Documents: Cheniere Fuels ALEC’s New Push for Fracked Gas Exports

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Today, legislative and lobbyist members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) voted on model legislation promoting both exports of gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)

Israel News - Aug 1, 2014


Israel, Hamas agree on 72-hour humanitarian Gaza ceasefire - Yahoo News


Text of the UN and US Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Cease-fire Announcement in Gaza - US State Department


Israel calls up 16,000 reservists as Netanyahu vows to destroy Hamas tunnels 'with or without a cease-fire' - Fox News


Netanyahu Says 'Protective Edge' Goal is Demilitarization of Gaza - Algemeiner.com


Netanyahu's vision for Gaza: Internationally supervised demilitarization - Haaretz


Op-Ed of Shaul Mofaz, Chairman of the Kadima party: Gaza demilitarization is vital - Israel Hayom


Disarm Gaza? Why Israel's idea deserves a look. - CSMonitor.com


Report: U.S. Has Sold Ammunition to Israel Since Start of Gaza Conflict - ABC News


US Senate Passes Resolution In Support of Israel - The Times of Israel


US Senate: Text of the resolution supporting Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas, and for other purposes - Congress.gov | Library of Congress


Arab Leaders Silent, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel - NYTimes.com


Cairo denies Hamas an audience without Fatah umbrella - JPost


Egyptian media reveals just how isolated Hamas is - The Washington Post


Qatari tech helps Hamas in tunnels, rockets: Expert - The Times of Israel


Dark Side of UNRWA Emerges with Discovery of Terror Tunnel Hidden Inside a Booby-Trapped Clinic, Three IDF Soldiers Were Killed - The Tower


UNRWA spokesman denies handing rockets over to Hamas - The Times of Israel


Nunn’s validation of Islamic Relief USA reveals system-wide failure - Money Jihad


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Mohammed Deif: elusive Hamas military chief defying Israel - Yahoo News


Who is Hamas’ military chief Mohammed Deif aka ‘Phantom’? - Al Akhbar English


Deif the Islamic holy warrior unites Hamas - The Times of Israel


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Mohammed Deif to Israel: 'Our soldiers run toward martyrdom like yours flee from death’ - Israel Matzav


TRANSCRIPT: Text of address by Muhammad Al-Daif, Hamas General Commander of the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades - NODISINFO


Hamas' Armed Wing in Numbers: IHS Jane’s listed the group as having 13,000 well-trained and well-equipped personnel - Business Insider


Intelligence report: The Hamas collective, Hamas’s decision making is a joint process of its religious council and political and military wings - JPost


Gaza crisis: Who's who in Hamas - CNN.com


Netanyahu 'Nixed' Idea of Killing Hamas Leaders - Arutz Sheva


Tunnels and rockets, but no top brass: Why Hamas' leadership is still alive - Ynetnews


Hamas:Tip of the Muslim Brotherhood spear, Haniyeh pointed out that it “was the Jihadi movement of the Brotherhood, with a Palestinian face” - Center for Security Policy


VIDEO: IDF footage: 12 Examples of Hamas Firing Rockets from Civilian Areas - YouTube


VIDEO: IDF Forces Find & Destroy Terror Tunnel In Gaza Mosque - YouTube


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NYT on why it hasn’t shown photos of Hamas fighters: We don’t have any - Jewish Journal


In LA Times Gaza-Israel Photo Slideshow, Hamas Not in Picture - CAMERA


Hamas images missing from the Gaza war: If journalists are threatened, their news outlets should be out front saying so - Jewish Journal


Hamas threatening journalists in Gaza who expose abuse of civilians - The Times of Israel


Trapped in Gaza: How Hamas punishes reporters for the truth - The Australian


Journalists threatened by Hamas for reporting use of human shields - JPost


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

A Watershed Moment in Human History – The Slaughter in Gaza and Humankind’s Response

This moment in history is a watershed moment for Humankind.  It has been triggered by the senseless and premeditated extermination of innocent and largely defenseless children, women and men in the largest open-air concentration camp on earth called Gaza by an overwhelming force for only one purpose: making life itself unbearable.

 

The response to and condemnation of what I have no name for is universal. It transcends all political, ideological, religous, national, continental, gender and age boundaries. It is unique as it is not based on gaining any advantages or fighting for or against anything. It simply is the outpouring of everything that is good within  human beings. It is the universal expression of what we really are. Sentient, loving, caring, compassionate creatures.

 

Whoops! What crisis?: Time to Go on the Offensive to Improve, not just Save Social Security and Medicare

By Dave Lindorff 


The wind has suddenly been knocked out of sails of those critics of Social Security and Medicare in Washington -- Republican and Democrat -- who have for years been warning direly that the two programs were going bust. Suddenly their favored “rescue” plans for these crucial programs -- turning to a stingier way of calculating the annual inflation adjustment, raising the retirement age, and even reducing benefits for Social Security, and cutting benefits for Medicare -- don’t make sense to anyone.


Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming!


Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming!

http://peoplesclimate.org/peace/appeal

We are at a crossroads, faced with a climate crisis that threatens to end our world as we know it.

The signs of climate change are all around us.  They include—increasingly severe weather everywhere (floods, heat waves, droughts, cyclones and wildfires), as well as melting polar ice and glaciers, rising acidic oceans, and thawing of Siberian permafrost, which threatens release of huge, devastating, methane gas emissions.

If we pursue business as usual we face a world of food shortages caused by drought,  increasing disease and deaths, and displacement from vast areas of flooded and uninhabitable terrain. We must do all in our power to stop greenhouse gas emissions, counteract the effects, and prevent the increase of global warming.

Stop the War on Mother EarthBut the developing climate emergency does not exist in isolation. And we must understand and confront the social and economic context that produced and accompanies it: war and unlimited military expenditures, corporate globalization, vast social inequality and racism.

  • The US military is the single greatest institutional producer of greenhouse gases in the world.
  • Wars by their very nature destroy the environment and burn and release massive amounts of greenhouse gases. Recent military mobilizations are pouring huge amounts of new carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
  • The vast expenditures now consumed by military machines are the very resources needed for a crash program to rapidly create a renewable energy infrastructure and put millions of people to work in green jobs.
  • Wars and military buildup are in large part dedicated to controlling the fossil fuel energy sources on which our present model of global economic development and endless growth depend. Resort to armed conflict is increasing as fossil fuels become more expensive and difficult to extract, transport and produce.
  • Nuclear weapons, like climate change, threaten to destroy the world. There are nine nuclear-armed nations and 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world. With ten wars and 34 limited conflicts now occurring, the chance of any one of them escalating to nuclear war and its unthinkable human and environmental impact is an ever-present specter.  The nuclear powers are bound, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to disarm all nuclear weapons everywhere, but after 44 years, they have not begun comprehensive negotiations.  In the words of President Kennedy, we must “end these weapons of mass destruction, before they end us.”
  • Corporate dominance and extreme social inequality are intrinsic to our expansionist global economic model.
  • The UN Millennium Development Goals in conjunction with other forces have helped lift the poorest billion of humanity out of extreme poverty. The damage now coming as a result of climate change threatens to erase that progress.
  • The people most affected by climate change are those with the fewest resources to deal with it.  With increasing environmental destruction, droughts, floods, and famine, there will be massive displacement of impoverished and desperate people leading to forced migration and regional hostilities.  Within the U.S., the people most affected include those in prison or nursing homes and others who lack resources to leave their homes or institutions in storms like Katrina and Sandy.
  • Two examples of long-term-drought-induced Climate Wars are the tragedies in Somalia and Syria. In the latter case, a five-year drought was one of the contributors to an ongoing civil war.  Somalia has been at war for twenty years, and that conflict has also embroiled neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
  • Rather than taking emergency measures to address climate change and the needs of those impacted now, our military is preparing to control these displacements to protect “US interests”.

We who have opposed the toxic, polluting, life- and earth-destroying wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the existential threat of nuclear weapons are in total support of the People’s Climate March and its vision of a world without fossil fuels and the fires of war. We will march, we will demand divestment and fight denial, we will battle the pollution of Big Money, and we will join in demanding that the Obama administration step forward to achieve a 2015 global treaty to phase out greenhouse gas emissions.

We call on all who want to preserve our planet to form a Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming Contingent on September 21.  We organize under the following principles:

  • We can’t effectively address climate change without ending war and militarism;
  • We can’t end war without ending the fossil fuel energy system;
  • We can’t address social injustice unless we stop using war to safeguard an economic infrastructure (based on fossil fuels) that produces and requires vast social inequality.
  • We can’t end war unless we address the systemic inequality and corporate domination that requires it.
  • We must insist that the transition to a sustainable economy and green jobs not be accomplished at the expense of those now employed in the fossil fuel and military sectors and the communities in which they work and live.  Energy and armament corporations should bear the lion’s share of the social cost to make that transition a just one.

We call on our government

  • To undertake an emergency program to make all our cities energy efficient and to create a new energy grid based on renewable energy sources.
  • To end federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industries—coal, gas, oil and industrial biomass
  • THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS GATHER IN LONDON'S HYDE PARK TO DEMONSTRATEAGAINST POSSIBLE MILITARY STRIKE ON IRAQ.To end the 2005 “Cheney exemption” to the Clean Water Act for gas hydraulic fracking, which threatens clean water supplies to our people in some 23 states. Strictly enforce the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts of 1970, in all energy production.
  • To stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including the Keystone pipeline project, and to rapidly end fracking projects and the awarding of any new offshore drilling contracts.
  • To build a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy future and end subsidies for nuclear power. Nuclear power is not a green alternative energy, results in large amounts of radioactive nuclear waste, and contributes to the global proliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • To implement a financial transaction tax to fund the new solar, wind, hydro, and efficiency programs we need globally and to help clean up the toxic mess of fossil and nuclear destruction.
  • To join with all nuclear powers to abide by their treaty commitments and to move quickly toward mutual abolition of all nuclear weapons as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • To re-direct military spending to the creation of millions of green jobs and to research and develop a rapid but just transition from fossil fuels to non-polluting energy sources.
  • To stop the military protection of fossil fuel interests in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
  • To bring all our troops home now from Afghanistan and Iraq, reject military attacks in Iraq, Syria and Iran, and use the billions saved to invest in energy efficient mass transit, schools, affordable housing and sustainable union-standard jobs.
  • To redefine the mission of U.S. military forces as defense of the United States instead of achieving “Full Spectrum Dominance” in the service of global corporations, the fossil fuel industry, and the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against, thereby also allowing closure of most of our 1,000 or more foreign military bases.
  • To stop blocking the proposals for effective international action on climate change being put forward by the Group of 77 and other developing countries, starting at the UN on September 23, 2014.  All countries must do something, but the countries which are most responsible for carbon emissions have the larger responsibility to commit resources, resulting in an 85% cut in greenhouse gases by 2050.   The wealthier developed countries should provide $100 billion to an international fund for green industrial development in less developed countries.

We can’t afford the greenhouse gas emissions arising from the way we live and from war and preparation for war. And we can’t afford the climate of mistrust and non-cooperation that military threats and intervention foster.

To successfully avert worst-case climate disaster we will need international agreements and cooperation on a scale not seen in the past; we need new approaches in order to demilitarize US foreign policy and humanize domestic policy.

We believe that most Americans will welcome these positive changes. Working together, peace, climate and social justice activists can help make this happen.

We see September 21st as the coming together of the peace, climate and social justice movements and the beginning of a groundswell of public involvement in the creation of a more peaceful, sustainable and just world.

Ed Aguilar, Coalition for Peace Action
Rosalie Anders, Massachusetts Peace Action & 350 Massachusetts
Jim Barton, North Carolina Peace Action
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Leslie Cagan, People’s Climate March
Michael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the War
Julie Enslow, Wisconsin Peace Action
Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee
Cole Harrison, Massachusetts Peace Action
Tom Hayden, Peace and Justice Resource Center
Patricia Hynes, Traprock Center for Peace & Justice
Rosemary Kean, Dorchester People for Peace
Judith LeBlanc, Peace Action
Duncan McFarland, United for Justice with Peace (Greater Boston)
Siri Margerin, UnIted for Peace and Justice & Civilian Soldier Alliance
Marty Nathan, Climate Action NOW!
Paul Shannon, American Friends Service Committee
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
David Swanson, World Beyond War
Susan Theberge, Climate Action NOW!

(organizations for identification only)

The "War on the Environment" Turns Out to Actually Be War


War and preparations for war are -- although you'll never hear it from well-funded environmental groups -- huge causes of environmental destruction (not to mention wasters of resources that could be used for environmental protection beyond our wildest dreams).  That case is made at http://worldbeyondwar.org/environment

Embedded below is a great new summary by Pat Hynes of what we know on this matter, including this interesting tidbit:

"The projected full costs of the Iraq War (estimated $3 trillion) would cover 'all of the global investments in renewable power generation' needed between now and 2030 to reverse global warming trends."

Of course war preparations are far more costly than wars.  The United States spends about $1 trillion per year, and the rest of the world combined another $1 trillion.  The world could halt military spending for a year and a half and instead fund the actual defense of the world against the actual danger of global warming. 
 

The “Invisible Casualty of War”: The Environmental Destruction of U.S. Militarism

TODAY AT 12PM: ARTISTS & ACTIVISTS STAGE "MARCH OF DEAD" ON ISRAELI CONSULATE

Masked & Black-Clad Mourners will March on Consulate in Memorial for Thousand Gazans Killed

 

NEW YORK, NY — Members of the arts and activism collective We Will Not Be Silent will march upon the Israeli consulate at 12pm EST today, Thursday July 31, 2014. Donned in black clothing and face masks, the group hopes to memorialize the names of the Palestinians who have lost their lives in the recent bombardments of the Gaza strip.

We Will not Be Silent has issued the following statement in advance of today's march:


"
In the name of decency we must act. Artists and activists, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and atheists, we join together to create an arresting visual presence on the streets of NYC. We carry the names of the dead in Gaza. We march to the Israeli Consulate. We are the March of The Dead.
 
"We will create a representation of the carnage from the war crimes perpetrated by the State of Israel on the civilian population of Palestinians in Gaza. 
 
"'We will not be silent...we are your bad conscience...we will not leave you in peace.' - The White Rose resistance movement against Nazi Germany"

 
WHAT: Protest march on Israeli Consulate, creative visuals.

WHEN: 
Thursday, July 31st, 12PM EST

WHERE: Israeli Consulate, 800 2nd Ave, New York, NY  
 

 

###


WE WILL NOT BE SILENT is an artist/activist collective that has been in existence since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and emboldened on signs held up in public spaces, we respond to current social justice issues, encouraging creative, direct public-actions where many people can participate.

$10,000 Bail Reduced to $100 for 2 Drone Resisters

Vietnam Vet Drone Resister's Trial Ongoing in DeWitt Town Court

 Syracuse July 31, 2014 Vietnam Veteran and Buffalo resident Russell Brown’s trial began today in DeWitt Town Court in East Syracuse.  Mr. Brown is representing himself and is facing charges stemming from his arrest during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, on April 28, 2013. Mr. Brown laid down peacefully with red paint to symbolize the death of drone victims in a roadway across from the Airbase. He is charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration (OGA), a misdemeanor carrying up to a year incarceration and up to $1000 fine, as well as Disorderly Conduct charge, a violation.

Mr. Brown’s trial follows about a dozen trials since 2011 in the DeWitt Town Court and  is one of 20 upcoming trials of drone resisters working with Upstate Drone Action there.

Judge David S. Gideon imposed an Order of Protection (OOP) on Mr Brown on behalf of Colonel Greg Semmel, the Hancock commandant.  The OOPs have been imposed on more than 50 nonviolent civil resisters arrested at the Hancock Reaper drone hub in DeWitt since October 2012. Under oath, a military official acknowledged that the protesters were acting nonviolently and posed no threat to the Airbase or military personnel.

Before a six-person jury,  defense witness Jessica Azulay testified on Wednesday that Mr. Brown was well beyond the military base and was not obstructing traffic as the roadway had been blocked by local police ahead of the demonstration.  She spoke in support of his constitutional right to protest.

Mr Brown said that the wars of the last decade brought back his experiences in Vietnam. “Lying in that road was the most peaceful moment I experienced since I left Vietnam,” he said.

                                                                                    ***

In other news of drone resistance, two upstate drone resisters had their bail drastically reduced after being arrested on July 23 outside Hancock.  Clare Grady of the Ithaca Catholic Worker and Martha Hennessy from New York Catholic Worker had been charged with violating an Order of Protection.  Judge Jokl of the DeWitt Town Court set their bail at $10,000 each. During a bail reduction hearing Monday Ms. Hennessy’s bail was reduced to $100.  Yesterday, Ms. Grady’s bail was also reduced to $100. Both women have been released, having been incarcerated for several days in the Onondaga County Justice Center.

Three  other co-defendants, Joan Pleune, 75 year-old, Civil Rights Movement Freedom Rider, and NYC Catholic Workers Erica Brock and Felton Davis remain in jail on $2,500 bail each. Ms. Pleune has a bail reduction hearing Thursday morning in Syracuse.

                                                                                            ***

Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, is a domestic hub for drone assassinations, support and operation, particularly in Afghanistan. The Niagara Falls Air Base is also embarking on a mission to operate weaponized drones.

The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars [also known as Upstate Drone Action], supported by local organizations such as the Western NY Peace Center, works nonviolently to stop the scourge of assassination and community terror perpetrated by weaponized drones.  The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones is in coalition with the global movement to end the drone assassinations and to stop US imperialism and militarization.

Another Irish Peace Activist To Be Arrest – read his statement

published on Shannonwatch 30 July 2014
under the title ‘Arrest of Niall Farrell of GAAW’

 

Photo, source:
An airport police officer asks Niall and Margaretta to leave the runway on Sept 1st 2013

 

Should Israel Teach the Holocaust Less?

Humans almost invariably imagine humans to be far more imaginative and original than they are. But most of our ideas come from (often imperfect and improvised) imitation. And even more powerful than our tendency to imitate is our inability to refrain from imitating, to shake an idea out of our heads once it's there, to "not think of an elephant."

Anthropologists have found cultures whose members cannot conceive of killing. "Why won't you shoot an arrow at those slave raiders?" "Because it would kill them." 

In Western culture, children hear of killing in fairy tales, cartoons, Harry Potter books, video games, the TV news, the newspaper, the games played in the park.  It's everywhere.  Usually it's frowned upon, although often a distinction is made between bad killing by bad guys and good killing by good guys, or inexplicable random killing and killing justified and sanctified by bitter revenge.

But even when a behavior is frowned upon, the listener or viewer has now heard of that behavior.  There have been studies of children's responses to stories and television dramas in which fictional children misbehave for three-quarters of the episode and then learn an important moral lesson at the end.  Guess what?  Kids don't retroactively view the whole story as a package and wipe the bad behavior out of their minds.  Instead they display a tendency to try out the behavior demonstrated to them in so many of the isolated moments that they lived while watching or listening to the story.

Humans also almost invariably imagine humans to be far kinder and far more selfless than they are. Most of us very much want others to be kind to us, and we try our best to be kind to others. So, when we see behaviors and institutions that cause horrendous suffering, we like to imagine there is a rational cause, a greater good, or that the explanation is incompetence or stupidity -- anything other than the most obvious explanation: vicious, evil sadism.

We are often encouraged to picture vicious cruelty and irrational evil in certain foreign groups of humans. But usually this perspective is intended to help us avoid seeing cruelty in those who are supposedly like ourselves.

These thoughts arise as I'm confronted by the polling showing that 95% of Israelis deem the slaughter of Gazans to be just, and the realization that for many in Israel "just" is a rather disgusting euphemism for "satisfyingly sadistic."  People are sitting on hills watching the missiles hit the homes, some of them telling cameras they want everyone killed, and then explaining that their thoughts are "a little bit fascist." 

This week we'll be remembering Harry Truman's bombing of Japan with nuclear weapons, and we'll be told that he must have believed those acts of mass murder would help end the war, even though the evidence shows he knew otherwise. Truman had earlier advocated aiding the Russians or the Germans, whoever was losing, so that as many people as possible would die, he said.  Top U.S. military officials wanted Japan cleansed of all human life.  The most likely explanation for the nukes, namely that Truman viewed killing lots of Japanese as an advantage to be weighed along with impressing the Russians and so forth, is too ugly, so we turn away.  We even have to turn away from his own statement on the occasion, which justified the bombing in terms of revenge, not in terms of ending the war.

Also this week we'll mark 50 years since the Gulf of Tonkin fraud.  We like to imagine such incidents, even when they result in the deaths of 4 million foreigners, as misunderstandings.  But during the course of the savagery that followed, how was progress gauged?  That's right: by body counts. 

Examples of evil policies, in one's own or other parts of the world, flood in the moment you begin to look for them.  The evidence is clear that locking kids up in juvenile prisons makes them more likely, not less likely, to grow into criminals. But we just go on locking them up for other motives we don't care to examine too closely.  We've learned what it's impolite to mention.  Support for wars in Afghanistan or Iraq is discussed on television in terms of "strategic interests" and other such blather, but the counter-demonstrators across the street from a peace rally sometimes have different desires, including the death of foreigners -- and of the peace activists with them.

Courageous peace activists in Israel have been facing hostile counter-demonstrations from those in their society who have moved in a different direction

There are many reasons why I shouldn't make any observation on Israeli society, beginning with the fact that I know very little about it.  But when a nation is continually engaging in the most horrific and massive crimes, using weapons and criminal immunity provided by my nation, and protests are raging around the earth, when the news is packed with information, analysis, propaganda, and poisonous pontificating, when the peace meetings I go to discuss the matter at great length, when the guests on my radio show and the books I read and Israelis I meet begin to inform me a little, and when the problem appears enormous and glaring but guarded by a protection of intimidation and obedience, then I think tossing an idea into the mix may be justified, despite being dramatically more impolite by U.S. standards than criticizing Harry Truman or LBJ.

Israel is a nation where children grow up learning about the holocaust, marking the holocaust with holidays, planning trips to Germany to visit the camps.  U.S. children dress up as Pilgrims and Indians, but nobody tells them that the Pilgrims ended up murdering the Indians, or what it was like to be an Indian child preparing to be murdered or watching your loved ones murdered.  The U.S. origin story is, appropriately enough, one of feasting, not one of genocide.  I'm speaking of how it is told, of course, rather than what actually happened. 

To criticize the Israeli government for its wars, even though I also criticize every other government for their wars, generates inevitable and truly stupid accusations of anti-Semitism.  But criticizing the teaching of the holocaust, which I've never done before, seems likely to go beyond that into an area of accusations of holocaust denial.  I have, of course, been there.  I've been accused of denying the holocaust for opposing bombing Iran because someone in Iran supposedly denied the holocaust.  I've been accused of denying the holocaust for criticizing World War II, even though the actions I express a wish had been taken include opposing fascism in its early years instead of waiting, defunding the Nazis rather than supporting them as preferable to Communists, and finding homes for Jewish refugees when they needed them, rather than turning them away.  But this is all ridiculously dumb: denying the holocaust and flooding society with its ubiquitous presence are not the only two choices, any more than leveling people's homes in Gaza and "doing nothing" are the only two choices.

To say that people are behaving like Nazis is not to say that they are exactly identical to Nazis, any more than to say that your child's piano playing is exactly like Mozart.  Without question, Nazism is a source of imitation for rightwingers around the world, including in Israel.  Might a lesser focus on its significance be helpful?  Would a greater emphasis on peace studies do any harm?

When Irving Berlin Called Warmakers Worse Than the Devil, and Everybody Sang

From this wonderful song book:

By Irving Berlin in 1914 (100 years ago):
 

Stay Down Here Where You Belong

Down below
Down below
Sat the Devil talking to his son
Who wanted to go
Up above
Up above
He cried, "It's getting too warm for me down here and so
I'm going up on Earth where I can have a little fun”.
The Devil simply shook his head and answered his son:
Stay down here where you belong
The folks who live above you don't know right from wrong.
To please their kings they've all gone out to war
And not a one of them knows what he's fighting for.
Way up above they say that I'm a Devil and I'm bad
Kings up there are bigger devils than your dad.
They're breaking the hearts of mothers
Making butchers out of brothers
You'll find more hell up there than there is
down below.
Kings up there
They don't care
For the mothers who must stay at home
Their sorrows to bear
Stay at home
Don't you roam
Although it's warm down below,
you'll find it's warmer up there
If e'er you went up there, my son,
I know you'd be surprised
You'd find a lot of people are not civilized.

Another one:

The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
His lust is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps—
His night is marching on.
I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal;
Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
Lo, Greed is marching on!"
We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;
Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
Our god is marching on!
In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom—and for others' goods an itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich—
Our god is marching on.

And one more:

Bring Back My Daddy To Me

A sweet little girl, with bright golden curls,
Sat playing with toys on the floor,
Her dad went away, to enter the fray,
At the start of this long bitter war;
Her mother said, "Dear your birthday is near,
Tomorrow your presents I'll buy."
The dear little child, quickly looked up and smiled,
And said with a tear in her eye:
"I don't want a dress or a do-ly,
'Cause dollies get broken 'round here,
I don't want the skates, the books or the slates,
You bought for my birthday last year;
If you'll bring the present I ask for,
Dear Mother, how happy I'll be;
You can give all my toys To some poor girls and boys,
But bring back my Daddy to me!"

Jobless Kabul and the Works of War

By Kathy Kelly

Kabul—Last week, here in Kabul, the Afghan Peace Volunteers welcomed activist Carmen Trotta, from New York, who has lived in close community with impoverished people in his city for the past 25 years, serving meals, sharing housing, and offering hospitality to the best of his ability.  Put simply and in its own words, his community, founded by Dorothy Day, exists to practice “the works of mercy” and to “end the works of war.” We wanted to hear Carmen’s first impressions of traveling the streets of Kabul on his way from the airport to the working class neighborhood where he’ll be staying as the APVs’ welcome guest.

He said it was the first time he’d seen the streets of any city so crowded with people who have no work.

Carmen had noticed men sitting in wheelbarrows, on curb sides, and along sidewalks, unemployed, some of them waiting for a day labor opportunity that might or might not come. Dr. Hakim, the APV’s mentor, quoted Carmen the relevant statistics: the CIA World Fact Book uses research from 2008 to put Afghanistan’s unemployment rate at 35% - just under the figure of 36% of Afghans living beneath the poverty level.  That’s the CIA’s unemployment figure - Catherine James, writing in The Asian Reviewthis past March, noted that “the Afghan Chamber of Commerce puts it at 40%, the World Bank measures it at 56% and Afghanistan’s labor leaders put it at a shocking 86%.”

Overall statistics for Afghanistan are grim. A recent article in the UK’s Independent reported that one million children under five are acutely malnourished, 54 per cent of girls do not go to school and war has displaced 630,000 Afghans within their own country. Relentlessly, the fighting continues. Now, on average, 40 children are maimed or killed in fighting every week. 

Rustom Ali, a cobbler – a shoemaker, born here in Kabul – visited with me the day after Carmen’s arrival, and explained more about employment in his city, and the prospects for Afghans surviving this latest decade out of a near-half-century of near-constant foreign invasion.  He had to find time out of a 12 hour workday to meet with me.

Rustom mends shoes, or waits for shoes to mend, 7 days a week, from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., at the roadside. His “shop” consists of a box containing equipment and a primitive, portable overhead shelter. He sits on a ledge, under the blazing sun, (or in freezing cold during Afghanistan’s harsh winter).  

Each day he earns about 250 Afghanis, equivalent to roughly four and a half dollars in U.S. money.  Dependent on him for food and shelter are his wife Fatima, his daughter Narghis (age 7), and five-year-old Mehdi, his son; Rustom’s father also lives with them and has no work. Each day, the price of bread to feed the family is 100 Afghanis ($1.76).  Beyond supplying bread, rice, beans and oil, he must also pay for rent and gas. He will never be able to save money at this rate, despite his fierce yearning for a better future for his two children.

Twenty years ago, Rustom had hoped for a far different life for himself.  He had travelled to Iran and, although Iranians generally discriminated against Afghans, he was able to go to school, where he was an excellent student, always working part time as a cobbler. He enjoyed sports, and also liked learning English in his spare time. He showed me two notebooks he had begun then, filled with details about his family history and reflections about his life.

One day, when he was 18 years old and still living in Iran, a car carrying flowers to a wedding hit him as he crossed an intersection, catapulting him into the air.  He landed on his head.  After 48 days in hospital and then three more months spent recovering at home, he was finally able to walk and speak again.  His speech and memory are still affected by the accident.   

Rustom hired a lawyer, hoping a judge would compel the driver who caused the accident to pay some reparations.  But the driver was a native to Iran and Rustom was an Afghan.  “I endured great pain and permanent brain damage because of the accident,” he said, “But being treated as though I wasn’t a human being,” – the reaction of the Iranian court – “it was more painful.  Every day I could see this kind of discrimination against Afghans in Iran.”  And so he took his chances and returned to Kabul. 

When I asked Rustom about his greatest hopes for his own children, he said that he and his wife teach them, every day, never to discriminate against others the way he was discriminated against in Iran.  He had been sorely hurt when the courts there refused to see him, a foreigner, as a human being.

Abdulhai, an Afghan Peace Volunteer, translated between me and Rustom, having developed a friendship with Rustom since they first sat and talked several months ago. Abdulhai had confessed to Rustom that he was struggling with loneliness and sadness.  Rustom offered comfort and encouragement. He has great hopes for Abdulhai, who has, in his view, a future much brighter than so many here, given his enrolment in school and his interest in learning new skills.  Rustom said that after four years sitting daily in the same place waiting to repair shoes, Abdulhai was the first person to engage him in a genuine conversation.  

Dehumanization is central to war. Rustom Ali’s and Abdulhai’s friendship defies dehumanizing forces in their impoverished society, so battered by war makers ‘predatory ventures.

This morning, Carmen and Faiz, another APV member, took a long, early morning walk through a main street in the neighbourhood where we live.  By now, Carmen is recognizing faces and names.  He knows the bakers who’ve stopped their work to share a cup of tea with him.  Sayyaf, who lost both legs during civil war in Kabul and survives by selling glasses and mousetraps from a somewhat ramshackle cart, waved to Carmen with a broad smile and offered him a cup of tea.

As the U.S. cobbles together justifications for its ongoing, foolhardy war in Afghanistan, glimmers of hope persist in small communities like Carmen’s in New York and the APVs in Kabul.  They agitate against war.  They believe that doing the works of mercy helps us set aside the works of war.  And, they’re renewed, consistently, by solidarity with others longing to form humane relations and, as Carmen’s community puts it, “build a new world within the shell of the old.” 

Photo credit:  Abdulhai Safarali

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

Talk Nation Radio: Sarah Ali: Under the Missiles in Gaza, Palestine

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-sarah-ali-under-the-missiles-in-gaza-palestine

Sarah Ali is a Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip. She has lost friends and neighbors in the current war on Gaza. She speaks to us about conditions under the bombing.  Sarah Ali studied English and literature and currently is working as a teacher in Gaza City. She contributed a short story called "The Story of the Land" to the book Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine. We close the show by reading that story.

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://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

4 Great DC Events Not to Miss

Civil Disobedience at Israeli Embassy with CodePink
July 30 at 11am at Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Drive, N.W., Washington DC

Update: July 30: ADC has vigil for Gaza at the White House at 7pm.

August 1 Briefing on Gaza on Capitol Hill
http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4120

Peace Witnesses for Hiroshima and Nagasaki
with Jonah House Community, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and other friends from the Atlantic Life Community.
August 6 Nonviolent witness at the Pentagon. Meet on corner of Army-Navy Drive and Fern St. @ 11:45 a.m. Witness from Noon - 1:00 p.m.
August 9 Meet at 16th and H St. NW at 11:45 a.m. and process to White House for a Noon - 1:00 p.m. witness.

August 9, An Evening for a World Beyond War
http://warisacrime.org/content/august-9-dc-evening-world-beyond-war

Israel News - July 30, 2014

 

Hamas faces internal dissension: It summarily kills some 20 alleged “spies”, trigger for executions was a protest by neighborhood residents - The Jewish Press


Fatah allegedly appealed to Hamas to stop arresting its members, was told that detentions were carried out by individuals and were not Hamas official policy - jspacenews.com


THIRD Palestinian Rocket Arsenal Found At UNRWA School In Gaza - breitbart.com


Israel outraged over UNRWA turning over rockets to Hamas - JPost


Are UN Agencies Fighting for Human Rights or Supporting Terrorism? - Algemeiner.com


IDF: Islamic Jihad behind explosion at Gaza hospital and park, 10 dead and 40 wounded - www.jewishaz.com


PHOTO: IDF releases aerial photos of Palestinian misfired rockets hitting Gaza hospital and park - Twitter / IDFSpokesperson


Italian journalist’ tweet: Misfired rocket killed children yday in Shati, witness: Palestinian militants rushed and cleared debris - Israel Matzav


WSJ Journalists Delete Tweets About Gaza Hospital Hit by Errant Rocket - NewsBusters


Israel’s ambassador to U.S: 2,500 Rockets fired at Israel thus far, over 500 rockets fired at Israel landed back in Gaza - Jewish Telegraphic Agency


Israel: Hamas still has 5,000 rockets in its arsenal - usatoday.com


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

Israel pounds Gaza; Hamas rejects PLO's proposed cease-fire - LA Times


Hamas rulers have presented a list of demands to stop their fire on Israel in the Gaza war - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Full Interview with Hamas leader Mashaal - THIRTEEN


In recorded message Hamas military chief Deif says: Our fighters are eager for death, will not stop attacks until Israel lifts its blockage of Gaza - The Times of Israel


Gaza Crisis: Hamas Military Wing Release Video of Covert Tunnel Raid Which Killed Five IDF Soldiers - Yahoo News UK


VIDEO: Hamas Military Wing Release Video of Covert Tunnel Raid Which Killed Five IDF Soldiers - YouTube


Gaza Crisis: Five Palestinian Militants Killed Infiltrating Israel after Hamas Reject Ceasefire - ibtimes.co.uk


Americans blame Hamas over Israel for the fighting in Gaza by a roughly 2-1 margin, poll finds - LA Times


POLL: Hamas Seen as More to Blame Than Israel for Current Violence - Pew Research Center for the People and the Press


POLL: Over 90% of Jewish Israelis say Gaza op justified - The Times of Israel


U.S., Israel Strongly Decry Obama-Netanyahu Transcript as Crude Fake - NBC News.com


TRANSCRIPT: Reported transcript between Obama and Netanyahu - MarketWatch


VIDEO: State Dept Criticizes Israeli Strike on Power Plant: 'Deeply Troubled By Humanitarian Impact' - Washington Free Beacon


State Department: Palestinian-American teen jailed in Israel for over three weeks, Considering his age we are calling for a speedy resolution to this case - Jewish Telegraphic Agency


Turkey to Send Another Flotilla to Gaza, this time with an armed Turkish military escort - jspacenews.com


Turkish PM Erdogan returning Jewish American award - US News


Chinese Hackers Stole 'Large Amounts' Of Tech Behind Israel's Iron Dome: Report - huffingtonpost.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Gaza Solidarity Grows as Israel Continues Massacre

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

“We are a diverse group of people who have come together against the Israeli occupation and against the massacre. However,” says Kash Nikazmrad, an organizer with Students for Justice in Palestine, “every massacre, every occupation, every act of colonialism always has a mechanism and a supporter. The supporter in this situation has been America.”

Nikazmrad is one of the organizers behind the Los Angeles “Stop The Massacre in Gaza” events.

Intelligence Veterans Challenge Obama & Kerry on Ukraine

 

 

 

 


Obama Should Release Ukraine Evidence

 

 

 

 

Editor Note:  With the July 17 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine turning a local civil war into a U.S. confrontation with Russia, former U.S. intelligence veterans urge President Obama to release what evidence he has about the tragedy and silence the hyperbole.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Intelligence on Shoot-Down of Malaysian Plane

Executive Summary

US + Israel Collusion = DEATH in Gaza

Israel has unleashed another murderous campaign against Gaza.If your heart is sickened by what Palestinians are living and dying through now, let us confront – and act to help many people confront -- that all this violence is backed by the $3.1 billion in military aid Israel receives each year from the U.S. People of conscience must stand against and resist the crimes of our own government, and that includes U.S.

Join Our Contingent at the People's Climate March! 9/21/2014

Save the Date!  Join Our Contingent at the People’s Climate March.  Sunday, September 21, 2014 in NYC

Stop the Crimes Against Our Planet! Humanity and the Planet Must Come First! The World Can't Wait!

Israel News - July 29, 2014


Hamas and Israel trade blame for deaths of 9 children, IDF releases aerial photos allegedly showing the paths of two Hamas misfired rockets that hit Shifa hospital and a park - AP


VIDEO: Bodies of Gazan children slain in park playground attack - YouTube


Washington Post: Shifa Hospital in Gaza City 'Has Become a De Facto Headquarters for Hamas Leaders - Algemeiner.com


French-Palestinian journalist Dagga tells newspaper Liberation to have been detained in Hamas offices at Shifa Hospital - Elder Of Ziyon


VIDEO: IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner: We Have Photographs of Hamas Rocket Launch that Hit Gaza Shifa Hospital - YouTube


New video appears to dispute initial media reports about Gaza UNRWA school shelling, IDF says mortar round landed in empty yard and did not kill civilians (VIDEO) - TheBlaze


UK media fail to report evidence contradicting presumption of IDF guilt in UN school deaths - CiF Watch


Hamas hiding and launching rockets from inside and around mosques, hospitals and children’s playgrounds, Israel and UN agency say - Fox News


PHOTOS: IDF releases aerial photos of Hamas rocket launch sites near a mosque, a hospital, a children’s playground and a cemetery - algemeiner.com


Hamas’ Top 10 Hiding Places (VIDEO, PHOTO) - TheBlaze.com


Gaza foreign reporters tweet Hamas rockets fired from civilian areas, receive death threats for informing or "fabricating information for Israel" - JPost


VIDEO: Live footage of Hamas Terrorists Firing Rockets from a Gazan School - YouTube


VIDEO: Grad Rocket Launchers Discovered Next to Gaza School - YouTube


Israeli leaders vow to keep up Gaza operation until tunnels destroyed - The Times of Israel


Hamas spokesman: Israel has reached only a fraction of our tunnels - JPost


VIDEO: Israeli military releases video footage from inside ‘Hamas tunnel’ – before spectacularly blowing it up - The Independent


Egypt army destroys 13 more Gaza tunnels - Yahoo News


Hamas said to execute over 30 suspected collaborators with Israel - The Times of Israel


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

Obama calls Netanyahu urging immediate and unconditional ceasefire, stresses that a lasting solution must ensure demilitarization of Gaza - Times of Israel


UN Security Council Calls For Cease-Fire As Muslims Start Celebrating Eid al-Fitr - huffingtonpost.com


Netanyahu says UN cease-fire plan not addressing Israel security, ignoring demands for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip - Fox News


VIDEO: Interview: Benjamin Netanyahu denounces Hamas for violating cease-fire agreements, promotes demilitarization of Gaza - CBS News


Israel says leaked document confirms Kerry ceasefire bid generous to Hamas, addresses opening of crossings but ignores Israel’s security demands - The Times of Israel


Israel disputes US account of Kerry's ceasefire effort - The Times of Israel


Kerry: Truce 'Must Lead to Disarmament of Hamas' - Arutz Sheva


VIDEO: Statement of Kerry on Gaza ceasefire - YouTube


Hamas and Fatah to discuss ceasefire in Cairo - The Times of Israel


VIDEO: Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal: No peace as long as Israel occupies Palestinian lands, The full PBS interview will be broadcast tonight - CBS News


VIDEO: Interview: Son of Hamas founder: Hamas is not seeking coexistence and compromise, Hamas is seeking conquest and taking over” - CNN


Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to Islamic Relief USA charity with Hamas-tied affiliate - ajc.com


Islamic Relief Worldwide programs staffed by Hamas - Money Jihad

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

On Gaza, Israel, and Hamas: an Open Letter To Bill Maher

On Gaza, Israel, and Hamas: an Open Letter To Bill Maher
Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Bill Maher should be praised for how efficiently he elucidated exactly what the Israel propaganda machine, with full support and cooperation of the United States government, would have us believe when he took to twitter and remarked: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.”

Greenpeace Report: Obama Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Greenpeace USA has released a major new report on an under-discussed part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan and his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon rule: it serves as a major endorsement of continued coal production and export to overseas markets.

Israeli Genocide will Ultimately Fail

                As Israel continues its unspeakable brutality, violating not only international law but basic human decency by targeting children, hospitals, mosques and private residences, its many outrages are being widely publicized, thanks to social media. One can access YouTube and see Israeli soldiers using Palestinian children as human shields. Facebook is awash with pictures of bloody, dismembered, dead children, victims of ‘the most moral army in the world’.  Twitter is filled with links, all showing not only the horrors that Israel is inflicting, but the many worldwide demonstrations supporting Palestine. Numerous large such demonstrations have been held in Israel itself.

If We Dislike War Like We Dislike Cancer

War and cancer are among our leading causes of human death around the world.  They can't be strictly separated and compared since war is a major cause of cancer, as is war preparation.  (And a small fraction of the U.S. budget for war preparations could fund cancer research well beyond all the money raised by public and private funding and by all the 5-K races for a cure and other activities we've become familiar with.)  War and cancer, by their nature, also can't be addressed with the same sort of responses. 

Cancer prevention, including possibly radical changes in industrial and energy policies, is fairly off-limits, whereas cancer treatment and the search for a cure is almost certainly our most widespread and publicly visible form of altruistic charity and advocacy.  When you see athletes or celebrities marked with bright pink, or a public event packed with pink shirts or ribbons, or -- alongside a road -- a giant pink inflatable anything, you are now less likely to think "WTF is that?" than "We need to help cure breast cancer."

War prevention, including radical redirection of our resources and economy away from war, re-education away from the propaganda of beneficial violence, support for nonviolent conflict resolution, and promotion of international law and the prosecution of war makers, is likewise fairly off-limits.  But war treatment and the search for a cure for war once begun, seems significantly less useful than the search for a cure for cancer. War is indisputably and entirely human-made.  Most of its fatal victims die immediately.  Halting a war once begun is immensely more difficult than refraining from starting it, as no one party can control a war's path, and support-the-troops propaganda convinces people that ending a war is more evil than continuing it.  Once a war ends, undoing the resentment and hatred and habits of violence, and the environmental destruction (and the cancer epidemics), and the destruction to liberties and democracy, all adds up to an immense -- if not impossible -- task compared to that of avoiding wars before they're started.

So, when we compare a public demand to abolish cancer with one to abolish war, the latter seems to require halting our biggest public program, whereas the former allows us to go on driving our SUVs to Wal-Mart as long as we stick a pink ribbon on the back to indicate that doctors and scientists should continue the great march of progress.  And of course they should.  We should be investing vastly more in curing cancer, not to mention Alzheimer's which is as big a killer as cancer but opposed by far less funding (and not a particular threat to that favorite of all body parts: the breast). 

But abolishing war may be the more pressing demand.  Nuclear weapons could be used intentionally or accidentally and destroy us all.  The resources dumped into war are badly needed for the work of averting environmental catastrophe (not to mention curing cancer).  What if a campaign to abolish war were to learn a few tricks from the campaign to abolish breast cancer?

Following the lead of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, Campaign Nonviolence, World Beyond War, and other peace groups are encouraging everyone to use sky blue scarves and bracelets as symbols of peace and support for ending all wars.  What if sky blue symbols became as widespread as pink ones?  What would that look like?

War in Our Collective Imagination

arabwomenresistance300Remarks at Veterans For Peace Convention, Asheville, NC, July 27, 2014.

I started seeing graphics pop up on social media sites this past week that said about Gaza: "It's not war. It's murder."  So I started asking people what exactly they think war is if it's distinct from murder.  Well, war, some of them told me, takes place between armies.  So I asked for anyone to name a war during the past century (that is, after World War I) where all or even most or even a majority of the dying was done by members of armies.  There may have been such a war.  There are enough scholars here today that somebody probably knows of one.  But if so, it isn't the norm, and these people I was chatting with through social media couldn't think of any such war and yet insisted that that's just what war is.  So, is war then over and nobody told us?

For whatever reasons, I then very soon began seeing a graphic sent around that said about Gaza: "It's not war. It's genocide."  And the typical explanation I got when I questioned this one was that the wagers of war and the wagers of genocide have different attitudes.  Are we sure about that? I've spoken to advocates for recent U.S. wars who wanted all or part of a population wiped out.  Plenty of supporters of the latest attacks on Gaza see them as counter-terrorism.  In wars between advanced militaries and poor peoples most of the death and injury is on one side and most of it -- by anyone's definition -- civilian.  This is as true in Afghanistan, where war rolls on largely unchallenged, as in Gaza, about which we are newly outraged.

Well, what's wrong with outrage? Who cares what people call it? Why not criticize the war advocates rather than nitpicking the war opponents' choice of words?  When people are outraged they will reach for whatever word their culture tells them is most powerful, be it murder or genocide or whatever.  Why not encourage that and worry a little more about the lunatics who are calling it defense or policing or terrorist removal?  (Eight-year-old terrorists!)

Yes, of course.  I've been going after CNN news readers for claiming Palestinians want to die and NBC for yanking its best reporter and ABC for claiming scenes of destruction in Gaza that just don't exist in Israel are in fact in Israel -- and the U.S. government for providing the weapons and the criminal immunity.  I've been promoting rallies and events aimed at swaying public opinion against what Israel has been doing, and against the sadistic bloodthirsty culture of those standing on hills cheering for the death and destruction below, quite regardless of what they call it.  But, as you're probably aware, only the very most open-minded war advocates attend conventions of Veterans For Peace.  So, I'm speaking here backstage, as it were, at the peace movement.  Among those of us who want to stop the killing, are there better and worse ways to talk about it?  And is anything revealed by the ways in which we tend to talk about it when we aren't hyper-focused on our language?

I think so.  I think it's telling that the worst word anyone can think of isn't war.  I think it's even more telling that we condemn things by contrasting them with war, framing war as relatively acceptable.  I think this fact ought to be unsettling because a very good case can be made that war, in fact, is the worst thing we do, and that the distinctions between war and such evils as murder or genocide can require squinting very hard to discern. 

We've all heard that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  There is a parallel belief that wars don't kill people, people who misuse wars, who fight bad wars, who fight wars improperly, kill people.  This is a big contrast with many other evil institutions.  We don't oppose child abuse selectively, holding out the possibility of just and good incidents of child abuse while opposing the bad or dumb or non-strategic or excessive cases of child abuse. We don't have Geneva Conventions for proper conduct while abusing children.  We don't have human rights groups writing reports on atrocities and possible law violations committed in the course of abusing children.  We don't distinguish UN-sanctioned child abuse.  The same goes for numerous behaviors generally understood as always evil: slavery or rape or blood feuds or duelling or dog fighting or sexual harassment or bullying or human experimentation or -- I don't know -- producing piles of I'm-Ready-for-Hillary posters.  We don't imagine there are good, just, and defensible cases of such actions. 

And this is the core problem: not support for bombing Gaza or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or anywhere else that actually gets bombed, but support for an imaginary war in the near future between two armies with different colored jerseys and sponsors, competing on an isolated battlefield apart from any villages or towns, and suffering bravely and heroically for their non-murderous non-genocidal cause while complying with the whistles blown by the referees in the human rights organizations whenever any of the proper killing drifts into lawless imprisonment or torture or the use of improper weaponry.  Support for specific possible wars in the United States right now is generally under 10 percent.  More people believe in ghosts, angels, and the integrity of our electoral system than want a new U.S. war in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, or Iraq. The Washington Post found a little over 10 percent want a war in Ukraine but that the people who held that view were the people who placed Ukraine on the world map the furthest from its actual location, including people who placed it in the United States.  These are the idiots who favor specific wars.  Even Congress, speaking of idiots, on Friday told Obama no new war on Iraq.

The problem is the people, ranging across the population from morons right up to geniuses, who favor imaginary wars.  Millions of people will tell you we need to be prepared for more wars in case there's another Adolf Hitler, failing to understand that the wars and militarism and weapons sales and weapons gifts -- the whole U.S. role as the arsenal of democracies and dictatorships alike -- increase rather than decrease dangers, that other wealthy countries spend less than 10 percent what the U.S. does on their militaries, and that 10 percent of what the U.S. spends on its military could end global starvation, provide the globe with clean water, and fund sustainable energy and agriculture programs that would go further toward preventing mass violence than any stockpiles of weaponry.  Millions will tell you that the world needs a global policeman, even though polls of the world find the widespread belief that the United States is currently the greatest threat to peace on earth.  In fact if you start asking people who have opposed every war in our lifetimes or in the past decade to work on opposing the entire institution of war, you'll be surprised by many of the people who say no.

I'm a big fan of a book called Addicted to War.  I think it will probably be a powerful tool for war abolition right up until war is abolished.  But its author told me this week that he can't work to oppose all wars because he favors some of them.  Specifically, he said, he doesn't want to ask Palestinians to not defend themselves.  Now, there's a really vicious cycle.  If we can't shut down the institution of war because Palestinians need to use it, then it's harder to go after U.S. military spending, which is of course what funds much of the weaponry being used against Palestinians.  I think we should get a little clarity about what a war abolition movement does and does not do.  It does not tell people what they must do when attacked.  It is not focused on advising, much less instructing, the victims of war, but on preventing their victimization.  It does not advise the individual victim of a mugging to turn the other cheek.  But it also does not accept the disproven notion that violence is a defensive strategy for a population.  Nonviolence has proven far more effective and its victories longer lasting.  If people in Gaza have done anything at all to assist in their own destruction, it is not the supposed offenses of staying in their homes or visiting hospitals or playing on beaches; it is the ridiculously counterproductive firing of rockets that only encourages and provides political cover for war/ genocide/ mass murder. 

I'm a huge fan of Chris Hedges and find him one of the most useful and inspiring writers we have.  But he thought attacking Libya was a good idea up until it quite predictably and obviously turned out not to be.  He still thinks Bosnia was a just war.  I could go on through dozens of names of people who contribute mightily to an anti-war movement who oppose abolishing war.  The point is not that anyone who believes in 1 good war out of 100 is to blame for the trillion dollar U.S. military budget and all the destruction it brings.  The point is that they are wrong about that 1 war out of 100, and that even if they were right, the side-effects of maintaining a culture accepting of war preparations would outweigh the benefits of getting 1 war right.  The lives lost by not spending $1 trillion a year in the U.S. and another $1 trillion in the rest of the world on useful projects like environmental protection, sustainable agriculture, medicine and hygiene absolutely dwarf the number of lives that would be saved by halting our routine level of war making. 

If you talk about abolishing war entirely, as many of us have begun focusing on through a new project called World Beyond War, you'll also find people who want to abolish war but believe it's impossible. War is natural, they say, inevitable, in our genes, decreed by our economy, the unavoidable result of racism or consumerism or capitalism or exceptionalism or carnivorism or nationalism.  And of course many cultural patterns interact with and facilitate war, but the idea that it's in our genes is absurd, given how many cultures in our species have done and do without it.  I don't know what -- if anything -- people usually mean when they call something "natural" but presumably it's not the provocation of suicide, which is such a common result of participating in war, while the first case of PTSD due to war deprivation has yet to be discovered.  Most of our species' existence, as hunter-gatherers, did not know war, and only the last century -- a split-second in evolutionary terms -- has known war that at all resembles war today.  War didn't used to kill like this.  Soldiers weren't conditioned to kill.  Most guns picked up at Gettysburg had been loaded more than once.  The big killers were diseases, even in the U.S. Civil War, the war that the U.S. media calls the most deadly because Filipinos and Koreans and Vietnamese and Iraqis don't count.  Now the big killer is a disease in our thinking, a combination of what Dr. King called self-guided missiles and misguided men.

Another hurdle for abolishing war is that the idea rose to popularity in the West in the 1920s and 1930s and then sank into a category of thought that is vaguely treasonous.  War abolition was tried and failed, the thinking goes, like communism or labor unions and now we know better.  While abolishing war is popular in much of the world, that fact is easily ignored by the 1% who misrepresent the 10% or 15% who live in the places that constitute the so-called International Community.  Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come or weaker than an idea whose time has come and gone.  Or so we think.  But the Renaissance was, as its name suggests, an idea whose time came again, new and improved and victorious.  The 1920s and 1930s are a resource for us.  We have stockpiles of wisdom to draw upon.  We have example of where things were headed and how they went of track.

Andrew Carnegie took war profits and set up an endowment with the mandate to eliminate war and then to hold a board meeting, determine the second worst thing in the world, and begin eliminating that.  This sounds unique or eccentric, but is I believe a basic understanding of ethics that ought to be understood and acted upon by all of us.  When someone asks me why I'm a peace activist I ask them why in the hell anyone isn't.  So, reminding the Carnegie Endowment for Peace what it's legally obligated to do, and dozens of other organizations along with it, may be part of the process of drawing inspiration from the past.  And of course insisting that the Nobel Committee not bestow another peace prize on a war-thirsty presidential candidate or any other advocate of war is part of that. 

The case against war that is laid out at WorldBeyondWar.orgincludes these topics:

War is immoral.

War endangers us.

War threatens our environment.

War erodes our liberties.

War impoverishes us.

We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

I find the case to be overwhelming and suspect many of you would agree.  In fact Veterans For Peace and numerous chapters and members of Veterans For Peace have been among the first to sign on and participate.  And we've begun finding that thousands of people and organizations from around the world agree as people and groups from 68 countries and rising have added their names on the website in support of ending all war.  And many of these people and organizations are not peace groups.  These are environmental and civic groups of all sorts and people never involved in a peace movement before.  Our hope is of course to greatly enlarge the peace movement by making war abolition as mainstream as cancer abolition.  But we think enlargement is not the only alteration that could benefit the peace movement.  We think a focus on each antiwar project as part of a broader campaign to end the whole institution of war will significantly change how specific wars and weapons and tactics are opposed. 

How many of you have heard appeals to oppose Pentagon waste? I'm in favor of Pentagon waste and opposed to Pentagon efficiency.  How can we not be, when what the Pentagon does is evil?  How many of you have heard of opposition to unnecessary wars that leave the military ill-prepared?  I'm in favor of leaving the military ill-prepared, but not of distinguishing unnecessary from supposedly necessary wars. Which are the necessary ones?  When sending missiles into Syria is stopped, in large part by public pressure, war as last resort is replaced by all sorts of other options that were always available.  That would be the case anytime any war is stopped.  War is never a last resort any more than rape or child abuse is a last resort.  How many of you have seen opposition to U.S. wars that focuses almost exclusively on the financial cost and the suffering endured by Americans?  Did you know polls find Americans believing that Iraq benefitted and the United States suffered from the war that destroyed Iraq?  What if the financial costs and the costs to the aggressor nation were in addition to moral objections to mass-slaughter rather than instead of?  How many of you have seen antiwar organizations trumpet their love for troops and veterans and war holidays, or groups like the AARP that advocate for benefits for the elderly by focusing on elderly veterans, as though veterans are the most deserving?  Is that good activism?

I want to celebrate those who resist and oppose war, not those who engage in it.  I love Veterans For Peace because it's for peace.  It's for peace in a certain powerful way, but it's the being for peace that I value.  And being for peace in the straightforward meaning of being against war.  Most organizations are afraid of being for peace; it always has to be peace and justice or peace and something else.  Or it's peace in our hearts and peace in our homes and the world will take care of itself.  Well, as Veterans For Peace know, the world doesn't take care of itself.  The world is driving itself off a cliff.  As Woody Allen said, I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen, I want to live on in my apartment.  Well, I don't want to find peace in my heart or my garden, I want to find peace in the elimination of war.  At WorldBeyondWar.org is a list of projects we think may help advance that, including, among others:

  • Creating an easily recognizable and joinable mainstream international movement to end all war.
  • Education about war, peace, and nonviolent action — including all that is to be gained by ending war.
  • Improving access to accurate information about wars. Exposing falsehoods.
  • Improving access to information about successful steps away from war in other parts of the world.
  • Increased understanding of partial steps as movement in the direction of eliminating, not reforming, war.
  • Partial and full disarmament.
  • Conversion or transition to peaceful industries.
  • Closing, converting or donating foreign military bases.
  • Democratizing militaries while they exist and making them truly volunteer.
  • Banning foreign weapons sales and gifts.
  • Outlawing profiteering from war.
  • Banning the use of mercenaries and private contractors.
  • Abolishing the CIA and other secret agencies.
  • Promoting diplomacy and international law, and consistent enforcement of laws against war, including prosecution of violators. 
  • Reforming or replacing the U.N. and the ICC.
  • Expansion of peace teams and human shields.
  • Promotion of nonmilitary foreign aid and crisis prevention.
  • Placing restrictions on military recruitment and providing potential soldiers with alternatives.
  • Thanking resisters for their service.
  • Encouraging cultural exchange.
  • Discouraging racism and nationalism.
  • Developing less destructive and exploitative lifestyles.
  • Expanding the use of public demonstrations and nonviolent civil resistance to enact all of these changes.

I would add learning from and working with organizations that have been, like Veterans For Peace, working toward war abolition for years now and inspiring others to do the same.  And I would invite you all to work with WorldBeyondWartoward our common goal.

 

David Swanson is Director of World Beyond War, host of Talk Nation Radio, author of books including War No More: The Case for Abolition, War Is A Lie, and When the World Outlawed War.

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