Ukraine News - Apr 7, 2014

 

Ukraine: Pro-Russians storm offices in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv - BBC News


Ukraine President Turchynov cancels visit to Lithuania over unrest, convenes a meeting of the law enforcement ministries and services - The Voice of Russia


Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov vows to restore order in eastern Ukraine without using violence - Al Jazeera English


Ukraine agency: Authorities dismantle group plotting anti-government attack - AP


Kidnapped Ukrainian journalist found dead, Friends of the right-wing Svoboda member Sergiyenko say he was tortured before being killed - The Guardian


VIDEO: Ukraine: Pro-Russia activists seize Donetsk government building - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Participants from a large pro-Russian rally in Donetsk demanding a referendum on the region, similar to the one that led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia - euronews

 

VIDEO: Ukraine: Protesters storm Kharkov government building - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Protesters raise Russian flag in Ukrainian city Kharkov - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Ukraine: Kharkov protest rails against Kiev govt, demands own referendum - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Ukraine: Pro-Russia protesters storm Lugansk State Security building - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Ukraine’s Odessa joins massive pro-Russian rallies across Southeast - YouTube

 

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

 

Kiev sees Russian federalization plans as attempt to destroy Ukraine - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Ukraine President Turchynov rejects Russian call for Ukraine to become federal state - YouTube


Tymoshenko: For Putin, a federal system is a means to ultimately incorporate Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions into the Russian Federation - inquirer.net


Ridding Ukraine of corruption is vital, says leading presidential candidate Poroshenko - Yahoo News

 

IRI poll of Ukraine citizens: 52% want EU membership (up from 42% in Sept 2013), 27% want Russian Customs Union (down from 37%) - Twitter / danielrhamilton

 

POLL (FULL REPORT): IRI Public Opinion Survey: Residents of Ukraine, March 14 – 26 - iri.org

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Fury punches out early: Striking a Blow for Disarmament in Maine Shipyard

By Dave Lindorff

 

Let us pause to honor Charles Fury.

“Voting with Their Feet”

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,

direction-less,

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.

We couldn’t,

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,

planting trees,

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


planting together


Toorpekai planting with Raz


planting with City Municipality officials


watering the tree sapling


the row of planted tree saplings



Know Drones Report

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#

1.    ACTION REPORTS

  • Beale
  • Niagara Falls
  • Georgia Tech
  • Horsham
  • Kick-Off Forum

2.    COURT ACTION
3.    IDEAS/PLANNED EVENTS
4.    "TRANSPARENCY BILL" BEFORE CONGRESS - ANALYSIS
5.    MONSTERS IN THE SKY

 

ACTION REPORTS

  • BEALE AFB

 

IMG_5578 (1)[11]
Photo by Guarionex Delgado

(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.

11891_500920080013775_302012254_n[5]http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/29/6279355/drone-strikers-say-the-government.html

 “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: 

https://www.facebook.com/OccupyBealeAirForceBase?ref=hl

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

 

  • HORSHAM

 

IMG_8835-X2
Photo by John Lien

(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
Kick off forum
Photo by Cat Watters

 (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:

Madiha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC1qiCTb_jE SaveFrom.net

Maria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qah_YAULQlM&feature=youtu.be SaveFrom.net

Carl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ksqc9vfBQY SaveFrom.net

Granny Peace Brigade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KlUD8HIyoY SaveFrom.net

Q & A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooRmLYfLy-Y SaveFrom.net

Opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtyz89tPJR8 SaveFrom.net

Closing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whIL1mJnRdE SaveFrom.net

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.

 

COURT ACTION

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.

http://www.modbee.com/2014/04/01/3271109/judge-denies-jury-trial-to-beale.html

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.

1912160_473137822820213_189546933_o-1[1][1]

(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.

 

IDEAS/PLANNED EVENTS

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:

http://www.ibj.com/ohio-indiana-officials-explore-drone-opportunities/PARAMS/article/46956

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”.

http://paxchristiusa1.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/bill-quigleys-presentation-on-drones.pdf

 

PLANNED EVENTS

Whiteman AFB

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.

 

Creech AFB

Sat., April 12 – Fri., April 18

https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/02/joint-statement-support-targeted-lethal-force-transparency-act

Sacred Peace Walk 2014

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.

 

Beale AFB

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: occupybeale@earth-justice.org

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  bbinks@me.com

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

 

“TRANSPARENCY” BILL IN CONGRESS

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

https://schiff.house.gov/press-releases/reps-adam-schiff-and-walter-jones-introduce-bipartisan-bill-requiring-annual-reporting-on-drone-casualties/

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.)

 

MONSTERS IN THE SKY

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 SaveFrom.net

In solidarity, and with thanks to all for the work you are doing so courageously,

Nick

 


 

ATTACHMENT A

NIAGARA FALLS LETTER

 


 

ATTACHMENT B

GASP

 


 

ATTACHMENT C

HR4372

 


 

ATTACHMENT D

REAL Progressives Demand that the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings

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'?"

BACKGROUND

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)

NEXT STEPS

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.

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

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

Related posts

A 2013 U.N. report makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.

(See 2014: The Year of Transparency (for U.S. Drone Use)?)

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.

(See Will the 2014 Midterms be a Referendum on Obama's Surveillance, Secrecy, and Assassinations?)

Ukraine News - Apr 6, 2014

 

Ukraine PM eyes arbitration if Russia doesn't cut gas price, "We are not trying to break our contract but to set up a fair price like in Europe" - Reuters


Ukraine looks to EU for gas imports as Russian prices leap, PM Yatseniuk says “reverse flows” could save Ukraine $150 per 1,000 cubic meters - Reuters


It could take until next winter to make the adjustments needed for large EU reverse gas flows to Ukraine - Reuters


Reverse gas flow from Europe to Ukraine technically and legally disputable: Gazprom CEO - The Voice of Russia


Ukraine stores natural gas enough for one month: Minister - The Voice of Russia

 

Third of Ukrainians will not feel rise in gas prices - PM Yatseniuk - Ukrinform

 

Ukraine moves to crack Russia's hold on its nuclear power - CSMonitor.com

 

Ukraine eyes coal after Russian gas price hike, a polluting resource whose consumption has imperilled the air quality - Business Recorder

 

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Moody’s downgrades Ukraine to ‘default imminent’ - RT Business


Ukraine Targets $13.5 Billion Aid in 2014 as EU Warns Russia - Businessweek


Russia seeks over $11 bn in 'debt' from Ukraine - GlobalPost


Biden says aid from the US and other countries would help Ukraine meet its most pressing needs - AFP


Interview with the Ambassador of the United States to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt - Embassy of the United States Kyiv, Ukraine

 

White House hopes for European shale gas face headwinds, it will evolve over time but certainly more slowly than it has in the U.S. - WashingtonExaminer.com

 

VIDEO: How Ukraine's high energy costs and U.S. shale gas are shaping energy geopolitics - WSJ Live

 

Gas prices in Europe to rise 50%, if it abandons Russia’s supplies: Russia Energy Minister - jhaines6.wordpress.com

 

Russian energy minister confirms plans to build Russia-Crimea pipeline - Oil and Gas Technology

 

If Ukraine quits CIS or signs an agreement on association with the European Union, Russia to take measures to protect agro market: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev - ITAR-TASS

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

DC Has Two Team Names to Change

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.

Egypt News - Apr 5, 2014

 

Egypt pro-democracy supporters stage anti-Sisi demos in several provinces - turkishpress.com


Security clash with protesters in Cairo's Alf Maskan - Ahram Online


VIDEO: Egypt: Cairo clashes brought to the doorstep of Interior Ministers - YouTube


'Freedom for the brave' holds protest, calls for release of detainees (PHOTOS) - Ahram Online


Amnesty International: Egypt must release three activists jailed under repressive new protest law - Amnesty International


POLL: What is the Egyptian anti-coup movement protesting for? - washingtonpost.com


Al Qaida’s Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) claims responsibility for Cairo University bombing - World Tribune

 

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood condemns Cairo University bombing, calls for probe - middleeastmonitor.com

 

Forces react to Cairo Univ blasts, pro-Morsi students brush off allegations - Ahram Online

 

Muslims Drag Christian Woman From Car in Egypt, Stab and Brutally Beat Her for Having Cross on Display - christianpost.com

 

VIDEO (Arabic): Eyewitness: Muslims Drag Christian Woman From Car in Egypt, Stab and Brutally Beat Her for Having Cross on Display - YouTube

 

Egyptian journalists strike, demanding protection, a week after a young journalist was killed - AP

 

Egypt cabinet approves new terror law in the wake of a terrorist attack outside Cairo University on Wednesday - AFP

 

Police to enter universities during exam time, if necessary: Minister - Ahram Online

 

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Human Rights Watch calls on U.S. to delay military aid to Egypt - Reuters


Statement: Egypt: Failure to Meet US Aid Conditions - Human Rights Watch


Egypt deports man lobbying against mass death sentences - Reuters

 

Suez Canal: Egyptian Military Takes Charge Of Economic Development - ibtimes.com

 

Mubarak supports Sisi, slams Sabbahi in phone interview - Cairo Post

 

Mubarak’s lawyer says that the recording in which his client is heard supporting Sisi was fabricated - Israel National News

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Humanity Versus a Corrupt State: Coups and Cash Machines in Rio de Janeiro

Humanity Versus a Corrupt State: 

Coups and Cash Machines in Rio de Janeiro


By John Grant

 

John Brennan ordered to pay $500 for TSA protest

We have an update on the case of John Brennan, the man who stripped naked at a TSA checkpoint in April of 2012.

Ukraine News - Apr 4, 2014

 

Russia raises gas prices for Ukraine by 80 percent - Reuters


Russia to Charge Ukraine More Than Germany as Gas Discounts End - Bloomberg


Moscow Calls on Ukraine to Pay Down Its $2.2 Billion Gas Debt - ABC News


Russia Foreign Ministry: Ukraine’s overall debt to Russia after the termination of the Black Sea Fleet agreements stands at $10-11 billions - ITAR-TASS


Ukraine says $485 per cubic meter too high price for gas, it would be less costly for Ukraine to import gas from Europe - ITAR-TASS


VIDEO: Ukraine PM: Russian gas price hike "absolutely unacceptable" - CCTV.com English


Europeans plan to create consortium and buy Ukrainian gas transit system - ITAR-TASS

 

US, EU hail Ukraine’s drive to diversify natural gas supplies - ITAR-TASS

 

The Curse of Russian Energy: Despite U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia, it is business as usual between European companies and Russia’s energy sector - Carnegie Europe

 

US-based Financial Research Company: Europe Risks Losses of $215 Billion by Stopping Russian Gas Imports - CI˙HAN

 

What future for EU's energy supply? The Ukraine crisis has prompted the EU to speed up its energy strategy rethink. But the bloc is divided - DW.DE

 

Europe energy: Russian addiction, American seduction (VIDEO) - euronews

 

INTERACTIVE CHART: How Europe can replace Russian gas - Bruegel.org

 

Ukraine ‘spillover’ could wreck world economy: IMF chief Lagarde - RT Business

 

Russia Helped Ukraine, But Now Ukraine Needs More, IMF's Lagarde Says - forbes.com

 

VIDEO (Transcript): Interview with IMF chief Lagarde on the hurdles blocking global economic growth - pbs.org

 

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Ukraine Implicates Ex-President and Russia in Protesters’ Deaths - NYTimes.com


Ukraine detains 12 riot police on suspicion of 'mass murder’ of protesters - Reuters


Ukraine security chief: Alfa special force suppressed Kiev riots - ITAR-TASS

 

No Berkut troops among ‘Maidan snipers’: Ukrainian special forces veteran - RT News

 

Pro-Russian protests diminish in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region - The Washington Post

 

Donetsk Billboard Bids 'Goodbye' to Russia Ahead of Unity Rally - The Moscow Times

 

Will Ukraine become a neutral, federal state? - Georgia Straight

 

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VIDEO: 'We’ll retaliate if Russia attacks' Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk - BBC News


Ukraine steps up security measures to guard border with Russia - ITAR-TASS


Yatsenyuk: Kiev hopes for NATO assistance in upgrading Ukrainian army - ITAR-TASS


Russia says wants answers on NATO troops in eastern Europe - Reuters

 

Russia recalls chief military representative to NATO - RT News

 

Pentagon Suspends Missile Shield Talks with Russia over Ukraine | World | RIA Novosti

 

Russia says troops to pull back from Ukraine border - CBS News

 

Russia arrests 25 Ukrainians for sabotage - The Washington Post

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

The Struggle for Humanity

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.

USAID used fake Twitter to try and oust a government!: The Hummingbird Tweet: An Espionage Tale

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.

Irish launch of the Stop Killer Robots Campaign

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)

A 15-Year Murder Spree

"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.

Ukraine News - Apr 3, 2014

 

Russia could achieve Ukraine incursion in 3-5 days: NATO general Breedlove - GlobalPost


VIDEO: Interview with Gen. Breedlove on Ukraine crisis - YouTube


Breedlove: Ukraine situation shows need for US forces in Europe - Stripes


NATO to Firm Up Its Presence in Eastern Europe as It Halts Cooperation With Russia - NYTimes.com


VIDEO: NATO Suspends Cooperation with Russia Over Ukraine Crisis - Boston.com


Ukraine to Hold Military Exercises with European, NATO Allies - VOA


Defense Officials in Ukraine for Consultations - Defense.gov

 

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Secretary Hagel (Russia and Ukraine Excerpts) - Embassy of the United States Kyiv, Ukraine

 

U.S. Looking to Reassure NATO Allies About Ukraine - Defense.gov

 

U.S. Sends More Marines to Romania, Navy Vessel to Black Sea -  Defense.gov

 

U.S. sends 10 F-15 jets to Baltic states [VIDEO] - UPI.com

 

NASA suspends contact with Russia over Ukraine crisis - The Verge

 

Bulgaria Wary as Russia Steps Up Military Flights Over Black Sea - VOA

 

VIDEO: Russia pulls out battalion from near Ukraine, sends military hardware into Crimea - Yahoo News

 

Putin Signs Law Terminating Black Sea Fleet Agreements with Ukraine - RIA Novosti

 

Analysis: Crimea intervention - The increasing sophistication of Russia's military resurgence - IHS Jane's 360

 

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Putin tells Merkel interests of Ukraine regions must be protected, wants Western states to press the Kiev government to grant broad autonomy - Yahoo News


Russia's Foreign Ministry urges the Ukrainian government to adopt a more balanced constitution to protect minority populations - RIA Novosti


Russia Duma formulates measures to preserve Ukrainian integrity: every region to elect its own authorities and Russian as a state language - ITAR-TASS


Ukraine Says It Will Hand More Power to Regions, Government Approves Plan Allowing Election of Regional Governors - WSJ.com

 

Donetsk regional council demands official status for Russian language - ITAR-TASS

 

Language conflict: Different tongues, common homes in Ukraine - The Economist

 

Former U.S. State Department official Josh Cohen: A Federal Model for Ukraine - The Moscow Times

 

Ukraine Moves to Disarm Paramilitary Groups - NYTimes.com

 

Moscow Insists Ukraine Government Take Decisive Steps to Disarm Radicals - RIA Novosti

 

According to the interior ministry Ukraine far-right leader Sashko Bily 'shot himself’ while police were wrestling him to the ground - BBC News

 

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POLL: 80 percent of American voters are "concerned" that the Ukraine crisis could lead to a larger regional conflict, with U.S. military involvement - silive.com


POLL: Americans Are Deeply Conflicted Over The Crisis In Ukraine (VIDEO) - huffingtonpost.com


POLL: Most Russians Would Back Kremlin In Case of War With Ukraine, Poll Says - The Moscow Times


POLL: Russians Unconcerned About Western Sanctions Over Crimea – Poll - RIA Novosti


US, EU discuss energy options amid push to rely less on Russia - EUROPE ONLINE

 

Joint Press Statement EU-U.S. Energy Council - state.gov

 

Russia Tightens Pressure on Ukraine With Rise in Natural Gas Price - NYTimes.com

 

Kerry to Russia: Don't use energy as a weapon in Ukraine crisis - CSMonitor.com

 

Ukraine to discuss import prices with Russia’s largest gas producer - ITAR-TASS

 

Gazprom says CEO, EU favour mutually beneficial relations - Reuters

 

U.S. to wean Europe, Ukraine off Russian gas - THE DAILY STAR

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

A program to take over human communications?: The Drones of Facebook (and the NSA)

By Alfredo Lopez

 

"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."

A program to take over human communications?: The Drones of Facebook (and the NSA)

By Alfredo Lopez

 

"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."

"Our Energy Moment": The Blue Engine Behind Fracked Gas Exports PR Blitz

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Behind nearly every major corporate policy push there's an accompanying well-coordinated public relations and propaganda campaign. As it turns out, the oil and gas industry's push to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") plays the same game.

Talk Nation Radio: Rick Rozoff on Ukraine and NATO at 65

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-rick-rozoff

Rick Rozoff is the manager of Stop NATO at http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com He discusses the Ukrainian crisis and the state of NATO at age 65.

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

"Our Energy Moment": The Blue Engine Behind Fracked Gas Exports PR Blitz

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Behind nearly every major corporate policy push there's an accompanying well-coordinated public relations and propaganda campaign. As it turns out, the oil and gas industry's push to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") plays the same game.

Egypt News - Apr 2, 2014

 

Clashes continue at several Egyptian universities between police and students protesting ex-army chief al-Sisi's presidency bid - Ahram Online


VIDEO: Egypt: Clashes between students and police in four cities - euronews


VIDEO: Clashes in Egypt between protestors and police left 1 student dead on Sunday - YouTube


Riot police storm al-Azhar University in Cairo - Islamic News Daily


Al-Azhar university expels 25 student 'rioters' - Ahram Online

 

Ain Shams University students dispersed outside Egypt Defense Ministry - turkishpress.com

 

Egypt group calls for joint protest to release detainees - Ahram Online

 

VIDEO (and transcript): Egyptian Activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah on Prison and Regime's "War on a Whole Generation” - truth-out.org

 

Egypt prosecution says Islamist protesters killed journalist - Al Arabiya News

 

Who killed Mary Sameh George? Some in the Coptic Christian community have told the press they believe George was targeted by Islamists because she was Christian - Cairo Post

 

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VIDEO: Egypt denies bail to Al Jazeera journalists - YouTube


Al Jazeera journalists accused of terrorism by Egyptian authorities in court cages (PHOTOS) - Mail Online


3 Jailed Al Jazeera Journalists Deny Ties to Brotherhood in Egypt - NYTimes.com


Journalists 'systematically targeted' in Egypt: Reporters Without Borders - Ahram Online


Jailed Brotherhood leader scoffs at Egypt courts, demands judges not to be politicized - abcnews.go.com


Defence for Badie, 50 Brotherhood leaders withdraw from 'Plan Rabaa' trial - Ahram Online


Was Mohammed Morsi Really an Autocrat? To answer this question, we scored Morsi’s year in office according to the Polity IV index - The Atlantic

 

27 military and 339 criminal trials since Egypt's coup, more than 10,000 political opponents have faced charges - middleeastmonitor.com

 

Egyptian detainee 'tortured and raped’, Activists say numerous political prisoners have been severely abused in custody - Al Jazeera English

 

Farmer who used donkey to depict Egypt's Sisi gets six-month sentence - latimes.com

 

PHOTO: Donkey depicting Egypt's Sisi - 4.bp.blogspot.com

 

Two Islamist Protesters Sentenced to Death for Throwing Teens off a Rooftop - Egyptian Streets

 

VIDEO ARCHIVE: Teens Pushed Off Roof in Egypt by Islamist Protesters - YouTube

 

33 Islamists jailed for 6 years over Egypt protests, found guilty of violent acts during clashes between Islamist demonstrators and opponents of Morsi - thedailystar.net

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Mandela Legacy Strained: Poverty and Corruption Stalk South Africa's Presidential Election

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

Shenid Bhayroo was one of the thousand-plus journalists that traveled to South Africa in December 2013 to cover the death of iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela, the former political prisoner and first black president of the southern-most nation on the African continent.

Most of those journalists representing nations worldwide covering the memorial activities for Mandela, reporting on the ‘mood’ in that country, missed the mood Bhayroo saw among many South Africans.

AP Re-Used Three-Year-Old Article on Torture Report

The Associated Press is denying claims by two of its writers that cost-savings was a motivation.  Rather, says editor Richard Giardino, an error resulted in the accidental re-publication last week of an article on a Senate committee report on torture, an article that had originally been published in 2011.

In defense of the wire service, Giardino noted in a 2,000-word explanation, that "while the article may have been dated, it ran in dozens of newspapers without anyone noticing." In fact, wrote Giardino, were it not for a couple of bloggers, the incident "might have passed unnoticed."

I think he has a point.  Over the past eight years, there have been 73 separate moments in which major news stories have reported widely across the U.S. media that it has for the first time become clear that former President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, or their subordinates ordered the commission of torture.  That count does not include several interviews, and memoirs, in which Bush and Cheney have openly admitted to the crime, bragged about it, or professed the sentiment that they "would do it again."

While torture has been a violation of international law and U.S. treaty obligations, and a felony under U.S. law, since before George W. Bush moved into the White House, indictments have not been forthcoming.  Instead, a series of investigations and reports, and censorship thereof, have generated stories around the possibility that individuals might have done what we've already seen them confess to on camera.

Questioned on CBS Evening News on Monday, Giardino became agitated. "Look," he said, "if we just put out the sort of fact-based news that bloggers say they want, we'd be describing top authorities in this country as routine violators of the law.  We have to find a balance between straight-forward reporting and the understanding that we aren't locking up presidents and CIA directors because the investigations are ongoing.  And when the investigations are ongoing for years and years and years, then breaking the same news more than once is actually more accurate than inventing new details that haven't taken place."

During the past eight years, thousands of U.S. news reports have discussed the possibility of criminalizing torture, without noting that it already is criminal.  Frank Cretino, associate editor of the Washington Post, defends this record, saying, "The fact that torture is already banned does not negate the act of banning it, particularly as most people do not know it is already banned.  Of course, we could so inform our readers, but that would be like noting that politicians take bribes, or indicating wherever relevant that our owner makes more money from the CIA than from our paper, or recognizing that torture is just one aspect of a collection of actions made criminal by the illegality of the wars they are part of, or pointing out to people that the date is April 1 at the beginning of a story."

Turkey/Syria News - Apr 1, 2014

 

Erdogan targets enemies after poll triumph - Reuters


VIDEO: Erdogan: 'They will pay for this' - Stuff.co.nz


FULL TEXT: Turkish PM Erdoğan's post-election 'balcony speech' - hurriyetdailynews.com


EXCERPTS: How Erdogan’s jubilant victory speech targeted his two biggest enemies - washingtonpost.com


PM Erdoğan delivers victory speech with corruption suspects - Today's Zaman


Polls Boost Turkish Leader's Presidential Hopes - ABC News


Opposition says election victory will not acquit PM, AK Party of corruption - CİHAN

 

Erdogan's critics fear crackdown after Turks deliver his party a victory - Yahoo News

 

Erdoğan sues Today's Zaman editor-in-chief, four others - CİHAN

 

Opposition vows to resist Erdoğan's witch hunt in post-election era - CİHAN

 

Turkey: Erdogan critic fears returning home - The National

 

Turkey Faces More Strife After Erdogan’s Election Win - The Daily Beast

 

VIDEO: Ankara after the election, protestors chanting: "Thief Tayyip Erdogan" - Vine

 

Femen activists stage anti-Erdogan protest at Istanbul polling station - The Ugly Truth

 

VIDEO: FEMEN unleash their breasts against Erdogan - YouTube

 

Report: Graft probe suspect Zarrab flees overseas - Today's Zaman

 

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Turkey is at war with Syria, Erdogan says in post-election speech - CI˙HAN


Border province punishes Turkey's policy on Syria in polls - Reuters


Syria: Turkey Sending Foreign Fighters to Latakia - ABC News


According to villagers, thousands of fighters coming from Turkey crossed the border at five different points to launch the attack on Kassab - Al-Monitor


U.S. reacts to Syrian rebel occupation of Kassab, Entire population flees country’s only Armenian-majority town - Armenian Reporter


In Los Angeles hundreds Protest Turkey’s Role in Kassab Attacks  - Asbarez Armenian News

 

Celebrity Kim Kardashian tweets appeal on Kessab events - ARMENPRESS

 

Report: Syria deploys anti-aircraft missile batteries along Turkish border - JPost

 

Syrian army retakes key post in Latakia - Oman Observer

 

Turkish military fires into Syria after rocket hits mosque - Reuters

 

Erdoğan, again, quick to attribute Syria audio link to Hizmet with no proof - CİHAN

 

Relevant countries tipped off MIT about ISIS terrorists, daily claims - CI˙HAN

 

Who’s smuggling antiquities from Syria to Turkey by air? - conflict antiquities

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Ukraine News - Mar 31, 2014

 

US, Russia talks fail to end Ukraine deadlock - Boston Herald


Russia urges West to back 'federal' solution for Ukraine - Yahoo News


VIDEO (and transcript): Interview with Lavrov on Ukraine - RT News


Kerry Says Federalization of Ukraine as Proposed by Russia Is up to Ukrainians, they have to agree to a road ahead - MSNBC


VIDEO: Kerry: No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine - YouTube


Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry: Federalization is the complete capitulation of Ukraine, its dismemberment and destruction of its statehood - Euromaidan PR


Kharkov, Odessa, Donetsk regions demand autonomy for southeastern Ukraine: Russian media - The Voice of Russia

 

In A Divided Donetsk, Russians And Ukrainians Vie For Support (AUDIO) - NPR

 

VIDEO: Ukraine: Donetsk divided as pro-Russia activists push for referendum - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Loyalties divided in Ukraine's Odessa - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Odessa - Ukraine! No war! No russian occupation! 1000m flag! - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Pro Russia protesters take over Ukraine's Lugansk city - YouTube

 

Senate Intel chair: Crimea’s gone - CNN.com Blogs

 

Crimean Tatars, opposed to Russian occupation of Crimea, plan to declare autonomous territory within Crimea - UPI.com

 

VIDEO: Abduction of Crimean Tatar Reshat Akhmetov caught on camera, He was found dead on March 15, 2014 - Twitter / Euromaidan

 

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Russia says it has “no intention” of invading Ukraine - CBS News


Tour of Ukraine-Russia Border Finds No Signs of Military Buildup - NBC News.com


Kerry: Ukraine progress must include pullback of Russian forces currently massing on border and creating fear, intimidation - usatoday.com


Final US Congressional Approval Expected for 1 Billion Ukraine Aid (VIDEO) - VOA


U.S. sends top NATO general back to Europe over Ukraine crisis - Reuters

 

US ships 300,000 MREs to Ukraine military - TheHill

 

Ukraine crisis prompts new look at US defense cuts - Bloomberg

 

White House Fact Sheet: NATO-Related Military Buildup In Europe After The Ukraine Crisis - Liberty RoundTable

 

Putin submits proposals on denouncing some Russia-Ukraine agreements on Black Sea Fleet - ITAR-TASS

 

After Crimea, Moldova too fears unwanted events on road to EU - Reuters

 

US vows $10m Moldova to boarder security with Ukraine - brecorder.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Listen to Connect The Dots

Monday morning  at 7-8AM  tune in (KPFK 90.7 fm) 

                                  or log on: http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Lila Garrett’s  CONNECT THE DOTS.  Guests include:

 

Three leaders in the fight to save our democracy:

 

David Swanson in a short powerful rant on the new movement of we-the-people between April 4th and July 4th

 

Alan Grayson, got more progressive amendments passed last year than any other Congressperson. His reelection is heavily targeted by the Koch Bros. as his actions  to protect everything from Soc Sec to an end to drone warfare continues.

 

Robert Weissman President of Public Citizen, leader in the fight to stop the 1% & the Supreme Ct. from highjacking our elections by repealing Citizens United in which the Supreme Ct. gave corporations the right to buy our elections with unlimited funds.  And now in the  McCutchen Decision  the Supreme Ct is considering giving mega wealthy individuals the same right.  

 

Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)

KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;

99.5 China Lake

Airs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.

Link to my program page

http://www.kpfk.org/index.php/programs/67-connect-the-dots-with-lila-garrett

Link to my podcasts

http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Each show is online for three months.

Jason is back: more stories from TSA hell

Our whistleblower buddy Jason Harrington has written another exposé. We were the first site in the blabbosphere to publicize Harrington’s TSA tell-all blog, calledTaking Sense Away. That was two years ago. And we wrote about him several times thereafter.

Egypt News - Mar 29

 

Protests After El-Sissi Announces Candidacy: Five killed as Egypt police, Islamists clash - Yahoo News


Journalist shot dead covering clashes in Egypt - Committee to Protect Journalists


VIDEO: The moment of journalist Mayada Ashraf died caught on camera - YouTube


VIDEO: Protests in Cairo after Sissi announces candidacy - One News Page


VIDEO: Brotherhood supporters clash with police in Cairo - YouTube


El-Sisi's supporters plan last-minute demos in his support - Ahram Online

 

VIDEO: A Show of Support for El-Sissi in Tahrir Square - YouTube

 

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Egypt detainees 'routinely tortured’ (VIDEOS) - BBC News


VIDEO: 'Beatings and abuse' claims in Egypt custody - BBC News


Arab Organization for Human rights (AOHR): Systematic torture and arbitrary arrests of children in Egypt since the July 3 military coup - Muslim Mirror

 

VIDEO: Egypt: Activists claim mistreatment of young men and women in custody - YouTube

 

"Freedom for The Brave": 25 Jan detainees to report torture to Egypt's prosecutor-general - Ahram Online

 

April 6 launch campaign to revoke protest law - Ahram Online

 

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Egypt's political forces react to El-Sisi's candidacy - Ahram Online


Who opposes Sisi for president? - Cairo Post


POLL:  51% of Egyptians said they will vote for el-Sissi while 45% didn’t decide yet  - baseera.com.eg


Sisi's Egypt presidency bid ignites war on Twitter - turkishpress.com


VIDEO: Egypt: al-Sisi presidential bid prompts joy and concern - YouTube


VIDEO: Will the Upcoming Egypt Elections Be Fair? - WSJ.com


Egypt’s Christians Place Their Faith in Al-Sisi’s Presidential Bid - TIME.com

 

The Copts Choice: Where Do Coptic Christians Stand On Egyptian Politics? - Persecution News

 

Egypt's Workers Pose Challenge to President-to-Be Sisi - WSJ.com

 

Washington not backing any Egyptian candidate - Arab News

 

Egypt: Al-Sisi's run for President: Bonapartism and Gulf Oil Money - Informed Comment

 

Will UAE Aid Empower Egypt's Military?

 

Egypt’s Gen. El-Sisi runs for president, sets up 10,000-strong crack force to defend his regime - DEBKAfile

 

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Al Jazeera Journalists Are On Trial in Egypt for Doing Their Jobs - The Daily Beast


Al Jazeera Journo Abdullah El-Shamy Goes On Hunger Strike In Egyptian Jail - The Daily Beast


Media crackdown more severe for Egyptian journalists - Al-Monitor


Egypt has no evidence against us, says detained al-Jazeera journalist - The Guardian

 

VIDEO: Jazeera Journalists detained in Egypt - CNN

 

VIDEO: Jazeera journalist Greste remains behind bars in Egypt - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

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