Trans-Atlantic Bigotry: Brexit-Trump Comparisons Miss Some Key Points

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful."

Focus: Turkey - Nov 22, 2016


15,000 more public workers are fired in Turkey crackdown - The New York Times


Turkish court starts umbrella trial of U.S.-based cleric Gulen, followers - Reuters


Followers of cleric Gulen still active in Turkish police, armed forces, Erdogan says - Reuters


Turkey seeks detention of 103 university academics in Gulen-related probe - Reuters


Controversy on campus as Erdogan handpicks Turkey rectors - Yahoo7


Turkish students in Britain have scholarships revoked in post-coup crackdown - RT UK


Turkey detains another 2 pro-Kurdish mayors - Fox News


Turkey: Erdoğan rule could extend until 2029 under proposal - The Guardian


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

 

Loud calls in European Parliament for ending membership talks with Turkey - POLITICO


Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on EU-Turkey relations at the plenary session of the European Parliament - EEAS


Turkey blocks European lawmakers from visiting imprisoned MP Kurdish leader Demirtas - EurActiv.com


Erdogan suggests to join Russian/China-led bloc SCO if the EU continues to drag its feet regarding Turkey's membership negotiations - CSMonitor.com


'Russia, China would Like to see Turkey in SCO if it freezes links with NATO' - Sputnik


NATO chief recalls Turkey’s commitment to Article 5 amid calls to join SCO - hurriyetdailynews.com


Erdogan seeks NATO’s support against ‘terrorist' organizations such as the Gulen movement, the PKK and PYD - hurriyetdailynews.com


Erdogan warns NATO against giving asylum to ‘terrorist soldiers’ after dozens of Turkish NATO officers sought asylum in Europe - Mo4ch News

 

NATO silent on Turkey arrests of journalists and parliament members - Al Bawaba


Turkish President Erdogan: 'I can't say if Israel or Hitler is more barbarous' - The Independent


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

 

Turkey issues arrest warrant for Kurdish leader of key US-backed force fighting ISIL in northern Syria - Al Jazeera


US, Turkey at cross-purposes in Syria as fighting between Turkish-backed rebels and the US-backed Kurdish-dominated SDF is escalating dramatically - VOA


Turkish-backed rebels and Kurds battle over Syria’s Al-Bab – Middle East Monitor

 

Coalition not backing Turkish move on al-Bab, says US - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey, FSA rebels to launch op to retake Syria's Manbij from Kurds: Erdogan - Sputnik


N. Syria: YPG-led forces clash with Turkey-backed rebels around Manbij - kurdistan24.net


YPG threatens Turkey after Turkish jets hit targets in Manbij - Daily Sabah

 

Syrian Kurdish-led forces receive modern U.S. arms: official - ekurd


Turkey calls on US, allies to reconsider Syria no-fly zone - Fox News


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Torture Charges against the US Considered by International Criminal Court

By John LaForge

US armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor says in a recent report, raising the possibility that US citizens could be indicted.

“Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity on the territory of Afghanistan between 1 May 2003 and 31 December 2014,” according to the Nov. 14 ICC report issued by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office in The Hague.

The report says that CIA operatives may have subjected at least 27 detainees at its secret prisons in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania -- to “torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity” including rape, between December 2002 and March 2008. Individuals captured by US forces in Afghanistan were transferred to the secret CIA prisons, sometimes referred to as “black sites” where prisoners were chained to ceilings, “chained to walls and forgotten [one for 17 days] froze to death on concrete floors, and were waterboarded until they lost consciousness” according to the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the torture program.

On Dec. 9, 2005, the State Department’s deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said the United States would continue to deny the Red Cross access to prisoners it was holding secretly around the world, claiming they were terrorists who were not guaranteed any rights under the Geneva Conventions. The Red Cross complained that its central purpose is to protect the human rights of prisoners, all of whom deserve protection under international humanitarian law -- binding treaty laws that include the absolute, unambiguous prohibition against torture.

More than 120 countries are members of the ICC, but the US is not. Although the US refused to join the 2002 Rome Statute that created the ICC and established its authority, US military personnel and CIA agents could still face prosecution because their crimes were allegedly committed within Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania -- all members of the ICC.

The ICC’s jurisdiction can be invoked when allegations of war crimes are not investigated and prosecuted by the home governments of the accused. The Guardian reported that the “ICC is a court of last resort that takes on cases only when other countries are unable or unwilling to prosecute.” Writing in Foreign Policy magazine last October, David Bosco noted, “The prosecutor’s office has repeatedly called attention to alleged abuses of detainees by US personnel between 2003 and 2005 that it believes have not been adequately addressed by the United States.”

“Committed with particular cruelty”

Bensouda’s report says about alleged US war crimes, they “were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals. Rather, they appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence’ from detainees. The information available suggests that victims were deliberately subjected to physical and psychological violence, and that crimes were allegedly committed with particular cruelty and in a manner that debased the basic human dignity of the victims,” the ICC report says.

Reuters noted that the Senate committee released 500 pages of excerpts from its report and found that torture was committed. Official photographs of the abuse are evidently so incriminating that the military, as recently as February 9th this year, refused to release 1,800 pictures that the public has never seen.

The George W. Bush administration, which authorized and implemented torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and the offshore penal colony at Guantanamo Bay, was fiercely opposed to the ICC, but Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Romania are all members, which gives the court jurisdiction over crimes committed within those territories. This could lead to prosecution of US citizens.

Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have boasted in public about waterboarding which was sanctioned, “legalized,” and practiced widely under their command authority. Asked during a televised interview about what he called this “enhanced interrogation technique,” Mr. Cheney said, “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

During a Republican primary debate Donald Trump said, “I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” a statement he repeated many times. Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of both the CIA the NSA, reacted in a televised interview: “If he [Trump] were to order that, once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act. You are required to not follow an unlawful order. That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.” President-elect Trump also repeatedly called for targeted assassinations of family members of suspected terrorists. Both actions are prohibited by US military service manuals and by international treaty law, crimes ultimately prosecuted by the ICC.

__________

John LaForge, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and is co-editor with Arianne Peterson of Nuclear Heartland, Revised: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the United States.

Tomgram: William Hartung, Trump for the Defense

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

Talk Nation Radio: Greg Palast on Stripping 7 Million Voters from Rolls, Swinging Election

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-greg-palast-on-stripping-7-million-voters-from-rolls-swinging-election

Greg Palast is an investigative reporter, whose news-breaking stories appear on BBC Television and in The Guardian and Rolling Stone Magazine. Palast has released a new movie: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, based on his books. Palast says that the recent U.S. election was in fact rigged. We discuss how.

See http://GregPalast.com

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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

Note on Tulsi Gabbard's Meeting with Donald Trump


I am delighted that Tulsi Gabbard met with Donald Trump. This is Tulsi Gabbard's statement on Trump meeting. She may be considered for top jobs at the Defense Department, State Department and the United Nations, according to media reports. The U.S. foreign policy needs to be managed by people who is not prone to ill-fated military adventures, do not use U.S. military superpower to satisfy their political ambitions, seek wholeheartedly peaceful solutions of the world conflicts, understand that we live more and more in a multipolar world where U.S. influence may be limited like in Syria, work to build the broadest possible alliances to defeat today’s existential threat: Islamic State, Qaeda and other terrorist groups. I add that people at the Defense Department must be fully independent from defense contractors whose special interests are to sell whatever arms to the nation and the world, meticulously check profiteering and cost overruns on major weapons systems and cut wasteful spending. The defense industry, in any country, is a factor in promoting and fueling military conflicts because it economically thrives in a perpetual state of war. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned the U.S. about the dangers of the "military–industrial complex" in his 1961 farewell address.


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Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, No "New Normal"

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

James Mattis Is a Secretary of Offense

Donald Trump says he wants to stop overthrowing governments and turn toward peace. But not only does he also say he wants to increase the military spending that produces more wars, but he’s considering for Secretary of so-called Defense someone whose entire outlook is offensive in every sense of the word.

Here’s James Mattis in his own words:

“So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

Of course any wars continued or launched will be packaged as “last resorts” and “necessary evils” and so forth. But this guy will be drooling for blood with the glee of a sadist. War is his drug, or what Donald Trump would call his “sneaking into women’s dressing rooms.” Here’s Mattis:

“There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”

Not only is war the force that gives Mattis’s life meaning, but it’s his ideology, his worldview, his delusion in which the counterproductive can be seen as effective. Here’s Mattis:

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Surely peace is at hand!

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” That’s how Mattis states what Theodore Roosevelt and every president since have acted on.

Only, one gets the impression that Mattis added the part about politeness because he isn’t. What he is, is a true believer in the irredeemability of designated enemies. There shall be no destroying an enemy by making him your friend for Mattis. He maintains:

“It is mostly a matter of wills. Whose will is going to break first? Ours or the enemy’s?”

And that enemy is by necessity, then, not human but subhuman prey:

“Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down.”

Mattis explains this as a matter of simple observation:

“There are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”

That’s a belief of U.S. culture, of U.S. movies, of U.S. books, of U.S. games. But when you make it the belief of the Secretary of War after giving presidents the power to kill anybody they like, you’re going to see a lot of people getting shot. And no, none of them need to be.

Dear Mr. Trump, About Your 29 Ideas

Regarding your 29 proposals, here's a bit more than just the ranking you asked for. I'll start with the best:

7. Announce our official withdrawal from the TPP.

That's my favorite. Wonderful! We don't need any more trade agreements that empower corporations over governments and impose unpopular laws on people. Good riddance! Don't replace it with something worse, please!

8. Renegotiate NAFTA into terms that protect the American worker.

This could be a great one. I'm not clear why you wouldn't just tear up the treaty you've repeatedly called one of the worst treaties in history. You could negotiate bilateral agreements with other nations. There's no actual need for NAFTA. But if you're going to first try to renegotiate it, the U.S. worker needs the right to organize, among other rights. The workers of Canada and Mexico need to be considered. As does the natural environment that we and our kids all have to live in.

5. Introduce an infrastructure package to modernize our country.

This, too, could be terrific. Or it could be disastrous. Modernized countries have fast electric trains, solar and wind energy, pedestrian and bicycle paths, electric car chargers, sustainable agriculture, free hospitals for all human beings, and architecture that leans more toward the beautiful than the monumental. We could use more schools and parks, more farmers' markets, more urban gardens, and more places to vote. All of these dreams and much more could be easily achieved, even while radically boosting foreign aid, if the U.S. were to either cut military spending or tax billionaires or both. But you want to increase military spending and cut taxes on billionaires. Even if your idea of modernized infrastructure is coal mines and oil wells and highways, you have no way to pay for it -- thank goodness. And don't forget: the people who voted for you are obsessed with the debt, so don't even try that route.

20. Enact a five-year ban on White House and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.

This is good, as far as it goes. Why not 10 years both before and after? And why just lobbyists? Why not anyone profiting financially from a sector governed by the relevant government position? And why just the White House and Congress? Why not all government departments and agencies? Putting an oil profiteer in charge of the EPA is not solved by the fact that the EPA isn't in the White House.

25. Reform the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to provide proper treatment to America’s forgotten heroes.

This sounds good, if you actually mean it. But let's not call them heroes. Let's call them brave people who were abused by some of those recent wars you properly denounced during the campaign -- though you supported them when it mattered most.

Registering Japanese Americans Is Precedent Only for Crime

Since World War I and the initiative of J. Edgar Hoover, and right up through all the no-fly and terrorist-watch lists of today, the U.S. government has kept unconstitutional lists of people, largely or in part on the basis of their national or ethnic heritage or their political activism. These lists were part of the process of interning in camps Germans and German-Americans during World Wars I and II, and Japanese-Americans and Japanese during World War II.

In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a list of Japanese-Americans who would be the "first to be placed in a concentration camp" once a war could be started. In 1939 FDR ordered the ONI and the FBI to create a larger "custodial detention index" of primarily Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, renamed and continued as the "security index" by Hoover after Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered it shut down.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required all non-citizen adults to register with the government. In early 1941 FDR commissioned a study of West coast Japanese-Americans, which concluded that they were no threat at all. He commissioned another study that reached the same conclusion. Yet, on December 7, 1941, FDR issued a proclamation stripping Japanese in the United States of rights (and the very next day for Germans and Italians). On January 14, 1942, FDR proclaimed in another proclamation that enemy aliens could be put in internment camps. On February 19, 1942, he ordered the internment of citizens and non-citizens alike.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this action, but those rulings were vacated in the 1980s when it was learned that the government had withheld relevant information from the court, and -- perhaps more importantly -- when World War II and its accompanying hysteria were long over. A 1943 government report had been altered; the original version had admitted that there had not been a lack of time to provide Japanese Americans due process; rather, it asserted, there is simply no way to determine the loyalty of such people, who must be kept away from the coats of the United States for the duration of the war.

From 1980 to 1983 a Congressional commission studied the history and concluded that Japanese-Americans and Japanese had been locked up in camps, not due to any evidence of a threat, but on the basis of racism and bigotry. The commission recommended $20,000 in reparations to each victim. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing those reparations payments, and apologizing to the victims. This law acknowledged "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" as the factors that motivated the crime.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed a law appropriating more finds for reparations payments. On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor he issued another formal apology, which included this claim: "The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated."

In 2000, a memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., that includes, carved in stone, these words:

The lessons learned must remain as a grave reminder of what we must not allow to happen again to any group.

--attributed to Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Congressman and Senator

In 2001, Congress passed a law making 10 of the camps historical landmarks and stating that "places like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, Amache, Jerome, and Rohwer will forever stand as reminders that this nation failed in its most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency."

A Nonviolent Strategy to Liberate Syria

In early 2011, as the Arab Spring was moving across North Africa and the Middle East, small groups of nonviolent activists in Syria, which has been under martial law since 1963, started protesting against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and demanding democratic reforms, the release of political prisoners, an increase in freedoms, abolition of the emergency law and an end to corruption.

Michael Flynn Should Remember Truths He Blurted Out Last Year

Michael Flynn, expected to advise Donald Trump on counterproductive killing operations misleading labeled "national security," is generally depicted as a lawless torturer and assassin. But, whether for partisan reasons or otherwise, he's a lawless torturer and assassin who has blurted out some truths he shouldn't be allowed to forget.

For example:

"Lt. Gen. Flynn, who since leaving the DIA has become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, charges that the White House relies heavily on drone strikes for reasons of expediency, rather than effectiveness. 'We’ve tended to say, drop another bomb via a drone and put out a headline that "we killed Abu Bag of Doughnuts" and it makes us all feel good for 24 hours,' Flynn said. 'And you know what? It doesn't matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder.'"

Or even more clearly:

"When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict."

Obama: I Hope Trump Can Stand up to Russia - Nov 17, 2016

 

Obama: I hope Trump can stand up to Russia 'where they are deviating from our values and international norms’ - CNBC


VIDEO: Obama urges Trump to ‘stand up' to Russia - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Read President Obama’s comments urging Donald Trump to stand up to Russia - TIME


VIDEO: Full press conference by Barack Obama and Angela Merkel following meeting - YouTube


Obama, Angela Merkel issue joint op-ed responding to Donald Trump - CBS News


Op-ed by President Obama and Chancellor Merkel: The future of transatlantic relations - whitehouse.gov


In private meeting, Euro diplomats beseech Trump team to uphold transatlantic pacts - Foreign Policy


NATO general says Trump not serious about abandoning treaty - The Washington Post


Democratic Senator Cardin’s op-ed: The United States needs to hold Russia accountable for its aggression - The Washington Post


Kremlin: Obama team trying to damage ties with Russia - ABC News


Philippines’ Duterte: 'If China and Russia would decide to create a new order, I will be the first to join’ - FT.com

 

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

 

US condemns Russia and Syria as Aleppo offensive escalates, Moscow claims not bombing Aleppo but al Qaeda in Idlib - CBS News


Russia launches multiple air attacks on militant targets in Syria: defence ministry - Reuters


Long-range bombers from an air base in southern Russia strike Syria for 1st time in a year, US officials say - Fox News


State Dept spokesman dismisses question from Russia Today on Syria, says won’t treat it like other media, later a State Dept official apologized - RT News


VIDEO: State Department spokesman gets into heated exchange over Syria with Russia Today reporter - YouTube


VIDEO: Anti-Russian hysteria pervading political circles: British Conservative Party MP Kawczynski - YouTube


Donald Trump striking a Syria deal with Russia would be ‘most disastrous step possible’, Saudi Arabian prince warns - The Independent


Former head of the Turkish military see Syria hopeful opening in Trump’s outreach to Moscow - Washington Times


Turkey′s NATO officials seek asylum in Germany amid Erdogan crackdown - DW.COM


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Another $11.6 Billion for Obama/Trump Wars? Hell No!

President Obama waited until after the election last week to propose an unpopular idea. He asked Congress for $11.6 billion extra — outside the huge existing military budget — for wars. Here’s his letter including all the gory details. Please read it yourself when you begin to hope that I’m making up some of what follows.

warsuppweb

This massive pile of money, equivalent to the annual spending that the United Nations says could end the lack of clean drinking water globally, adds between 1% and 2% to U.S. military spending — but is by itself more than the entire military budget of all but 14 other nations on earth, 12 of which top-spending nations are U.S. allies.

Tomgram: Mattea Kramer, You Don't Leave Home Without It

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

Focus: Congress, Trump and Russia - Nov 16, 2016


Lawmakers move to restrain President-elect Trump on Russia - The Washington Post


GOP foreign-policy power brokers in Congress could foil Trump on Russia, Syria, and other top security issues - Foreign Policy


Statement by McCain on U.S.-Russia relations: Another ‘reset’ would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people - mccain.senate.gov


Top Republicans don't know where Trump will be on Ukraine - The Weekly Standard


Top Senate Democrat Cardin challenges Trump on Russia: In interview he lays out a foreign policy platform for the incoming Congress - al-monitor.com


House passes sanctions on anyone who provides the Syrian government with financial, material or technological support - The Washington Post


NSA head: Dem hacks were a conscious effort by Russia - TheHill


Washington Post editorial: The United States is giving Putin the green light for atrocities - The Washington Post


Influential conservative think tank Heritage Foundation says Russia — not ISIS — is greatest threat - Washington Examiner


Heritage Foundation 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength: scores security threats worldwide, the global operating environment, and U.S. military power - heritage.org


Transatlantic Forum on Russia: Event will be webcast live from this page on Nov 17 - Center for Strategic and International Studies


European leaders, NATO caution Trump on warming relations with Russia - The Washington Post


NATO says Crimea still a concern, day after Trump-Putin call - nation.com.pk


Ex-Nato leaders call for extraordinary meeting with Trump, warn US president-elect against deal with Putin that would cede Crimea - The Guardian


Ukraine President asks Trump to help counter ‘Russian aggression’ - WSJ


Putin pulls Russia out of International Criminal Court day after report on Crimea annexation - Fox News


Two-thirds of Russians want Putin to remain president after 2018: study - RT Russian politics


Le Pen says 'world peace' would gain from a Trump-Putin-Le Pen trio - Reuters

 

Russian sanctions cost Italy €7bn and up to 200,000 jobs: Italian MP - RT Business


Italian M5S movement ‘against NATO's creeping policy' of nearing Russian border - Sputnik


Philippine President wants to be friends with Trump, Putin - ABC News


Trump-led US could become Syria’s ‘natural ally’ if it fights terrorism: Assad - RT News


Full text of President Bashar al-Assad interview given to RTP TV - Syrian TV

 

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John Heuer Was a Tremendous Advocate of Peace

I knew John Heuer was elderly from the day I met him, years ago, and came to know him as one of the most dedicated advocates of peace on earth. Losing him is a blow. He was youthful, vibrant, recently married, and intent on ridding the world of pointless mass slaughter. John was active in every organization and independently. He advanced nonviolent action, lobbying, education, and inspiration.

John wrote this four years ago:

Dear young citizens,

First, I want to congratulate you on your many accomplishments.  Second, I want to counsel you on your roles as citizens.

When I graduated 8th grade in 1960, citizens could not vote until they were 21.  Boys could be drafted into the army and sent to war at age 18, but they could not fully participate as citizens, including engagement in public, democratic decisions about whether or not the nation should send our boys to war.  This travesty was somewhat remedied by passage of the 26th amendment to the US Constitution in 1971, granting the right to vote to 18 year-olds.

I say “somewhat” a remedy, because the issue of the rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties of citizens under the age of 18 have not been addressed.  It is these rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties about which I write today:  Your citizenship.

As rising 9th graders, you are well aware that your education is, as yet, incomplete.  But it will come as a surprise to many and a shock to some to learn that your education has contained deep strains of fraud, about who actually runs our government and how.  Here are three examples:

OLF – The US Navy proposed construction of “Outlying Landing Fields” (OLF) in wildlife sanctuaries near North Carolina’s east coast, in order to practice landings and take-offs for military aircraft.  Public outcry caused the Navy to scuttle these plans.

Sonar Training Field off the Florida—Georgia coast.  The Navy has proposed designating hundreds of square miles of Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the southern US for submarine sonar training, despite opposition of environmental groups which point out that these areas are breeding grounds for whales, and that high frequency sonar is known to drive marine mammals insane.  The US Supreme Court overruled the environmentalists with the judgment that, while there could be incidental injury, there was also a lack of proof that the sonar testing area would threaten any species’ extinction.

$185 Billion Dollars is what our government proposes to spend in the next 10 years to modernize our nuclear weapons arsenal.  It is difficult to measure (or imagine) $185 Billion, but it would pay for a lot of school lunches, teachers’ salaries and school nurses.  Besides, what business do we have maintaining a military arsenal designed to incinerate cities?

When you consider these government programs, you have to wonder if our government has gone mad, and what we, as citizens, of all ages, can do about it.

Why don’t we hear more about these grave assaults on planet earth and this terrible squander of our wealth?  The fact is that the agents that propose these travesties are the same ones that often own our newspapers and write your textbooks.

So, what are we to do?  One of the 1st steps, I think, is for you to understand that the wealth being squandered and the planet being desecrated belongs to you, your generation, your children, grand children and posterity.

The 2nd step is to realize, however painfully, that your parents and grandparents have failed to establish your legacy of peaceful nations living together on an abundant earth.

The 3rd is to exercise your rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties of your citizenship to carefully study your local resources in order to propose a reconfiguration of those resources to meet the needs of your community, and to engage your peers in an earnest identification of those needs.  Start with identifying the military footprint in your district and discuss how much, if any, that investment enhances the security of your community, and how redirecting that investment could improve the security of your community.  Use your networking capabilities not just for socializing, but for building solidarity among your peers.  Use that solidarity to demand a school curriculum that addresses the needs of your community or create your own curriculum.

Finally, a word about citizenship.  Many of you go to school with non-citizens of the USA.  Please recognize them as guests, and afford them as much hospitality as you can.  Remember, your US citizenship may be established by the Constitution and subsequent laws, but we are all world citizens by virtue of our birth.

Political Discourse in the United States

One might think that it should no longer be possible for the bizarre proclamations of U.S. politicians to astonish this writer. He has studied and written about them for years, and there is, it seems, nothing new under the sun, when it comes to such statements. Yet thisis nto the case; some statement leave him in a condition of awestruck wonder, amazed that people who have the repsect and votes of miillions of citizens can tell such blatant lies, or issues such ludicrous opinions and statments.

Let's look at just a few , some current, and some a bit older, but stillpertinent.

It was reported in The New York Tims on September 30 that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made this remarkable statement: "The problem is the Russians don't care about international law, and we do"

The Skeletons in Keith Ellison's Display Case

Congressman Keith Ellison, candidate of progressive Democrats and many regressive Democrats for chair of the Democratic National Committee eagerly urged the illegal and disastrous violent overthrow of the government of Libya in 2011, which he celebrated as a success despite what it meant for the rule of law, despite all the death and suffering, despite the predictable instability and weapons proliferation to follow.

Ellison moved on to pushing, and using his perch as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus to push, for a similar war on Syria. For years now he has advocated for the illegal and murderous creation of no fly zones and "safe zones" -- what Hillary Clinton admitted only to Goldman Sachs would require that you "kill a lot of Syrians." Ellison was an early backer of bombing Syria in 2013. He met with peace activists but rejected their appeal.

Back in 2007, before Ellison's leadership, the Congressional Progressive Caucus had helped organize 90 Congress members to commit to voting against war funding.  Most of them turned around and voted for war funding. That ridiculous disappointment was a high point for the CPC.

Since then, the CPC's commitments -- such as to vote against corporate healthcare -- have hardly been taken seriously, and so it's hardly been news when most members have gone back on their commitments.

But in recent years, the CPC has shifted away from even pretending to take a stand on things, and instead moved toward issuing statements full of non-committal rhetoric. Some began referring to it as the Congressional Progressive Statement Caucus.

Yet even that standard must be looked back to with nostalgia when it comes to Co-Chair Ellison's rhetoric on war. He promotes misinformation about protecting innocent people in Libya and Syria and uses those claims to justify war making. This is exactly what the war makers were looking for in funding Hillary Clinton for President. Should the Democratic National Committee now give it to them in the form of Ellison as Chair?

Of course there are differences between Clinton and Ellison. He hasn't been around long enough to do nearly as much damage, and he's legitimately better than Clinton in many ways. He introduced legislation in the Minnesota State Legislature to urge the impeachment of George W. Bush. He dropped support for that once elected to Congress but did sign onto impeaching Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales. He has voted against war funding, more than once. He has asked Obama to end the war on Afghanistan. He was against rewriting laws with signing statements, at least while Bush was president. It's conceivable that he no longer, post-Bernie, throws a fit if called a socialist. And on domestic issues there's no comparison: Ellison is excellent by Democratic standards.

But is that good enough? Does empowering someone who is a Muslim erase all concern over bombing Muslims and turning their nations into hell?

This is the best the Democrats have, we're told. But putting an active member of Congress into another fulltime job is not ideal. And the Democrats have unemployed figures like war-advocate Howard Dean crawling out into the spot lights.

Who would I propose instead? The first name that comes to mind (and I have not discussed this with him, it's possible he has no interest, and he certainly wouldn't sanction my criticizing of Ellison) is Dennis Kucinich. You want change? Hope even? Try him.

Note on Russia and the next Secretary of State - Nov 15, 2016


The next Secretary of State should understand the positive role that Russia is playing not only in the crucial existential fight against terrorism (if Islamic State gets chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, they will use them) but also as a force of peace and stability in the world. Russia has a formidable military which has not being engaged in recent past wars therefore not affected by combat fatigue unlike the U.S military. Russia military should not be underestimated and threatened like Rudy Giuliani did in a recent interview: "Russia thinks it's a military competitor, it really isn’t, it's our unwillingness under Obama to even threaten the use of our military that makes Russia so powerful.” John Bolton expressed the same line: "Well, I think relations are very unsatisfactory, largely due to the behavior of Russia...I think he [Trump] is going to be a strong leader, I think that will have two dramatic impacts on Putin. Number one, it'll make him a lot more hesitant to try and extend Russian influence, and two, what may seem paradoxical but what I think is true, it'll make Putin more inclined to cooperate.” Putin will not desist because Ukraine and Syria are Russia’s strategic and security interests. Plus Russia has the backing of China in international conflicts.


Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine because of their hystorical relationship and economic cooperation and because there is the presence of a sizeable Russian speaking population in Ukraine: according to 2001 census they are 29.3 percent of the total population. In some Eastern regions they are the majority. In Crimea they are 77 percent. This Russian speaking population has close economic, cultural and family ties with Russia. The European Union proposed to Ukraine the Association Agreement without taking into consideration the Russian interests and rejecting trilateral talks between Ukraine, the EU and Russia.


In Syria, Russia is opposing well-armed jihadist groups who threaten the lives of the people, the fabric of the society and its State institutions and impede a political solution leading to democratic elections. Russia has been accused to prop up the Assad government but the ouster of Assad, which has been demanded by the past US administration, would throw the country in a state of chaos with no central authority and with militias holding the real power.

Talk Nation Radio: Jonathan Simon on How Machines May Have Counted Our Votes Wrong

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jonathan-simon-on-how-machines-may-have-counted-our-votes-wrong

Jonathan Simon is author of CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century. He serves as Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance (www.ElectionDefenseAlliance.org), a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to restore observable vote counting and electoral integrity as the basis of American democracy. In addition to CODE RED, Dr. Simon has published, both individually and in collaboration, numerous papers related to various aspects of election forensics and election integrity. We discuss the counting of votes in last week's U.S. elections.

The CODE RED website is www.CODERED2016.com.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Tomgram: Nick Turse, America, the Election, and the Dismal Tide

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

Now More Than Ever: Stand for Peace in Charlottesville

Here's a proposal backed by RootsAction.org, WorldBeyondWar.org, Pax Christi Charlottesville, Amnesty International Charlottesville, the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, and 257 people who have signed this petition: http://bit.ly/cvillepeacepole

Charlottesville, Virginia, has the potential to be a leader for peace at home and abroad. Our city council in recent years passed resolutions against the war on Iraq, against threatening Iran, against drones, and in favor of moving resources from wasteful and deadly military spending to human and environmental needs. Other cities and towns followed Charlottesville's lead on some of these measures. Our voices were heard in Richmond and in Washington.

We now need to be a voice for peace and nonviolence more than ever. Wearing a safety pin is a wonderful way to communicate that one is a safe person not inclined toward bigotry or violence. But we need something more visible as well.

Charlottesville's monuments to wars, including the Native American genocide, the defense of slavery, and the slaughter of 3.8 million Vietnamese, dominate public space. Charlottesville's support for peace is nowhere visible on the public landscape.

Charlottesville has four sister cities, and signs indicating them are visible in Charlottesville. But the motto of Sister Cities International, "Peace Through People," is nowhere to be found. There is no location set aside to celebrate these relationships, as there could be in combination with a peace pole.

Put a Peace Pole in Charlottesville

A peace pole is of course just one option. Any public memorial to efforts for peace would work.

A peace pole is a popular means of expressing a desire for peace around the world, including in the United States, where peace poles are found in public plazas and parks in many locations.

One idea would be to have 6 sides including English, Spanish, and the languages of Cville Sister Cities: Italian, French, Bulgarian, and one of the many languages from Ghana. Or 8 sides with some left blank to be filled in later.

Please sign the petition so that we can deliver it to Charlottesville City Council. Please share it widely.

A Soldier's Life

Focus: US, EU and Russia - Nov 14, 2016


Putin, Trump speak by phone, agree to work to improve ties - Fox News


Statement by Trump’s transition team: ‘He is very much looking forward to having strong and enduring relationship with Russia’ - Ace News


Statement by Russia: We agreed to ‘normalise relations and pursue constructive cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues' - President of Russia


High hopes in Russia that Trump will ease trade sanctions - CBS News


Treasury sanctions individuals for activities related to Russia's occupation of Crimea, underscores the U.S.-EU commitment to counter Russia in Ukraine - treasury.gov


US expert says Trump may take ‘softer position’ on Crimea and Ukraine - TASS


Diplomat says impossible to restore full contacts of Russian, US military under Obama - TASS


Mogherini: EU policy toward Russia will not change regardless of U.S. - rferl.org


Trump ignorant of Europe, poses risk to relations: EU's Juncker - Reuters


German defense minister says Trump should be firm with Russia as NATO stood by US after 9/11 - RT News


Trump-Putin alliance sparks diplomatic crisis as British ministers demand assurances from US over Russia - Telegraph


As Trump warms to Putin, Trudeau vows ‘we will not back off’ over Ukraine - VICE News


Moscow clout rises as Bulgaria, Moldova elect pro-Russia leaders - VOA


Estonian PM loses no confidence vote after coalition crumbles, possibly opening up the path for a traditionally pro-Russian party to gain power - Reuters


Russia may sell Iran $10 billion worth of tanks and jets in new arms deal - Telegraph


Russian Air Force hammers west Aleppo ahead of planned Syrian Army offensive - almasdarnews.com


Recession-hit Russia hoping for growth by end-2016 - Business Standard News


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

 

Europeans agree defense plan after campaign swipes by Trump - Reuters


European Council conclusions on implementing the EU global strategy in the area of security and defence (links to full documents) - EU Consilium


EU ministers met informally to talk strategy after Trump′s electoral victory - DW.COM


Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the end of the informal dinner of the EU Foreign Ministers - EEAS


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg op-ed: US mustn’t abandon NATO now – nor should its allies go it alone - The Guardian


Europe must spend on defence or face Russian advance, warns ex-Nato chief - The Independent


Jeremy Corbyn says NATO should ‘demilitarise' its border with Putin's Russia - The Huffington Post


Putin aide: Trump could build confidence with NATO slowdown or pullback - AP


Pentagon to NATO: talk to Team Trump - Business Standard News


Obama Says Trump told him he supports U.S. commitment to NATO - Bloomberg Politics


NATO to postpone next Summit until summer over Trump's US election victory - Sputnik


Nearly 300,000 NATO troops put on a higher alert last week over Russian tensions - The Mercury


Britain to deploy batteries of high precision long range missiles on Russian’s border - Daily Mail Online


Russia's new electronic warfare system capable of disrupting NATO communications - Sputnik


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

 

About that legacy, Mr. President: Obama Has a Small Window to Go Out with Some Flair and Excitement

By Dave Lindorff

 

            There is a lot of talk going on among the pundits about how President Obama is leaving no enduring legacy -- that his progressive actions as president, few and small that they may have been, were written in the sand of executive orders, which can and likely will be erased within days of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Through the Gates of Hell

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

Empire of Chaos 
With President Trump, Is the American Experiment Over? 
By Tom Engelhardt

The one thing you could say about empires is that, at or near their height, they have always represented a principle of order as well as domination.  So here’s the confounding thing about the American version of empire in the years when this country was often referred to as “the sole superpower,” when it was putting more money into its military than the next 10 nations combined: it’s been an empire of chaos.

Un-Trump the World

A couple of dozen young people marched back and forth through downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday evening shouting "Love Not Hate!" and "No Human Being Is Illegal!" and "Black Lives Matter!" and similar anti-Trump inspired slogans. They didn't hand out flyers or interact with other people at all, though I cheered for them.

Meanwhile some people my age looked on and made scornful condescending comments to the effect that the election was over and these fools should get over it. And one drunk guy, restrained by his wife or girlfriend, announced that "Black lives aren't worth s---!"

My response is different, if perhaps equally cynical. I'd like all the fools not marching and rallying to recognize that the dream of self-governance is over and to get over it. I'd like everyone to have gotten over it last month or last year or last decade.

I love that people march around shouting "Love Not Hate!" And the fact that anyone would object to that statement of preference ought to deeply disturb the most apathetic voter/consumer/spectator. In fact I've just helped set up a petition that reads:

"We will not stand by as hatred and violence are promoted by our president-elect. Racism and bigotry at home have been fueled by U.S. wars abroad, but also make more such wars easier. We commit to nonviolently resisting hateful attacks on our fellow human beings wherever they live."

I also love and am practicing the new trend of wearing a safety pin to indicate that one is a safe and caring person to anyone who might be worried about any variety of bigotry.

But here's where I get a bit cynical. Hillary Clinton told a room full of Goldman Sachs bankers that creating a no fly zone in Syria would require killing lots of Syrians. And she told the public she wanted to create that no fly zone. And if she had been declared the winner of the election, I can guarantee you that nobody would have been marching up and down my street yelling "Love Not Hate."

So, I worry that even those who value kindness to others value it only for the 4% of humanity in the United States but not so much for the other 96%, or value it only as directed by the less hateful of the two big political parties.

I also worry that it's even worse than that. I worry that, as cheerleaders for one political party over the other, people have lost touch with the idea of bringing demands from the public to the government. For seven years we had protests of the war on Afghanistan, for example. Then for eight years we didn't, even as the U.S. forces there grew by over 300 percent before declining. Perhaps next year those protests will recommence, but probably only in the unlikely event that the Democratic Party raises the issue.

Where was the outrage over the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Or over the lack of single-payer healthcare? Or over the failure to restrain inequality or environmental destruction? Or over the threat of a nuclear war with Russia? Why the selective outrage on-command as directed by televised coverage of the model or template protest in New York City?

But, really, what choice do people have? If they want others to join in, if they want the local media to cover them, they have to go where the momentum is. And when the momentum is for love against hate, everybody should be cheering and joining.

But we should also be directing our energy toward strategic areas for systemic change.

Is it a problem that the winner of the popular vote can be denied the U.S. presidency? Then let's compel our state legislatures to change the law to distribute electors in proportion to actual votes.

Is it a problem that a small cartel of major media corporations can choose to give someone like Donald Trump wall-to-wall free airtime, effectively handing him a nomination for president? Then let's channel widespread (including Trump's) disdain for the media into breaking up that cartel.

Is it a problem that the Democratic Party can slant the playing field of its primary to guarantee a win to a weak candidate? We should disempower and democratize parties, including by ending the corruption of privately financed elections, and by creating ranked-choice voting in the other 49 states as Maine's voters just did there.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead for the moment, and the president-elect made at least 1,000 speeches condemning NAFTA. Let's put an end to NAFTA, and not replace it with something worse.

It took President Obama two days after the election to put in his request for more billions for more war. Trump has already said he wants to end the arming of fighters in Syria. Let's end that supplemental spending bill along with that policy. And let's make clear that we won't stand for another form of escalation in Syria or Iraq.

Is it too early to impeach Trump? Then let's focus on blocking his horrendous cabinet nominations.

Much of recent Trump-driven hatred took the form of voter suppression. Let's demand investigations and prosecutions.

And what about loving future generations? Let's work to advance a wiser environmental policy at the local, state, and international levels, and to make clear to Congress and the president-elect that we will not stand for the destruction of the earth's climate.

Let's energize and strategize with everyone marching against the recent election. Let's take these protests where their leaders think they need to go. Even if we're just telling each other and the world that we're not among those accepting hatred and violence, that's all to the good.

But let's not start to believe that activism is principally for displaying our identities. Let's make sure we're transforming major structures that impact millions and billions of those whom we need to love and not hate.

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