The U.S. Army and Air Force public relations offices have responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by releasing huge lists of movies and television shows that they have assessed and, at least in many cases, sought to influence. Here's the Army's PDF. Here's the Air Force's PDF.
The shows and films, foreign and U.S. made, aimed at foreign and U.S. audiences, including documentaries and dramas and talk shows and "reality" TV, cross every genre from those obviously related to war to those with little discernable connection to it.
Films show up in theaters without any notice that they have been influenced by the Army or Air Force or other branch of the military. And they carry ratings like G, PG, PG-13, or R. But the Army's until-now-secret assessments of films also give them ratings. Every rating is positive and cryptic. They include:
- Supports Building Resiliency,
- Supports Restoring Balance,
- Supports Maintaining our Combat Edge,
- Supports Adapting Our Institutions,
- Supports Modernizing Our Force.
Some films have multiple ratings. Truth in advertising, I think, would include these ratings on previews and advertisements for films. I'd like to know what the Army thinks of a film. It would make my decision to avoid it much easier. Go ahead and scroll through the Army document linked above, and chances are you'll find out what a movie you're currently interested in or recently saw is rated by the folks who brought you Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and top ratings worldwide for the U.S. as the nation considered the greatest threat to peace on earth (Gallup, December 2013).
Here's a comment from Zaid Jilani at Salon: "The sheer scale of the Army and the Air Force's involvement in TV shows, particularly reality TV shows, is the most remarkable thing about these files. 'American Idol,' 'The X-Factor,' 'Masterchef,' 'Cupcake Wars,' numerous Oprah Winfrey shows, 'Ice Road Truckers,' 'Battlefield Priests,' 'America’s Got Talent,' 'Hawaii Five-O,' lots of BBC, History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, 'War Dogs,' 'Big Kitchens' — the list is almost endless. Alongside these shows are blockbuster movies like Godzilla, Transformers, Aloha and Superman: Man of Steel."
That list is a sampling, nothing more. The full list goes on and on and on. It includes many films about wars or U.S. base construction. There's an Extreme Makeover Home Edition at Fort Hood. There's The Price Is Right's Military Appreciation Episode. There's a C-Span show called "The Price of Peace" -- C-Span is of course often thought of as a neutral fly on the wall. There are, as mentioned above, lots of BBC documentaries -- the BBC is of course often thought of as British.
The documents linked above consist mostly of assessments with relatively little explicit discussion of military influence. But further research has produced that. The Mirror reports on the censoring of an Iron Man movie because the military is -- not kidding -- actually trying to create Iron Man type suits of armor/weaponry: "Directors are being forced to re-write scripts by the United States Department of Defense if the content is deemed inappropriate -- and the big screen hits affected include Iron Man, Terminator Salvation, Transformers, King Kong and Superman: Man of Steel. . . . Last year, President Barack Obama appeared to be joking when he said the U.S. military was working on its own Iron Man suit for troops. But the first prototypes of a super-strong exoskeleton being developed for chiefs by universities and technology players were delivered last June."
Shouldn't viewers of fantasy cartoonish movies know that the Army has been involved and what it rates those films in terms of their recruitment value?
"To keep Pentagon chiefs happy," reports the Mirror, "some Hollywood producers have also turned villains into heroes, cut central characters, changed politically sensitive settings -- or added military rescue scenes to movies. Having altered scripts to accommodate Pentagon requests, many have in exchange gained inexpensive access to military locations, vehicles and gear they need to make their films."
Guess who pays for that?
In fact many of the listings in the documents above originated as requests from film makers to the military. Here's an example:
"Comedy Central – OCPA-LA received a request from Comedy Central to have Jeff Ross, the Roastmaster General, spend 3 to 4 days on an Army post where he will embed himself amongst the Soldiers. This project will be a hybrid of a documentary and a stand up special/comedy roast. Ross, who has gone on several USO tours, wants to participate in various tactical drills and exercises, as well as interview soldiers and officers of all different ranks to get a fuller understanding of what a life in the military is really like, and how extraordinary those who choose to serve truly are. Then on his last day at the base, armed with the personal knowledge he has acquired, Jeff will put on a roast/standup comedy concert for all the people on the base that he has gotten to know during his tenure there. We are working with OCPA to see if this is something that can be supported and, if so, to find the best fit."
These questions as to whether something can be supported are frequent, but in skimming the documents I notice no negative ratings like
- Supports Resistance to Mass-Murder
- Supports Peace, Diplomacy, or Intelligent Foreign Relations
- Supports Disarmament and Wise Use of Peace Dividend
Apparently all news is good news. Even cancellations get good ratings:
"'BAMA BELLES' REALITY TV SHOW (U), The Bama Belles, a reality show based out of Dothan, AL is being cancelled. According to cast member and producer Amie Pollard, TLC will not continue with a second season of "Bama Belles" and is still deciding whether to air the third episode. One of the actors on the show was SGT 80th Training Command (USAR). Assessment: Cancellation of the show is in the best interest of the US Army. Supports Building Resiliency."
Propaganda aimed at foreign audiences is included right alongside that aimed at potential recruits and voters in the United States:
"(FOUO) STATE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTARY, AFGHANISTAN (FOUO) (SAPA-CRD), OCPA-LA contacted by production company contracted by U.S. State Dept. Filmmaker requesting to film short scene on FOB in Afghanistan and involving use of five soldiers. The short scene will 'involve a female interrupter [sic] working for US forces and her family struggles.' The soldiers will be mostly background and will only have a few lines. Filmmaker requesting to film the scene in the last two weeks of JAN. ISAF/RC-E has expressed willingness to support. OCPA-LA is coordinating with OSD(PA) for approval. ASSESSMENT: Viewership UNK; video product aimed at Afghan national audiences. Supports Adapting Our Institutions."
Perhaps most disturbing are the advertisements for future war-making. There is, for example, a National Geographic series on "futuristic weapons." There's also this video game that seeks to depict a U.S. soldier in the year 2075:
"(FOUO) ACTIVISION/BLIZZARD VIDEO GAME (FOUO) (OCPA-LA), OCPA-LA was contacted by Activision/Blizzard, the largest video game publisher in the world. They are in the initial stages of a new project designed to create a realistic representation of a Soldier in 2075. They are interested in discussing the U.S. Army of the future; equipment, units, tactics, etc. Have scheduled an introductory meeting this week to discuss. While their interests will require an outside paid consultant, our interest is to correctly establish and frame the Army brand within the game while still in development. Update: and met with company president and game developers. Expressed concern that scenario being considered involves future war with China. Game developers looking at other possible conflicts to design the game around, however, developers are seeking a military power with substantial capabilities. ASSESSMENT: Anticipate game release will be very high-profile and comparable to recent ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Medal of Honor’ releases. Will likely sell in the range of 20-30 million copies. Supports Adapting our Institutions and Maintaining Our Combat Edge."
The Joint Chiefs of Staff last month published the nonfiction "National Military Strategy of the United States of America -- 2015," which also struggled to identify a frightening enemy. It named four nations as the justification for massive U.S. military spending, while admitting that none of the four wanted war with the United States. So, after U.S. government consultation with Sony and its depiction of the fictional murder of the leader of North Korea, it's nice to see some hesitation about depicting a 2075 US-China war. But what exactly is a "correct" depiction of the U.S. Army in 2075? Who has credibly suggested that Western "civilization" can survive war and nationalism that long? And where is Hollywood's investment in depicting an alternative future with greater likelihood of actually being sustainable?
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week,
If your local city or town government spent 54% of its funds on an immoral, disastrous, and unpopular project, and your brave, populist, socialist candidate for mayor virtually never acknowledged its existence, would you think something was wrong? Would his admirable positions on numerous smaller projects, and on sources of revenue, ring a little hollow?
Bernie Sanders was asked a while back about the military budget and was essentially accused of wanting to cut it by 50%. Oh no, he replied, I wouldn't do that. He ought to have replied that doing that would leave the United States far and away the world's biggest military spender, and that doing that would take U.S. military spending back to roughly 2001 levels. He ought to have mentioned that the savings of hundreds of billions of dollars could transform the United States and the world for the better, that tens of billions could end starvation and provide clean water worldwide, and end poverty at home, and fund projects like free college, and invest in green energy beyond the wildest dreams of its advocates. He ought to have quoted Eisenhower and pointed out the record of the past 14 years of military spending generating wars rather than preventing them. In other words, he ought to have given the sort of smart response he gives to the questions he's usually asked on the topics he prefers to deal with.
But this was militarism, and militarism is different. Sanders' record is better than that of most presidential candidates, but very mixed. He's gotten into shouting matches with his constituents over his support for Israeli wars fought with billions of dollars of free U.S. weapons. He's supported incredibly wasteful military spending in his state. He opposes some wars, backs others, and glorifies militarism and the "service" that veterans have supposedly provided. While the public would like to fund useful projects and tax cuts for working people by both taxing the rich and slashing the military, Sanders only ever mentions taxing the rich. If he doesn't want to cut the largest item in the budget by 50%, how much does he want to cut it by? Or does he want to increase it? Who knows. His speeches -- at least most of them -- and certainly his campaign website, never acknowledge that wars and militarism exist at all. When people have pressed him during Q&A sections of events, he's proposed auditing the Department of so-called Defense. But what about cutting it? He's proposed addressing veteran suicides. What about creating no more veterans?
At RootsAction.org we've just launched a petition urging Sanders to speak on war and militarism. Thousands have already signed it here. The vote on the Iran deal could come down to 13 Democratic senators, and I haven't heard Sanders whipping his colleagues at all. His eloquence and energy are needed now. Having voted the right way will not look like enough when another war has started.
Thousands of eloquent comments can be read at the petition site. Here are a handful:
"The president is the nation's chief foreign policy architect and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. A presidential candidate, to be credible, must enunciate her or his approach to foreign policy and the use of military power with as much clarity and specificity as she or he devotes to domestic policy. A bird with only one wing cannot soar. Neither can a presidential candidate without a foreign policy." —Michael Eisenscher, Oakland, CA
"Bernie, Militarism is driven by both the American Empire and the military/industrial complex, the huge corporations you correctly speak against. Include militarism in your critique of capitalism. The U.S. is responsible for up to 78% of foreign arms sales; you must denounce this as you denounce banks, and other corporate power." — Joseph Gainza, VT
"Bernie, please speak out for peace. If you do, I'll send you $$." —Carol Wolman, CA
"I loved your speech and enthusiasm in Madison, and was disappointed you said nothing about foreign policy." — Dick Russo, WI
"I am thrilled you are running. I agree with you on most things, but I would like to hear something about the necessity of ending all these endless wars with oversized military budgets, which are part of the economic problem!" — Dorothy Rocklin, MA
"You will have to say something eventually. Do it sooner." — Michael Japack, OH
"He must comment upon the war on Gaza by Israel, which is connected to not only 'the madness of militarism' but also to the racism that the Palestinians and African-Americans face from these two nuclear powers." — Robert Bonazzi, TX
"This needs to be made a major issue in the coming campaign, especially given the situation re: the deal with Iran and efforts by warmongers (especially the Israeli lobby) to scuttle it. That's not the only example that comes to mind, but it's a hot-button issue and it needs to be addressed, not ignored." — James Kenny, NY
"Bernie, You know better, start talking about our endless wars and our ballooning military budget, also take a stand on the Iran deal! Domestic policy and foreign policy go hand in hand." —Eva Havas, RI
"Two wars have been economically disastrous for America. A third war (Iran) could shred the nation's social fabric, as well. Foreign aid, esp. military aid, to countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel, further destabilizes the region and ensures that liberal reforms will never take hold. So, yes, it's important that you speak up, and in no uncertain terms." —Richard Hovey, MI
"The US military is the largest single user of fossil fuels ... so continued WAR endangers the planet in more ways than one! Speak UP!" — Frank Lahorgue, CA
"Please include a denunciation of Israel's continued land grab for settlements and unconscionable treatment of Palestinians in Gaza." —Louise Chegwidden, CA
"Keep pressing Senator Sanders on these vital issues!" —James Bradford, MD
Amirah Lidasan is the leader of the Filipino activist group Suara Bangsamoro. She has been in the United States to testify at the International People's Tribunal on Crimes Against the Filipino People. See http://internationalpeoplestribunal.org We discuss the impact of the U.S. military in the Philippines.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
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By Rivera Sun
Two days. Two bombs. More than 200,000 men, women, and children incinerated and poisoned. It has been 70 years since the United States military dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This August 6th and 9th citizens around the world will gather to remember--and to renew their efforts in working toward nuclear disarmament.
At Los Alamos (the cradle of the bomb), citizens will gather to mark the days with peace vigils, demonstrations, public speeches from nationally renowned activists, and trainings in nonviolence. Campaign Nonviolence, one of the organizing groups, will livestream four days of events to everyone, including broadcasts in Japan.
Los Alamos is a city that exists solely to research and develop nuclear weapons. The vigils for peace and disarmament will take place on the exact ground where the original bombs were built. In 1945, a set of buildings surrounded the top-secret laboratory. Today, Ashley Pond has been turned into a public park. The lab has been moved across a deep canyon, protected by security checkpoints, and pedestrians are not allowed to cross the bridge. Los Alamos National Laboratory consumes two billion taxpayer dollars annually. The county is the fourth-richest in the nation. It is located in the northern part of the second-poorest state, New Mexico.
By Tom H. Hastings
Do I not effectually destroy my enemies, in making them my friends?
--Sigismund of Luxemburg as quoted in The Sociable Storyteller (1846)
We are SOS in the Middle East. Stuck on Stupid. Can we get unstuck?
Focusing on Iran while keeping the overall region in mind, most scholars in my field of Peace and Conflict Studies would make some version of the following suggestions:
- Quit sending arms to anyone in the region
- Quit telling Iranian people what to do
- Offer to help, but not militarily
- Start lifting sanctions slowly, unilaterally
- Wait for reciprocity and repeat (Rapoport’s tested game theory)
- Start exchange programs to reintroduce Iranians to the US and Americans to Iran
Just as the US will have its Death to Iran or Death to Muslims loudmouths, Iran will have its Death to America blowhards. But let’s think about the Iranian Index:
- number of Iranians on planes as hijackers on 9.11.01: 0
- number of Americans held hostage from November 1979-January 1981: 52
- number of days US hostages held: 444
- number of US hostages killed: 0
- number of US hostages released alive: 52
- number of democratically elected leaders of Iran overthrown by US CIA in its 1953 Operation Ajax: 1
- number of political prisoners in Iran under US-installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi: 2,200
- number of barrels of oil US imports from Iran: 0
- number of Iranian nuclear scientists assassinated by Mossad/CIA operatives: 5
Do Americans recall the 1953 plot and all the military aid that subsequently went to the Shah, with his notorious SAVAK not-so-secret police, trained and armed and advised by the CIA? Just imagine that our country was upended, an Iranian-backed leader installed, and patriots were rounded up as soon as they dissented. Imagine that we endured this nightmare for 26 years. Would we ever forgive Iran? Might a few of us chant Death to Iran once in a while? I’m sure Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and the entire Republican leadership (most of whom are running for president) would be so chanting on the floor of the House, the Senate, or on national television.
Oh—that’s right, they already do. Imagine an Iranian online reading about Ted Cruz’s claim that the nuclear deal makes Obama the biggest financier of terrorism in the world and then watches Cruz’s machine gun bacon video. The new surrealpolitik.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is sounding to the world like the most reasonable party, saying on Iranian TV that hardliners on both sides have it all wrong, “This idea that we have two options before the world, either submit to it or defeat it, is illogical: there is also a third way, of constructive cooperation with the world in a framework of national interests.”
Both the US and Iran are bad boys on the world stage. Both are viewed as states that practice or sponsor terror. We cannot fix that by wild talk by our politicians and neither can Iran.
For the good of the people of the US, of Iran, and of the world, we need to support the Iranian nuclear deal. It’s not perfect, but neither are any humans and humans control technology of weapons that must be perfectly kept from being used, ever. Therefore, the fewer nuclear weapons in the world, the less we have to worry about that human imperfection. It should make us more tolerant of each other and less tolerant of any nuclear weapons anywhere. As Deepak Chopra once said, “Nuclear weapons are always in the wrong hands.”
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.
Tonight, Monday, August 3, 2015, 6-7pm CT
Listen to David Swanson on Chicago's WCEV, 1450 AM, or http://tunein.com/radio/WCEV-1450-s23599/
And phone in with questions and comments 312-263-4752
Event coming up in Chicago on 27th: https://www.facebook.com/events/1451800825124185/
The United Nations was established in 1946 after the Second World War to “Save the succeeding generations from the scourge of wars, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to humankind”. The UN visualized establishing a New International Order. But the US and the erstwhile European colonial countries have joined together and instead of a New International Order, they have brought a “New International Disorder”.
In its 1929 Man of the Year article, Time magazine acknowledged that many readers would believe Secretary of State Frank Kellogg the right choice, as probably the top news story of 1928 had been the signing by 57 nations of the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact in Paris, a treaty that made all war illegal, a treaty that remains on the books today.
But, noted Time, "analysts could show that Mr. Kellogg did not originate the outlawing-war idea; that a comparatively obscure lay figure named Salmon Oliver Levinson, Chicago lawyer," was the driving force behind it.
Indeed he was. S.O. Levinson was a lawyer who believed that courts handled interpersonal disputes better than dueling had done before it was banned. He wanted to outlaw war as a means of handling international disputes. Until 1928, launching a war had always been perfectly legal. Levinson wanted to outlaw all war. "Suppose," he wrote, "it had then been urged that only 'aggressive dueling' should be outlawed and that 'defensive dueling' be left intact."
Levinson and the movement of Outlawrists whom he gathered around him, including well-known Chicagoan Jane Addams, believed that making war a crime would begin to stigmatize it and facilitate demilitarization. They pursued as well the creation of international laws and systems of arbitration and alternative means of handling conflicts. Outlawing war was to be the first step in a lengthy process of actually ending that peculiar institution.
The Outlawry movement was launched with Levinson's article proposing it in The New Republic magazine on March 7, 1918, and took a decade to achieve the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The task of ending war is ongoing, and the pact is a tool that might still help. This treaty commits nations to resolving their disputes through peaceful means alone. The U.S. State Department's website lists it as still in effect, as does the Department of Defense Law of War Manual published in June 2015.
Levinson and his allies lobbied senators and key officials in the United States and Europe, including French Foreign Secretary Aristide Briand, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman William Borah, and Secretary of State Kellogg. The Outlawrists united a U.S. peace movement far more mainstream and acceptable than anything that's borne that name in the decades since. But it was a movement that had been split over the League of Nations.
The frenzy of organizing and activism that created the peace pact was massive. Find me an organization that's been around since the 1920s and I'll find you an organization on record in support of abolishing war. That includes the American Legion, the National League of Women Voters, and the National Association of Parents and Teachers.
By 1928, the demand to outlaw war was irresistible, and Kellogg who had recently mocked and cursed peace activists, began following their lead and telling his wife he might be in for a Nobel Peace Prize.
On August 27, 1928, in Paris, the flags of Germany and the Soviet Union newly flew along many others, as the scene played out that is described in the song "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream." The papers the men were signing really did say they would never fight again. The Outlawrists persuaded the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaty without any formal reservations.
None of this was without hypocrisy. U.S. troops were fighting in Nicaragua the whole time, and European nations signed on behalf of their colonies. Russia and China had to be talked out of going to war with each other just as President Coolidge was signing the treaty. But talked out of it they were. And the first major violation of the pact, World War II, was followed by the first ever (albeit one-sided) prosecutions for the crime of war -- prosecutions that rested centrally on the pact. The wealthy nations have, for a number of possible reasons, not gone to war with each other since, waging war only in poor parts of the world.
The United Nations Charter, which followed without replacing the Kellogg-Briand Pact, seeks to legalize wars that are either defensive or U.N. authorized -- loopholes more abused than used over the years. The lessons of the Outlawry movement may still have something to teach both the neocon war advocates and the "Responsibility to Protect" humanitarian warriors. It's a shame that their literature is largely forgotten.
In St. Paul, Minn., appreciation is reviving for local hero Frank Kellogg, who was indeed given the Nobel, is buried in National Cathedral, and for whom Kellogg Avenue is named.
But the man who led the movement that began to stigmatize war as evil and to make war understood as optional rather than inevitable was from Chicago, where no memorial stands and no memory exists.
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War." He'll be speaking in Chicago on Aug. 27. For information, see http://faithpeace.org.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
There is much that is revolting about the current world and Andre Vltchek, Christopher Black and Peter Koenig are well placed to document it, which they have done in their new book The World Order and Revolution! Essays from the Resistance.
Using a combination of political, legal and economic analyses, Vltchek, Black and Koenig carefully strip away the façade that the corporate media presents to us, and which the imperial elite wants us to believe, so that we can see some of the ugly, underlying truth about our world.
On 27th July young citizen from Qatif in the Eastern Province of Arabia was cold-bloodedly shot and killed by regime forces. Mohammad Al Faraj was added to the list of victims of Saudi regime’s terror campaign against activists seeking political change. More than 30 people were killed in those attacks. In addition, there have been two terrorist attacks by regime’s allies on two mosques in the past three months in which scores were martyred. Several others were gunned down in Al Ihsa last year by those groups. The killing came as hundreds of Yemenis were killed by Saudi air attacks in the past few days despite declaring a temporary ceasefire to allow humanitarian work. The Saudis and their Alkhalifa allies have been bombing Yemen mercilessly for four months in an unprecedented aggression. Human rights groups have described some of the atrocities committed by the unholy alliance of evil forces as “war crimes”.
A public statement was issued on 27th July by Amnesty International calling on the Bahraini authorities to make public investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners during a riot in Jaw prison, south of the capital Manama, on 10 March and other abuses that continued for several weeks afterwards and to bring to justice any officials responsible for ordering or committing such acts. The call came after the trial of 57 individuals, including on charges of assault on public officials and destruction of public property, started on 23 July. It was postponed to 17 September. Many people were severely tortured as the regime sent Jordanian troops to the jail to attack native Bahrainis.
The wave of arrests and detentions has continued unabated. In the week 20-26th July at least 38 people were arrested including six children. Last night four people from Sitra-Wadyan were detained from their homes. Hussain Taqi and his brother, Sadiq, Khalil Ibrahim AlTawq and Abdulla Essa Khudayyer were snatched from their homes. They were arrested within hours after an “explosion” that killed two Pakistani mercenaries attacking native Bahrainis in the area. The circumstances of their death are not clear. Bahraini Revolution is the most peaceful among the Arab Spring protests; the opposition has condemned violence and called for peaceful transformation to democracy. The regime has used violence as main tool against native Bahrainis. The Community Care Advisor at the Embassy of Pakistan in Manama, Maqsoud Lader Jah, revealed that 100 thousand Pakistanis live in Bahrain, most of whom work in construction and driving. But he said that 20% of them work as security guards in t he Bahraini Ministry of Interior (nearly 20 thousand Pakistanis). Other sources said estimated that more than 25,000 Pakistanis have been naturalised at a time when hundreds of native Bahrainis had their nationality revoked.
On 27th July Salah Saeed was kidnapped from Satra-Wadyan by masked members of the regime’s Death Squads. Another youth, Sadiq Jaffar Al Asfoor from Sitra was detained on 21st July. Concern is rising for the safety of two native Bahrainis; Sadiq Thamer, Jaffar Sultan and Abdul Hamid Nasser who had been kidnapped by regime’s Death Squads on 8th June, but their families haven’t heard from them. Reports of systematic torture have continued. It is now established that the under-aged Ahmad Al Arab has been repeatedly tortured at the toilet facilities, while other private houses and farms have become the new torture centres, away from the main prisons.
On 25th July Ali Abdulla AlAradi, 50, was kidnapped from his home, tortured with heavy tools before being drowned in the pool of a house, several miles from his town of Arad. The torture included the use of blunt instrument that split his head with deep wound. It is now almost a week but the regime has failed to catch the killers while claiming to have caught the alleged perpetrators of the Sitra explosion within hours. The general belief is that Mr AlAradi has been liquidated by regime’s Death Squads to send a message to the native Bahrainis that Alkhalifa, Saudi occupiers will stop at nothing in their war on the natives.
In recognition of the sad episode of Dr Abdul Jalil AlSingace who has been on hunger strike for more than four months, the English PEN has adopted him as a chained writer and thinker. It has urged its members to adopt Dr AlSingace and protest against his continued incarceration. A protest has been organised by English PEN at the Bahrain’s Embassy in London on Wednesday 29th July to highlight the plight of Dr AlSingace.
On 24th July, The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declared an additional eight Bahraini prisoners of conscience to be arbitrarily detained. Last week, the group of experts issued a series of official decisions on the Bahrain government’s detention of Jassim al-Hulaibi, Mohamed Sudaif, Abdulaziz Mousa, Ebrahim al-Sharqi, Ahmed Abdulla Ebrahim, Taleb Ali Mohammed, and two unnamed minors. The Group found that these detentions were arbitrary and in contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Bahrain acceded to the ICCPR in 2006. Additionally, the WGAD held that the detention of one of the minors contravened the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Bahrain acceded in 1992. The opinion also pointed out, “Under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law may constitute crimes against humanity.”
Bahrain Freedom Movement
Message to The United Nations, European Union, United States, and all Democratic and Free countries
There are growing concerns that the government of Egypt intends to execute Egypt’s first ever democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi in the coming weeks. Mr. Morsi along with hundreds of political opponents received the death sentence following what major international human rights organizations described as a hopelessly flawed and politically motivated trials that ignored acceptable minimum international standards.
By CJ Hinke
Excerpted from Free Radicals: War Resisters in Prison by CJ Hinke, forthcoming from Trine-Day in 2016.
The 22 countries which have abolished their militaries or were founded without one are uniformly tiny, isolated, and often island nations. In many cases, these states maintain national police or paramilitary forces for internal protection (some might say from their own citizens in the event of a popular uprising to effect regime change), maritime defence patrols, or are defended by their former colonial masters. Some might say they are at little risk of invasion because there’s nothing more to take and few to fight back!
Although countries with armies may be more complex and have extensive economic and foreign policy agendas, there is no reason why they, too, could not take the first step in abolishing their large and costly militaries. One country’s standing army can only be an implied threat against other nations. When a country has an army, there is every incentive to put it to aggressive use.
Bluntly stated, war is illegal under international law. All member states of the United Nations signed its Charter in 1945: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The ‘purposes’ in Chapter I of the Charter are focused on the need “to maintain international peace.” The Preamble to the Charter emphasise its purpose: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
Nukes get all the attention, but the fact is that intense inspections of Iranian facilities will also prevent Iran from developing a ray gun that causes your clothes to vanish and your brain to convert to Islam.
No, there is not the slightest scrap of evidence that Iran is trying to create such a thing, but then there's also not the slightest scrap of evidence that Iran is trying to create a nuclear bomb.
And yet, here are a bunch of celebrities in a video that certainly cost many more dollars than the number of people who've watched it, urging support for the Iran deal after hyping the bogus Iranian nuclear threat, pretending that the United States gets "forced into" wars, making a bunch of sick jokes about how nuclear death can be better than other war deaths, suggesting that spies are cool, cursing, and mocking the very idea that war is a serious matter.
The last several months have seen a debate, at times heated, between the #BlackLivesMatter movement and those who respond with #AllLivesMatter.
People use #BlackLivesMatter to denote that given our criminal "justice" system, African Americans are frequently targeted, endangered and at times killed largely because they are black. And that's totally true and needed saying a long time ago.
We know the names of the victims of the so-called Islamic State, people like Steven Sotloff. We know the names of victims of the Taliban, like Malala Yousafzai, who recovered from their attack on her. But the U.S. government has killed thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we don't know the names, we don't listen to their stories. Virtually the only time we meaningfully perceive the violence of U.S. foreign policy -- in media or anywhere really -- is when U.S. soldiers are hurt or killed. Otherwise, the violence is normalized as in Deters's quote atop this article. It is decidedly off stage, a sideshow at best.
A study by Physicians for Social Responsibility earlier this year found: "The number of Iraqis killed during and since the 2003 U.S. invasion have been assessed at one million, which represents 5 percent of the total population of Iraq. This does not include deaths among the three million refugees subjected to privations."
A year ago, the U.S. government backed the latest of Israel's regular brutal bombing on Gaza, in which Israel killed over 1,000 Palestinians, hundreds of them children. For several months now, U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen to minimal attention and virtually no protest. President Obama just visited Ethiopia and Kenya -- with barely any criticism of how those nations have carved up Somalia, perpetuating killing there.
Jimmy Carter called a war waged in Vietnam by the United States -- a war that killed 60,000 Americans and 4,000,000 Vietnamese, without burning down a single U.S. town or forest -- "mutual" damage. Ronald Reagan called it a "noble" and "just cause." Barack Obama promotes the myth of the widespread mistreatment of returning U.S. veterans, denounces the Vietnamese as "brutal," and has launched a 13-year, $65 million propaganda program to glorify what the Vietnamese call the American War:
"As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away . . . They pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans."
Which ideals might those have been? Remember, this was the bad war in contrast to which World War II acquired the ridiculous label "good war." But the Pentagon is intent on undoing any accurate memory of Vietnam. Members of the wonderful organization, Veterans For Peace, meanwhile have launched their own educational campaign to counter the Pentagon's at VietnamFullDisclosure.org, and the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee has done the same at LessonsOfVietnam.com. Already, the Pentagon has been persuaded to correct some of its inaccurate statements. Evidence of the extent of the killing in Vietnam continues to emerge, and it has suddenly become universally acceptable in academia and the corporate media to acknowledge that presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon secretly sabotaged peace talks in 1968 that appeared likely to end the war until he intervened. As a result, the war raged on and Nixon won election promising to end the war, which he didn't do. There would seem to be at work here something like a 50-year limit on caring about treason or mass-murder. Imagine what it might become acceptable to say about current wars 50 years hence!
By Kathy Kelly and Buddy Bell
A second round of peace talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives, expected to begin before the end of July, 2015, suggests that some parties to the fighting want to declare a cease fire. But even in the short time since the first round on July 7th, fighting has intensified. The Taliban, the Afghan government forces, various militias and the U.S. have ramped up attacks, across Afghanistan.
Four anti-drone resisters were sentenced tonight in Judge Joseph J. Zavaglia’s DeWitt (NY) Town Court for alleged trespass at a “die-in” on April 28, 2013 at Hancock Air Base, home to the 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard, just north of Syracuse, NY. At their four-day trial this past June trial the six-person jury acquitted the four of disorderly conduct and obstruction of government administration.
The four are members of Upstate Drone Action Coalition – a scrupulously nonviolent, loosely-knit grassroots network which, since 2009 has actively opposed the Hancock Reaper drones flying missions over Afghanistan. The Reaper, an unmanned robot, is notorious for violating international law by killing, maiming and terrorizing civilians in several U.S. undeclared wars.
There have been over 160 anti-drone arrests at Hancock resulting in bails as high as $10,000, numerous trials, many incarcerations, and Orders of Protection (a legal device usually meant to protect spouses and other vulnerable persons against violence).
The four defendants are: Joan Pleune of Brooklyn, Beverly Rice of Manhattan, Ellen Barfield of Baltimore, and Jules Orkin of Bergenfield, New Jersey. Pleune is a former Freedom Rider; Barfield, Rice and Orkin are active with Veterans for Peace.
All four were identically sentenced to one year’s conditional discharge, $250 fine, $125 court costs and a two-year order of protection. Both Pleune and Rice told Judge Zavaglia, through their attorney Lewis Oliver, that they would not agree to the conditional discharge – which led him to sentence the two to 15 days in Jamesville Penitentiary. Pleune and Rice were taken from court in handcuffs.
By John Grant
"Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning."