like nuclear weapons.”

The panel also highlighted the attempts by the legal profession to put a human rights face on drone strikes. New York University law student Amanda Bass discussed recent student action at NYU School of Law.

Students issued a statement of no confidence condemning the law school’s decision to hire former State Department legal advisor Harold Koh as professor of human rights law.

The statement documents Koh’s role in shaping and defending the legality of US targeted killings. He was a key legal architect of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program between 2009 and 2013.

Koh facilitated the extrajudicial and unconstitutional assassination of Anwar al-Aulaqui, an American citizen killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Students are demanding the school get rid of Koh and hire a professor who cares about constitutional rights, human rights and about human life.

In Jack Gilroy’s play about drones, a young woman from a military family opts for a peace studies course in Syracuse, New York near Hancock Air Force base. Joined by her drone pilot mother, a fictional senator and an activist, the women debate about drones and civilian deaths. Actors remained in character for audience questions.

In the afternoon, activists, scholars and journalists gathered to discuss how the anti-war movement should respond to US wars of aggression, imperialism, and counter-revolution and conflict in the Middle East, when any US intervention is no solution and not in the interest of the people of the Middle East.

While discussions leaned toward US policy and militarism, David Swanson from World Beyond War offered a different spin: To imagine a world beyond war is to imagine a planet without climate crisis. The largest percentage of fossil fuels is consumed by the war industry and there is a US agenda to control fossil fuel resources.

When we are living in a world where whoever is in control of the source of oil, thereby controls the planet, our social and political movements should be linking the war on terror, climate justice and environment. Although some Latin American countries have long held stake in this necessary cohesion between climate justice and anti-war movements, a global campaign is taking longer to form.

Mottern even suggested a new conference theme: “no peace, no earth” rather than ‘no justice, no peace’.

Videos: Andreas Schüller and Kat Craig on Drone Victim's German Lawsuit

Originally published at Truthout.org

This open letter, addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and signed by 21 leading US peace activists and 21 US peace organizations, was prompted by an important court case that was brought against the German government by the Yemeni survivors of a US drone strike.

The case brought by the Yemeni plaintiffs could have far-reaching consequences. The Yemeni survivors request that the German government intervene by shutting down the Satellite Relay Station at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany, so as to protect Yemenis from further US drone strikes. As was recently reported by The Intercept and by the German news magazine Spiegel, the Satellite Relay Station at Ramstein is essential for all US drone strikes in the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia. Under German law, extrajudicial killings are deemed to be murders.

The NGOs Reprieve, based in the United Kingdom, and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), based in Germany, provided legal representation for the plaintiffs. The case was heard on May 27 in an administrative court in Cologne, Germany.

Activists in the US and in Germany held vigils and other protest event days in solidarity with the Yemeni survivors who brought the case. On May 26, the open letter was presented by delegations of US citizens to the German Embassy in Washington DC, and to the German Consulate in New York. On May 27, a delegation of German citizens presented the open letter to a representative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin. The US and German activists will also forward the letter to members of the German Parliament (Bundestag).

The open letter was authored by Elsa Rassbach, Judith Bello, Ray McGovern and Nick Mottern.

______________

May 26, 2015
Her Excellency Dr. Angela Merkel
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Bundeskanzleramt
Willy-Brandt-Straße 1
10557 Berlin, Germany

Dear Chancellor Merkel:

On May 27th a German court in Cologne will hear evidence from Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Yemen who lost two relatives to a 2012 U.S. drone strike. This is the first time that a court in a country providing significant military/technical support for the U.S. drone program has permitted such a case to be heard.

U.S. drone strikes have killed or maimed tens of thousands in many countries with which the U.S. is not officially at war. The vast majority of drone-strike victims have been innocent bystanders, including large numbers of children. One respected study found that for every target or known combatant killed, 28 “unknown persons” were also killed. Because the victims were/are not U.S. citizens, their families do not have standing to initiate legal action in U.S. courts. Shamefully, the families of these victims have had no legal recourse whatsoever.

Thus the case of Mr. bin Ali Jaber, representing his family in a German court, is of great interest to many who have long been dismayed at the U.S. government’s violations of human rights and international law in the so-called "war on terror." Reportedly, Mr. bin Ali Jaber will argue that the German Government has violated the German Constitution by allowing the U.S. to use Ramstein Air Base in Germany for extrajudicial “targeted” killings in Yemen. He is expected to request that the German government “take legal and political responsibility for the U.S. drone war in Yemen” and “forbid use of the Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein.”

Credible evidence has already been widely published indicating that the U.S. Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein plays an essential role in ALL U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia. The killings and maiming resulting from missiles fired from U.S. drones would not be possible without the cooperation of the German government in enabling the U.S. to use Ramstein Air Base for the illegal drone wars -- a military base which, we respectfully suggest, is an anachronism a full seventy years after the liberation of Germany and Europe from the Nazis.

Irrespective of the ultimate outcome in court of Mr. bin Ali Jaber’s case, which possibly could continue for years, now is the time for Germany to take effective measures to stop the U.S. from using Ramstein Air Base for combat drone missions.

The reality is this: The military base in Ramstein is under the legal jurisdiction of the Federal The reality The reality is this: The military base in Ramstein is under the legal jurisdiction of the Federal Government of Germany, even though the U.S. Air Force has been allowed to use the base. If illegal activities such as extrajudicial killings are conducted from Ramstein or other U.S. bases in Germany -- and if U.S. authorities do not desist from these legal offenses then we respectfully suggest that you and your government have a duty under international law to act. This is clearly expressed in the Nuremberg Trials Federal Rules Decisions of 1946-47 (6 F.R.D.60), which were adopted into US law. Accordingly, every individual participating in the enactment of a war crime is responsible for that crime, including businessmen, politicians and others who enable the criminal act.

In 1991 the reunited Federal Republic of Germany was granted “complete sovereignty at home and abroad” via the Two-plus-Four-Treaty. The Treaty emphasizes that “there shall be only peaceful activities from German territory” as does Article 26 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, which states that the acts undertaken to prepare for a war of aggression are deemed "unconstitutional" and "a criminal offense." Many in the U.S. and around the world hope that the German people and their government will provide much-needed leadership in the world on behalf of peace and of human rights.

The German Government often states that it has no knowledge of the activities being conducted at Ramstein Air Base or other U.S. bases in Germany. We respectfully submit that if this is the case, you and the German Government may have a duty to require the needed transparency and accountability from the U.S. military and intelligence agencies in Germany. If the present Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Germany precludes the transparency and accountability that the German Government needs in order to enforce German and international law, then the German Government must request that the U.S. make appropriate modifications in the SOFA. As you know, Germany and the U.S. each have the right to unilaterally terminate the SOFA upon giving two years' notice. Many in the U.S. would not oppose but would indeed welcome a renegotiation of the SOFA between the U.S. and Germany if this should be required to restore the rule of law.

The end of hostilities in 1945 seventy years ago saw the world faced with the task of restoring and advancing the international rule of law. This led to efforts to define and punish war crimes -- major efforts like the Nuremberg Tribunal and the formation of the United Nations, which in 1948 proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While Germany has sought to adhere to the principles of the Declaration, the U.S. increasingly in recent years ignored these principles. In addition, the U.S. seeks to draw NATO and other allies into complicity in violating these principles.

The U.S. began the drone program in secrecy in 2001 and did not reveal it to the American people or to most of their representatives in Congress; the drone program was first discovered and revealed by U.S. peace activists in 2008. The British people were also not informed when the United Kingdom in 2007 obtained killer drones from the U.S. And only recently have the German people been informed, through courageous reporting by independent journalists and whistleblowers, of the key role of Ramstein in the illegal U.S. drone program.

Now aware of the role Ramstein in undermining human rights and international law, many German citizens are calling upon you and the German government to enforce the rule of law in Germany, including on the U.S. bases. And because of the indispensable role of Ramstein for all the U.S. drones strikes, the government of Germany now holds in its hands the power to actually stop the illegal U.S. drone killings altogether.

If the German Government were to take decisive action in this matter, Germany would surely find support among nations of the world, including the nations of Europe. The European Parliament in its Resolution on the Use of Armed Drones, which was adopted by a landslide vote of 534 to 49 on February 27, 2014, urged its Member States to “oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial killings” and “not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states.” The European Parliament Resolution further declares that Member States must “commit to ensuring that, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that an individual or entity within their jurisdiction may be connected to an unlawful targeted killing abroad, measures are taken in accordance with their domestic and legal obligations.”

Extrajudicial killing - the killing of 'suspects' - is in fact also a grievous violation of the U.S. Constitution. And the U.S. initiation and prosecution of killings and wars in sovereign countries that do not threaten the U.S. mainland violate international treaties the U.S. has signed and Congress has ratified, including the United Nations Charter.

Tens of thousands of Americans have struggled in vain for years to expose and end the U.S. drone program and other U.S. war crimes that have quite predictably led to increasing hatred for the U.S. and its allies among the targeted and terrorized populations. Like the incarceration without due process at Guantanamo, drone warfare has clearly undermined the post-WWII international law upon which we all rely.

We hope that major U.S. allies - and particularly Germany, because of the indispensable role it plays - will take firm action to end extrajudicial drone killings. We implore you to take all steps necessary to put a stop to all activities in Germany that support drone warfare and killings by the U.S. government.

Signed:

Carol Baum, Co-Founder of Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, Syracuse Peace Council

Judy Bello, Co-Founder of Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, United National Antiwar Coalition

Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CodePink

Jacqueline Cabasso, National Co-convener, United for Peace and Justice

Leah Bolger, Former President of National Veterans for Peace

David Hartsough, PeaceWorkers, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Robin Hensel, Little Falls OCCU-PIE

Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Malachy Kilbride, National Coalition for Nonviolent Resistance

Marilyn Levin, Co-Founder of United National Antiwar Coalition, United for Justice with Peace

Mickie Lynn, Women Against War

Ray McGovern, Retired CIA Analyst, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Nick Mottern, KnowDrones

Gael Murphy, CodePink

Elsa Rassbach, CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition

Alyssa Rohricht, Graduate Student in International Relations

Coleen Rowley, Retired FBI Agent, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

David Swanson, World Beyond War, War is a Crime

Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait

Brian Terrell, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Missouri Catholic Worker

Colonel Ann Wright, Retired Military Officer and Diplomatic Attaché, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink

 

Endorsed by:

Brandywine Peace Community, Philadelphia, PA

CodePink Women for Peace

Ithaca Catholic Worker, Ithaca, NY

Know Drones

Little Falls OCC-U-PIE, WI

National Coalition for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR)

Peace Action and Education, Rochester, NY

Syracuse Peace Council, Syracuse, NY

United For Justice with Peace, Boston, MA

United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

U.S. Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative, Washington DC

Upstate (NY) Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

Veterans For Peace, Chapter 27

Voices for Creative Nonviolence

War Is A Crime

Watertown Citizens for Peace Justice and the Environment, Watertown, MA

Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

Women Against Military Madness, Minneapolis, MN

Women Against War, Albany, NY

World Beyond War

World Can’t Wait

Afterward:

The Yemeni plaintiffs did not prevail on May 27, nor was it anticipated that they would prevail in such an important matter in a lower court in Germany. Nevertheless, the Court's decision in the case set some important legal precedents:

a) The Court ruled that the Yemeni survivors, who are not German citizens, have standing to sue the German government in the German courts. This is the first known time that a NATO country that has granted drone survivors or victims who are not citizens of their country such standing in court.

b) The Court stated in its decision that the media reports regarding the essential role of Ramstein in the US drone killings are "plausible," the first time that this has been officially acknowledged by authorities Germany.

But the Court held that it is in the discretion of the German government to decide what steps must be taken to protect the people of Yemen from the danger of being killed by drones with essential assistance from Ramstein Air Base. In addition, the Court mentioned that the present Status of Forces Agreement (SOSA) between the US and Germany may at this time prohibit the German government from closing the Satellite Relay Station in the Ramstein base. The plaintiffs argued that the SOSA could be renegotiated or even cancelled by the German government.

In an unusual step, the Court immediately granted the plaintiffs the right to appeal. ECCHR and Reprieve will appeal on behalf of the Yemeni plaintiffs as soon as the full written decision of the court in Cologne is available.

WATCH: Attorneys with the human rights organizations representing the bin Ali Jaber family of Yemen in their lawsuit against the German government discuss the court hearing on May 27 in Cologne, Germany.

Elsa Rassbach interviews Kat Craig, the Legal Director of Reprieve:

Elsa Rassbach interviews Andreas Schüller of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights:

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.

Elsa Rassbach, Judith Bello, Ray McGovern and Nick Mottern

Elsa Rassbach is US citizen, filmmaker and journalist, who often lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She heads the "GIs & US Bases" working group in DFG-VK (the German affiliate of War Resisters International, WRI) and is active in Code Pink, No to NATO, and the anti-drone campaign in Germany. Her film short We Were Soldiers in the 'War on Terror' has just been released in the U.S., and The Killing Floor, her award-winning film set in the Chicago Stockyards, will be re-released next year.

Judith Bello serves on the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, Rochester, NY.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publication arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served at CIA from the administrations of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush, and was one of five CIA “alumni” who created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in January 2003.

Nick Mottern is a reporter and director of Consumers for Peace.org, who has been active in anti-war organizing and has worked for Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Bread for the World, the former US Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs and The Providence (RI) Journal - Bulletin.

Headlines Notwithstanding, Support for Drones Drops Slightly

By Buddy Bell, Voices For Creative Nonviolence

A new survey just released by the Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org) found that respondents have become much more likely to voice their disapproval over the U.S. drone assassination program. In a phone survey conducted from May 12-18, 2015, Pew found that 35 of every 100 respondents said they disapproved “of the United States conducting [drone strikes] to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” The complete report of Pew’s methodology indicates that the last time they asked this particular question was from February 7-10, 2013. In that survey, only 26 of every 100 respondents disapproved, so in the span of two years the disapproval rate shot up by 9 points, constituting a 34% increase.

Here come the terrorists!: Help! The USA PATRIOT ACT has expired!

By Dave Lindorff

 

Omigod! We're all gonna die!

Three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were allowed to expire on June 1 thanks to a Senate disagreement over how to "fix" them (and thanks to Sen. Rand Paul's outspoken opposition to renewal), and now we’re vulnerable to terrorism!

That at least is what President Obama and other fear mongers in Washington are saying.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Going For Broke in Ponzi Scheme America

[Note to TomDispatch Readers: I’ve long had a weakness for commencement addresses, or at least for what they might be rather than what they usually are, which is why, I suppose, I’ve written them relatively regularly myself.

Talk Nation Radio: James Bradley on pre-WWII China Lobby that fooled U.S. public

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-james-bradley-on-pre-wwii-china-lobby-that-fooled-us-public/

James Bradley's new book is The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia. He describes the China Lobby that convinced the U.S. public in the years prior to WWII that the U.S. could cut off oil to Japan without any blow back.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or  LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Focus: USA Freedom Act - June 2, 2015


Pro-NSA senators aim to weaken USA Freedom Act's privacy protections (texts of the amendements) - dailydot.com


The Senate’s proposed changes to the surveillance reform bill are running into resistance in the House - POLITICO


Goodlatte, Conyers, Sensenbrenner, Nadler: Senate Must Pass USA Freedom Act without Amendment - Judiciary Committee


Rand Paul Won’t Get Amendments on NSA Reform Bill—But Mitch McConnell Will - NationalJournal.com


Paul wants eight amendments to spy law legislation - WashingtonExaminer.com


Key Senate Republican to oppose NSA amendments - TheHill


Fears NSA will seek to undermine surveillance reform - The Guardian


POLL: A plurality of 42 percent believe NSA provisions to collect metadata should be extended with some modifications - POLITICO


White House urges Senate to approve NSA reform bill - TheHill


VIDEO: Obama Weekly Address on the USA Freedom Act - YouTube


VIDEO: Why Bernie Sanders will vote against the USA Freedom Act - Yahoo Yahoo Eurosport UK


Senators Should Oppose Senator McConnell’s Amendments and Pass a Clean Version of the USA FREEDOM Act - newamerica.org


A guide through Senate amendments to the USA FREEDOM Act - R Street Institute


Oppose Amendments to Weaken & Delay USA Freedom Act - Center for Democracy & Technology


ACLU: NSA reform bill doesn't go far enough - usatoday.com


NSA Reform Vote a Win for Tech & Internet Companies - DC Inno


ITI Calls on senators to pass the USA Freedom Act’s surveillance reforms and eschew any harmful amendments - Information Technology Industry Council


Letter of privacy and advocacy groups supporting the USA Freedom Act: it is not as protective of civil liberties as we would prefer, but significantly improve the status quo - cloudfront.net


ALA draws line in sand on USA FREEDOM amendments - District Dispatch


USA Freedom 3.0 - Steps Forward and Missed Opportunities - FreedomWorks


Text of The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048) - congress.gov


Don’t Worry, the Government Still Has Plenty of Surveillance Power Without Section 215 - Electronic Frontier Foundation


Forget the Patriot Act – Here Are the Privacy Violations You Should Be Worried About - Foreign Policy


Information sharing is taking back seat to NSA reform - WashingtonExaminer.com


Surveillance reform could tee up cyber bill - TheHill


Charges against Edward Snowden stand, despite telephone surveillance ban - The Guardian

 

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Appeals Court Rules Keystone XL South Approval Was Legal, Lifting Cloud Over TransCanada

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In a 3-0 vote, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Tenth Circuit has ruled that the southern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline was permitted in a lawful manner by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Keystone XL South was approved via a controversial Army Corps Nationwide Permit 12 and an accompanying March 2012 Executive Order from President Barack Obama. The pipeline, open for business since January 2014, will now carry tar sands crude from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas without the cloud of the legal challenge hanging over its head since 2012.

It’s not just police killings: Tazing and Bust of Videotaper Shows Abuse of Blacks is Just Normal Philly Cop Behavior

By Linn Washington Jr.


A July 2013 Philadelphia police attack on Sharif Anderson, where officers beat, kicked and shot Anderson twice with a Taser, is more than just another ugly incident of abuse by a big city police force long assailed for its persistent brutality and corruption.

Barbara Myers: The Unknown Whistleblower

 

Barbara Myers: The Unknown Whistleblower

 

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 30, 2015


An award for Bill Clinton came with $500,000 for his foundation, at a fundraising gala thrown by the charity Happy Hearts Fund - NYTimes.com


VIDEO: Address of President Clinton at the Happy Hearts Fund Gala - Vimeo


Clinton Foundation's $500,000 Bill to Small Charity for Big Donation - NYTimes.com


Letter of the model inviting Bill Clinton to Happy Hearts Fund gala - NYTimes.com


ARCHIVE: Haitians protest Happy Hearts award to Clinton: "where is the money for reconstruction...in whose pockets?" - Haiti Liberte


ARCHIVE: Haitian call attention to Martelly’s corruption and Clinton’s responsibility for bungled international relief effort - Haiti Liberte


ARCHIVE: NY Happy Hearts award gala mocks Haitian misery - Socialist Action


PHOTOS ARCHIVE: Models allure at the Happy Hearts Fund gala - The FMD


ARCHIVE: Petra Nemcova oozes glamour in sheer ruby red dress at Happy Hearts Gala with a diamond encrusted necklace and bracelet - Daily Mail


Clinton Foundation donors included FIFA, Qatar host committee - The Washington Post


Clinton Foundation, FIFA, & Qatar’s Hosting of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s track record on labor rights has long been known to be staggeringly horrendous - Nonprofit Quarterly


State Department spending followed foreign Clinton Foundation donors - WashingtonExaminer.com


Clinton Foundation hit with racketeering lawsuit, including a legal request to have the judge seize Hillary's private server - WashingtonExaminer.com


Judge sets trial for racketeering claims against Clintons, 2-week period set aside in Florida courtroom starting Jan. 25 - WND


Text of the racketeering lawsuit filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch against Hillary Clinton - freedomwatchusa.org


Legal Expert On Whether Donations to Clinton Foundation Are Bribes: If It 'Quacks Like a Duck, Chances Are It Is a Duck' - Breitbart


Teflon Tony Rodham, the Clintons’ Shady Id - National Review Online


In a Letter to the Donors Bill Clinton Comes Out in Force to Defend His Foundation - TIME


Text of Bill Clinton’s Letter to the Foundation Donors - The Weekly Standard

 

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

John Kerry sued over Clinton emails; 'coverup' alleged - Washington Times


Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry to Force Action on Clinton Emails - Judicial Watch


Judge rejects State Dept. plan for Hillary Clinton emails, sets timetable for release - Washington Times


Emails show Clinton’s interest in arming Libyan rebels despite prohibitions - Fox News


Hillary’s War: Remembering Libya Military Venture - The Daily Caller


Hillary emails challenge her Benghazi alibi, she was briefed on diplomatic mission and used her server to correspond location of Stevens - WND


Clinton Foundation paid Sidney Blumenthal $10,000 per month while he advised secretary of state Hillary on Libya - POLITICO


VIDEO: State Dept: Revelation Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal as He Advised Hillary Not a Problem - Washington Free Beacon


VIDEO: Schweizer: If Blumenthal's Clinton Work Isn't A Conflict of Interest, I Don't Know What Is - Breitbart


Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO chief, warns Hillary Clinton on trade deal, says she may not get endorsement - Washington Times


VIDEO: AFL-CIO's Trumka: Hillary Clinton Must Take Position on Trade, Possible We Won't Endorse in 2016 - YouTube


Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton Directly on Trade Deal - NYTimes.com


Warren undecided on who she'll back in 2016 race - Boston Herald


POLL: Few People Trust Hillary Clinton - Washington Free Beacon


As senator, Hillary Clinton sought an average of $226 billion in annual spending and backed so few cuts that her spend-to-cut ratio was $892-$1: Taxpayers Union  - Washington Examiner


Stephanie Hannon: Hillary Clinton's Chief Technology Officer - Fortune


Hillary Clinton Pantsuits Cost $1400 - Fortune

 

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Where Would Jesus Live?

If Jesus lived in Galilee in recent decades he would live in a world alive with Palestinian traditions clinging to a long-rooted history but struggling through the aftermath of the never-ended ethnic-cleansing operation that spiked in 1948.

Hatim Kanaaneh has written a fictionalized account, Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor's Tale of Life in Galilee, based on his experiences as a village doctor during the past half-century, a doctor who traveled to the United States for his education and returned to Palestine to practice his craft. His dialogue-heavy stories reach back to before 1948, merging folklore with myth and legend, featuring in the opening vignette a larger-than-life comedic but sensitive giant as short on wits as he is strong of muscle and heart.

Often in this wonderfully entertaining book a straightforward account will quickly become a rumor, a legend, an event infused with more meaning than might have been expected. After learning, for example, that multi-level homes are a sign of wealth, and that the top level is the most prestigious, we read that in one case a steep hill made it easiest to enter one home from the top floor. "That is why Isa housed his two oxen and his donkey in the 'alali -- the penthouse -- for the first winter after it was built. . . . And, that dear reader, is how it came to be rumored in these parts that Isa had sworn a pact of brotherhood and equality with his work animals and accorded them the level of reverence reserved for the head of a family. 'If only our cousins, the Jews, would treat us that humanely!' neighbors would joke."

Chief Complaint is a bit like the accounts of the British veterinarian's tales in All Creatures Great and Small. One doctor treats non-human animals, the other human, but both treat families. A great number of Kanaaneh's patients require placebos and other psychological rather than medical assistance. Gradually one begins to gather that the lot of them, who form a tight community, are to various degrees traumatized. They are in love with land, with the agriculture of that land, with the history of that land. And the land has been stolen, is being stolen, and is being desecrated. This is a more intimate portrait of people than one would be likely to gain on a trip to Palestine/Israel, and the unifying theme at the bottom of their ailments seems to be land loss. A character is describing a wedding of the past:

"Groups of men and women from all the other clans in the village would arrive every night, singing on their way over just after sundown and with many bagfuls of coffee beans, rice, sugar, and bulgur wheat as presents. Or they would have a boy dragging a lamb or a goat ahead of them. And the women would bring bundles of wood on their heads for the fire, which was lit up every night and around which the group dance and songfest were held. There is nothing like it today; since Israel occupied the Galilee, people bear only ill will and jealousy toward each other."

The narrator asks his father to sell beloved land in order to send him to the U.S. for medical school. His father throws a shoe at him. He picks up the shoe and returns it. It is thrown again. He repeats this until his sister speaks to his father who finally laughs and agrees, hopelessly, despairingly perhaps, but understanding the need to proceed.

People have been modernized out of their land, overwhelmed by Western military technology and organization. But those people are more than catching up in the area of communication — assuming that is that anyone in the West still reads.

##

Disclaimer: The author does work for the publisher of this book, but that work does not include book reviews.

Revealed: Energy Transfer Partners’ 'Pipeline-for-Prostitute' Landman

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

By Steve Horn and David Goodner

A DeSmog investigation has uncovered the identity of a land agent and the contract company he works with that allegedly offered to buy an Iowa farmer the services of two teenage sex workers in exchange for access to his land to build the controversial proposed Dakota Access pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners.

Urging a 'Surge' Against Insurgents -- Again

Resurgence of the 'Surge' Myth

Editor Note: Official Washington loves the story – the Iraq War was failing until President George W. Bush bravely ordered a “surge” in 2007 that won the war, but President Obama squandered the victory, requiring a new “surge” now. Except the narrative is dangerous make-believe.

By Ray McGovern

As American politicians and editorial writers resume their tough talk about sending more U.S. troops into Iraq, they are resurrecting the “successful surge” myth, the claim that President George W. Bush’s dispatch of 30,000 more soldiers in 2007 somehow “won” the war – a storyline that is beloved by the neocons because it somewhat lets them off the hook for starting the disaster in the first place.

Nuclear Realism

By Robert C. Koehler

There’s a category of political intellectuals who proudly proclaim themselves “realists,” then proceed to defend and advance a deeply faith-based agenda that centers on the ongoing necessity to prepare for war, including nuclear war.

These intellectuals, as they defend the military-industrial status quo (which often supports them financially), have made themselves the spokespersons for a deep human cancer: a soul cancer. When we prepare for war, we honor a profoundly embedded death wish; indeed, we assume we can exploit it for our own advantage. We can’t, of course. War and hatred link all of us; we can’t dehumanize, then proceed to murder, “the enemy” without doing the same, ultimately, to ourselves.

That isn’t to say there’s an easy way out of the mess we find ourselves in, here in the 21st century. Indeed, I see only one way out: a critical mass of humanity coming to its senses and groping for a way to create a peace that that has more resonance than war. We don’t have much political leadership around this, especially among the planet’s dominant — and nuclear-armed — nation states. But there is some.

Michael Klare: Superpower in Distress

Think of this as a little imperial folly update -- and here's the backstory.  In the years after invading Iraq and disbanding Saddam Hussein’s military, the U.S.

Catch 22 at the German Embassy

by ALYSSA ROHRICT

A terrifying group of four miscreants descended upon the German Embassy on Tuesday, demanding all number of ludicrous things and terrorizing embassy staff with their homemade cardboard signs and left-wing propaganda. The four hippie commies who smugly arrived by bike and on foot, stood outside of the embassy gates, menacingly waving at passersby and occasionally sitting in the shade to escape the hot D.C. sun. Rightly, the rowdy bunch was immediately met by an Embassy security guard and questioned and eventually told, “Fine, you can stay here, but don’t cause any trouble.”

When the group of delinquents asked to speak with someone in the Embassy for a number of minutes and deliver a petition, they were told that everyone had left for the day – at 3pm – and that no one was available inside to hear them. “You should make an appointment,” another security guard told the group, yet the hoodlums argued that requests for appointments via phone and email the week prior were rejected. And strangely, even though everyone had left work at the embassy for the day, many BMWs and all kinds of fancy convertibles were seen leaving the embassy gates in the hours that followed. Since everyone from the embassy had already left, these BMW-driving folk must have just constituted the apparently well-paid janitorial staff.

Memorial Day 2015: Antiwar Veterans Join the Conversation at the Vietnam Wall

By John Grant


Anthropologists have found that in traditional societies, memory becomes attached to places.

T.M. Luhrmann, New York Times Op-ed May 25, 2015


Corporate Welfare Fails to Deliver the Jobs: The Sad Case of Start-Up NY

For several decades, state and local governments have been showering private businesses with tax breaks and direct subsidies based on the theory that this practice fosters economic development and, therefore, job growth.  But does it?  New York State’s experience indicates that, when it comes to producing jobs, corporate welfare programs are a bad investment.

Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

By Norman Solomon, ExposeFacts

CIA

A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency.

ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.

As early as 2000, Sterling was reaching out toward Capitol Hill about his concerns. He received a positive response from House member Julian Dixon (D-Calif.), a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who expressed interest in pursuing the matter of racial discrimination at the CIA and contacted the agency about his case, Sterling says. But the 20-year member of Congress died from a heart attack on Dec. 8, 2000.

Sterling recalls getting special firing treatment in early 2002 from John Brennan, then a high-ranking CIA executive, now the agency’s director and a close adviser to President Obama: “He personally came down to the administrative office to tell me that I was fired. Someone told me that, ‘Well, you pulled on Superman’s cape.’”

Yemeni man granted permission to continue case against German government over role in US drone strikes

From REPRIEVE
 
A German court has granted ‘immediate permission to appeal’ to a Yemeni man in his case seeking to expose and put an end to the German government’s role in the U.S. covert drone programme in Yemen.
 
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Sana’a who had two relatives killed in a 2012 drone strike, had his evidence heard in a Cologne court today. Mr bin Ali Jaber - represented by international human rights charity Reprieve and its local partner the European Center for Human Rights (ECCHR) brought the case against Germany, following revelations that Ramstein air base is crucial to facilitating American covert drone strikes in Yemen.

Our Chance to Aid and Encourage Whistleblowers

We would know much less about what our governments do were it not for those who are part of our governments until something becomes too horrible for their moral threshold, and who see a means available to inform the public. What this fact says about the proportion of governmental activity that is shameful is worth considering.

Whistleblowers in general have the broad support of the public. Even their biggest enemies got into office by falsely promising to defend and honor them. But individual whistleblowers are often effectively demonized by the corporate media while being persecuted and prosecuted by the government they have assisted.

There may be something of a trend toward recognizing that Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning have done us all a service, but they remain in prison or exile or effectively under house arrest. Jeffrey Sterling followed the steps through proper channels that whistleblowers are advised they should take, and now he's in prison, and what he informed Congress of (information critical to U.S. self-governance) remains largely unknown to the public.

Sterling's conviction on the basis of metadata (whom he called, for how many minutes, but not what was said) also sends a message to potential whistleblowers that even the appearance of acting on their moral and legal responsibility to uphold the law could land them in prison. And of course Congress's failure to act on Sterling's information sends the message that "proper channels" lead nowhere.

What's needed is a global movement that tells whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers that we've got their backs, that we will spread awareness far and wide of what they have risked their necks to reveal, that we will celebrate and honor their courage, and that we will do everything in our power to defend them against government retribution and misguided public condemnation.

So, here's the plan. During the week of June 1-7, all over the world, we stand up for truth by joining in the events and using the resources created at StandUpForTruth.org. The organizations and individuals behind this plan include ExposeFacts, Freedom of the Press Foundation, International Modern Media Institute, Networkers SouthNorth, RootsAction.org, and Daniel Ellsberg.

People around the world are being invited, individually or as a group, to participate in any of a series of public webcasts / phone calls with whistleblowers and their supporters. (Click the names for full biographies.)

Former State Dept. official Matthew Hohand author and RootsAction campaigner David Swansonwill be on a webcast / phone call at 9 pm ET (Eastern Time, GMT -5) on June 2nd.

Journalist, activist, and lawyer Trevor Timmand investigative journalist Tim Shorrockwill answer your questions at 9 pm ET on June 3rd.

Director of media for the Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseiniand author and law professor Marjorie Cohnwill speak at 9 pm ET on June 4th.

NSA whistleblower William Binneyand NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebewill take your questions and tell their stories at 8 pm ET on June 5th.

Media critic and RootsAction cofounder Jeff Cohenand author and communications professor Robert McChesneywill be up at 9 pm ET on June 5th for the second call of the night's doubleheader.

Journalist Kevin Gosztolaand EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayowill be on the final webcast at 5 pm ET on June 6th.

The webcasts will each last 60 minutes. To listen and type in questions, just point your web browser to http://cast.teletownhall.us/web_client/?id=roots_action_organd turn up your volume. Everyone is encouraged to use the webcast and to type in questions there. If you can't use a web browser, you can phone in. Just call 1-844-472-8237 (toll-free in U.S.) You can also ask these whistleblowers and truth tellers questions beforehand or during the webcasts by tweeting them to @Roots_Action -- You can even start asking questions right now.

You can also catch Bill Binney and Marcy Wheeler live in Chicago on June 2nd, and Binney in Minneapolis/St. Paul on June 3rd, or be part of this amazing artistic creation in Los Angeles on June 6th.

Also check out theevents planned for Europe with Thomas Drake, Dan Ellsberg, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, and Norman Solomon. They will deliver this petition in Berlin. If you sign it now your name and comment will be part of the presentation.

StandUpForTruth is encouraging everyone to plan your own events, during the first week of June or any other time. Here are some resources, some ideas for what to do:

Here are some ways to get started. Like this FaceBook page. Then add your photo to it holding a piece of paper reading "Stand Up For Truth." Or retweet this tweet. It all helps to spread the word, which seems like the least we can do.

Find an event near you, or create an event for June 1-7 or later. We'll help you promote it.<--break- />

Speaking Events

2015

August 27, Chicago

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