Climate change is apparently encouraging the spread of Lyme disease, and a report by NBC News dares to say so. This may seem like a fresh breath of honest sanity in a media context in which even the weather reports usually avoid the topic of human global destruction.
However, another topic is clearly still off limits: the topic of who created Lyme disease.
Who created it is not in any real doubt. The facts have been well reported and never refuted.
The relevance of the disease's creators to this and numerous other news reports about Lyme disease is indisputable. If you're going to report on what's facilitating the disease's spread, you should report on what started it, and how it was intentionally created to spread and why.
That NBC News knows the information is easily shown. In 2004 Michael Christopher Carroll published a book called Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory. He appeared on several television shows to discuss the book, including on MSNBC and on NBC's Today Show (where the book was made a Today Show Book Club selection). Lab 257 hit the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list soon after its publication.
And what did that book say? Well, the wonderful thing about books is that you can still go and read them. But I'll give you a brief summary of the part about Lyme disease. For a wide array of other diseases, some far worse, you'll have to read the book.
Less than 2 miles off the east end of Long Island sits Plum Island, where the U.S. government makes biological weapons, including weapons consisting of diseased insects that can be dropped from airplanes on a (presumably foreign) population. One such insect is the deer tick, pursued as a germ weapon by the Nazis, the Japanese, the Soviets, and the Americans.
Deer swim to Plum Island.
I wasn't aware that deer swam at all, but apparently they are ocean swimmers. A quick internet search finds plenty of reports and photos and videos of deer swimming, miles from shore, including in Long Island Sound. And people are often so surprised (and kind hearted) that they rescue the deer -- which may in some cases not actually be needed. Deer frequently swim between Long Island and Plum Island; there's not any dispute about that fact.
Birds fly to Plum Island. The island lies in the middle of the Atlantic migration route for numerous species. "Ticks," Carroll writes, "find baby chicks irresistible."
In July of 1975 a brand new disease appeared in Old Lyme, Connecticut, just north of Plum Island. It wasn't a disease that gradually grew and finally attracted attention. It was 12 cases of a disease that, as far as anyone knows, had never been seen before. Scientists' efforts to find it in the past haven't gotten any further than the 1940s in the areas right around Plum Island.
And what was on Plum Island? A germ warfare lab to which the U.S. government had brought former Nazi germ warfare scientists in the 1940s to work on the same evil work for a different employer. These included the head of the Nazi germ warfare program who had worked directly for Heinrich Himmler. On Plum Island was a germ warfare lab that frequently conducted its experiments out of doors. After all, it was on an island. What could go wrong? Documents record outdoor experiments with diseased ticks in the 1950s. Even the indoors, where participants admit to experiments with ticks, was not sealed tight. And test animals mingled with wild deer, test birds with wild birds.
By the 1990s, the eastern end of Long Island had by far the greatest concentration of Lyme disease. If you drew a circle around the area of the world heavily impacted by Lyme disease, which happened to be in the Northeast United States, the center of that circle was Plum Island.
Plum Island experimented with the Lone Star tick, whose habitat at the time was confined to Texas. Yet it showed up in New York and Connecticut, infecting people with Lyme disease -- and killing them. The Lone Star tick is now endemic in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
So, by all means blame ExxonMobil and all the other climate liars, and their servants in government, for the spread of Lyme disease, among other horrors. But save a little blame for the military industrial complex. Either it murdered the victims of Lyme disease, or -- if you believe in the nobility of its mission -- then perhaps we'd better say they are collateral damage.
Mr. ABE Shinzo, President, Liberal Democratic Party
Mr. YAMAGUCHI Natsuo, Chief Representative, Komeito
We Resolutely Protest against the Government Outrage of Ramming “War Legislation” through the Lower House Special Committee
Today, the Liberal Democrat Party and Komeito ruling coalition steamrolled the “War Legislation” (the security-related bills) through the Special Committee of the House of Representatives. We strongly protest against this outrage.
More than half of the Japanese people are voicing their strong opposition to the bills, while overwhelming majority of them are calling for careful deliberations at the Diet. The forced adoption of the bills, notwithstanding, is a blatant act of infringement of democracy.
Giving priority to his pledge made before the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress to “Enact all necessary bills by this coming summer”, Prime Minister Abe has consistently ignored the voices of the people, showing his obsessed determination to pass the bills. However, through the debates in the Diet during these weeks, it has been clearly demonstrated that the bills are unconstitutional, which would drag Japan into wars by allowing Japan to participate in the U.S. use of force, whether or not there is armed attack against Japan. We must not let Japan take the path to war by all means.
Unconstitutional bills must be retracted and scrapped immediately. We strongly demand that the Abe Cabinet and the LDP-Komeito ruling coalition to cancel bringing the bills up in the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives and promptly withdraw and abandon them.
July 15, 2015
Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo)
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
AIPAC's statement on Iran inspires me to make a graphic:
Here's AIPAC's statement:
"AIPAC Statement on Proposed Iran Nuclear Agreement
"AIPAC has consistently supported diplomatic efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program,"
Except when lobbying for ever greater sanctions that would have blocked the negotiations, and even for a US commitment to jump into any Israeli-Iranian war. Here's a brief history in the form of activist opposition to AIPAC.
"and we appreciate the commitment and dedication of President Obama and his administration throughout these negotiations. Unfortunately, this proposed agreement fails to halt Iran’s nuclear quest."
There is no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapon. Gareth Porter makes this clear in his book Manufactured Crisis.
By Winslow Myers
“The human capacity to ‘live in truth,’ . . . is the nuclear weapon that gives power to the powerless.” —Michael Zantowsky, writing about Vaclav Havel
I’m not an expert, just another interested citizen who follows the news, but something sticks in my craw about our negotiations with Iran, whether they are ultimately successful or not.
There is a huge distance between what can be realistically accomplished politically and some rarely acknowledged truths that might allow us to go much further. I admire the way President Obama (see the recent interview (link) with Tom Friedman in the New York Times) acknowledged candidly that Iran has had legitimate beefs with the U.S., like our meddling in their elections in 1953, or our support of Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war even as Saddam used chemical weapons against Iran. It’s a step toward truth, and not a mere giving in to facile moral relativism, to acknowledge that there are multiple frames of reference that are useful to take into account in international relations.
In no way should Iran be let off the hook for its virulent anti-Semitism and its own destructive meddling by proxy. But, as Obama rightly points out, Nixon negotiated successfully with China just as Reagan did with Soviet Russia, the erstwhile evil empire.
The true, almost entirely unspoken, context for negotiation between two or more sides in the nuclear age who each see the other as untrustworthy, flawed, or devious is epitomized by the sentence Albert Einstein wrote in a telegram to world leaders way back in 1946: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”
That’s a huge assertion: everything has changed. Is it true?
Even taking into account U.S.-Russian arms reductions, there are still 17,500 nuclear weapons extant on this small planet, distributed among 9 nations. What Einstein prophesied has come to pass in spades: the nuclear powers maintain an elaborate fiction that their security interests are furthered by possessing a robust nuclear arsenal and that deterrence will protect us all forever into the future. This is the Big Lie that undergirds our anxious search for security.
The truth—the new mode of thinking that Einstein implied is desperately needed—is that the existence of nuclear weapons, no matter who has them, is a common, shared, trans-national challenge that, far from making us safer, moves us day by day toward the abyss. Ordinary people seem to have a clearer grasp of this than “experts” and politicians determined to maintain the status quo, a status quo that is actually a gradual drift, as Einstein said, toward catastrophe.
The assumption is that America is so technically advanced that our nuclear weapons are fail-safe must be set against accounts in the news of the bored servicemen in the missile silos of the Midwest cheating on readiness tests. Should a fatal error occur and a nuclear war begin by accident, it would be an ultimate evil that far transcends the putative good or evil of any existing national regime—including the United States, which refuses to see itself as anything but an exceptional force for good in the world.
A further danger of this illusion of exceptionalism is our propensity to define ourselves by who our enemies are (Iran tortures routinely; we do not—wait—oops!) without examining our own role in the mix. Politicians who wish to distract their constituency from domestic difficulties can find the notion of a fearsome “other,” whether African at home or Persian abroad, all too convenient—setting aside that it keeps the weapons industry humming. The truth is, on this small planet, there is no “other.” We’re all in this together.
So perhaps what bothers this ordinary citizen about the frenetic negotiations with Iran and the equally frenetic opposition to them on the part of hard-liners in both countries is the elephant in the room of a grossly hypocritical double standard. Our thousands of nukes, Israel’s hundreds, Pakistan’s hundred or so are O.K. Iran coming anywhere near building even one—not O.K.
Einstein would see this double standard, almost seventy years beyond his pronunciation of naked truth, as deeply illusory—a kind of planetary psychosis rooted in a now obsolete mode of thinking, which pits nation against nation as if we were back in the time before the world wars, when the most destructive weapon was a cannonball.
While we ought to applaud Obama and Kerry for their tenacious perseverance and fervently hope the newly minted arrangements with Iran overcome the doubts both in our Congress and among Iranian hard-liners, the deeper issue of seeking the worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons, no exceptions, continues to be painfully ignored in favor of obsolete power politics based on the Big Lie. Only if we live in truth can this be changed.
Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” writes on global issues and serves on the Advisory Board of the War Prevention Initiative.
Military Vets Sponsor 'Uncensored' Counter U.S. Drone War TV Commercial on CNN, FoxNews, ESPN Near Cannon AFB/Special Ops Drone Control Center in Clovis, New Mexico
CLOVIS, NM – A graphic and controversial 15-second television commercial – showing images of children killed in drone attacks – began airing in July uncensored in Clovis, NM near Cannon AFB, a major U.S. drone control site. The spot has been censored or modified by cable providers near other U.S. drone control centers where it has run over the past few months.
CNN, FoxNews, ESPN and other cable networks locally are carrying the uncensored spot throughout July.
The uncensored paid advertisement, which calls on drone operators to “Please Refuse to Fly,” is being carried by local cable provider Suddenlink. It can be found here: http://youtu.be/8mdu4bzWgd0. A second spot can be found at https://youtu.be/ibrCbiLyKZc.
In other markets cable providers have permitted the ad to be shown only after 10 p.m., or not at all. In these cases a censored ad has been shown that does not include images of dead children, although it does criticize the deadly U.S. drone attacks. All anti-drone TV commercials can be found at www.KnowDrones.com.
By Patrick T. Hiller
The day the historic nuclear deal between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany (P5+1) was reached, President Obama declared that “the world can do remarkable things when we share a vision of peacefully addressing conflicts.” At the same time, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif expressed his appreciation of a “process in order to reach a win-win solution … and open new horizons for dealing with serious problems that affect our international community.”
I am a Peace Scientist. I study the causes of war and conditions for peace. In my field we provide evidence-based alternatives to war using language such as “peacefully addressing conflicts” and “win-win solutions.” Today is a good day, since this deal creates the conditions for peace and is the most effective way for all involved to move forward.
The nuclear deal is an achievement in global nuclear nonproliferation. Iran has always insisted it was not pursuing nuclear weapons. This claim has been supported by former CIA analyst and Middle East specialist for the U.S. State Department, Flynt Leverett, who is among those experts who do not believe Iran was seeking to build nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the framework of the deal should address the concerns of those fearing a nuclear armed Iran. In fact, this deal possibly prevented a nuclear arms race in the entire Middle East.
By Ann Wright
Photo of Women Cross DMZ walk in Pyongyang, North Korea at the Monument of Reunification (Photo by Niana Liu)
When we began our project “Women Cross the DMZ,” we knew the landmines in the DMZ would be nothing compared to the explosions of anger, vitriol and hate from those who oppose any contact with North Korea. Some U.S. and South Korean government officials, academics, media talking heads and paid bloggers would have their knives out for any group that dared challenge the dangerous status quo on the Korean peninsula. No surprise that the knives have been attempting to slice away at the remarkable worldwide publicity our trip to both North and South Korea created.
The latest slice and dice article , “How North Korea’s Marchers for Peace Became Fellow Travelers,” by Thor Halvorssen and Alex Gladstein of the “Human Rights Foundation,” was published July 7, 2015 in Foreign Policy . Halvorssen and the “Human Rights Foundation” are reportedly associated with an Islamophobic and anti-LGBT agenda.
The authors’ goal seems to be to intimidate any group working for peace and reconciliation in Korea by using the issue of North Korean human rights violations to scare off groups from contact with North Korea. For these detractors, peace and reconciliation in various parts of the world might mean they will be out of issues and jobs as their livelihood quite possibly is made from undercutting attempts to resolve contentious and dangerous issues.
In the lengthy article, their fixation on virtually every word, written or spoken, made by members of the delegation, centered on two themes: the only possible result of visiting North Korea is to give legitimacy to the government, and if you don’t hammer the North Korean government on human rights issues on your first visit, you have lost all credibility. It seems apparent that the authors have never been involved in the delicate art of diplomacy. As a diplomat in the State Department for 16 years, I learned that if your goal is to foster dialogue you must first build some level of familiarity and trust before you can go on to difficult issues.
Of course, Halvorssen and Gladstein’s commentary is not unique. In every international challenge, whether it deals with Iran, Cuba or North Korea, a cottage industry of writers emerges to make their fame and fortune on a confrontational approach to the governments. Some of the "think tanks" and organizations they represent are bankrolled by a handful of ideological billionaires or corporations in the weapons industry that benefit from fueling the status quo, continued sanctions, and a military approach to problems that only have political solutions.
From the beginning our mission was clear: to bring international attention to the unresolved issues created 70 years ago by the division of Korea in 1945 by the United States and Russia. We call for all parties to implement the agreements agreed to 63 years ago in the July 27, 1953 Armistice. We firmly believe that the unresolved Korean conflict gives all governments in the region, including Japan, China and Russia, justification to further militarize and prepare for war, diverting funds for schools, hospitals, and the welfare of the people and the environment. Of course, this justification also is used by U.S. policy makers in their latest strategy, the U.S. “pivot” to Asia and the Pacific. We call for an end to that very profitable war footing, which is why the knives are out for us.
Without a doubt, North and South Koreans have much to resolve in the process of reconciliation and perhaps eventual reunification, including economic, political, nuclear issues, human rights and many, many others.
Our mission was not to tackle those inter-Korean issues ourselves but to bring international attention to the unresolved international conflict that is very dangerous for us all and to encourage dialogue to begin again, particularly among the United States, North Korea, and South Korea.
That’s why our group went to both North and South Korea. That’s why we called for reunification of families and women’s leadership in peace building. That’s why we walked in North Korea and South Korea—and crossed the DMZ—calling for an end of the state of war on the Korean peninsula with a peace treaty to finally end the 63-year old Korean War.
And that’s why we will remain engaged no matter what the pundits write, because in the end, if groups like ours don’t push for peace, our governments are prone to go to war.
Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She also served as a U.S. diplomat in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the US government in March 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq. In her letter of resignation, she mentioned her concerns about the Bush administration’s refusal to engage/dialogue with North Korea to resolve issues of concern.
For the United States to sit and talk and come to an agreement with a nation it has been antagonizing and demonizing since the dictator it installed in 1953 was overthrown in 1979 is historic and, I hope, precedent setting. Let's seal this deal!
Four months ago the Washington Post published an op-ed headlined 'War With Iran Is Probably Our Best Option.' It wasn't. Defenders of war present war as a last resort, but when other options are tried the result is never war. We should carry this lesson over to several other parts of the world.
The time has come to remove the "missile defense" weaponry from Europe that was put there under the false pretense of protecting Europe from Iran. With that justification gone, U.S. aggression toward Russia will become damagingly apparent if this step is not taken. And the time has come for the nations that actually have nuclear weapons to join and/or comply with the nonproliferation treaty, which Iran was never actually in violation of.
By Bruce Gagnon, Organizing Notes
Iran has reached an agreement to significantly limit its nuclear ability for more than a decade in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions. The agreement is between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, and the European Union. The deal would not have likely been possible without the active participation of the Russian Federation.
Israel and Saudi Arabia will likely try to kill the deal as will the Republican led Congress in Washington.
Longtime peace worker Jan Oberg in Sweden writes about the deal:
Why Iran in focus and not all those who have nuclear weapons? Why 5 nuclear weapons states at the table, all violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty - telling Iran not to have what they have?
Why focus on Iran, not Israel which has nuclear weapons, much higher relative military expenditures, a record of violence?
All good questions for sure. I'd like to add one more question into this stew.
The US has long maintained that the Pentagon's deployment of 'missile defense' (MD) systems into eastern Europe are not aimed at Russia but have been aimed at Iran's nuclear potential. Of course this has always been nonsense but just for a moment let's pretend it was true. The US was 'protecting' itself and Europe from a nuclear attack by Iran - even though Tehran had no nuclear weapons and no long-range delivery systems capable of hitting the US.
So now that this deal has been signed what is the need for the US to continue with its deployments of MD interceptors in Poland and Romania as well as on Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean, Black and Baltic seas? And why the need for the Pentagon's MD radar in Turkey? None of these systems will be needed. Will Washington bring MD home?
Or will the US now search for, and find, another excuse to justify their destabilizing MD interceptors near the Russian border?
Keep your eyes on that bouncing ball.
Talking with Iran has made the war profiteers and their servants sad and the rest of the world happy. Perhaps the novel idea of negotiating rather than killing will be carried over to several other parts of the world. Mainstream corporate voices are even raising the idea of talking with ISIS, or at least talking with the nations of the region ISIS is in about ISIS, or at least ceasing to make the ISIS Crisis worse by ignorantly doing everything wrong -- which just might include making friends with Iran in order to fight ISIS together.
"But what about ISIS?" That has been the endless zombie question encountered by all peace activists ever since the propaganda coup of the videos of two U.S. journalist beheadings. And part of the answer has always been: learn where it came from. Phyllis Bennis's new book can help with that job wonderfully. The book is called Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer. Whether you think you understand ISIS or not, I urge you to pick up a copy, or better a box of copies. This is a small book that should be passed out like a vaccine to residents of the enormous camp of refugees from sanity and historicity that we call the United States of America.
Bennis's book is excellent on what to do, although that topic is found in a handful of pages near the end. The focus, however, is on understanding origins and context. If anything, this is overdone, though it's hard to see what the harm could be in people learning a little too much. The book covers Syria, the Arab Spring, Libya, Iran, the United Nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many other tangentially related topics (I wish she's added a section on the phony reports of ISIS actions in the United States). The book is excellent on the 2013 Syria Missile Crisis and the role that popular resistance played in preventing a massive U.S. bombing campaign in Syria. That, even more so than the successful negotiation with Iran this week, should be our model for future activism.
Bennis relates an excellent history of the Mountain Rescue Excuse and places it in the context of the Imminent-Genocide-in-Benghazi Scam and other past justifications to launch wars that have predictably and immediately veered off into unrelated murderous operations.
But I think the most interesting point in this wide-ranging book may be one that Bennis makes about the Sunni Awakening. You might recall that when the United States began the 2003-2011 destruction of Iraq it quickly dissolved the Iraqi military, dismantled the civil service, and got rid of the Baath Party. Angry, trained, and armed fighters joined the popular resistance to the U.S. occupation. Among the new fighting groups that formed was Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2006, the Bush administration gave up on the hopeless mission-never-to-be-accomplished of trying to fight these groups, and started buying them off. This was a key part of the success of the "surge" that was itself no success at all. But some of the groups, including AQI refused to be bought off or to cease fighting.
In 2008, the United States turned over to the Iraqi government the job of buying off Sunni groups. The Iraqi government ceased making the payments. And the growth of ISIS, the renamed AQI, was underway. And it was exacerbated by an Iraqi government that shut out Sunnis and attacked Sunnis, while being funded and armed by the U.S. government. People think ISIS came out of nowhere, but many of us were, in the years before ISIS hit the news, struggling to oppose the U.S. provision of weapons to the Iraqi government for use in attacking Iraqis. This is where ISIS and broad support for ISIS among Sunnis came from.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia had told Sir Richard Dearlove of MI6, "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shi'a.' More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them." ISIS funding flows from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar, as well as from oil sales and artifact sales and kidnappings and thefts.
When 1,300 ISIS fighters overwhelmed 350,000 Iraqi soldiers and helped themselves to loads of U.S. weaponry, ISIS had the support of Sunni leaders angered by the Iraqi government, and of former Iraqi military leaders thrown out of work by Paul Bremmer -- not to mention benefitting from the chaos and flood of weaponry into Syria, and critically from the lack of enthusiasm for their cause among members of the Iraqi military.
So why do I say the Sunni Awakening is the most interesting point? Because something was working. Making small payments of cash to Sunnis -- sums far smaller than those spent on the weapons and the training (at $4 million per trainee now) to fight them -- was working. What if, instead of ending those payments, they had been continued, or been transformed into a program of nonviolent aid to everyone in the region, accompanied perhaps by a note of apology for having destroyed the place?
Bennis' first recommendation for what to do is an arms embargo. I think if Americans realized that their country was arming the region that their country constantly laments the violence in, the idea of an arms embargo would have overwhelming appeal. Beyond that, Bennis recommends: an inclusive Iraqi government, an end to airstrikes, a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the use of diplomacy, including possibly talks with ISIS.
Bennis also suggests reversing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project which can make teaching non-violent activism to groups abroad into the crime of "material support for terrorism." And she proposes a massive increase in U.S. aid through U.N. agencies.
Of course, aid has a tendency to make things better and a proven record of working in Iraq. So I assume every other possible approach will be tried first.
NOTE TO THOSE IN WASHINGTON DC AREA:
Come to the book launch party for this book, with its author, on July 27 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Busboys & Poets 5th and K, 1025 5th St NW, Washington, DC.
By Alfredo Lopez
The Internet -- always ablaze with controversy -- is a wildfire these days with revelations about more pernicious government spying, deals between governments and corporate "hacker companies", and Ellen Pao's resignation as head of Reddit.
By Veterans For Peace UK
On Friday 10 July 2015, three members of Veterans For Peace UK met in Trafalgar Square, London and walked down Whitehall towards the residence of the Prime Minister.
Once at Downing Street the veterans lined up, faced the police barricades and made the following statements.
“We are members of Veterans For Peace UK, an ex-services organisation of men and women who have served this country in every conflict since the second world war. We exist in the hope of convincing you that war is not the solution to the problems of the 21st century. We have come here today to hand back things, given to us as soldiers, that we no longer require or want.” Said Ben Griffin.
“This is my Oath of Allegiance, it is something I had to recite in order to get the job as a soldier. At 15 years old I had little understanding of its true meaning. Now I fully understand the words, they have no meaning at all.” Said John Boulton who then discarded his Oath of Allegiance.
“This is my Oath of Allegiance, this was a contract between the Monarchy, the British Government and a fifteen year old child. I am no longer loyal to the Government or the Monarchy.” Said Kieran Devlin who then discarded his Oath of Allegiance.
“This is my Oath of Allegiance, I made this oath when I was 19 years old. It required me to obey orders without question. I am no longer bound by this contract.” Said Ben Griffin who then discarded his Oath of Allegiance.
“This is my Army hat, it defined me as a soldier and a cog in the military machine. I reject militarism” Said John Boulton who then discarded his beret.
“This is my Army hat, this was given to me as a sixteen year old boy. I reject militarism, I reject war. And it means nothing to me.” Said Kieran Devlin who then discarded his beret.
“I used to wear this hat as a soldier, it used to have great significance to me. I no longer want to keep hold of this symbol of militarism”. Said Ben Griffin who then discarded his beret.
“These are the medals given to me for the sick dichotomy of keeping the peace and waging war. They are trinkets, pseudo payments. But really all they represent is the self interest of those in there, who hold power.” Said John Boulton who then discarded his medals.
“These are my medals, these were given to me were given to me as a reward for invading other peoples countries and murdering their civilians. I’m now handing them back” Said Kieran Devlin who then discarded his medals.
“I was given these medals for service on operations with the British Army. This particular medal here, was given to me for my part in the occupation of Iraq. Whilst I was over there, I attacked civilians in their homes and took away their men, off to be tortured in prison. I no longer want these despicable things.” Said Ben Griffin who then discarded his medals.
The three veterans then walked away from Downing Street leaving the oaths, berets and medals lying scattered on the floor.
John Boulton served in the Armoured Corps. He deployed on operations to Cyprus and Afghanistan. He is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK.
Kieran Devlin served in the Royal Engineers. He deployed on operations to the Gulf War and N Ireland. He is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK.
Ben Griffin served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. He deployed on operations to N Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK.
By Andy Piascik
For two decades, Western elites have spun a tale of how Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame heroically ended the 1994 genocide in that country. That narrative has persisted despite the fact that a great deal of evidence shows that Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) did much of the killing and has committed extraordinary levels of violence in neighboring Congo since invading that country not long after seizing power.
The recent BBC telecast of “Rwanda: The Untold Story” indicates that the truth about Kagame may finally be penetrating the mainstream. “Rwanda: The Untold Story” presents much information that contradicts the official narrative, specifically that the dramatic escalation in violence began not in April 1994 but in October 1990 when the RPF invaded from its outposts in Uganda; that RPF forces killed tens of thousands of people in the 42-month period from the invasion to April 1994; and that the RPF is responsible for the deaths of several hundred thousand more Rwandans during the three month period of bloodshed in 1994.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
Please join with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and other peacemakers for a nonviolent peace vigil to commemorate the U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan on August 6 and August 9, 1945 and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. See details below. Please share with other friends.
Seventy years ago the U.S. government did the "unspeakable" and dropped atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Please join in a nonviolent witness as we seek to remember the pain, repent the sin and reclaim the future.
When and Where:
Thursday, August 6 (Anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the feast of the Transfiguration): nonviolent witness at the Pentagon. Meet on corner of Army-Navy Drive and Fern St. at 6:45 a.m. Witness from 7:00 - 8:30 a.m. (8:15 a.m. was the actual time of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima)
Please Join Us!
For more info contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker--202-882-9649, email@example.com
If you're like most people in the United States, you have a vague awareness that the U.S. military keeps lots of troops permanently stationed on foreign bases around the world. But have you ever wondered and really investigated to find out how many, and where exactly, and at what cost, and to what purpose, and in terms of what relationship with the host nations?
A wonderfully researched new book, six years in the works, answers these questions in a manner you'll find engaging whether you've ever asked them or not. It's called Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Harm America and the World, by David Vine.
Some 800 bases with hundreds of thousands of troops in some 70 nations, plus all kinds of other "trainers" and "non-permanent" exercises that last indefinitely, maintain an ongoing U.S. military presence around the world for a price tag of at least $100 billion a year.
Why they do this is a harder question to answer.
David Vine is Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC. David is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2009). His new book, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, will be published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt in August 2015. Many of David’s articles and information about his books and other work can be found at www.davidvine.net.
A review of Base Nation by David Swanson is here: http://davidswanson.org/node/4825
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Shell Oil has announced it may take a page out of the BP "Beyond Petroleum" greenwashing book, rebranding itself as something other than an oil company for its United States-based unit.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Yes, I also want to say Free Mumia. In fact, I want to say Free all the prisoners. Turn the prison holding Mumia Abu-Jamal into a school and make him dean. And if you won't free all the prisoners, free one who has been punished to a level that ought to satisfy any retributive scheme for any crime he might have committed. And if you won't do that, free him because he was put into prison by a fraudulent and corrupt trial that hid as much evidence as it revealed, and fabricated the latter.
More importantly, Read Mumia. His new book is called Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and it includes commentaries by Mumia from 1982 through 2014. Mumia went ahead and made his prison a school -- a school in history, in politics, and in morality. And his own moral teaching is primarily by example. He teaches the liberating lesson that, if you so choose, you can know right now that never ever will anyone be able to beat you down. You can be cheerful for the rest of your life and rest completely assured that nothing can ever take that away.
Why? Because Mumia was shot and beaten within an inch of his life by the police, who then tried to kill him in the hospital with cold air meant to bring death by pneumonia. Then he was framed up and railroaded into a "correctional" institution. Then he was subjected for as long as perhaps anyone alive to the torture of solitary confinement (which drives some to self-mutilation). He was essentially mock-executed twice with dates set for his murder by the state of Pennsylvania. And it's never let up, with a new effort to kill him through denial of medical care this year.
Yet from day-1 in prison to this day, Mumia has been creating written and radio commentaries that go after every injustice in the world, including those committed by the very prison guards who threaten his life. And one cannot find a word of self-pity in any of them. Nor a word of self-indulgence or of narrow focus. From behind bars, Mumia sees the global perspective better than most on the outside. He takes on the war machine as determinedly as poverty and draws the connections between them. With no fear. No bitterness. No paranoia. No despair. No let up. And no lack of love and understanding.
And that's not primarily why you should read Mumia. He's not a great wrongly-imprisoned-black writer. He's a great writer. And if he were free and on book tour, chances are certainly better that you would be reading him. Mumia's commentaries from prison are as informed and more insightful than many from academia. And less compromising -- Compromising being something he takes on effectively with his critiques of what W.E.B. Dubois called the Philadelphia Negro.
If you want a sports score on Mumia's insights, how about a list of accurate predictions?
He predicted the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
He predicted Colin Powell's performance long before his U.N. speech: "[A]s he has done all of his professional, military life, the General will follow the orders he's given, even if he is in disagreement with them." —Aug. 30, 2001
He predicted war disasters before the wars. He predicted who George W. Bush and Barack Obama would be prior to Bush's selection and Obama's election (and nailed the theft of Florida for Bush in 2000 before it was completed). Of Obama he said:
"Black faces in high places does not freedom make. Power is more than presence. It is the ability to meet people's political objectives of freedom, independence, and material well-being. We are as far from those objectives as we were in 1967." —Aug. 6, 2008
Mumia got Hillary Clinton right before she was even a senator, never mind before, as president, she started World War III:
"The Democratic senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton, in the aftermath of the Diallo killers' acquittal, issued a statement to the effect that 'police officers should work to understand the community, and the community should understand the risks faced by police officers.' This in the afterglow of a whitewash quasi-prosecution and acquittal of four cops who glocked Diallo to death in his doorway for committing the capital crime of 'standing while black.'--SWB. This in studied political reflection of a case where cops fired 41 shots at an unarmed man!" —March 13, 2000
Mumia answered "Why do they hate us?" on September 17, 2001. He got the Cuban Five right before they were freed. He got Black Lives Matter before leaders of that movement were born. He got Distant Lives Matter too, also right, before that movement was even born, if it ever is.
Mumia even addressed Bill Cosby with appropriate contempt decades before that was cool.
Mumia above all has been a leading voice in helping to end the death penalty, and he has urged on and celebrated each step in that direction.
Mumia knows what is happening better from behind bars than do many on the outside, because he has access to books. He once recorded this radio review of one of my books, which I considered superior to any other review.
Those of us outside of prison have access to books, too, although many seem to forget it. We could all be as well-informed as Mumia. We could all know what's coming next before it hits us in the face. A good place to start would be by reading the Writing on the Wall.
I routinely come across efforts to change an individual’s attitude, belief and/or value by using education to teach the ‘right’ one. This is most usually intended to lead to a better behavioural outcome, such as someone who is not sexist, racist or violent. I would like to explain why education cannot achieve such a change, except in the most superficial of circumstances, as the evidence clearly demonstrates.
For the sake of this article, an attitude is a settled way of thinking about someone or something, a belief is an acceptance that something is true and a value is a principle in relation to something judged to be important in life.
By David Swanson, teleSUR
The National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents, one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and the resources of the U.S. military.
Duelfer was appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to lead a massive search after an earlier massive search led by David Kay had determined that there were no WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Duelfer went to work in January 2004, to find nothing for a second time, on behalf of people who had launched a war knowing full well that their own statements about WMDs were not true.
The fact that Duelfer states quite clearly that he found none of the alleged WMD stockpiles cannot be repeated enough, with 42% of Americans (and 51 percent of Republicans) still believing the opposite.
A New York Times story last October about the remnants of a long-abandoned chemical weapons program has been misused and abused to advance misunderstanding. A search of Iraq today would find U.S. cluster bombs that were dropped a decade back, without of course finding evidence of a current operation.
Duelfer is also clear that Saddam Hussein's government had accurately denied having WMD, contrary to a popular U.S. myth that Hussein had pretended to have what he did not.
The fact that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their team knowingly lied cannot be overemphasized. This group took the testimony of Hussein Kamel regarding weapons he'd said had been destroyed years ago, and used it as if he'd said they currently existed. This team used forged documents to allege a uranium purchase. They used claims about aluminum tubes that had been rejected by all of their own usual experts. They "summarized" a National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq was unlikely to attack unless attacked to say nearly the opposite in a "white paper" released to the public. Colin Powell took claims to the U.N. that had been rejected by his own staff, and touched them up with fabricated dialogue.
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller concluded that, "In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even nonexistent."
On January 31, 2003, Bush suggested to Blair that they could paint an airplane with U.N. colors, fly it low to get it shot at, and thereby start the war. Then the two of them walked out to a press conference at which they said they would avoid war if at all possible. Troop deployments and bombing missions were already underway.
When Diane Sawyer asked Bush on television why he had made the claims he had about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, he replied: "What's the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, if he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."
Duelfer's newly released internal report on his hunt, and that of Kay before him, for the figments of propagandists' imagination refers to "Saddam Hussein's WMD program," which Duelfer treats as an on-again, off-again institution, as if the 2003 invasion had just caught it in one of its naturally cyclical low tides of non-existence. Duelfer also describes the nonexistent program as "an international security problem that vexed the world for three decades," -- except perhaps for the part of the world engaged in the largest public demonstrations in history, which rejected the U.S. case for war.
Duelfer openly states that his goal was to rebuild "confidence in intelligence projections of threat." Of course, having found no WMDs, he can't alter the inaccuracy of the "projections of threat." Or can he? What Duelfer did publicly at the time and does again here is to claim, without providing any evidence for it, that "Saddam was directing resources to sustain the capacity to recommence producing WMD once U.N. sanctions and international scrutiny collapsed."
Duelfer claims that former Saddam yes men, rigorously conditioned to say whatever would most please their questioner, had assured him that Saddam harbored these secret intentions to start rebuilding WMD someday. But, Duelfer admits, "there is no documentation of this objective. And analysts should not expect to find any."
So, in Duelfer's rehabilitation of the "intelligence community" that may soon be trying to sell you another "projection of threat" (a phrase that perfectly fits what a Freudian would say they were doing), the U.S. government invaded Iraq, devastated a society, killed upwards of a million people by best estimates, wounded, traumatized, and made homeless millions more, generated hatred for the United States, drained the U.S. economy, stripped away civil liberties back home, and laid the groundwork for the creation of ISIS, as a matter not of "preempting" an "imminent threat" but of preempting a secret plan to possibly begin constructing a future threat should circumstances totally change.
This conception of "preemptive defense" is identical to two other concepts. It's identical to the justifications we've been offered recently for drone strikes. And it's identical to aggression. Once "defense" has been stretched to include defense against theoretical future threats, it ceases to credibly distinguish itself from aggression. And yet Duelfer seems to believe he succeeded in his assignment.
KRISTIN CHRISTMAN, originally published by Albany Times Union
It's swell that presidential candidates assert they wouldn't have invaded Iraq had they been president in 2003 with the information they have now.
But candidates should display not only hindsight but foresight: How will they react to future unverified information about foreign threats? Why would war even be an option?
It's hard to imagine, much less recall, a war that satisfies traditional or updated requirements of a "Just War". Many consider the phrase an oxymoron. Yet if war is not just, how can it advance humankind?
One traditional Just War requirement is noble intention. But it's easy to hide behind one noble goal as a cloaking pretense for war. To remove loopholes from Just War criteria, let's also require the absence of ignoble intentions. After all, while ignoble intentions may require war, noble goals likely may not.
Which presidential candidates -- and not just Democrats and Republicans but Greens and others -- could ensure that weapons, oil, and construction corporations will not profit from war? That war will not be pushed to secure pipelines, military bases, and private military contracts? That Holy War will not be successfully peddled by Christian and Jewish extremists eager to jump-start Armageddon?
A second ignored requirement of Just War is that non-combatants be spared from harm.
How do candidates plan to meet this standard? Doesn't the massive killing power of modern weapons render them unable to discriminate between combatants, non-combatants, innocent, and guilty?
On what basis do candidates believe guilt should be determined? Is an Iraqi guilty if he raises a gun when fearful of an American soldier invading his home? Or is the American guilty? If American serial killers receive trials, why are foreigners obliterated?
A third requirement is likelihood of success in achieving noble goals, including peace, love, joy, trust, health, and justice. But how can war nurture any of these when communities are pulverized, violence is role-modeled, and underlying causes of conflict are ignored?
Consider 9/11. Terrorists are not homogeneous, and their motivations range from aggressive to defensive. Motivations include sadism, low empathy, domination preoccupations, black-and-white thinking, underdog biases, hostile interpretations of Islam, boredom, and beliefs in killing's usefulness.
They include resentment over Western hatred, anti-Muslim prejudice, anti-Islamist repression, foreign political interference, Westernization, secularism, urbanization, social alienation, unemployment, and capitalism's callousness towards poverty.
And they include compassionate rage over suffering from Israeli cruelty towards Palestinians, the Persian Gulf War and sanctions, U.S. invasions, U.S. military bases abroad, genuine fear of Western-Zionist crusading domination, and baseless arrests, torture, and execution of thousands under dictators, often financed and armed by the U.S.
Candidates: Which motivations were remedied by U.S. violence in the Mideast? Which were aggravated?
A fourth criterion is that benefits from war outweigh costs. Will candidates include the costs to the troops for suicide, homicide, injury, PTSD, drugs, and domestic abuse? The costs for their long-term care? The costs to fund a war and forego bridge and railroad repair, food and water inspection, hiring nurses and teachers, subsidizing solar energy, natural disaster preparation, and tax reduction? The costs suffered by enemies, or don't they matter?
Updated Just War criteria should require that war's benefit/cost ratio is not only positive, but is greater than the ratio of any other combination of alternatives, including dialogue, cooperative problem-solving, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Which candidates will make these calculations?
Updated criteria should require war to adhere to a Clean Air, Water, and Land Act in War and to protect non-human species' lives and habitats. Does war have some divine right to contaminate Earth and unleash all that is negative?
And energy criteria? If civilians can't use traditional light bulbs because they waste energy by emitting more heat than light, why can presidents squander energy on weapons that emit only destruction?
Which candidates will place caps on fuel usage in war? Who will ensure war isn't fought for wealth and oil to fund and fuel future wars for wealth and oil?
A final neglected Just War criterion: War can be used only as a last resort. 21st century candidates must describe the spectrum of non-violent solutions they'll pursue. Will options surpass the hostile mantra of sanctions, asset freezes, political isolation, and weapons sales? Will candidates actually match roots of violence with practical solutions? Will they seek advice from experts on peace rather than war?
ISIS atrocities are not a problem to ISIS, nuclear weapon ownership isn't a problem to North Korea and Israel, and terrorism isn't a problem for terrorists. For them, these are solutions to other problems. For the U.S., revitalizing nuclear arsenals, invading nations, torturing prisoners, and collecting phone data aren't problems: They're solutions to other problems.
Who will ask: What are these problems? How can we resolve them kindly and cooperatively?
Problems provoking violence are not excuses for violence, but they are solid topics for cooperative, problem-solving dialogue. So where's the dialogue? Where's that precious freedom of speech when we need it? Or is it reserved for insulting prophets?
Compare American reactions to the Mideast and to Ferguson, Mo. Are police and communities requesting weapons for Ferguson? Or are they calling for better relations based upon understanding and caring? For body cameras, de-militarized police, restraint in the use of force, improved training, fair trials, economic and social help, prejudice reduction, friendship, and dialogue?
Is that approach too good for the international community?
Kristin Christman is author of The Taxonomy of Peace and "Mother's Day." http://warisacrime.org/
For an actress or an actress and dog
By Karen Malpede
I was in conversation with my dog, Hermes. He lay on the floor next to my desk.
“Kawhren,” Herm said. He has trouble with “r” sounds and speaks with a slight accent that must be cocker spaniel. “Why cannot people, undewhrstrand?”
“I don’t know, Herm,” I said. I find I often answer his questions this way.
He returned to gently licking his left paw.
“Do you rwhemembwer the days of yowre?”
“Herm, whatever are you talking about?”
“The days of yoehre, Kawhren. (pause) Befowre…”
He turned to grooming his right paw. Herm has huge feet of which he is quite proud. Finished grooming himself, he stretched and performed upward and downward dog on the rug, wagging his tale in recognition of his perfect form. Then he looked up at me.
“When you was young.” He said.
“Oh, yes, I do remember, Herm,” I said. “I used to ride my bicycle down streets lined with old elms whose branches touched forming a canopy above my head. That was before Dutch Elm disease.”
“Why would anyone hurt a twree?” Herm asked, aghast.
“You pee on trees,” I reminded him.
“Big twrees, only, Kawhren, nevewhr pee on little twrees.”
Hermes lay down; his two back legs splayed out, head on his paws.
I used to ride horses into the deep woods. I used to head out alone, bareback, no one else but me and my horse, sometimes at night, under the moon, but most often in the middle of the heat of the Midwestern summer’s day. From the cool woods, we’d come into a small round meadow, shaded and sheltered by trees. I’d slide down his warm flesh, lean my cheek against his neck. I’d lie down, my horse grazing at my side, my eyes ground-level, I would stare into the miniature world. Graceful long-necked insects with delicately-etched transparent winds balanced on spindly legs atop slender blades of grass bent by their weight, and chattered back and forth. Busy ants carried burdens twice their size. Worms surfaced and dove. Spiders wove translucent webs. Bees darted and drank. Linnet wings, the words pop into my head, beautiful like so many of nature’s names on the tongue. Staring into the miniature world of meadow grasses and bugs eye-level to the child belly pressed to the earth is how the world of fairies, hence fairy tales, began.
“Kawhren,” Herm said, coming, now, to the point of his discourse,“you neverh thought when you were young that people would hurwt the wowrold!”
“Never, Herm.” That wasn’t true. I was a child in the worst days of the Cold War; we thought nuclear weapons would destroy the world. My world in the secret meadow with the piebald grazing at my side was going to be blown apart. Now, we watch the ice melt and wait…But from these thoughts, I could protect my dog.
“I neverh would huwrt,” Hermes said.
“Well, you eat raw beef and chicken, Herm.”
“And pizza crwusts,” he said.
“From the street, ick,”
“No one is pewrfect, Kawhren,” Herm answered. “We is each one of us comprowmized.” “But that does not mean,” he continued emphatically, standing up, “that we should not twry. In evwry way we know.” He rested his chin on my leg. “I twry by being a good dog.”
“This is true, Hermes,” I said, rubbing his head, “you are the best dog I know.” Unlike his sister, Cleis, whom I dearly love, Hermes is universally kind, friendly and biddable.
“Cleis does not talk,” Herm said, reading my mind.
“That is true, Herm,” I replied, although Hermes speaks to me inside my head and I must verbalize for him, Cleis, no matter how hard I listen remains resolutely silent. I cannot hear the sound of her voice. When Cleis wants to be a brat, as in the park, she closes her ears to the sound of my voice, nose to the ground, running in large circles, free and feral. I call after her, foolishly chase her. I beg her with biscuits. When she is tired, she sits.
I had a riding teacher who used to say, “They tell me the horses are the dumb animals, but I wonder,” referring to those of us struggling to communicate with the thousand pounds of flesh between our legs without being summarily tossed off.
“Kawhrewn,” said Herm, “why are people so dumb?”
He was angry, now.
For added emphasis he barked. Cleis barked, too. Then as often happens, their barking accelerated until they were howling together, wildly, with abandon.
Once the cacophony stopped, Hermes pulled himself very straight; front legs planted, back legs extended, his head up. He spoke with gravitas, “Ourhr beautiful worwold. Ourhr only one.”