The Oxymoron of Peace

By Robert C. Koehler

“At the same time, values and ideas which were considered universal, such as cooperation, mutual aid, international social justice and peace as an encompassing paradigm are also becoming irrelevant.”

Maybe this piercing observation by Roberto Savio, founder of the news agency Inter Press Service, is the cruelest cut of all. Geopolitically speaking, hope — the official kind, represented, say, by the United Nations in 1945 — feels fainter than I can remember. “We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . .”

I mean, it was never real. Five centuries of European colonialism and global culture-trashing, and the remaking of the world in the economic interests of competing empires, cannot be undone by a single institution and a cluster of lofty ideals.

As Savio notes in an essay called “Ever Wondered Why the World Is a Mess?,”: “The world, as it now exists, was largely shaped by the colonial powers, which divided the world among themselves, carving out states without any consideration for existing ethnic, religious or cultural realities.”

And after the colonial era collapsed, these carved-out political entities, defining swatches of territory without any history of national identity, suddenly became the Third World and floundered in disarray. “. . . it was inevitable that to keep these artificial countries alive, and avoid their disintegration, strongmen would be needed to cover the void left by the colonial powers. The rules of democracy were used only to reach power, with very few exceptions.”

Whatever noble attempts at eliminating war the powers that be made in the wake of World War II — Europe’s near self-annihilation — didn’t cut nearly deep enough. These attempts didn’t set about undoing five centuries of colonial conquest and genocide. They didn’t cut deeper than national interest.

And global peace built on a foundation of nation-states is an oxymoron. As historian Michael Howard noted in his book The Lessons of History (quoted by Barbara Ehrenreich in Blood Rites): “From the very beginning, the principle of nationalism was almost indissolubly linked, both in theory and practice, with the idea of war.”

All of which leads me to the $400 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive warplane ever built, or not quite built. The aircraft, designed by Lockheed, is now seven years behind schedule, but the Pentagon had planned to display its new baby this week at the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K. This debut has now been called off because the engine of one of the planes caught fire on a runway in Florida in June, and officials feared the problem was systemic.

In other words, it could happen again. It could happen at the airshow, with the jet’s prospective customers — Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and eight other U.S. allies — in attendance. Grounding it was a business decision. Indeed, it was a decision made at the delicate intersection of business and war.

“The setbacks follow a series of technical problems and development delays that have affected the F-35, one of the world’s most ambitious weapons programs, with estimated development costs of around $400 billion,” Nicola Clark and Christopher Drew wrote this week in the New YorkTimes. “Analysts said the timing of the problems, just as Lockheed Martin was hoping to demonstrate the plane to prospective export buyers here, could not have been worse.”

What I found interesting — well, overwhelmingly depressing, actually — was the fact that this story ran in the Times’ International Business section. When Savio writes, “Attempts to create regional or international alliances to bring stability have always been stymied by national interests,” this may be what he’s talking about. National interests are business interests. In the mainstream media, this is simply a given.

And the ongoing setbacks and escalating cost don’t matter. The F-35 project is still going forward, even though, as Kate Brannen wrote recently in Foreign Policy, “over the course of the aircrafts’ lifetimes, operating costs are expected to exceed $1 trillion.”

The warplane’s supply of funding is inexhaustible, apparently. Congress is behind it all the way. And it’s hardly news. “Lockheed has carefully hired suppliers and subcontractors in almost every state to ensure that virtually all senators and members of Congress have a stake in keeping the program — and the jobs it has created — in place,” Brannen wrote.

Austerity is for losers. There’s always money to wage war and build weapons, indeed, to continue developing weapons, generation after generation after generation. The contractors are adept at playing the game. Jobs link arms with fear and patriotism and the next war is always inevitable. And it’s always necessary, because we’ve created a world of perpetual — and well-armed — instability.

The problem with the United Nations is that it’s a unity of entities defined by their hatred of one another and committed to the perpetuation of “the scourge of war.” We won’t begin creating global peace until we learn how to bypass nationalism and the single, unacknowledged agreement binding nation-states to each other: the inevitability of war.

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

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC.

Tariq Khdeir's Statement

"Hello everybody. Thank you so much for coming out tonight to welcome me home. It feels so good to be back in Tampa. I cannot even put it in words. I can’t wait to go back to play with my friends and go fishing. I got through these past two weeks because I know you were all thinking of me, praying for me and sending me messages to support me.

"There’s one main thing that I wanted to say, which is that you will only know my story because I’m an American. But I hope you will also remember my cousin, a sixteen-year-old Palestinian named Mohammed Abu Khdeir. He was just a kid like me and this whole thing started because he was killed. I know he must have been terrified like I was. I was in a new place and suddenly attacked by masked police. It was by far the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. The physical pain in those first hours was really rough. And I’m only fifteen but I’ll never think about freedom in the same way as I did two [weeks] ago.

"I wanted to ask you all to please remember my cousin Mohammed and the thirty-six kids that died in Gaza over the past several days. They have names like mine. I hope the violence will stop for their sake. No child, whether they are Palestinian or Israeli, deserves to die that way.

"I’m so glad to be back home again and healing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I feel really good. I feel great."

Source: WMNF.

Israel News - July 17, 2014


Israel, Hamas agree to 5-hour cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza - Fox News


Hamas demands changes to Egypt Gaza ceasefire plan - AFP


Hamas and Islamic Jihad set ten conditions in return for ten years of truce with Israel - israelmatzav.blogspot.com


Islamic Jihad: Fighting in Gaza will continue until demands met - Maan News Agency


'I want peace. I'm exhausted by war': Gazans speak out amid brief lull - theguardian.com


POLL: Gaza Public Rejects Hamas, Wants Ceasefire - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


POLL: Violence is not a popular option among Palestinians, Hamas is not benefiting from the crisis - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


While Gazans suffer in poverty leaders of Hamas live in luxury, They built their wealth through taxes on goods that were smuggled through the tunnels - The Tower


PA and Fatah have no ability to intervene in the Gaza strip because it is ruled exclusively by Hamas despite the unity agreement, Abbas adviser says - The Canadian Jewish News


For ceasefire, Abbas proposes PA forces along Gaza-Egypt border - The Times of Israel


Gaza: An exclusive look into the roles of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades and Islamic Jihad - Al Akhbar English


Military wing of Hamas says it launched drones into Israel -- one of them downed by an Israeli Patriot missile - LA Times


VIDEO: Hamas releases own footage of armed drone and rocket fire at Israel - Haaretz


VIDEO: Israel shoots down homemade Hamas drone - Fox News


Analysis-Hamas homemade rocket industry bypasses crumbling supply lines - Reuters


Blog: Hamas Rocket Technology Moving Up - americanthinker.com


Israeli app tracks Hamas rocket attacks - THE DAILY STAR


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

Israeli Shells Kill Four Children Playing Football On Gaza Beach - NYTimes.com


Witness Accounts of Israeli Gaza Attack That Killed 4 Boys - NYTimes.com


Police: First Israeli citizen killed by Hamas rocket fire, He was a rabbi delivering food to IDF troops - AP


Netanyahu Says Demilitarizing Gaza Strip Is Israel Priority - Businessweek


Analysis: Netanyahu talks of demilitarization as rocket barrage continues - JPost


Israel to Pause Bombing on Thursday, but Gaza Invasion Is Still Seen Likely - NYTimes.com


Livni: If Hamas rocket fire persists, Israel will have no choice but to invade Gaza - JPost


Undermining PM, Liberman calls to retake Gaza, denounces truce efforts - The Times of Israel


Ex-Israel Intelligence chief Efraim Halevy calls for talks with Hamas: ‘There are worse options than Hamas’ (VIDEO) - CNN.com Blogs


Israel warns Gazans to flee as air campaign intensifies, Hamas tells residents to ignore evacuation instructions - The Times of Israel


Israel charges 3 suspects in Palestinian teen 'revenge killing' - Fox News


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

Obama: US using all means to get Israel cease-fire - US News


VIDEO: Barack Obama Calls for Israel Gaza Ceasefire - " Want to Protect Civilians on Both Sides " - YouTube


US blocks Qatari funds to pay salaries to thousands of Hamas employees, Hamas won’t accept truce unless it receives payments - Times of Israel


Israel's Iron Dome Gets New Funding by US Lawmakers - foreignpolicy.com


Why More of Israel's Iron Dome Will Be Made in the U.S. - Businessweek


POLL: Republicans sympathize with Israel much more strongly than Democrats - WashingtonExaminer.com


POLL (Full Report): As Mideast Violence Continues, a Wide Partisan Gap in Israel-Palestinian Sympathies - Pew Research Center


Erdogan Dismisses Reconciliation With Israel Over Gaza ‘Terror’ - Bloomberg


Hamas reaches out to Qatar and Turkey for mediation - The Times of Israel


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Another Hancock Anti-Drone Protester Convicted of a Misdemeanor

Jack Gilroy of Binghamton, NY was convicted after a two-day jury trial in DeWitt Town Court of charges stemming from his arrest during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base on April 28, 2013.   Jack was convicted of Trespass, a violation, and Obstructing Governmental Administration, a misdemeanor by a jury of five women and one man.   He will be sentenced by Judge Robert Jokl on October 1st, a year and a half after his arrest.  The sentence for the latter charge may be up to one year in jail and a fine of $1000.  Jack’s Order of Protection was also reissued today as a 2 year Permanent Order protecting Commander Greg Semmel, the commanding officer at Hancock Base.
 
Jack testified that he joined the Army out of high school, and was stationed in Austria in the early 50s at a time when the Cold War was hot. He says that despite a climate of distrust and contempt towards Russians, when he actually had to look a young Russian soldier in the eye during a ceremonial event, he didn’t see the evil he’d been trained to expect.  Since then, Jack has spent 30 years as a teacher.   A member of Veterans for Peace and Peace Action New York, Jack  is currently working with Peace Action at Binghamton University to convince the college to offer a Peace Studies Program. 
 
Regarding the April 2013 protest, Jack testified that the boundaries of the base were unclear and unmarked at the time.   He said his intention was to send a message to base personnel and the public, not to disrupt the operation of the base.   Only one gate was affected by the symbolic die-in he participated in, which blocked the inbound lane of the access road.  Jack was arrested and removed 30 seconds after lying in the road so he had little effect on potential base traffic.
 
Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, is a domestic hub for MQ-9 Reaper drone support.  It is a training site for pilots and technicians, a drone test location and an active site in the ongoing wars overseas.  Heavily armed Reapers piloted at Hancock fly lethal missions over Afghanistan and possibly elsewhere.   Hancock pilots also fly test flights from Fort Drum over Lake Ontario. 
 
Upstate Drone Action has been protesting the Drones at Hancock Base since 2009 with bimonthly vigils, annual rallies and a Gandhian Wave of civil resistance.  Mary Anne Grady Flores was convicted of violating an Order of Protection by standing in the road in front of Hancock Base and sentenced on July 9 to one year in prison.  There are 11 trials scheduled for Hancock protesters in DeWitt between now and next July stemming from the April 28 protest.   Several more trials are pending.   On July 30th and 31st Russell Brown will be tried pro se, serving as his own defense council, on the same charges Jack Gilroy faced today.
 

Some FACTS re Genesis of Current Crisis in Ukraine

www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-shevardnadze-20140715,0,3983982.story

baltimoresun.com

When the U.S. welched on Shevardnadze [Commentary]

The Ukraine crisis owes its roots to a deal America made and broke with the recently deceased Soviet foreign minister

By Ray McGovern

July 16, 2014

Talk Nation Radio: Keane Bhatt: Human Rights Watch Must Close Revolving Door to U.S. Government

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-keane-bhatt-human-rights-watch-must-close-revolving-door-to-us-government

Keane Bhatt is an activist and writer who has organized a campaign to close Human Rights Watch's revolving door with the U.S. government. Sign this petition.

Read this background:
Nobel Peace Laureates to HRW: Close Your Revolving Door to U.S. Government
Keane Bhatt: The Hypocrisy of Human Rights Watch
Chase Madar: Hawks for Humanity
More Than 100 Latin America Experts Question HRW's Venezuela Report
Nobel Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch's Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government

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

100 Years of War – 100 Years of Peace and the Peace Movement, 1914 – 2014

By Peter van den Dungen

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. … It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. --Andrew Carnegie

Since this is a strategy conference of the peace and anti-war movement, and since it is being held against the background of the centenary of the First World War, I will confine my comments largely to issues the centenary should focus on and to the way in which the peace movement can contribute to the anniversary events which will be spreading out over the coming four years. The numerous commemorative events not only in Europe but around the world offer an opportunity to the anti-war and peace movement to publicise and advance its agenda.

Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?

By Norman Solomon

As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

Top “national security” officials in Washington now have the determination and tech prowess to keep tabs on billions of people. No one elected Uncle Sam to play God. But a dire shortage of democratic constraints has enabled the U.S. surveillance state to keep expanding with steely resolve.

By the time Edward Snowden used NSA documents to expose -- beyond any doubt -- a global surveillance dragnet, the situation had deteriorated so badly because the Bush and Obama administrations were able to dismiss earlier warnings to the public as little more than heresy.

If Iraq Were in Central America

Just as in discussions of bombing nations for women's rights it's hard to bring up the subject of the right not to be bombed, in discussions of shipping so-called illegal children away from the border where you've been terrorizing them in reenactments of Freedom Ride buses it's hard to bring up the subject of not having your government overthrown and your nation turned into a living hell.

Imagine, however, if Iraq were in Central America.  Most people in the United States don't realize how convenient it has been to have millions of Iraqis made homeless so far away from the United States, fleeing to places like Syria, and then fleeing Syria when it's Syria's turn to be destroyed. 

If, during the past decades of war and sanctions and war on Iraq, Iraq had been located closer to Miami and San Antonio than New York or Seattle is, wouldn't it have been a bit harder for people to tell pollsters that Iraq was benefitting from the war?  Wouldn't it have been a bit harder to continue pretending immigrants are something different from refugees?  Wouldn't immigrants rights groups have been compelled to notice the military and the wars that create the justification for abuses in the United States but also the motivations for fleeing homes where the wars happen?

If Gaza were in Maryland, would the United States still provide the weapons for bombing the homes there? Would CNN still blame Gazans who remain in their homes? Or would it, rather, scream at them to get back home where they belong?

Well, Honduras is closer to Florida and Texas than much of the United States is.  The U.S. government facilitated the overthrow of the government of Honduras with a military coup in 2009 and has supported, funded, armed, and trained the military and the police that have turned Honduras into the most violent and dangerous place on earth, beating out Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and other top contenders in the World Cup of Hell Holes.  The President of Honduras was yanked out of bed and flown to a U.S. military base and out of the country.  The military that replaced him has been trained in torture and assassination at the School of the Americas in Georgia.

And now President Obama is ordering Honduran toddlers flown home from the United States where they are disturbing good democratic citizens of the land of liberty.  Perhaps this is a moment, after all, in which to unite the movement for the rights of immigrants with the movement for peace and the rule of law in foreign relations. 

Imagine the strength of those two movements combined.  Words like Hope and Change might actually mean something.

Until then, forgive me if I'm simply disgusted with the level of evil imposed on the world by those in power and the failure of those abused to unite against it.

Counting the Presidents' Bodies

"If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged," said Noam Chomsky prior to the last few presidencies, none of which is likely to have changed his analysis.

But what if you applied such principles retroactively back to George Washington and every U.S. president since?  What if you graded presidents, not on personality or style or popularity, but on how many deaths they caused or prevented?

Al Carroll's new book is called Presidents' Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents: Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions.

I think this is a model for how history ought to be examined, despite serious flaws.  Carroll's project may ultimately be impossible.  How do you score presidents on the areas of criminal enterprise they opened up for their successors?  Could you have really had a Nixon without a Truman?  Carroll is aware of these difficulties, and also of the overarching lesson that giving single individuals such royal powers as presidents have been given inevitably leads to disaster.  But I think he still falls short.

Carroll attempts to step outside his own biases and look at the facts.  But how does one include sins of omission? How does one score numbers of deaths across centuries, given dramatic growth in populations?  And what about the deaths that Carroll happens to approve of?  He gives Lincoln and FDR credit for the Civil War and World War II while marking all other presidents down for their wars (although marking FDR down for certain atrocities during his war); he has swallowed the humanitarian war advocates' mythology about Bosnia; and he omits dozens of smaller military operations from any mention at all.  And Carroll's current day partisanship seems to be showing as he credits Obama with ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that the war in Afghanistan has not been ended and the war in Iraq, which Obama was forced to end, he has now found a way of restarting.

I said this book was a model, not the ultimate achievement of the genre.  Carroll is of course right to denounce historians who examine "leadership" and "presidential caliber" as little better than celebrity tabloid writers.  And his book, whether one agrees with his selections and rankings, makes illuminating reading that would benefit any classroom.  Simplistic, it is not.  Much of each section is devoted to who else gets the blame for particular horrors.  To pretend that in blaming a president for something Carroll has asserted that nobody else is to blame for it would require cutting out a large percentage of the book.  Carroll also devotes space to what plausibly could have been done by each president rather than what that president did.

Our airports, cities, and states are named for butchers, Carroll writes, and correcting that does not require that we get the butchers into the perfect ranking.  Yet, for what it's worth, here is Carroll's ranking of the worst of the worst, beginning with the very worst of them all: Nixon, Reagan, Jackson, Buchanan, Polk, Filmore, Clinton, Ford, Truman, McKinley, Bush II, Andrew Johnson.  And here's his ranking of the best, beginning with number 1: Lincoln, Van Buren, Carter, Grant.  Carroll includes positive deeds by Nixon, and negative deeds by Carter, etc.  But this is where he comes out..

In fact, Carroll includes enough information on these and other presidents, that he may end up reinforcing your disagreement with him on the rankings.  I've always considered Truman the worst of the worst, and when Carroll lays the Cold War -- and all the actual wars it included -- at Truman's feet, he seems to make the case (although U.S. policy did not exactly transform when the Cold War ended). 

The book, I think, works best if read straight through and then re-arranged or collated in your head.  Carroll treats presidential horrors in terms of categories that don't make the most sense.  First come genocides, then the allowance of or provocation of genocides, then slavery as a subcategory of genocide, then atrocities during wars, then something called "mass death by incompetence or ideological blindness" (which ends up including, in order from greatest to fewest deaths: "deregulation," the Cold War, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the U.S. Civil War [blaming Buchanan for it, while giving Lincoln credit for it], the "war" on drugs, the War of 1812, the Panama Canal, Hurricane Katrina, and the Branch Davidians), then "Other American Wars of Aggression," etc.  Wars of nonaggression (or something?) never make the lists.  I'd have preferred one list that combined all the sections and included all the wars, as well as all other acts of commission and omission causing or alleviating mass suffering.

Carroll also includes good deeds by presidents, including instances of war avoidance, and including disarmament successes.  I think this section could be significantly expanded and truly is a model for the sort of history books we need.  And we need them with something else in precisely this section: heroism.  Gore Vidal recounted JFK saying "What would Lincoln have been without a war? Just a railroad lawyer." Indeed, without his "good war," Lincoln might have been as thoroughly ignored as Coolidge by Carroll, despite the creation by the latter's administration of a treaty banning war, and the avoidance by his administration of any major war making.  But what if future Kennedys saw the later JFK who turned against wars, and paid a price for it, as a model of greatness, as well as viewing the rogues gallery of past butchers as just what they were?

The Kill Team Movie: Show It in Schools

Kill Team is not just a video game anymore, not just the inevitable pairing of two of the most popular words in American English.  "Kill Team" is now a movie, and against the odds it's not a celebration of killing, but a particular take on an actual series of events made widely known by Rolling Stone.


U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan developed the practice of killing civilians for sport, placing weapons beside the bodies or otherwise pretending to have been attacked, keeping body parts as trophies, and celebrating their "kills" in photographs with the corpses.

For months, according to Rolling Stone, the whole platoon knew what was going on.  Officers dismissed complaints from the relatives of victims, accepted completely implausible accounts, and failed to help victims who might still be alive (instead ordering a soldier to "Make sure he's dead.")

A key instigator, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, arrived in Afghanistan recounting a successful murder of a family in Iraq and bearing tattoos recording his kills.  "Get me a kill" soldiers asked who wanted to participate in the kill team.  Killers were treated as heroes, and the widespread understanding that they were killing civilians who'd never threatened them didn't seem to damage that treatment.

"Drop-weapon" has been a common term among vets returning to the United States from Afghanistan and Iraq for over a decade, referring to a weapon used to frame a victim.  "We're just the ones who got caught," says Pfc. Justin Stoner in the film.  He also raises an important question that the film does not seriously pursue, remarking: "We're training you from the day you join to the day you're out to kill. Your job is to kill. You're infantry. Your job is to kill everything that gets in your way. Well, then why the hell are you pissed off when we do it?"

Eleven soldiers have been convicted of crimes as part of the kill team, including Gibbs who has been sentenced to life in prison.  Why were these kills crimes and others not, wonders Stoner.  It's a question worthy of consideration.  The cover stories for the kills, including claims that people made some threatening movement, don't seem enough to justify these murders even if they had been true.  What were the soldiers doing in these people's villages to begin with?

That's the question the movie opens with the soldiers asking themselves.  They'd been trained for exciting combat and then sent to Afghanistan to be bored, hungry for action, eager to test out their training.  This is a point often missed by those who advocate turning the U.S. military into a force for good, an emergency rescue squad for natural disasters, or a humanitarian aid operation.  You would have to train and equip people for those jobs first.  These young men were trained to kill, armed to kill, prepped to kill, and left to kick sand around.

They began premeditating the worst sort of premeditated murder.  They openly recount their conversations in the film.  They had weapons to drop, grenades that weren't "tracked," they'd pretend someone had a grenade and kill him. Who? Anyone. They saw everyone as fair game. 

And they did as planned.  And they were welcomed back to the "FOB" as heroes.  And they did it again.  And again.

The film does not tell the whole story. It focuses on Spc. Adam Winfield, his parents, and his court proceedings back in the United States.  Winfield told his father on a Facebook chat, early on, what was happening.  Winfield was afraid to talk to anyone in his chain of command, and in fact the mere possibility that he might resulted in death threats to him.  His father, however, tried every way he could to get anyone in the U.S. Army to listen.  No one would.

And then Winfield was present for another set-up and murder.  He says he fired his gun away from the victim.  He says that if he had shot the two U.S. soldiers, Gibbs and Cpl. Jeremy Morlock, the Army would have shown him "no mercy." 

Then Stoner (was it his name that tipped the balance?) turned in Gibbs and others for smoking hash in his room. So they beat him and threatened to kill him.  Then he told about the body parts being passed around.  The Army locked up Gibbs and Morlock.  Stoner was labeled a whistleblower, which he says is worse than a murderer.  If he had the chance again, he says, he would say nothing.

Winfield found he could breathe, after months of fearing murder from his own "side." 

And then Winfield was, himself, charged with first-degree murder.  We see his horror.  We see his parents' heartbreak.  We go back to see his childhood.  He read history books about American war heroes, his dad says.  The possibility of changing those books is not explicitly raised. He ends up with a plea bargain and a sentence of three years in prison, for supposedly having done nothing to stop a murder.  At one point he's offered the option of pleading guilty to "cowardice," despite every other member of his unit and chain of command right up to the President having outdone him in that regard.

"War is dirty," says Winfield. "It's not how they portray it in movies." It is, however, more or less, from a certain angle, how they've portrayed it in this movie, which ought to be shown in U.S. schools as a warning. 

But not by itself.  This movie does not give us the stories of the murder victims and their families.  Imagine the power of a movie that included what this one does plus that!  The opportunity is repeatedly and intentionally lost by Western film makers over and over again.  Nor does the film give us the stories of the victims and families of supposedly legitimate murders.  Imagine the drama of trying to distinguish the suffering of those killed fighting a foreign occupation from the suffering of those killed not fighting a foreign occupation, and the power of the inevitable failure of that effort!  Imagine a movie that accurately conveyed the immense scale of the killing in these one-sided slaughters of the poor by the most technologically advanced killing machine ever devised!

From the angle that this film takes, however, critical questions are thrust upon us, including: Why imprison the killers?  Will it deter others?  Will atrocity-free-war finally be created before we've destroyed the earth as a habitable place?  Would it not be easier to shut down the military and end the wars?  The deterrence I'm most interested in is that of people like Winfield's parents who allowed him to join the military before he was 18, to demonstrate their confidence in him.  I think this movie might deter some parents from making that same choice.

Honduran child refugees and the US border: Bleedback of a US Imperial Wound

By John Grant

 

In Spanish, the word hondura means “depth; profundity.” The related word hondomeans “deep, low; bottom.” Hondon means “dell, glen, deep hole.” An example given in my dictionary is meterse en honduras, “to go beyond one’s depth.”

A World Cup For The 1%

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

When Germany and Argentina square off in the Word Cup Final, the whole world will be watching the culmination of what may be the most exciting FIFA World Cup Tournament ever. What most people are unaware of, however, is the brutal conditions that FIFA creates to pull off the games.

atv FIFA go to hell

TAGS
World Cup Final, FIFA World Cup Final 2014, Argentina Germnay World Cup Final, Germany Argentina, Germany futbol, Argentina futbol, Acronym TV, ATV, Lionel Messi, Thomas Müller, Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Anti-Empire Report #130

By William Blum

What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?

US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”

Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010:
“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”

Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007:
“In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”

Gallup poll, 2013:

Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”

Replies:

  • United States 24%
  • Pakistan 8%
  • China 6%
  • Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
  • India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
  • Syria 3%
  • Russia 2%
  • Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%

The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?

Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”

The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.

But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.” … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.” … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.” …

In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force. And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals.

If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.

The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present.

Yankee Blowback

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 - September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.

As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 [2009] in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.

The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.

But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.

Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.

These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.

It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.

M’lady Hillary

Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”

On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.

On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.

So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?

The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.

And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.”

And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.

“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”

John Yoo - UC Berkeley Law School Endowed Chair

By Debra Sweet   Curt Wechsler writes on FireJohnYoo.net "The selection of John Yoo to fill an endowed faculty chair at Boalt Hall has raised righteous indignation across the board, from academics to un-credentialed people of conscience. The appointment represents a huge leap in institutional complicity in war crimes.

Genocide in Ukraine

A Finger in My Soup

I'd heard of such horror stories and assumed they were mostly fictional or concocted as the bases for lawsuits, and then I was actually served a bowl of soup that had a finger in it. 

I'm not going to name the well-known chain restaurant where I was dining, but I am going to tell you how its staff reacted when I complained.  I mean, once I'd determined that there really was a fucking finger in my bowl of soup, and once I'd fished it out with a fork and a spoon, and splattered it on the table so that Joseph, my dining companion, could see it, and once the people at the surrounding tables were staring and remarking rather loudly, and in one case I think beginning to vomit, well, it wasn't hard to get the waiter's attention.

He came rushing over when I waived.  "There's a finger in my soup," I said.

"There's one on your table, too," he pointed out.

"That's the one," I said.

"And it's not your finger?"

"No, it's not my fucking finger. Let me talk to your manager."

He smiled. He actually smiled and pointed to a little tag on his uniform that read "Manager."

Joseph spoke up: "How did the finger get in his soup?"

"The cooks must have put it there," said the manager.

"And are you going to do anything about it?" I yelled.

"Well," he replied, calmly, but a bit as if I were the one who'd done something wrong, "if the cooks put it there, they had a reason. I support the cooks, don't you?"

"Support the cooks?" I gasped.  "I'll tell you what I will do is I'll take down your name and each of their names, and the names of each of the witnesses in this room, and you'll be hearing from me."

From the waiter's reaction to that statement, I at first imagined I was beginning to get through to him. He looked shocked. But he turned from side to side and addressed the whole room.  "He's against the cooks!" he said with great outrage. "He doesn't support the cooks!"

And I swear to god the people in this place seemed to be with him.  The rather menacing reaction of several people led Joseph to grab my arm and pull me out of my seat and toward the door.

Thirty seconds later we were sitting in Joseph's cheap used car, which he was trying in vain to start, turning the key, pumping the gas, and cursing. 

"Where did you get this piece of junk?" I asked.

"I bought it," he said, as he punched the dashboard and tried again. "I bought it yesterday at Victory Vehicles."

"I wonder who's declaring victory," I remarked.

"What's that supposed to mean? Ugh! Damn this thing!"

"Did you give them more than $10?" I asked.

Joseph gave me a look eerily similar to the look the waiter had just given me in the restaurant.  "Are you doubting the salesmen?" he asked.

"Doubting them?" I said. "I'm not fucking doubting them. I'm doubting you. They ripped you off, and . . . "

"Don't you SUPPORT the salesmen?" Joseph screamed at me.  He seemed possessed.

I opened my door and got out of the car.  It wasn't going anywhere anyway.  People were inching their way cautiously out of the restaurant, but they weren't looking at me.  They were looking past me.

I turned and saw the flashing lights of countless police cars, plus all kinds of vans, trucks, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles.  They appeared to be surrounding the restaurant and its parking lot and to be erecting almost permanent looking barriers.  In fact there was an effort underway to construct a wall around the area.

I looked back, and Joseph had gotten out of the car as well and was staring, horror-struck at a pair of people in something resembling astronaut suits walking swiftly and directly toward us. 

They halted a few feet away, and one of them spoke, her voice amplified by something in her space suit.  "This area is quarantined," she said.  "Some or all of you have been infected by a curable but highly contagious and highly destructive virus.  We'll need to determine the state of the infection and administer a remedy.  Please speak with one of our emergency personnel."

Tables were being set up in neat rows through the parking lot, with pairs of chairs at each table, and a person in an astronaut suit in one of each pair of chairs.

"Where have you been during the last 48 hours?" asked a quite polite and friendly gentleman across a metal table from me, as we both sat in folding chairs in the parking lot of a restaurant that I will still leave unnamed.  I was not feeling as friendly as he.

"Why?" I demanded, rather aggressively.

"Hmm." He studied me. "Have you been near any military bases?"

"No."

"Hmm."

"I mean, not that I know of."

"What about a television? Have you been near a television?"

"Definitely not."

"Hmm." He thought for a while, and then asked, "Have you noticed anyone demanding that you support people?"

That question just about knocked my chair over backwards.  When I recovered, I told him everything I've just told you.

"Come with me," he said, getting up. 

A half-hour later, my interviewer had persuaded his colleagues that I was not infected, and had set me up with a chair and some actually edible food, in a position to watch what he called the administering of remedies.

One of the astronaut-suited workers was seated at a table across from a young woman wearing an American flag dress.  The astronaut was asking questions:

"If someone's dog bit you, would you be upset?"

"Of course."

"And what if I questioned your loyalty and willingness to support the dog trainers?"

The woman's reaction was so swift and violent that I suspect it even surprised her questioner: "How dare you?" she hissed.  "I support the dog trainers and would never question a dog killing and devouring me. Maybe you don't support the dog trainers! Eh? How could you suggest such a thing to me?"

The questioner moved on.  "And what if someone proposed that the government of your nation destroy a poor nation, kill a million people, create millions of refugees, poison the natural environment, waste several trillion dollars, leave behind a violent hell of traumatized resentment, and take away a lot of your rights and liberties in the name of prosecuting this horrendous war that will endanger you by making your nation hated?"

The woman seemed unsure what to say.

"Would you favor that policy?"

She snorted in indignation. "Of course, not! Why would anyone . . . "

"Don't you support the troops?"

"How dare you . . . " And she was off on a rant about her love for the troops and her absolute support for anything they might be ordered to do.

"Drink this."

"Why?"

"The troops want you to."

"Give it to me."

The woman took the large bottle of greenish liquid and downed it in about 10 seconds.

Her questioner tried some of the same questions again, making notes all the time.

"Would you support slaughtering hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, to enrich a few corporations and give some politicians a thrill of power?"

"Of course, not."

"Do you favor ending current wars?"

"Yes, of course."

"But don't you support the troops?"

She paused and stared, and then blurted out: "Support the. . . . what? What does that even mean? If I oppose a policy I oppose people enacting that policy. That says nothing about whether I like those people or not, most of whom I've never met of course. What the hell?"

Moments later, the questioner was leading the woman in the American flag dress over to join me in the viewing section.  "Wait," she said, addressing the space-suited emergency worker, "why am I wearing this dress?"

"He'll explain," the worker said, gesturing toward me.

Why Are Most Human Beings So Powerless?

Human beings stand at the edge of extinction and yet few of us are mobilized in defense of human existence. Why is this? And what can we do about it?

Immigrant Rights Supporters Protest Anti-Immigrant Crowd

When ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement buses tried to drop children off at a US detention center in Murrietta, CA, last week, a crowd of anti-immigrant "go home" protesters blocked the buses.  The sight recalled nothing so much as the White Citizens Councils greeting Freedom Riders in the South, or racist crowds demanding segregation of schools.

In a most bizarre twist, the Dean of Morgan State University's Journalism school suggested sending the children to Guantanamo because there's a lot of empty space there. NO! Close that torture camp now.

Drone Memo - What's Not Legit Re: US Targeted Killing

By Debra Sweet      Since 2009, when Obama began the targeted killing rampage in Pakistan & Yemen, killing uncounted thousands, World Can't Wait has demanded an end to it.  Others have demanded "transparency" in knowing how the targeting decisions were made.Last month, they got their wish, to a point.  Because The New York Times and the ACLU filed a lawsuit to get it, parts of a redacted Office of Legal Counsel memo on targeted killing were released.

Courage to Resist Calls for Military Personnel to Resist

A hearty "thank you" to Courage to Resist, which just issued a call to "all U.S. military personnel to resist any effort to pursue a new military attack on Iraq via troops, bombs, drones or any other means.  In keeping with our Mission Statement, we affirm that, just as there was never any legitimate reason for the United States to send military forces to Iraq in the past, there is not now any reason for the United States to participate militarily in the affairs of the people of Iraq."

It is absolutely essential to put before the US public the need for visible resistance to US re-escalation and occupation of Iraq. 

No to War in Gaza and Afghanistan


 

On the 8th of July 2014, during the fasting month of Ramadan, the Israeli government began yet another military offensive on the people of Gaza. By the 4th day, they had already killed 105 Palestinians, including at least 23 children.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers went out onto the streets of Kabul just before it was time to break their fast. They shared dates with the people in the streets, in solidarity with the Palestinians and the Israelis being killed by the bombs and rockets dropped and fired by their governments.

By sharing food, we resist war

.

No to War in Gaza and Afghanistan!

Share food, resist war.

We’re not only disgusted

by man-made bombs,

we’re angry at the governments

that drop them.

We’re terrified

not of their physical destructiveness,

but of their depravity,

and acceptability.

We’ve lost our children

& loved ones

to ruthlessness.

Amidst the explosions

of our souls,

our mothers still

keep the wits around

our crying homes,

just so to feed us

after the fast.

That’s it!

That’s our resistance to their

profiteering wars,

that while they kill,

they can never stop us

from sharing our food.

They are the ones

already dead,

the emperors

with no clothes,

only futile weapons

that adorn

their ceremonial crowns,

oblivious to the awakening giant

of love.

They are blind to the better world

in which their Power

and ‘haram’ money

are being frowned upon

in the streets,

and in our bread.

Share food, resist war

No! to war in Gaza and Afghanistan.

Ukraine President Threatens Resistance with Nazi Style Reprisal Killings


nazirhetoric

 

Obama administration lapdog, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, threatened the Eastern Ukraine resistance with harsh punishment for defending themselves against his government's military assault on their towns and cities. Reuters reported the following promise of reprisal:

"For every soldier's life, the militants will pay with scores and hundreds of their own. Not a single terrorist will avoid responsibility; each will get what they deserve." Petro Poroshenko, President, Ukraine, Reuters, July 11

Poroshenko and his comrades were reacting to a major resistance victory against Ukraine's regular army. Somewhere between 20 and 40 Ukrainian troops were killed in an attack by resistance forces under the command of Igor Strelkov. Poroshenko failed to note that the missiles he claimed were used against Ukraine regulars are the same types of weapons the Kiev government used against cities and towns in the contested, densely populated Donbass region under attack.

TOWARDS A BERTHA VON SUTTTNER PEACE MUSEUM IN VIENNA (1914 – 2014)

By Peter van den Dungen

‘One of the eternal truths is that happiness is created and devel- oped in peace, and one of the eternal rights is the individual’s right to live. The strongest of all instincts, that of self-preservation, is an assertion of this right, affirmed and sanctified by the ancient commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." – It is unnecessary for me to point out how little this right and this commandment are respected in the present state of civilization. Up to the present time, the military organization of our society has been founded upon a denial of the possibility of peace, a contempt for the value of human life, and an acceptance of the urge to kill.’
-- Bertha von Suttner, at the start of her Nobel lecture, delivered on 18th April 1906 in Oslo1

The capital of Austria, and until 1918 of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, is not short of museums. One category celebrates the lives and music of the many great composers who were born here or lived in the city which has a musical heritage sec- ond to none. Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert – to mention only the most famous among them – draw classical music lovers from all over the world to Vienna – to visit the houses where they lived, and to enjoy their music, often in the same concert halls where they performed. On the first day of every year, the New Year’s concert from the Musikverein in Vienna featuring mainly music from members of the Strauss family is broadcast live to the four corners of the world. This relatively modern tradition is itself responsible for stimulating interest in Vienna and bringing countless visitors to the city who wish to experience first-hand its unsurpassed musical culture. Impos- ing statues of the great composers with roots in Vienna adorn its beautiful parks. World-class museums are also devoted to art, especially painting. Among late 19th century and 20th cen- tury artists, Gustav Klimt and Friedensreich Hundertwasser have strong associations with the city, and attract countless devotees. In a very different field of human endeavour, stu- dents and practitioners of psycho-analysis associate the city with Sigmund Freud, its pioneer. It was from his residence in the city, now the Freud museum, that in September 1932 he wrote his famous letter to Albert Einstein in reply to the latter’s question, ‘Why War?’.

CNN: Palestinians Want to Die

In this latest assault on Gaza, Israel had by Thursday already killed 69 Palestinians including 22 children and 13 women, plus 469 wounded including 166 children and 85 women, and 70 houses destroyed. These numbers have since increased significantly.

In this video from Thursday on CNN, Jake Tapper interviews Diana Buttu, a former advisor to the PLO.  After failing to persuade her of Israel's complete innocence, he tells her that Hamas is instructing women and children to remain in their homes to die as Israel bombs them. She responds by expressing doubt that people want to die.  Oh no, says Tapper, Palestinians live in a culture of martyrdom; they want to die.

William Westmoreland once remarked on Vietnam, where the United States killed 4 million men, women, children, and infants: "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. Life is plentiful. Life is cheap in the Orient."

Banastre Tarleton stood up in Parliament and defended the slave trade on the grounds that Africans did not object to being slaves.

President William McKinley said little brown Filipinos appreciated being conquered and dominated.

The view that the people you are abusing don't mind it has a long history of being employed to distract from the evil being done.

Just as powerful, if not more so, is the view that no evil is being done at all. 

ABC News' Diane Sawyer told her viewers that scenes of destruction in Gaza were actually in Israel, and was later forced to apologize, but did not note that scenes like those she'd shown do not exist in Israel, rather leaving the impression that a simple mistake had swapped out similar scenes from one country for the other.

Polls have found that people in the United States believe Iraq benefitted from the war that destroyed it and that Iraqis are grateful, while the United States itself suffered.

If people cannot be depicted as evil, because we see images of them, and they are 3 years old and have their limbs ripped off, and if our cruelty cannot be depicted as for their own good, then the cruelty must itself be denied.  We must completely avert our eyes or invert the facts.  Or we must blame someone else for it.  Blame Israel for getting a bit carried away after so many years of innocent suffering.

But it is with billions of dollars of weaponry provided free of cost courtesy of U.S. taxpayers that the Israeli military is bombing civilian neighborhoods in occupied Gaza. The ongoing occupation is at the root of the crisis, but this new turn to large-scale violence was produced by fraud. The Israeli government learned that three Israelis had been killed, falsely blamed Hamas, and falsely claimed to believe the young men might still be alive. This fraud was used to justify a search-and-rescue operation that left numerous dead and hundreds under arrest.

Small-scale violence by Palestinians is not justified by Israel's ongoing brutality. It is deeply immoral as well as absurdly counterproductive.  But if individual murders justified the mass killing of war, the United States would have to launch a full-scale war on itself every day of the year. And it is the United States' weaponry, provided under the euphemism of "aid," that is pounding the homes of the people of Gaza.

Jewish Voice for Peace says, in an open letter that you too can sign:

"In this time of tremendous suffering and fear, from Jerusalem to Gaza, and from Hebron to Be’er Sheva, we reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality, and we mourn all those who have died.

"Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice for all compels us to acknowledge that this violence has fallen overwhelmingly on Palestinians. And it compels us to affirm that this violence has a root cause: Israel's illegal occupation.

"We are united in our belief that:

"The denial of Palestinian human rights must end.
Illegal settlements must end.
Bombing civilians must end.
Killing children must end.
Valuing Jewish lives at the expense of others must end.

"Only by embracing equality for all peoples can this terrible bloodshed end."

Amerikistan, not Afghanistan, Warocracy, not Democracy

By Dr Hakim

Afghanistan Analysts Network reported on 9th July that “he ( Abdullah Abdullah ) told the crowd that he had received phone calls from both US President Barack Obama and State Secretary John Kerry and had been told that Kerry would make a stop-over in Kabul on Friday. It was clear he wanted see what could come of that.”

Abdullah Abdullah’s phone call with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who arrived in Kabul today, shows that it is the U.S. government, and not Afghans, who run this country.

This is Amerikistan, not Afghanistan.

Even U.S. Senator Carl Levin has chipped in with his suggestion for this land which is about 10,864 kilometres away from America’s eastern shores.

I’m academically puzzled at why both Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, who will speak with John Kerry today, have such confidence in promising to promptly sign the U.S. Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement should they win the Afghan Presidential elections when the Obama administration’s policies in the Middle East and in this part of the world are far from effective, and largely war-like.

As they make their deals with the White House in Kabul, President Obama has been ordering U.S. military advisors and troops into fragmenting Iraq and has okayed Israel’s new and continued offensive in Gaza, not policies that are entirely friendly to Muslims who are keeping their fast in those war-torn places.

If anything, Gandhi’s non-violent call to ‘Quit India’ needs to be made --- let John Kerry be warmly welcomed according to genuine Afghan hospitality, but also be respectfully asked to ‘Quit Afghanistan’!

U.S taxpayer money should be used to address the basic human needs of more than 40 million Americans living below the poverty line in the wealthiest country in the world, and not to finance what Abdullah Abdullah himself calls ‘industrial-scale’ fraud in the Afghan elections, and what former British Afghan envoy to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles called ‘the utter, unanswerable folly of Britain’s military intervention’ in Afghanistan.

Outgoing President Karzai’s cynicism about U.S. foreign policy is not inappropriate at this time of escalating militarism. Such doubtful questioning is human, healthy, and perhaps even critical.

It could be an important peaceful demand for fresh participatory democracy, and not tiring warocracy.

Dr Hakim is a medical doctor who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 9 years. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison; Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement

On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.

These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.”

Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”

The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds.

Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected.

Her verdict is being appealed.

For information on how to support Mary Anne, contact Ellen Grady at demottgrady6@gmail.com.

What’s a little espionage among friends?: Station Chief Ousted as CIA Spies Found in German Parliament and Spy Agency

By Dave Lindorff 


Munich -- You have to wonder how much more the German public will take of the country’s ongoing humiliation by the United States and its extensive program of secretly spying on what nominally is one of America’s most reliable allies.


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