Beyond The People’s Climate March

Originally posted at AcronymTV

Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV in conversation with Timeka Drew, a grassroots organizer with the Global Climate Convergence.

In two weeks the Peoples Climate March in New York, organized by 350.org, is expected to draw as many as 200,000 people. The march is to take place only days before a special UN meeting called by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.

No! Your data is not safe!: Hackers Used Government Spyware to Data-rob iCloud

By Alfredo Lopez


One sensationally reported incident this week exposes a dual threat: your data isn't safe on a corporate-controlled "cloud" and spying software made for police and government agencies makes it completely accessible.

The Fall of the US Empire-And Then What?

by Johan Galtung, 1 Sep 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

Is the title of a book published by TRANSCEND University Press in 2009, now in second printing, and several translations including Chinese. There were two subtitles indicating answers: Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? – US Blossoming or US Fascism?

What is the situation today, five years later?

Successors? UK is militarily with USA to keep Anglo-America as a dominant world force even if a shadow of 50 years ago; France tries to keep its hold on former colonies in Africa; they use NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization for military and EU-European Union for political support. In empires the local elites line up to do the killing; yet the Western powers have mainly to do that themselves.

China is very active economically abroad, some of it structural violence; however, the military component has not been used aggressively.

Russia went into the “near abroad”, CIS-Commonwealth of Independent States, Ukraine; but for other reasons. The gift of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a mistake to be corrected as conditions changed; and Moscow, not Kiev, proposes federal solutions for “one country, two nations”. In short, no successors.

Regionalization? Yes. Islam and Latin America-Caribbean, as OIC-Organization of Islamic Cooperation and CELAC-Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, slowly; EU struggling. African Unity suffered a major setback when Gaddafi was eliminated; but the Union is there even if under strong Anglo-American influence, e.g., to rout Al-Shabah. They have tried that before; maybe dialogue would be better than bombing?

Globalization? No. Fight between two economic blocs; USA-EU to keep the dollar as global currency, BRICS-Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa for several alternatives.

US Blossoming? None; the bottom 20, 70 or even 99% have too little or no increase in buying power, hence too low domestic demand.

US Fascism? Yes, indeed; if by fascism we mean use of massive violence for political goals. US fascism takes three forms: global with bombing, droning and sniping all over; domestic with military weapons used across race and class faultlines; and then NSA-National Security Agency spying on everybody.

A deeply tragic development. Such an innovative country and nothing better to offer than macro bombing, meso droning and micro sniping. We sense the military-industrial complex at work–the bomb industry upfront–but dubious intellectuals are also in it:

“Even as Mr. Obama presses Russia to stop fomenting a virtual civil war in Ukraine, he is trying to collaborate with Moscow in a diplomatic campaign to force Iran to scale back its nuclear program. Even as he pressures Iran over its nuclear program, he finds himself on the same side as Tehran in combating a rising Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Even as he sends special forces to help squelch those insurgents, he is trying to help their putative allies against the government in Syria next door.–While defending Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rockets, he sent Secretary of State John Kerry to work with Egypt to force a ceasefire–the same Egypt to which Mr. Obama cut financial aid for a while because it came to power after the military overthrew the previous government” (Peter Baker, “Crises cascade and converge, putting Obama to test”, INYT, 24 July 2014).

Good job, Mr. Baker. The answer by a former security aide to Obama, Gary Samore, from an autistic bubble, is less brilliant:

“You name it, the world is aflame. Foreign policy is always complicated. We always have a mix of complicated interests. That’s not unusual. What’s unusual is there’s this outbreak of violence and instability everywhere. It makes it hard for governments to cope–”.

Mr. Samore: all Made in the USA, a USA meeting itself in the door.

Washington wanted Ukraine into NATO to encircle Russia even more; USA-UK made the coup against democratically elected Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 ushering in 25 years of a brutal Shah dictatorship; the brutal IS-Islamic State is a highly predictable outcome of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 killing the Baath-Saddam alternative; the Syrian situation was always more complex than Assad against an opposition and much due to Israeli influence on US policy; Israeli bombing in Gaza up to genocide is partially of US making; the Muslim Brotherhood came into power to get Egypt out of the US-Israeli grip; the Egyptian military is bribed by the USA itself and both want it that way, dictatorship or not.

There are other factors, but the common denominator is us, US.

Change that policy and the world would be easier to cope with.

But, the problem is whether Washington is too autistic to think thoughts beyond its bombing-droning-sniping obsession.

The Guardian, 9 July 2014: “Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarized to develop social tools to target peaceful activists and protest movements.” The US military is turning inward, obviously to protect the white 1% who feeds them.

Furthermore, of course (28 August, Internet), the shocking, not exactly surprising, news: “Israel Police train U.S. police officers and have exchange offices in New York <> Tel Aviv–US police forces train in Israel and learn from how Palestinian resistance is subdued”.

And that is by the same military means that brought the two countries into being. The more militarized the more dehumanized and the more dehumanized the more lethal; fed psychologically by anti-Arab and anti-Black racism, and by exceptionalist claims from the ruling elites.

Militarized class and race war is the worst approach possible. What the USA needs is imitative, solidarity, cooperation for a better USA; they will reap fear, apathy, withdrawal, revenge, spiraling violence. Already hurting the US image abroad and far from halting the decline and fall of the US Empire, it will speed up the decline and fall of the USA itself. Will they trigger a world war as a cover-up?

Moreover, it comes on top of another sad phenomenon in the USA: the increasing collective shootings all over the country, geographically and socially, in addition to the usual homicides and suicides, bad enough. The standard analysis is to psychiatrize the murderer, searching for a profile and its likes in society to prevent more shootings.

Another approach would focus on the shootings as a collective, slow suicide of a US incapable of solving its countless problems, even addressing them, to the point that people simply give a damn, kill what they see as the problem including, often, themselves. General demoralization has such consequences, like the suicide epidemic at the end of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and beyond, lasting to our days.

Farewell, USA? Not at all. Pull yourself together, Stop It!

________________________________

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Moving Beyond Militarism

An excellent report (click for PDF):

Laura Lynch's photo.

A Future That Values Everyone

By Robert C. Koehler, http://commonwonders.com/world/a-future-that-values-everyone/

“I think if we had a gun we would have been shot immediately.”

This is as good a place to start as any, at the logical limits of violent self-defense. The speaker is Andres Gutierrez of Nonviolent Peaceforce, a nonprofit organization that has engaged in peacekeeping work in troubled regions of the world for the last decade. Gutierrez, the organization’s team leader in South Sudan, along with colleague Derek Oakley, got caught in the chaos last April when the city of Bor was attacked, with armed men overrunning the perimeter of a U.N. base where thousands of civilians had sought protection. The two took shelter inside a mud hut.

More than 60 people were killed in the ethnic massacre, but Gutierrez and Oakley, the unarmed peacekeepers, kept that total from being higher. Four women and nine children were inside the hut as well.

As noted on the Nonviolent Peaceforce website: “On three separate occasions men with guns came and ordered the peacekeepers out so they could kill the women and kids. The peacekeepers refused, holding up their (Nonviolent Peaceforce) IDs and saying they were unarmed, there to protect civilians and would not leave. After the third time the armed men left. The people were saved.”

The armed men gave up; thirteen people, plus the two peacekeepers, are still alive. This calls for a moment of awe. This calls for reverence and, most of all, remembrance.

Mel Duncan, a cofounder of Nonviolent Peaceforce, brought the incident to my attention because I had lamented last week that “the popular imagination doesn’t even entertain the possibility” that there are effective, nonlethal forms of keeping order in a community or on the planet. Safety, as proscribed by Hollywood and the media — the vast public-relations industry of the military-industrial complex — requires good guys with guns (and bombs) continually blowing evil to Kingdom Come. It doesn’t matter that this is an obscene oversimplification of the real world, that violence generally expands the scope of human misery and comes back to haunt the perpetrator. We all harbor darkness in our souls, but we’re socially addicted to violence.

So how did the two unarmed peacekeepers save the lives of thirteen women and children? Intense training in nonviolent methods and strategy helped them keep their cool in a dangerous situation. If they’d been armed, as Gutierrez said, the attackers would have killed them without further thought.

But being unarmed doesn’t mean being disempowered. This is worth paying attention to. In South Sudan, unarmed, international peacekeepers have credibility. They stand above the local conflict, facilitating communication between the various sides but not taking sides themselves. In addition, Gutierrez and Oakley were in sync with one another and didn’t panic.

“We also had a humanitarian mandate,” Gutierrez said in an interview. Being unarmed “opens the doors to look for solutions. If we were armed peacekeepers, the solution is you shoot back. Because we were unarmed we could find other ways. (We knew) that the people who were attacking don’t want the blood of ex-pat humanitarians on their hands.”

They were, it seems to me, representatives of the collective human conscience, standing their ground against men with the AK-47s. Without their presence, that conscience would have been absent and the civilians in the mud hut would have been slaughtered, along with the other civilians who were killed in the attack.

This is worth deep consideration as we think about the human future. Perhaps such a courageous, unarmed stance will not work in all circumstances, but it worked here — and not because the two were “lucky.” It worked because brute, linear force and physical domination aren’t the only factors involved in creating safety. Life is far more complex than that. So is “evil.” Armed killers often have functioning consciences, which can be addressed.

Gutierrez and Oakley not only saved thirteen people’s lives, they also saved the gunmen from further violation of their consciences. This could mean they will be less likely to kill again.

Building real peace requires such effort, over and over and over. The military definition of peace is that it’s the uneasy lull between violence. Thus, only violence is inevitable. I don’t believe this. I believe there is a better definition of peace: that it is the creation of healthy souls, put together slowly, one courageous and loving action at a time.

We need to embrace such effort, socially, politically, financially. I mean this column to be such an embrace. I also believe that peacebuilding efforts are far more prevalent than we realize — and more prevalent, certainly, than the mainstream media notice and acknowledge.

Another response I received from last week’s column, which was about the Ferguson protests, the militarization of police departments nationwide and “the courage to disarm,” was from Eli McCarthy, who told me about an organization called the DC Peace Team, an unarmed civilian peacekeeping effort in the nation’s capital.

One of the team’s projects involved identifying neighborhoods in the city where conflicts are likely to erupt. Their website describes the team’s effort in Gallery Place, a booming downtown neighborhood full of stores, theaters and restaurants — and teenagers, whom the merchants see as a threat.

“Between the police, the security guards, and Metro transit police, the area bristles with uniforms,” the website notes. “At least some of the time, young people respond to the defensiveness and occasional hostility they encounter by pushing the limits or applauding those who do. Violent incidents between youth and police have occurred, iPhone and wallet snatchings are not uncommon, even with the police presence, and violent incidents continue.”

Peace Team members took it upon themselves to add a different sort of presence to the neighborhood: “We practiced proactive presence by talking with the merchants, guards, and police as well as young people, adult residents, and tourists. Our intention was to offer respect for our equal dignity, active compassionate listening, and conflict transformation skills to all the parties involved and to be seen as non-partisan with resources to provide.”

Creating peace requires this kind of effort — and I will continue to explore these efforts of ordinary citizens representing not “the state” or the limited interests of those in power, but a future that values everyone.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC.

THE ROVING EYE: NATO attacks!

By Pepe Escobar, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-02-030914.html

First thing we do, let's kill all the myths. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is nothing but the Security Council of the Empire of Chaos.

You don't need to be a neo-Foucault hooked on Orwellian/Panopticon practices to admire the hyper-democratic "ring of steel" crossing average roads, parks and even ringing castle walls to "protect" dozens of NATO heads of state and ministers, 10,000 supporting characters and 2,000 journalists from the real world in Newport, Wales - and beyond.

NATO's summit in Wales also provides outgoing secretary-general Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen the chance to display his full attack dog repertoire. It's as if he's auditioning for a starring role in a remake of Tim Burton's epic Mars Attacks!

Fogh of War is all over the place, talking "pre-positioning of supplies, equipment" - euphemism for weapons; boosting bases and headquarters in host countries; and touting a 10,000-strong, rapid reaction "spearhead" force to respond to Russian "aggression" and deployable in a maximum of five days.

Meanwhile, in a bad cop-bad cop routine, outgoing president of the European Commission, outstanding mediocrity Jose Manuel Barroso, leaked that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him over the phone later last week he could take Kiev in a fortnight if he wanted.

Well, Putin could. If he wanted. But he doesn't want it. What matters is what he told Rossiya state TV; that Kiev should promote inclusive talks about the future status of Eastern Ukraine. Once again, the Western spin was that he was advocating the birth of a Novorossiya state. Here, The Saker analyzes in detail the implications of what Russia really wants, and what the Novorossiya forces really want.

With Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite predictably spinning that Russia is "at war with Europe", and British Prime Minister David Cameron evoking - what else - Munich 1938 (Chamberlain appeasing Hitler), Fogh of War has had all the ammo he needs to sell his Einsatzgruppen. Cynics are excused to believe NATO's spearhead force is actually The Caliph's IS goons raising hell in "Syraq".

Warmongering, though, is not an easy sell in a crisis-hit EU these days. Not only Germany, but also France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Hungary and even Poland have expressed "reluctance" one way or another to back NATO's strategy of a more "robust" presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic. Moreover, the Empire of Chaos and its Brit junior partner in the "special relationship" want everyone to shell out more cash (a minimum of 2% of GDP). Even as the EU is facing no less than its third recession in five years.

The bottom line is there will be no more rotation on NATO's Eastern front. Legally, the set up cannot be defined as "permanent", because it will go against a 1997 NATO-Russia pact. But it will be permanent. That applies to Szczecin, in Poland, near the Baltic, and the so-called multinational Corps Northeast - land, air and sea. Estonia and Latvia for all practical purposes are being touted as "Putin's next targets". And defending them from "Russian aggression" is NATO's new red line.

Additionally, Finland and Sweden may sign NATO Host Nation agreements. This implies NATO forces may use Swedish and Finnish territory in the future on the way to what's hazily referred to as "operations". At least deployment of foreign troops still needs parliamentary approval - and Swedes and Finns are bound to raise eyebrows.

No R2P for you, buddy
Even with all this Mars Attacks! hysteria, NATO in thesis won't discuss Ukraine in depth in Wales - or an imminent R2P ("responsibility to protect") Ukraine from the remixed "Evil Empire" (copyright Ronnie Reagan). But there will be "military consultations" and a bit of cash shelled out to the Kiev military - who are having their (bankrupt) collective behind solemnly kicked by the federalist/separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine as much as NATO had theirs kicked by a bunch of Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs in Afghanistan.

By the way, the latest US$1.4 billion the International Monetary Fund shelled out to Ukraine - the Mobster-style interest will hit much later - will be used by an already bankrupt Kiev mostly to pay for a bunch of T-72 tanks it bought from Hungary. Money for nothing, tanks for free.

Ukraine, it must be stressed, is not a NATO member. Technically, every NATO bureaucrat in Brussels admits that a candidate country must request membership. And countries with regions mired in an international dispute are not accepted. So Ukraine would only be considered if Kiev gave up Crimea. It's not going to happen.

Still, Washington's obsessive play to annex Ukraine to NATO will keep marching on (in the matter of accession, by the way, the European Union would issue a firm "no"). Outgoing Prime Minister Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk as well as President Poroshenko, are desperate for a NATO intervention, or at least Ukraine being accepted as some form of privileged ally. Yats expects "monumental decisions from our Western partners at the summit". In vain.

NATO somehow is already in Ukraine. A NATO cyber center group has been in Kiev since March, operating in the building of the Council of National Security and Defense. So it is a bunch of NATO bureaucrats who actually determine the news agenda in Ukraine - and the non-stop demonization of all things Russia.

Ukraine is all about Germany now. Berlin wants a political solution. Fast. Berlin wants Russian gas flowing via Ukraine again. Fast. Berlin does not want US missile defense in Eastern Europe - no matter what the Baltic states scream. That's why Poroshenko's latest "Invasion! Invasion! Invasion!" craze is nothing but pure desperation by a lowly, bankrupt vassal of the Empire of Chaos. Of course that does not prevent Fogh of War - who got the NATO job because he was an enthusiastic cheerleader of the rape of Iraq - to keep crying "Invasion!" till all Danish retrievers come home.

Real deal
And then there's NATO's recent record. An ignominious defeat in Afghanistan. A "humanitarian" bombing that reduced once-stable Libya to a miserable failed state immersed in total anarchy and ravaged by rabid militias. Not exactly fabulous PR for NATO's future as a coalition assembly line with global "vocation", capable of pulling off expeditionary wars all around the world by creating the appearance of a military and political consensus unified by - what else - an Empire of Chaos doctrine: NATO's "strategic concept" approved at the 2010 Lisbon summit. (See US a kid in a NATO candy store, Asia Times Online, November 25, 2010.)

Since those go-go "Bubba" Clinton years; through the "pre-emptive" Dubya era; and now under the R2P dementia of Obama's warring Medusas (Rice, Power, Hillary), the Pentagon dreams of NATO as global Robocop, dominating all the roles embodied by the UN and the EU in terms of security. This has absolutely nothing to do with the original collective defense of NATO signatories against possible territorial attacks. Oh, sorry; we forgot the attacks by those (non-existent) nuclear missiles deployed by evil Iran.

The Ukraine battleground at least has the merit of showing the alliance is naked. For the Full Spectrum Dominance Pentagon, what really matters above all is something that's been actually happening since the fall of the Soviet Union; unlimited NATO expansion to the westernmost borders of Russia.

The real deal this September is not NATO. It's the SCO's summit. Expect the proverbial tectonic shifts of geopolitical plaques in the upcoming meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - a shift as far-reaching as when the Ottoman empire failed at the gates of Vienna in 1683. On the initiative of Russia and China, at the SCO summit, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia will be invited to become permanent members. Once again, the battle lines are drawn. NATO vs SCO. NATO vs BRICS. NATO vs Global South. Therefore, NATO attacks!

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

War by stealth and by mini-armies: US Invades Iraq...Again, and Secretly

By Dave Lindorff


Flash! The US has re-invaded Iraq!

Is there still hope for peace in Ukraine?

By Patrick Boylan, Pressenza

Berlin, 1961 (photomontage)

The Ukrainian government, like Israel in Gaza, relentlessly goes on bombing residential areas in the eastern regions “to kill the terrorists hiding out there” (but also the civilians living there). The separatists, called “terrorists”, are in a siege; to break it, they have launched a bloody counteroffensive to the South, with civilian casualties there, too. Tension has spiked with rumors (later debunked) of a full-scale Russian invasion underway. And yet, in spite of it all, a glimmer of hope for peace has finally appeared. Or is it just an illusion?

After denouncing for months “Putin’s covert aggression” against Ukraine, the media have at last produced the smoking gun: satellite photos of alleged Russian Army armored vehicles inside Ukraine (although no GPS coordinates have been given).

In stark contrast to this inflammatory rhetoric, five reputable authorities have invited us to stay calm and rethink the media account of what is happening in Ukraine, reminding us that, behind the scenes, NATO is active there, too. And that its goal is not just to install a few missiles on the Russian border but, more importantly, to block the recent rise of multipolarity and plunge us all back into the bipolarity (duopoly) of the Cold War. Is this what we want?

Thus the events in Ukraine go far beyond the Donets Basin in the east and touch us all. Let us try to understand them better.

Last July, Henry Kissinger, the highly-conservative former U.S. Secretary of State, shocked officialdom with an op-ed in the Washington Post . In it he called for an end to the hostilities in eastern Ukraine and between Washington and Moscow. “Showdowns” and the “demonization of Vladimir Putin” are not policies, he admonished; they are ”alibis for the absence of one.” It is time to negotiate.

Then, in August and September, three more opinion pieces on the Ukrainian crisis appeared, all of the same tone and all by authorities in the American and European establishments.

  • The West on the wrong path “, an editorial by Gabor Steingart, publisher of Germany’s leading financial newspaper, Handelsblatt , written in English to obtain the widest audience and appearing on August 8 th , 2014;
  • Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault “, a study by John J. Mearsheimer, distinguished academic at the Council on Foreign Relations, in the September 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs , which appeared on-line beginning August 23 rd ;
  • The Way Out of the Ukraine Crisis : U.S. leaders need to talk to the Russians, not threaten them. “, an article appearing in the September 2014 issue of The Atlantic by contributing editor Jeffrey Tayler, based in Moscow.

These authorities, and others as well (such as the award-winning investigative journalist Robert Parry in this August 10 th report ), go even further than Kissinger and debunk completely the mainstream narration of events in Ukraine, repeated over and over by our mass media. According to which it is Putin who supposedly wants to rebuild the old Tzarist empire by grabbing country after country the aggressor to be isolated and castigated.

We now learn, much to our surprise, that it is the West (through NATO) the real aggressor in Ukraine. Indeed, it is the West that engineered an armed coup in Kiev on February 22 nd , 2014, behind the smoke screen of the street protests, using Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias trained in NATO bases in Poland to attack the presidential palace and force President Janukovyč to flee. That put the country into the hands of the West which promptly brought to power, not the leaders that the EuroMaidan protesters had been fighting for, but the leaders that the Pentagon and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wanted and had been grooming for some time. In other words, the EuroMaidan movement got hijacked. Pro-NATO neo-Nazi goons remained camped out in the central square for months, to make sure no one objected.

The purpose of the coup was: (1.) to permit NATO to install missiles along the Russian frontier an objective that Kiev and Washington deny but that NATO-Ukraine Commission declarations and U.S. Missile Defense Agency visits confirm; (2.) to interrupt exports to Russia from the specialized industries in Eastern Ukraine (in the USSR, Eastern Ukraine had been assigned the production of those goods and the Russian army continues to this day to depend on them); (3.) to deprive Russia of its vital naval base in Crimea and perhaps install a NATO naval base there; (4.) to permit the IMF to apply its infamous “cure” to the Ukrainian economy, thus impoverishing the population still further and creating, at the doorstep of Western Europe, a vast workforce as cheap as that in Southeast Asia but much closer and better schooled. And at no burden to European Union members, with respect to benefits and rights, since Ukraine is not to be admitted fully as a EU member, but only as an economic-exchange partner (goodbye EuroMaidan dreams). This cheap labor will permit Western subsidiaries and shell corporations in Ukraine, which is a CISFTA member, to conduct, among other things, economic war on Russia through dumping.

It is thus clear that the Ukrainian crisis has been provoked, not by Russia, but by the West in order to put Russia into difficulty, militarily and economically. It is also clear that, in doing so, the West committed two illegal acts: first, in violation of the U.N. Charter, it engineered a coup to overthrow another country’s elected government; secondly, in violation of the 1997 Founding Act which calls for a neutral Ukraine (not in any military alliance), it did so to draw Ukraine into NATO.

Given all this, Putin’s reaction i.e. , annexing Crimea to safeguard the Russian naval base there and supporting the separatist movement in the Donets region of eastern Ukraine to safeguard the vital industries there and conserve a minimal buffer zone should be seen less as a “reprehensible grab” by a “voracious Russian bear” and more as an attempt to save the day and salvage whatever possible, after the reprehensible grab of the entire Ukrainian territory carried out last February by NATO and the West. This concept is illustrated below in a poster created by the NoWar Network in Rome, Italy, and displayed at a demonstration outside the Ukrainian embassy in Rome on May 17 th , 2014. The poster reads: “Ukraine: who is the invader?”

Debunking the mainstream narration of the events in Ukraine, as the five authors cited above have done, represents a huge step forward: it empowers us to find a solution to the conflict. We no longer see military confrontation as inevitable. Instead, we see very real possibilities for a negotiated armistice and peace treaty – for example, ones along the lines suggested by Kissinger in July and reworked in August and September by other authors.

Piecing together all the suggestions, a workable armistice/treaty might look like this: the West forgoes its plans to install NATO bases in Ukraine and Kiev forgoes impeding or conditioning commerce between the industries in eastern Ukraine and Russia; in exchange, Russia stops supporting the rebellion in eastern Ukraine and cedes Crimea back to Kiev – with the provision that the naval base there remains leased to Russia as before, although with better safeguards. The armistice/treaty might also contain specific provisions that bind Russia not to hinder Ukraine’s entry into the European economic zone and that bind Ukraine to: (a.), remain neutral politically and militarily (“Finlandization”) and (b.), prevent dumping in Russia by the corporations it regulates. Finally, the armistice/treaty could conceivably concede to the people of eastern Ukraine, in place of independence, substantial regional autonomy, not only cultural (local regulation of linguistic and religious questions) but also economic (for example, local regulation of exports) and military (a Regional Guard in place of the dreaded National Guard, rife with anti-Russian neo-Nazis).

And there would be peace – immediately.

Thus, in five authoritative publications appearing this summer and autumn, a new vision of the events in Ukraine suddenly appears – a vision that contradicts the official descriptions given heretofore. This new vision, by revealing what is truly at stake in the current conflict, empowers us to stand up resolutely and demand a cease-fire followed immediately by negotiations. For we are now able to see that the basis of a potential accord really exists. Of course, the question remains: how do we get the parties in conflict to see this as well?

Gabor Steingart’s editorial indicates a method to follow. Steingart describes the lesson that Willy Brandt, then Mayor of Berlin and subsequently Chancellor of West Germany, gave the world after the construction of the Berlin Wall by the Soviets in 1961. That wall was a slap in the face and could have spelled the end of any dialog between East and West. And yet Brandt did not rant and fume or call for sanctions or rattle a sword. Instead, he worked patiently to conciliate the two sides and, slowly but surely, succeeded. His method? Forgo revenge. Recognize the status quo imposed on you, in order to change it. Identify the real interests at stake and point out possible trade offs. Create ties among the parties involved, with no exclusions, thus promoting, over time, rapprochement and reconciliation. And above all, feel, and get others to feel, compassion – even towards one’s worst enemies.

Could Brandt serve as a model for our leaders today who are involved in the Ukrainian crisis: Merkel, Obama, Porošenko and Putin? Steingart thinks so: in fact, he wrote his editorial to call on German Chancellor Merkel to follow the example of her predecessor. And already, on her own, Merkel has been using Brandt tactics: for example, she phones constantly those leaders who tend not to speak to each other and thus keeps them virtually in touch. The Russian President seems to want to promote dialog as well. Although continuing to furnish “assistance” (and not just of the humanitarian kind) to eastern Ukraine, Putin has declared that he is ready to talk with anyone any time. He even got Porošenko to accept, at a regional meeting in Minsk on August 26 th , to sit down and discuss the current conflict face to face for two hours – something that had not occurred in months. The negotiations were “very tough and complex”, Porošenko confided afterward, but nonetheless “positive”: they permitted the two statesmen to create a permanent contact group to continue working out details. Dialog has begun.

But wait a moment! What about the fourth protagonist in the Ukrainian conflict who, while not present at Minsk, nonetheless cast a long shadow over the meeting there: Barack Obama?

Unfortunately, in Washington the neocons – the ultra-conservative counselors kicked out of the White House after George W. Bush’s defeat – have sneaked back in again and are now pushing Obama to campaign for the old, bipolar vision of the world that Bush famously summed up in these words: “Either you’re with us or you’re with the enemy”. Precisely the opposite of dialog and reconciliation.

Why this insistence on bipolarizing the world? There are at least two reasons, one foreign and the other domestic.

Internationally, neocons (and their influential and well-heeled sponsors) have not been happy with the gradual rapprochement taking place between Europe and Russia these past few years, as seen by the increasing number of oil and gas pipelines “sewing” the two land masses together, by the increasing number of Euro-Russian trade and financial agreements stipulated, by the increasing number of joint research projects for developing new technologies, and so on. Because all this can only lead to genuine multipolarity in the world, i.e., a world in which a future Euro-Russian block will have the same weight and punch as China or as… the United States of America. Goodbye U.S. primacy.

But by engineering the coup in Ukraine to undermine Russia on its western border, the neocons (and their sponsors) managed to provoke Putin’s counterattack and thus a fight. This permitted them, in turn, to denounce Russian “aggression” and to call for measures to castigate Russia – measures having the end effect of crippling Euro-Russian rapprochement, the neocons’ real goal. The beauty of this strategy is that it got Europeans to punish themselves , as well as the Russians, thus permitting the U.S. to rake in a profit off the sanctions. Specifically, EU countries were induced to:

  • freeze part of their joint economic and technological exchanges with Russia, thus making it necessary to compensate by increasing their trans-Atlantic exchanges with the U.S. under the conditions spelled out in the forthcoming TTIP agreement. (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, still top secret, is a free trade agreement that will give U.S.-based multinational corporations a stranglehold on European industries; it is due to be approved this year);
  • throw a wrench in their joint oil/gas pipeline projects with Russia (or multiple wrenches as in the case of the South Stream project), thus making it necessary to compensate their energy losses by importing liquified gas from the U.S. which, it is claimed, is now produced sufficiently in excess, thanks to fracking, to pick up the EU slack. In other words, besides economic and military dependence, Europe will now be dependent on the U.S. for much of its energy and thus, more than ever, a vassal.

All this is a textbook lesson in how to create empire without firing a shot.

The neocon international strategy therefore rejects multipolarity and redivides the world into two blocks, and the dividing line goes right along the eastern border of Ukraine. One block consists of Russia, Iran and China, the backbone of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) which seems destined to become the new “Axis of Evil”. The other block, called “the West”, consists of all the other countries in the world, aligned behind the United States of America which shields them from Evil, that is, from the SCO.

Coherently with the policy of having no commerce with Evil, Obama refuses to engage directly with Putin and has got Porošenko to refuse to negotiate with the separatist leaders. Instead of dialog, Washington calls for sanctions to cripple and isolate Russia, travel bans to exclude Russian delegates from international encounters, and an increase in NATO troops along Russian borders as a means of intimidation. Likewise, instead of dialog with the separatists, Kiev chooses to intimidate them into submission by bombing their cities with highly imprecise Grad missiles, which kill civilians there indiscriminately (a war crime). On August 26 th , at the regional meeting held in Minsk, there was the unexpected thaw in relations between Porošenko and Putin just described; consequently, to nip it in the bud, two days later NATO circulated a few satellite photos of armored vehicles allegedly belonging to the Russian Army and, although no GPS coordinates were given, supposedly In Ukrainian territory. Porošenko was incited to sound the alarm against a full-scale Russian invasion (words which he later had to retract) and to call for EU intervention. There was not the slightest attempt to understand the concerns prompting the other side’s (alleged) behavior, or to find a way to reconcile differences, or simply to stop the NATO-inspired hysterics and restore calm. The thaw that had just begun promptly froze over.

The neocon insistence on bipolarizing the world and demonizing one’s adversary also serves their domestic agenda.

By evoking a new Axis of Evil (the SCO), the government can point a finger at a powerful enemy – much like the USSR was during the Cold War – and justify a permanent State of Emergency which can then lead to a police state (the real neocon goal). The 9/11 attacks, for example, enabled neocons on Capitol Hill (and not only the neocons, alas) to: (1.) push through the Patriot Act, designed “to punish terrorists” but, in reality, to make it possible to incarcerate any dissident without a trial; (2.) extend NSA spying to all electronic media in order “to discover terrorists” but, in reality, to monitor the life of every single citizen; (3.) militarize local police forces “in order to stop terrorist attacks” but, in reality, to stop any kind of protest, as was seen in Ferguson, Missouri, in August of 2014. If the SCO does indeed become the new Axis of Evil, its sheer size and strength, much greater than that of all the jihadist terrorist movements put together, will make creating a total police state a cakewalk for the neocons and the other conservative forces in Washington.

Can we stop this tendency? Can we halt the stream of propaganda aiming at bipolarizing the world and demonizing our adversaries? Can we convince our leaders to work for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine and negotiations? And for a policy of more, not fewer, ties and exchanges with Russia? The task is enormous, given the formidable influence worldwide on governments and on the mass media exercised by the neocons’ sponsors (most are in Occupy’s ” 1% ” and many attend Bilderberg and Trilateral meetings). But no stone should be left unturned. For example, petitions, assemblies or coffee klatches debunking the mainstream account of events in Ukraine and calling for peace are most certainly useful. Even if they attract only a handful of signers or attendees, they are peer to peer communication and that counts.

But most of all we should aim at educating our leaders and fellow citizens in the method of conciliation that Willy Brandt put into practice when faced with the construction of the Berlin Wall. Steingart’s editorial in Handelsblatt was an attempt at doing just that. We can, for example, insist that our mass media cease demonizing our adversaries and, instead, help us to understand their concerns – and be ready to boycott the media that refuse to. We can demand that our elected representatives, if they want our vote, explain their foreign policy as much as their economic policies, and, in doing so, always show compassion towards the other side . Even in our everyday conversations and Internet exchanges we can work to civilize discourse, especially when touching on themes of war and peace, like the Ukrainian conflict.

Let us therefore undertake these tasks, all the time mindful that it will be much more difficult for us today, than it was for Brandt in 1961, to open a breach in the new Berlin Wall that is being ruthlessly and methodically erected along the eastern frontier of Ukraine. Because this time around, it is we in the West who are erecting the wall.

_____

(This text is an extensive re-write in English, by the same author, of the original text in Italian, “Ci sono ancora speranze in Ucraina? ”, which appeared in the Italian on-line magazine Megachip on August 29, 2014, and in Pressenza-Italia on August 30, 2014.)

Iraq News - Sep 3, 2014

 

Iraq forces counterattack after breaking Islamic State’s siege of Amerli - AFP


Iraqi forces regain control of key road to Baghdad after breaking IS siege of Amerli - theguardian.com


Aid enters Amerli after 2-month Islamic State siege broken (VIDEO) - AP


In Iraq, residents of Amirli celebrate end of IS siege - Los Angeles Times


VIDEO: Crowds cheer as Iraqi forces enter Amerli - Reuters


VIDEO: Turkmen from Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege - YouTube


VIDEO: Grannies 'took on Islamic State in Amerli’ - BBC News


Shiite Militias Join in Iraq Victory - WSJ


As battle lines shift in Iraq, Sunnis who welcomed the Islamic State fear retribution - The Washington Post


Iranians play role in breaking IS siege of Iraqi town - Reuters


Weapons Expert Warns About IS Militants' Supply Of Guns And Ammunition - huffingtonpost.com


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

U.S. Airstrikes Help Break Islamic State Siege on Amerli - WSJ


Pentagon: U.S. forces airdropped 109 bundles of much-needed humanitarian aid to the people of Amerli - U.S. Air Force


VIDEO: Night Vision B-Roll of Humanitarian Aid Air Drop Near Amerli, Iraq - YouTube


Pentagon: Humanitarian operations, airstrikes will continue to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their fight with Islamic State - Defense.gov


Islamic State still threat to Mosul Dam, Pentagon says - Army Times


VIDEO: Pentagon News Conference With Kirby (FULL) - Bloomberg


TRANSCRIPT: Department of Defense Press Briefing by Rear Adm. Kirby - Defense.gov


Pentagon Says Iraq Operations Costing On Average $7.5 Million Per Day - Business Insider


Humanitarian aid to Iraq costs U.S. taxpayer dollars - WJLA.com


Obama notifies Congress of ordering air strikes, airdrop campaign in Iraq's Amerli - Reuters


Text Of Letter From President Obama: War Powers Resolution Regarding Iraq - Eurasia Review


Obama Authorizes Sending Additional Troops To Iraq - huffingtonpost.com


Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq? - The Daily Beast


Obama heads to the NATO summit hoping to persuade more nations to join America in the fight against IS - NBC News.com


Iraq gets Russian Mi-28 attack helicopters - GlobalPost


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

New Islamic State video shows apparent beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff - AP


VIDEO: The Islamic State original full video of Steven Sotloff beheading: A second message to America - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: American Steven Sotloff's words before apparent beheading - NY Daily News


Terrorist in ISIS execution video of Steven Sotloff appears to be same killer of James Foley - NY Daily News


Islamic State’s acts of inhumanity on unimaginable scale: UN - BBC News


Amnesty International accuses Islamic State of ethnic cleansing in Iraq, conducting mass killings of men and abducting women and children - Middle East - AP


Human Rights Watch: New ISIS Video Shows Higher Number Of Executions In Iraq; One Survivor Details Gruesome Tactics - ibtimes.com


Iraq: Islamic State Executions in Tikrit - Human Rights Watch


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

Germany to deliver weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling IS terrorists - DW.DE


List of German weapons deliveries to Iraq′s Kurdish region - DW.DE


Australian Air Force plane delivers ammunition to Kurds - SBS News


Don't Expect Peshmerga Fighters to Beat the Islamic State - US News


Why The Kurds Failed Against IS In Iraq - Business Insider


Kurdish Peshmerga: Tarnishing a Reputation as Storied Warriors - NYTimes.com


PKK forces impress in fight against Islamic State - Al-Monitor


Female PKK Fighters May Be IS's Worst Nightmare - Military.com


'Islamic State tore our families apart. Now we're fighting back'. Meet the Kurdish women's resistance army - Telegraph


Iraqi Christians Weigh Taking Up Arms Against the Islamic State - nationalgeographic.com

 

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

Talk Nation Radio: Rep. Barbara Lee on War Powers, Marjorie Cohn on Prosecuting Congress for War Crimes

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-rep-barbara-lee-on-war-powers-marjorie-cohn-on-prosecuting-congress-for-war-crimes

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has represented the East Bay area of California since 1998. She discusses Congressional war powers.

Marjorie Cohn is a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures throughout the world on international human rights and U.S. foreign policy. Her latest book is The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Her website is http://www.marjoriecohn.com She discusses a letter sent by the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, urging her to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders and aided and abetted by U.S. officials in Gaza.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

 

Oil Train Halted - Mother suspended above tracks!

From Backbone Campaign info@backbonecampaign.org

Rising Tide Seattle along with participants who attended Backbone Campaign's Localize This! Action Camp launched a technical blockade action early this morning effectively halting both Oil and Coal Trains!!
Tired of inaction by politicians?
Call Govenor Inslee to tell him actions like this inspire you not his foot-dragging.
***Demand Govenor Inslee Stops Stalling and Declares a Moratorium on all Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Projects - 360-902-4111

***Action Alert*** Oil Train HALTED!

RIGHT NOW, suspended above oil-by-rail train tracks, this courageous mother and climate justice activist is compelled to risk life and limb to protect our communities' and our children's future. Her righteous actions offers a stark contrast to the reckless actions by billionaires Warren Buffett and transnational corporations whose only allegiance is to profit.

It is the fearless defense of what we love by ordinary people that will bend our society towards justice, not the inaction of politicians embedded in the establishment.

Oil Train Halted by Tripod Blockade Action-                        Rising Tide SeattleAre you ready to take meaningful action?

The blockade continues strong! #noneshallpass

Donate to their action fund:bit.ly/1uxxN5q


EVERETT: Five local residents have stopped work at a Burlington Northern Santa-Fe Rail Yard in Everett by erecting a tripod structure on the outbound railroad tracks, directly in front of both a mile-long oil train and a coal train. Seattle resident Abby Brockway - a small business owner and mother - is suspended from the structure 18 feet above the tracks while four other residents are locked to the legs of the tripod. The group is demanding an immediate halt to all shipments of fossil fuels through the Northwest and calling on Governor Inslee to reject permits for all new fossil fuel projects in Washington, including proposed coal and oil terminals.

"People in the Pacific Northwest are forming a thin green line that will keep oil, coal and gas in the ground," said Brockway, "Just one of these proposed terminals would process enough carbon to push us past the global warming tipping point - we won't let that happen."

Today's protest has shut down work at BNSF's Delta Rail Yard in Everett. With the increase of fossil fuel transport in recent years the yard has become a crucial staging ground for coal trains headed to Canadian export terminals and oil trains bound for Washington refineries. An oil train carrying explosive bakken crude oil sat stalled while the protest continued.

"Exploding oil trains running through my town are just a reminder of how out of control the fossil fuel industry really is," said Jackie Minchew an Everett resident and retired educator locked to one of the tripod's poles.

In a controversial move, Burlington Northern Santa Fe recently announced a tentative deal with union leaders to reduce train crews from an engineer and conductor to a single engineer. The oil train that derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec was crewed by a single engineer. BNSF claims that oil trains will continue to have two-person crews, but critics point out that nothing in the proposed contract binds the company to that statement. Under the proposed deal, coal trains would be operated by a single crew-member.

Oil Train Halted by Tripod Blockade Action- Rising Tide            Seattle"BNSF is endangering workers, communities and our environment. They should keep the conductors and lose the oil trains," said Brockway.

The surge in oil train traffic is already impacting passenger rail and agricultural shipments. Farmers from the Midwest to Washington State have faced what they call "unprecedented" delays in moving Wheat and other products to West Coast ports. Amtrak service through fossil-fuel train corridors has also suffered significant disruption, and officials have expressed concern that the problem will only get worse as more terminals come online.

"Railroads can be part of the solution, transporting crops and people or part of the problem with coal and oil. We should make that decision, not the fossil fuel companies," Said Patrick Mazza, a longtime climate activist also locked to the tracks.

Mazza says he is taking this action for his daughter, who will turn 18 tomorrow.

"My last act as a father before my daughter reaches full adulthood tomorrow is to put my body on the line today," Said Mazza, "It is up to us of the parental generation to do our absolute best to leave the least climate disrupted world we can, to put our bodies on the line to give our kids a fighting chance to deal with what we have left them."

Development of extreme energy projects--like the Alberta tar sands, Bakken Shale oil and coal from the Powder River Basin--has fueled an explosion in proposed fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northwest. More than twenty new or expanded coal, oil, and gas terminals are proposed between British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. In both states and British Columbia, these proposals have been met with fierce local resistance. Local communities have challenged both the safety of transporting coal, oil, and volatile gas through their communities and the role of fossil fuel export in fueling catastrophic climate disruption. Proposed coal terminals in Longview and Bellingham, and oil terminals in Vancouver and Gray's Harbor, would lead to more carbon emissions than produced in the state of Washington each year.

"We could pass every climate initiative proposed by Governor Inslee, but if we let these terminals be built our future is on the chopping block," said Liz Spoerri a Seattle middle school teacher also locked on the tracks.

While proposed coal and oil terminals have been controversial for years, climate activists in the Northwest have significantly intensified their tactics this summer. In Montana, residents sat on the tracks to block a coal train last April, and again on August 16,. In early July a woman locked herself to a 55-gallon barrel filled with concrete, blocking oil-trains at a Portland facility. In a similar action on July 28, three people blocked oil-trains at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes by locking themselves to concrete filled barrels. Most recently, three Seattle residents, including state legislative candidate Jess Spear, were arrested blocking oil and coal trains near the Seattle Waterfront.

Oil Train Halted by Tripod Blockade Action- Rising Tide            Seattle"People in the Northwest are not going to allow this region to become a fossil fuel superhighway," said Mike LaPoint, an Everett small business owner locked on the tracks. "This is just a sample of the resistance that will happen if any large fossil fuel project is permitted."

Despite controversy, the number of fossil fuel trains on Washington's rails continues to rise. While larger coal and oil terminals are undergoing lengthy environmental reviews, projects at Washington's refineries have brought approximately two oil trains per day to communities like Seattle and Everett. While the Department of Ecology conducts a study on the safety of oil-by-rail construction continues on a new terminal at the Phillips 66 refinery in Ferndale, and local officials are attempting to fast-track an oil train terminal at Shell's Puget Sound Refinery without environmental review. Each of these projects could add up to six oil trains per week to the rails. Expansions at the Fraser Surrey Docks coal export facility in Vancouver, Canada, would increase the number of coal trains moving through Washington. Activists are demanding an immediate moratorium on all new fossil fuel terminals.

"Politicians play a blame game and talk about safety, but new terminals keep getting rubber stamped and built," said LaPoint, "If elected officials won't stop the fossil fuel takeover, we'll have to do it for them."

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

Rising Tide Seattle is a grassroots, all-volunteer collective dedicated to taking direct action to confront the root causes of climate change, and support communities on the frontlines of extractive industries.

Want to Do More Than March for the Climate? Here's How.

This is from National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance:

Dear Friends,

As part of Campaign Nonviolence  (which has over 150 actions scheduled across the country the week of September 21-27NCNR is organizing an action of nonviolent civil resistance at the White House on Tuesday September 23.  

On September 23 we will gather on Pennsylvania Ave. mid-morning (exact time to be announced) for a short program before crossing to the White House to deliver the letter below and demand changes in policy that will bring about profound transformations in the areas of war, poverty, and the climate crisis.

Please email joyfirst5@gmail.com by Sept. 8 to sign onto the below letter.  The letter will be mailed to the White House so that Obama knows we are coming and what we are demanding.

If you are willing to risk arrest at the action on Sept. 23 or if you have questions, please email malachykilbride@yahoo.comor joyfirst5@gmail.com .

Please sign onto the letter by September 8 and join us at the White House on September 23.  And please share this letter with all your networks.

For more information on Campaign Nonviolence, go to campaignnonviolence.org

In hope for a better world,

Joy
Malachy
Max

 

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE

9635 Overland Rd.  Mount Horeb, WI 53572

 

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

August 21, 2014

Dear Mr. President,

We write to you as people committed to nonviolent social change with a deep concern for a variety of issues that are all interrelated. As representatives of organizations that normally do not have a voice and have little influence in the places of power in Washington, DC, we are organizing under Campaign Nonviolence, a campaign that is pulling people together across the country to nonviolently bring about change in the areas of poverty, war, and climate crisis.  These issues are too urgent to delay and not attend to immediately and so we would like to meet with you or a senior representative at the White House and discuss our concerns on September 23.  During the week of September 21, we will be joined in solidarity with hundreds of actions around the country focusing on war, poverty, and the climate crisis organized under Campaign Nonviolence..

Poverty is adversely affecting the quality of life for too many Americans.  The people are suffering from lack of food, health care, education, a living wage, adequate housing, and the list goes on.  For example, tens of millions of Americans represent just part of the 842 million hungry people in the world according to the United Nations World Food Programme. According to recent statistics from the US Department of Agriculture almost 15 percent of US households are food insecure.  It is unconscionable that we have children in the United States going to bed hungry.  These numbers do not reflect the recent cuts in food stamps that is now wreaking havoc across the country.  Just a portion of the bloated Pentagon budget redirected towards human need could alleviate this suffering.

Unending war and imperialism is destroying both our country and the world.  Within the last 13 years we have experienced how the United States has responded to international crisis with violence.  Our government has waged wars in violation of international law with a failed Middle East policy that leaves a whole region mired in violence and instability, launched an illegal drone war, tortured and illegally detained individuals, and refused to get rid of nuclear weapons capable of annihilation of all life on the planet.

Our disregard for the causes of climate chaos is leading to the destruction of the planet.  Being controlled, in part, by the fossil fuel industry our government has not been willing to sign onto international treaties to end climate chaos or to stand up against the Keystone Pipeline.  In the article Greenwashing the Pentagon, Joseph Nevins states, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”

We believe that another way is possible and that there are alternatives to the life threatening policies that our government has promoted and that have been so destructive to the people of the world.

When you were elected president, people had such hope for a change.  Yet what we got was a government that continued the policies of the Bush administration.  You are NOT the people’s president, and the voices of the people are not being heard.

We demand that you change course with the present policies and listen to the people and not the corporations.  Here are three policy changes that we want to see implemented before you leave office.  These changes would make the world a better place for all of our children and grandchildren, including yours.  These changes would only be a beginning, but would provide a good start.

1.      End all drone warfare.  It is illegal and immoral.
2.      Establish a living wage for all workers.
3.      Initiate and work for an international treaty for swift verifiable action to reverse climate change.  Listen to the scientific community and not the fossil fuel industry.

We have not had access to the decision-making process like the oil lobby, the financial and corporate sector, and the arms industry have over the years.  If people and groups such as ours had this same kind of access we very well may not have rushed to war and occupation on false pretense, "tortured folks", continued to operate the criminally complicit Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, had the devastating and destructive oil spills in addition to still considering the Keystone Pipeline, or had civil unrest caused by American society's structural violence, unresolved racism, and failed economic policies.

A new approach to leadership is required to address the problems and crises we all face.  We have the audacity to hope that you or a senior representative will meet with us on Tuesday September 23, 2014.  This is the day we will come to the White House from all around the country to meet with you.  Thank you President Obama.

Sincerely,

Ken Butigan, Pace e Bene Executive Director
John Dear, Pace e Bene Outreach Director
Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Malachy Kilbride, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Max Obuszewski, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Society as a Failed Experiment

There's little dispute among social scientists that most of our major public programs are counter-productive on their own terms. There is also little analysis of this phenomenon as a pattern in need of an explanation and a solution.

Prisons are supposedly intended to reduce crime, but instead increase it. Young people who when they commit crimes are arrested and punished become much more likely to commit crimes as adults than are those young people who when they commit crimes are just left alone.

Fixing public schools by requiring endless test-preparation and testing is ruining public schools. Kids are emerging with less education than before the fix. Parents are sending their kids to private schools or charter schools or homeschooling them or even pulling them out of school for a few months during the worst of the test-preparation binging. 

Free trade policies are supposed to enrich us. Trickle-down tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are supposed to enrich us. We keep trying them and they keep impoverishing us.

War preparations are supposed to enrich us, but impoverish us instead. War is supposed to protect us, but generates enemies. Or war is supposed to benefit some far away place, but leaves it in ruins. Is more war the answer?

When a road gets crowded, we enlarge it or build another road. The traffic responds by enlarging to fill the new roads. So we cut funds for trains in order to build yet more roads.

We're several times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. So, we give police officers weapons of war to make us safe.

We're making the earth's climate unlivable by consuming fossil fuels. So we ramp up the consumption of fossil fuels.

Guns are supposed to protect us, but the more we spread the guns around the more we get killed intentionally and accidentally with guns.

What causes us to pursue counterproductive programs and policies? And why does it seem that the bigger the program is the more we pursue its counterproductive agenda? Well, let's look at the above list again and ask who benefits.

We've made prisons into a for-profit industry and an economic rescue program for depressed rural areas. Enormous profits are being made from children who abandon public schools; from the point of view of those profiteers there's every reason to fix schools in a manner that actually makes them horrible. Corporate trade pacts and tax exemptions for billionaires don't impoverish everyone, just us non-billionaires. Some people get rich from road construction. Weapons companies don't mind when one war leads to three more (especially if they're arming all sides), or when police pick up used weaponry that can then be replaced. Oil and coal profiteers aren't focused on the inhabitability of the earth. Gun manufacturers aren't worried about how many people die so much as how many guns are sold.

What keeps us from seeing this as a pattern is the myth that we live in a democracy in which decisions are made by majority opinion. In reality, majority opinion is badly distorted by anti-democratic news media and largely ignored by anti-democratic officials. 

Major public pressure will be needed to change this situation, to strip corporations of power, ban bribery, provide free media and public financing of elections, and create a democratic communications system.

We should begin by dropping the pretense that we're rationally testing policies and adjusting them as we go. No, the whole thing is broken. Experiments keep failing upward with no end in sight. Enough is enough. Let's change direction.

TEACH IN in DC

TEACH IN

September 6, 2014

American University
Washington DC

Introduction—Sam Kierstead: 11:00-11:15 AM

“The Limits of Benevolence”— William Blum: 11:15-11:45

“Latin America Panel”—Phil Brenner, Joe Eldridge, Adrienne Pine: 11:45-1:00

Break 1:00 — 1:15 PM

“Manufactured Crisis: Iran’s Missing Nukes”—Gareth Porter: 1:15-1:45

“Militarization of the Globe”—David Vine: 1:45-2:15

“Comparative Imperialism and Anti-Americanism”—Max Friedman: 2:15-2:45

Break 2:45 -- 3:00

“Propaganda and Media”—Chris Simpson and Jared Ball: 3:00-3:55

Break 3:55 -- 4:10

Peter Phillips, Project Censored, on video, then Skype for questions  4:10 - 5:10 

Extended Break— 5:10 -- 5:50

“The Untold History of the United States" -- Screening of the Peter Kuznick and Oliver Stone film, 5:50 - 6:50

Peter Kuznick: Discussion and Q&A following the film

Iraq Has WMDs and Russia Has Invaded!

How did they imagine they'd get away with it, claiming that Iraq had vast stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and even nuclear weapons?

Defectors had made clear the chemical and biological weapons (some of them provided by the United States) had been destroyed. Inspectors had searched almost every inch of Iraq and said they'd get to the last few inches if given a few more days. Iraq was screaming that it had no such weapons. Numerous nations around the world were agreeing with Iraq. Colin Powell's own staff warned him that his claims would not be deemed plausible.

And yet, they got away with it to such an extent that most well-intentioned people in the United States to this day maintain that nobody can possibly be sure that Bush, Cheney, et alia, knew their statements were false when they made them.

"All this was inspired by the principle -- which is quite true within itself -- that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods." —Adolf Hitler

The U.S. media has repeatedly been claiming that Russia has invaded Ukraine.  They claim it for a while, and there's obviously been no invasion, so they pause.  Then they claim it again.  Or they claim that a convoy of aid trucks constitutes an invasion.  But the aid trucks look like aid trucks in all the photographs, and yet nobody has taken similar photographs of any invasion.  When Ukrainian tanks rolled into eastern Ukraine and were surrounded by civilians, we saw photographs and videos. Now there's just a Colin-Powellesque satellite photo from NATO supposedly showing Russian artillery in Ukraine. 

The major Russian invasion that apparently comes complete with some sort of muggle-and-photographer-repellant charm is said to consist of 1,000 troops -- or roughly as many troops as the U.S. has now sent back into Iraq in no sort of invasion to worry about whatsoever. 

But where are the 1,000 Russian troops invading Ukraine? Ukraine claims to have captured 10 of them, but the captured troops don't seem to have agreed to the story.  And what happened to the other 990?  How did someone get close enough to capture 10 but not photograph the other 990?

Meanwhile Russia says it's all lies and publicly urges the United States to engage with Ukraine diplomatically and urge the Ukrainian government to stop bombing its own citizens and work out a federalist system that represents everyone within its borders.

But NATO is busy announcing a counter-invasion to the invisible Russian invasion.

How do they imagine they'll get away with it? Well, let's see. Not a single individual responsible for the lies that launched the destruction of Iraq and the death of some million people and the predictable and predicted chaos now tormenting Iraq's whole region has been held accountable in any way.

The lie that Gadaffi was about to slaughter innocents, the lie that facilitated the attack on Libya and the hell that has now been established there -- No one has been held accountable for that lie in any way whatsoever.

The lie that the White House had proof that Assad had used chemical weapons -- No one has been held accountable.  No one has even had to recant as they switch targets and propose bombing Assad's enemies.

The lie that drone strikes don't kill innocents and don't kill those who could easily have been arrested instead -- No one has been held accountable.

The lie that the United States had proof Russia had shot down an airplane over Ukraine -- No one has been held accountable, and the United States is opposing an independent investigation.

The lie that torture makes us safe, a lie that led to the United States torturing some folks -- No one at the level of air-conditioned office work has been held responsible at all.

Why do they think they can get away with it?

Because you let them. Because you don't want to believe they commit such atrocities. Because you don't want to believe they tell big lies.

You know, some people feel like idiots for having believed the Iraq lies. Imagine how they're going to feel when they find out they believed a nation had been invaded when it hadn't.

 

David Swanson is author of War Is A Lie.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as "a continuation of what's been taking place for months now ... it's not really a shift."

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration -- who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on "intelligence" that was dubious, at best.

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.

Experience With Untruth

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen's speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know."

Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were "increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence" and told him flatly, "Powell's presentation does not come close" to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to "widen the discussion ... beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can "shock and awe." In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.

If the photos that NATO and the U.S. have released represent the best available "proof" of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.

We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a February 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the U.S. embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia's strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.

Lavrov warned pointedly of "fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene." Burns gave his cable the unusual title, "NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA'S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES," and sent it off to Washington with IMMEDIATE precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest NATO leaders issued a formal declaration that "Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO."

Just yesterday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of Parliament that he has requested, the path to NATO membership is open. Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington's favorite pick to become prime minister after the February 22 coup d'etat in Kiev. "Yats is the guy," said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said, "f*ck the EU."

Timing of the Russian "Invasion"

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government's portrayal.

According to the "press service of the President of Ukraine" on August 18, Poroshenko called for a "regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. ... Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives," said Poroshenko, adding, "we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances."

If the "new circumstances" meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to "regroup," to "rearrange" the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the "Russian invasion." That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times' Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that "the Russians are coming." (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)

No Invasion -- But Plenty Other Russian Support

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point -- mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards -- and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia -- and especially not in support of the rag-tag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

Ukraine News - Sep 2, 2014


Rebels no longer demanding full independence, say they will respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for autonomy - AP


Donetsk, Luhansk ‘republics' present list of demands ahead of the meeting of the Contact Group  - ITAR-TASS


Excerpts: Pro-Russia ‘republics’ outline demands in swap for peace ahead of Minsk talks - EUROMAIDAN PRESS


Next session of Contact Group on Ukraine due on Friday - ITAR-TASS


Talks with Ukraine in Contact Group may get official status - ITAR-TASS


Moscow Hopes Minsk Talks on Settling Situation in Ukraine to Be About Ceasefire: Lavrov - RIA Novosti


VIDEO: Putin responds to BBC doorstep: Kiev authorities refuse to hold substantial dialogue with Ukraine’s southeast - YouTube


Russia: Demonstrators Against War in Ukraine Arrested - The Interpreter


NATO plans high-readiness 'spearhead' with troops, jets, and ships in East Europe - CSMonitor.com


Military option on Ukraine 'does not exist', says new EU chief - Telegraph


Europe drafts emergency energy plan with eye on Russia gas shut-down - irishtimes.com


Ukraine negotiates gas supplies bypassing Russia: Poroshenko - ITAR-TASS


Reverse-flow gas ‘trial run’ from Slovakia to Ukraine successful - ITAR-TASS


Russian ruble slides to all-time low as new sanctions loom - CNN


Putin Faces Debt to Import Curbs as EU Weighs Sanctions - Businessweek


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

Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes with 'Russian tank column’: Kiev - France 24


Ukraine Border Gateway Seized by Rebels as War-Weary Locals Pray for Peace - VICE News


Ukrainian officials say nearly 700 soldiers had been taken prisoner since the rebel offensive began - BBC


VIDEO: Rebels capture more govt forces in Eastern Ukraine - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO (Russian): DPR 'Prime Minister' Zakharchenko met captive Ukrainian troops before releasing them home - YouTube


At Least Four Tactical Battalions of Russian Federation Armed Forces in Ukraine: Andrey Lysenko, military spokesman - Interpreter_Mag


US Official Confirms That Russian Military Has Sent SA-22 SAM Systems Into Ukraine - Interpreter_Mag


VIDEO (English) - Press Conference of Ukraine Military Spokesman Lysenko, Sep 1 - Ukraine Crisis Media Center


Ukraine war pulls in foreign fighters - BBC News


Ukrainian Woman, Held Up to Public Abuse, Is Released - NYTimes.com


Ukrainian Woman Tells Of Public Abuse At Hands Of Pro-Moscow Separatists - rferl.org


INTERVIEW (Russian): Ukrainian Woman Tells Of Public Abuse At Hands Of Pro-Moscow Separatists - svoboda.org


Iryna Dovhan, the woman humiliated by terrorists in Donetsk, speaks of her ordeal (Excerpts) - EUROMAIDAN PRESS

 

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

Alkhawaja on hunger strike to force Saudi-backed regime to give way to democracy

Prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja has declared an open hunger strike “in protest against the continuation of arbitrary arrest and detention.” In a statement made to members of his immediate family during a visit on Sunday 24th August, Mr. AlKhawaja declared that he would refuse all food and liquids with the exception of water. He also informed his family that due to the drugging, force feeding, and the forced ending of his 110 day hunger strike in 2012, he will refuse to be taken to any hospital, the prison clinic, or to receive any IV treatment during his strike. Almost all international human rights bodies have called for the immediate and unconditional release of Bahrain 13, the leaders of the Revolution who are languishing in the tribal jails of the Alkhalifa.

The Bahraini regime has been humiliated into accepting a visit by Tom Malinowski, the US Under-Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labour. Last month the dictator ordered his removal from Bahrain after 24 hours of his arrival, because he had a meeting with an opposition group. Washington re-scheduled the visit by Mr Malinowski who is returning to Bahrain soon, under Washington’s terms. Yesterday, the US State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki said: Our view is that the Government of Bahrain has much to do in order to meet its own commitments to reform. It’s unfortunate that they have not taken advantage of opportunities to hear from outside observers. There are steps that the government has taken in the right direction, including establishing an ombudsman office in the ministry of interior, reestablishing the national institution on human rights, rescinding the national security agency’s arrest capabilities, training police on human rights standards. But there are still remaining concerns we have: lack of accountability, for instance, of abuse by security forces; ongoing harassment and imprisonment of persons exercising their rights of freedom of expression; continuing reports of ill-treatment and torture in detention facilities. And obviously, there’s more that they can do to show the international community that they want to keep taking steps forward when it comes to reform. On Assistant Secretary Malinowski, he has received an invitation to return to Bahrain. There’s a trip that’s currently being planned.

On another level the Alkhalifa have refused entry to US Congressman Rep. James McGovern because he had previously criticised their dictatorship.

As a Manama court prepares to rule on internationally-renowned photographer Ahmed Humeidan’s appeal on 25 August, Reporters Without Borders has prepared the following overview of these 12 detainees. The youngest is 15. Eight are photographers or video reporters and four are online activists. Eight have been given prison sentences ranging from three months to life. RWB calls for their release and withdrawal of all charges or the quashing of the convictions of those already sentenced. The Bahraini authorities arbitrarily arrest news providers and peaceful civil society activists in an attempt to suppress dissent. Bahrain is ranked 163rd out of 180 countries in the

Among the latest journalists criminalised for doing their job is Ammar Abdul Rasool. He has been detained and tortured for taking a photo in March 2011 for which he received several awards. Last week he said that he had been forced to remain standing for three days, shackled with closed eyes. He was subjected to severe beating, swearing and humiliation. He was prevented from praying. He added: “They stripped me of my clothes, abused me and threatened to use electric shocks. They also threatened to assault my wife and baby (Fatima) to force me to sign pre-prepared “confession”. When I lost all my energy I had no alternative but to sign the false statement.

Reports from the notorious Jaw prison confirmed that prominent human rights activist, Naji Fateel, has been transferred to solitary confinement for demanding treatment of sick prisoners. Among them are: Mohammad Fadhl who suffers from asthma but is denied medication and Hussain Khalteet. Other prisoners have been denied family visits.

The prisoners at the Dry Dock prison have gone on hunger strike and several of them have fallen unconscious. Some are being treated with IV feeding. Among those who slipped into coma are Hussain Mash’al, Detainees of Wing 10 at Jaw prison had been denied family visits or medical care. Their cells are over-crowded as the dictator orders more arrests among Bahraini natives.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

Three World Leaders Speak on the Future of Israel and Palestine



By Ann Wright

Three of the world’s leaders, members of the group called “The Elders,” spoke on the conflict between Israeli and Palestine over the weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Each of the Elders has had extensive experience with Israeli-Palestinian issues.
 
As the first woman Prime Minister of Norway, and its youngest Prime Minister at age 41, Gro Harlem Brundtland directed her government to conduct secret talks with the Israeli government and Palestinian leadership which led to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
 
As a human rights lawyer in Pakistan, Hina Jilani created the first all woman law firm and established the first Human Rights commission in her country.  She was the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 to 2008 and appointed to United Nations committees to investigate violations of international law in conflicts in Dafur and Gaza.
 
Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a leader in the movement against apartheid in South Africa, advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions against the South African government and has been a vocal critic of Israeli apartheid actions in the West Bank and Gaza.
 
The Elders, are a group of leaders who were brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela to use their “independent, collective experience and influence to work for peace, poverty eradication, a sustainable planet, justice and human rights, working bot publicly and through private diplomacy to engage with global leaders and civil society to resolve conflict and address its root causes, to challenge injustice, and to promote ethical leadership and good governance.” 
 
The Elders include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso, grassroots organizer and head of the Self-Employed Women’s Association from India Ela Bhatt, former Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan and Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and Grace Machel, former Mozambique Minister of Education,  United Nations investigation of children in war and co-founder of The Elders with her husband Nelson Mandela.  
 
During their speaking engagements August 29-31, 2014 in Honolulu, the three Elders spoke directly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu said when he goes to Israel and then through the checkpoints to get into the West Bank, his heart aches at the parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.  He noted, “Have I been caught in a time warp?  This is what we experienced in South Africa.”  With emotion he said, “My anguish is what the Israelis are doing to themselves.  Through the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa, we found that when you carry out unjust laws, dehumanizing laws, the perpetrator or the enforcer of those laws is dehumanized.  I weep for the Israelis as they have ended up not seeing the victims of their actions as human as they are.”
 
In 2009, Hina Jilani was a member of the United Nations investigative team on the 22 Israeli attack on Gaza that was documented through the Goldstone Report.  Jiliani, who also investigated military actions in the Dafur, said, “The real problem is the occupation of Gaza.  There have been three offensive actions by Israel against Gaza in the past five years, each bloody and destroying the civil infrastructure need for the survival of the people of Gaza.  No one party can use the right of self-defense to avoid international laws.  There can be no peace without justice for the Palestinians.  Justice is the goal to achieve peace.”
 
 Jilani said the international community must keep the Israelis and Palestinians engaged in talks so hopefully neither side will kill more persons.  She added that the international community must also give strong statements that violations of international law with impunity will not be allowed-international accountability is demanded . Jilani said there are three parts to ending the conflict between Israel and Palestine.  First, the occupation of Gaza must end. Second, there must be an Israeli commitment to have a viable Palestinian state.  Third, both sides must be made to feel that their security is protected.  Jilani added that “Both sides must comport to the norms of international conduct.”
 
Dr. Gro Brundtland said that in 1992 when she was Prime Minister of Norway, she instructed her government to have secret talks with the Israelis and Palestinians that resulted in the Oslo Accords, sealed with a handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and PLO chief Arafat in the Rose Garden of the White House.  Brundtland said, “Now 22 years later, the tragedy is what NOT has happened.”  The Palestinian state has not been allowed to be established, but instead Gaza has been blockaded by Israel and the West Bank occupied by Israel.  Brundtland added. “There is no solution except a two state solution in which Israelis realize that Palestinians have a right to their own state.”
 
Two other Elders deeply concerned about the Israeli actions against Palestinians have spoken out again.  Elders former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, wrote in recent article in Foreign Policy titled “ Gaza: A Cycle of Violence That Can Be Broken” (http://www.theelders.org/article/gaza-cycle-violence-can-be-broken), “This tragedy (of the third conflict in six years) results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government's deployment in Gaza.”

 
Carter and Robinson strongly condemned Israeli use of force on civilians. “There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverised large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.
There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas's indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.”
Carter and Robinson suggest the European Union Border Assistance Mission, an international effort to help monitor border crossings that was launched in 2005 and suspended in 2007, should return to Gaza. They note that EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has already offered to reinstate the program, covering Rafah and all of Gaza's crossings. They add that, “The international community's initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor – one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people – can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West's approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.”
The speaking events in Hawai’i were sponsored by Pillars of Peace and the Hawai’i Community Foundation. 
 
The collective experience of The Elders and their independence from governments’ political agendas, offer the world avenues to peace and justice—but only if citizens force their governments to listen!

About the Author:  Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She also served 16 years as a U.S. diplomat and resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war.  She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

U.S. Bombs, Which Helped Spawn ISIS, Can’t Crush It

By John Horgan

Once again, U.S. leaders are beating the war drums–or rather, beating them harder, because when in recent memory have the drums fallen silent? Aspiring President Hillary Clinton and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are all urging President Obama to take stronger military measures against ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria. So are the Washington Post and other influential publications. The U.S. is already attacking ISIS directly—with U.S. bombs and special forces–and indirectly, by arming its alleged opponents, but Clinton et al want Obama to escalate U.S. force.

READ THE REST.

A New Calendar of Holidays

calendarcoverA new calendar of peace holidays has just been published. And none too soon, if you’ve noticed the epidemic of military holidays around us.

I can understand that Catholics have a saint for every day of the year. And I’m not shocked that various ancient religions have holidays for a high proportion of the year’s days. But what to make of the United States, which now has a military holiday for at least 66 separate days, including Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and lesser known days like the just passed Marine Corps Reserve Birthday?

In the coming weeks we have V-J Day, 9/11 Remembrance Day / Patriot Day, the U.S. Air Force Birthday, National POW / MIA Recognition Day, and Gold Star Mother’s Day. There are, in addition, six week-long military holidays and three month-long ones. May, for example, is National Military Appreciation Month.

The military memorializes past war lies (Remember the Maine Day), cultural depravity normalized by eternal war (Month of the Military Child), and past crimes like attacking Cuba and killing a mule (Mantanzas Mule Day). This website even — wonderfully and accidentally — includes the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which is a day dedicated to opposing militarism. The same website — disgustingly and inappropriately — includes Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday as a military holiday.

Still, the general pattern is this: in the United States there are holidays to celebrate militarism just about every week, and increasingly one hears about them on the radio, at public events, and in corporate advertising that apparently believes militarism sells.

What would a calendar of peace holidays look like? At WorldBeyondWar we believe it would look something like this.

We’re making it available for free as a PDF that you can print out and make use of: PDF, Word.

We’re also displaying on the front page of WorldBeyondWar.org the holiday, if any, to be marked or celebrated on whatever day it happens to be at the time. So you can always just check there.

We think that part of developing a peace culture is marking great peace moments from the past. Knowing what peace holiday any given day is, or what holidays are coming up soon, can be very useful in creating and promoting events, writing op-eds, and interesting the corporate media in something that is otherwise too important and news worthy to be touched.

World peace holidays can build unity among activists. They can be used for education (celebrating the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 on May 18th could cause someone to want to know what that conference was). And they can be used for encouragement and inspiration (on a gloomy March 20th it might be nice to know that “on this day in 1983, 150,000 peace rallies were held in Australia”).

In this initial draft of the World Beyond War Calendar we’ve included 154 holidays, all of them days — no weeks or months. We could have included a significant peace event for 365 days a year but chose to be selective. It’s a tightly held secret, of course, but there has been a lot more peace than war in the world.

Some of the days are also military days re-purposed. For example:

September 11. On this day in 1973 the United States backed a coup that overthrew the government of Chile. Also on this day in 2001 terrorists attacked in the United States using hijacked airplanes. This is a good day to oppose violence and nationalism and revenge.

Others are military days the military doesn’t celebrate. For example:

January 11. On this day in 2002 the United States opened its notorious prison in Guantanamo. This is a good day to oppose all imprisonment without trial.

August 6. On this day in 1945 the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing some 140,000 men, women, and children. President Truman went on the radio to justify this as revenge and lie that Hiroshima was a military base rather than a city. This is a very good day to oppose nuclear weapons.

Others are well-known days reclaimed for peace. For example:

January 15. On this day in 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. was born. The holiday, however, is celebrated on the third Monday of January. These are good opportunities to recall King’s work against militarism, extreme materialism, and racism.

Mothers Day is celebrated on different dates around the world. In many places it is the second Sunday in May. This is a good day to read the Mother’s Day Proclamation and rededicate the day to peace.

December 25. This is Christmas, traditionally a holiday of peace for Christians. On this day in 1776, George Washington led a surprise night crossing of the Delaware River and pre-dawn raid on unarmed hung-over-from-Christmas troops still in their underwear — a founding act of violence for the new nation. Also on this day in 1875 Jessie Wallace Hughan, founder of the War Resisters League, was born. Also on this day in 1914, soldiers on both sides of the trenches of World War I took part in a Christmas Truce. This is a good day to work for peace on earth.

Other days are new to most people. For example:

August 27. This is Kellogg-Briand Day. On this day in 1928, in what was the biggest news story of the year, the major nations of the world gathered in Paris, France, to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact banning all war. The treaty remains on the books today. The day is increasingly being recognized and celebrated as a holiday.

November 5. On this day in 1855 Eugene V. Debs was born. Also on this day in 1968 Richard Nixon was elected U.S. president after secretly and treasonously sending Anna Chennault to sabotage Vietnam peace talks, campaigning on a nonexistent secret plan for peace, and actually planning to continue the war, as he did once elected. This is a good day to think about who our real leaders are.

November 6. This is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

Here’s the web version.

Here’s the PDF.

Here’s the Word.

The calendar is a first of what we expect to be many editions. In fact, it will be constantly updated. So please send additions and corrections to info@worldbeyondwar.org.

Ukraine News - Sep 1, 2014


Putin Calls for Talks on East Ukraine “Statehood", But Not Independence - newsweek.com


Putin's statement is not referring to giving “statehood" to Novorossia as it is Ukraine’s internal affair: Kremlin spokesman - ITAR-TASS


VIDEO: Putin urges immediate talks on "statehood" in east Ukraine - YouTube


Ukrainian govt should not fear federalization: Putin - Russia Beyond The Headlines


Putin calls Poroshenko partner with whom dialogue can be conducted - Russia Beyond The Headlines


POLL: Putin faces limited opposition from Russian public on Ukraine - Pew Research Center


VIDEO: Putin: 'Don’t Mess With Russia...I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers’ - Headlines & Global News


VIDEO (English): Putin talks Ukraine, NATO, Crimea at two hours Q&A with Russian youth (FULL) - YouTube


Ukraine Crisis: Gorbachev Warns of 'Terrible Slaughter' in Europe, "If our country intervenes, such a fire could break out that the whole world wouldn't be able to put it out" - Yahoo News UK


U.S. lawmakers call for arming Ukraine government - Yahoo News


POLL: HuffPost/YouGov Poll Shows Few Americans Think The U.S. Has An Obligation To Defend Ukraine - huffingtonpost.com


POLL: HuffPost/YouGov Poll Results: Ukraine - yougov.com


Merkel says she's against arming Ukraine, but sanctions are coming - kyivpost.com


Arms deliveries to Ukraine useless, will further expand confrontation: Hollande - ITAR-TASS


EU gives Russia ultimatum over Ukraine crisis, orders preparation of 'urgent' Russia sanctions - Fox News


Britain to spearhead 10,000-strong Nato rapid reaction force with mission to halt Putin's 'Tsarist expansionism' - Mail Online


NATO plans to deploy five bases in Eastern Europe: newspaper - ITAR-TASS


Poroshenko calls for soonest possible start of Contact Group talks, “The situation has reached the point where nothing can be changed’, therefore the sides must begin negotiations” - DWDD


Rebel number two to join Ukraine contact group talks on Monday - Reuters


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

Ukraine: Pro-Russia rebels confident after making gains - AP


Ukrainian forces in port city of Mariupol prepare for 'Russian-led' assault of the separatists - GlobalPost


VIDEO: Mariupol residents form human chain against pro-Russian fighters - YouTube


VIDEO: Local Civilians step up to protect Mariupol from attack - YouTube


VIDEO: Ukraine crisis: Many leave threatened city of Mariupol - BBC News


Zakharchenko: “We’re Preparing a Second Large-Scale Offensive” - Voices from Russia


Assassination Attempt Made on Zakharchenko, PM of 'Donetsk People's Republic’ - Submariners World


Moscow Military Review Lists Seven ‘Probable’ Targets in ‘Novorossiya’ - Johnson's Russia List


Rescue under way after separatists claim first attack on Ukrainian ship - Reuters


VIDEO: Boat of Ukrainian board guards hit in the sea several kilometers away from Mariupol - LiveLeak.com


Russia and Ukraine trade soldiers at border: Russian news agencies - Firstpost


Russia and Ukraine swap captured soldiers - YouTube


VIDEOS: The battle for Ilovaisk turns out to become one of the hardest fought with several Ukrainian volunteer battalions being surrounded and facing annihilation - Ukraine@war


VIDEO (Ukrainian): Rebels interview Ukraine prisoners at Ilovayask - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO (English subtitles): Ukrainian troops surrendered near Starobeshevo - LiveLeak.com


Second Russian Humanitarian Convoy at Ukrainian Border - Interpreter_Mag


Russia ready to implement Poroshenko's plan of humanitarian relief to Lugansk and Donetsk: Putin - Russia Beyond The Headlines


Only 300,000 People Out of Population of 900,000 Remain in Donetsk: DPR - RIA Novosti

 

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

IRELAND: US Airforce Uses Major Sports Event For War Proganda

Photo: 2 F 16s flying over peaceful Dublin on a quiet Saturday afternoon, source

 

It is a Saturday afternoon in supposedly neutral Ireland. A quiet Saturday afternoon in Dublin.

In Croke Park, the national stadium of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association / Cumann Lúthchleas Gael) which is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation and is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world today a match is played. Penn State  v/s UCF.

Protest Increased Airstrikes on Iraq & Syria

Dangerous arguments and actions came this week from both President Obama, who plans to increase airstrikes on Iraq & Syria and announced drone surveillance (as if that has not been happening for years), and from John McCain, leader of the “US has to get back in Iraq” cabal.“Limited” airstrikes by the world's most powerful military combined with U.S.

Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening

The word ‘listening’ has many meanings and the context in which it is done will often determine the level of concentration that is required for one to be considered to be listening.

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