Tomgram: Engelhardt, It Can Happen Here (In Fact, It Did!)

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Nobel Laureates Urge President Obama to Bring Justice to the Exiled Chagossian People before Leaving Office

Washington, DC, January 5, 2017 -- Seven Nobel Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are urging fellow Nobel Laureate President Barack Obama to use his last days in office to help end five decades of exile suffered by the Chagossian people, who were displaced from their homes on the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia by a U.S. military base.

“Only you now have the power to help the Chagossians return to their ancestral homeland” in the Indian Ocean, the Laureates tell President Obama. By helping the people return home, Obama can “cement [his] legacy as a defender of human rights,” the Nobel winners’ letter points out (full text below).

The Chagossians are descendants of enslaved Africans and indentured Indians whose ancestors lived on Diego Garcia and in the rest of the Chagos Archipelago since the time of the American Revolution. The Chagossians have been living in impoverished exile since the U.S. and U.K. governments forcibly removed them between 1968 and 1973 while establishing the U.S. base on Diego Garcia. For almost 50 years, the two governments have refused Chagossian demands to go home. In signing the letter, Archbishop Tutu described the people as “marginalised and ill-used children of God.”

Yes, Positivity, Pangloss, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Populism

Eight years ago Yes! Magazine published a political platform of progressive policies, along with polling showing strong majority support for each proposal. Now, eight years later, we can show almost total failure to advance any of the proposals, most of which were focused on the U.S. federal government.

Where there have been any small successes, they have mostly come at the state or local level or outside the United States. New York State just took a step toward free college and Washington State toward shutting down fossil fuels while everyone was watching Donald Trump's twitter feed. Most of the world's nations are working on a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons from the earth, while Obama's government has invested heavily in new nukes and (far more offensively, I'm told) Trump has tweeted about them.

The general federal-level failure in the United States is very clearly because the U.S. government in Washington D.C. is a financially corrupted and anti-democratic structure, and because the U.S. public is generally disinclined to hold it accountable. The United States enjoys remarkably less activism than many other countries, and suffers as a result.

A huge reason for the activism shortage is partisan loyalty. Of that minority of people who will do anything at all, many will only make demands of or protest members of one political party. For the other party all is forgiven. And most policy positions are utterly expendable at the slightest shift in the party line. Witness the current Democratic fever for believing the CIA on faith and desiring hostility toward Russia.

On No-Guts-Obama Leaving Behind an Imperial Graveyard in Afghanistan

 

 


Obama’s Deadly Afghan Acquiescence

 

 

 

From his first days, President Obama showed a lack of guts when confronted by powerful insiders. He backed down even when that meant squandering U.S. soldiers in the futile Afghan War “surges,” says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern.

Occasionally a New York Times writer like Mark Landler will be permitted to step up to the plate and write a sensible article about President “No Guts Obama” and how he caved in to folks whom he lacked the political courage to cross.

Talk Nation Radio: Dave Webb on Keeping Weapons and Nuclear Power Out of Space

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-dave-webb-on-keeping-weapons-and-nuclear-power-out-of-space

Dave Webb is a member of the World Beyond War Coordinating Committee and chair of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and well as Vice President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space: http://space4peace.org

Webb is an Emeritus Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Leeds Beckett University (previously  Leeds Metropolitan University). Webb has been involved in the campaign to scrap the UK Trident nuclear weapons system and has also focused on campaigning to close two U.S. bases in Yorkshire (where he lives) – Fylingdales (a missile defence radar base) and Menwith Hill (the huge NSA spy base).

We discuss the upcoming 25th Annual Global Network Conference & Protest: "Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense & the Weaponization of Space" to be held on April 7-9, 2017, in Huntsville, Alabama: http://space4peace.org

 

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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The Democratic Party Line That Could Torch Civil Liberties… and Maybe Help Blow Up the World

By Norman Solomon

Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials’ emails and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat.

Of course partisan spinners aren’t big on self-examination, especially if they’re aligned with the Democratic Party’s dominant corporate wing. And the option of continually fingering the Kremlin as the main villain of a 2016 morality play is clearly too juicy for functionary Democrats to pass up -- even if that means scorching civil liberties and escalating a new cold war that could turn radioactively hot.

Focus: Russian Hacking - Jan 2, 2017


According to both private cybersecurity firms and US intelligence agencies, there is no doubt that Russian group "Fancy Bear" (also known as Sofacy, APT 28, Sednit, Tsar Team or other names) hacked the Democratic party. Is Fancy Bear an agent of the Russian military intelligence service? I believe it is. Fancy Bear is well known by the cybersecurity experts and has been studied in the past at length. Since 2007, targets of Fancy Bear’s hacking have been Georgia and the Caucasus, Eastern European governments and militaries, Ukraine, US, Germany, UK, NATO, OSCE, Soros, etc. Lately it hacked the World Anti-Doping Agency in response to the WADA's recommendation to ban all Russian athletes from the Olympic games in Brazil. While China hacking conducts intellectual property theft, cybersecurity firm FireEye found that Fancy Bear 'has been targeting privileged information related to governments, militaries and security organizations that would likely benefit the Russian government.’ Another cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike states that Fancy Bear’s profile "closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government."


During the years Fancy Bear’ hacking activity has grown in size, sophistication and scope. FireEye reports that Fancy Bear has continuously evolved its malware "using flexible and lasting platforms indicative of plans for long-term use and sophisticated coding practices;" it also uses obfuscation techniques to hide or disguise the code's true purpose and to prevent it from being detected. CrowdStrike has shown that Fancy Bear has the ability to run multiple and extensive intrusion operations concurrently; while it was hacking US political organizations was at the same time involved targeting European military organizations. CrowdStrike on Fancy Bear and another Russian hacking group "Cozy Bear": "Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of 'living-off-the-land' techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities including deliberate targeting and 'access management' tradecraft — both groups were constantly going back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels and perform other tasks to try to stay ahead of being detected." This is not lone wolf or kiddie stuff. This level of activity requires a complex structure that only the Russian government can provide. The New York Times reports that Russian officials recruit programmers "placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders.” Fancy Bear developers use the Russian language and operate during business hours consistent with the time zone of Russia’s major cities.


Also Cozy Bear was involved in the hacking of the Democratic party. Recently, after the American presidential elections, it attacked several Russia-focused think tanks in Washington DC who advise the US government. Crowdstrike said Cozy Bear has also been in the past behind attacks against the White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff. For convenience, here I only focus on Fancy Bear. Enclosed is publicly available documentation. Additional classified material may be in the hand of the US intelligence agencies.


In September 2015 Obama signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in which both countries agreed not to hack the other’s private sector firms. After that there was a dramatic drop in Chinese state-sponsored hacking; around 90 percent of the cyber attacks disappeared in 2016. CrowdStrikes calls those Chinese hacking statistics "the biggest accomplishment we’ve had in the cyber domain in the last 30 years." Hopefully Trump will be able to do the same with Putin cutting down the Russian hacking. To this end, opening a friendly dialogue and establishing cooperation with Moscow will certainly help. Russians feel threatened by the West and their fears are the root causes of their cyberspionage surge.


REPORT: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee - CrowdStrike 


Findings from analysis of DNC intrusion malware - Threat Geek


Russian-linked group leaks US lawmakers’ phone numbers, emails - Nextgov.com


ThreatConnect follows Guccifer 2.0 to Russian VPN Service - ThreatConnect


Faketivists: Fancy Bears in disguise - ThreatConnect Blog


How hackers broke into John Podesta and Colin Powell’s Gmail accounts - Motherboard


Threat Group-4127 (Fancy Bear) targets Google accounts - SecureWorks


Russian hackers of DNC said to nab secrets from top NATO general, Soros - Bloomberg


Can a BEAR fit down a rabbit hole? Nexus between attacks against US State Election Boards and spearphishing campaign against Turkish, Ukrainian governments - ThreatConnect


Fancy Bears possibly involved in the hacking of OSCE which is monitoring a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists - softpedia.com


Fancy Bear tracks Ukraine troop movements via trojanized app - Infosecurity Magazine


Fancy Bear hack of Ukrainian artillery fighters shows future of war - Motherboard


REPORT: Danger Close: Fancy Bear Tracking of Ukrainian Field Artillery Units - CrowdStrike


Russian 'Fancy Bear' hackers targeted BBC election broadcasts and government departments - Daily Mail Online


Experts: Same Russians hacked World Anti-Doping Agency, Democrats - NBC News


REPORT: ThreatConnect Identifies FANCY BEAR World Anti-Doping Agency Breach - ThreatConnect


Fancy Bear hackers use a new Mac Trojan against aerospace industry – Cyber Defense Magazine


Fancy Bear goes all out to beat Adobe, MSFT zero-day patches - Ars Technica


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


FBI-DHS report provides insight into Russian malicious cyber activity - eweek.com


REPORT: GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity - us-cert.gov


Critiques of the DHS/FBI’s GRIZZLY STEPPE Report – Robert M. Lee


Meet Fancy Bear, the Russian group hacking the US election - BuzzFeed News


All signs point to Russia being behind the DNC hack - Motherboard


Russian government likely to be behind APT 28 (Fancy Bear): Bitdefender - scmagazineuk.com


REPORT: APT28 (Fancy Bear) Under the Scope: A Journey into Exfiltrating Intelligence and Government Information - bitdefender.com


APT28: A Window into Russia's cyber espionage operations? APT28 is most likely sponsored by the Russian government based on numerous factors - FireEye Inc


How Russia recruited elite hackers for its cyberwar - The New York Times


Obama curbed Chinese hacking, but Russia wont be so easy - WIRED


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

Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump

To many Democrats for whom killing a million people in Iraq just didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and who considered Obama's bombing of eight nations and the creation of the drone murder program to be praiseworthy, Trump will be impeachable on Day 1.

Indeed Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. Here's a "progressive" Democrat:

"In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason. ... By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American democracy."

There's a bit of a nod there -- in the word "investigations" -- to the lack of any evidence that Russia manipulated any U.S. election, yet that manipulation is stated as fact, and a failure to support further sanctions as punishment for it becomes "aid and comfort." What level of punishment exactly constitutes the absence of aid and comfort? And how does that level of punishment compare with the level likely to produce war or nuclear holocaust? Who knows.

Failure to sufficiently punish a foreign government, even for an actual proven offense, has never been a high crime and misdemeanor. The United States is in fact bound by the Hague Convention of 1899, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the United Nations Charter to take any such dispute to arbitration and to settle it by pacific means. But that would require producing some evidence rather than mere allegations. Lawless "punishment" is much easier.

But further evidence can emerge to counter the claim. The lack of evidence for the claim can weigh ever more heavily on public opinion. And the dangers of creating further hostility with Russia can enter the consciousness of additional people.

Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate the U.S. Constitution in terms of not only foreign but also domestic corruption. That's a perfectly overwhelming case for impeachment and removal from office that doesn't require opposing a single incident of mass murder or offending a single Pentagon contractor.

Beyond that, Trump is becoming president after election day intimidation, the partisan-based removal of voters from the rolls, and opposition to attempting to count paper ballots where they existed. He's arriving with the stated policies of unconstitutionally discriminating against Muslims, murdering families, stealing oil, torturing, and proliferating nuclear weapons.

In other words, Donald Trump will be from Day 1 an impeachable president, and Democrats will have already spent months building their campaign around the one thing that won't work. Imagine what will happen after all their hearings and press conferences, when their supporters find out that they aren't even accusing Vladimir Putin of hacking into election machines, that in fact they are accusing unknown individuals of hacking into Democrats' emails, and that they are then vaguely speculating that those individuals could have been sources for WikiLeaks, thereby informing the U.S. public of what was quite obvious and ought to have been widely reported for the good of the U.S. government, namely that the DNC rigged its primary.

By the time the Democrats beat themselves to the floor with this charade, more facts will likely have come out regarding WikiLeaks' actual source(s), and more hostility will likely have been stirred up with Russia. The war hawks have already got Trump talking up nuclear escalation.

Luckily there is an ace in the hole. There is something else that Democrats will be eager to hold Trump accountable for. And give Trump a month and he'll produce it. I'm referring, of course, to that greatest fear of Our Beloved Founding Fathers, the ultimate high crime and misdemeanor: the presidential sex scandal.

Nine Years of Challenging Obama Policies at His Hawaii Vacation Home

By Ann Wright

Its been nine Christmas and New Year’s holidays that we in Hawaii have been challenging policies of the Obama administration—beginning in December 2008 before President-elect Obama was sworn into office-- on the issue of his silence on the 27-day Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1400 Palestinians.

The vigil has continued for the each of the past nine holidays with members of social justice organizations in Honolulu including Veterans for Peace, Hawaii Peace and Justice and World Can't Wait have come to President Obama’s holiday home.

The signs that have been carried in the back of my car to the vigils over the years reflect the variety of issues about which we have expressed our concern.  The posters “Close Guantanamo,” “Stop Torture” and “Help Gaza” are tattered and worn after nine years of use.  “Stop Assassin Drones,”  “Drones Kill Kids” and “Fire Liar John Brennan” signs are not quite so worn, but do reflect the horrific extrajudicial murders authorized personally by President Obama beginning early in his administration. 

Inline image 3

Photo by Ann Wright

After three years in which he was in pre-trial confinement, the “Free Bradley Manning” signs changed to “Clemency for Chelsea Manning” after Manning was tried by military courts martial and announced her gender transformation the day after her conviction.

“End Illegal Government Surveillance,” “Stop the War on Whistleblowers,” “Free Julian Assange,” “Listen to Edward Snowden” and signs for whistleblowers Jon Kiriakou and Jeffery Sterling imprisoned by the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers have been held in front of Obama’s motorcade as it left the presidential compound in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii.

“Close U.S. Bases in Okinawa,” “Stop Construction at Henoko and Takae,” “Save Article 9-NO WAR, ”Stop Osprey Widow maker,” “No more Rapes in Okinawa” are signs for campaigns in solidarity with people in Okinawa.

ACLU & CAIR Use Gold Star Father to Claim War on Iraq Was for Bill of Rights

Are you old enough to remember when liberal groups openly admitted that the war on Iraq was illegal and fraudulent, based on oil and profit and sadism?

Well, can you recall when the proponents of the war claimed it was a defense against nonexistent ties to terrorists and nonexistent weapons?

Even if you've wiped those memories, let me assure you, NOBODY ever claimed that attacking and destroying Iraq was necessary to protect civil liberties in the United States (which have been seriously eroded during the course of the war).

Yet, in recent months the generic defense of murdering large numbers of people far away has taken over as the explanation for the war on Iraq.

The ACLU on Friday used the voice of my fellow Charlottesvillian Khizr Khan to claim that attacking Iraq was done "in defense of our country's ideals."

Focus: Syria - Dec 29, 2016

 

Syrian government and rebels sign cease-fire deal, says Russia - LA Times


VIDEO (English subs): Putin: Syria ceasefire agreement reached, readiness to start peace talks - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Shoigu and Lavrov brief Putin on agreements between the Syrian government and the opposition on a ceasefire and peace talks - Kremlin


Russia to cut military presence in Syria: Putin - TASS


Syria ceasefire deal — the draft text - TRT World


List of armed formations, which joined the ceasefire in the Syrian Arab Republic on December 30, 2016 - Russia Ministry of Defence


POLL: Putin’s approval rating hits 2016 record-high of nearly 87 percent - TASS


Lavrov hopes Trump administration will join efforts on Syria peace talks - TASS


Lavrov says Egypt could join Syria talks in Astana, while Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Iraq could join them at subsequent stages - TASS


Two parallel talks on Syria settlement might be held in Astana - Sputnik


Press release regarding the announcement of country-wide ceasefire between the warring parties in Syria - Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Assad believes agreements on Syria lay grounds for stabilization 'for first time ever’ - TASS


Syrian foreign minister sees 'real chance' for political settlement - Reuters


Press Release: Syrian Coalition calls for full implementation of the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement - etilaf.org


FSA says Syria ceasefire agreed, reveals details - orient-news.net

 

Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham says has 'reservations' about Syria agreement, and was not among the groups that had signed it - Reuters


"Nor did Nour al-Din Zinki sign the agreement” - Sami on Twitter


Turkey says Lebanon's Hezbollah should leave Syria - The Times of Israel


"Hezbollah says fighters from the party will remain in #Syria indefinitely, despite Turkey's demands that the group withdraw” - Zeina Khodr on Twitter

 

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

 

US State Dept 'welcomes' Syria cease-fire, sees it as 'a positive development' - Washington Examiner


Graham fears Syria truce a ‘capitulation’ to Russia, Iran - TheHill


"#Putin declares ceasefire in #Syria to make way for talks. Make a desert, call it peace - John McCain on Twitter

 

US supplies weapons to YPG terrorists in Syria, period, Turkey FM says - Daily Sabah


Erdogan to US: 'We are your NATO ally. How on earth can you support terrorist organizations and not us?' - aa.com


The truth regarding misinformation in Turkish media concerning United States and Coalition operations against ISIL in Syria - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey

 

ISIS 'war committee' member killed in coalition airstrike, US official tweets that Kurdish-Arab SDF have so far cleared 1,900 square kilometres in their campaign to isolate Raqqa - Rudaw


Kurdish PYD says not invited to join Syrian ceasefire deal - Sputnik


Syrian Kurdish groups, allies say approve blueprint for federal system - Reuters


Syrian Kurdistan drops Rojava (Western Kurdistan) word in its draft constitution - Rudaw


Kurds and Damascus meet over the status of the Kurdish-administrated entities in the north of the country - Rudaw


Syrian Democratic Front (not to be confused with the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces) unites internal opposition groups - Sputnik


"Of 111,000 displaced fr east Aleppo, 74,951 or 2/3 went to Gov-controlled areas, & 36,086 to reb areas” - Joshua Landis on Twitter


MAP: "As a ceasefire is announced, @ReutersGraphics maps estimated Syrian civil war fatalities - Reuters Top News on Twitter



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

To Weapons Dealers, Laws Are Decorative Holiday Ornaments

You might be forgiven for imagining that laws are serious things. When you violate them, you can be locked in a cage for decades. That’s not true for big-time weapons dealers like the U.S. government.

Two years after the creation of the Arms Trade Treaty, the news is that it’s failing in Yemen. I’m hard pressed to see why it isn’t, thus far, failing everywhere. The weapons dealers keep dealing weapons by the tens of billions of dollars exactly as if nothing has changed.

Here (courtesy of the CIA-funded Amazon data cloud) is the key text of the treaty:

“. . . A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms . . . if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party . . . .”

The dominant weapons dealer, the U.S. government, has not ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. The second-place dealer in instruments of death, Russia, has not either. Neither has China. Certainly France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have ratified it, but they seem to have little difficulty ignoring it. They’ve even ratified the convention on cluster bombs but, at least in the case of the UK, ignore that one too. (The U.S. has temporarily paused its sales of cluster bombs, but not ratified the treaty.)

And another 87 nations have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, none of which do any significant weapons dealing on the scale of the top 6, but plenty of which violate the treaty in their own small ways.

The U.S. has very similar laws on its own books already and long has. Ignoring them, or taking advantage of the ability to waive them, has become routine. The United States is far and away the biggest seller of weapons, giver of weapons, producer of weapons, buyer of weapons, deliverer of weapons to poor countries, and deliverer of weapons to the Middle East. It sells or gives weapons to all types of nations just as if no restrictions applied. Yet, here are some U.S. laws almost pretty enough to frame on the wall:

“No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. . . .

“. . . Of the amounts made available to the Department of Defense, none may be used for any training, equipment, or other assistance for a unit of a foreign security force if the Secretary of Defense has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

And there’s this one:

“The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. . . .”

This one may actually have been written with the assistance of medical marijuana:

“No [weaponry] shall be sold or leased by the United States Government under this chapter to any country or international organization . . . unless —

(1) the President finds that the furnishing . . . to such country or international organization will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace. . . .”

This may come as shocking news, but none of the weapons sales made by the United States or any other nation thus far in the history of the world has promoted world peace. None has reduced — on the contrary, all have increased — terrorism. All have constituted gross violations of human rights. All have been transferred with knowledge that they would be used against civilians and in violation of international laws. Here are a few of those laws:

The Hague Convention of 1899:

“. . . the Signatory Powers agree to use their best efforts to insure the pacific settlement of international differences. In case of serious disagreement or conflict, before an appeal to arms, the Signatory Powers agree to have recourse, as far as circumstances allow, to the good offices or mediation of one or more friendly Powers.”

The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928:

“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”

The United Nations Charter:

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. . . .”

The United States has temporarily halted some of its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, while continuing others and continuing to actively wage war alongside Saudi Arabia against the people of Yemen. This is no more or less a violation of law and morality than U.S. weapons sales to Iraq or South Korea or (gifts to) Israel or the United States itself. No amount of lawyerly rejiggering of terminology, selective definition of “terrorism,” or narrowing of what counts as a “human right” can change that.

Yet the shoplifters go to jail while the weapons dealers walk free. None of the death dealing nations solves or even strives to solve its disputes by pacific means any more than every heroin user is a model citizen, yet the weapons — like the drugs — keep flowing.

The International Criminal Court denies itself the right to prosecute the crime of war (only “war crimes”) or to challenge the U.N.’s dominant powers (coincidentally the world’s major weapons dealers) or to prosecute crimes by non-members of the ICC committed in the territories of non-members. Yet when Barack Obama drone-murders people in the Philippines (a member), the ICC is silent. And in Afghanistan (another member) it suggests that it might someday see fit to open a prosecution.

Obviously the answer to this charade is not utter lawlessness. Here are some partial answers:

Tell the ICC to prosecute all criminals equally.

Build pressure for divestment from weapons dealers.

Tell the next U.S. president we’ll stand for no more wars.

Join a movement to replace war with wiser behaviors.

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

From all around the globe, nearly 50,000 people have signed this statement:

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

Anyone inclined to can sign it here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/individual

In each of 143 countries, somewhere between 1 and several thousand people have signed. The purpose of the statement is to begin organizing a truly global movement. But certain countries are missing. Let’s resolve to add them to the map in 2017.

Obviously there exists at least one person in Venezuela and in Cuba and in Honduras and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic who wants to end all war. As in most countries, it is likely that most people in those countries want to do so. But who will be the first to put their name down?

Organizations can sign too, and several hundred have done so at: http://worldbeyondwar.org/organization

Can we find signers who will sign online or on hardcopy in Algeria, Libya, Western Sahara, Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Liberia, Chad, Angola?

What about in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, North Korea, or Papua New Guinea?

Beyond adding a single signer in each of these places, we want to add volunteer leaders who will join the global coordination of educational and activist efforts to rid our species of the disease of militarism before it rids the planet of us.

In 143 countries people have already signed and in a growing list have become active. World Beyond War now has country coordinators all over the world and is hiring paid staff to begin in January and work with them to accelerate our growth and intensify our activities.

Do you know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Do you know anyone who might know anyone who might know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Can you bring sign up sheets to any events you organize or attend in 2017 and ask everyone to sign, then mail them in (or photograph and email them in)? This is how we’ll grow. And this growth combined with the power of our message will change the world.

Focus: Russia and Syria - Dec 27, 2016


FM spokesperson: US defense bill 'directly threatens' security of Russian military in Syria, delivering more weapons to rebels including portable anti-aircraft missiles - RT


U.S. says not providing portable anti-aircraft missiles to Syrian rebels - Reuters


Russia: US defense bill to create problems for the Trump administration, 'as well as to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy' - TheHill


Russia Foreign Ministry: Washington seeks to disrupt nuclear parity with Moscow - TASS


Comment by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on new US National Defence Authorisation Act - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation


Boris Johnson called 'undiplomatic and unprofessional' by Russia over Syria comments - Mirror Online


Moscow would welcome Henry Kissinger’s expertise in Russia-US relations: Kremlin - RT News


American officials: US, Russian militaries sharing more information on Syria, with both sides trading information in real time and even outlining some of their strategic objectives - AP


John McCain op-ed: We have a stake in Syria, yet we have done nothing - Chicago Tribune


McCain: NATO key to stopping 'Russian misbehavior' - TheHill


Obama administration is close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference - The Washington Post


Intelligence agencies sued for records on Russian election interference - TheHill


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

 

Russia says will boost cooperation with Turkey, Iran on Syria: Interfax - Reuters


Kazakh leader says ready to host Russia, Iran, Turkey for Syria talks - rferl.org


Turkey says Saudis, Qatar should attend Syria peace talks - Bloomberg


Erdogan accuses West of 'supporting all the terror groups -- the YPG, PYD but also including Daesh (IS)', breaking promises in Syria - AFP


U.S. calls 'ludicrous' Turkey's claims coalition supported terrorists in Syria - Reuters


Putin orders expansion of Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria - Countercurrents


Iran considers letting Russia use its Hamadan base - Al Arabiya English


Russian troops in Aleppo report finding mass graves with tortured and mutilated bodies - AP


First photos of Russian military police in Syria's Aleppo - southfront.org


Iran says could send military advisors to Syria's Aleppo if needed: RIA - Reuters


Massive battle brewing in western Palmyra as Syrian Army mobilizes 7000 soldiers to fight ISIS - almasdarnews.com


Unknown special forces eliminate leaders of militant groups in Syria - southfront.org

 

Saudi Arabian king launches fundraising campaign for Syria, donates millions - ibtimes.com


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

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-richard-cahan-on-the-forced-removal-and-incarceration-of-japanese-americans

Richard Cahan is a journalist who writes about photography, art and history. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago in the year 2000. Since then, he has authored and co-authored more than a dozen books, including Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows and Richard Nickel’s Chicago. He also works as a curator, creating photo and exhibitions at Chicago museums.

We discuss the new photo book co-authored by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Focus: Turkey and Syria - Dec 26, 2016


All-out Turkey offensive to liberate al-Bab nears end as focus turns toward next target Manbij - Daily Sabah


US led int'l coalition refusing air support in al-Bab anti-Daesh op. unacceptable, Turkey spox Kalın says - Daily Sabah


Turkey moves tanks and guns to Syria border, eyes Raqqa if Trump agrees to block Kurdish forces from participating - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Erdogan says 'Turkey will never allow the formation of a new [Kurdish] state in northern Syria’, wants role in Raqqa ‘because Turkey is a global power' - Breibart


President Tayyip Erdoğan to ask Donald Trump to impose no-fly zone over Syria - The Independent

 

Qatar, Turkey hold talks on Syria crisis - gulf-times.com


Turkish military, Free Syrian Army shell Kurdish villages on Afrin canton situated between al-Bab and Manbij - Sputnik


Kurdish YPG reports ongoing attacks by Turkish army near Kobanê with heavy weapons - ANF 


Kurdish YPG militia says to leave Manbij, it finished training local security units in Manbij which it captured from Islamic State - Kurdpress News Aganecy


U.S. does not support connecting Kurdish cantons in Syrian Kurdistan: Ambassador to Ankara - ekurd


Russia met 24 Syrian Kurdish parties: Russian general - Kurdpress News Aganecy


US backed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces 5km from strategic Tabqa dam west of Raqqa - Rudaw


Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces say make gains in Raqqa province, have liberated 97 villages from ISIS in the past 10 days - VOA


Kurdish female fighters playing key role in battle for Raqqa - ARA News


US-Led coalition bracing for bombing raids against Daesh in Syria's Raqqa, 'We will be stepping up the training for Syrian Democratic Forces’ - Sputnik

 

ISIS jihadists burn four men to death on charges of supporting Kurdish forces - ARA News


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

Poet’s notebook: What do I do about the mice: A pacifist's quandary'

It was late,

In the middle of the second half of the night.

We were asleep.

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe On the Occasion of Your Visit to Pearl Harbor

Dear Mr. Abe,

You recently announced plans to visit Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i at the end of December 2016 to “mourn the victims” of the Japanese Navy’s attack on the U.S. naval base on December 8, 1941 (Tokyo Time).

In fact, Pearl Harbor was not the only place Japan attacked that day. The Japanese Army had attacked the northeastern shore of the Malay Peninsula one hour earlier and would go on to attack several other British and U.S. colonies and bases in the Asia-Pacific region later that day. Japan launched these attacks in order to secure the oil and other resources of Southeast Asia essential to extend its war of aggression against China.

Since this will be your first official visit to the place where Japan’s war against the United States began, we would like to raise the following questions concerning your previous statements about the war.

“MARY & JOSEPH” ARRESTED ENACTING NATIVITY SCENE AT HANCOCK DRONE BASE

www.upstatedroneaction.org

Friday, December 23, as many throughout the world prepare to celebrate the birth in Palestine of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, four members of the grassroots group Upstate Drone Action were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Reaper Drone Base on East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt in upstate New York.

The four set up a nativity manger tableaus in the driveway entrance to the Hancock base. Hancock hosts the 174th Attack  Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub.  Hancock is also the national Reaper maintenance training center.

The MQ9 Reaper is a robotic, satellite-linked, remote assassin flying unmanned missions over Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern, African and West Asian nations. The CIA uses Reapers for its illegal lethal missions over northwest Pakistan.

According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan ,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools [downloadable], such missions are responsible in that region for the deaths of hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, and for the terrorizing of thousands more.

Bev Rice, playing Mary, noted that “If Herod had had a Reaper drone, Jesus, Mary and Joseph would have been incinerated.” John Amidon, playing Joseph, further declared, “The indiscriminate and illegal killings of so many holy families in the MiddleEast must stop!”

Today’s civil resistance action is one chapter in Upstate Drone Action’s six-year scrupulously nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancock AFB war crime. Since 2010 there have been over 170 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock. These have resulted in extreme bails, maximum fines, incarcerations, and so-called “Orders of Protection”…as well as some acquittals in the De Witt Town Court.

Those arrested Friday:

                  ~ John Amidon, Albany, NY
                  ~ Ed Kinane, Syracuse, NY
                  ~ Jules Orkin, Bergenfield, NJ
                  ~ Bev Rice, New York, NY.

Focus: Russia - Dec 23, 2016


Putin says he wants no nuclear arms race, seeks to improve armaments piercing NATO missile defenses deployed near Russia borders - New York Times


Putin: Systems overcoming anti-missile defense more effective than missile shield itself - TASS


VIDEO: Putin says Russia's nukes can pierce any defense system - YouTube


Putin ‘gives signal' to Trump about consequences of US exit from ABM Treaty that barred the parties from deploying anti-ballistic missile systems - Sputnik


Defense Ministry reveals Russian army's plans for upcoming year - TASS


Russia Defense Minister: Instead of uniting against terrorism, NATO declares Russia main threat and increases its military potential near our borders’ - TASS


TRANSCRIPT: Expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board • President of Russia


Russian forces receive 139 new aircraft, 4 missile regiments reequipped: Shoigu - Sputnik


Two Russian army formations rearmed with Iskander tactical missiles in 2016 - TASS


Four new Russian missile forces with Yars intercontinental ballistic missile systems on combat duty: Minister - Sputnik


Russia to float out 2 nuclear submarines in 2017 - TASS


Russian Black Sea fleet to receive 3 Submarines, 2 Frigates in 2017: Commander - Sputnik


Russian Navy to receive 2 new Arctic bases: Northern Fleet Commander - Sputnik


Russian MoD to receive advanced electronic warfare system in 2017: UIMC - Sputnik


Russian scientists working on new hypersonic aircraft to break through missile defense systems: RIA Nostosti - Sputnik


Production of the hypersonic missile is expected to be launched in 2017 - Sputnik


US Air Force report: Hypersonic missiles From China, Russia pose growing danger - freebeacon.com


Russian Army to get weapons to fight mini-drone swarms in two years - TASS


Russian defense contractor to start working on 3rd generation doomsday planes, expected to be used in case of a nuclear war if ground command centers were destroyed - TASS


Russia tested over 160 new weapons in Syrian operation: defense minister - RT News


Snap combat drills demonstrate rapid development capabilities of Russian Army: Putin - Sputnik

 

Serbia to receive 6 fighter jets, 30 tanks, 30 combat vehicles From Russia - Sputnik


Russian defense minister proposes holding joint drills with Serbia annually - TASS

 

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

 

Putin says will gladly visit US if Trump invites him, agrees with Trump Russia-US relations ‘worse than ever' - TASS


Putin sees no big news in Trump’s statements on bolstering US nuclear potential - TASS


Trump: I got a 'very nice letter' from Putin about improving relations - CNBC


Putin’s letter to Trump - Google Drive


Putin says Western sanctions hampering cooperation on counter-terrorism - Reuters


US Commerce Dept adds 23 Russian entities to sanctions list - Sputnik


Putin sees hope for economy in wage growth, easing recession - Bloomberg


Labor productivity in Russia’s defense industry ‘rockets’: Putin - Sputnik


POLL: Over 60% of Russians trust President Putin - Sputnik


VIDEO: Putin holds annual Q&A marathon, (Starts at 11:20 min) - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference • President of Russia


Did Putin get Botox plastic surgery? He looks younger - Mediaite


Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike finds evidence that Russian military unit was behind DNC hack, links DNC malware to one in an app used by the Ukrainian army - Washington Post


Interview with CrowdStrike chief on the new evidence of Russian role in DNC hack - PBS NewsHour


Report: Use of Fancy Bear Android Malware in Tracking of Ukrainian Field Artillery Units - Crowdstrike


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

Night Raid photo exhibit

The Scandal of Vast Inequality in Retirement Pay

Cato the Elder, a Roman senator and historian, once remarked:  “Cessation of work is not accompanied by cessation of expenses.”  For centuries, retirees have been aware of this unfortunate fact, which led them to demand and, in many cases, secure old age pensions to help provide financial security during their “golden years.”  But as indicated in a recently-released report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the financial security of retiring corporate CEOs is far, far greater than the financial security of average Americans.

Book review/essay: Morally Surviving America’s War on Vietnam

By Johhn Grant

 

The War I Survived Was Vietnam: Collected Writings of a Veteran and Antiwar Activist

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith.

Those standards are gone.

The common wisdom that Vladimir Putin hacked into Democratic and Republican emails and fed the Democratic ones to WikiLeaks which delegitimized an otherwise legitimate election, is not based on any public evidence, and none is asked for by most believers.

The premise that possessing weapons justifies being attacked was patently absurd in 2003. The U.S. openly possessed all the weapons it claimed Iraq had. The premise that (further) exposing a rigged primary harms, rather than facilitating, election integrity, is strictly nuts in 2016. WikiLeaks and any source(s) deserve our thanks.

But the standard of evidence has been altered. It's certainly possible the Russian government hacked the emails. It's even possible that Russia was the source for WikiLeaks, and that Julian Assange and Craig Murray are deluded or lying, that Bill Binney is mistaken, and that all the anomalies in the claims of Russian hacking can be explained away. But the expectation that some sort of evidence should be produced no longer exists.

One reason for this is that during the Obama years wars were launched without public debates and marketing campaigns. Continuing and escalating the war on Afghanistan was simply done, without discussion. Continuing war on Iraq -- which still continues -- was done without requiring any of the pretenses used to escalate it in 2003. Launching hundreds of mini-wars in the form of drone murders took public debate out of the picture by definition, just as the presidential possession of a nuclear button has aided the decades-long re-imagining of Congress as a group of court jesters.

When Obama has made unproven and implausible claims about looming massacres in Libya or Iraq, or chemical weapons use in Syria, or airplanes shot down in Ukraine, or coups in Ukraine, or "moderate" terrorists, or Iranian nukes, or drone war success in Yemen, or the nature or legality of drone murders, there has been no general request for evidence. Even with the claims about Syrian chemical weapons in 2013, the public and Congress said no to escalating the war in a visible manner, but did not focus on demanding evidence for claims.

Enter Trump, professing a desire to (continue to) "kill their families" and to "steal their oil," and gone is any rationale for making any dubious claims in need of any evidence. If the Trumpists will believe in millions of repeat voters just because he says so, the anti-Trumpists will believe any anti-Trump-and-Russia story just because the CIA says so.

This thinking is not necessarily conscious and explicit. Those intent on taking the CIA on faith remain proud of considering the evidence of climate change. But when you combine anti-Trump with pro-Hillary plus xenophobia plus the demonization of Putin, some people lose all perspective. And when the past 13 years have been spent eroding the idea that a public case against a foreign target should include evidence, the sale is made quite easily.

So, yes, I miss the days of Dubya. I miss the days when the U.S. government pretended not to torture. The President "Elect" now promises to torture. Why? Because President Obama forbade prosecution of the crime of torture, allowed torture to continue, outsourced much of it, and replaced a lot of the torture program with a new murder program (using drones). And because the U.S. media pretended that torture had been legal under Bush and was somehow made illegal by an Obama "executive order," which is not a law.

I miss the days when lawless prisons like Guantanamo that kept people imprisoned without charge or conviction were deemed shameful and worthy of abolition. These Obama supposedly legalized with another "executive order." Now Trump says he'll pack the prisons.

I miss the days when unconstitutional mass surveillance, or mass deportations, or the rewriting of laws by presidents was illicit and scandalous. Now these things are generally accepted. So here's my question to good liberal Americans:

How is not impeaching Bush working out for you?

Letting Bush's impeachable offenses slide almost required letting Obama's slide, as there was such overlap. But now you've created a presidency of truly imperial power.

The point of impeaching and removing Bush would not have been to make Dick Cheney president, any more than the point of studying history is that your school has assigned that class to the football coach.

The point of impeaching Bush would have been to create a President Cheney in fear of being impeached, followed by other presidents in fear of being impeached.

Why can basketball announcers grasp that Duke's Allen Grayson might not be tripping opponents this year if he'd been suspended for a game or two when he did it last year, but political analysts can't grasp that if Bush had been impeached, or even an effort made to impeach him, we might not now -- like India -- have a twitter-loving right-wing nationalist preparing to create Muslim registries and enforced flag worship?

So, here's an idea. We can't go back in time. But we can start now. Trump is going to violate the Constitutional bans on domestic and foreign presents and "emoluments" on day one, and likely begin piling up original as well as familiar impeachable offenses during his first week.

But just as the only conceivable way to get Trump into office was to nominate Hillary Clinton, the surest way to derail an impeachment campaign against Trump will be to load it down with dubious claims about Russia.

See if you can predict what the Democrats will do.

Focus: Russia - Dec 21, 2016


Russia, Iran, Turkey say ready to broker Syria deal, adopt the ‘Moscow Declaration' which set out the principles - Reuters


Moscow Declaration: Joint statement by Iran, Russia and Turkey on agreed steps to revitalize the political process to end the Syrian conflict - Russian Foreign Ministry


Russian, Iranian and Turkish FMs hold joint press conference on Syria - Sputnik


VIDEO (English): Russian, Iranian and Turkish FM's full joint press conference after meeting on Syria - YouTube


Telephone conversation between Putin and Egypt President el-Sisi, The two discussed the situation in the Middle East, including settlement of the crises in Syria and Libya - President of Russia


U.S. plays down absence from Moscow talks on Syria, says not 'sidelined' - Reuters


Russia-Iran-Turkey statement useful for resumption of Syria talks in Geneva: UN - Sputnik


Syrian opposition delegation’s chief negotiator Alloush: ‘Moscow Declaration’ is a crime; must get ready for post-Aleppo battles - Al Arabiya 


John Bolton on the US exclusion from the Russia-Turkey-Iran talks on Syria: 'We’ve got to strengthen ties, if we can, with all of the Gulf nations, the six oil producing monarchies' - Hugh Hewitt Show


Iranian security chief says Iran, Russia share military base In Syria – World Tribune


Hezbollah fighting in Syria with U.S. weapons supplied to Lebanese army, IDF says - Haaretz.com


Former Nusra Front claims responsibility for Russian Ambassador's assassination - Sputnik


Ambassador shooting: Russia pushes back on Turkey's Gulenist claim - CNN.com

 

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

 

U.S. sanctions more companies, people over Russia actions in Ukraine - Reuters


Statement: Treasury sanctions individuals and entities in connection with Russia's occupation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine - treasury.gov


US State Department hopes Trump would see wisdom in keeping sanctions on Russia - Sputnik


VIDEO: State Dept says new sanctions were prompted by the Russian annexation of Crimea and support for militias in eastern Ukraine - NYTimes.com


EU decision on extending anti-Russia sanctions takes effect - Sputnik


Moscow to take adequate measures over US expansion of anti-Russian sanctions - TASS

 

Kremlin calls US-Russian ties 'frozen on practically all levels', unsure about Trump - AP


State Department rejects Russia's claim that dialogue has ended - Washington Examiner


POLL: Most economists say U.S. to ease sanctions over next 12 months - Bloomberg


Report: Russians regularly shelled Eastern Ukraine in 2014 - ABC News


U.S.-supplied drones disappoint Ukraine at the front lines, proven ineffective against jamming and hacking by Russia and the separatists - Reuters


Sources: Russia tests anti-satellite weapon - CNNPolitics.com


Russia missing from Trump’s top defense priorities, according to DoD memo - Foreign Policy


Text of DoD memo on Trump’s top defense priorities - Foreign Policy

 

Senate Dems plan proxy war against Trump with Tillerson confirmation - newsmax.com


POLL: Only one-third of Americans say Russia influenced 2016 election - POLITICO


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

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