Obama Fans Aren't Even Pretending That Was a Good Speech

President Barack Obama gave a eulogy for the Fourth Amendment on Friday, and not even his fans are proclaiming victory.  In this moment when Obama is actually doing one thing I agree with (talking to Iran), more and more people seem to be slowly, agonizingly slowly, finally, finally, finally, recognizing what a complete huckster he is when it comes to pretty speeches about his crimes.

Obama's speech and new "policy directive" eliminate the Fourth Amendment.  Massive bulk collection of everybody's data will continue unconstitutionally, but Obama has expressed a certain vague desire to end it, sort of, except for the parts that are needed, but not to do so right away.  The comparisons to the closure of the Guantanamo death camp began instantly.

Far from halting or apologizing for the abuses of the NSA, Obama defends them as necessitated by the danger of a new 911. While drones over Yemen and troops in Afghanistan and "special" forces in three-quarters of the world are widely understood to endanger us, and while alternatives that upheld the rule of law and made us safer would not require secrecy or human rights violations, Obama wants to continue the counterproductive and immoral militarism while holding off all blowback through the omniscience of Big Brother.

However, Obama's own panel and every other panel that has looked into it found zero evidence that the new abusive NSA programs have prevented any violent attacks.  And it is well-documented that (even given the disastrous policies that produced 911) the attacks of that day could have been stopped at the last minute by sharing existing data or responding to urgent memos to the president with any sort of serious effort.

Obama has not proposed to end abuses. He's proposed to appoint two new bureaucrats plus John Podesta. Out of this speech we get reviews of policies, a commitment to tell the Director of National Intelligence to read court rulings that impact the crimes and abuses he's engaged in, and a promise that the "Intelligence Community" will inspect itself. (Congress, the courts, and the people don't come up in this list of reforms.) Usually this sort of imperial-presidential fluff wins praise from Obama's followers. This time, I'm not hearing it.

True, after EFF created a great pre-speech scorecard, when Obama scored a big fat zero, EFF said it was encouraged that he might score a point some day. But they didn't sound impassioned about their encouragement.

Obama's promises not to abuse unchecked secret powers (and implied promise that none of his successors or subordinates will abuse them either) is not credible, or acceptable, while it just might be impeachable.  We're talking here about the same government that listens in on soldiers' phone sex, Congress members' daily lives, and everything it can get its hands on related to the actual, rather than rhetorical, promotion of liberty, justice, or peace.  A report today quotes various members of the government with security clearance who want to murder Edward Snowden.  We're supposed to just trust them with the right to our persons, houses, papers, and effects without probable cause or warrant? Are we also to trust the corporations they ask to do their dirty work, should the theoretical future reform of this outrage involve paying corporations to own our info?

Obama claims the "debate" -- in which no debate opponent was given a minute at the microphone -- is valuable.  But the whistleblowers who create such debates "endanger" us, Obama says.  This he claims without evidence. 

If the debate was so useful, why not give the man who made you hold it with yourself his passport back?

Obama began Friday's speech with a Sarah Palinesque bit of Paul Revere history.  Revere is now an honorary NSA spy. In reality, the British would have hit Revere with a hellfire missile if Obama had been their king. It all depends on which side of a war you imagine someone to be on, and on whether you imagine war itself is an acceptable form of human behavior at this late date.  Without the endless war on the world, the need for secrecy would go away, and with it the powers that secrecy bestows, and with them the arrogant speeches by rulers who clearly hold us all in contempt.

Resisters of royalty came up with a cure back in Paul Revere's day.  They called it impeachment.  Of course it would be highly inappropriate to use. It might get in the way of the Fight for Freedom.

Photo by Ted Majdosz.

Why is Guantanamo Still Open?

by Dennis Loo       Obama promised during his 2008 campaign for the presidency that if elected:    “We will lead in the observance of human rights, and the rule of law, and civil rights and due process, which is why I will close Guantanamo and I will restore habeas corpus and say no to torture. Because if you elect me, you will have elected a president who has taught the Constitution, who believes in the Constitution, and who will restore and obey the Constitution of the United States."

Crackdown against Bahrainis intensifies to pre-empt major protests ahead

As the third anniversary of the 14th February Revolution approaches the Alkhalifa regime has intensified its crackdown on Bahrainis in a desperate attempt to stall massive demonstrations to mark the occasion. Three young people from Duraz were kidnapped by members of the Death Squads operating under the control of the royal court. Fadhel Muslim, Ali Abdul Ameer and Sadiq Al Asfoor were detained one week ago and nothing has been heard of them since. They were hit by police using live ammunition in revenge for continuing the civil strife that has exposed Alkhalifa as the worst regime in the Middle East in terms of despotism and human rights violations. Also the fate of Formula 1 victim, Nafisa Al Usfoor, is causing concern to her family. She was due to have a family visit earlier this week but the visit was cancelled and the family was told that the young Bahraini had been transferred to hospital. Together with Rayhana Al Mousawi, Nafisa was subjected to horrific torture includ ing sexual assaults after their arrest during the F1 race last year. Bahrainis are now viewing this race with contempt as it has caused enormous pain to Bahrainis over the past few years.

Arrest of Bahrainis has, meanwhile, continued unabated. Mohammad Ali Khamis from Bilad Al Qadim was arrested on Tuesday 14thJanuary. Two youths from Bani Jamra were also arrested: Ahmad Al Arab and Mansoor Al Jamri. The policy of revenge from anyone who speaks out about treatment inside the torture dungeons has continued. Abdul Jabbar Ahmad was arrested two weeks ago and subjected to severe torture. While his friends gathered in mosques to pray for him, Others called for investigating the torture he had endured. Al Wasat newspaper also dealt with his case. The Alkhalifa regime’s reaction was to order his transfer to another cell and deny him medication for his ailments resulting from torture.Two other Bahrainis have been jailed for five years for taking part in anti-regime protest. Sayed Jaffar Sayed Salman and Abdulla Ahmad were subjected to horrific treatment before their sentence.

On 14th January Amnesty International urged its members to write to Alkhalifa dictators to demand the immediate release of Ahmad Mushaima, the son of the popular leader, Hassan Mushaima. He was arrested two weeks ago in revenge from his father and family, subjected to horrific torture and detained for no criminal reason. The Urgent Action said: “Ahmad Mushaima’, who suffers from Blount's disease, a deformity of the lower legs, was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in the capital, Manama, where he was beaten, kicked in the legs, forced to insult his father and his religion, and coerced into signing documents. He was accused of participating in demonstrations in Jid Hafs, just outside Manama,” Amnesty also called for immediate investigation into allegations of torture and bring those responsible to justice.

Amnesty International also issued an Urgent Action calling for dropping the charges against Hussain Jawad since they are related solely to the legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression; It urged Alkhalifa officials to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and ensure that all human rights organizations and human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without hindrance, intimidation or harassment. Hussain Jawad, Chairman of the European-Bahraini organization for Human Rights (EBOHR), was released from Dry Dock prison on bail of 100 Bahraini Dinars (US$265) on 9 January 2014, 46 days after his arrest. He was charged with, among other things, “inciting hatred against the regime”. He is now facing trial but no dates have yet been scheduled.

Calls have also been made by  the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the OMCT for the release of Nabeel Rajab who has been behind bars for more than 18 months for opposing Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship. Mr. Rajab’s ongoing detention is arbitrary as it results from the exercise of his universally recognised human rights and as his right to a fair trial has not been guaranteed. The two organisations called upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately comply with the UN WGAD's decision and release Mr. Rajab immediately and unconditionally.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
15th January 2014

Italian Town Council condemns Pizzarotti over Israeli high-speed train

http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/english-menu/1083-villar-focchiardo-eng

Italian Town Council condemns Pizzarotti over involvement in Israeli high-speed train crossing the occupied Palestinian territories

The Italian Coalition Stop That Train calls on the Italian government to following the example of other European countries and discourage Italian companies from operating in violation of international law

On December 27, the town council of Villar Focchiardo, in the province of Torino, voted unanimously to approve a resolution condemning Pizzarotti & Co SpA of Parma for its involvement in the Israeli high-speed railway crossing the occupied West Bank. The railway, which will connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, runs for 6.5 km through the occupied Palestinian territories in blatant violation of international law, resulting in the confiscation of Palestinian land and pillaging of property belonging to the occupied territory for the construction of a railway for the near exclusive use of Israeli citizens.

Villar Focchiardo is the sixth local government to approve a similar resolution.[1] The measure holds special significance given that the municipality is located in the Val Susa, where for over 20 years local communities, together with supporters throughout Italy, have lead the No TAV popular struggle against a high-speed train through the valley. In October 2013, a delegation from the No TAV movement visited the occupied Palestinian territories where they were able to observe firsthand how the continuous loss of Palestinian land is instrumental to "breaking up the territory".[2]

Last summer, the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq published a legal opinion on the question, finding that there are "substantial grounds" to hold Pizzarotti responsible for acts that "can amount to serious violations of international law such as the war crimes of pillage and of destruction and appropriation of property."[3] It was for these reasons that Deutsche Bahn withdrew from the project in 2011.[4]

In addition to political and moral condemnation of Pizzarotti, the resolution commits the mayor of Villar Focchiardo and his administration to evaluate the possibility of adding a clause providing for the "exclusion of companies and economic entities operating in violation of human rights and/or international law" in the town’s regulations regarding the participation in municipal tenders for public works.

The resolution of Villar Focchiardo comes at a time when European governments and companies are taking measures to avoid complicity with Israeli violations of international law. In recent months, three Dutch companies, on advice from the Dutch government, cut ties with Israeli settlements.[5] In December 2013, the British government published guidelines warning of "clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements," stating they neither encourage nor offer support for such activities.[6] Romania banned its construction workers from working in the construction of Israeli settlements due to their illegality under international law. [7] And new European Union guidelines, in force since January 1, 2014, prohibit awarding EU grants to projects in the illegal settlements or issuing EU loans to any entity operating in the Israeli settlements. [8]

The Italian Coalition Stop That Train applauds the consistency shown by Villar Focchiardo and other local governments in working to ensure that Italian companies profiting from violations of international law have no access to public funds. Stop That Train invites municipal councils throughout Italy to adopt similar resolutions and calls on the Italian Government, in perfect line with European policy of not recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories, to actively discourage Italian companies from continuing or engaging in activities with Israeli companies or entities operating in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Italian Coalition Stop That Train
bdsitalia.org/stop-that-train
fermarequeltreno@gmail.com

The Italian Coalition Stop That Train comprises some 90 local, national and international organizations, including from Israel, and calls for the withdrawal of Pizzarotti S.p.A. from the Israeli A1 rail project. Stop That Train is part of BDS Italy, a movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, made up of associations and groups throughout Italy who have joined the 2005 BDS call by Palestinian civil society.

Notes

[1] Rho (Milano)
http://www.bdsitalia.org/images/stories/pdfs/risoluzione-rho.pdf

Naples
http://www.bdsitalia.org/images/stories/pdfs/odg-napoli.pdf

Vomero - Arenella (Naples)
http://www.bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-pizzarotti/424-vomero

Corchiano (Viterbo)
http://www.bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-pizzarotti/425-corchiano

Sasso Marconi (Bologna)
http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-pizzarotti/565-il-consiglio-comunale-di-sasso-marconi-bo-condanna-la-pizzarotti

Villar Focchiardo (Torino)
http://www.servizipubblicaamministrazione.it/Siti/vllrfcchrd184/AlboPretorio/2014/2014-000007-1.PDF

[2] From Italy to Israel/Palestine: Activists share insights on popular struggle
http://972mag.com/from-italy-to-palestine-activists-share-insights-on-popular-struggle/80399/

[3] Tunnelling Activities and War Crimes: Why Pizzarotti Could Be Found Responsible for Grave Violations of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
http://www.alhaq.org/images/stories/PDF/2012/Al-Haq_-_legal_brief_on_Pizzarotti_SpA_-_08_July_2013.pdf

[4] Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Response to Written Question
http://www.bds-kampagne.de/assets/77/110314_FM%20Transport%20to%20MP%20Hoeger.pdf

[5] Dutch firm withdraws from sewage plant for settlers in East Jerusalem
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/dutch-firm-withdraws-sewage-plant-settlers-east-jerusalem

Dutch water company terminates relationship with Mekerot following government advice
http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/dutch-water-company-terminates-relationship-mekerot-government-advice-11502

PGGM – Statement regarding exclusion of Israeli banks
https://www.pggm.nl/english/what-we-do/Documents/Statement%20PGGM%20exclusion%20Israeli%20banks.pdf

[6] UK government warns businesses about illegal Israeli settlement enterprise http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/uk-government-warns-business-links-settlements-11475

[7] Romania refuses to allow its workers to build illegal settlements in the West Bank
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/12/israel-romania-row-over-settlements-building-20131210132517711422.html

[8] EU acknowledges obligation to not recognize Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory
http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/eu-guidelines-press-release-11211

Yemen 'set up a counselling centre' for children because of drone strikes

From REPRIEVE:
 
A Yemeni delegation to the UN yesterday admitted that it has had to establish a counselling centre for children because the level of traumatisation caused by US drone attacks in the country is so high. 
 
At a periodic review of Yemen by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child yesterday, the Yemeni delegation was asked by the Committee about the psychological impact of drone strikes on children. The Yemeni official said that following a drone attack on a residential area, they had found it necessary to set up a counselling centre.
 
The delegation also stressed that the country's Parliament has voted to stop US drone strikes, saying:
 
“The Yemeni Parliament one month ago adopted a prohibition of American drones carrying out attacks in Yemen and we will continue to review and discuss this issue.”
 
When asked by a member of the committee how Yemen is trying to prevent drone strikes, the delegation said:
 
“We have signed an agreement with the US and other countries to fight terrorism…We will fight terrorism wherever it occurs in conformity with our agreement with the US.” The delegation then went on to admit that, “Of course mistakes have been made.”
 
These statements follow on from a report from UN Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon to the Security Council last year by stating that drones were violating a range of children’s rights from their right to life to their right to education.
 
CIA drone strikes in Yemen have killed an estimated 42 children. In March last year Dr Peter Schaapveld, an expert in psychological trauma assessment and treatment told British MPs, following a trip assessing victims and communities in Yemen, that US drones in the country were “causing a psychological emergency.” 
 
Reprieve Legal Director Kat Craig said: “In places like Yemen, the US drone programme is terrorising entire civilian populations, nearly half of which are children. President Hadi's agreements with the US are trumping Yemen's responsibility to protect its children. Instead of allowing the US to bomb his country to pieces and then setting up a recovery centre, President Hadi should listen to his Parliament and stop the drone strikes.”

Denver police initiate sexual assault investigation after TSA pat-down

Finally! Someone in law enforcement is taking seriously the charge of sexual assault by TSA workers.

Jamelyn Steenhoek, 39, was accompanying her 13-year-old daughter to the gate for the daughter’s flight. Steenhoek “alarmed” when she went through the metal detector. Then her hands were swabbed and they “alarmed.”

Syria/Turkey News - Jan 17

 

Nearly 1,100 killed in Syria rebel-ISIS jihadist battles: activists - Yahoo News


U.N. Reports mass executions in Northern Syria carried out by armed opposition groups, in particular by ISIS - NYTimes.com


Battles rage to push ISIS out of north Syria - THE DAILY STAR


Rebels expel ISIS's Jihadists from Jarabulus - ZAMAN ALWSL 


Alleged ISIS car bomb kills 26 in north Syria, mostly rebels - AFP


ISIS Controls Raqqa, 250 Fighters, 50 Civilians Killed - The Syrian Observer


Islamic Front to take control of Aleppo industrial zone from ISIS - ZAMAN ALWSL 


The Story of Two Armenians Executed by ISIS - Al Akhbar English

 

Young Christian killed and beheaded by jihadists - Fides News Agency

 

Interview with Free Syrian Army (FSA) chief Gen. Salim Idris - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

 

The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 2: An Umbrella Organization - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 3: Negotiations - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

About What Is Going On From the Fighting Between the [Islamic] State and the Mujāhidīn of al-Shām - JIHADOLOGY

 

6 Rebel groups pledge allegiance to Al Nusra Front - ZAMAN ALWSL 

 

Suicide car bomb kills three in Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon near Syria - Reuters

 

Statement from Jabhat al-Nuṣrah in Lebanon claims responsibility for the suicide car bombing: “Martyrdom Operation Upon the Stronghold of Ḥizb Irānī in the Hermel” - JIHADOLOGY

 

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PYD leader Salih Muslim: Kurds will not attend Geneva II unless Kurdish question is on agenda - ekurd


If Kurds are not recognised as a third party they'll reject Geneva: PKK leader Sabri - ekurd


KCK Executive Council Releases Statement on Geneva II - ekurd


Syria Kurdistan Goes to the Polls - The Rojava Report


Syrian Kurds aim to benefit from Islamist infighting - Al-Monitor

 

Efrin: end of al-Qaeda’s ISIS siege north Syria - aranews.org

 

YPG buries 39 Kurdish fighters in Qamishli, died by clashes against the ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other Islamist rebel fighters - Transnational Middle-East Observer

 

VIDEO: Funeral parade of YPG martyrs in Qamislo - YouTube

 

ISIS executes Kurdish civilians in Tel Ebyad - Transnational Middle-East Observer

 

“PYD have established a model for Syria”: Prominent UK human rights lawyer Margaret Owen - ekurd

 

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New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims - MiamiHerald.com


REPORT (Full Text): Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21 - s3.amazonaws.com

 

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‘Dismissed ministers received millions in bribes’ - Today's Zaman


Gov't assault on police to evade graft probe intensifies - Today's Zaman


İstanbul police again defy arrest order as top prosecutors reassigned - Today's Zaman


Nearly 20 İstanbul prosecutors removed from post - Today's Zaman


Guards of prosecutors in al-Qaeda probe replaced - Today's Zaman


Turkish government to move ahead with judiciary plan, despite main opposition refusal - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Turkish president signals veto on government-led judicial bill - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Jurists ask PM to take his hands off judiciary - Today's Zaman

 

Top business group head warns that Turkey may slip into ‘police state’ - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Erdogan declares war on Gulen's 'empire of fear’ - AFP

 

Ruling AKP moves to expel deputy known for close ties with Gülen movement - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

European Parliament calls on Turkey to preserve impartial judiciary amid graft probe - Today's Zaman

 

Turkish intelligence agency MIT denies claims over Paris killings but launches internal probe - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Investigative reporter Baransu exposed the spy agency MIT illegally profiled opposition party members & relayed the confidential memo to Erdogan - Twitter / abdbozkurt

 

Benghazi weapons shipped to Syrian rebels through Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation - larouchepac.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

IRELAND: 79 Year Old Peace Activist Jailed For Peaceful Protest

by R. Teichmann


 


Margaretta D'Arcy attempts to block runway of Shannon Airport. 01/09/13
Margaretta D'Arcy attempts to block runway of Shannon Airport. 01/09/13

Image: Niall Carson via PA Wire

Poem: A party for The American People

This poem is based on two assumptions:

1) A party is good for the American People.

2) There actually are “American People”.

So, let’s have a party and invite the American People!

Let’s have a theme.

We’ll get everything we need from the party store!

The Special Ops Surge: America’s Secret War in 134 Countries

By Nick Turse, TomDispatch

They operate in the green glow of night vision in Southwest Asia and stalk through the jungles of South America.  They snatch men from their homes in the Maghreb and shoot it out with heavily armed militants in the Horn of Africa.  They feel the salty spray while skimming over the tops of waves from the turquoise Caribbean to the deep blue Pacific.  They conduct missions in the oppressive heat of Middle Eastern deserts and the deep freeze of Scandinavia.  All over the planet, the Obama administration is waging a secret war whose full extent has never been fully revealed -- until now.

Since September 11, 2001, U.S. Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget.  Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally.  This presence -- now, in nearly 70% of the world’s nations -- provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war being waged from Latin America to the backlands of Afghanistan, from training missions with African allies to information operations launched in cyberspace. 

In the waning days of the Bush presidency, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed in about 60 countries around the world.  By 2010, that number had swelled to 75, according to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post.  In 2011, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that the total would reach 120.  Today, that figure has risen higher still.

In 2013, elite U.S. forces were deployed in 134 countries around the globe, according to Major Matthew Robert Bockholt of SOCOM Public Affairs.  This 123% increase during the Obama years demonstrates how, in addition to conventional wars and a CIA drone campaign, public diplomacy and extensive electronic spying, the U.S. has engaged in still another significant and growing form of overseas power projection.  Conducted largely in the shadows by America’s most elite troops, the vast majority of these missions take place far from prying eyes, media scrutiny, or any type of outside oversight, increasing the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.        

Growth Industry

Formally established in 1987, Special Operations Command has grown steadily in the post-9/11 era.   SOCOM is reportedly on track to reach 72,000 personnel in 2014, up from 33,000 in 2001.  Funding for the command has also jumped exponentially as its baseline budget, $2.3 billion in 2001, hit $6.9 billion in 2013 ($10.4 billion, if you add in supplemental funding).  Personnel deployments abroad have skyrocketed, too, from 4,900 “man-years” in 2001 to 11,500 in 2013.

A recent investigation by TomDispatch, using open source government documents and news releases as well as press reports, found evidence that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in or involved with the militaries of 106 nations around the world in 2012-2013.  For more than a month during the preparation of that article, however, SOCOM failed to provide accurate statistics on the total number of countries to which special operators -- Green Berets and Rangers, Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos, specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, and civil affairs personnel -- were deployed.   “We don’t just keep it on hand,” SOCOM’s Bockholt explained in a telephone interview once the article had been filed.  “We have to go searching through stuff.  It takes a long time to do that.”  Hours later, just prior to publication, he provided an answer to a question I first asked in November of last year.  “SOF [Special Operations forces] were deployed to 134 countries” during fiscal year 2013, Bockholt explained in an email.

Globalized Special Ops

Last year, Special Operations Command chief Admiral William McRaven explained his vision for special ops globalization.  In a statement to the House Armed Services Committee, he said:

“USSOCOM is enhancing its global network of SOF to support our interagency and international partners in order to gain expanded situational awareness of emerging threats and opportunities. The network enables small, persistent presence in critical locations, and facilitates engagement where necessary or appropriate...”

While that “presence” may be small, the reach and influence of those Special Operations forces are another matter.  The 12% jump in national deployments -- from 120 to 134 -- during McRaven’s tenure reflects his desire to put boots on the ground just about everywhere on Earth.  SOCOM will not name the nations involved, citing host nation sensitivities and the safety of American personnel, but the deployments we do know about shed at least some light on the full range of missions being carried out by America’s secret military.

Last April and May, for instance, Special Ops personnel took part in training exercises in Djibouti, Malawi, and the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean.  In June, U.S. Navy SEALs joined Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese, and other allied Mideast forces for irregular warfare simulations in Aqaba, Jordan.  The next month, Green Berets traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to carry out small unit tactical exercises with local forces.  In August, Green Berets conducted explosives training with Honduran sailors.  In September, according to media reports, U.S. Special Operations forces joined elite troops from the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Cambodia -- as well as their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China, India, and Russia for a US-Indonesian joint-funded coun­terterrorism exercise held at a training center in Sentul, West Java. 

In October, elite U.S. troops carried out commando raids in Libya and Somalia, kidnapping a terror suspect in the former nation while SEALs killed at least one militant in the latter before being driven off under fire.  In November, Special Ops troops conducted humanitarian operations in the Philippines to aid survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. The next month, members of the 352nd Special Operations Group conducted a training exercise involving approximately 130 airmen and six aircraft at an airbase in England and Navy SEALs were wounded while undertaking an evacuation mission in South Sudan.  Green Berets then rang in the new year with a January 1st combat mission alongside elite Afghan troops in Bahlozi village in Kandahar province.

Deployments in 134 countries, however, turn out not to be expansive enough for SOCOM. In November 2013, the command announced that it was seeking to identify industry partners who could, under SOCOM’s Trans Regional Web Initiative, potentially “develop new websites tailored to foreign audiences.”  These would join an existing global network of 10 propaganda websites, run by various combatant commands and made to look like legitimate news outlets, including CentralAsiaOnline.com, Sabahi which targets the Horn of Africa; an effort aimed at the Middle East known as Al-Shorfa.com; and another targeting Latin America called Infosurhoy.com.

SOCOM’s push into cyberspace is mirrored by a concerted effort of the command to embed itself ever more deeply inside the Beltway.  “I have folks in every agency here in Washington, D.C. -- from the CIA, to the FBI, to the National Security Agency, to the National Geospatial Agency, to the Defense Intelligence Agency,” SOCOM chief Admiral McRaven said during a panel discussion at Washington’s Wilson Center last year.  Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Library in November, he put the number of departments and agencies where SOCOM is now entrenched at 38.

134 Chances for Blowback

Although elected in 2008 by many who saw him as an antiwar candidate, President Obama has proved to be a decidedly hawkish commander-in-chief whose policies have already produced notable instances of what in CIA trade-speak has long been called blowback.  While the Obama administration oversaw a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq (negotiated by his predecessor), as well as a drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan (after a major military surge in that country), the president has presided over a ramping up of the U.S. military presence in Africa, a reinvigoration of efforts in Latin America, and tough talk about a rebalancing or “pivot to Asia” (even if it has amounted to little as of yet). 

The White House has also overseen an exponential expansion of America’s drone war.  While President Bush launched 51 such strikes, President Obama has presided over 330, according to research by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  Last year, alone, the U.S. also engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.  Recent revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden have demonstrated the tremendous breadth and global reach of U.S. electronic surveillance during the Obama years.  And deep in the shadows, Special Operations forces are now annually deployed to more than double the number of nations as at the end of Bush’s tenure.

In recent years, however, the unintended consequences of U.S. military operations have helped to sow outrage and discontent, setting whole regions aflame.  More than 10 years after America’s “mission accomplished” moment, seven years after its much vaunted surge, the Iraq that America helped make is in flames.  A country with no al-Qaeda presence before the U.S. invasion and a government opposed to America’s enemies in Tehran now has a central government aligned with Iran and two cities flying al-Qaeda flags.

A more recent U.S. military intervention to aid the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi helped send neighboring Mali, a U.S.-supported bulwark against regional terrorism, into a downward spiral, saw a coup there carried out by a U.S.-trained officer, ultimately led to a bloody terror attack on an Algerian gas plant, and helped to unleash nothing short of a terror diaspora in the region. 

And today South Sudan -- a nation the U.S. shepherded into being, has supported economically and militarily (despite its reliance on child soldiers), and has used as a hush-hush base for Special Operations forces -- is being torn apart by violence and sliding toward civil war.

The Obama presidency has seen the U.S. military’s elite tactical forces increasingly used in an attempt to achieve strategic goals.  But with Special Operations missions kept under tight wraps, Americans have little understanding of where their troops are deployed, what exactly they are doing, or what the consequences might be down the road.  As retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University, has noted, the utilization of Special Operations forces during the Obama years has decreased military accountability, strengthened the “imperial presidency,” and set the stage for a war without end.  “In short,” he wrote at TomDispatch, “handing war to the special operators severs an already too tenuous link between war and politics; it becomes war for its own sake.”

Secret ops by secret forces have a nasty tendency to produce unintended, unforeseen, and completely disastrous consequences.  New Yorkers will remember well the end result of clandestine U.S. support for Islamic militants against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s: 9/11.  Strangely enough, those at the other primary attack site that day, the Pentagon, seem not to have learned the obvious lessons from this lethal blowback.  Even today in Afghanistan and Pakistan, more than 12 years after the U.S. invaded the former and almost 10 years after it began conducting covert attacks in the latter, the U.S. is still dealing with that Cold War-era fallout: with, for instance, CIA drones conducting missile strikes against an organization (the Haqqani network) that, in the 1980s, the Agency supplied with missiles.

Without a clear picture of where the military’s covert forces are operating and what they are doing, Americans may not even recognize the consequences of and blowback from our expanding secret wars as they wash over the world.  But if history is any guide, they will be felt -- from Southwest Asia to the Mahgreb, the Middle East to Central Africa, and, perhaps eventually, in the United States as well. 

In his blueprint for the future, SOCOM 2020, Admiral McRaven has touted the globalization of U.S. special ops as a means to “project power, promote stability, and prevent conflict.”  Last year, SOCOM may have done just the opposite in 134 places.  

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch.com and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  An award-winning journalist, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, on the BBC and regularly at TomDispatch. He is the author most recently of the New York Times bestseller Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (just out in paperback).  You can catch his conversation with Bill Moyers about that book by clicking here

Copyright 2014 Nick Turse

Not Another War!

Not Another War!

Chelsea Manning Awarded Sam Adams Integrity Prize for 2014

Announcement by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII)

The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) have voted overwhelmingly to present the 2014 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning. 

A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, U.S. Army Pvt. Manning is the 25 year-old intelligence analyst who in 2010 provided to WikiLeaks the "Collateral Murder" video – gun barrel footage from a U.S. Apache helicopter, exposing the reckless murder of 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, during the “surge” in Iraq.   The Pentagon had repeatedly denied the existence of the "Collateral Murder" video and declined to release it despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act by Reuters, which had sought clarity on the circumstances of its journalists' deaths.

Release of this video and other documents sparked a worldwide dialogue about the importance of government accountability for human rights abuses as well as the dangers of excessive secrecy and over-classification of documents. 

On February 19, 2014 Pvt. Manning -  currently incarcerated at Leavenworth Prison - will be recognized at a ceremony in absentia at Oxford University's prestigious Oxford Union Society for casting much-needed daylight on the true toll and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq; human rights abuses by U.S. and “coalition” forces, mercenaries, and contractors; and the roles that spying and bribery play in international diplomacy.

The Oxford Union ceremony will include the presentation of the traditional SAAII Corner-Brightener Candlestick and will feature statements of support from former SAAII awardees and prominent whistleblowers.  Members of the press are invited to attend.

On August 21, 2013 Pvt. Manning received an unusually harsh sentence of 35 years in prison for exposing the truth -- a chilling message to those who would call attention to wrongdoing by U.S. and “coalition” forces.

Under the 1989 Official Secrets Act in the United Kingdom, Pvt. Manning, whose mother is British, would have faced just two years in prison for whistleblowing or 14 years if convicted under the old 1911 Official Secrets Act for espionage.

Former senior NSA executive and SAAII Awardee Emeritus Thomas Drake has written that Manning "exposed the dark side shadows of our national security regime and foreign policy follies .. [her] acts of civil disobedience … strike at the very core of the critical issues surrounding our national security, public and foreign policy, openness and transparency, as well as the unprecedented and relentless campaign by this Administration to snuff out and silence truth tellers and whistleblowers in a deliberate and premeditated assault on the 1st Amendment."

Previous winners of the Sam Adams Award include Coleen Rowley (FBI); Katharine Gun (formerly of GCHQ, the National Security Agency’s equivalent in the UK); former UK Ambassador Craig Murray; Larry Wilkerson (Col., US Army, ret.; chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell); Julian Assange (WikiLeaks); Thomas Drake (NSA); Jesselyn Radack (former ethics attorney for the Department of Justice, now National Security & Human Right Director of the Government Accountability Project); Thomas Fingar (former Deputy Director of National Intelligence, who managed the key National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 that concluded Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon four years earlier); and Edward Snowden (former NSA contractor and systems administrator, currently residing in Russia under temporary asylum).

The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence are very proud to add Pvt.  Manning to this list of distinguished awardees.

Syria News - Jan 16

 

Western intelligence talking to Damascus about the jihadist threat, Syrian minister says - BBC News


VIDEO: Interview: Western intelligence talking to Damascus about the jihadist threat, Syrian minister says - BBC News


European Spies Reach Out to Syria to Share Information on Jihadists - WSJ.com


VIDEO: European Spies Reach Out to Syria to Share Information on Jihadists - WSJ.com


Flow of Westerners to Syria Prompts Security Concerns - NYTimes.com


The Spanish Foreign Fighter Contingent in Syria - Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

 

Syrian rebels kill Belgian commander linked to al Qaeda’s ISIS: activists - Reuters

 

Canadian killed in Syria: Calgary man, 22, joined fight after converting to Islam - National Post

 

Syria's Assad slams Saudi Wahhabi ideology as 'threat to world' - Yahoo News

 

Syria’s internal political opposition may not attend Geneva II - Al-Monitor

 

US to stop financing Syrian opposition if it refuses to go to Geneva - The Voice of Russia

 

Kerry pledges another $380M in humanitarian aid for Syria - TheHill

 

VIDEO: Kerry Announces Aid Package for Syrians - NBCNews.com

 

New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims - MiamiHerald.com

 

UN Chief Urges Syrian Opposition to Join Talks - ABC News

 

U.N. says it abandons aid delivery after Syria insisted on dangerous route - Reuters

 

Syria: UN agency determined to reach starving Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus - United Nations News Centre

 

Hamas urges militants to leave Damascus Palestinian camp - AFP

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

4 Reasons to Hold George W. Bush Accountable for War Crimes

Originally Posted at AcronymTv

http://youtu.be/gO7-Y1gvukM

I am not sure what it says about our culture when six figure speaker fees are awarded to War Criminals, but that is what happened in New York City on Monday, January 13 when George W. Bush took a break from his retirement and rigorous painting schedule and took his Texas swagger on stage as the keynote speaker at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show.

Talk Nation Radio: After the Legalization of Marijuana

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/after-the-legalization-of

Jon Walker is a writer and a senior policy analyst at FireDogLake.com and the author of the new book After Legalization: Understanding the Future of Marijuana Policy in America. We look into his crystal ball.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

Protestors in Roanoke urge Warner to back off Iran sanctions bill



Plowshare_at_Taubman2

Note from Dan: The following was sent to me last week by Brent Riley, a member of the Plowshare Peace and Justice Center in Roanoke. They demonstrated outside the Taubman Museum of Art this past Saturday, and these photos are from that.

Currently, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is lobbying Congress hard to co-sponsor their bill to contaminate Obama's negotiating with Iran toward resolving the nuclear weapon problem. Additionally, the bill would obligate the US to back up Israel in the event Israel determined it needed to initiate war on Iran in self defense .... with a pre-emptive attack.

The President has said he would veto the bill because it would compromise the integrity of the negotiations already behind him. AIPAC is trying to work up the list of Senate co-sponsors to a veto-proof number before putting the bill to a vote. This is an epic battle for control of Middle East policy and the stakes are very high. It could make a difference in a regional Middle East war or not.

A big problem for Virginians is Sen. Mark Warner was an early co-signer. He betrayed Obama's appeal not to meddle at this point and he jumped on board with Netanyahu's lobby ... a big problem for those who expect diplomacy before war.

Saturday is the last day for Yoko Ono's Imagine Peace Event at the Taubman.

Please consider making it down to the Taubman at noon, Saturday to show you want respectful diplomacy with Iran, not threats of additional sanctions.  We'll make sure Sen. Warner knows some think he's allowing himself to be a fundamental part of our war problem.

Please tell Warner that you would like him to withdraw his co-sponsorship for the Menendez-Kirk bill, which increases sanctions against Iran. Tell him to support President Obama's negotiations to settle the nuclear proliferation issue without further violence in the Middle East.

Contact Sen. Warner at his Roanoke office: 540-857-2676

Contact him via email.

The Campaign To End All War

Originally Posted at AcronymTV

http://youtu.be/6aC7Mck865w

In this interview with David Swanson, we discuss a campaign, still in its planning stages, to eliminate “the institution of war as an acceptable enterprise for the human species.” Visiting the website WorldBeyongWar.org, one is prompted to sign a simple two sentence  pledge that reads:

Turkey/Syria News - Jan 15

 

Turkish police detain at least 23 in anti-al-Qaeda operation, after the raids two anti-terror police unit chiefs were dismissed - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey cracks down on Islamic charity İHH suspected of arming Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


Profile: Islamic charity IHH, a significant actor in the global jihadist movementy - The Long War Journal


Policemen relieved of duties following discovery of ammunition on buses heading from Turkey to Syria - Today's Zaman


Interior Ministry approves lists for new wave of police purges - Today's Zaman


Turkey president urges shift in Syria policy - Yahoo News

 

Turkish PM to show ‘no mercy’ to ‘group’ behind graft probe - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Turkish gov't to ‘freeze’ judicial bill if opposition agrees to charter change on key body - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

'Gov't must await Constitutional Court approval to implement HSYK law' - Today's Zaman

 

Former graft prosecutor Öz files formal complaint against PM Erdoğan after ‘threat’ claims - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

New graft prosecutors request unfreeze of suspects' assets - Today's Zaman

 

Supreme State Council able to try Turkish Armed Forces commanders - Today's Zaman

 

Gülen to file criminal complaint over illegal wiretapping - Today's Zaman

 

US, EU step up pressure on Turkey over judicial independence - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Brussels asks Turkey to be consulted to ensure judicial bill in line with EU legislation - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

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Turkey's Intelligence Agency MİT denies any link to Paris killings of Kurds - Today's Zaman


Voice recording suggests MİT ordered killings of PKK members in Paris - CİHAN


AUDIO: Tape released allegedly features Paris killings suspect voice - ANF

 

TRANSCRIPT: Full transcript of alleged Paris killings suspect Ömer Güney recording - ANF

 

Following the audio recording, leaked “secret" document could link Turkish MIT to the Paris assassinations (Document text translated) - The Kurdistan Tribune

 

Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) at center of political storm - Al-Monitor

 

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U.S., Russia call for trust-building moves ahead of Geneva talks such as prisoner exchanges, localized cease-fires and an end to blockades - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Kerry, Lavrov zero in on ceasefire in Syria - Yahoo News


U.S. Presses Syrian Opposition to Join Talks - NYTimes.com


Vatican urges Syria ceasefire as Kerry visits - Yahoo News


VIDEO: John Kerry talks Syria with Pope's aide - Yahoo News


Ambassador Ford to opposition: Geneva II without preconditions or guarantees - ZAMAN ALWSL #syria

 

Syrian opposition holds firm to Geneva II preconditions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

 

Syrian Coalition: Political Solution Impossible Without Assad's Departure - Syrian National Coaltion

 

Syrian Coalition: Participation in Geneva II Will Be Dependent On the Response of the International Community to Our Basic Demands - Syrian National Coaltion

 

Syrian Coalition: Russia’s And Assad’s Attitudes To The Syrian Revolution Are Identical - Syrian National Coaltion

 

The Politics of the Islamic Front 1: Structure and Support - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

The names of the Syrian government delegation to Geneva leaked - all4syrian

 

The Baath Battalions Move Into Damascus - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

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Regime advances near Aleppo, ISIS tightens grip on Raqqa - THE DAILY STAR


ISIS Kills Nusra Front Emir in Raqqa - The Syrian Observer


Syria: How Did Raqqa Fall To The Islamic State of Iraq & ash-Sham? - EA WorldView


ISIS ihadists seize Syria town near Aleppo, execute 60 - Yahoo News


ISIS car bomb kills 8 rebels at Syria checkpoint - THE DAILY STAR


ISIS is planning to assassinate Massoud Barzani: source - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

Two Christians beheaded by ISIS in Idlib in Syria - OrthoChristian.Com

 

Italian Jesuit Priest Kidnapped By ISIS In Syria Being Held In Prison - YALLA SOURIYA

 

More proof of ISIS torture of Kurds - Transnational Middle-East Observer

 

VIDEO: Three “spies" are executed by the Mujahideen: western Homs - LiveLeak.com

 

VIDEO: al Nusra Front terrorists beheading a syrian citizen+Subtitles - LiveLeak.com

 

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Damascus: Yarmouk Starves as Relief Convoys Attacked by Rebels - Al Akhbar English


VIDEO: Yarmouk residents waiting for the promised aid today that never arrived - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

New Yorkers Protest Bush at Javits Center

On the morning of Mon., January 13th, about 25 people gathered outside NYC’s Javits Center to protest the presence inside of former George Bush who was giving the breakfast keynote (closed to the press) at the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention. War Criminals Watch/World Can’t Wait activists, who had put the original call out for the demonstration, were there with a large banner and posters. We Will Not Be Silent had their striking black and white posters.

Voices From Around The World Calling For Guantanamo To Be Closed

by Debra Sweet       There are two pertinent questions which demand answers if we are to force the U.S. to close the illegal torture camp at Guantánamo, and go on to end indefinite detention by the United States.  Why did the Bush regime open it in 2002 in a U.S. military base set in Guantánamo Bay on a colonized piece of Cuban land seized from Cuba at the culmination of its war of independence from Spain, known here as the Spanish-American War, in 1898?And why are sections of the U.S. ruling class holding onto this prison so tightly, even expanding its infrastructure, that Obama's six year old promise to close it has become a cruel joke to most of the men who were there when he campaigned in 2008?

$1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Overturns Pentagon Cuts

From Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com

Congressional negotiators have unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending bill tonight that officials say will avoid a government shutdown, and will also increase Pentagon spending above the levels a previous sequestration deal called for.

As usual, the Pentagon spending is still being spun as a “cut,” since it was lower than the Pentagon’s own demand for an increase, but it is actually $20 billion above the sequestration deal, and includes $90 billion in war funding, more than initially sought.

The nearly 1,600 pages of the bill include all sorts of putative compromises, and a lot of major disappointments, including an official authorization from Congress for President Obama to continue breaking the law by funding the Egyptian military junta.

President Obama has indicated he intends to continue sending $1.5 billion to the Egyptian military annually despite the June coup d’etat. US law explicitly bans military funding after coups, but the administration has insisted they just are going to pretend they didn’t hear that.

Two Red Herrings Caught

NSA’s Preference for Metadata

Editor Note: The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.

By Kirk Wiebe

Senior national security officials, from President Barack Obama on down, have made light of the National Security Agency’s intrusive monitoring of the public by saying “only” metadata about communications, not the content of those communications, are collected. One might ask, then, why is it that intelligence and law enforcement officials much prefer this metadata approach?

Why the Washington Post’s New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous

By Norman Solomon

American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain.

A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos -- who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.

The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.

The situation is unprecedented. But in an email exchange early this month, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron told me that the newspaper doesn’t need to routinely inform readers of the CIA-Amazon-Bezos ties when reporting on the CIA. He wrote that such in-story acknowledgment would be “far outside the norm of disclosures about potential conflicts of interest at media organizations.”

But there isn’t anything normal about the new situation. As I wrote to Baron, “few journalists could have anticipated ownership of the paper by a multibillionaire whose outside company would be so closely tied to the CIA.”

The Washington Post’s refusal to provide readers with minimal disclosure in coverage of the CIA is important on its own. But it’s also a marker for an ominous pattern -- combining denial with accommodation to raw financial and governmental power -- a synergy of media leverage, corporate digital muscle and secretive agencies implementing policies of mass surveillance, covert action and ongoing warfare.

Digital prowess at collecting global data and keeping secrets is crucial to the missions of Amazon and the CIA. The two institutions have only begun to explore how to work together more effectively.

For the CIA, the emerging newspaper role of Mr. Amazon is value added to any working relationship with him. The CIA’s zeal to increase its leverage over major American media outlets is longstanding.  

After creation of the CIA in 1947, it enjoyed direct collaboration with many U.S. news organizations. But the agency faced a major challenge in October 1977, when -- soon after leaving the Washington Post -- famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein provided an extensive expose in Rolling Stone.

Citing CIA documents, Bernstein wrote that during the previous 25 years “more than 400 American journalists ... have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” He added: “The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception.”

Bernstein’s story tarnished the reputations of many journalists and media institutions, including the Washington Post and New York Times. While the CIA’s mission was widely assumed to involve “obfuscation and deception,” the mission of the nation’s finest newspapers was ostensibly the opposite.

During the last few decades, as far as we know, the extent of extreme media cohabitation with the CIA has declined sharply. At the same time, as the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq attests, many prominent U.S. journalists and media outlets have continued to regurgitate, for public consumption, what’s fed to them by the CIA and other official “national security” sources.

The recent purchase of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos has poured some high-finance concrete for a new structural bridge between the media industry and the surveillance/warfare state. The development puts the CIA in closer institutionalized proximity to the Post, arguably the most important political media outlet in the United States.

At this point, about 30,000 people have signed a petition (launched by RootsAction.org) with a minimal request: “The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon -- and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.” On behalf of the petition’s signers, I’m scheduled to deliver it to the Washington Post headquarters on January 15. The petition is an opening salvo in a long-term battle.

By its own account, Amazon -- which has yielded Jeff Bezos personal wealth of around $25 billion so far -- is eager to widen its services to the CIA beyond the initial $600 million deal. “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA,” a statement from Amazon said two months ago. As Bezos continues to gain even more wealth from Amazon, how likely is that goal to affect his newspaper’s coverage of the CIA?

________________________________________

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.

Building a Global Movement to End All War

I've been involved in starting enough activist campaigns and coalitions to know when one has more potential than any other I've seen.  When hundreds of people and organizations are signing up on the website before you've announced it anywhere, and nine months before you plan to officially launch, and when a large percentage of the people signing on ask how they can donate funding, and when people from other countries volunteer to translate your declaration into other languages, and when committees form of volunteer women and men to work on a dozen different aspects of the planning -- and they actually get to work in a serious way, and when none of this is due to anything in the news or any statement from anyone in government or any contrast between one political party and another, then it's time to start thinking about what you're going to help build as a movement.

In this case I'm talking about a movement to end, not this war or that war, but the institution of war as an acceptable enterprise for the human species. The declaration of peace that people and groups are signing reads, in its entirety:

"I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace."

This can be signed at http://WorldBeyondWar.org -- and we fully expect a million people to sign it in short order. There's a great weariness in resisting militarism piecemeal, in reforming or refining war, in banning a weapon or exposing a tactic. All of that is a necessary part of the work. This will be a campaign of numerous partial victories, and we'll be directing our efforts toward various strategic weaknesses in the military-industrial complex. But there is enthusiasm right now for stopping not just missile strikes into Syria, not just deadly sanctions and threats to Iran, but stopping also -- as part of these actions -- the thinking that assumes war must always be with us, the casual discussions of how "the next war" will be fought.

So, we've set up an online center for addressing the concerns of the anyone who thinks we might need to keep war around or who thinks war will stay around regardless of what we do. We address a number of myths, including the myths that war is inevitable, and war is necessary, and war is beneficial.  Then we provide a number of reasons for ending war, including these:

War is immoral.

War endangers us.

War threatens our environment.

War erodes our liberties.

War impoverishes us.

We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

We've also provided an explanation of how nonviolent tools are more effective in resisting tyranny and oppression and resolving conflicts and achieving security than violence is, in other words how we can be more secure without war and without preparations for war.

This movement to abolish war, will be a movement to create a better world in which we are better able to address real crises, such as those in the earth's natural environment, rather than manufactured crises, such as the urgent need to drop missiles on Syria -- which vanishes the moment we block that proposal.

Our plan is to announce on the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2014, a broader, wider, more mainstream and more international movement for peace and nonviolence than we've seen in a while, and a coalition capable of better uniting those doing good work toward that end in various corners of the globe and of our societies. 

But we've only just begun to work out our plans, and we'd like everyone's input. If you go to http://WorldBeyondWar.org and sign the declaration, it will ask you to indicate how you might like to be involved beyond that. You can check any of a number of ways or invent your own.  You can get involved in shaping our thinking and our plans and activities.  You can also enter a brief statement of your own.  Here are a few of the many entered already:

"I support this proposal and agree with this great and important initiative to abolish militarism and war.  I will continue to speak out for an end to the institution of militarism and war and for institutions built on international law and human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution." — Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

"As a 29 year veteran of the US Army/Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel and having served as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigning in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, I firmly believe war does not resolve political issues.  We must work diligently to force the governments of our nations to use diplomacy, not weapons." —Ann Wright

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it." — Noam Chomsky

"It is so inspiring to see a new group coming together not to focus on a particular war or weapons system, but on all war--everywhere. And it's great to have such beautifully crafted arguments about why war is not inevitable and how war contributes to so many other global ills. This coalition is worthy of Martin Luther King's call to end violence and instead put our energies and resources into 'life-affirming activities.' Bravo!" —Medea Benjamin

"We must work to end all war because: 1. In war there are no winners, only losers. 2. To thrive, humans need peace, which cannot be created by war. 3. We need all our ingenuity, creativity, technology and will to find a solution to runaway climate change. We cannot afford the military-industrial complex." — Sally Reynolds, Abingdon Peace Group

"The abolition of war is an idea whose time has come. We are at a transformative moment in history. Our Mother Earth is under siege from destructive global warming and industrialization. It is essential that we mobilize to save our planet. War is a cruel and untenable distraction, draining trillions of dollars and incalculable losses of intellectual firepower away from the essential work that needs to be done to create a livable future for humanity." — Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000

"War is a crime against humanity. When 90% of the casualties of war are civilians including children, its time to End ALL WARS! The world badly needs the resources to meet human and environmental needs. Wars are not making us more secure, but creating more enemies. There are more effective means of achieving security than war and killing other people's children. As former President Eisenhower said, 'I like to believe that the people of the world will want peace so much that governments will have to get out of the way and let them have it.' When the people of the world decide to end war, we can end it. At least 99% of the world's people do not benefit at all from all the wars our governments are waging. The time is NOW. Please join us." —David Hartsough

http://WorldBeyondWar.org

Seventeen People Tried for Protesting Drones in Upstate, NY

From UNAC
On January 25, 2012, 17 people were arrested for symbolically blocking the gates at Hancock National Air Guard Base which is a site where MQ 9 Reaper drones are piloted over Afghanistan, and the domestic center for training MQ9 Reaper pilots and technicians.   They stood in front of the gates with banners and and signs calling for an end to drone warfare, and read an Indictment for Crimes Against Peace and attacks on civilians that are illegal under international war. 
 
After more than two hours outside the gates, the protesters were arrested and arraigned on charges of Trespass and Disorderly Conduct, both violations.   The protesters were  also issued  Orders of Protection for Col Earl Evans which require them to stay away from the base.   Violating these OOPs, as they call them, carries potential misdemeanor or even felony charges. 

On January 2nd of this year (2014)  the Hancock 17 went to trial in DeWitt, NY.   Fifteen defendants are going before the court Pro Se, i.e. they are representing themselves before the court.   They have prepared a defense based on the fact that they were not at the base to break the law, but rather to uphold the law.   The way the drones are used in Afghanistan violates Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.    There is little coverage of Afghan casualties in the mainstream news but according to a report by Press TV, there were 500 drone attacks in Afghanistan in the last year. 
 
After 12 hours in the courtroom on January 2nd and 6th, the prosecution case is nearly complete.   The defendants had an opportunity to cross examine Col Evans, a civil engineer responsible for material operations at the base, and the Security Chief at some length.  There were a number of questions about the handling of events occurring outside the Military Installation (denoted by the fence) of the Base and in the Easement which includes a public thoroughfare. 

It is expected that the defense case will begin on January 23 and continue on the 24th.     The defendants' case is supported by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Mary Ellen O'Connell of Notre Dame who is an expert on Drones and International Law, and by witness from an Afghan youth whose brother-in-law was killed in a drone strike in Maidan Shahr Wardak, Afghanistan. 

For more information, please go to http://upstatedroneaction.org/

Syria/Turkey News - Jan 13


Friends of Syria group urges opposition to attend Geneva talks - Reuters


US: Syria peace talks test credibility for parties - NewsObserver.com


For Russia, terrorism is priority at Syria conference - Al-Monitor


'Syria’s destiny concerns us' - Lavrov to Jarba - The Voice of Russia


Jarba Says 'Friends of Syria' Agree No Role for Assad and Family in Country Future - Naharnet

 

Damascus steps up economic measure ahead of Geneva talks, reports revealed that a new line of credit between Syria and Russia will be signed soon - Globaltimes.cn

 

Kurds should demonstrate they can control own regions: PYD official - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

Aleppo's Kurds: Living Under Siege - Al Akhbar English

 

Officials: Efforts to lift Yarmouk siege have failed - Maan News Agency

 

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Qaeda-linked ISIS regains ground in northeast Syrian city of Raqqa - Reuters


Al Qaeda's ISIS unit executes dozens of rivals in Raqqa -activists


ISIS has summarily executed 100 Ahrar ash-Sham captives in ar-Raqqah north of Syria - Ahrar ash-Sham Media Office


16 ISIS suicide attacks target Syria rebels in one week - GlobalPost


Syrian opposition and ISIS continue Idlib battle - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

 

Activists: Nearly 700 dead in Syrian rebel clashes - The Washington Post

 

VIDEO: Claim of Mass Grave Discovered At ISIS HQ Near Al Burayj, Aleppo - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Convoy of the pro-ISIS Liwa Dawood, including four T-72 & T-62 tanks, 4 BMP-1 armoured vehicles, and 13 more vehicles - YouTube

 

Protesters attack Sharia Committee headquarters in Saqba - Syria Newsdesk

 

Syria activists freed from dungeons breathe new life - Saudi Gazette

 

New ISIS Leaks Reveal Particulars of al-Qaida Strategy - Syria Comment

 

Pressed in Syria, Jihadists sneak into Iraq - Azzaman English

 

Syria's civil war being fought with fighters high on drugs - Telegraph

 

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

 

Punches fly as Turkish MPs debate judicial reform - Reuters


VIDEO: Turkish bizarre: MPs throw tablets, punchs and a kick in heat - YouTube


Turkish PM slams opposition, head of judges association over session marred by brawl - hurriyetdailynews.com


Erdoğan blasts judge who was kicked by AK Party lawmaker - CİHAN


CHP asks Parliament to punish AK Party deputy for flying kick - CİHAN


Tens of thousands protest against Tayyip Erdogan - thenews.com.pk


VIDEO: Thousands protest corruption in Turkey - YouTube


VIDEO: Police fires tear gas and water cannon at anti-government protesters  - CNN


Turkey will push ahead with judicial reforms, says Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - The Guardian

 

HSYK opposes gov’t proposal, say planned changes violate Constitution - CİHAN

 

Witch hunt in bureaucracy draws ire: McCarthyism creates collateral damage - Today's Zaman

 

Parents of former graft prosecutor say son targeted for ‘doing justice' - Today's Zaman

 

Protecting "Qaeda financier" al-Qadi may come with a big price tag for Erdogan - Today's Zaman

 

CHP proposals to eradicate corruption get support from analysts - Today's Zaman

 

Power struggle between Erdogan and Gul heats up - New Straits Times

 

Turkey's power struggle affects Kurdish issue - Al-Monitor

 

In Scandal, Turkey’s Leaders May Be Losing Their Tight Grip on News Media - NYTimes.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Another lawsuit filed against the TSA, by Wendy Thomson

We at TSA News have written before about the particularly egregious violations perpetrated upon the disabled (or, more precisely, those who with the assistance of medical devices function quite well) by the TSA.

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