Cop literally a ‘ball-buster’: Sexual Assault and Other Philadelphia Police Scandals

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

Philadelphia -- A January 7, 2014 police assault on Darrin Manning that resulted in the 16-year-old honor student's needing emergency surgery to repair a ruptured testicle, is outrageous but hardly unusual in this city.

Cop literally a ‘ball-buster’: Sexual Assault and Other Philadelphia Police Scandals

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

Philadelphia -- A January 7, 2014 police assault on Darrin Manning that resulted in the 16-year-old honor student's needing emergency surgery to repair a ruptured testicle, is outrageous but hardly unusual in this city.

Houston TSA agent arrested after making “terroristic threats”

Houston TSA agent arrested after making “terroristic threats”

 

by Deborah Newell Tornello


It’s Not News, It’s Propaganda, Part 2

  “You said that the F.B.I. cleared Edward Snowden of acting with anyone else or as part of a spy ring.  Why are we even talking about this then?  How can Mike Rogers pretend the F.B.I. report doesn’t exist, go on TV, and accuse Snowden of being a spy for the Russian secret police?”

 

Syria/Turkey News - Feb 4

 

Al-Qaeda disavows the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, saying it isn’t responsible for the actions of the group - The Daily Beast


Translation of al-Qaeda Statement acknowledging ISIS officially isn't part of AQ - justpaste.it


Pro-al Qaeda Saudi cleric calls on ISIS members to defect - The Long War Journal

 

VIDEO: Ex-ISIS Member Reveals Torture in Name of 'Prison Jihad’ - Farsnews

 

VIDEO: ISIS turns church into the headquarters to torture citizens in Raqqa, Syria - YouTube

 

Syrian Opposition Pillages Heritage - Commentary Magazine

 

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Syrian opposition main offices in Turkey shut down due to ISIS threat - CİHAN


Syrian Coalition: We Are Committed To Go On With Geneva II - Syrian National Coalition


Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva should be more representative: Lavrov - The Voice of Russia

 

Safi: Exclusive Right to Expand Negotiating Team Belongs to the Coalition - Syrian National Coalition

 

'Muslim Brotherhood' has no intention to quit National Coalition: Comptroller General - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

U.N. delivers aid in Yarmouk for 4th day; UNRWA asks for more speed - Macon.com

 

Hundreds of Syrian refugees evacuated from Yarmouk - Channel 4 News

 

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Turkish police murder trial opens amid tight security - AFP


Turkish police deny killing student in June protests - AFP


VIDEO: Turkish police brutality: killing of peaceful demostratror caught on camera - YouTube


POLL: Ruling AK Party's support drops to 36 percent in local elections, Huge support for corruption probe - CI˙HAN


POLL: New poll predicts Erdogan’s defeat in Istanbul - Independent Balkan News Agency


Insight - Fight for Istanbul likely to shape Turkish political landscape - Yahoo News UK


Turkey’s rising political star set for major fight - The Irish Times

 

Motions reveal practices of unlawful activities and irregularities between the prime minister and a former minister and businessmen - Today's Zaman

 

CHP to stage protests if summary of proceedings about ex-ministers not submitted to Parliament - Today's Zaman

 

CHP submits parliamentary question regarding dismissal of Prosecutor Öz's sister - CİHAN

 

Prime minister's inconsistencies raise eyebrows, A list of 12 Erdogan's lies - Today's Zaman

 

Turkish government fights graft scandal with probe of 'parallel state' - Reuters

 

Gov't plans for judicial police a veiled attempt to change regulation - CİHAN

 

Erdoğan accuses journalists of collaborating with ‘parallel state' - Today's Zaman

 

Journalists and Writers Foundation: It is sad to note that our country has recently been witnessing deeply worrisome developments regarding democracy and the rule of law - CİHAN

 

Freedoms, rights grow weaker as censorship knows no boundaries - CİHAN

 

Turkish Unionists: 'We Are Not Terrorists' - Labor Notes

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Public Vengeance as a Career Tool: "American Hustle" and Prosecutorial Politics

By John Grant

“In this town, money talks and bullshit walks.”

                        -PA Rep. Ozzie Myers on his Abscam tape

Political sports scorekeeper Chris Matthews recently predicted American Hustle would become a classic film of American politics of the order of Citizen Kane. I’d add All the King’s Men and All the President’s Men.

What’s so wonderful about American Hustle is that it’s very serious at the same time it has great fun with a contemporary political system dominated by the archetype of the aggressive prosecutor. While a servant of the state, he or she ruthlessly advances a career by bringing down others. Dishonesty and the entrapping scam are major tools of the trade.

With Chris Christie, the whole smelly system has narratively come full circle. An aggressive federal prosecutor with eyes on the White House is suddenly the hunted prey of other hungry prosecutors looking for a career boost. The attorney credited with getting the goods to put away Governor Blagojevic in Illinois has been hired to go for Christie.

While American Hustle may be based on the late seventies Abscam scandal, it’s more art than journalism or history. “Some of this actually happened,” we’re told on screen up front. Like all good fiction based on reality, the art is in finding a deeper truth...

Making Iowa into a War Zone- National Guard Poised toAttack from Des Moines Airport

By Brian Terrell

The F-16 jets of the Iowa Air National Guard that formerly buzzed the city of Des Moines have disappeared and we are told that their base at the Des Moines International Airport is in the process of refitting into a command center for unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, commonly called drones. The MQ-9 Reaper drones themselves will not be coming to Iowa but will be based in and launched overseas. When airborne, these unmanned planes will be flown by remote control via satellite link from Des Moines. Classified by the military as a “Hunter-Killer platform,” the MQ-9 Reaper is armed with Hellfire missiles and 500 pound bombs that according to plan will be launched by airmen sitting at computer terminals in Des Moines.

President Obama, in an address from the National Defense University last May, described this new technology as more precise and by implication more humane than other weaponry: “By narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.” There is an understandable appeal to the idea of a weapon that can discriminate between the good and the bad people and limit regrettable “collateral damage.” It is understandable too, that a nation weary of sending its sons and daughters to fight on battlefields far away, risking injury, death or the debilitating effects of posttraumatic stress, might look to embrace a new method of war whereby the warriors fights battles from the safe distances. Thousands of miles beyond the reach of the enemy, drone combatants often do not even have to leave their hometowns and are able to return to homes and families at the end of a shift.

All the promises of a new era of better war through technology, however, are proving false. Rather than limiting the scope of war, drones are expanding and proliferating it, killing more civilians both on battlefields and far from them, endangering our soldiers and the safety of our communities. Instead of keeping the horrors of war at a safe distance, drones bring the war home in unprecedented ways. The plan to fly drones out of the Iowa Air Guard Base in Des Moines threatens to make a literal war zone in Central Iowa.

In his National Defense University speech, the president contended that “conventional airpower and missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage.”A few weeks later a study published by the same National Defense University refuted his claim. Drone strikes in Afghanistan, the study found, were “an order of magnitude more likely to result in civilian casualties per engagement.”Despite the president’s assurances to the contrary, drone strikes cause immense “local outrage” in the countries where they happen, turning America’s allies into enemies. "What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world," said former commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal. "The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes ... is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one or seen the effects of one."

Former defense secretary Robert M. Gates also warns of the seductive power and precision of armed drones that leads many to perceive war as a “bloodless, painless and odorless” affair. “Remarkable advances in precision munitions, sensors, information and satellite technology and more can make us overly enamored with the ability of technology to transform the traditional laws and limits of war. A button is pushed in Nevada and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Kandahar.”Defense experts and policy makers, Gates warns, have come to view drone warfare as a “kind of video game or action movie. . . . In reality, war is inevitably tragic, inefficient and uncertain.” General Mike Hostage, chief of the US Air Combat Command, claims that while weaponized drones are useful in assassinations of terror suspects, they are impractical in combat. "Predators and Reapers are useless in a contested environment," Hostage said.

Some enlisted personnel are also questioning the use of drones. Heather Linebaugh, a drone operator for the US Air Force for three years says: “Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: ‘How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?’ And: ‘How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?’ Or even more pointedly: ‘How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?’”

The transformation from fighter planes to drones will be marked by changing the name of the Air Guard unit in Des Moines from the “132nd Fighter Wing” to the “132nd Attack Wing.” This change is more than symbolic- a “fight” by definition has two sides. There is such a thing as a fair fight and a fight has some kind of resolution. An attack, however, is by nature one-sided, something that a perpetrator inflicts on a victim. A fighter might sometimes be justified, an attacker, never. Drone strikes rarely catch a “terrorist” in an act of aggression against the US and often occur in counties where the US is not at war. Their victims are targeted on the basis of questionable intelligence or “patterns of behavior” that look suspicious from a computer screen thousands of miles way. More than once, drone victims have been US citizens living abroad, executed without charges or trial.

Distance from the battlefield does not isolate soldiers from posttraumatic stress or the moral injury of war. Heather Linebaugh speaks of two friends and colleagues who committed suicide and another former drone operator, Brandon Bryant, said that his work had made him into a “heartless sociopath.” While drone pilots are at a greater distance from their victims than other soldiers, he says, the video feed they watch brings them closer: “Artillery doesn’t see the results of their actions. It’s really more intimate for us, because we see everything.”

When the 132nd Attack Wing is up and running, Iowa’s “citizen soldiers” will be engaged in combat in real time from the Des Moines International Airport. “In an F-16, your whole mission was to train to go to war,” said a pilot of an Ohio Air Guard wing that made a similar conversion from fighters to drones. “In this mission, we go to war every day.”Previous foreign postings of the 132nd were always made public, but where in the world the wing will be fighting from now on will be shrouded in secrecy. Reason and the rules of war both suggest that assassinations and acts of war on sovereign nations carried on by the 132nd from its base in Des Moines will make the airport there a military target, putting Iowans at peril.

Drone warfare is based on the lie that war can be made more exact, limited and humane through technology. Our civilian and military authorities, by bringing drones to Des Moines, are acting recklessly and in defiance of domestic and international law. They are acting without regard for the safety and wellbeing of our troops, of the people of Iowa or of people in faraway places who otherwise would mean us no harm. Rather than being an answer, drones perpetuate and multiply the horrors of war and bring them home into our communities.

Brian Terrell lives in Maloy, Iowa, and is a co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

The Video Is Mightier Than the Missile

Can a video help change the world? It's one of a great many tools we're developing, and yes we hope it can.

Please watch this new video about moving the world beyond war, and share it with everyone you can.

It's posted at http://worldbeyondwar.org

and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDiY8p8AAoU

You can share the video by forwarding this email to your friends.

This new video, our new logo, and our new website are a taste of the tools we're just beginning to create.

Everything we’re developing is a work in progress waiting for your input. Contact us here.

Here are more ways to help move us from war culture to peace culture:

http://worldbeyondwar.org/ResourceCenter


It’s Not News, It’s Propaganda, Part 1

  I was out walking my dog the other morning, and my neighbor Tom--known locally as “the gentle radical”--was out shoveling the snow from his walk.  He was puffing, and I asked him if he’d like to take a break and give me a turn at the shovel.

 

“Thanks for the offer, Ace,” he said with a smile, “but I need to do things like this to work off my frustration.  If I couldn’t shovel snow, rake leaves, and tend to my garden, I think the top of my head might periodically blow off.”

 

Citizen Activists Across the U.S. in Courts This Week for Protesting U.S. Weaponized Drones

WHO: Citizen activists from the east coast to the west coast will be in court this week defending their actions protesting the United States Military and Central Intelligence Agency weaponized drone program.


WHAT:
The first trial will begin Monday February 3 in Sacramento, California for four activists arrested at Beale AFB in April 2013, while attempting to deliver a letter to the base commander addressing the illegality of US drones which kill innocent people and noncombatants in Pakistan and other countries.  The letter is a citizen's declaration charging President Obama and all military personnel involved  in the drone program with crimes against humanity and multiple violations of the law, including due process. (Letter is below.)

Meanwhile, in upstate New York, 17 activists are in the midst of an ongoing trial in a DeWitt, NY courthouse for an October 2012 protest at Hancock AFB protesting the use of the Reaper drones piloted from there that activists say perpetuate war crimes, and violations of human rights laws.

On Friday five activists will be in US District Court in Alexandria, VA appealing their trespass conviction at the Central Intelligence Agency in June, 2013 as they attempted to deliver a letter and seek a meeting with CIA Director John Brennan concerning CIA violations of international law related to illegal targeted drone killing in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

WHEN: Monday, February 3 through Friday, February 7, 2014

WHERE:
(Beale AFB case), US Courthouse, 50l I St., Sacramento, CA,
(Hancock AFB case) Courthouse at 400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY,
(CIA case) U.S. District Court, 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA

WHY: Activists across the country continue to work to bring an end to the illegal and immoral killer drone strikes which have now killed thousands of people, including hundreds of children, around the globe with no due process.
 
For the last several years citizen activists have engaged in peaceful protests drawing attention to the violations of international law the US drone program is committing in multiple countries including Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.  In protest activities and courtroom testimonies, activists have repeatedly spoken about their obligations under the Nuremberg Principles to oppose the crimes against peace, the violations of international law, and the war crimes the US is committing through its use of weaponized drones.

Contacts:  
Beale AFB defendants:   Robin Ryan 415-517-5856;  Martha Hubert; 415-722-3321;  Toby Blome, 510-541-6874
Hancock AFB defendants:  Ed Kinane, 315-478-4571;   Mary Anne Grady Flores, 607-273-7437
CIA defendants: Malachy Kilbride  571 501-3729,  Max Obuszewski  410 366-1637  Joy First   608 239-4327

 

OPEN LETTER TO BEALE AIR FORCE BASE PERSONNEL (April 30, 2013)

We, the people, charge the US President, Barack Obama and the full military chain of command, to Beale Air Force Base Colonel Phil Stewart, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Commander, every drone crew and service member at Beale Air Force Base, and every other U.S. base involved directly or indirectly with the U.S. drone program, with crimes against humanity, with violations of part of the Supreme Law of the Land, extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation of national sovereignty, and killing of innocent civilians.

US military and CIA Drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, in the Middle East, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.  In the name of combating terrorism against the US, we are terrorizing innocent people and creating many more enemies and potential terrorists in the process.

Our government has become a lawless power, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, just because it can.  The US uses remote-controlled drones to kill women in their kitchens, elders meeting in their jirgas, mourners at funerals, and rescuers who try to help the wounded.  By most independent studies, the vast majority of those killed are civilians.

We therefore demand:

(1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing

(2) A halt to all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia

(3) A prohibition on the sale and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries, in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom, and security, and

(4) An immediate end to this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.

Syria/Turkey News - Feb 3

 

Activists: 36 Killed Sunday Including Children as Syrian Forces Drop Barrel Bombs in Aleppo, Nearly 90 were reported killed on Saturday - VOA


16 Syria rebels killed in ISIS suicide bomb attack in Aleppo: NGO - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO: Al-Qaeda’s ISIS fighters in Aleppo slay head of Islamic rebel group the Tawheed Brigades - YouTube


Islamist Rebels kill 20 Militants of Al Qaeda-linked Group, East Aleppo - ZAMAN ALWSL


Syrian rebels linked to ISIS behead man using small knife in front of chidren in Homs - Mail Online


VIDEO: ISIS terrorist beheads a government supporter in Homs - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Time magazine publishes photos of decapitation by Takfiris in Syria - YouTube


PHOTO: ISIS members spotted playing billiards in Al-Raqqa after allegedely killing its owner for selling alcohol - Syria Newsdesk


ISIS grants amnesty to "adulterous" couple in Al-Raqqa, It was expected to carry out a stoning sentence in a public square in the city - Syria Newsdesk

 

PHOTOS: ISIS Media Hub (Twitter account) allegedely hacked! - LiveLeak.com

 

Militants targeted Syrian chemical cargo: Moscow - .alalam.ir

 

Rebel Mortar shells wound 24 people near Syria's Damascus - PressTV

 

Aussie 'thugs' at Syrian frontline - The Australian

 

Jabhat al-Nusra claims deadly Lebanon suicide bombing - Yahoo News UK

 

VIDEO: Deadly al-Nusra suicide car bomb strikes eastern Lebanon - YouTube

 

The Salafi Plot to Assassinate Najib Mikati - Al Akhbar English

 

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Rojava’s Autonomous Cantons Begin Major Diplomatic Effort In Region with Official Visits to Iran, Iraq and Turkey - The Rojava Report


Head of Afrin Canton: ‘We Exist and We Are Here’ - Rudaw


Syria Kurdish autonomy a model for Syria: PYD leader - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syrian Kurds won’t fire at Turkey: Salih Muslim - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

Iraqi Kurdistan's Gorran movement backs autonomy in Syrian Kurdistan - ekurd

 

Kurdish Left Party leaves Syrian Kurdish National Council SKNC - ekurd

 

Kurdish YPG forces attack ISIS Islamic-Jihadists, killing 12 - ekurd

 

ISIS arrests six Kurdish civilians near Aleppo - aranews.org

 

Kurdish jihadists fighting in Syria are on the rise - BAS NEWS

 

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CHP directs parliamentary inquiry to Erdoğan into bribery in Sabah-ATV sale - CİHAN


PM son's TÜRGEV is where bribes go, CHP leader maintains - Today's Zaman


CHP: Parliament speaker, minister using trick to cover up corruption - Today's Zaman


CHP deputy asks why graft suspect Zarrab's assets unfrozen - Today's Zaman


Halkbank risky loans skyrocket during graft suspect manager's term - Today's Zaman


Wiretapping of PM to be counted as espionage crime - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Turkey counters corruption probe with investigation into police - FT.com

 

Turkish directorate orders MP to remove parliamentary question over the Sabah-ATV sale from his personal website - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

New gov't plans fuel concerns over executive's grip on judiciary - Today's Zaman

 

HSYK bill sets alarm bells ringing for Justice Academy - Today's Zaman

 

New Internet bill to limit freedom of information, sparks reactions - Today's Zaman

 

Fresh resignation in Turkey’s ruling AKP over graft scandal - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

A Leader Shows Vulnerability in Turkey’s Cash Crisis - NYTimes.com

 

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Ankara alarmed over Qaeda threat in Syria, reportedly taking measures against potential suicide bombing inside Turkey - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkish army deploys tanks to Syrian border - Syria Newsdesk


Ankara denies presence of al- Qaeda bases on Turkish soil - CİHAN


Probe into raid on Turkish intelligence's trucks begins - Worldbulletin News

 

Keep on truckin': Turkey and Al Qaeda in Syria - RT Op-Edge

 

Turkey Islamic charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) has long had ties to al-Qaeda and Hamas - huffingtonpost.ca

 

Turkey's Role in the Kidnapping of the Syrian Bishops and the Country's Relationship to the Suspected Kidnapper - aina.org

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Ed Kinane Tells Judge Why He Protests Drone Killing

Ed Kinane, CLOSING STATEMENT, Charges: trespass & disorderly conduct, Trial of the "Hancock 17," Judge David S. Gideon presiding, De Witt, NY Town Court, 31 January 2014

Good evening Judge Gideon, prosecutor Mc Namara, court staff, our many supporters here, and my fellow defendants.

I want to thank you, Judge, for your attentiveness throughout this trial and for assuring that each pro se defendant has had ample opportunity to speak and adequate time to do so.

I would also like to thank both you and Mr. McNamara for your patience with our frequently fumbling ways as we amateurs seek to navigate court protocol.

Likewise I must acknowledge your patience as, over several days, we’ve sought to mesh the efforts of the 15 or 16 of us who, coming from all over the map, often couldn’t consult together much before coming to court.

As pro se defendants, we are probably naive about how the U.S. “justice” system works.

We understood from our charges that any alleged trespass must occur on private property.

We further understood that any alleged annoyance, any alleged disturbance, any alleged recklessness, construed as disorderly conduct, must occur on public property.

Squaring that circle, we’ve been thinking, would surely result in at least one of those charges being dropped.

But that has yet to happen.

In my opening remarks on December 3, eight weeks ago, I noted that our defense would take two paths: that of conscience and that of legalism.

Our hope remains that this court will move along those two paths, paths bound for justice.

 For as Clare Grady in her January 3rd Opening suggested, the law is meant to serve humans and not humans sacrificed to law.

Each of our testifiers spoke out of their consciences, some suggesting that their consciences were shaped by their own personal faith tradition.

Others cited personal experience as impelling them to gather outside the Hancock drone base on October 25, 2012.

I myself in my Opening alluded to having survived the murderous 2003 bombardment of Baghdad, Iraq -- an ancient city of several million non-combatants widely viewed as a cradle of civilization.

It was that bombardment which the Pentagon boastingly and terrifyingly called “shock and awe.”   

It would be impossible to count the number of “shock and awe” casualties – the Pentagon expressing supreme indifference to such numbers.

So I speak from analogous firsthand experience when I say that airborne killing and destruction typified by the weaponized drone – whether in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan -- are terrifying.

And I speak first hand when I say that the Trespass and Disordered Conduct of those drones are not a defense against terrorism, but rather embody terrorism and may well generate retaliatory terrorism – an endless cycle of violence.

Others defendants – James Ricks, Patricia Weiland and Judith Bello -- spoke of participating in a risky October 2012 human rights fact-finding delegation to Pakistan – a nation, supposedly a U.S. ally,  terrorized by the robotic, lethal drones.

On this delegation they met drone survivors, non-combatant human beings who were maimed or had neighbors and close relatives killed.

Judith Bello shared with the court a short video interview with one of those survivors she met – a young man named Raz Mohammed.

Hopefully that video helped personalize the horror of those cowardly drone attacks.

James, Patricia and Judith testified that such encounters helped shape their state of mind on October 25, 2012 as they stood outside the gates of the Hancock drone base.

Their vivid reports on their Pakistan experience also helped shape the state of mind of other Hancock co-defendants on October 25th.

Many of my co-defendants who testified spoke to the layers of law we sought to uphold that morning.

These included the Nuremburg mandate for citizens of all nations to expose the war crime of her or his government.

Those layers also included aspects of international and U.S. Constitutional law, with the latter’s First Amendment right to assemble, to speak out, and to petition our government for a redress of grievance.

That Constitutional law cited also included Article Six, the Supremacy clause, specifying that treaties the U.S. Government enters into become the highest law of the land.

Such law governs the judiciary at all levels -- national, state and local.

Sadly, it appears that some U.S. courts unilaterally pick and choose the international treaties they’ll recognize.

For example, as we stand here on stolen Onondaga Nation land, it’s clear that New York State courts fail to honor the U.S./Onondaga Nation treaty.

By contrast international trade treaties like NAFTA – i.e. commercial international law so kind to corporations – tend to be treated as legitimate in U.S. courts.

It’s a curious inconsistency.

Several of our testifiers referred to the grievance about which we were petitioning  and for which we sought redress – that grievance being the protracted war crime committed or being prepared for 24/7 at Hancock by those piloting weaponized Reapers in Afghanistan and who knows where else.

Our petition at Hancock on October 25th against such war crime took the form of a people’s indictment co-authored with us by former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark.

As you ponder a just outcome for this trial, Judge Gideon, we urge you to carefully weigh that indictment.

That document, entered into evidence here, specified the layers of law we sought to uphold on that October 25th.

 On that date we were not defying law, we were seeking to uphold law.

Some testifiers noted that no one from the base inquired as to what our business was there and none spoke to us claiming we were trespassing.

Certainly no base personnel ordered us to leave.

Nor did any base personnel, including military police, tell us that the area near the base entrance from which we were petitioning the government was somehow exempt from the First Amendment.

Under questioning, both prosecution and each of our own witnesses noted that there was no NO TRESPASSING signage visible or in place between the Hancock main entrance gate and East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt.

As each prosecution witness acknowledged, there was no line demarcating any trespass zone.

The prosecution’s own witnesses couldn’t seem to agree on where base property began.

In fact, the prosecution provided no documentation regarding base boundaries.

Curiously, while the prosecution initially sought to put into evidence a map of the base, when the defense asked for a copy of that map, the prosecution withdrew its request.

It does seem like the base command, for reasons of its own, prefers to keep base boundaries ambiguous.

No testifier for the defense indicated we knew where, besides at that fortified gate or at the barbed-wire fence surrounding the base, base property could properly be said to have begun.

Obviously, not only the authorities, but the defendants were in the dark regarding the whereabouts of the base property line – so much for our knowingly trespassing.

Pledge of Nonviolence

As each defense witness testified, all of us read aloud together a Pledge of Nonviolence on the morning of October 25, 2012 before embarking for the Hancock Reaper base.

Each defense witness testified that that Pledge faithfully reflected her or his frame of mind on October 25th.

Each also testified that their own behavior was consistent with that Pledge.

Further, neither our witnesses nor any of the arresting officers testified that they saw any of the defendants engage in behavior inconsistent with the Pledge.

In fact some of the arresting officers told of the congenial interactions between themselves and those they arrested.

Having been entered into evidence, and having referred to the Pledge numerous times while questioning our witnesses, I would like to read aloud the Pledge here.

It consists of seven short sentences. But first let me quickly put the Pledge into context.

Since 2009 appalled citizens have been seeking to educate the public, the media, law enforcement, and base personnel about the ongoing war crimes originating at Hancock. This campaign, coordinated by our grassroots group Upstate Drone Action, involves a range of tactics – including some that have led to arrest, trial and incarceration.  Our entire campaign has been scrupulously nonviolent in the spirit and tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. – both victims of assassination.

Thus before each civil resistance action participants commit ourselves to the following Pledge:

We are committed in the campaign to nonviolence in all of our words, symbols and actions. Our purpose is to publicize and hopefully deter the war crimes perpetrated from Hancock AFB by hunter/killer Reaper drones piloted by Hancock personnel over Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Accordingly, at today’s event at Hancock our attitude will be one of respect toward all – including police, military personnel,  the public, and each other.

We will not resist or evade arrest and if prosecuted, we will use the judicial process to continue our anti-drone campaign. Where possible we will put the Pentagon’s and CIA’s use of hunter/killer drones itself on trial.

Today’s Action is part of an ongoing, protracted campaign. We will return to our communities and continue our work to end Reaper assassination, civilian killing and other such acts of state terrorism.

Thank you.

On Trial, Drone Protester Proves Wrong People Charged

Closing Argument presented on Janurary 31, 2014, by Judith Bello on trial as of those who protested at Hancock Air Base in New York State on  October 25, 2012

I would like to begin, Judge Gideon, by thanking you for your attention to our unique argument, and support for our learning process with regard to formal court procedures as pro se defendants.

I will preface my remarks by saying that we are ever grateful for the right and privilege given to us by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which says that:

“Congress shall make no law [. . .] abridging the freedom of speech . . . ; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We would not be here today if this were not the law of the land.  I will argue that I went to Hancock Base on the 25th of October, 2012, that as far as I know, we all assembled at Hancock Base on October 25th, 2012 to exercise our right and privilege of free speech to ask our government for redress of grievance; specifically to uphold international laws that prohibit wars of aggression, targeted assassination and the reckless endangerment of civilian populations around the world.  

You have heard testimony that Weaponized Drones, including those flown from Hancock Air National Guard Base are on the front line of illegal wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries around the world.   You have heard testimony that Armed Drones threaten civilian populations in these countries, and contrary to government assertions, kill indiscriminately, leaving a trail of dead civilians in their wake.  Even the oft affirmed ‘militant’ target is a civilian in most cases, perhaps in every case depending whether American combatants can be said to be engaged in a legal war.  According to Customary International Law and numerous treaties which I will now elaborate, these wars of aggression are illegal,   

Therefore, my presence, our presence at Hancock Air National Guard Base is justified under NYS Penal Law 35.05, Subsection 1)

"Unless otherwise limited by ensuing provisions of this article defining justifiable use of physical force, conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal when: 1) Such conduct is required or authorized by a law or judicial decree   . . . "

In light of Article. VI of the US Constitution, which says:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

We turn to the following passages from the Nuremberg Judgment which has been designated as a Federal Rules Decision, thereby incorporated into United States Law as well as the United States Army Field Manual:

on pg 19 under THE COMMON PLAN OR CONSPIRACY AND AGGRESSIVE WAR:
The esteemed justices of the Nuremberg Court say:

". . . War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world.

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

on Pg 42 under VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL TREATIES:

The court continues in the same vein.  It says that the waging of an aggressive war is a crime regardless of whether any signed treaty has been violated.

"The Charter defines as a crime the planning or waging of war that is a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties. [ . . . ] This makes it unnecessary to discuss the subject in further detail, or even to consider at any length the extent to which these aggressive wars were also "wars in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.""

In other words, since we are agreed that prosecuting a war of aggression is a crime, we do not need any further Treaties to justify our verdict.

on Pps 44-47  of the Nuremberg Judgment, under THE LAW OF THE CHARTER: The Nuremberg judges state:

"The Charter is not an arbitrary exercise of power on the part of the victorious nations, but in the view of the Tribunal, as will be shown, it is the expression of international law existing at the time of its creation; and to that extent is itself a contribution to international law."

The United States must have agreed with this at the time because the Judgment was admitted to US Law as a Federal Rules Decision.   They go on to say that it is a matter of justice that a criminal act is understood in reference to the law.  So they proceed to name the Treaties on which they have based their judgment.  First and foremost, the Kellogg-Briand Treaty, also called The Pact of Paris because the United States and France were the makers of the treaty, and the charter signatories:

 “This view is strongly reinforced by a consideration of the state of international law in 1939, so far as aggressive war is concerned. The General Treaty for the Renunciation of War of August 27th 1928, more generally known as the Pact of Paris or the Kellogg-Briand Pact, was binding on sixty-three nations, including Germany, Italy and Japan [and, I might add, the United States] at the outbreak of war in 1939.  [ . . . ] 

The first two articles of Kellogg-Briand are as follows:

"Article I: The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations to one another."

"Article II: The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arrive among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means."

In case we don't take this seriously, the Nuremberg judges go on to quote Henry L. Stimson, US Secretary of State in 1932, as follows:

"War between nations was renounced by the signatories of the Kellogg-Briand Treaty. This means that it has become throughout practically the entire world ... an illegal thing. Hereafter, when nations engage in armed conflict, either one or both of them must be termed violators of this general treaty law....We denounce them as law breakers."

I have been told that the Kellogg-Briand Treaty is obsolete and irrelevant.  No one pays any attention to it.   However the United States has not withdrawn her signature from Kellogg-Briand, as she has, for instance, from the International Court of Justice.  Kellogg-Briand is not only a basis for the Nuremberg Judgment, which is accepted as a Federal Rules Decision, but is a direct creation of US diplomacy of which the United States is a charter signatory.   Perhaps it should be taken more seriously.

Clearly, Kellogg-Briand does not codify particular penalties for particular variants or degrees of the crime of aggressive war.  The Nuremberg judges respond to this concern as follows:

“But it is argued that the pact does not expressly enact that such wars are crimes, or set up courts to try those who make such wars. [. . . ]   In interpreting the words of the Pact, it must be remembered that international law is not the product of an international legislature, and that such international agreements as the Pact of Paris have to deal with general principles of law, and not with administrative matters of procedure. The law of war is to be found not only in treaties, but in the customs and practices of states which gradually obtained universal recognition, and from the general principles of justice applied by jurists and practiced by military courts.”.

Here we have an argument that International Law is a foundation of global justice, and should be enforced through understandings and procedures defined by Customary Law, which has evolved through the consensus of nations over a period of centuries.

Armed Drones, which are currently a critical tactical method in support of our many wars of aggression,  are engaged in the commission of crimes, Crimes Against Peace in so far as they facilitate illegal wars,  and War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in so far as they facilitate indiscriminate killing of civilians and targeted assassinations which are illegal under US Law.   

It is a matter of particular concern that United States officials are attempting to change Customary International Law to their advantage by changing the facts on the ground through the introduction of new technologies and social classifications. Terrorists and terrorism supposedly represent a class of individuals who perpetuate a condition not anticipated by Customary International law nor standing Treaties. However, the United States duplicity in both fighting 'terrorists' and supporting the same individuals under different names shows that this is not the case.  The use of new technologies i.e. armed drones, to 'terrorize' civilians while supposedly hunting so called 'terrorists' is frivolous, hypocritical and completely illegal. 

Terrorists and the armed drones that hunt them are social and technical constructs designed to disrupt international law and the social structures on which it is founded.   This is clearly succeeding as can be seen by the confusion evidenced in recent statements by the United Nations Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Killing and on Human Rights and Counterterrorism, and by the conclusions drawn by NGO Reports on Drone attacks released by the Human Rights NGOs this Fall by Amnesty International [1] and Human Rights Watch.[2]  

Drones are asserted to be a device that is not constrained by Customary International Law as we have understood it in the past.  The claim is that they are so advanced as to require new laws for new situations. Indeed they say:

  1.  Drones can hover quietly at great heights, out of view of those o the ground and out of reach to retaliation by populations without air power and are claimed to be primarily used for surveillance
  2.  Since drones aren't manned, they have not violated the boundaries and borders they have illegally crossed.  
  3.  Since a Drone can be piloted from a faraway location that is not in the clear zone of war, then pilots are not at risk and not liable for their actions
  4.  Drones are able to discriminate their targets more effectively than other delivery systems for missiles

To me, the above list of special features can be subsumed under a single classification, IMPUNITY.   The latter point in particular has clearly proven not to be the case.   It takes more than a stable image from 2 miles away to provide meaningful clues to an operator 10,000 miles away.   Drones are used to conduct illegal wars invisibly.   Even so, new laws aren't necessary to constrain armed drones. What is necessary is that their owners and users be called to obey the existing laws.

In fact, International Law has addressed this very situation more than 100 years ago.   Initially, the Martens Clause, as it is called, was introduced into the prologue of Hague Convention II in 1899, later the substance was incorporated into the Hague Convention IV in 1907.  The Martens Clause states:

Until a more complete code of the laws of war is issued, the High Contracting Parties think it right to declare that in cases not included in the Regulations adopted by them, populations and belligerents (we would say civilians and combatants) remain under the protection and empire of the principles of international law, as they result from the usages established between civilized nations, from the laws of humanity and the requirements of the public conscience.

In other words, you cannot create an instrument that smashes the existing rules and boundaries and then claim that new boundaries must be drawn around it.   Rather, the use of new technologies must be required to remain within the boundaries of existing law until such time as the international community can come to a consensus on a new structure of law to accommodate them.    Then their use can be expanded into the new legal space.  We must act under the empire of international law rather than under the law of the empire.

-------- Conclusion ---------------

We cannot ignore the fact that these laws are often broken; often restated in new language.  It seems to me that war is much like an addiction, deadly and difficult to end.   We vow to quit, then fail, and recover and relapse again and again.   This does not mean that we should cease trying.  Every  treaty and promise to repudiate the deadly violence of war, and restrain the instruments that make it easy for us to engage in war, must be held up and honored, over and over again until justice prevails, and we are at last free to live as civilized human beings in peace and security with other individuals and other nations.

That is why I was at Hancock Base on October 25, 2012 and that is why I am here today.  I am not asking you, Judge Gideon, to try defendants under these laws as the Nuremberg Judges were required to do.   That is not your job.   What I am asking is that you acknowledge our obligations under these laws, along with my obligation and privilege to uphold them under the Constitution and acquit me and my companions of the current charges under Penal Code 35.05 which says that we may justify an act that would otherwise constitute an offense when it is authorized by a law or judicial decree.
 

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

  1. Will I Be Next, US Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Amnesty International, October, 2013

  2. Between a Drone and Al Qaeda, Human Rights Watch, October, 2013

Syria News - Feb 1

 

VIDEO: Brahimi Says No Progress in Syria Talks - YouTube


VIDEO: Brahimi Backs Feb. 10 For More Syrian Peace Talks - YouTube


Syrian Foreign Minister: Opposition "acted as if we had wanted to come here for one hour and hand over everything to them” - AFP


Opposition leader Jarba says Syria regime in Geneva "to dig its own grave with its own hands", the talks marked the beginning of the end for Assad - AFP


VIDEO: Walid al- Muallem Press Conference in Geneva (P.1) - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Walid al- Muallem Press Conference in Geneva (P.2) - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Assad adviser: time is right in Syria for a national unity government that might bring in opponents, but not a transitional body - Telegraph

 

President Ahmad Al Jarba's speech at the end of first round of negotiations in Geneva - Syrian National Coalition

 

VIDEO (Arabic): Interview with Ahmad Jarba - YouTube

 

TRANSCRIPT (English): Interview with Ahmad Jarba (Translated) - syriancivilwar

 

VIDEO (English): Islamic Front's Military Commander: No to Democracy as Syrians are Thirsty for Islamic State - YouTube

 

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Report: UNRWA successfully delivers aid to Yarmouk Palestinian camp - ReliefWeb Mobile


VIDEO: UNRWA successfully delivers aid to Yarmouk Palestinian camp Part 1 - YouTube


VIDEO: UNRWA successfully delivers aid to Yarmouk Palestinian camp Part 2 - YouTube


As Syrian Factions Talk, Homs Starves - Newsweek

 

Russia Defends Syrian Government Over Aid Stalemate For Homs - RIA Novosti

 

Did the Syrian army and rebels join forces to operate a checkpoint (VIDEO)? - The FRANCE 24 Observers

 

American Light Arms to Opposition in Southern Syria - The Syrian Observer

 

Syrian Christians Ask US to End Support For Rebels - TIME.com

 

Church Leaders:‘Will Be No More Christians in Syria’ If War Continues - blog.heritage.org

 

VIDEO: Marked for Destruction: The Plight of Syria's Christians with Syrian Christian Leaders - heritage.org

 

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Al-Qaeda’s ISIS attacks Turkmen-populated areas of Syria - CİHAN


12 Syrian Turkmen wounded in clashes with ISIS close to Turkish border - Anadolu Agency


Syrian Turkmen ask for Turkey's backing - Anadolu Agency


Thousands of Turkmen flee to Turkey amid ISIS-rebel clashes - CİHAN


Syria: ISIS Claim Capture Of Ar-Raei, 24 Hours After Turkish Attack - EA WorldView


ISIS forms two all-female battalions in Al-Raqqa - Syria Newsdesk

 

ISIS suicide team assaults Iraqi ministry - The Long War Journal

 

Iraqi army kills 40 ISIS fighters in Fallujah - Al Arabiya News

 

Lebanese army in firefight with ‘Syrian gunmen’ - Al Arabiya News

 

Three al-Nusra Front Suspects Detained in Bekaa - Naharnet

 

Hezbollah and Assad Plan Offensive On Jihadists In Yabrud - The Daily Beast

 

Indonesian Militants Join Foreigners Fighting in Syria - NYTimes.com

 

The Siege of Adra: Islamist Rebels are Accused of Massacre - CounterPunch

 

VIDEO: RT first TV crew at besieged Syrian town Adra after alleged atrocity by Salafascists - LiveLeak.com

 

Jihad in Syria (Summary) - Institute for the Study of War

 

Jihad in Syria (Full Report) - Institute for the Study of War

 

The Islamic State of Disunity: Jihadism Divided - jihadica

 

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Salih Muslim: Syrian coalition does not represent Kurds - Al-Monitor


It is possible that a federal Syria will shape, Kurdish PYD leader Salih Muslim says - ekurd


Salih Muslim Questions Authority of NCC Statement on Kurdish autonomy - The Rojava Reports


A Rift in the Syrian National Coordination Body - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

Ocalan Letter Asks Barzani Support in Rojava, Peace Process - Rudaw

 

PYD: Arrested people have received training in Iraq Kurdistan, The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is training armed forces to send to Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

6 Kurds kidnapped by ISIS - Transnational Middle-East Observer

 

The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 5: The Kurds - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

Is Kurdistan Syria Church's Best Hope for Survival? - CBN News

 

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HRW: Syria Must Stop Illegal Demolitions - VOA


REPORT: Razed to the Ground: Syria’s Unlawful Neighborhood Demolitions in 2012-2013 - Human Rights Watch


PHOTOS: Before-and-after satellite photos show destruction of Syrian neighborhoods - washingtonpost.com


Kerry warns Syria of possible U.N. action over chemical arms delay, Russia says Syria unable to ship the chemicals to the port of Latakia because of security threats from opposition forces - latimes.com

 

Interview with head of CW team in Syria - .cbrneworld.com

 

Third Chemical Volcano Rocket Used On August 21st Geolocated (VIDEOS) - Brown Moses Blog

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Super Bowl Friday Trash Dump: State Dept Releases KXL Final Environmental Review

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The State Department has released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed northern leg of the controversial and long-embattled TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Image credit: Kris Krug.

In a familiar "Friday trash dump" — a move many expected the Obama administration to shun — John Kerry's State Department chose to "carefully stage-manage the report's release" on Super Bowl Friday when most Americans are switching focus to football instead of political scandals. **See bottom of this post for breaking analysis**

Anticipating the report’s release, insiders who had been briefed on the review told Bloomberg News the SEIS -- not a formal decision by the State Department on the permitting of the pipeline, but rather another step in the department’s information gathering -- “will probably disappoint environmental groups and opponents of the Keystone pipeline.”

And, indeed, the new report reads“Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.”

This reiterates one of the earlier draft’s most heavily criticized conclusions that the pipeline is “unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands,” and thus avoids a comprehensive assessment of those climate impacts.

In June 2013, President Obama said in a speech announcing his Climate Action Plan at Georgetown University that he would only approve the permit if it was proven that “this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."  

The final environmental review is being released on the heels of damning revelations about the close ties between the Canadian pipeline builder, TransCanada and Environmental Resources Management (ERM). ERM was hired by the State Department to conduct the environmental review.

Occupy Beale AFB Anti-Drone Protestors to Put Drone Warfare on Trial


Beale AFB, April, 2013

TRIAL DATE:  Monday, Feb. 3, 9:00 am    

 We Need You There!  Contact for Bay Area Carpool:  510-215-5974

 
(Defendants:  Martha Hubert, Robin Ryan, Bill Doub and Toby Blome)

Where:   Sacramento, U.S. Courthouse, 50l  I St. 
8:00-9:00 am:   Pre-trial Anti-Drone Rally,  bring signs and visuals or help hold ours!
8:30am: press conference outside the courthouse 
9:00am:  Trial begins.  Courtroom supporters needed.

In April, 2013, 5 activists were arrested while attempting to deliver a letter to the Commander at Beale AFB during a nonviolent protest of drone warfare.  The letter was our attempt to hold accountable all military personnel and officials involved in the drone program, directly or indirectly, by charging them with crimes against humanity and violations of the law. (see full letter below).  Four of the defendants now face trespassing charges and a maximum of 6 months in jail.
 
While the defendants are likely to get community service and a fine, it is critical at this time to increase the public outcry over the brutality of drone warfare.  Please attend the pre-trial rally and join us in the courtroom as we attempt to put drone assassination on trial.  If you can't attend, please try to find someone who can be there in your place.  
WE MUST NOT BE SILENT.
In memory of the 13 wedding party attendants who were murdered in Yemen last December and all victims of illegal drone surveillance and attacks......may we one day GROUND THE DRONES for good!
 
 

OPEN LETTER TO BEALE AIR FORCE BASE PERSONEL (April 30, 2013)

 

We, the people, charge the US President, Barak Obama, and the full military chain of command, to Beale Air Force Base Commander Colonel Col. Phil Stewart, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, every drone crew, and service members at Beale Air Force Base, and every other U.S. base involved directly or indirectly with the U.S. drone program with crimes against humanity, with violations of part of the Supreme Law of the Land, extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation national sovereignty, and killing of innocent civilians.

US military and CIA Drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, in the Middle East,  Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.  In the name of combating terrorism against the U.S. we are terrorizing innocent people, and creating many more enemies and potential terrorists in the process.

Our government has become lawless powers, acting as judge, jury and executioner, just because it can.  The U.S. uses remote-controlled drones to kill women in their kitchens, elders meeting in their jirgas, mourners at funerals, and rescuers who try to help the wounded.  By most independent studies, the vast majority of those killed are civilians.

 

We therefore, demand:

(1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing

(2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia

 (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and

(4) An immediate end to  this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.

Bahrain: Extra-judicial killing, serious religious persecution of natives

A young Bahraini youth has been martyred by live police bullets. Fadhel Abbas  Muslim, 19, had been shot on 8th January at Al Markh Town with two other youths. One of them, Sadiq Al Usfoor is still in serious condition. For two weeks the Alkhalifa clan refused to release any information about the victim who is believed to have died of his wounds on the day of the shooting. The images taken of his body in the mortuary after it was delivered on Sunday 26th January, clearly show the bullet wounds to his head, shoulder and foot. The fatal bullet was fired from the back which indicates that it was an execution by the Death Squads which are controlled by the royal court. Later in the day his funeral was attached mercilessly by the regime’s forces and some mourners were injured. The Bahrainis are now resigned for an eventual showdown with the Alkhalifa dictators and Saudi occupiers to free their country from their evil rule.

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action demanding thorough and impartial investigation into this heinous crime which has shocked the population because of its barbarism and disregard for human life. “The Bahraini authorities must immediately investigate the death in custody of a 19-year-old boy who was shot in the head by security forces,” said Amnesty International. “Bahrain’s authorities must come clean and open a full, independent investigation to establish the truth about the death of Fadel Abbas. Those responsible for his death must be held to account,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “The conflicting information that has emerged over the version of events that led to his death makes such an investigation even more urgent.”

This extra judicial killing has confirmed the impossibility of “reforming” the regime which is still adopting torture and extra judicial killing as means of revenge from the people. The people have, once again, vowed to remain in the streets until the Alkhalifa regime is brought down. The peaceful nature of the Revolution has embarrassed Alkhalifa allies who continue to support this ailing hereditary dictatorship.

On another level, more Bahrainis have been sentenced to lengthy jail sentences by Alkhalifa kangaroo courts for taking part in peaceful protests. In one of the sessions last week, jailed photographer, Hussain Hubail said to the “judge” that lieutenant Fawwaz Al Samim had tortured him and his colleagues at the CID torture chambers, both physically and psychologically. He added that this torturer had threatened to rape their mothers and sisters. Another Bahraini, Jassim Al Nu’aimi, a blogger, said that Fawwza Al Samim had tortured him at CID torture dungeons. The “judge” ignored their claims and proceeded to persecute them. Two days ago a Bahraini citizen disappeared in Oman, and is believed to have been detained by security forces. Sadiq Sha’bani’s fate is unknown and his family has not been informed by the Omanis of his fate.

Today, Alkhalifa high court issued an order to dissolve the Supreme Scholar’s Council, which represents the native Shia Muslim majority. It also called for closing down its headquarters and confiscation of its assets. The Council has been mainly engaged in religious affairs and had hardly engaged in political activities. It has, however, refused to tow the line of the Alkhalifa and Al Saud occupiers. The Clerical Council has been 'meek' politically so targeting it is more to do with continuing persecution & forcing it into concessions. The decision which must have come from the dictator, himself, will open a new battlefront with the religious establishment

Bahrain Freedom Movement
29th January 2014

The State of the "Union" from the Outside

by Debra Sweet          Observing tonight's messages from the President and several Republicans providing what we are told is the "other" side, we ought to step back, look at this as the outsiders we are, and ask questions:

Turkey News - Jan 31

 

Erdogan, son and son-in-law involded in funds raised from firms for tenders during Sabah-ATV purchase - Today's Zaman


CHP asks PM about claims of public land allocated for TÜRGEV, Erdoğan's son Bilal is a member of TÜRGEV's executive board - Today's Zaman


Erdogan Eye on ‘Crazy Projects’ Links Turkey Scandal to Builders - Bloomberg


AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 1 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 2 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 3 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 4 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 5 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 6 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish): Sabah-ATV 7 - Wiretapped phone conversation - YouTube

 

AUDIO (Turkish):  One more wiretapped phone conversation with Bilal Erdoğan - YouTube

 

Bilal Erdoğan Rules This Week’s Humor Magazine Covers - Bianet

 

Erdoğan's 10-minute hologram speech costs around 50,000 euros - CİHAN

 

VIDEO: Erdoğan’s hologram - CİHAN YouTube

 

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Turkey government removes around 800 more police officers - hurriyetdailynews.com


Leading graft probe prosecutors purged with 115 others - CİHAN


Current prosecutors unwilling to accept complaint against PM, ministers - Today's Zaman


Turkish Parliament dismisses summary of proceedings against justice minister - hurriyetdailynews.com


Injunction on Zarrab's assets lifted in graft probe, prosecutors to object - CİHAN


Turkey Crisis Puts Jailed Millionaire at Heart of Gold-Smuggling Ring - Bloomberg

 

Anadolu news agency placed outside of auditing - Today's Zaman

 

AK Party deputy chairman threatens journalist and insults graft prosecutor - Today's Zaman

 

New Internet law paves way for censorship, concerns journalists - Today's Zaman

 

AK Party gov't pressuring professional groups, daily says - Today's Zaman

 

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Turkish lawmakers fight during parliamentary commission session over Syria - Today's Zaman


Ankara denies presence of al-Qaeda bases on Turkish soil - CİHAN


Erdogan and the IHH, The Islamic charity works as an extension of Turkish foreign policy - Stand for Peace


Why has US not designated IHH as a terror group? - Israel Hayom

 

Who Ordered the Killing of PKK founder Sakine Cansiz? Rudaw

 

Jean-Louis Malterre: Sakine Cansiz's murder investigation should not stop at national borders - ekurd

 

Syrian opposition figure: Turkey's 'many mistakes' in Syria - Al-Monitor

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

The Plan for Iraq

By John Mesler   

As I've watched the events unfold in the mid-east over the past 24 years it has become alarmingly clear to me that we didn't invade Iraq in 2003 because we thought they had weapons of mass destruction. We lied. We knew they did NOT have them. Well, at least 6 or 7 "decision and policy makers" knew they didn't. I will explain this the best I can but we now know that mostly every other nation in the world (including the United Nations weapons investigative team which included Scott Ritter) knew it back then. But Still we invaded. The US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Israel were in on the plan. The plan I'm speaking of is called the Plan for the New American Century (PNAC) and to understand exactly what it is I would suggest that you google General Wesley Clark's 9 minute speech in which he mentions 2 meetings he had in 2002 with a liaison from then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld office. Generally speaking that plan (which was laid out in about 1997) called for the US to control 7 countries including Libya, Syria ,Iraq and Iran.

I believe that the architects of the plan (Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and others)  were so sure that the anti-Muslim, anti-Mid-east feelings among Americans brought on by media lies over the past 25 years would allow them to get away with almost anything.  If they created a big enough lie they could get the American people to "go along" with their plan.They had to act fast and they did. 9/11 served as the perfect "incentive" to begin their plan.I also believe that they had the perfect president to "sell" this plan to the people. I may be wrong but I believe President George W. Bush believed the lie. He simply doesn't have the intellect or talent to lie so convincingly to the American public. He was the perfect president at the perfect time for the real "evil doers", Cheney and company. In1953 when we were involved with over-throwing the democratically elected leader  of Iran, Mossadegh, it was easier to get away with the covert actions that our CIA carried out.The only surprise there was that it took 26 years for the Iranians to over-throw our puppet, the Shah of Iran and begin their own Islamic revolution.Today we have become much craftier .We use the corporate owned (and controlled) media to garner popular support. You may come to the same conclusion as to what's  really been going on in Iraq from 2003  to this day.I believe we attacked Iraq hoping that it would bring about exactly what is occurring there now.

Chaos.Rumsfeld had to know we wouldn't be "showered with flowers" from thankful Iraqi's, as he stated in 2003.Our plan, in my opinion, was to create more turmoil in the mid-east so we could "install" yet another puppet regime.We had to know that Maliki would do what-ever we asked and that he would need our help in doing so.I wont get into the complicated issues now of ideological analysis and the imperialist-capitalist nature of the use and its rulers neoconservatives, neo-liberals, and Zionists who plan these wars and stand behind them , all driven by greed. Or will I get into what is the comprador nature of Arab reaction such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia who place themselves willingly in the service of imperialism against the interest of their own people and of the Arab nation. 
The help I speak of  comes in the form of selling more weapons to Maliki's sectarian government and in return we get protection for the "green zone" (the largest area of it's kind in the world which is home to the US Embassy,private military contractors and major US consulting companies.It's size is 3.9 sq. miles) ,a guarantee of keeping the oil flowing to us from the worlds second largest oil reserve and Israel benefits by keeping these countries weak and in constant turmoil,thereby "distracted".In a way, what we've created in the mid-east is like a 5 ring circus. As all your attention is on one act you have little or no idea what's going on in the other 4 rings.

              

Heads of 31 Nations Declare a Zone of Peace, Commit to Uprooting Forever the Threat or Use of Force

Proclamation of Latin America and Caribbean as a zone of peace
(Original signed by the Heads of State and Governmenent of the Community of Latin American and Caribbeans States)

The Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) gathered in Havana, Cuba on January 28 and 29, 2014 at the Second Summit, on behalf of their peoples and faithfully interpreting their hopes and aspirations,

Reaffirming the commitment of member countries with the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law, and aware of the fact that prosperity and stability in the region contribute to international peace and security,

Mindful that peace is a supreme asset and a legitimate aspiration of all peoples and that preserving peace is a substantial element of Latin America and Caribbean integration and a principle and common value of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC),

Reaffirming that integration consolidates the vision of a fair International order based on the  right  to  peace  and  a  culture  of  peace,  which  excludes  the  use  of  force  and non-legitimate means of defense, such as weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons in particular,

Highlighting the relevance of the Tlatelolco Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean establishing the first nuclear weapon free zone in a densely populated area, this being a contribution to peace and to regional and international security,

Reiterating the urgent need of General and Complete Nuclear Disarmament, as well as the commitment with the Strategic Agenda of the Organization for the Prohibition of  Nuclear  Weapons  in  Latin  America  and  the  Caribbean  (OPANAL),  adopted  by the 33 Member States of the Organization in the General Conference held in Buenos Aires in August, 2013.

Recalling the principles of peace, democracy, development and freedom underlying the actions of countries members of SICA,

Recalling the decision of UNASUR Heads of State of consolidating South America as a Zone of Peace and Cooperation,

Recalling the establishment, in 1986, of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic, 

Recalling also our commitment, agreed in the Declaration of the Summit of Unity of Latin America and the Caribbean, on 23 February 2010, to promote the implementation of our own mechanisms for the for peaceful conflict resolution,

Reiterating our commitment to consolidate Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, in which differences between nations are peacefully settled through dialogue and negotiations or other means, fully consistent with International Law,

Cognizant also of the catastrophic global and long-term humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and the ongoing discussions on this issue,

Declare:

1.      Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace based on respect for the principles and rules of International Law, including the international instruments to which Member States are a party to, the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations Charter;

2.      Our permanent commitment to solve disputes through peaceful means with the aim of uprooting forever threat or use of force in our region;

3.      The commitment of the States of the region with their strict obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and observe the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and self-determination of peoples;

4.      The commitment of the peoples of Latin American and Caribbean to foster cooperation and friendly relations among themselves and with other nations irrespective of differences in their political, economic, and social systems or development levels; to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors;

5.      The commitment of the Latin American and Caribbean  States to fully respect for the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social, and cultural  system, as an essential conditions to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations;

6.      The promotion in the region of a culture of peace based, inter alia, on the principles of the United Nations Declaration on a Culture of Peace;

7.      The commitment of the States in the region to guide themselves by this Declaration in their International behavior; 

8.      The commitment of the States of the region to continue promoting nuclear disarmament as a priority objective and to contribute with general and complete disarmament, to foster the strengthening of confidence  among nations;

We urge all Member States of the International Community to fully respect this Declaration in their relations with CELAC Member States.

In witness of the undersigned having duly signed this Proclamation in Havana, on the 29th day of the month of January of 2014, in a copy written in the Spanish, English, French and Portuguese languages.

Spring Days of Action to End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance, Global Militarization

Today we issue an international call for Spring Days of Action – 2014, a coordinated campaign in April and May to:

          End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance and Global Militarization

The campaign will focus on drone bases, drone research facilities and test sites and drone manufacturers.

The campaign will provide information on:

1. The suffering of tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza who are under drone attack, documenting the killing, the wounding and the devastating impact of constant drone surveillance on community life.

2. How attack and surveillance drones have become a key element in a massive wave of surveillance, clandestine military attacks and militarization generated by the United States to protect a global system of manufacture and oil and mineral exploitation that is creating unemployment and poverty, accelerating the waste of nonrenewable resources and contributing to environmental destruction and global warming.

In addition to cases in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, we will examine President Obama's "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific, where the United States has already sold and deployed drones in the vanguard of a shift of 60% of its military forces to try to control China and to enforce the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We will show, among other things, how this surge of "pivot" forces, greatly enabled by drones, and supported by the US military-industrial complex, will hit every American community with even deeper cuts in the already fragile social programs on which people rely for survival.  In short, we will connect drones and militarization with "austerity" in America.

3. How drone attacks have effectively destroyed international and domestic legal protection of the rights to life, privacy, freedom of assembly and free speech and have opened the way for new levels of surveillance and repression around the world, and how, in the United States, increasing drone surveillance, added to surveillance by the National Security Agency and police, provides a new weapon to repress black, Hispanic, immigrant and low-income communities and to intimidate Americans who are increasingly unsettled by lack of jobs, economic inequality, corporate control of politics and the prospect of endless war.

We will discuss how the United States government and corporations conspire secretly to monitor US citizens and particularly how the Administration is accelerating drone surveillance operations and surveillance inside the United States with the same disregard for transparency and law that it applies to other countries, all with the cooperation of the Congress.

The campaign will encourage activists around the world to win passage of local laws that prohibit weaponized drones and drone surveillance from being used in their communities as well as seeking national laws to bar the use of weaponized drones and drone surveillance.

The campaign will draw attention to the call for a ban on weaponized drones by RootsAction.org that has generated a petition with over 80,000 signers

http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6180

and to efforts by the Granny Peace Brigade (New York City), KnowDrones.org and others to achieve an international ban on both weaponized drones and drone surveillance.

The campaign will also urge participation in the World Beyond War movement.

The following individuals and organizations endorse this Call:

Lyn Adamson – Co-chair, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Dennis Apel – Guadalupe Catholic Worker, California

Judy Bello – Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars

Medea Benjamin – Code Pink

Leah Bolger – Former National President, Veterans for Peace

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Sung-Hee Choi – Gangjeong Village International Team, Jeju, Korea

Chelsea C. Faria – Graduate student, Yale  Divinity School; Promoting Enduring Peace

Sandy Fessler – Rochester (NY) Against War

Joy First

Bruce K. Gagnon - Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Holly Gwinn Graham – Singer/songwriter, Olympia, WA.

Regina Hagen - Darmstaedter Friedensforum, Germany

Kathy Kelly – Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Malachy Kilbride

Marilyn Levin and Joe Lombardo – Co-Coordinators, United National Antiwar Coalition

Tamara Lorincz – Halifax Peace Coalition, Canada

Nick Mottern – KnowDrones.org

Agneta Norberg – Swedish Peace Council

Pepperwolf – Director, Women Against Military Madness

Lindis Percy, Coordinator, Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases  CAAB UK

Mathias Quackenbush – San Francisco, CA

Lisa Savage – Code Pink, State of Maine

Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck- Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen, Germany

Cindy Sheehan

Lucia Wilkes Smith – Convener, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) – Ground Military Drones Committee

David Soumis – Veterans for Peace; No Drones Wisconsin

Debra Sweet – World Can’t Wait

David Swanson - WarisACrime.org

Brian Terrell – Voices for Creative Nonviolence

United National Antiwar Coalition

Veterans for Peace 

Dave Webb – Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)

Curt Wechsler – Fire John Yoo! (a project of World Can’t Wait) – San Francisco, CA

Paki Wieland, Northampton (MA) Committee to Stop War(s)

Loring Wirbel – Citizens for Peace in Space (Colorado Springs, CO)

Women Against Military Madness

Ann Wright – Retired US Army colonel and former diplomat

Leila Zand - Fellowship of Reconciliation

 

Add your name by emailing it to: nickmottern@earthlink.net and watch for updates at http://KnowDrones.org

Insulting Workers, Coddling the Rich: Obama’s ‘Raise’ for Federal Workers is a Bad Joke

By Dave Lindorff


President Obama, five years late, decried the terrible income gap in the US, which has worsened during his years in the White House, and offered the puny “fix” of raising the minimum wage paid to employees working on federal projects from its current $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. This executive order, which could have been done when he took office in the depths of the Great Recession back in 2009 would be not immediate but would be phased in over the next three years.


Snowden nominated – Can the Nobel Peace Prize committee reverse its course?

by R. Teichmann

The Nobel Peace Prize. The politicians argue that  “Snowden had contributed to global security by revealing “the nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance.” 

I wonder if they have not read what Alfred Nobel’s intent was. According to his will the price should be awarded 

to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.

I am not going to judge the actions of Edward Snowden here, I am just asking if his disclosures have anything to do with the above criteria. In my opinion nothing.

Over time we have witnessed ”strange” decisions by the politicians that determine who will be honoured with this prestigeous award. They have gone so far as to award this prize to

Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. A man who was deeply intertwined with the military. He effectively was running the US Department of the Navy, then resigned and formed the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment that fought in Cuba. He later sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to demonstrate American power. His motto was “Speak softly and carry a big stick“. Though he is credited with negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War he was hardly a person who opposed war and violence in all its forms and worked for peace and non-violence. His actions and life spoke a different language.

*****

Woodrow Wilson in 1919. A man, who in April 1917, asked Congress to declare war in order to make “the world safe for democracy.” He entered the US into the war and set up the War Industries Board, effectively laying the groundwork of what later became known as the “Military Industrial Complex”. Wilson also suppressed anti-war movements with the Espionage Act of 1917  (the same act that is now used by the Obama administration on its crackdown on dissenters) and the Sedition Act of 1918.  Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for his sponsorship of the League of Nations. Certainly he was not a man who was in favour of peaceful solutions.

 *****

Henry Kissinger in 1973. Not a man of non-violence at all. In an article published in Sept. 2013 in the Independent it is summed up as follows:

“Christopher Hitchens, in 2001, claimed to have amassed sufficient evidence to secure prosecutions for “war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture” and “The charge sheet is extremely long, even considering the eight eventful years Kissinger was running US foreign policy: he and the CIA helped orchestrate the coup against the elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, and his murder in 1973; he and Nixon invaded neutral Cambodia in 1970; they indiscriminately bombed civilians in that long war; connived in the Indonesians’ brutal repression in East Timor; left the Kurds to their fate at the hands of Saddam as early as 1972; the list goes on. “War criminal” and Nobel Peace Prize holder; the unique genius of Henry Kissinger.”

He signed a peace treaty when the war in Vietnam was lost and won the prize for it. His counterpart Le Duc Tho declined the prize saying: “Peace has not yet really been established in South Vietnam. In these circumstances it is impossible for me to accept the 1973 Nobel Prize for Peace which the committee has bestowed on me.”

*****

- Barack Obama in 2009. “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”  The results of his “extrordinary efforts were”:
- Intensification of the war in Afghanistan
- The destruction of Lybia through an unprovoked attack
- Use of drones that kill innocent men, women and children in many countries
- Waging a war against Syria by proxy
- Engaging in new wars in Africa
- Threatening Iran with “all Options on the table” , ie. nuclear included
and so on.

*****

The European Union in 2012 “for [having] over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” The committee obviously did not know that the EU carried out an unprovoked attack on a sovereign state (Jugoslovia). Peace Activist David Swanson writes:

“Europe is not a person.  It has not during the past year — which is the requirement — or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.  Ask Libya.  Ask Syria.  Check with Afghanistan.  See what Iraq thinks.  Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force aggressively imposing its will on the world.”

And obviously the committee was also not aware that the EU has 1,5 Million soldiers under arms and spends €192.5 billion (2011) on the Miltary.

Hardly an organisation in favour of peace and non-violence.

*****

 Conclusion

These are just a few examples of , to put it mildly, “questionable” decisions by the Norwegian committee. If Edward Snowden becomes the next laureate he will add to a list of persons and organisations that have nothing to do with what Alfred Nobel envisaged. By no means do I want to take away from what Edward Snowden did but the question here is if this fits Alfred Nobel’s will. The fitting acknowledgement of what Edward Snowden has done for (not only) the American public would be to award him the Congressional Medal of Honour. There are always nominations for persons who would really deserve this prize like  Chelsea (ex Bradley) Manning, who is now serving a 35 year sentence for her courage to expose the horrors of war to the world and to highlight the effects it has on victims as well as perpetrators of violence. For this year’s prize  Mother Agnes Mariam has also been nominated. She has tiredlessly worked for peace amidst the chaos in Syria, for which some of the recent recipients have to share responsibility. If the prize would be awarded to Snowden that would certainly be an improvement but it would still not be in line with Nobel’s vision to abolish war. Let us see if the politicians forming the committee can rescue the peace prize from itself by selecting a deserving human being as per Nobel’s will.

About the author:
R. Teichmann is an activist living in West Cork / Ireland and an editor with news-beacon-ireland . He also blogs on War is a Crime.

Obama out Orwelled Orwell | Lee Camp Interview

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Barack Obama may as well have delivered his 5th State of the Union address to and for the Superstate Oceania, the fictional empire mired in perpetual war from George Orwell’s 1984.

No, Obama did not come directly out and tell us that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength so much as he embodied those ideas in a nuanced, measured performance that inspired the political pundits like Chris Matthews to wax poetic like a Theatre critic praising an aging stage actor who was able to find the old magic one last time.

Syria News - Jan 30

 

US intelligence chief Clapper Says Syrian Al-Qaida Wants to Attack US - ABC News


VIDEO: Senate Hearings on Syrian Al-Qaida - YouTube


VIDEO: James Clapper: 7,000 foreign jihadists from 50 countries now fighting in Syria - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Senate Intelligence hearing on national security threats - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Syria Al Qaeda Training Western Citizens for Terror Abroad - CNN


Israeli general says al Qaeda's Syria fighters set up in Turkey can easily access Europe from the NATO member state - Yahoo News


Turkish military strikes ISIS convoy in Syria - Today's Zaman


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki says that providing rebels in Syria with arms would only mean sending weapons to terrorists in Iraq -  Globaltimes.cn

 

Iraq’s violence originates from Saudi Arabia: Maliki - alalam.ir

 

Iraq says Syria war spillover hinders oilfields, pipelines - Yahoo News UK

 

Israel's Growing Role in Southern Syria to confront Qaeda - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

 

Syria Jihadists Say Liberation of 'Palestine,' Golan Will Follow Fall of Assad (VIDEO) - Algemeiner.com

 

Nusra, ISIS moves raise worries in Lebanon of spreading violence - McClatchy DC

 

How the War in Syria Empowers Lebanese Jihadism - Syria in Crisis - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

Syria sends letters to the United Nations and the UNSC about Saudi Arabia’s Terrorist Operations - Global Research

 

Brahimi says no substantive progress on Syria but hopeful - Reuters

 

VIDEO: Lakhdar Brahimi Press Conference on Geneva, 29 January 2014 - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Syrian Coalition spokesperson- press conference - Syrian National Coalition

 

Lavrov: Geneva II key task is to stop terrorism in Syria, not to have Assad step down - APA

 

Syria army edges forward in Aleppo - Al Arabiya News

 

Syria Report -  War Dead (GRAPHS) - ncfsyria.blogspot.com

 

Azerbaijani Foreign Fighters in Syria - JIHADOLOGY

 

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

 

Syria: Popular media activist Raed Fares shot allegedly by ISIS, but stable - GlobalPost


ISIS Hunts Down Kfar Nabel Activists as Agents of the West - damascusbureau.org


Syria's Islamic Front clashes with ISIS - Worldbulletin News


Aleppo Rebels Kill Second In Command ISIS Fighter - The Syrian Observer


Mujahedeedn Army Arrests ISIS Emir - The Syrian Observer


ISIL evacuates Al-Raqqa town in order to "liberate 17th Division" - Syria Newsdesk


Thousands of Turkmen flee to Turkey amid ISIS-rebel clashes - CİHAN

 

Eye On the Battle Between ISIS and Other Rebel Groups: International Crisis Group researcher explains the current situation on the ground - Syria Deeply

 

Ahrar al Sham leader Hassan Abboud criticizes head of Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham - The Long War Journal

 

On Ahrar al Sham leader Hassan Abboud’s Latest Speech - danielabdullah

 

ISIS says never rejected reconciliation with rebels but asked questions prior to any agreement - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

PHOTO: Iraq releases rare 'ISIS chief' photo - THE DAILY STAR

 

The Dawn of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham - Current Trends in Islamist Ideology

 

How Carl Campeau, abducted in Syria, escaped al-Qaeda's clutches - CBC News

 

As Free Syrian Army Use of Child Soldiers Detailed in New UN Report, How Can US Aid FSA? - Inner City Press

 

Syria: Rampant Looting by Both Sides in Damascus Countryside - Al Akhbar English

 

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

 

Efrin Becomes Last of Three Rojava Cantons To Officially Declare Autonomy - The Rojava Report


VIDEO: Efrin celebrates autonomy - YouTube


Syrian Kurds: ‘We don't want to draw new borders’, PYD leader Salih Muslim says - ekurd


Syria Kurds autonomy prohibits party nepotism: Cezire Canton Prime Minister Akram Hasu - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

Syrian Kurds Regain Control of Strategic Town in Syria from ISIS - aina.org

 

Layla Zana to make accord between Barzani and Ocalan - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

Reports: Ocalan Letter for Kurdish President Barzani Could Be About Syria Kurdistan - Rudaw

 

Who Ordered the Killing of PKK founder Sakine Cansiz? Rudaw

 

Jean-Louis Malterre: Paris murder investigation of PKK founder Sakine Cansiz should not stop at national borders - ekurd

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

ABOLISHING WAR, RESURRECTING FALLUJAH

By Robert C. Koehler

Iraq vet Ross Caputi’s film opens with a fleeting synopsis of the American heartbreak — and the bandage we tape across it.

His documentary, Fear Not the Path of Truth, is about the U.S. devastation of Fallujah, in which he participated as part of Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004, but the first couple minutes give us an overview of his hometown, the “former industrial city” of Fitchburg, Mass.:

“But the factory jobs are long gone, so there’s really only two types of people that live here. They’re the people with good-paying jobs in Boston or Wooster who come out here to build big houses at relatively cheap prices. Everyone else gets by doing work on those houses, doing their lawns, putting additions on them, painting them.

“If there was a point of unity among all the racial and economic divisions in this little city, it had to be the troops. Everyone respected the troops.”

I was struck especially hard by this small moment because it encapsulates the lie of militarism where it is most invulnerable: at the humanity of the men and women who protect us, putting their lives on the line. When all else goes wrong, the troops remain sacred. In a broken economy, the troops are sacred. Militarism is the god we can manipulate.

And yet the moment to expel this lie from human society has never been riper. The trans-national cost of militarism is some $2 trillion a year, according to an ambitious new website called World Beyond War. The insanity of war not only squanders our resources, ravages the environment and slaughters the innocent, it perpetuates a global culture of violence, which is the very thing we honor our troops for protecting us from.

“Unless we want to risk catastrophic loss or even extinction, we must abolish war,” according to the site’s introductory statement. This puts it in the biggest context possible. We cannot settle for less.

“Every war brings with it both massive destruction and the risk of uncontrolled escalation. We are facing a world of greater weapons proliferation, resource shortages, environmental pressures, and the largest human population the earth has seen. In such a turbulent world, we must abolish sustained and coordinated militarized combat between groups (primarily governments) known as war, because its continuation puts all life on the planet at risk.”

And yet . . . the next war we enjoin will be fully funded and garner the support of most of the public. The current military budget keeps growing even as the country reels from the consequences of its most recent military rampages. The government continues to develop new generations of weapons to perfect and perpetuate its ability to eliminate all life on Earth in a context of almost complete acquiescence. The interests of continued war permeate the highest levels of political and economic power and control the mainstream media. How do war’s abolitionists stand a chance?

Ross Caputi, who came home a hero, begins to answer this question, or at least brings hope to those who ask it.

“It didn’t feel right to me, but I couldn’t put it into words,” he said. This was post-Phantom Fury, when he was back home, being applauded by his friends and by the media.

He’d been part of the most devastating carnage of the Iraq war. The city of Fallujah — “center of resistance” to the American occupation — was taught a big, bad lesson. Thousands were killed. The city was destroyed and, for good measure, saturated with depleted uranium dust, the equivalent of nuclear fallout. Yet the “we’re number one!” mentality was everywhere. A video game about the siege of Fallujah was in the works.

“Afterward it was rubble. The whole country said we were heroes, but it was a confusing experience. I decided I was not going to let Fallujah be a skeleton in my closet for the rest of my life.”

He told me: “I started to do a lot of reading. I was also drinking and doing drugs. Eventually the books won out.” These included Howard Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States. “That was a game changer,” he said.

Caputi’s “confusion” over the devastation of Fallujah eventually turned into informed political activism. He joined with others to create a website called Justice for Fallujah and began spreading the word that the siege of the city was a war crime. A donation allowed him to makeFear Not the Path of Truth, his journey beyond the military mindset. One of the documentary’s appealing features is its honest inquiry into the psychology of war, beginning with his own manipulation.

“I struggle to even explain how something like Fallujah, so obviously wrong, seemed acceptable at the time,” he says to Kathleen Malley-Morrison, a psychology professor. “Even obvious things like kicking women and children out of their homes, forcing them to flee into the desert, then destroying their homes. I managed to believe what our command was telling us, that we were doing this for their own good. How is that possible?”

The question is an open wound, so utterly basic to war and its abolition. Malley-Morrison discusses the cognitive tricks that allow good people to behave inhumanely: dehumanizing the enemy, ignoring or minimizing the consequences of one’s actions.

Later Caputi asks another professor, Sohail Hashmi, about the differences between “insurgent,” “terrorist” and “jihadist” — terms the U.S. military used as casually interchangeable epithets for the enemy — and absorbs Hashmi’s discussion of the meaning of “jihad”: a Muslim’s struggle to be true to his faith and do the right thing.

The interviewees also include Noam Chomsky, who makes the point that the GIs, caught in the middle of the vortex of war, are far less to blame for their confusion over the wrong that was occurring than the politicians and editors at a comfortable remove from the hellish action, who also saw nothing wrong with the devastation of Fallujah.

At one point, Chomsky expresses wonderment that, on day one of Phantom Fury, the New York Times gleefully reported on the U.S. seizure of Fallujah General Hospital, deemed a “propaganda center” for the insurgents because it was reporting casualty figures. The paper even ran a photo on the front page of doctors and patients lying shackled on the floor of the hospital. How could they manage not to notice, Chomsky wanted to know, that this was a war crime in progress?

In February, Caputi’s documentary screens in Fitchburg. And the abolition movement takes another step forward.

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

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC.

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