Close Guantanamo NOW! Stand with Shaker Aamer.

 Close the US Torture Camp at Guantanamo NOW!  Stand with Shaker Aamer, Fahd Gazy & all the Prisoners Unjustly Held  On January 11, the US torture camp at Guantanamo will have been open 13 years.  More than 100 men are still held, the majority of whom were cleared for release years ago.  They suffer not knowing if they will be released, held indefinitely.  Some are still on protest hunger strike, and being force-fed by the U.S. military.

Witness Against Torture: Day 2 of the Fast for Justice

Dear Friends,

We have been fasting in solidarity with the Guantanamo detainees for over 36 hours now.   

Most of today was spent on the streets – from the morning at the White House to the afternoon at the British Embassy and Vatican Apostolic Nunciature.  You can find images from today on Facebook and Flickr.

This evening we watched a powerful film on Fahd Ghazy - Waiting for Fahd.  We encourage you all to take 11 minutes to watch it, and then read Fahd’s personal appeal. 

The community gathered here in DC continues to grow.  We are about 30 folks staying at the church, and our numbers will continue to grow as we start to settle in to a certain rhythm.  

There is much work still to do, and it is good to be gathered in community – here in DC and around the country - as we struggle together, to learn…and act…and reflect.  And learn…and act…and reflect.
Peace-
Witness Against Torture

CLICK HERE FOR OUR WASHINGTON, DC SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

In this e-mail you will find:

1)        DAY 2 – Tuesday, January 6

2)        The Path to Closing Guantánamo by Cliff Sloan

WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE SOCIAL MEDIA

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DAY 2 - Tuesday, January 6

During our morning reflection, we recalled Beth Brockman’s invitation, yesterday evening, to introduce ourselves and then mention someone or something we left behind upon arriving in D.C., and yet still carry with us.  Many people in our circle spoke of leaving behind beloved community and family members.  Beth then noted that prisoners in Guantanamo likewise have left behind loved ones, and that some have been separated from their families and communities for 13 years.

Before the reflection circle (and before the sun was fully risen), ten of us joined Kathy Kelly in an hour-long Skype call with about 15 young people in Afghanistan known as the Afghan Peace Volunteers.  Several members of their group were fasting from food for a 24 hour period. Despite intermittent breakdowns in the internet connection and the weighty, troubling issues raised, we genuinely shared warmth and hopes, along with information.  One of our Afghan friends asked if there was any evidence that a detainee who was tortured gave information which eventually protected people from harm.  Brian Terrell shared that false information, gained through torture, was used to justify the U.S. “Shock and Awe” bombing and invasion of Iraq.  

We look forward to ongoing exchanges. One way to continue the discussion is through joining the Global Days of Listening Skype conversation which happens on the 21st of every month.  You can learn more about the APVs at their website, Our Journey To Smile.

Later in the morning we joined an action at the White House, along with School of the Americas Watch, to confront Mexican President Peña Nieto about the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa.  There were over 200 people there, some carrying Mexican flags, others blowing trumpets and horns, and all decrying state violence.

When our group moved just down the street to the Mexican embassy, the secret service began to push at us slowly with whistles and cars, ordering us to move away from the embassy and White House to the end of the block. As people resisted, eight of us from Witness Against Torture dropped to our knees in front of a police car and refused to move. After some peaceful confrontation, the police decided not to arrest us, but instead formed a new line of police, cars, and barricades in front of us to separate us from the embassy and hide us from view. Once Peña Nieto’s car entered the White House gates, we joined the rest of the group to walk around the block to Lafayette Park to continue the demonstration. We stood strong in the cold for another hour, in solidarity with the Ya me cansé movement.

In the afternoon, we suited up in our orange prisoner jumpsuits and hoods and visited the British Embassy as well as the Vatican Papal Nuncio. At the British Embassy, we walked single file and held signs and portraits in support of the release of Shaker Aamer. As we stood in front of the embassy, we broke our silence to sing a mantra/song created by our fellow WAT fasters, Luke Nephew and Frank Lopez of the Peace Poets:

Today is the day

Give Shaker your full embrace

Today is the day

Overcome your past disgrace

Today is the day

Lift the hood and show his face

Today is the day

Justice for the human race

At the Nuncio, we delivered a letter asking the Pope to offer to accept the prisoners from Guantanamo in Vatican City, a nation-state of its own.  While we stood in front of that building, we sang another of Luke and Frank’s mantra/songs:

Today is the day
You can use those papal keys

Today is the day
Bring in all the refugees
Today is the day
Help us to create the peace
Today is the day
Liberation and release

In the evening, we watched Waiting for Fahd. This film tells the story of Fahd Ghazy, a Yemeni national unlawfully detained at Guantánamo since he was 17 and who is now 30. It paints a vivid portrait of the life that awaits a man who, despite being twice cleared for release, continues to languish at Guantanamo, denied his home, his livelihood, and his loved ones because of his nationality.  Seeing the grief on the faces of Fahd’s family members, his mother, brothers, daughter has touched us deeply. We are galvanized to act, to tell his story, to share with the public, to tear down the veil of indifference and ignorance. If for one moment we can place ourselves in Fahd’s family, view his daughter and brothers as our own, we would understand how connected we all are to each other. 


The Path to Closing Guantánamo

By CLIFF SLOAN

JAN. 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — WHEN I began as the State Department’s envoy for closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, many people advised me that progress was impossible. They were wrong.

In the two years before I started, on July 1, 2013, only four people were transferred from Guantánamo. Over the past 18 months, we moved 39 people out of there, and more transfers are coming. The population at Guantánamo — 127 — is at its lowest level since the facility opened in January 2002. We also worked with Congress to remove unnecessary obstacles to foreign transfers. We began an administrative process to review the status of detainees not yet approved for transfer or formally charged with crimes.

While there have been zigs and zags, we have made great progress. The path to closing Guantánamo during the Obama administration is clear, but it will take intense and sustained action to finish the job. The government must continue and accelerate the transfers of those approved for release. Administrative review of those not approved for transfer must be expedited. The absolute and irrational ban on transfers to the United States for any purpose, including detention and prosecution, must be changed as the population is reduced to a small core of detainees who cannot safely be transferred overseas. (Ten detainees, for example, face criminal charges before the military commissions that Congress set up in lieu of regular courts.)

The reasons for closing Guantánamo are more compelling than ever. As a high-ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism (not from Europe) once told me, “The greatest single action the United States can take to fight terrorism is to close Guantánamo.” I have seen firsthand the way in which Guantánamo frays and damages vitally important security relationships with countries around the world. The eye-popping cost — around $3 million per detainee last year, compared with roughly $75,000 at a “supermax” prison in the United States — drains vital resources.

Americans from across the spectrum agree on closing Guantánamo. President George W. Bush called it “a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies.” Kenneth L. Wainstein, who advised Mr. Bush on homeland security, said keeping the facility open was not “sustainable.”

In 18 months at the State Department, I was sometimes frustrated by opposition to closing the facility in Congress and some corners of Washington. It reflects three fundamental misconceptions that have impeded the process.

First, not every person at Guantánamo is a continuing danger. Of the 127 individuals there (from a peak of close to 800), 59 have been “approved for transfer.” This means that six agencies — the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence — have unanimously approved the person for release based on everything known about the individual and the risk he presents. For most of those approved, this rigorous decision was made half a decade ago. Almost 90 percent of those approved are from Yemen, where the security situation is perilous. They are not “the worst of the worst,” but rather people with the worst luck. (We recently resettled several Yemenis in other countries, the first time any Yemeni had been transferred from Guantánamo in more than four years.)

Second, opponents of closing Guantánamo — including former Vice President Dick Cheney — cite a 30 percent recidivism rate among former detainees. This assertion is deeply flawed. It combines those “confirmed” of having engaged in hostile activities with those “suspected.” Focusing on the “confirmed” slashes the percentage nearly in half. Moreover, many of the “confirmed” have been killed or recaptured.

Most important, there is a vast difference between those transferred before 2009, when President Obama ordered the intensive review process by the six agencies, and those transferred after that review. Of the detainees transferred during this administration, more than 90 percent have not been suspected, much less confirmed, of committing any hostile activities after their release. The percentage of detainees who were transferred after the Obama-era review and then found to have engaged in terrorist or insurgent activities is 6.8 percent. While we want that number to be zero, that small percentage does not justify holding in perpetuity the overwhelming majority of detainees, who do not subsequently engage in wrongdoing.

Third, a common impression is that we cannot find countries that will accept detainees from Guantánamo. One of the happiest surprises of my tenure was that this is not the case. Many countries, from Slovakia and Georgia to Uruguay, have been willing to provide homes for individuals who cannot return to their own countries. Support from the Organization of American States, the Vatican and other religious and human rights organizations has also been helpful.

I don’t question the motives of those who oppose the efforts to close Guantánamo. Some are constrained by an overabundance of caution, refusing to trust the extensive security reviews that are in place. Others are hampered by an outdated view of the risk posed by many of the remaining detainees. A third group fails to recognize that the deep stain on our standing in the world is more dangerous than any individual approved for transfer. These concerns, however well-intentioned, collapse in the glare of a careful examination of the facts.

The road to closing Guantánamo is clear and well lit. We are now approaching the 13th anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo detention facility. Imprisoning men without charges for this long — many of whom have been approved for transfer for almost half the period of their incarceration — is not in line with the country we aspire to be.

Cliff Sloan, a lawyer, was the State Department’s special envoy for closing Guantánamo until Dec. 31.

Ukraine/Russia News - Jan 7, 2015

 

HRW Calls on Germany to Pressure Ukraine Government on Civilian Casualties - VOA


Ukraine: Civilians Need Greater Protection - Human Rights Watch


Kiev's brutal strategy in eastern Ukraine - LA Times


Czech president says Yatsenyuk pushes war in Ukraine’s southeast  - Strategic Culture Foundation


VIDEO: Yatsenyuk called 'war prime minister' by Czech President Zeman - uatoday.tv


Right Sector units refuse to obey orders of Ukrainian Defense Ministry - TASS


Ukrainian Ultrarightist Groups March in Memory of Bandera; Protesters Seize LifeNews Camera (PHOTOS) - Interpreter_Mag


Ukraine National Security Council head demands Inter TV channel be stripped of license for showing performances by a number of Russian artists on New Year’s night - TASS

 

Ukraine Security Service puts Russian singers, actors on wanted list - TASS

 

Ukraine: Donbass refugees beaten for pro-Russian ice sculpture in Dnepropetrovsk - ibtimes.co.uk

 

Separatist 'Batman' Leader Killed With 6 Of His Fighters In 'Arrest' By LNR Forces (PHOTOS) - Interpreter_Mag

 

Batman Battalion Members Say in Interview that Bednov and Guards Were Killed in Ambush (VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag

 

VIDEO: Ex-insurgent leader Girkin urges militants to abandon east Ukraine war after upsurge in infighting - uatoday.tv

 

Was Ukrainian BUK 312 stolen by pro-Russian separatists (PHOTOS)? - Ukraine@war

 

Is this Ukrainian Buk a Clue in the MH17 Investigation or a Red Herring (PHOTOS)? - bellingcat

 

Dutch blogger Max Vanderwerff’s analysis debunking the Buk-M1 "missile plume” theory (PHOTOS) - docdroid.net

 

Did This Ukrainian Soldier Prove Ukraine Shot Down MH17? - bellingcat

 

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

Ukraine Suffers Highest Annual Inflation Rate In 14 Years, nearly 25 percent - rferl.org


Ukraine Bonds at 60 Cents Seen Signaling Risk of Default - Bloomberg


Russian gas exports to Ukraine dropped by 50% in 2014 - RT Business


Gazprom concerned over Ukraine’s possible siphoning off of Russian gas - TASS


Ukraine’s 2014 gas imports from Europe soar to 5.1 Bcm - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

 

Gas tariffs in Ukraine will increase in first quarter of 2015 - Censor.NET

 

EC and Ukraine will hold consultations through fees that violate the Association Agreement - Ukrainian Crisis

 

Can This Man Save Ukraine's Economy? - Bloomberg View

 

Shadow Bankers now run Ukraine - Sputnik UK

 

Russia Is Still Ukraine's Largest Trading Partner - forbes.com

 

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

VIDEO: Ukrainian military spokseman: More Russian army soldiers sent to Ukraine, Kremlin troops 'disguised as local fighters' - YouTube


How Russians Are Sent to Fight in Ukraine - newsweek.com


The list of Russian soldiers who died in Ukraine. So far 250 identified - Nataliya Gumenyuk on Twitter


Most Russian soldiers killed in Donbas ‘came from Moscow, Dagestan and Rostov’: Report - UNIAN news


La Repubblica: Putin Decree Enables Foreigners To Serve In Russian Military Because Of War In Ukraine - mw.ua


Ukraine's top intelligence agency deeply infiltrated by Russian spies - mashable.com


Intercepted phone conversation suggests Russia will supply weapons, vehicles to rebels - Kyiv Post on Twitter

 

Did Russia Send a New Batch of Military Vehicles to Separatists Controlled Ukraine (PHOTOS)? - bellingcat

 

Further Evidence that Russian BPM-97 Armor Used by Russian-Backed Fighters in Ukraine (PHOTOS, VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag

 

Russian armor attacking Ukrainian positions from Styla (VIDEOS) - Ukraine@war

 

Russian Gvozdika 122 mortar team on standby near MH17 crash area (PHOTOS) - Ukraine@war

 

Russian electronic warfare station discovered in Donbas, says Tymchuk - UNIAN news

 

Google Earth shows biggest Russian camp ever near Ukrainian border - (PHOTOS) - Ukraine@war

 

New Satellite Evidence Provides Additional Proof Russia Fired Grad Rockets Into Ukraine (VIDEO, PHOTOS) - Interpreter_Mag

 

Russia to form 11th humanitarian convoy for Donbas early January - TASS

 

OSCE To Double Size Of Ukraine Monitoring Mission - rferl.org

 

NATO's priority in 2015: Setting up reaction force in Europe designed as a deterrent to Russia - AP

 

US and Russia in danger of returning to era of nuclear rivalry - The Guardian

 

Putin Makes His First Move in Race to Control the Arctic - newsweek.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Cops prove they aren't really needed: NY's Mayor Should Fire All Protesting Cops and Apply Payroll Savings to Better Things

By Dave Lindorff


A huge number of entitled, mostly white cops in New York City, who have apparently been engaging in a two-week job action to protest their boss's (that's Mayor Bill deBlasio's) support for protesters against the police killing of Eric Garner, a black man busted for selling "loosie" cigarettes on the street on Staten Island, may be unintentionally offering the public a demonstration of their own irrelevance.

Bookmarks for War Criminal Erik Prince's New Book

War criminal Erik Prince’s new book "Civilian Warriors" has hit bookstore shelves and really belongs in the Crime section. Please move some copies there and be sure to place a “Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Lying, Killing and War Profiteering” bookmark in some copies! Just click on the link below, download the page with bookmarks, print double sided,cut and insert bookmark in the books.   http://warcriminalswatch.org/images/stories/pdfs/ErikPrince_Bookmark_2015.pdf

Ten Questions for Conservatives

Now that the Republican Party―the conservative voice in mainstream U.S. electoral politics―has attained the most thoroughgoing control of Congress that it has enjoyed since 1928, it’s an appropriate time to take a good look at modern conservatism.

Ten Questions for Conservatives

Editor's Note: If Congress was last this Republican in 1928, we might recall that the Republican Senate of 1928 ratified a treaty banning all war, which is still on the books.

By Lawrence S. Wittner

Now that the Republican Party―the conservative voice in mainstream U.S. electoral politics―has attained the most thoroughgoing control of Congress that it has enjoyed since 1928, it’s an appropriate time to take a good look at modern conservatism.

Conservatives have performed some useful services for Americans over the course of U.S. history.  Alexander Hamilton placed the nation’s financial credit on a much firmer basis during the late eighteenth century.  Determined to make knowledge available to all Americans, Andrew Carnegie funded the development of the free U.S. public library system in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  During the early twentieth century, Elihu Root and other conservatives played key roles in the establishment of international law.  Also, in the mid-twentieth century, Robert Taft staunchly denounced the peacetime military draft, arguing that it smacked of a totalitarian state.

But, increasingly, modern American conservatism resembles a giant wrecking ball, powered by hate-spewing demagogues to undermine or destroy long-cherished institutions, from the U.S. Post Office (established by Benjamin Franklin in 1775 and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution) to minimum wage laws (which began to appear on the state level in the early twentieth century).  Sadly, the rhetoric of modern conservatism―focused on small government, free enterprise, and individual liberty―seems ever more divorced from its behavior.  Indeed, conservatism’s rhetoric and its behavior are often quite contradictory.

Is this allegation fair?  There certainly seem to be plenty of discrepancies between words and deeds, and conservatives should be asked to explain them.  For example:

  1. As opponents of “big government,” why do you fervently support an unending stream of government-sponsored wars, vast government military spending, the power of local police to shoot and kill unarmed citizens, government interference with abortion rights and family planning, government restrictions on marriage, and the linkage of church and state?
  2. As advocates of “consumer sovereignty,” why do you oppose requiring corporations to label their products with information (for example, “contains GMOs”) that would enable consumers to make an intelligent choice of products?
  3. As advocates of personal advancement through individual effort, why do you oppose inheritance taxes that would place the children of rich and poor on a more equal footing in their struggle for personal success?
  4. As advocates of capitalist competition in the marketplace, why do you so consistently support the interests of giant corporations over those of small businesses?
  5. As advocates of the “private enterprise system,” why do you so often favor government subsidies to failing big businesses and tax breaks to thriving big businesses that you desire to lure into your state or region?
  6. As advocates of freedom to choose to work for an employer (“freedom of contract”), why do you oppose employees’ right to stop working for that employer―that is, to strike―and particularly to strike against the government?
  7. As advocates of voluntary (rather than government) action to redress grievances, why do you so fervently oppose labor unions?
  8. As advocates of the free movement of labor and capital, why do you support government immigration restrictions, including the construction of enormous walls, the massive policing of borders, and the building of mass incarceration centers?
  9. As critics of statism, why don’t you oppose government loyalty oaths, flag drills, and pledges of allegiance?
  10. As advocates of “freedom,” why are you not at the forefront of the fight against government torture, political surveillance, and censorship?

If these contradictions can’t be explained satisfactorily, then we have good reason to conclude that the professed principles of conservatives are no more than a respectable mask behind which lurk less admirable motives―for example, that support for wars and military spending reflects a desire to dominate the world and its resources, that support for police shoot-to-kill policies and crackdowns on immigrants reflects hostility toward racial minorities, that opposition to abortion rights and family planning reflects hostility toward women, that support for government meddling in religious matters reflects hostility toward religious minorities and nonbelievers, that opposition to product labeling, indifference to small businesses, subsidies to big businesses, and opposition to strikes and unions reflect a loyalty to corporations, that opposition to inheritance taxes reflects an alliance with the wealthy, and that support for nationalist hoopla, torture, surveillance, and censorship reflects a repressive, authoritarian mentality.  In short, that the real goal of conservatives is the maintenance of economic, gender, racial, and religious privilege, with no scruples about the means of maintaining it.

Actions, of course, speak louder than words, and we will undoubtedly get a good idea of where conservatives stand from the legislation passed by the incoming Republican-dominated Congress.  Meanwhile, however, it would be interesting to have conservatives explain these ten contradictions between their professed principles and their behavior.

Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com), syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is "What's Going On at UAardvark?" (Solidarity Press), a satirical novel about campus life.

Talk Nation Radio: Kristin Christman on the Taxonomy of Peace

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-kristin-christman-on-the-taxonomy-of-peace

Kristin Y. Christman is author of The Taxonomy of Peace, a work that analyzes the aggressive and defensive roots of violence in the Middle East and the United States, as well as mental, legal, and physical escalators of violence, and solutions to violence.  She discusses the significance of her work to foreign policy, as well as recent op-ed writings pertaining to U.S. attitudes towards Russia, the Middle East, and police violence in Ferguson and New York City.  Her work is online at  http://sites.google.com/site/paradigmforpeace

Also read these articles by Christman:
The Religion of War
The Atom of Peace
Excessive Force With a Clean Conscience
Iceberg
Practical Problem-Solving

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://TalkNationRadio.org

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https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Witness Against Torture: Daily Update – Day 1 of the Fast for Justice

***let us know if you would like to receive daily updates from the fast by sending an e-mail with "fast updates" in the subject to witnesstorture@gmail.com - to unsubscribe, write ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line ***

Dear Friends,

January 11, 2015 marks the thirteenth anniversary of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the ninth anniversary of Witness Against Torture’s January 11 presence in D.C., and our seventh liquids fast. 

There are 28 fewer men in Guantanamo as we gather this year then there were the last time we gathered for the Fast for Justice in DC.  127 men remain…many of whom have been cleared for release, but remain stuck in prison cells for up to 13 years, who continue to count the days, weeks, months and years they must wait to go home.

For the next 7 days, we are fasting in Washington, DC for the men in Guantanamo.

As our community closed our circle this evening, we went around, each sharing one word that we wanted to send to the men in Guantanamo.

Hope.  Solidarity.  Courage.  Relief.  Visibility.  Freedom. 

Through our actions this week-- fasting and vigiling-- we reach out to them, and to you.  We hope you will join us in any ways that you can.

In Peace,                                                                             
Witness Against Torture


CLICK HERE FOR OUR WASHINGTON, DC SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

*let us know if you will join us for a day, or days of fasting*

In this e-mail you will find:


1)        DAY 1 – Monday, January 5

2)       Press Advisory For #WeStandWithShaker Protest at British Embassy 1/6

 3)        January 5, 2015 Pentagon Vigil Opening Reflection By Art Laffin

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DAY 1 - Monday January 5

Fifteen members of Witness Against Torture (WAT) joined the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker weekly vigil at the Pentagon this morning. Wearing orange jumpsuits representing prisoners at Guantanamo, we stood silently as military and civilian workers entered the building.  Our signs and banners said: “Forever Prisoner;” “Forced Feeding;” “Indefinite Detention;” “Solitary Confinement;” “Is This Who We Are?”

Martha Hennessy wrote this about our vigil at the Pentagon:

It was 7:00 AM and very cold at the vigil. The sun came up, rosy pink, reflecting on the walls of this mammoth building, as employees walked in to work. Some were finishing up cigarettes or candy bars as they went. I think of my aunt Teresa Hennessy who worked her adult life there, perhaps beginning in the 1950s through the 80s. What secrets did she die with, what feelings did she have about how she spent her life, a good Catholic? The faces of folks walking by today showed stress, boredom, eagerness; two sets of couples holding hands, many uniforms, and civilian clothes that barely kept them warm from the cold morning. Some were hearing our message as Art sang, "Everyone beneath their vine and fig tree," in his beautiful tenor voice. Our fellow citizens are trying to provide for themselves and their families by participating in the works of war. How we have bastardized our work, our resources.

It was a call for justice and humanity, a quiet appeal to conscience. For an hour, in the heart of the U.S. war industry, we maintained a visual reminder that 127 men remain in Guantanamo.  These prisoners have been abused and tortured in the name of preserving U.S. national security. 

Later in the day, as new participants arrived, we began our seven day fast. WAT has taken this annual action since 2006 in solidarity with those still held, many without charge or trial, at the prison camp. Seven prisoners were recently released, but 59 who have been cleared for release are still imprisoned. The remaining 68 are in “indefinite detention.” Many of the Guantanamo prisoners are now conducting a hunger strike and are suffering through a forced feeding regimen. We vigil and fast as a means of accompanying our brothers in these brutal conditions. We hope that somehow they and their loved ones will know that our action is part of a grass roots network of campaigning, worldwide, undertaken by people who long to close Guantanamo, end torture, and find real security through fair and friendly relationships with people.

In the evening, we joined the group Dancing for Justice #DCFerguson #dancingforjusice at Dupont Circle. Undaunted by the freezing temperatures, we listened to black activists; a young dancer, sockless in the cold, led us in a dance followed by a die-in enacted to remember Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and the many other black men and women killed by police violence.  Then we chanted, “We can wake up because black lives matter,” as we marched around the circle.  Luke and Frank from the Peace Poets sang “I still hear my brother cryin,’ “I can’t breathe,” a song that has gone viral, knitting many people together in radical, uncompromising resistance to violence. 

Martha Hennessy wrote about her encounter with Dancing for Justice:

Lindsay was such a beautiful dancer with her bare hands and ankles in the thirty-degree weather. Her movements conveyed pain, grief, and oppression as we remembered the black lives lost to police use of deadly force. Black lives matter. We were led through a ten-minute die-in, lying on the cold pavement, reflecting on family members who die on the pavement every day in the United States. Lindsay shared frightful statistics. A black man is killed every 28 hours at the hands of the police, security agents, or vigilantes. Over 60% of those killed have severe mental health issues that play a role in the end result of a shooting.  Those who respond to calls for people in such mental states are not appropriately trained. And so tonight we raise our voices in grief and protest over these killings that have roots in our history of slavery.  

To all of us, the connection between the violence of the U.S. military and its black holes like Guantánamo and the violence of the police and its mass incarcerations against black Americans rings clear as a bell.

Press Advisory For #WeStandWithShaker Protest at British Embassy 1/6

Press Advisory- 1/6/2014

Contact: Daniel Wilson - 507-329-0507wilson.a.daniel@gmail.com

US group, Witness Against Torture, Protests at British Embassy Over Imprisonment of Shaker Aamer

Washington D.C.

On the afternoon of January 6th U.S.based group, Witness Against Torture, will protest at the British Embassy over the continued imprisonment of Shaker Aamer, British citizen currently detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Dozens of protesters dressing in orange jumpsuits and black hoods will sing, chant and display posters saying “I Stand With Shaker Aamer” along with banners depicting Aamer’s face. In solidarity with several UK based groups and Aamer’s lawyers, Witness Against Torture will demand that the British government take a stronger stance both for the immediate release of Shaker Aamer and closure of the illegal detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

A pending legal case against the UK brought by Aamer’s lawyers has invigorated renewed interest in his release.

Mr. Aamer, who has been held for 13 years without charge or trial. US authorities approved his release in 2007, under George W. Bush, and again in 2009, under Barack Obama.

January 5, 2015 Pentagon Vigil Opening Reflection By Art Laffin

We greet all who have come to the Pentagon in a spirit of peace and nonviolence. We, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and Witness Against Torture,  come this morning to the Pentagon, the center of warmaking on our planet, to say YES to love and justice and NO to the lies and death-dealing policies of a national security state and warmaking empire.

The Catholic Worker began this weekly Monday vigil in 1987. Mindful that Jesus calls us to love and not to kill, we seek to embrace God's command to renounce all war and killing and practice the way of nonviolence.  We call for an end to all U.S. warmaking and military intervention in our world, for the abolition of all weapons of war--from nuclear weapons to killer drones, for an end to all U.S.-sponsored oppression and torture and justice for the poor and all victims. We seek to eradicate, what Martin Luther King. Jr. called, the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.  We remember and pray for all victims of our warmaking empire, including the nine men who have died at Guantanamo over the past eight years.

The U.S. continues to operate with impunity as it has waged lethal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, uses deadly killer drones as part of its kill-list and assassination program in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia, and continues its criminal policy of indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo. This reign of state-sanctioned violence and terror must end! Too many people have suffered and died! All life is sacred. We are all part of the same human family. In biblical terms, if one person suffers we all suffer. What affects one, affects all!

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus quotes the prophet of Isaiah as he begins his public ministry. Jesus, who was himself a victim of torture and state execution, declares: the spirit of Lord is upon me because he has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. This admonition to proclaim liberty to captives was not simply a directive for Jesus but also a mandate for us today. And it has taken on a critical urgency regarding the 127 detainees still being held at Guantanamo,  59 of whom have been cleared for release, most have never been charged with a crime, and many of whom have endured tortuous force-feeding as a result of a hunger strike protesting their unjust confinement.

If a member of our own blood family was imprisoned at Guantanamo, what would we want people to do to help them? We would certainly want a speedy and just resolution to their case. Yet most of these men have languished at Guantanamo for going on 13 years, not knowing their fate. We need to see the men at Guantanamo as member's of our own blood family. And we need to act on their behalf. Thus, a major step toward making this truly a year acceptable to the Lord is to outlaw the sin and crime of torture and war, to end indefinite detention, to release those unjustly held, and to close Guantanamo. We appeal to all those in power and all people of goodwill to join with us and many others to make this a reality.

To mark and mourn the 13th year since the first detainees were taken to Guantanamo on Jan. 11th, members of WAT are conducting a “Fast for Justice” to call for justice for the Guantanamo detainees and for the immediate closing of Guantanamo. We hear the cries of the condemned and tortured, and those detainees who died, like Adnan Latif, and we will not rest until they are free and Guantanamo is closed! We demand that all those responsible for directing and carrying out the illegal abduction, torture and indefinite detention of these men, to repent for what they have done and to make reparations to all the victims.

In this New Year let us recommit ourselves to labor together to create the Beloved Community, and a world free of torture, oppression, racism, violence and war. Let us never forget that we are all part of one human family. What affects one, affects all! Close Guantanamo Now!

Actions in DC This Week

Witness Against Torture has activities going on in Washington, D.C., January 5-13
http://www.witnesstorture.org

Saturday, January 10th: Along with CodePink: tour homes and offices of famous torturers. Meet at 8 a.m. at Frying Pan Park, 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA 20171.

Saturday, January 10th at 8 p.m. at First Trinity Lutheran Church, 4th St and E St NW (Judicial Square stop on the Redline) Along with Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: A panel discussion on "From Ferguson to Guantanamo: Institutionalized Brutality and Torture." Experts will connect the dots between the police killing of unarmed African Americans in the U.S. and the brutal treatment of Muslim men imprisoned at Guantanamo. The panelists include Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence), Marsha Coleman-Adebayo (DC Hands-Up Coalition), Salim Adofo (#FergusonDC) and a Center for Constitutional Rights attorney.  (Others to be announced.) The Peace Poets from New York will begin and end the evening with performances.

Monday, January 12th: Witness Against Torture’s Nonviolent Direct Action. TBD.

*****

DC Ferguson has events planned:
http://dcferguson.org

Wednesday, January 7th at 5pm we will meet at Minnesota Avenue station to flyer for our upcoming action on Thursday, January 15th.

Saturday, January 10th at 7pm we will meet at Congress Heights station to gather signatures for the jump-out petition.

Tuesday, January 13th at 5pm we will meet at Rhode Island Avenue station to flyer for our upcoming action on Thursday, January 15th.

Thursday, January 15th (MLK’s birthday) at 7am we will meet at Mt. Vernon Square Park to shutdown downtown!

With Call to 'End the Drone Wars,' Activists Cut Their Way into UK Air Force Base

Four people arrested for aggravated trespass after entering RAF Waddington armed with banners and reports of civilian deaths
By Jon Queally, staff writer Common Dreams

end_drones.jpg
The four who participated in the action were (from left): Chris Cole (51) from Oxford, and Penny Walker (64) from Leicester, Gary Eagling (52) from Nottingham, and Katharina Karcher (30) from. Coventry were arrested inside RAF Waddington and are currently being held by police at Lincoln police station. (Photo: End the Drones/Facebook)

Four demonstrators opposed to Britain's prolonged participation in foreign wars and use of armed drones were arrested on Monday after cutting through a fence at the Waddington Royal Air Force base near Lincolnshire, UK.

According to the Guardian, RAF Waddington has been the growing focus of recent protests over Britain’s operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are controlled from the base.

"Behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatized. And so we have come to RAF Waddington, the home of drone warfare here in the UK to say clearly and simply ‘End the Drone War’."

Before being intercepted and arrested for criminal trespass, the small group said their intention was to create a "New Year gateway for peace" by cutting a hole in the security perimeter. The four carried a banner which said "End the drone wars" as well as reports documenting the number of civilian casualties arising from recent UK, NATO and coalition airstrikes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As the BBC reports:

The group were protesting at RAF Waddington about the use of armed drones, controlled from the base, which they claim cause civilian casualties.

The four, from Oxford, Nottingham, Leicester and Coventry, are currently in police custody.

An RAF spokesman said operation of the drones - known as Reapers - was unaffected.

The group, calling itself End The Drone Wars, named the protesters as Chris Cole, 51, from Oxford, Katharina Karcher, 30, from Coventry, Gary Eagling, 52, from Nottingham and Penny Walker, 64, from Leicester.

Explaining the reasons for their action on Monday, the demonstrators released a joint statement, which read:

We come to RAF Waddington today to say a clear ‘no’ to the growing normalisation and acceptability of drone warfare. Thanks to the marketing of drone war as ‘risk free’, ‘precise’ and above all ‘humanitarian’, war has been rehabilitated and accepted as virtually normal by those who see little or nothing of the impact on the ground thousands of miles away. Remote wars mean most no longer hear, see or smell the impact of bombs and missiles. With just a little effort we can almost believe that war is not happening at all.

But behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatized. And so we have come to RAF Waddington, the home of drone warfare here in the UK to say clearly and simply ‘End the Drone War’.

Monday's direct action is only the latest in a series of protests directed at the RAF's participation in the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

Presidents Are Gods

A former Governor of Virginia is expected to be sentenced to a long stay in prison. The same fate has befallen governors in states across the United States, including in nearby Maryland, Tennessee, and West Virginia. A former governor of Illinois is in prison. Governors have been convicted of corruption in Rhode Island, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Connecticut, and (in a trumped-up partisan scam) in Alabama. The statewide trauma suffered by the people of states that have locked up their governors has been . . . well, nonexistent and unimaginable.

Locking U.S. presidents up for their crimes is a different story. Former President Richard Nixon's understanding that whatever a president does is legal has not been challenged since he made that comment. The Washington Post -- not exactly a Nixon supporter -- has the same understanding now. The Post recently justified the latest proposal to re-ban torture by explaining that even though torture was already banned, President George W. Bush tortured and therefore had found a legal way around the law. In other words, because he hasn't been prosecuted, what he did was legal.

The New York Times, which urged prosecuting former President George W. Bush for torture six years ago, recently wrote this:

"Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, and as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president. But any credible investigation should include . . . "

The editorial goes on to list the people who should be prosecuted, up to and including the former vice president. But the president gets a pass, not on the basis of some reasoned argument, but because the authors cannot imagine a president being held accountable for crimes. They or their colleagues could imagine it several years ago but have progressed to the point where it has become unthinkable.

The state flag of Virginia, or any other of the 50 states, can be turned into a table cloth or a picnic blanket. It can be used to keep the rain off your firewood. Or it can be burned to get your fire started. Nobody cares what you do with it. Children aren't forced to pray to it every morning in school. It's just a flag. And because it's just a flag, nobody has any interest in abusing it, and virtually nobody would recognize what it was if they saw it burned or trampled or turned into a bathrobe or a bikini. The flag of Virginia, although we don't actually imagine it as having feelings, is treated just fine. So are state songs, even though nobody is required to stand and sing them with a fascistic pose as troops march by.

The same is true of state governors. They're treated with civility and respect. They're honored when they perform well and held accountable when they abuse power. Understood as human beings, they aren't abused as anything less. But they are not gods. And they are not gods because they are not makers of war.

Presidents make wars. And they now do so without any formal checks on their power. They can destroy the earth with the push of a button. They can destroy a hut or a village or a city at their discretion. Their killer flying robots rain hell from the skies worldwide, and neither Congress nor the Washington Post nor the people who lock up governors for taking bribes can even imagine questioning that power, that privilege, that divine right.

Congress may, it is true, "authorize" one of the current wars for three more years after allowing it to proceed illegally for several months. Or it may not. Nobody cares. The pretense that it matters is a vestige of a time in which we saw presidents differently.

But if murdering large numbers of people doesn't disturb us, if we've all concluded that murder is morally superior to imprisonment and torture and that there is no third option, are we perhaps capable of spotting a problem in what presidents have become in relation to the rule of law? Should it not disturb us that we've given single individuals for 4- or 8-year runs more power than King George III ever dreamed of, and that we've collectively declared any declaration of independence unimaginable?

Why Jeffrey Sterling Deserves Support as a CIA Whistleblower

By Norman Solomon

The trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, set to begin in mid-January, is shaping up as a major battle in the U.S. government’s siege against whistleblowing. With its use of the Espionage Act to intimidate and prosecute people for leaks in “national security” realms, the Obama administration is determined to keep hiding important facts that the public has a vital right to know.

After fleeting coverage of Sterling’s indictment four years ago, news media have done little to illuminate his case -- while occasionally reporting on the refusal of New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about whether Sterling was a source for his 2006 book “State of War.”

Risen’s unwavering stand for the confidentiality of sources is admirable. At the same time, Sterling -- who faces 10 felony counts that include seven under the Espionage Act -- is no less deserving of support.

Revelations from brave whistleblowers are essential for the informed consent of the governed. With its hostilities, the Obama Justice Department is waging legalistic war on our democratic rights to know substantially more about government actions than official stories. That’s why the imminent courtroom clash in the case of “United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling” is so important.

Sterling is accused of telling Risen about a CIA operation that had provided flawed nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran in 2000. The charges are unproven.

But no one disputes that Sterling told Senate Intelligence Committee staffers about the CIA action, dubbed Operation Merlin, which Risen’s book later exposed and brought to light as dumb and dangerous. While ostensibly aiming to prevent nuclear proliferation, the CIA risked advancing it.

When he informed staff of the Senate oversight committee about Operation Merlin, Sterling was going through channels to be a whistleblower. Presumably he knew that doing so would anger the CIA hierarchy. A dozen years later, as the government gears up for a courtroom showdown, it’s payback time in the security-state corral.

The relentless prosecution of Sterling targets potential whistleblowers with a key implicit message: Do not reveal any “national security” secrets that make the U.S. government look seriously incompetent, vicious, mendacious or dangerous. Don’t even think about it.

With so much at stake, the new petition “Blowing the Whistle on Government Recklessness Is a Public Service, Not a Crime” has gained more than 30,000 signers in recent weeks, urging the government to drop all charges against Sterling. The initial sponsors include ExposeFacts, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Government Accountability Project, The NationThe Progressive / Center for Media and Democracy, Reporters Without Borders and RootsAction.org. (A disclaimer: I work for ExposeFacts and RootsAction.)

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has concisely summarized the context of the government’s efforts in the Sterling prosecution. “Sterling’s ordeal comes from a strategy to frighten potential whistleblowers, whether he was the source of this leak or not,” Ellsberg said in an interview for an article that journalist Marcy Wheeler and I wrote for The Nation. “The aim is to punish troublemakers with harassment, threats, indictments, years in court and likely prison -- even if they’ve only gone through official channels to register accusations about their superiors and agency. That is, by the way, a practical warning to would-be whistleblowers who would prefer to ‘follow the rules.’ But in any case, whoever were the actual sources to the press of information about criminal violations of the Fourth Amendment, in the NSA case, or of reckless incompetence, in the CIA case, they did a great public service.”

Such a great public service deserves our praise and active support.

_____________________________

Norman Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

The demise of mainstream journalism, Chapter II: Philadelphia Inquirer Pimps for Philly Cop Chief

By Dave Lindorff


When I was starting out as a reporter back in 1972, working for a little family-owned daily, the Middletown Press in central Connecticut, I had editors and a publisher who demanded the best from us. If I was covering a story -- whether it was a police blotter report, a town meeting, or a controversial decision by a local zoning board -- and I failed to ask an important question, I inevitably got a call from the editor telling me to get it answered and inserted into my article.

The Atlantic Can't Figure Out Why U.S. Loses Wars

The cover of the January-February 2015 The Atlantic asks "Why Do The Best Soldiers in the World Keep Losing?" which leads to this article, which fails to answer the question.

The main focus of the article is the by now endlessly familiar discovery that most U.S.-Americans are not in the military. The article is accompanied by another advocating a draft. The claim in the main article is that because most people are disconnected from the military they are more willing to send it off into unwinnable wars.

Nowhere does the author, James Fallows, attempt to so much as hint at what makes the wars unwinnable. He does claim that the last war that was in any way victorious for the United States was the Gulf War. But he can't mean that it resolved a crisis. It was a war followed by bombings and sanctions and, in fact, the repeated revival of the war, ongoing and escalating even now.

What Fallows must mean is that once the U.S. military had done what it can do -- namely, blow stuff up -- in the Gulf War, it more or less stopped. The early days in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq 2003 saw very similar "victories," as did Libya 2011 and numerous other U.S. wars. Why Fallows ignores Libya I don't know, but Iraq and Afghanistan go down as losses in his book, I think, not because there's no draft or because the military and Congress are corrupt and build the wrong weapons, but because after blowing everything up, the military stuck around for years trying to make people like it by murdering their friends and family members. Such occupations are virtually unwinnable, as in Vietnam and numerous other places, because people will not accept them, and because military attempts to create acceptance are counterproductive. A better military with more self-criticism, a draft, and an audited budget would not alter this fact in the slightest.

Fallows' contention that nobody pays any attention to wars and militarism misses the point, but it is also overstated. "I'm not aware," he writes, "of any midterm race for the House or Senate in which matters of war and peace . . . were first-tier campaign issues." He's forgotten 2006 when exit polls showed ending the war on Iraq as the number one motivator of voters after numerous candidates opposed the war they would escalate as soon as they were in office.

Fallows also overstates the impact of public separation from the military. He believes it was possible to make fun of the military in popular culture when, and because, more of the public was closer to the military through family and friends. But this avoids the general downward slide of the U.S. media and the militarization of U.S. culture which he has not shown to be completely attributable to disconnection.

Fallows thinks that Obama would not have been able to make everyone "look forward" and avoid contemplating military disasters if "Americans had felt effected by the wars' outcome." No doubt, but is the answer to that problem a draft or a bit of education? It doesn't take much to point out to U.S. college students that student debt is unheard of in some nations that fight fewer wars. The U.S. has killed huge numbers of men, women, and children, made itself hated, made the world more dangerous, destroyed the environment, discarded civil liberties, and wasted trillions of dollars that could have done a world of good spent otherwise. A draft would do nothing to make people aware of that situation. And Fallows' focus only on the financial cost of a war -- and not on the 10-times-greater cost of the military justified by the wars -- encourages acceptance of what Eisenhower warned would generate more warfare.

Fallows' effort to look backwards also seems to miss the robotization of U.S. wars. No draft is going to turn us into drones, the pilots of which death machines are themselves disconnected from the wars.

Still, Fallows has a point. It is utterly bizarre that the least successful, most wasteful, most expensive, most destructive public program is largely unquestioned and generally trusted and revered by most of the public. This is the operation that coined the term SNAFU for godsake, and people are ready to believe its every wild tale. Gareth Porter explains the knowingly doomed decision to re-launch the Iraq war in 2014 as a political calculation, not as a means of pleasing profiteers, and of course not as a means of accomplishing anything. Of course, war profiteers work very hard to manufacture the sort of public that insists on or tolerates lots of wars, and the political calculation may be related to pleasing elites more than the general public. It is still worth framing as the greatest cultural crisis before us -- alongside climate denial -- that too many people are willing to cheer for wars and even more to accept the permanent war economy. Anything that shakes up that situation is to be applauded.

The real politics behind the US war on IS



No military or counter-terrorism analyst believes that the military force applied in Iraq and Syria has even the slightest chance of defeating IS

The US war on the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ or ISIL, also known as Islamic State of IS - the single biggest development in US foreign policy during 2014 - continues to puzzle those looking for its strategic logic. But the solution to the puzzle lies in considerations that have nothing to do with a rational response to realities on the ground. 

In fact, it is all about domestic political and bureaucratic interests.

War Is So 2014

By Joan Brunwasser, OpEdNews

President Obama has been credited with "ending" and "drawing down" this war [in Afghanistan] not only while expanding it to triple the size but also for a longer period of time than various other major wars combined.The catch is that this war is not over or ending. This year was more deadly than any of the previous 12. War is optional, that it is not imposed on us, that we have the responsibility to scale it back or to end it.

::::::::

Out With Empty Shirts, Pastel Ties, and the Neoconna Prima Donna

 

 


Rebuilding the Obama-Putin Trust

 

 

Editor Note: Heading into the last quarter of his presidency, Barack Obama must decide whether he will let the neocons keep pulling his strings or finally break loose and pursue a realistic foreign policy seeking practical solutions to world problems, including the crisis with Russia over Ukraine.

By Ray McGovern

The year 2015 will surely mark a watershed in relations between the United States and Russia, one way or the other. However, whether tensions increase – to war-by-proxy in Ukraine or an even wider war – or whether they subside depends mostly on President Barack Obama.

Bahrain: Major protests after arrest of AlWefaq leader; Saudi monarch hospitalised as women drivers tried

The Secretary General of Al Wefaq Society was arrested on Monday 29th December and remanded in custody for one week. He had been summoned by the Alkhalifa torturers and questioned for two days before the dictator decided to exact revenge from him by detaining him for one week. Sheikh Salman is known for his soft language and tone, and has steered Al Wefaq within the Alkhalifa laws. But the tyrant has been enraged by the decision of the political societies led by Al Wefaq to boycott the regime’s hollow elections in November. It was a strong slap on his face because it showed the lack of popular support or legitimacy to his rule. The Alkhalifa and their Saudi and British backers had hoped that those elections would provide a plausible exit from the political crisis that has engulfed the country since the eruption of the 14th February Revolution.

There have been angry reactions to the decision to detain Sheikh Ali Salman. The European Union called for respecting the rule of law with Sheikh Salman while the UN human Rights Commission has called for his immediate and unconditional release. It said in a statement: We are seriously concerned at the arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of Bahrain’s main opposition movement, Al Wefaq, as well as the continuing harassment and imprisonment of individuals exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the country. It further added: We urge the Government of Bahrain to immediately release Sheikh Salman, as well as all other persons convicted or detained for merely exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

The Saudi king, Abdulla ibn Abdul Aziz, 91, has been transferred to hospital suffering from undisclosed ailment. The world is watching the internal situation of the ageing kingdom whose Al Saud leaders have not only failed to reform their political system but have acted decisively against the Arab Spring and caused it to collapse. Two Saudi women are being tried for driving their cars, which is against the Saudi laws. Women driving is treated with similar severity as terrorism.

 Inside the country, there has been marked escalation of protests by the people who were angered by the continued policy of revenge and the illegal use of the state’s apparatus against the native Bahrainis. Shotguns were used extensively and several serious injuries were reported. Protests engulfed most of the towns and villages inhabited by the native Baharna who have been mercilessly targeted by the Alkhalifa tribal regime since occupying the islands in 1783. The British have always defended them against people’s revolts.

On Monday 29th December, Maitham Al Salatneh from Sanabis was detained and taken to the torture chambers of the CID. A 12- years old child was abducted by masked members of Death Squads.  Hani Ma’tooq Al Sanadi was snatched from Markoban area of Sitra. Hussain Mohammed Ali and Sayed Salman Mahdi were arrested after their homes were raided in Buri at dawn on Friday 26thDecember.  Mohammad Abdul Karim Al Khatam was abducted from the Bahrain-Saudi causeway on 26th December. Yesterday Hussain Shakir was detained in a raid on his house in Manama. Two brothers from Manama were also detained in the same way yesterday: Firas Al Hawwaj and his brother, Hussain.

On  Monday 29th December Alkhalifa court sentenced two native Bahrainis to death and handed a third a life sentence on charges related to alleged killing of a mercenary. Mohammad Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa have now joined a long list of native Bahrainis on the death row after Alkhalifa dictators decided to exterminate the native Baharna inhabitants. Seven others were sentenced to jail terms. Six were given life in jail: Hassan Al Sanabsi, Waheeb Abdulla, Hakkem Al Ashiri, Mustafa Ahmad, Mohammad Yousuf Hassan and Mohammad Ahmad Abdulla. The seventh person, Isa Abdulla Rabi’ was sentenced to six years behind bars. Today ten young men from Aali Town were sentenced to five years imprisonment for taking part in anti-regime protests. Two other people were also given jail terms. Sayed Hussain Sayed Abbas has been given seven years and Qassim Hassan three years. Several young men from Duraz Town were given ten years jail terms for allegedly taking part in burning police car c arrying mercenaries who attacked the town. Yesterday five native Bahrainis from Tubli Town were sentenced to two years jail for taking part in peaceful anti-regime protests.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
31st December 2014

Terrorism “Insurance” Expires

By Buddy Bell

In 2002, at a time when insurance providers were unwilling to provide coverage for losses resulting from acts of terrorism, and when construction and utility companies were stalling in their development projects, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). They decided to socialize some of the financial risk, giving a federal government guarantee on insurance payouts exceeding 100 million dollars.

Over the next 12 years, Presidents Bush and Obama and six different Congresses made countless decisions to increase the risk of terrorism (and of a bailout under TRIA). Of course, the most brutally profound effects of those decisions were imposed on children, women, and men in other parts of the world. Likely the least affected people were the ones complaining in the business sections of major papers last month.

They are worried because TRIA expired Jan. 1. An unexpected fluke on the last day of the last congressional session is to blame. “Everybody expected this would get done,” fumed Manhattan developer Douglas Durst, to New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman.

He won’t be waiting all that long: House Speaker John Boehner promised the Baltimore Sun to “act very quickly” to renew TRIA on January 3rd, when Congress reconvenes. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, quoted by Weisman, estimated that the act is 95% likely to pass through his chamber.

If rhetorical announcements in the past week turn out to be accurate, the first order of business that day will not actually be TRIA, but a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. A few days ago, activists in United Against Nuclear Iran announced that after Keystone, the next vote will be on a bill to impose tougher sanctions on Iran, which would scuttle any peace deal. This will paradoxically make a “nuclear Iran” much more likely. Presumably, TRIA would be acted on “very quickly” sometime after all that.

Whether the lapse in coverage will last a total of 3 or 4 or more days is probably not an issue that concerns most constituents of U.S. Congress members.  People in the U.S. are much more likely to be concerned with how to reduce the threat of terrorism in the first place. Unfortunately, a desire to avert danger to the greater public is not what guides U.S. foreign policy.  Policy makers instead insist that people in the U.S. and in other countries subordinate themselves to what U.S. elites claim is the national interest. 

In 12 years, the Afghanistan War did not end. The Iraq War was started, ended, and then started again. Torture became commonplace, with prisoners indefinitely held at Bagram, Guantánamo Bay, and a network of secret CIA prisons; some prisoners were rendered to third countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Syria to be tortured there. Israel, Egypt, and many other brutal regimes conducted wars of choice and campaigns of repression while making use of U.S. weaponry, vehicles, and diplomatic support. And then a systematic drone war attacked people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia; the ‘targets’ were chosen by Obama in consultation with the Pentagon or by secret algorithm.

The former commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, in a 2013 interview with Reuters, said that the use of drones is hated on a visceral level and exacerbates a perception of American arrogance. Former General James E. Cartwright, quoted in the New York Times on March 21 of that year, stated an obvious fact: “If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.”

The April 2013 issue of The Atlantic recounts the U.S. Senate testimony of a young man named Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemini. He attended English classes in Yemen before going to high school in Rosamond, California, then college in Beirut--- all funded through U.S. State Department scholarships. One day a drone strike hit his remote home village of Wessab. Seven of his siblings died from injuries they sustained. During his testimony to the Senate, he said he has met dozens of civilians who were injured during drone strikes and other air attacks in Yemen. “The killing of innocent civilians by U.S. missiles in Yemen is helping to destabilize my country and create an environment from which AQAP benefits. [Drone strikes] are the face of America to many Yemenis." (He was quoted using the acronym for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.)

The Rehman family was victim to another U.S. drone strike, this time in Pakistan. The strike appeared to be targeted at a 67-year-old midwife but also injured her two grandchildren. These children and their father came to testify to a Congressional hearing in late October 2013, yet only 5 members of Congress attended. Other Congress members did not attend despite knowing that law enforcement officers had recently investigated a botched car bombing in Times Square and identified U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan as a motive in the perpetrator’s attempt.

Now that TRIA has expired, the horrors inflicted by the United States on human beings abroad have more potential to cut into the bottom lines of insurance brokers and developers. This explains why the business press is paying attention to terrorism, yet the only genuine hedge fund against social decay for the rest of us is to transform the U.S. foreign policy, and quick.

Instead of reauthorizing TRIA, Congress should “act very quickly” to end the wars, ground the drones, stop using torture, and invest in the needs of children and adults through an internationally-administered reparations package. Justice is the only [i]nsurance of real security for everyone in the world.

Buddy Bell is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He can be reached at buddy@vcnv.org.

Appearances/Protests of War Criminals for January 2015.

Dick Cheney    1/26/15 Vero Beach FL

David Petraeus  1/17/15 Vero Beach FL

Karl Rove   1/16/15 Salt Lake City UT;    1/22/15 Concord CA;     1/27/15 Hollywood CA

Hitting a journalistic nadir: Cold-War-Style Propaganda Posing as News at the New York Times

By Dave Lindorff


As shameful a propagandist for Washington’s war machine as the New York Times has been over the years, sometimes I still cannot believe the brazenness of its abandonment of even a pretext of dispassionate journalistic standards. One of those moments came today, when I read the left-column page-one article by Jim Yardley and Jo Becker headlined “How Putin Forged a Pipeline Deal that Derailed.”

New TCBH! poem by Gary Lindorff: 'Grinding my Ax'

By Gary Lindorff

 

My ax is grinding
All by itself!
I can hear it giving itself to the grinding wheel
Every day when I wake up,
Most nights when I go to bed.
 
I am just grinding it.
 
What would I use it for?
To cut down my enemies to size?
To swing against the foundations of the NSA?
To destroy the diabolical machinery
That is excavating the tarsands in Alberta?
To obliterate all the missiles and missile silos...


Shut Down Creech

The Challenge of the Islamic State and U.S. Policy

By Karl Meyer and Kathy Kelly

What to do about the political mess in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State and related political movements?

Shortly after the end of World War II, the Western powers and the whole world began to recognize that the age of explicit colonial domination was over, and dozens of colonies were let go of and took political independence.

It is now past time for the United States and other world powers to recognize that the age of neo-colonial military, political and economic domination, especially in the Islamic Middle East, is decisively coming to a close.

Attempts to maintain it by military force have been disastrous for ordinary people trying to survive in the affected countries. There are powerful cultural currents and political forces in motion in the Middle East that simply will not tolerate military and political domination. There are thousands of people prepared to die rather than accept it.

U.S. policy will find no military fix for this reality.

Stopping Communism by military imposition of subservient government did not work in Vietnam, even with the presence of a half million U.S. troops at one period, the sacrifice of millions of Vietnamese lives, the direct death of about 58,000 U.S. soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of U.S. physical and mental casualties, still ongoing today.

Creating a stable, democratic, friendly government in Iraq has not worked even with the presence of at least a hundred thousand U.S. paid personnel at one period, the cost of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties and deaths, the loss of about 4,400 U.S. troops to direct death, and many more thousands to physical and mental casualties, ongoing today and for many more years to come. The U.S. military attack and occupation has led to fratricidal civil war, economic disaster and misery for millions of ordinary Iraqis trying to survive.

The results in Afghanistan are proving very similar: dysfunctional government, massive corruption, civil war, economic disruption, and misery for millions of ordinary people, at a cost of thousands of deaths, and uncounted thousands of Afghan, U.S., European, and allied casualties, that will continue to manifest symptoms for decades to come.

The U.S./European military intervention in the Libyan revolt left Libya in an unresolved condition of dysfunctional government and civil war.

The Western response to the rebellion in Syria, encouraging and fostering civil war, at the cost of death or misery for millions of Syrian refugees, has only made the situation worse for most Syrians.

We need to think, above all else, about the terrible costs of each of these military interventions for ordinary people trying to live, raise families and survive in each of these countries.

These awful failures of U.S. and European military intervention have led to immense cultural resentment among millions of serious and thoughtful people in Islamic countries of the Middle East. The evolution and emergence of the Islamic State and other militant movements is one challenging response to these realities of economic and political chaos.

Now the United States is engaging in another military intervention, bombing targets in areas of Islamic State control, and trying to persuade surrounding Arab states and Turkey to enter the fray by putting their troops at risk on the ground. The expectation that this will work out better than the interventions cited above seems to us another huge mistake, one that will be equally disastrous for ordinary people caught in the middle.

It is time for the U.S. and Europe to recognize that civil wars in the Middle East will be resolved by the emergence of the most powerful and best organized local movements, in spite of what the U.S. Government agencies, on the one hand, or worldwide humanitarian communities, on the other hand, might prefer.

They may also lead to the rearrangement of national boundaries in the Middle East that were arbitrarily set by European colonial powers a hundred years ago at the end of World War I. This has already occurred with Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and other eastern European countries.

What U.S. Policies Might Foster Political Stability and Economic Recovery in Areas of Conflict?

1) The U.S. should end its current provocative drive toward military alliances and missile deployments encircling the boundaries of Russia and China. The U.S. should accept pluralism of economic and political power in the contemporary world. Present policies are provoking a return to Cold War with Russia, and a tendency to begin a Cold War with China This is a lose/lose proposition for all countries involved.

2) By turning toward a reset of policy toward cooperating with Russia, China and other influential countries within the framework of the United Nations, the United States could foster international mediation and political pressure from a broad consensus of countries to resolve the civil wars in Syria and other countries by negotiation, devolution of power, and other political solutions. It might also reset its relationship toward friendly cooperation with Iran in the Middle East and resolve the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation in Iran, North Korea and any other potential nuclear weapons states. There is no essentially inherent reason why the U.S. needs to continue a hostile relationship with Iran.

3) The U.S. should offer reparations to ordinary people harmed by U.S. military interventions, and generous medical and economic aid and technical expertise wherever it may be helpful in other countries, and thus build a reservoir of international goodwill and positive influence.

4) It’s time to embrace a post-neo-colonial period of international cooperation through diplomatic institutions, international organizations, and non-governmental initiatives.

Join Witness Against Torture’s Annual Fast, Rally, and Direct Action to Close Guantánamo and End Torture


The WAT community will gather together in Washington D.C. from January 5th thru January 13th. You are invited to fast with us for a day, fast with us from Jan. 5-12, and to join us in Washington!

This January 11, 2015, the detention facility at Guantánamo will enter its fourteenth year of operation. Despite the recent release of some detained men, more than 100 remain imprisoned, including dozens who are cleared for transfer.  While we celebrate the freedom of those released, we cannot stand idly by waiting for executive action to determine the fate of those still in Guantánamo.

In Washington., we will use our creative energy to encourage citizens and government officials to see the humanity of the men in Guantánamo, to call for the closure of the prison, and to seek an end to torture.  The Senate report on CIA torture describes acts that shock the conscience. Our actions during the week will also call for the prosecution of those who authorized, designed, ordered, and carried out torture policies

Many of us will be fasting in solidarity with the men in Guantánamo as they continue to suffer the torture of indefinite detention, separation from their families, and force-feeding. We fast because of a mutual desire for freedom and justice that connects our lives to theirs.

How can you participate?

Join us for the duration of the fast: January 5th thru the 13th.

We still have space available for those that wish to come to Washington D.C. for the entire time.   We have actions and activities planned for everyday of the week. Join us for this time of shared solidarity, mutual support and creative collective actions.

If you are wondering what to expect, click here to watch this video of our 2014 Fast

Join us for the weekend activities:  January 9th to the 13th:  

During the weekend, we have very special events and actions planned If you cannot make it for the duration, come for the weekend!  Activities include:

Saturday, January 10th 8pm: From Ferguson to Guantánamo: Institutionalized Brutality & Torture: A Panel Discussion. Location: First Trinity Lutheran Church

4th & E Street NW.  The discussion will feature activists and attorneys involved in the struggles against police violence, racial profiling, and US detention policies.

Sunday, January 11th 1pm: Interfaith Prayer Vigil (Sponsored by NRCAT and Interfaith Action for Human Rights) 1:30pm Rally to close Guantánamo at the White House followed by a march to the Department of Justice.Click here to read The Call to Action.

Monday, January 12th: Witness Against Torture’s Nonviolent Direct Action. TBD.

We shut down a Federal Court when the courts refused to allow the men from Guantánamo in. We held a memorial in the Capitol Rotunda for men who had died at Guantánamo. We shut down the United States Supreme Court calling for justice for men in Guantánamo. We have lined the sidewalk in front of the White House hundreds of times, in orange jumpsuits and black hoods. We took over the Museum of American History imploring “Make Guantánamo History!”

This year, as 132 men remain in Guantánamo,

as we enter the 14th year of the prisons existence,

as 64 men are cleared for release…

We are looking for 64 people to join us on January 12th.

Fast with us in your home community:

You are invited to join us from afar. Every year people join us in fasting and organizing actions in their home communities. During this time, we will stay connected with you through our daily updates and direct contact, as helpful.  If you are considering fasting with us from afar please let us know!

If you have any questions, please email us at witnesstorture@gmail.com

Witness Against Torture on Social Media:

Please "like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter & Instagram

Check out our latest news and updates on Tumblr.

Post any pictures of your local activities to ourflicker account and we will help spread the word.

Donate to support our work:

Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org

--

Witness Against Torture
www.witnesstorture.org

Talk Nation Radio: Jonathan Landay on War, Politics, and Media

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jonathan-landay-on-war-politics-and-media

Jonathan Landay is a reporter for McClatchy. His reporting at Knight Ridder during the marketing of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was virtually the only skeptical reporting in the corporate press. He discusses current wars and politics.

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://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Ukraine/Russia News - Dec 30, 2014

 

Poroshenko: No military solution to Ukraine conflict, will meet the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on Jan. 15 - LA Times


Poroshenko warns of martial law “immediately” if rebels relaunch hostilities - irishtimes.com


Military operation in Donbas does not end until January 15: Poroshenko - TASS


Address of President Petro Poroshenko at the press conference of December 29, 2014 - Official web-site of President of Ukraine


Kiev, Donetsk Military Meet, No Agreements Reached: DPR Official - Sputnik International


Kiev, Donbas to Continue Prisoner Swaps Monday: Donetsk Ombudsman - Sputnik International

 

Ukrainian army repulsed terrorists’ attack on Donetsk airport, Three soldiers and 14 separatists were killed: Poroshenko - Censor.NET

 

VIDEO: Separatists continue shelling the Donetsk airport - Censor.NET

 

Separatists attacked Ukrainian army positions near Mariupol, one soldier killed: ATO headquarters - Censor.NET

 

Jewish Community To Create Jewish Defense Force In Mariupol - JP Updates

 

Russia’s body count is rising in Ukraine, despite army officials’ denials - Telegraph

 

VIDEO: UK media confirms that Russian troops fought and died in Ukraine - LiveLeak.com

 

How a Retired Russian Army Officer Sends ‘Volunteers’ to Fight in Ukraine - atlanticcouncil.org

 

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

Ukraine adopts 'draconian' budget backed by IMF - Business Recorder


Cabinet to increase gas rates for population to market level in 2015, 20 million of Ukrainians will receive grants-in-aid - Censor.NET


Ukraine’s parliament adopts law imposing 5-10% import tax - TASS


Scuffle during protests outside Rada, calls for the government to refrain from austerity, excise duties and other taxes (PHOTOS) - Interpreter_Mag


IMF mission to visit Ukraine from Jan 8 - Reuters

 

Putin, IMF Chief Discuss Russia's Efforts to Help Crisis-Hit Ukraine - Sputnik International

 

Ukraine ready to buy coal from Donbas: Poroshenko - TASS

 

Kiev Ready to Supply Electricity to Crimea if It Gets Enough From Russia - Sputnik International

 

Kiev has no plans to use blockade of Crimea as element of pressure in talks on Donbas - TASS

 

Kiev to Pay $3 Billion to Moscow in Arrears: Ukrainian Finance Ministry - Sputnik International

 

Nuclear reactor shutdown at Ukraine's biggest power station after 'electrical malfunction' - Daily Mail Online

 

Ukraine Separatist Leader Warns Against Using U.S. Nuclear Fuel - rferl.org

 

Self-proclaimed Luhansk republic nationalizing strategically important enterprises - TASS

 

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

Russian Ruble Drops 7 Percent as Economy Shrinks - ABC News


China plays long game with ruble deal, Beijing bolsters global currency ambitions as Russia swaps challenges central role of U.S. dollar - Barron’s


VIDEO: Russia and China forge closer ties - Al Jazeera


Medvedev: Russia to Define Measures to Support Economy After Holidays - Sputnik International


4 Reasons Why Russia Isn't Doomed - Seeking Alpha

 

Apple Inc.'s Back in Russia: Here's Why It Left in the First Place - fool.com

 

West wants to end confrontation with Russia over Ukraine: EU foreign policy chief - RT News

 

Putin Shown Not ‘So Smart’ as Russia Economy Suffers, Obama Says - Bloomberg

 

TRANSCRIPT: President Obama's Full NPR Interview - NPR

 

Most Admired in U.S.: Obama, Clinton ... but Russian President Vladimir Putin also has his admirers too, he crashed the top 10 list - NBC News.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Don't Slink Away, Mark Udall;There's a Mountain to Climb

 

 


Udall Urged to Disclose Full Torture Report

 

 

Sen. Mark Udall has called for the full release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture. However, as a still-sitting member of Congress, he has a constitutional protection to read most of the still-secret report on the Senate floor — and a group of intelligence veterans urges him to do just that.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Senator Mark Udall

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Stopping Torture

We, the undersigned are veteran intelligence officers with a combined total of over 300 years of experience in intelligence work. We send you this open letter at what seems to be the last minute simply because we had been hoping we would not have to.

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