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There is a man reporting on how bad the smog is in China.
He is saying,
“See, right there,
at the end of this street that you don’t see
is the second tallest building in China.”
I squint. . . I don’t see anything!
“In fact”, he’s saying,
“the smog is so bad,
I’m actually standing right here in front of this camera,
so you wouldn’t have seen the building anyway,
but you can’t even see me!”
This guy is good!
Then he says, “Watch this.”
“Now, I’m taking off my pants.”...
It's important to distinguish terrorism from war. Because otherwise war would look bad.
It's important to distinguish genocide from war. Because otherwise war would be indefensible.
It's important to distinguish civil war from war. Because civil war seems so gruesome and irrational.
It's important to distinguish the horrors of war from war's higher purposes. Because otherwise who would let war continue?
It's important to distinguish wars people have seen from possible future wars. Because otherwise someone might ask what the higher purposes had been and whether they were achieved.
It's important to distinguish war from inaction as if those were the only options. Because otherwise people might wake up before they die.
Betsy Leondar-Wright is the Project Director and Senior Trainer at Class Action, a non-profit that raises consciousness about class and money. Her new book is called Missing Class: How Seeing Class Cultures Can Strengthen Social Movement Groups. She describes how people's speech patterns and approaches to activism tend to vary with class background, how unawareness of this can result in misunderstandings, and how awareness of it can build stronger movements that draw on the strengths of all.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
Kerry Accuses Moscow of 'Unmistakable' Covert Ops in Eastern Ukraine, says Russian special forces of orchestrating "chaos" in eastern Ukraine this week to set the stage for a possible invasion - foreignpolicy.com
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Is there an emotional connection between the oceans and the pursuit of peace? In the latter part of the twentieth century, the oceans were used for nuclear weapons tests and for the transport of nuclear weapons, and this might explain the advent of maritime protests against war, especially nuclear war. But, for whatever reason, peace ships have been increasing in number over the past century.
* * *
Probably the first of these ocean-going vessels was the notorious Ford Peace Ship of 1915, which stirred up more ridicule than peace during World War I.
"Secretary Kerry? It's Ukraine on the phone asking about liberation again. Have you been able to get them a reference letter yet from Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan? How about Vietnam? Panama? Grenada? Kosovo maybe? Ukraine says Syria says you have a reference letter in the works from Kosovo. No? Huh. They said they'd accept one from Korea or the Dominican Republic or Iran. No? Guatemala? The Philippines? Cuba? Congo? How about Haiti? They say you promised them a glowing reference from Haiti. Oh. They did? No, I am not laughing, Sir. What about East Timor? Oh? Oh! Sir, you're going to liberate the what out of them? Yes sir, I think you'd better tell them yourself."
Some nations the United States should probably not liberate -- except perhaps the 175 nations which could be liberated from the presence of U.S. soldiers. But one nation I would make an exception for, and that is the nation of Hawai'i.
Jon Olsen's new book, Liberate Hawai'i: Renouncing and Defying the Continuing Fraudulent U.S. Claim to the sovereignty of Hawai'i, makes a compelling case -- a legal case as well as a moral one.
Olsen's case, in very condensed summary, looks like this: Hawai'i was an independent nation, recognized as such by the United States and numerous other nations, with treaties in effect between Hawai'i and other nations, including the United States, that have never been terminated. In 1893 U.S. profiteers and U.S. Marines, in a criminal act, overthrew Hawai'i's government and queen, setting up a new government that lacked any legal standing. President Grover Cleveland investigated what had been done, admitted to the facts, and declared the new government illegitimate, insisting that the Queen retain the rule she had never abdicated. But the fraudulent foreign government remained, and in 1898 once William McKinley was U.S. president, handed over Hawaii (thought it had no legal power to do so) to the United States, as the United States also picked up the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba in a bit of a global shopping spree. By 1959, these events were growing lost in the mists of time, and the demographics of Hawai'i were radically altered, as Hawai'i was offered a vote between two bad choices: statehood or continued status as a colony or "territory" (liberation wasn't on the ballot). Thus did Hawai'i seem to become a state without legally becoming any such thing. In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed and President Clinton signed U.S. Public Law 103-150, admitted to and apologizing for this history, without of course doing the one thing legally and morally required -- liberating Hawai'i.
The primary purpose of the U.S. grab for Hawai'i, even more than economic exploitation, was military expansion, as Olsen shows. The U.S. military wanted, and took, Pearl Harbor. Then it took a lot more land, occupied it, bombed it, poisoned it. Now the U.S. military holds 22% of O'ahu, 68% of Kaula, and chunks of all the major islands, with more planned, archaeological sites threatened, species threatened, air quality for telescopes threatened, and heightened tensions around the Pacific not just threatened but those heightened tensions being the actual purpose of this massive and disastrous investment by the foreign occupying nation claiming Hawai'i by force and fraud.
What can be done? And of, by, and for whom exactly? Who is a Hawaiian and who is not? Olsen does not advocate a Hawaii for the ethnically native Hawaiians alone. He recognizes that the term "Hawaiian" is used to refer to an ethnic group, and proposes the invention of the term "Hawaiian national" to refer to anyone who considers Hawaii home and supports its liberation. I think Olsen is on the right path but slipping slightly off it. Nationalism has not proved a wholly beneficial concept. Hawaii needs to be liberated from U.S. nationalism, but Hawaiians and the rest of us need to begin thinking of ourselves as citizens of the world, not of one nation over others. Nor do two wrongs, of whatever disparity, make a right (just ask Palestine). I'd like to see "Hawaiian" evolve to encompass all who consider Hawaii their home, without the addition of "national." Of course this unsolicited advice from me to Hawaiians may be unappreciated. But then, they are free to ignore it; I'm not using the Marine Corps as a delivery service, and my advice to the Marine Corps (unsolicited as well) is to disband and liberate the world from its existence.
There's an important point that I think Olsen's argument supports, although he does not develop it in his book, and it is this: If in 1941 Hawaii was not yet even purporting to be a U.S. state, but was rather an illegally and illegitimately seized territory, Pearl Harbor having been stolen from the Hawaiian people, then whatever else you might think of the second major crime committed at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese did not attack the United States. The Japanese attacked an imperial outpost in the middle of the Pacific that they viewed as a threat -- and what else was it if not that?
Were Hawaii to liberate itself from the United States (for the United States is not actually going to liberate it voluntarily), would the point be moot as the practices of the United States and China and other nations drive the world's islands underwater? Actually, projections show Hawaii surviving the flood. The question for Hawaiians may be this: Who do you want managing the influx of millions of Floridians looking for a new paradise to pave, your own manageable self-governed society or the tender mercies of the United States Congress?
By Jane Stoever
Bearing witness against remote control of reaper drones from U.S. military bases, about 20 protesters rallied Sunday, April 6, at the Spirit Gate entry to Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Mo.
Noting the name Whiteman Air Force Base, former CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern in his talk said, "When B2 bombers flew out of here to Afghanistan and Iraq, they weren't killing people who looked like us (white), but who were what the airmen were taught to call 'sand niggers' or 'towel-heads.' White-man is killing brown, black, and other men, women, and children who don't look like us. White-man Air Force Base is a reflection of the American original sin, racism."
McGovern recalled that President Obama on May 17, 2013, said he wished he could stop drone strikes. "Gimme a break," said McGovern. "The president could stop the strikes if he had the backbone." Acknowledging that he was in the Bible Belt, McGovern assailed the silence of the churches about drones. "If the church does not speak out against this wanton slaughter against black and brown people, then the church is the same institution Jesus spoke out against and got killed for doing it."
McGovern, after being introduced by Brian Terrell, said, "It's not often I'm introduced by a prophet!" McGovern thanked Terrell for
serving six months in a federal prison camp for his 2012 protest at Whiteman AFB--the longest sentence any drone resister has received.
Terrell, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, speaking during the rally, asked whether the resisters knew what "Spirit Gate" meant. The name evokes not the third person of the Holy Trinity--the Holy Spirit, not a "higher power," not a spirit that animates and gives life, nor even the Higgs-Bosson particle. "Spirit Gate" and, even more pointedly, the "Spirit Chapel" that can be seen just inside the gate, are named for the nickname the Air Force gives to the B2 Stealth Bomber nestled at Whiteman AFB. The Air Force calls these weapons of mass destruction "Spirit Stealth Bombers."
"This is the 'spirit' that is evoked and worshiped here at Whiteman," said Terrell, co-founder of Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa. "When we were here for the first Trifecta Resista action in 2012, Whiteman personnel were using Predator drones. Now we have Reaper drones--think Grim Reaper--and they are armed with 'Hellfire' missiles. These terms--Spirit, Reaper, Hellfire--are theological terms and, as used here at Whiteman, are shear blasphemy!"
Terrell noted his best times during his six-months imprisonment in South Dakota were spent walking a large circle path outside in the
cold, even in minus-40-degree wind chill, times when no one else was out walking, unlike warm days when the path became Grand Central Station. He called his prison time "highly productive" for thinking/praying/planning. He later asked whether any locals had come forward to say they will do civil resistance during the May 30-June 1 Trifecta Resista that will return to Whiteman AFB. The answer: not yet. For info on that resistance weekend, see www.PeaceWorksKC.org.
Rally organizer Jeff Stack of Columbia, Mo., head of the Mid-MO Fellowship of Reconciliation, asked protester Jo Ann Witt of Kansas
City to say a few words about why she came to the rally. "Because so many innocent civilians have been killed by the drones," said Witt, moved to tears.
McGovern thanked Witt for her tears, noting they were the humane response to the horror of drone warfare that the U.S. has unleashed.
Tamara Severns of PeaceWorks-KC arrested by surprise at drone protest
Tamara Severns of Kansas City, Mo., was arrested unexpectedly during an April 6 protest of drone warfare at Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster, Mo. A member of the PeaceWorks, Kansas City, Board of Directors and a Co-member of the Loretto Community, Tamara was walking toward the Visitors' Center to use the bathroom. She and other resisters had used those facilities with no problem during about five earlier protests. On April 6, Tamara and several others had arrived at the base entry after authorities had warned the resisters not to step across the white line on the entry road. Unaware that "the rules" had
changed, Tamara crossed the line to go toward the Visitors' Center, was taken into custody with no warning, and was handcuffed, searched, and detained on the base about an hour.
"The officer said, 'Turn around. You're being arrested,' and clamped the metal handcuffs on my wrists," Tamara said after her release.
"They gave me no warning to leave the property." Her wrists still showed red marks two hours after the handcuffs were removed. A male officer twisted the chain between her handcuffs to direct her where to walk and to hurt her, Tamara said. "I was scared because he was being so rough."
Tamara received a U.S. District Court Violation Notice for "trespassing on military installation" and expects to be summoned to
court. Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, a speaker at the rally, said later he hoped Tamara would not be taken to court because no date or
location was listed on the notice. Tamara fears she will receive a court date because the officers told her she would, and it says it on
One complicating factor: Officer John Sullivan, who was debriefing the protesters, had gotten inaccurate information from someone else, said Tamara. Sullivan told protest organizer Jeff Stack that another security officer said Tamara had tried to go around the driver's side of the police car toward the Visitor's Center after being advised not to. The truth, said Tamara, was that she never left the sidewalk on the right side of the car and no one said anything except "You're being arrested."
Protester Vicke Hooper Kepling, on her Facebook page April 7, wrote this about Tamara: "She walked to the bathrooms ... like she had done at other protests ... AND GOT TICKETED (detained, felt up, the works). I said "ticketed," but I believe she was actually arrested. I woke up thinking about it. She may face the same fate as the three who intentionally crossed two years ago. One actually did six months in federal prison, and the other got five years probation (reduced to one). I wasn't putting the same weight on it because of her intention (and that she and others had used the restrooms before). But after reconsideration, I bet it's the same."
Former CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern, who spoke during the rally, said afterwards, "It's so obvious Tamara's civil rights under the First Amendment have been violated. Somebody said to this officer, 'Make an example of Tamara and brutalize her,' and he did."
Yet another person, a disabled person in this case, has been abused by the TSA. In Los Angeles last week, Sherry Wright was traveling with her disabled, wheelchair-bound sister Heidi when they approached the checkpoint at LAX. Heidi had a stroke 10 years ago and can no longer speak. When Sherry presented their ID documentation — perfectly valid IDs, as indicated on the TSA's own website — the nitwit in blue balked. First he demanded that the mute Heidi speak, even after being told she couldn’t; then he denied passage to the women, claiming that Heidi’s expired driver’s license wasn’t valid ID.
Tymoshenko says crisis in Donetsk can be resolved peacefully, believes it necessary to carry out administrative reform, elect the regional authorities and preserve the law on regional languages - ITAR-TASS
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Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
Flying beneath the public radar, though, is another TransCanada-proposed pipeline with a similar function as Keystone XL. But rather than for carrying tar sands bitumen to the Gulf Coast, this pipeline would bring to market shale gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").
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By Dave Lindorff
Let us pause to honor Charles Fury.
In Afghanistan, Dr. Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers Plant Trees not Bombs
On the 28th of March, 2014, at about 4 p.m., the Afghan Peace Volunteers heard a loud explosion nearby. For the rest of the evening and night, they anxiously waited for the sound of rocket fire and firing to stop. It was reported that a 10 year old girl, and the four assailants, were killed.
Four days later, they circulated a video, poem and photos prefaced by this note: “We had been thinking about an appropriate response to the violence perpetrated by the Taliban, other militia, the Afghan government, and the U.S./NATO coalition of 50 countries.
So, on the 31st of March 2014, in building alternatives and saying ‘no’ to all violence and all forms of war-making, a few of us went to an area near the place which was attacked, and there, we planted some trees. -- Love and thanks, The Afghan Peace Volunteers
Plant Trees Not Bombs in Afghanistan
It was the jolting vibrations
that shook our senses,
nonetheless directed by fellow humans.
Our eyes darted from mysterious fears
of losing one another.
“There’s been an explosion. Don’t come this way!”,
torn by our unspoken wish to huddle together,
as if madness could be scattered
among the fragile shells of ourselves.
as if we could
dream the unknown away.
the vision of connecting with other humans via Skype
stressing our time schedule,
as if there was a timetable
that could be kept in war,
as if sanity could be pursued
when our sight was wet.
My temper broke again,
Ali began to punch the wall,
Abdulhai bravely confessed disappointment with self,
and then, Faiz’s tears opened Ali’s river,
of sobs that were hard for me to hear,
though I knew then
that I was embracing love’s defiance.
I saw that yesterday too.
Each of us,
not far from the burnt out and rocket damaged house of death,
with the street kids Martin, Mahdi and Bahran,
then the officials, the police, students, a street girl named Gulsom.
They wanted life too
Finally, an Afghan lady came,
stoically holding a sapling,
not a word,
but a hundred hurts and wishes
were in her posture.
With steady hands used to making bread,
she planted roots for all of us
a posture of hurts and wishes
Toorpekai planting with Raz
planting with City Municipality officials
watering the tree sapling
the row of planted tree saplings
Campaign Bulletin #9; April 5, 2014
By Nick Mottern
Don't forget: Weekly open conference call for activists every Wednesday, 9 pm EST
(605) 562-3000, Access code - 484539#
- Niagara Falls
- Georgia Tech
- Kick-Off Forum
- BEALE AFB
(Members of Veterans for Peace (VFP) at the April 1 Beale AFB drone protest (l-r); Dr. Richard Gilchrist, Arcata, CA; Dr. Jerry Pederson, Sacramento, CA; John Reiger, President of VFP, Sacramento; Elliott Adams, Sharon Springs, NY; and Michael Kerr, Bayview, Ca.)
On April 1, Elliot Adams, former President of Veterans for Peace (VFP), and another VFP member Richard Gilchrist, were detained for an hour at Beale Air Force Base after crossing into the base to protest its operation of the Global Hawk drone, which is used, among other things, to assist Predator and Reaper drones in targeting.
I use the word “detained” because although it appeared they were arrested, Elliott reports: “Curiously we received no paperwork - no citation, no ban and bar, no appearance date. Maybe something will come via mail later, but it surprised me we didn't get anything.”
This was also true of the demonstrators arrested in an Ash Wednesday action on March 5. One of the arrestees, Sharon Delgado, describes that action in her blog at http://sharondelgado.org/2014/03/05/ash-wednesday-worship-and-arrests-at-beale/.
This may signal a new approach by the base and local courts in handling civil resistance at Beale. For more details, see the Court Action section below.
The Beale protesters, numbering about 15 were met with soaking rain, but their spirits were high, in part because of increasing publicity, particularly article in the Mar. 30 Sacramento Bee that dominated both the front and back pages. This is the front page, with a link where you can read the whole article.
“We are truly growing into a force… they must reckon with,” said Toby Blome, who also reported: “The exchanges with the airmen at the lunch hour was very intriguing. Even if they came on "company mission" they truly seemed engaged in the dialogue.”
Here is a report of that encounter by Barry Binks, a VFP member:
Because they (the airmen) were present some of us felt constrained in what we could say. When they were asked if we could take their pictures they declined. (We take a lot of pictures and post them on Facebook so that was probably the right decision for them) We decided we would go around the circle and introduce ourselves with name, hometown and a little history. Elliott warned the airmen that anything they said could be used against them. They gave us just their basic info, claimed they were not involved in the drone program. We tried to get them more involved in our conversation but they were careful not to say too much. I think all had been deployed in the Middle East at some time in their career and they are all career soldiers. Some of our people explained why they are demonstrating against drones. Both Elliott and Richard presented several arguments against drone warfare, the UN Charter, human rights, civilians killed, etc. The airmen listened, made no excuses and claimed they were not aware of some of the things we told them have happened. They claimed ignorance. When we told them about material to read, etc they had nothing to say and didn’t visibly take any notes. They all had enough pockets and equipment, (cell phones, etc) to have been recording the whole thing. I am personally ambivalent about talking to these people. They always come out right away when we show up to protest and want to know “how many people coming? What are we going to do? How long will it last? etc” I have ignored them or given them vague answers and I think so has every one else. Sometimes being friendly has helped. Last time I was arrested they put on the handcuffs so loose that I was able to slip them off and hand them back, and it wasn’t a problem. They tell us they follow our Facebook pages and keep up with what we are doing. I think this is just part of their job, and if they could get something criminal against us they would, so I don’t volunteer much.
This FaceBook link gives offers more photos of the April 1 action at Beale:
For the next events scheduled at Beale see the Ideas/Planned Events section below.
- NIAGARA FALLS
Also on April 1, about a dozen activists from Western New York Peace Center and Upstate (NY) Drone Action protested on at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on opening day of the new Reaper drone control center there.
Russell Brown, a VFP member, said that Martin Gugino attempted to deliver a letter to the base commander that he had just sent to Niagara County District Attorney Michael J. Violante and the Buffalo News, saying: “The Niagara Falls Airbase has taken an overt act to join in a criminal conspiracy. We ask you to empanel a grand jury in preparation for bringing charges against all involved.” (The full letter is in Attachment A)
Russell reports as follows on Martin’s action: “He walked up to the gate to deliver a copy to the base commander. They have signs out in front of the gates that say no protesters beyond this point. Until Martin walked past the signs there were no police, sheriffs, or base police. After he walked up there a base vehicle pulled up to him with lights. He asked them to take his letter to the commander. They said they weren't mailmen and refused to take the letter. He walked back to us and the sheriffs and police showed up with all their lights on. They were friendly and said not to go on the base and left. Not much happened after that.”
Commenting on the atmosphere at the base, Russell said: “What I realized is that we should bring our VFP flag to that site. We have 3 members that were at the demo. The people leaving the base were not friendly. A couple was down right nasty. But it might be helpful if they realize some of us were veterans, not ‘fucking scumbags’”.
The stunning poster that Russell created to announce the event appears in Attachment B.
A press report of the protest, with photos, appears here: http://www.niagara-gazette.com/local/x539824010/Vigil-targets-use-of-drones-as-107th-starts-new-mission
Videos of the event may be seen at: http://bit.ly/1hzCOCc
(Buddhist peace walkers on the way from Massachusetts to Washington DC join the Mar. 29 protest of the planned drone control center in Horsham, PA)
Protests against the establishment of a drone control center at the Horsham (PA) Air Guard field resumed on Saturday, March 29, after a two-month winter break. Bob Smith, Staff Coordinator of Brandywine Peace Community, reports:
The last Saturday of the month protest demonstrations to Stop the PA Drone War Command Center at the Horsham PA Air Guard Base, which began in April 2013, re-commenced in a driving, non-stop rain and wind. The protest took the form of walk, entitled “Walk for a New Spring”, beginning at a Friends school two miles from the base. About 25 walkers stepped off at 11:30am in a trek that took them by the old, now closed, Willow Grove Naval Air Station (NAS) from which the Horsham Air Guard and base for the 111th PA Air Guard Fighter Wing was cut out as part of the closure of Naval Air Station two decades ago.
At noon, the walkers arrived at the protest site on northern tip of the base where they met Buddhist monks and nuns, and friends. The Buddhists were on their 13th annual "Walk for a New Spring" that took them from Leverett, MA to Washington, DC. Simultaneously, another 35 or so people arrived, picking up large signs and banners saying "NO!" to the establishment of the drone war command center in Horsham.
So far, virtually nothing has been done in developing the mammoth area left vacant by the closure of the Willow NAS, except for Horsham Air Guard station, which last March announced that it would host a U.S. Air Force drone command center. All money, as noted in the state budget, for the PA Guard and Air National Guard comes through the Federal Budget.
Since the announcement of the establishment of the drone war command center, the Brandywine Peace Community, with the support of the American Friends Service Community, Mennonite churches in the Lancaster, PA area, and a host of groups primarily in Eastern Pennsylvania, have conducted a conscious multi-approach campaign to stop the command center which the Horsham Air Guard is now stating will open in 2015.
Here is a link to other photos of the event: http://artstat.smugmug.com/CFPA/Horsham-Drone-Protest-3292014/
See the Ideas/Planned Events section below for a listing of coming events related to Horsham.
- GEORGIA TECH
A forum entitled “Who Owns the Drone” was held on April 1 at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in which about 10 people participated, including drone researchers at the school.
The event, organized by Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition and Georgia WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions) intended to examine who decides how drone research is used and who profits, with a focus on the drone research being done at Georgia Tech in cooperation with the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, in Columbus Georgia.
Kevin Caron, one of the organizers of the forum, said that the research includes “lethal autonomy”, how drones can engage targets without needing human intervention, and swarming, a way in which drones can communicate with each other to swarm a target in the way insects do.
A report on the forum by Emilia Kaiser, of WAND, appears here: http://gawand.org/2014/04/03/9366/
- KICK-OFF FORUM
(Madiha Tahir, Carl Dix, Maria LaHood, panelists (l-r) and Debra Sweet, moderator, at the April 2 kick-off forum of Spring Days of Action - 2014.)
On April 2, about 45 people attended the Spring Days of Drone Action kick-off forum at the Community Church in Manhattan, NY, organized by Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait.
Summarizing the presentations:
Madiha Tahir – maker of the film Wounds of Waziristan, said there is a need to press human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to begin calling for a halt to drone attacks rather than calling only for “transparency” about drone attacks. She that it is “time to stop pretending that we don’t know” what is happening with drone attacks that there is plenty of evidence as to what is going on and that it needs to stop. “Anything less” than calling for a halt, she said “is willful blindness.”
Maria LaHood – senior staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, asked how President Obama can say his drone strikes are legal while not releasing any significant information about them. She said legislation has just been introduced in Congress for transparency on drone attacks, a small step relative to the harm being done, but it is a step. She said that U.S. courts have refused to intervene to prevent drone killing and to assist families of drone victims trying to prosecute those who have ordered drone attacks. Nor, she said, does the U.S. heed the international community. Since no institution will stop the attacks, she said, “it’s up to us to do it.”
Carl Dix – a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and founder with Cornel West of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network said that the U.S. has been able to say its drone attacks are necessary, legal and just simply by classifying “every male of military age as an insurgent or a combatant…any women and children who get killed well that’s because those enemies were hiding among those women and children.” He said what has happened with the drone attacks is like police violence against black and Latino Americans, it is the “criminalization of whole populations”, and “they are fair game.” What we need, he said, is revolution, but even if one is not ready to undertake that, the drone attacks must be stopped.
In addition, Joan Pluene and Phyllis Cunningham of the Granny Peace Brigade explained what they are doing to win passage of a ban on weaponized drones and drone surveillance in New York City, and their initiative at the United Nations to achieve a global ban.
Here are videos of each presentation, the Q &A and opening and closing remarks:
Granny Peace Brigade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KlUD8HIyoY
Wounds of Waziristan, a 28-minute powerful, personal film, mentioned in the opening video, may be obtained at: http://www.journeyman.tv/66218/short-films/wounds-of-waziristan-hd.html.
On April 1, in Sacramento, CA, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd refused to grant a jury trial to Shirley Osgood to defend herself against a misdemeanor charge for entering Beale AFB in protest of drone operations there.
Shirley’s case is particularly interesting because, there are indications that she is going to trial because this was her second arrest for protesting at Beale and that those being arrested for their first time there are not be charged and prosecuted.
MacGregor Eddy, who was arrested with Shirley at Beale on November 25, 2013, said that charges against her, Flora Rogers and Michael Kerr, member of VFP, have been dropped, and she speculates that this is because the three were first time offenders at the base, unlike Shirley.
(Flora Rogers, MacGregor Eddy, Shirley Osgood and Michael Kerr being arrested at Beale on Nov. 25, 2013.)
This may be the reason that Elliott Adams and Richard Gilchrist were not given citations when they were detained at Beale for entering the base in their April 1 protest, as well as those arrested on March 5. (See Beale report above.)
MacGregor said that Judge Drozd, while denying Shirley the right to offer a necessity defense, did say that Shirley will be able to speak about her motives and intent.
MacGregor thinks that Sacramento is more liberal than some other parts of the state, and this is reflected in the courts. She thinks that one reason that press coverage of the Beale protests has increased is because the arrests of protesters resulted in their cases landing in Sacramento courts. Other factors are that the protests have been going on for 3 ½ years and that protesters have gotten to know reporters and how to do press work. The first civil resistance arrests began a year and a half ago.
Here is a report on this week’s conference call:
MacGregor Eddy – California – called in to call attention to the mass protest that is being organized at Beale AFB by Veterans for Peace April 28 – 29. (See events listing below.) She also discussed court handling of arrests at Beale, mentioned above.
Dave Lambert – Fort Wayne, IN – said that his group has been leafleting Raytheon and ITT facilities and that there will be a “Fly Kites Not Drones” event this Sunday, April 6. Dave reported that Indiana has passed a drone control law that is awaiting the governor’s signature. He said also that although Indiana and Ohio were not chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration to be included among the six new drone test zones, politicians from both states continue to plump for drone business. See:
Kevin Caron – Atlanta, GA – reported on the drone forum at Georgia Tech (See above report). He was heading to Loyola University in New Orleans for the 6th Annual Student Peace Conference where he was to give a lecture on April 4 entitled “Killer Drones: Vehicle of Empire?”
Andrew Dalton and Barbara Kidney – Hudson Valley – Andrew reported that anticipated rain is causing them to postpone until April 12 the “Fly Kites Not Drones” event they are planning to hold at the center of Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge that crosses the Hudson River. They are also continuing to try to get Quaker meetings to host memorial services for drone victims, which is proving very difficult. Barbara is interested in approaching the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York asking for prosecution of drone war crimes, as has been done in Virginia by members of the National Campaign for Non-violent Resistance. (See Bulletin #8), and she is exploring the idea of having her community create a “sister city” relationship with a community that has been attacked by drones.
Daniel Riehl – Lancaster, PA – said that protests are resuming on the last Saturday of each month in Horsham, PA, at the site of a planned drone control center and that he is among a group of Mennonites who have been carpooling to travel 70 miles to participate on a regular basis. He said four Mennonite churches are involved and that they will be screening Wounds of Waziristan.
Daniel recommends Bill Quigley’s presentation “Illegality of US Drone Killings”.
Sun., April 6 – 2 pm
“Ground the Drones” peace demonstration (in Knob Noster, MO about 90 miles from greater Kansas City), with speakers Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, and Brian Terrell, Catholic Worker, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and drone activist who served six months in Federal prison after his arrest in a drone protest at Whiteman in 2012.
For more information, contact Jeff Stack with the Mid-MO Fellowship of
Reconciliation at: 573-499-4585.
Sat., April 12 – Fri., April 18
The Sacred Peace Walk (SPW) is Nevada Desert Experience's premier event. This 65-mile, annual pilgrimage to the Nevada Test Site (the NTS, now officially the Nevada National Security Site) begins on April 12th with an orientation in Las Vegas and preparation for our six-day walk starting on April 13th (Sunday). The Walkers arrive at Peace Camp on Thursday, April 17th after a day walking in Vegas and three days in the desert. In between is a day of reflection at the Sekhmet Temple, vigils against drones at Creech Air Force Base, and a "Peace-over" Seder. The SPW concludes on "Good Friday," as we greet the sunrise with the Western Shoshone and conclude with a Good Friday liturgy and procession to the entrance to the NTS later in the morning.
“Fly Kites Not Drones” – Poughkeepsie, NY
Sat. April 12 – 2:45 pm
Gather on either side of the Walkway Over the Hudson (the very high, converted Poughkeepsie – Highland Railroad Bridge) Feel free to bring kites, balloons, your dog on a leash, drums, musical instruments and, of course, friends and family. Rain date: April 13. Info: (845) 699-3051.
Friday, April 18:
International Peace Activist, Kathy Kelly, to join Good Friday Vigil at Beale - 3-5pm, Main (Schneider Gate), North Beale Rd. (Kathy will attend Good Friday action at Livermore Labs that afternoon, and will speak in Grass Valley at 1pm on Saturday, April 19.) More Info: email@example.com
Mon. April 28-Tues. April 29:
Veterans United Against Drone Warfare and Militarism
Sacramento Veterans for Peace is calling for a mass convergence of veterans and supporters to join in a united front against drone warfare and global militarization. More Info: Barry Binks firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat. May 17 – Tues. May 27:
A 10-day “Walk to Peace; Resist Global Militarization/Drone Warfare" from San Francisco to Beale AFB. More details soon. To sign up for one or more days: www.facebook.com/events/1380107975587685/?ref=22
Impelled to penetrate the secrecy with which the U.S. government has attempted to conceal the intent and consequences of its drone wars, Joe Scarry and 14 organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are advocating passage of H.R. 4372 (Attachment C), entitled the “Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act”. https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/02/joint-statement-support-targeted-lethal-force-transparency-act
The introduction of the bill on April 2 by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) comes after the Mar. 28 release of a statement by leaders of the House’s Progressive Caucus, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) criticizing the Administration for boycotting a discussion by the UN Human Rights Council on drone use and calling for more Congress oversight of the U.S. drone wars. They speak of annual public accounting of the number of civilian casualties as “a good start.” http://ellison.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/ellison-grijalva-un-vote-proves-we-need-more-transparency-on-drones
Joe is working to have a Call-In Day in support of the Schiff bill, and he has also been working to build political support for the Ellison-Grijalva statement. (See Attachment D)
The Ellison-Grijalva statement and the Schiff statement in support of his bill
show a worthy intention to require the Administration to reveal more information about it drone attacks. But an examination of the meaning of the language of the bill suggests that passage would establish dangerous precedents while yielding little, if any, useful information.
First, it is obvious that the bill does nothing to stop drone attacks.
But, if one accepts that the bill has this shortcoming, what does the bill do?
One thing it appears is to do is to implicitly establish that “targeted lethal force” otherwise known as assassination, is fundamentally a legitimate activity of the U.S. government, in this case by drone.
While, in my opinion, the bill says implicitly that assassination by drone is permissible anywhere, it says that reporting on these killings and numbers of those injured in drone attacks will not be required for Afghanistan, where the U.S. has conducted the most drone attacks, or “in a foreign country described by a future declaration of war or authorization for the use of military force.”
In addition the reporting requirements apply only to drone attacks outside the United States. No reporting is required by the bill for the use of “targeted lethal force” by special operations units, cruise missile, airplanes or other means.
Examining the bill’s language through the lens of the Viet Nam War, it appears that it would have abetted the assassinations that were central to the Phoenix Program, which was intended, among other things, to systematically kill leaders of the Viet Cong.
In establishing “targeted lethal force” as a legitimate activity, the bill ignores the issue of due process, which has been one of the casualties of the U.S. drone program. Further, the bill implicitly denies that there are issues of due process within declared war zones.
The statement of the 14 organizations endorsing the bill suggests an unarticulated discomfort with the bill in relation to due process when it says “we do not necessarily agree that the terms ‘combatant’ and ‘civilian’ apply”, apparently referencing the essence of the bill which calls for annual government reporting on “civilians” and “combatants” killed by drones.
By establishing categories of “civilian’ and ‘combatant’, and giving an Administration the opportunity to define the categories, the bill implicitly legitimizes the killing of people deemed “bad” by administrative decision, not open judicial process, assuming capital punishment is acceptable.
It is obvious that supporters of the Schiff bill agree with the laudable view expressed in the 14-organization statement that: “The Executive Branch should openly acknowledge and investigate reports of potentially unlawful killings, and ensure accountability for any violations of the law.” The groups call on Congress to pass the bill, and “take this modest yet crucial step toward ending excessive secrecy about U.S. drone strikes.”
But while there is a need to learn everything we can about drone attacks, we know that secrecy is not so much the problem as the attacks themselves. We have to be aware of the possibility that the Schiff bill may provide political and legal cover for assassination and drone attacks, protection that these actions don’t have now.
There is a wish on the part of some to make elimination of drone secrecy a legislative baby step that will open a window to drone atrocities that will bring a level of public revulsion that will lead to an end to U.S. drone attacks and drone surveillance.
The Schiff bill is unlikely to achieve that because full disclosure of the workings and effects of the drone program are not its goals.
More troubling is the fact the leaders of the Progressive Caucus and the aforementioned 14 organizations have not said that ending drone secrecy is the first step in ending drone attacks and drone surveillance. What seems to be envisioned is a vague, multi-year process of limited disclosure that will in no way adequately challenge what is clearly an entrenched, growing, global U.S. program of drone execution and spying.
People now living under drones are unlikely to be patient with what appear to be imperatives of U.S. politics, as perceived by politicians in Washington DC.
I asked Madiha Tahir, maker of the film Wounds of Waziristan, to comment on the Schiff bill, and this is her response:
“As citizens of an ostensibly democratic state, governmental transparency is a laudable goal; we should know what our government are doing in our name. But, let's be clear: such transparency does little, if anything, for the victims and survivors of American militarism. Allowing the U.S. to forego transparency for its attacks on Afghanistan (and perhaps by extension, Pakistan), effectively legitimizes U.S. violence on, and occupation of, that country under the rubric of "armed conflict." The convergence between U.S. militarism and those who claim to advocate for its victims as typified in the Transparency Act is deeply troubling.”
(A personal note: I write the above with a certain amount of regret because I value greatly the counter-drone war work that Joe Scarry is doing as well as that of many others in the organizations that have endorsed the Schiff bill.)
Here is a video by Jill McLaughlin, a member of World Can’t Wait in San Francisco, that carries a powerful message as we enter the Spring Days of Action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff4oCdbOt6E&feature=youtu.be
In solidarity, and with thanks to all for the work you are doing so courageously,
Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) have called the U.S. on the carpet for dodging the call from the international community to come clean about its drone killings.
Now it's time for all 62 other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to step up to the plate.
Grijalva and Ellison's initiative creates an opportunity for all of us to demand of our progressive representatives that they, too, take a stand. It's a simple yes-or-no, no-ifs-ands-or-buts question:
"Have you signed on to the CPC co-chairs' demand
that 'our intelligence agencies provide
an annual public accounting
of the number of civilian casualties
caused by drone strikes overseas'?"
The Grijalva-Ellison demand was provoked by a series of events at the United Nations.
First, in October, 2013, a pair of long-awaited reports by the U.N. special rapporteurs on counter-terrorism and on extrajudicial executions were published. The included an unambiguous demand for a full accounting of drone killings.
This was followed by a little-publicized General Assembly vote that use of drones in counter-terrorism must comply with international law.
By early 2014, people were beginning to realize that the government was succeeding in quashing debate about its extrajudicial executions simply through its silence. A consensus began to build around the key point of pressure: the need to bear down on the U.S. government to come clean about its drone killings.
When the U.N. Human Rights council convened in March to take up the matter of the drone killings, the U.S. government had a simple solution: boycott.
And thus it was the sight of the U.S. government fleeing a U.N. convocation into human rights that provoked the call by Reps. Grijalva and Ellison. "Instead of working closely with the international community to help strengthen current international standards on the use of drones, the U.S. government decided to boycott a discussion of the draft resolution. We are troubled by the ease with which dialogue and diplomacy—values at the center of the president’s foreign policy—were cast aside in this debate," they said in their statement.
"Today’s vote highlights the need for Congress to play a larger role in overseeing and regulating the use of lethal force abroad. Requiring that our intelligence agencies provide an annual public accounting of the number of civilian casualties caused by drone strikes overseas — a measure included in the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act — would be a good start," they said. (Emphasis added)
Reps. Grijalva and Ellison issued their call in their capacity as co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The clear next step is for every other member of the CPC to join the call. This is a simple but unambiguous assertion by Congress of authority in the U.S. drone killing program, and it is vital that there be unanimous support by the CPC.
Please look at the list below and write personally to the member who represents you. Now is the time for us to insist on public statements from every member of Congress that they unreservedly support the call for the U.S. to come clean about its drone killings.
And if you live in Arizona or Minnesota . . . you have a thank you note to send.
CA02 - Jared Huffman
CA11 - George Miller
CA13 - Barbara Lee
CA17 - Michael Honda
CA20 - Sam Farr
CA27 - Judy Chu
CA34 - Xavier Becerra
CA37 - Karen Bass
CA40 - Lucille Roybal-Allard
CA41 - Mark Takano
CA43 - Maxine Waters
CA44 - Janice Hahn
CA47 - Alan Lowenthal
CO02 - Jared Polis
CT03 - Rosa DeLauro
DC00 - Eleanor Norton
FL05 - Corrine Brown
FL09 - Alan Grayson
FL22 - Lois Frankel
FL24 - Frederica Wilson
GA04 - Henry Johnson
GA05 - John Lewis
IA02 - David Loebsack
IL04 - Luis Gutierrez
IL07 - Danny Davis
IN07 - André Carson
MA02 - James McGovern
MA04 - Joseph Kennedy
MA07 - Michael Capuano
MD04 - Donna Edwards
MD07 - Elijah Cummings
ME01 - Chellie Pingree
MI13 - John Conyers
MN08 - Richard Nolan
MO05 - Emanuel Cleaver
MS02 - Bennie Thompson
NJ06 - Frank Pallone
NJ12 - Rush Holt
NV04 - Steven Horsford
NY07 - Nydia Velázquez
NY08 - Hakeem Jeffries
NY09 - Yvette Clarke
NY10 - Jerrold Nadler
NY12 - Carolyn Maloney
NY13 - Charles Rangel
NY15 - José Serrano
NY25 - Louise Slaughter
OH11 - Marcia Fudge
OR01 - Suzanne Bonamici
OR04 - Peter DeFazio
PA02 - Chaka Fattah
PA17 - Matt Cartwright
RI01 - David Cicilline
TN09 - Steve Cohen
TX18 - Sheila Jackson Lee
TX30 - Eddie Johnson
VA08 - James Moran
VI00 - Donna Christensen
VT00 - Peter Welch
WA07 - Jim McDermott
WI02 - Mark Pocan
WI04 - Gwen Moore
A 2013 U.N. report makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.
The reason the Administration is hiding truth about drones is that they don't have a satisfactory answer for how decisions about drone strikes are made. As we have known all along, we need the public to think about how crummy the whole drone program is, and then they will be ready to be on our side. The best way to get them really thinking is to shine a spotlight on the secrecy, evasiveness, and deceit involved in the U.S. drone program.
(See Drone Killings: Come Clean )
An Insider's Guide to the 7 S's (surveillance, secrecy, and assassinations) in the 2014 Midterms: linchpin races, scandal, principle, drone testing, and some "special" cases.
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Two professional sports teams in Washington, D.C., have intolerable names: the Redskins and the Nationals.
The Redskins name is disgusting racism that recalls the nation's original genocidal sin, a crime that carries over to today's naming of weapons and operations after various Native Americans and treating other groups of people as valueless.
But I for one find it easier to imagine a crowd of Redskins fans as ignorant and oblivious -- which is really the best you can hope to imagine a crowd to be. They aren't consciously advocating genocide. Most of them have never stopped to think how they would respond as a white minority to a team called The Fighting Whities, but they also aren't thinking about racial superiority. They're thinking "I want OUR team to beat the other team," and having identified themselves with the team, they just accept its name like they accept their own names regardless of how evil King David or whomever they're named for was.
The Nationals, on the other hand, are part of the promotion of the worst crimes our society is currently engaged in. A National's game is packed, inning after inning, with songs and cheers and announcements promoting war. Fans are told that the U.S. Navy is "keeping the world's oceans safe and free" -- and they stand and cheer for that, even as the U.S. Navy and Army and Air Force and Marines and assorted special forces and mercenaries and CIA kill, and kill, and kill, building hostility around the world.
"I'm proud to be an American because at least I know I'm free," they hear and sing. How do they know they're free? How does an ocean know it's free? What in the world are they talking about? This nation lacks civil liberties and human rights found elsewhere, and we lose more rights with every war. Where's our Fourth Amendment? Our First Amendment? Where are Roosevelt's freedoms from fear and want? Polluting the world's oceans with death machines that launch missiles into people's houses doesn't make us or the fish or the people murdered "free."
Can we imagine Nationals' fans as oblivious? Do they not know that the world doesn't appreciate being kept "free"? Do they suppose that wars really benefit people? Do they not know what was done to Iraq? Maybe, but I for one find it a greater strain to imagine. The uniformed killers are right there, being honored, singing songs. And the team is named for the concept that 5% of humanity should be identified with over the other 95%. There's not an enlightened way to do that, and as long as we imagine there to be we'll remain as ignorant and destructive as jackasses who paint their faces red and stick feathers on their heads to go to football games. In fact, we might be worse.
Egyptian journalists strike, demanding protection, a week after a young journalist was killed - AP
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Humanity Versus a Corrupt State:
Coups and Cash Machines in Rio de Janeiro
By John Grant
We have an update on the case of John Brennan, the man who stripped naked at a TSA checkpoint in April of 2012.
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Sociologists, political scientists, activists of various persuasions and many others often describe social stratification in terms of such measures as class, race and gender. There is much talk in the academic and other literature about the working class, the middle class and the ruling class, for example. And about relationships defined by such factors as religion, employment, income and other measures.
By Alfredo Lopez
For two years, starting in 2010, the United States Agency for International Development ran a social networking service -- similar to Twitter -- for the Cuban people. Its long-term objective was to forment popular revolt against the government and de-stabilize the country.
The mechanisation of killing is marching on. The dream of the controllers is to replace "human" riot police or soldiers with "Robo Cops". No need to take into account any "sentient" uncertainties. The activist organisation AFRI (Action from Ireland) is starting an awareness campaign. Here is their announcement.
Irish launch of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
Irish School of Ecumenics -Loyola Institute building (facing rubgy pitch)
"The notion of a 'humanitarian war' would have rang in the ears of the drafters of the UN Charter as nothing short of Hitlerian, because it was precisely the justification used by Hitler himself for the invasion of Poland just six years earlier." —Michael Mandel
Fifteen years ago, NATO was bombing Yugoslavia. This may be difficult for people to grasp who believe the Noah movie is historical fiction, but: What your government told you about the bombing of Kosovo was false. And it matters.
While Rwanda is the war that many misinformed people wish they could have had (or rather, wish others could have had for them), Yugoslavia is the war they're glad happened -- at least whenever World War II really fails as a model for the new war they're after -- in Syria for instance, or in Ukraine -- the latter being, like Yugoslavia, another borderland between east and west that is being taken to pieces.
The peace movement is gathering in Sarajevo this summer. The moment seems fitting to recall how NATO's breakout war of aggression, its first post-Cold-War war to assert its power, threaten Russia, impose a corporate economy, and demonstrate that a major war can keep all the casualties on one side (apart from self-inflicted helicopter crashes) -- how this was put over on us as an act of philanthropy.
The killing hasn't stopped. NATO keeps expanding its membership and its mission, notably into places like Afghanistan and Libya. It matters how this got started, because it's going to be up to us to stop it.
Some of us had not yet been born or were too young or too busy or too Democratic partisan or too caught up still in the notion that mainstream opinion isn't radically insane. We didn't pay attention or we fell for the lies. Or we didn't fall for the lies, but we haven't yet figured out a way to get most people to look at them.
Here's my recommendation. There are two books that everyone should read. They are about the lies we were told about Yugoslavia in the 1990s but are also two of the best books about war, period, regardless of the subtopic. They are: How America Gets Away With Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity by Michael Mandel, and Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions by Diana Johnstone.
Johnstone's book provides the historical background, the context, and analysis of the role of the United States, of Germany, of the mass media, and of various players in Yugoslavia. Mandel's book provides the immediate events and a lawyer's analysis of the crimes committed. While many ordinary people in the United States and Europe supported or tolerated the war out of good intentions -- that is, because they believed the propaganda -- the motivations and actions of the U.S. government and NATO turn out to have been as cynical and immoral as usual.
The United States worked for the breakup of Yugoslavia, intentionally prevented negotiated agreements among the parties, and engaged in a massive bombing campaign that killed large numbers of people, injured many more, destroyed civilian infrastructure and hospitals and media outlets, and created a refugee crisis that did not exist until after the bombing had begun. This was accomplished through lies, fabrications, and exaggerations about atrocities, and then justified anachronistically as a response to violence that it generated.
After the bombing, the U.S. allowed the Bosnian Muslims to agree to a peace plan very similar to the plan that the U.S. had been blocking prior to the bombing spree. Here's U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali:
"In its first weeks in office, the Clinton administration has administered a death blow to the Vance-Owen plan that would have given the Serbs 43 percent of the territory of a unified state. In 1995 at Dayton, the administration took pride in an agreement that, after nearly three more years of horror and slaughter, gave the Serbs 49 percent in a state partitioned into two entities."
These many years later it should matter to us that we were told about fake atrocities that researchers were unable to ever find, any more than anyone could ever find the weapons in Iraq, or the evidence of plans to slaughter civilians in Benghazi, or the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons use. We're being told that Russian troops are massing on the border of Ukraine with genocidal intentions. But when people look for those troops they can't find them. We should be prepared to consider what that might mean.
NATO had to bomb Kosovo 15 years ago to prevent a genocide? Really? Why sabotage negotiations? Why pull out all observers? Why give five days' warning? Why then bomb away from the area of the supposed genocide? Wouldn't a real rescue operation have sent in ground forces without any warning, while continuing diplomatic efforts? Wouldn't a humanitarian effort have avoided killing so many men, women, and children with bombs, while threatening to starve whole populations through sanctions?
Mandel looks very carefully at the legality of this war, considering every defense ever offered for it, and concludes that it violated the U.N. Charter and consisted of murder on a large scale. Mandel, or perhaps his publisher, chose to begin his book with an analysis of the illegality of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and to leave Yugoslavia out of the book's title. But it is Yugoslavia, not Iraq or Afghanistan, that war proponents will continue pointing to for years to come as a model for future wars -- unless we stop them. This was a war that broke new ground, but did it with far more effective PR than the Bush administration ever bothered with. This war violated the UN Charter, but also -- though Mandel doesn't mention it -- Article I of the U.S. Constitution requiring Congressional approval.
Every war also violates the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Mandel, all too typically, erases the Pact from consideration even while noting its existence and significance. "The first count against the Nazis at Nuremberg," he writes, "was the 'crime against peace . . . violation of international treaties' -- international treaties just like the Charter of the United Nations." That can't be right. The U.N. Charter did not yet exist. Other treaties were not just like it. Much later in the book, Mandel cites the Kellogg-Briand Pact as the basis for the prosecutions, but he treats the Pact as if it existed then and exists no longer. He also treats it as if it banned aggressive war, rather than all war. I hate to quibble, as Mandel's book is so excellent, including his criticism of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for refusing to recognize the U.N. Charter. But what they're doing to make the U.N. Charter a treaty of the past, Mandel himself (and virtually everyone else) does to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, awareness of which would devastate all arguments for "humanitarian wars."
Of course, proving that every war thus far marketed as humanitarian has actually harmed humanity doesn't eliminate the theoretical possibility of a humanitarian war. What erases that is the damage that keeping the institution of war around does to human society and the natural environment. Even if, in theory, 1 war in 1,000 could be a good one (which I don't believe for a minute), preparing for wars is going to bring those other 999 along with it. That is why the time has come to abolish the institution.
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By Alfredo Lopez
"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."
By Alfredo Lopez
"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."