Veterans Urge Drone Operators to Refuse Orders to Fly

Letter Reinforces Call Made in National TV Ad Campaign

Hastings on Hudson, NY – An increasing number of United States military veterans are counseling United States military drone operators to refuse to fly drone surveillance/attack missions – the veterans are even helping sponsor prime time television commercials urging drone operators to "refuse to fly."

In a letter released today by, 44 former members of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines whose ranks range from private to colonel and whose military service spans 60 years, “urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/ assassination missions.  These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.”

Talk Nation Radio: Waging Peace With David Hartsough

David Hartsough is the author, with Joyce Hollyday, of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist. Hartsough is executive director of Peaceworkers, based in San Francisco, and is cofounder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. He is a Quaker and member of the San Francisco Friends Meeting. He has a BA from Howard University and an MA in international relations from Columbia University. Hartsough has been working actively for nonviolent social change and peaceful resolution of conflicts since he met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956. Over the last fifty years, he has led and been engaged in nonviolent peacemaking in the United States, Kosovo, the former Soviet Union, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Iran, Palestine, Israel, and many other countries. He was also a peace educator and organized nonviolent movements for peace and justice with the American Friends Service Committee for eighteen years. Hartsough has been arrested more than a hundred times for participating in demonstrations. He has worked in the movements for civil rights, against nuclear weapons, to end the Vietnam War, to end the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan and to prevent an attack on Iran. Most recently, David is helping organize World Beyond War, a global movement to end all wars:

Total run time: 29:00

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Music by Duke Ellington.

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Militarism is a bad deal

By Tom H. Hastings

When Benjamin Netanyahu courted, received, and responded to an invitation to address a far rightwing Republican Congress in order to publicly, internationally diss President Obama, he scolded our President, saying the proposed deal to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb was a “bad deal.”

I’d like to channel Bibi. Militarism is a bad deal.

When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems start to look like nails. The only tool America has, in the minds of a warmongering Congress, is our military. Oh—excuuuuse me—our sacred military.

How has that military been doing at solving our nation’s problems? A very small but representative sampling:

Ukraine and the Apocalyptic Risk of Propagandized Ignorance

I'm not sure if there's been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I'm confident there's not been a more important one. With some 17,000 nuclear bombs in the world, the United States and Russia have about 16,000 of them. The United States is aggressively flirting with World War III, the people of the United States have not the foggiest notion of how or why, and authors Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong explain it all quite clearly. Go ahead and tell me there's nothing you're now spending your time on that's less important than this.

This book may very well be the best written one I've read this year. It puts all the relevant facts -- those I knew and many I didn't -- together concisely and with perfect organization. It does it with an informed worldview. It leaves me nothing to complain about at all, which is almost unheard of in my book reviews. I find it refreshing to encounter writers so well-informed who also grasp the significance of their information.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership -June 16, 2015

In another sign Obama's trade agenda is in trouble, House GOP Leaders postpone vote on trade bill -

Three ways GOP could save trade bill after postponing the vote - TheHill

GOP leaders’ plan to save Obamatrade revealed - WND

Nancy Pelosi op-ed: Trade promotion authority on its last legs, we must give workers more leverage and have more open discussion - USA TODAY

Top democratic senator dismisses a vote again on trade promotion authority stripped of worker assistance provisions - VOA

GOP Leadership's Latest Obamatrade Ploy Revealed: Small Business Tax Hike That Violates GOP’s Anti-Tax Pledge - Breibart

Rand Paul: Obamatrade Tax Hikes on Small Businesses Mean Republicans Should Oppose Revival Efforts Via a Tax Increase Hidden Inside the Trade Adjustment Assistance - Breitbart

Ten Bay Area U.S. representatives voted against the bill addressing agreements with European Union and Pacific Rim, Only one supported the bill - Patch

Trans Pacific Partnership: Industries Favoring Trade Agreement Gave 8.6 Times More Money To Lawmakers Than Industries Opposed - IBTimes

REPORT: Industries Supporting Trade Bill Contribute Nearly Nine Times More Than Opposing Industries, Full LIst Of Recipients - Money and Politics

VIDEO (and transcript): Obama's Weekly Address: Stand up for American workers and pass Trade Adjustment Assistance - Your Houston News


POLL: Obama's Approval Rating Dips in June, Part of the reason could be because of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal - Latin Post



Hillary Clinton ducks questions on trade deals during New Hampshire visit, dismisses fast track as ‘process issue’ - The Guardian

How Hillary Clinton Gets Around Answering Questions About Fast-Track -

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton holds first press conference in NH - MSNBC

Labor buys ‘thank you’ ads for lawmakers who blocked Obama trade pact - The Washington Post

How labor beat Obama on trade — for now - The Washington Post

United Steelworkers Urges Lawmakers on Fast Track 'Do-Over' to Not Flip Votes - USW

Teamsters: House needs to continue stand against fast track - Teamster Nation

International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers: Let’s put the brakes on bad trade deals that ship America’s jobs overseas and lower our wages - Facebook

Here’s How We Can Stop TPP-TPA-TAA aka Obamatrade - Tea Party Nation

Environmental Groups Declare Victory After Trade Package Scuttled on House Floor - Bloomberg BNA

Webb criticizes Obama's lack of transparency on trade -

Robert Reich Op-Ed: Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Nearly Dead -

Pat Choate Op-Ed: Lies, Damnable Lies and Trade Lies -

Bill Moyers Op-Ed: Fast-Track Derails Democracy -

Lawrence Summers op-ed: Rescuing the free-trade deals - The Washington Post

VIDEO: Larry Summers: TPP crucial to U.S. role in Asia - YouTube


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Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit

The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency's director to "approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research."

Human what?

At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to prisoners without their consent, as well as the supposed truth serum scopolamine. Former Guantanamo guard Joseph Hickman has documented the CIA's torturing people, sometimes to death, and can find no explanation other than research:

"[Why] were men of little or no value kept under these conditions, and even repeatedly interrogated, months or years after they'd been taken into custody? Even if they'd had any intelligence when they came in, what relevance would it have years later? . . . One answer seemed to lie in the description that Major Generals [Michael] Dunlavey and [Geoffrey] Miller both applied to Gitmo. They called it 'America's battle lab.'"

Non-consensual experimentation on institutionalized children and adults was common in the United States before, during, and even more so after the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Nazis for the practice in 1947, sentencing many to prison and seven to be hanged. The tribunal created the Nuremberg Code, standards for medical practice that were immediately ignored back home. Some American doctors considered it "a good code for barbarians."

The code begins: "Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity." A similar requirement is included in the CIA's rules, but has not been followed, even as doctors have assisted with such torture techniques as waterboarding.

Thus far, the United States has never really accepted the Nuremberg Code. While the code was being created, the U.S. was giving people syphilis in Guatemala. It did the same at Tuskegee. Also during the Nuremberg trial, children at the Pennhurst school in southeastern Pennsylvania were given hepatitis-laced feces to eat.

Other sites of experimentation scandals have included the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in Brooklyn, the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, and Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia. And, of course, the CIA's Project MKUltra (1953-1973) was a smorgasbord of human experimentation. Forced sterilizations of women in California prisons have not ended. Torture by Chicago police has for the first time just resulted in compensation for victims.

If we are, at long last, to put such contemptible behavior behind us, it will require breaking some bad habits.

Congress has busily re-banned torture a number of times in recent years. Now it must drop that charade and instead demand that the Attorney General enforce the anti-torture statute, which made torture a felony before George W. Bush ever became president.

It's good of John Oliver to denounce torture. And he's right to go after the lies told about torture in popular entertainment. But he's also spreading the false idea that it's legal. "We checked," he says, reporting that his crack team of investigators discovered that the only ban on torture is found in an executive order written by President Obama. This is dangerous nonsense. The U.S. was a party to the Anti-Torture Convention and had made torture a felony under the anti-torture statute and the war-crimes statute before George W. Bush ever became president.

Since then, Congress has repeatedly "banned" torture. But, just as the U.N. Charter's ban on war actually legalized certain wars, purporting to replace the total ban in the Kellogg-Briand Pact with a partial ban, these Congressional efforts (such as the Military Commissions Act of 2006) have actually legalized certain cases of torture, replacing (at least in everyone's mind) the total ban already existing in the U.S. Code and in a treaty to which the U.S. is party.

The latest "ban" proposal from Senator McCain and friends, would create exceptions in the form of those in the Army Field Manual, and advocates maintain that step number two would be to reform that manual. But if you skip both steps and acknowledge the existence of the anti-torture statute in the U.S. Code, you're done. The proper task is to press for its enforcement.

Oliver's mistake, like virtually everyone else's, is based on two myths. One, torture began with Bush. Two, torture ended with Bush. On the contrary, torture has been around in the United States and elsewhere for a very long time. So has the practice of banning it. Torture is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In fact, under international law, torture can never be legalized and is always banned.

Myth number two is also wrong. Torture has not ended and won't as long as it's not punished.

An attorney general can be questioned and threatened with impeachment until our laws are enforced. A new website created Monday let's you email Congress to demand that it do just that.

Tomgram: David Vine, "The Forgotten Costs of War in the Middle East"

 This article
 originally appeared at

“So What’s Your Question, Larry?”





Killing prisoners through medical neglect: Mumia Attorneys Sue in Federal Court for Prisoners’ Right to Medical Care

By Dave Lindorff

Attorneys from the Abolitionis Law Center in Pennsylvania, an organization defending prisoner rights and challenging the state's penal system, have filed suit in federal court demanding that Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections stop preventing them from even seeing their client, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, on occasions when he has to be hospitalized for a critical diabetes condition.

German MPs from the Left Party will protest at Ramstein Air Force Base on June 15th

On Monday, June 15th 2015, a group of Left MP´s from the Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament), supported by local peace activists, will try to gain entrance to the US Air Force Base in Ramstein in order to fulfill their parliamentary responsibilities and to make their own evaluation of the operations on the US Air Force Base.

The action will focus on the use of killer-drones. Located on Ramstein Air Force Base is the central relay station that connects US drone pilots in Nevada with drones in targetted areas such as Pakistan or Yemen.  According to Sahra Wagenknecht, Vice President of the Left Party group in the German Parliament: “The murders by US drones are contrary to international law and infringe upon right to life that is guaranteed under human rights law. The thousands of killings via drones are like the enforcement of thousands of death sentences without a court order.”

Exposing Lies, Telling the Truth

I have just read Andre Vltchek’s new book Exposing Lies of the Empire. Let me tell you something about this book of 800 pages.

Vltchek writes with passion and poetry, describing the true horror experienced by the world at large, living at the gunpoint of the imperial powers, while also describing and drawing you into a world of progress, culture and refinement that exists in some places and, so we are tantalised, might exist elsewhere too and even, perhaps, one day for us all.

Pentagon Admits that War is Illegal

The Pentagon has just published 1,204 pages on how it thinks you can behave legally during a war. Looking through this "Law of War Manual" at various hot topics, one finds some atrocities excused as acceptable (cluster bombs, nuclear bombs) and others rejected as completely disallowed (torture) even when in reality they are routinely engaged in.

Beginning to wonder what the point is of writing out such a lengthy description of laws when someone could just read the laws themselves in less time, I notice that nowhere does this document strengthen any actual law, while in many places it weakens them. It picks and chooses which laws to mention and which to leave out or marginalize in footnotes. It stresses the supposed right to ignore any international law that a nation objected to while that law was being created. It incorporates into the whole scheme the idea of launching wars not only against nations, but against any other entities, and of launching wars in nations with those nations' approval. This paper is a sort of enormous signing statement appended retroactively to all existing laws, indicating which will be adhered to and which disregarded, while attempting to advertise a pattern of legal behavior by the U.S. military as a public relations correction to people's awareness of the actual pattern of lawlessness.

But I think the place to start is with the pretense that war itself is legal. This is what permits three-quarters of this document to exist, devoted as those sections are to proper legal conduct during a war. The Pentagon says that one must fight wars legally whether or not the wars are legal. That is, whether or not you have some legal justification for attacking a country, you must nonetheless meet completely vague standards of proportionality and so forth during the course of the attack -- or of the occupation. There's a large section on the legal conduct of occupations that breezes right past any question of the illegality of maintaining the occupation at all. Here's a typical passage about legal "proportionality": "Attacks using nuclear weapons must not be conducted when the expected incidental harm to civilians is excessive compared to the military advantage expected to be gained." How much "harm" to civilians from nuclear weapons would be "excessive"? The so-called law, once you accept war and then try to regulate its conduct, is in the eye of the sociopathic beholder; there's nothing empirical or enforceable about it.

Courage: Caitlyn Jenner vs. Chelsea Manning

                There has been much talk of late about the courage of Caitlyn Jenner. A recent Vanity Fair cover showed the transformation of former 65-year-old Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn, an attractive woman who appears to be in her thirties.

                But let us look for a moment at the definition of courage. Merriam-Webster defines it thusly: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”

Saudis lambasted for lashing Badawi, Alkhalifa condemned in Geneva

A wave of protests has emerged against the Saudi authorities following the confirmation of an earlier sentence to flog Ra’if Badawi 1000 lashes for criticizing the regime. The Swedish foreign minister has said she stands by her denunciation of a Saudi blogger’s flogging as medieval, three months after her criticism of the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record ignited a diplomatic crisis and infuriated business leaders fearful for trade losses. Speaking on Monday, a day after it emerged that Saudi Arabia’s highest court had upheld Badawi’s punishment, Margot Wallström said she was unrepentant and said again that the flogging amounted to medieval methods. “I would not have done things differently,” Wallström told the Guardian “No, I do not regret the medieval remark; we have not excused ourselves. But we have explained that this was not an attack on Islam.” Campaigners have called for a radical shift in Britain’s relati onship with Saudi Arabia. Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is dire. The fact that it is also the world’s largest buyer of UK weapons is a sign of the real hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy.” A Foreign Office spokeswoman said on Monday: “We are extremely concerned that Raif Badawi’s sentence has been upheld … We have raised his case at the most senior levels in the government of Saudi Arabia and will continue to do so.”

The Last Jeb Killed for Slavery, The Last Bush Killed for Oil

Presidential elections should be limited to as short a time period as possible and are generally the biggest drain and distraction going. I have two excuses for looking into Jeb Bush. One is that I've been collecting the evidence that Hillary cannot be a lesser evil than any living human, and campaigning for No More Bushes or Clintons. The other is that I only read Jeb Bush: Outed because I've long liked the author, Stephen Goldstein.

People such as Molly Ivins and James Moore gave the U.S. lots of warning, from the wisdom of Texans, before the Supreme Court falsified the 2000 election results in what will always be falsely remembered as the American public electing George W. Bush president. Here comes Goldstein from Florida to warn us about Jeb. I don't see any reason why knowing about Jeb should make us take any interest in the election, as Hillary is just as bad. But I still see a problem with not knowing -- when it's all so easily known.

The Financialization of Fiction, and Vice Versa

The Utopia of Rules by David Graeber is an engaging riff on the theme of bureaucracy and the BS people think about it.

"De-regulation," of finances, Graeber points out, creates more rules, paperwork, and bureaucrats, apparently because what happens is not the equivalent of firing a bunch of factory safety inspectors, but rather the employment of enough bureaucrats to redirect control of wealth from mid-sized companies to giant conglomerates. Yet, just as people imagine criminals to be mostly black or violent, or war to be philanthropic or necessary, or estate taxes to be about family farms, or voter fraud to be impacting elections, or elections to have any value that could possibly be hurt by voter fraud, or a minimum wage to eliminate jobs, or corporate trade agreements to not eliminate jobs, or guns to make us safer, or prisons to "correct" something, or wealth to trickle down, or small-time foreign thugs to constitute a graver threat than a McDonald's diet, what matters is a fiction well told, not any facts.

Career advancement in a bureaucracy, Graeber writes, is based not so much on merit as on the loyalty exhibited by a willingness to pretend that it's based on merit. If you play along with the collective delusion, you're rewarded.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership - June 12, 2015

Will Dems rescue Obama's trade pact? Backers and foes have no clue if it has enough support to pass on Friday - POLITICO

Anti-Climate Provision Gives Democrats Fresh Reason To Oppose Obama On Trade -

Breitbart News: Republican Opposition To Obamatrade Grows In Face Of Ryan Mistakes - Breitbart

Breitbart News: 34 Courageous Conservatives Wound Obamatrade On Way To Final House Vote - Breitbart

Republicans clash over Obamatrade immigration - WND

Washinton State Rep. Adam Smith Joins Reps. Heck And McDermott In Opposing Fast-Track Trade Bill - KPLU News

Alabama congressmen blast Obama's secret trade agreement - Yellowhammer News

California Rep Garamendi Expresses Strong Opposition to Fast-Track Trade Bill and the Trans-Pacific Partnership “Free Trade Agreement” - California RealEstateRama

Obama's Trade Deals Show He's Out Of Touch With The Real World, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) Says -

Trade debate splits Obama, Chicago Dems - The Washington Post

What Chicago Democrats tell us about President Obama’s problems on trade - The Washington Post

Crucial House vote on trade bill nears with 3 of 6 Louisiana members still undecided -

Oklahoma Vet In Congress Battles Paul Ryan’s Obamatrade In The Trenches - Breitbart

Mo Brooks To Paul Ryan: With China’s Ploy To Join Deal, Make White House Release Obamatrade Text Before Vote - Breitbart

ObamaTrade Secrecy: Log of Which Members of Congress Actually Read Bill in Secret Room Also Private - Breitbart



Left and right line up against fast-track legislation, Tea Party and labor unions say Obama’s trade agenda is undemocratic and secretive - WSJ

Elizabeth Warren Launches Last-Minute Blitz to Stop Trade Bill, Full Text of Her E-mail to Liberal Supporters - Bloomberg Politics

Warren in a conference call organized by Democracy For America and Move On: supporting fast-track would be ‘irresponsible’ - TheHill

Labor chief rebukes Obama on trade in open letter - TheHill

Text of open letter of labor chief to Obama on trade - POLITICO

In a Report AFL-CIO Says Labor Has Been Blocked from Trans-Pacific Partnership Debate (Text of the Report) - Working In These Times

Democrats Call on Administration to Release Confidential Labor Advisory Committee Report - Congressman Mark Pocan

Report: One in Four Jobs in San Diego at Risk with Trade Deal -

VIDEO: Baltimore Steelworker Invites President Obama to Witness Results of Past Failed Trade Policies - AFL-CIO

Greens slam 'fast track' package over climate concerns -

Environmental Groups Unite to Denounce Fast Track Trade Bill - Sierra Club National

Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama's Trade Agreement - Breitbart

Key Provision Of Trade Deal Puts Core Elements Of U.S. Legal System At Risk -


Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach: Obama's trade deal is a Trojan horse - MSNBC

Obamatrade! Right-Wing Talk Radio Slams Trans Pacific Partnership -

Bernie Sanders Demands Hillary Clinton Take Trade Stance 'Right Now' -

Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary and NY Mayor Bill de Blasio Urge Hillary Clinton to Oppose TPP - Observer



U.S. Shifts Stance on Drug Pricing in Pacific Trade Pact Talks, Wikileaks Document Reveals -

Leaked Text of the TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - WikiLeaks

Trade Deal Targets Medicare, New Leak Reveals -

Secret trade negotiations will undermine Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and push up the cost of medicines -

New Zealanders' access to affordable medicines could be limited under trade deal secretly negotiated, opposition parties say - NZ Herald News

Analysis by Dr Deborah Gleeson (Australia) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - WikiLeaks

Analysis by Jane Kelsey (New. Zealand) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - Wikileaks Leaked TPPA docs back HIV med concerns -

Rep. Jan Schakowsky: This is a warning for senior citizens: Ongoing trade negotiations could be harmful to your health -

Latest TPP Leak Raises Burning Questions About Implications for U.S. Health Care System - Public Citizen

Memo: Three Burning Questions about the Leaked TPP Transparency Annex and Its Implications for U.S. Health Care - Public Citizen

VIDEO: Backlash Against TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Corporate Control of Public Health, Interview with Maybarduk of Public Citizen and Sifton of Human Rights Watch - Democracy Now!


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Dangerous Military Buildup in Asia and Pacific

South Korea constructs new Naval Base on Jeju Island, U.S. Plans to Expand Military Base on Okinawa and China Builds on South China Sea Atolls

By Ann Wright

The international community is extraordinarily concerned about the Chinese construction on small islands and atolls in disputed waters off China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan.  Over the past 18 months, the Chinese government has created islands out of atolls and larger islands out of small ones.

With the Obama administration’s “pivot” of the United States military and economic strategy to Asia and the Pacific, the Chinese have seen military construction in their front yard. 

Senator Pushes Edge of Skin-Tight Envelope

Democratic-Party-based activist groups are urging each other to praise and support Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) for laying out a better-than-average foreign policy and setting up a website at

Murphy's position would be considered militarist in the extreme outside of the United States, but advocates point out how much worse most other U.S. senators' are. 

Tomgram: Jen Marlowe, "They Demolish and We Rebuild"

 There’s an ugliness to war beyond the ugly things war does. There are scars beyond the rough, imperfectly mended flesh of the gunshot wound, beyond the flashback, the startle reflex, the nightmare. War finds peculiar and heinous ways to distort lives, and when children are involved, it can mean a lifetime spent trying to recapture what was, to rebuild what never can be.

Do People in the Philippines Appreciate What the U.S. Does for (to) Them?

Do people in the U.S. realize what their government is doing? Do they care? Read this:

Women's Organizing for Peace in the Philippines

(Speech delivered as a part of Women Cross the DMZ events at the Women's Peace Symposium on May 26, 2015, in Seoul, Korea)

By Liza L. Maza

Inline image 1

Photo by Niana Liu of Lisa Maza speaking at Women Cross the DMZ walk in Pyongyang, North Korea with 7,000 North Korean women

Greetings of peace to all especially to the  courageous and joyous women who are gathered here today calling for Peace and Reunification of Korea! Let me also convey to you the warm wishes of solidarity from GABRIELA Philippines and the International Women's Alliance (IWA), a global alliance of grassroots women's organizations.       
I am honored to speak before you today to share the experiences of Filipino women in organizing for peace in my country. I have been with the parliament of the state as representative of the Gabriela Women’s Party to the Philippine Congress for nine years and in the parliament of the streets as a feminist activist of the GABRIELA Women’s Coalition for half my lifetime. I will talk about the work of peace building of my organization, GABRIELA.

A New Story of Us

Had He Not Been Murdered!

Barack Obama: No Jack Kennedy

Editor Note: A half century ago – at the peak of the Cold War – President Kennedy appealed to humankind’s better nature in a daring overture to Soviet leaders, a gamble that brought bans on nuclear testing and a safer world, a bravery that President Obama can’t seem to muster.

By Ray McGovern

Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” put-down of Republican Sen. Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate springs to mind on a day on which I cannot help but compare the character of President Barack Obama to that of John Kennedy, the first President under whom I served in the Army and CIA.

The Bravery of Vince Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi, generally noted as the prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter, is dead.

Vince had a remarkable skill as a prosecutor and a public speaker. He could be very persuasive. He could set aside everything but the most critical piece of information and then hammer at that piece like a sculptor. In doing so he could reach a wide audience in a persuasive manner without unnecessarily putting anyone off.

Bugliosi fit the profile of a whistleblower. He had long been part of the establishment. He prosecuted criminals. He wrote best-selling books defending insider opinion, claiming Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, O.J. Simpson was guilty, etc. He believed that before George W. Bush no president had ever lied about a war. He believed the U.S. government generally meant well. He considered agnosticism wiser than atheism, because who knows, there could be a god, how can you prove there isn't? He considered revenge an enlightened emotion. In other words, Bugliosi was a reluctant radical.

He had written a condemnation of the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush for the White House. How was he to know that speaking further truth about that same individual would meet a brick wall of bipartisan contempt? He didn't know. He was used to being on television when he published a new book. He was used to glowing reviews, or at least reviews, in major newspapers. But most major newspapers didn't mention Bugliosi's book on prosecuting Bush for the war on Iraq until Bugliosi died this week. The New York Times had run an article on the lack of coverage, but not provided any coverage.

Bugliosi was shut out by corporate power when he suggested prosecuting a president for launching a war (and laid out a powerful legal argument for doing so). It was, in his view, a very mainstream American argument against a brand new horror never seen on the face of the earth before. He said not a word about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who had been murdered; it wasn't part of his legal case on which he focused like a laser. He argued for the prosecution of Bush for the murder of U.S. troops sent to Iraq and killed there. Bugliosi explained:

"A robber, for instance, was convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule where, as he was leaving the store in which he had robbed the owner, he told the owner not to say a word or he'd be harmed, and fired into the ceiling to scare the owner. The shot, after two or three ricochets, pierced the head of the owner, killing him. In fact, the felony-murder rule applies even where the defendant is not the killer! There have been cases where the proprietor of the store fired at a robber, missed him and hit and killed a customer. And the robber was convicted of first degree murder of the customer."

Legally, it's unusual. Morally, it's grotesque. Effectively, it would have ended U.S. wars, prevented the creation of ISIS, left Honduras and Ukraine with their elected governments, kept new bases out of the Philippines, Japan, Guam, Australia, and two dozen African Nations, allowed Libya to live, allowed recovery to begin in Afghanistan, prevented the drone wars that President Obama created in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, and the subsequent Saudi destruction of Yemen, halted shipments of U.S. weapons to Israel, Egypt, and countless Clinton-donor nations, quite possibly spared Gaza two serious attacks, and conceivably have created the momentum to prosecute torture and other lesser crimes rather than continuing the charade of re-banning it over and over.

But none of that was to be. Bugliosi was abandoned by the Democrats who didn't want Bush prosecuted. Bugliosi was forsaken by the corporate media that didn't want war questioned. Bugliosi was ostracized by his own people: prosecutors. He asked for one prosecutor in any place in the U.S. from which a U.S. troop had been sent to Iraq to die. He volunteered to assist that prosecutor for free. Not a single one could be found willing to even try.

The case for ‘courageous restraint’: The Killer Elite, at Home and Abroad

By John Grant

We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

                                                      - George Orwell

Vincent Bugliosi and The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

bugliositextIf we want to deter future presidents from taking this nation to another war under false pretenses, some president in the future that gets a funny thought, I think that deterrence would increase immeasurably if he knew what America did to George Bush, put him on trial for murder, and if he was convicted, of course, the punishment would either be life imprisonment or the imposition of the death penalty.”

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership -June 10, 2015


GOP aiming for Friday trade vote, but snag remains - POLITICO

Breitbart News: More Republican Opposition To Obamatrade Builds In House, Boehner Losing Momentum - Breitbart

Breitbart News: Obamatrade Support Falling Apart In House Despite Leadership Push - Breitbart

Franken-trade: Opponents are concerned about a governing commission that’s to oversee the Pacific trade deal - Washington Times

Kevin McCarthy Pressured By Republican Conference: What's The Rush On Obamatrade Plans With Its 'Global Governance’ Hidden Inside? - Breitbart

Bipartisan bill would require trade deals to be publicly available before fast-track vote - TheHill

TPP in Focus: TPA Doesn’t Put Congress in the Driver’s Seat - Committee on Ways and Means, Democrats

Rep. Levin on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: House Democrats want a role now  -

Given the huge size of the state’s delegation, California House members could provide the margin of victory or defeat of the fast-track trade bill - POLITICO

On trade, Obama's most loyal allies in the Congressional Black Caucus are abandoning him (VIDEO) -

U.S. trade policy and workers of color, fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership will disproportionately affect people of color - AFLCIO

Top 10 undecided House members to watch on trade - TheHill

Mass. congressmen against international trade agreement -

Arizona Rep. Grijalva: Trade deal bad for seniors, workers alike -

For Dems who vote yes on trade, Obama offers help in 2016 - Associated Press

John Kerry & Ash Carter: Congress needs to help American trade grow -

Trade Bill Will Help Negotiators With Farm Issues, Vilsack Says - Bloomberg Business

Motion Picture Association of America Makes Economic Case(s) for TPA - Broadcasting & Cable

Interview with US Trade Representative Michael Froman. What’s actually in Obama’s secret trade deal? - POLITICO

Fast Track to the Corporate Wish List, How the U.S. Trade Representative became Washington's one-stop shop for the corporate trade agenda -


Revealed Emails Show How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP - Techdirt

Huckabee blasts Obamatrade - WND

Ralph Nader: 10 Reasons the TPP Is Not a 'Progressive' Trade Agreement -

Peru’s story haunts the TPP - TheHill

With trade on Congress’ agenda, just what does the U.S. import and export? - Pew Research Center



POLL: NBC survey: Two-thirds of Americans say protecting U.S. industries and jobs by limiting imports is more important than free trade - NBC

POLL: Pew survey: Far more say free trade agreements lead to lower wages and job losses in U.S. - Pew Research Center

Labor makes last-ditch effort to stop fast-track trade bill - POLITICO

Unions’ members are using a variety of tactics to pressure Congress to defeat the fast-track trade bill - WSJ

The AFL-CIO Blitzes Important States In Fast-Track Opposition - The Daily Caller

VIDEO: AFLCIO TV ad: American Ingenuity - Stop Fast Track - DC - YouTube

Labor runs ads slamming Rep. Kathleen Rice for backing trade bill - POLITICO

VIDEO: AFL-CIO: Which Kathleen Rice? (Stop Fast Track) - YouTube

Labor and progressive groups to rally against Rice - Newsday

After California Rep. Ami Bera announced he backs fast track bill, activists and labor groups are attacking the Democrat -

Labor vows political fallout from Rep. Jim Himes trade stance - The CT Mirror

Unions, Seniors Groups Urge Congress Not To Cut Medicare To Fund Trade Assistance -

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) demands to stop negotiations and release the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - IndustriALL

Twelve groups to watch in trade fight - TheHill

Doctors Want a Second Opinion on TPP -

Ms. Magazine Editor: Obama's Fast Track Attack on Women -

Tell Congress: Oppose Fast Track for the TPP - EFF Action Center

FFTC Behind Don't "Rubber Stamp" TPA Campaign - Broadcasting & Cable


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Fear and Learning in Kabul

By Kathy Kelly

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world… Shall we say the odds are too great? … the struggle is too hard? … and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message -- of longing, of hope, of solidarity… The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, “Beyond Vietnam”

Kabul—I’ve spent a wonderfully calm morning here in Kabul, listening to bird songs and to the call and response between mothers and their children in neighboring homes as families awaken and prepare their children for school. Maya Evans and I arrived here yesterday, and  are just settling into the community quarters of our young hosts, The Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs).  Last night, they told us about the jarring and frightening events that marked the past few months of their lives in Kabul. 

They described how they felt when bomb explosions, nearby, awakened them on several mornings.  Some said they'd felt almost shell-shocked themselves discovering one recent day that thieves had ransacked their home.   They shared their intense feelings of alarm at a notorious warlord's statement condemning a human rights demonstration in which several community members had participated. And their horror when a few weeks later, in Kabul, a young woman, an Islamic scholar named  Farkhunda, was falsely accused in a street argument of desecrating the Koran, after which, to the roared approval of a frenzied mob of perhaps two thousand men, members of the crowd, with apparent police collusion, beat her to death.   Our young friends quietly sort through their emotions in the face of inescapable and often overwhelming violence.

A View From the Other 96%

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

But take this tour of the world with out nationless friend Andre. We see U.S. medical troops operating on Haitian civilians in the most unsafe conditions, while proper facilities nearby sit unused; these troops are practicing for battlefield surgeries. We see millions slaughtered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at U.S. instigation and with U.S. support. We see U.S. militarism inflicting immeasurable suffering in Somalia. We witness the U.S. training and arming in Turkey of troops from around the Middle East to be sent into Syria to attempt to overthrow another government. We follow the horrors that U.S.-driven militarism, capitalism, and racism have brought to Indonesia, as well as Colombia, the Philippines, and locations around the globe. We investigate the ongoing state of disaster in Iraq and Libya, even the everlasting crisis created by the long-forgotten U.S. war on Panama, and for that matter the ongoing injustice of the century-old German genocide in today's Namibia. We meet the people of occupied Okinawa, and the people of the rest of Asia who view theirs as an evil island hosting threatening U.S. troops. We examine the crushing of popular movements in Egypt, the corruption of four "anchor nations" in four U.S.-created regions of Africa, and the imposition of violent coups in Central America and Ukraine.

Speaking Events


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