Syria/Russia News - Sep 22, 2015

Russia Deploys Ground-Attack Aircraft to Syrian Base, 28 Combat Planes and 20 Helicopters - The New York Times

These are the 28 jets Russia now has in Syria - The Washington Post

Russia starts Syria drone surveillance missions: U.S. officials - Reuters

Russia to deploy 2,000 in Syria air base mission’s ‘first phase’ -

Russia to Start Bombing in Syria asap: US official - The Daily Beast

Anticipation of a Russian Strike on ISIS in Syria: Novaya Gazeta -

Russia, Iran Seen Coordinating in Syria - WSJ

Russia ready to consider Syria’s request to send troops if Damascus asks for it: Kremlin - TASS

Israel and Russia to Coordinate Military Action in Syria: Benjamin Netanyahu - NBC News

Russian defense, Pentagon chiefs agree to restore military contacts, discuss Syria - RT

Russian Official: 'Without Cooperation With Moscow, US Is Only a Second Fiddle in Syria’ - Sputnik

Syrian army starts using new weapons from Russia: military source - Yahoo News

Syrian army bombards ISIS positions in Palmyra, Raqqa, Idlib - The Guardian

Why Russia is expanding its Syrian naval base: seeks to help the Syrian government but also to increase its presence in the Mediterranean - The Moscow Times

Rebels depict Russia as a new occupier, say Syria could be the next Afghanistan - Business Insider



Activists report 75 U.S.-trained rebels return to Syria - AP

US-backed Syrian rebels arrested and later released by another group, The Times report - Middle East Eye

Was Syrian train-and-equip effort always a ‘mission impossible'? General acknowledges the $500 million program is in tatters -

US-backed leader of Syrian rebel group quits and lists 6 problems with the training program - Business Insider

This is the ISIS intel the U.S. military dumbed down, reports overstated the damage that U.S. strikes had on specific ISIS targets - The Daily Beast

Senseless slaughter, corruption and broken promises of money and glory: Landmark report reveals why growing numbers of foreign fighters are defecting from ISIS - Daily Mail Online


REPORT: Victims, Perpetrators, Assets: The Narratives of Islamic State Defectors - International Center for the Study of Radicalisation

Interview on ISIS defectors with Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation - VOX

Islamic State defectors: Three case studies - BBC News

Syrian rebels say they’ve helped hundreds defect from Islamic State -

IS executes 10 people accused of being gay in Syria - The Times of Israel

US pledges another $419M to Syrian refugees, Kerry: US to accept 85,000 refugees in 2016, 100,000 in 2017 - TheHill

Plan to admit more refugees faces stiff opposition in U.S. Congress, many worry that Islamist fighters posing as refugees might sneak into the country - Daily Mail Online

Syrian Kurdish leaders planning to capture last border crossing with Turkey held by ISIS - The Independent

Centcom Spokesman: Syrian Kurd Fighters Disrupt ISIL Movement - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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

Peace Boat & Global Article 9 Campaign Statement on the Occasion of the International Day of Peace

As the world celebrates the International Day of Peace and marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign strongly condemn the forceful passage in the Diet of security legislation that breaches Japan’s peace constitution and allows its Self-Defense Forces to use force overseas.

Article 9 is the famous peace clause by which the Japanese people aspires to an international peace based on justice and order, renounces war and prohibits the use of force as means of settling international disputes. Adopted following WWII, Article 9 is a pledge to Japan itself and to the world, particularly to neighboring countries that suffered under Japanese invasions and colonial rule, to never repeat its mistakes. Since then, Article 9 has been widely recognized as a regional and international peace mechanism that has contributed to maintaining peace and stability in Northeast Asia and served as a legal framework to promote peace, disarmament and sustainability.

The adoption of new security legislation is the latest of a long series of initiatives that challenge Japan’s longstanding peace policies. Such measures include re-interpreting Article 9, increasing the country’s military budget and relaxing the long-held arms export ban. Indeed, the bills codifies the Cabinet’s contentious decision to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and expand Japan’s security role around the world, under Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s pet-doctrine of “pro-active pacifism”. It also puts the newly revised guidelines on Japan-U.S. defense cooperation into effect, granting the U.S. increased Japanese support in its military strategy not only in Asia but also in other parts of the world.

In Japan, the bills face broad opposition in the Diet and amongst the public, as shown by successive opinion polls and massive public protests, many of which organized by students and youth throughout Japan. Most of Japan’s constitutional scholars (including former Prime Ministers, high-rank Cabinet officials and Supreme Court judges) deem the bills unconstitutional and the way they have been pushed through a worrisome deviation from the rule of law.  At the regional level, the legislation has been met with anxiety from Japan’s neighbors that consider the move a threat to regional peace and security in Asia.

On this International Day of Peace, Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign

- Condemn in strongest terms the adoption of the security bills that fundamentally violate the principles and letter of war-renouncing Article 9;

- Decry the way by which the legislation was passed, in disregard for Japan’s legal procedure and democratic process;

- Express utmost concerns at the possible repercussions the legislation will have on the region, and ask Japan and other countries in the region to refrain from any actions that would accelerate arms race and destabilize peace and stability in Northeast Asia;

- Support Japan’s civil society efforts to prevent the legislation from being implemented and Article 9 to be further eroded;

- And call on people around the world to support Japan’s vibrant mobilization towards the revocation of the bills, the preservation of Japan’s democracy and pacific values, and the safeguard of Article 9 as a regional and global peace mechanism.

Download the full statement at

** Please sign our petition "Save Japan Peace Constitution"

Celine Nahory
International Coordinator
Peace Boat
Global Article 9 Campaign

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Flying the Unfriendly Skies of America

This article originally appeared at To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

After the Iran Nuclear Agreement: Will the Nuclear Powers Also Play by the Rules?

When all is said and done, what the recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons.

But the NPT—which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970—has two kinds of provisions.  The first is that non-nuclear powers forswear developing a nuclear weapons capability.  The second is that nuclear-armed nations divest themselves of their own nuclear weapons.  Article VI of the treaty is quite explicit on this second point, stating: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Talk Nation Radio: Khury Petersen-Smith on Black Solidarity with Palestine

Khury Petersen-Smith is an activist who lives in Boston. He traveled to Gaza in 2009 as part of the Viva Palestina medical relief delegation. He also traveled to Iraq on a peace delegation in 2004. His organizing and writing focus particularly on Black liberation, Palestine solidarity, and U.S. empire. He was an organizer of a new statement of black solidarity with Palestine:

Also find him here: and here:

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Protest Underway Now at Drone Base in New York State



The United Nations General Assembly has declared today, September 21, 2015, an International World Day of Peace. As we stand here at the main gate of Hancock Air Base, its “hunter/killer” MQ9 Reaper drone arrogantly patrols Afghan skies 24/7 -- killing innocent children there and likely elsewhere.

We U.S. citizens and taxpayers look on with horror at the millions of refugees fleeing airborne terror and are shamed by our unconsented complicity. Too many drone victims are precious and beloved children. We bring their images and their silenced voices to Hancock today.

Predators, Near and Far

By Kathy Kelly

#Enough! Fatima needs food and proper medical care, not war!

Kabul—Some days ago, at the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ Borderfree Center, I met Jamila, the mother of a little girl, Fatima, who comes to the Street Kids School, a program designed to help children working on the streets go to school.  Jamila, a young mother of seven, smiles and laughs easily, even though she faces dire circumstances here in Kabul.

Nine years ago, at age 19, she fled escalating conflict in Pul e Khumri, located in the northern province of Baghlan, and moved to Kabul.  Jamila had already been married for 12  years.

Her family, desperate for income, had sold her in marriage to an older man when she was seven years old. As a child, she lived in servitude to the family of her future husband, earning a small income for them through sewing and embroidering. 

At age 13, She gave birth to her oldest daughter . With her when we met were two of her middle daughters, Fatima and Nozuko.  Her oldest daughter is no longer with her, as, at age 12, she was given away, six years ago now, in marriage. Jamila is determined not to give her remaining daughters away in marriage while they are still children.

One and a half years ago, Fatima, then aged 9, developed a fever which lasted for about a month. All four of her limbs became paralyzed.  In a hospital at Wazir Akbar Khan, doctors said she was 10 minutes away from death. They treated her for typhoid meningitis and hospitalized her. After a month, the doctors said she was not ready for discharge, but Jamila had other children to take care of and had already incurred huge debt. The doctors made her sign a form saying they were not responsible if Fatima died.  They said Jamila must continue with twice-a-day injections of strong antibiotics.

After being discharged from the hospital, Fatima continued receiving the injections for a year and a half until, one day, about three months ago, Jamila abruptly stopped giving Fatima the injections.  When Fatima developed a fever, Jamila became panicky again. 

Fatima finally ended up in a private hospital whose initial tests cost 3,000 Afghanis (about $50 U.S. dollars).  Jamila begged loans from her sister, her uncle and her cousins to pay for the lab tests.  

Doctors told Jamila that Fatima needed the injections because the typhoid bacteria were in her blood.

At this point, Jamila, facing a debt of 140,000 Afghanis (about $2333 U.S. dollars ), finds it hard to sleep, worrying for Fatima and her other children. How will she pay her debts?  How can she buy flour to make bread so that the children have something to eat? 

Her only means of income is through washing clothes.  The people she washes clothes for say times are hard, and they don’t have any income themselves. They have only paid her twice over the past two months, once in the form of some meat and rice.

Ali and Fatima

Fatima in her mud house compound, with Ali,
an Afghan Peace Volunteer teacher who helped Fatima get a proper medical assessment

Jamila met the Afghan Peace Volunteers when Hadisa and Abdulhai visited her home in April this year as part of a survey designed to identify children who could participate in the Street Kids School. When Ali, a volunteer teacher at the Street Kids School, learned about Fatima’s illness, he introduced Jamila to Hakim, the mentor for the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Hakim is a medical doctor from Singapore.  Since 2004, when he first began working in Afghanistan, Hakim has recognized that the country’s health care system is riddled by pervasively corrupt practices.  Appalled by the massive doses of antibiotics prescribed for Fatima, Hakim recommended a stool sample analysis which could be done through the lab of a local hospital.  The lab report showed that Fatima no longer needed the antibiotics, that her medical condition was normal. 

The medical system in Afghanistan failed to help Jamila and Fatima. Lack of oversight allowed corrupt doctors and pharmacists to over-prescribe antibiotics, and Jamila had nowhere to turn for a second opinion or for any assistance. Greedy predators, purportedly delivering health care, have steadily taken money from desperate people, like Jamila, in payment for useless or even murderous treatments.  

Jamila and Fatima clearly trust Hakim.  They both looked relieved as he emphatically encouraged the mother and daughter to overcome fears about Fatima’s health.  He told Fatima that she can become strong and stay healthy by drinking clean water and having a healthy diet, including her favorite dishes of beans and chick peas. But Jamila faces another tragic health problem - she can’t even afford flour for bread, let alone nutritious but costly beans for her children.

The World Food Programme recently reported an alarming rise in food insecurity, across Afghanistan. 

The U.S. pours billions of dollars into surveying Afghanistan, flying Predator drones over cities, towns and roadways, claiming to better understand “patterns of life” in Afghanistan.  But the war system establishes tragic patterns of death, of poverty, misinformation, desperate insecurity, and continued despair. If she could flee her circumstances, Jamila surely would seek refuge elsewhere in the world.  But she has nowhere to turn and nowhere to hide from Predators near and far.

Young people gathering at the Afghan Peace Volunteer’s Borderfree Center long to embrace innumerable people afflicted by war who share Jamila’s seemingly insoluble problems.  Thoughtfully, carefully, they’ve designed a campaign that they call  #Enough! – a simple yet compelling call to abolish wars and instead work to meet human needs.  We asked Jamila if she thought her problems were connected to war.  “Yes,| she said. “War leads to poverty and because of that poverty I have had so many problems.   I hope the war will end so that I can find enough food.”

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( While in Afghanistan, she is a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (


photo credit:  Dr. Hakim

A question from Afghanistan, “Can we abolish war?”

By Dr Hakim

Hadisa, a bright 18 year old Afghan girl, ranks as the top student in her 12th grade class. “The question is,” she wondered, “are human beings capable of abolishing war?”

Like Hadisa, I had my doubts about whether human nature could have the capacity to abolish war. For years, I had presumed that war is sometimes necessary to control ‘terrorists’, and based on that presumption, it didn’t make sense to abolish it. Yet my heart went out to Hadisa when I imagined her in a future riddled with intractable violence.

Hadisa tilted her head slightly in deep thought. She listened attentively to different opinions voiced by fellow Afghan Peace Volunteers. She struggles to find answers.

But when Hadisa turns up at the Borderfree Afghan Street Kids School every Friday to teach the child breadwinners, now numbering 100 in morning and afternoon classes, she lays aside her doubts.

I can see her apply her inner compassion which rises way above the war that is still raging in Afghanistan.

Hadisa, like 99% of human beings, and the more than 60 million refugees fleeing from military and economic wars, usually chooses peaceful, constructive action rather than violence.

“Dear students,“ Hadisa says, “In this school, we wish to build a world without war for you.”

Hadisa says #Enough! War
Hadisa, now convinced of the possibility of abolishing war, says #Enough!

Her street kid students enjoy Hadisa’s teaching. What’s more, away from the rough and unpredictable streets of Kabul, they find the space at the school affirming, safe and different.

Fatima, one of Hadisa’s students, participated in the very first street kids’ demonstration in Kabul demanding a school for 100 street kids. In subsequent actions, she helped plant trees and bury toy weapons. In another two days, on the 21st of September, the International day of Peace, she will be one of 100 street kids who will serve a lunch meal to 100 Afghan labourers.

“In place of war,” Fatima learnt, “we will do acts of kindness.”

This action will launch #Enough!, a long-term campaign and movement initiated by the Afghan Peace Volunteers to abolish war.

Wow! What practical learning!

If the street kids were taught erroneous ways, and became ‘terrorists’, would the solution be to eventually ‘target and kill’ them?

I couldn’t bear to think of it, and am more and more convinced, like Hadisa and the Afghan Peace Volunteers, that killing those labelled ‘terrorists’ by waging war against them doesn’t work.

War and weapons don’t heal the root causes of ‘terrorism’. If our brother or sister was violent, we wouldn’t think of killing them to reform them.

I was in the class when the question was first posed to the street kids: “To whom would you wish to serve a meal?” Hands went up like love and hope blooming for the new Afghan generation, and Habib, an older street kid who was Hadisa’s student last year, echoed along with many others, “The labourers!”

I felt immensely moved, having seen a definite glimmer of our human capacity to care for others, rather than exercise hate, discrimination, indifference or apathy.

Habib makes a lunch invitation list for labourers
Habib, with pen and paper, making an invitation list of 100 Afghan labourers with whom he and other Afghan street kids will share a meal

Yesterday, Habib helped his volunteer teacher, Ali, to invite labourers to the meal on the 21st. As I filmed and photographed Habib taking down the names of Afghan men much older than him, I felt renewed faith in our human ability to do good, and a warm, tender feeling overwhelmed me.

With people like Hadisa, Fatima, Habib and the many wonderful young Afghans I’ve met, I know that we can abolish war.

For their sake and the sake of human kind, we should work together with much patience, and all of our love.

In 1955, after two world wars and the loss of at least 96 million people, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein wrote a Manifesto, saying, “Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?”

After finishing the invitations, as we were walking along the very streets where Habib used to take the weight of pedestrians to earn some income for his family, I asked him, “Why do you want to end war?’

He replied, “Ten persons killed here, ten persons killed there. What’s the point? Soon, there’s a massacre, and gradually a world war.”

Habib says #Enough War!
Habib says #Enough!

Dr Hakim, ( Dr. Teck Young, Wee ) is a medical doctor from Singapore who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 10 years, including being a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

Join us in DC on Tuesday


Join us at an event organized by the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Part of a week of actions with Campaign Nonviolence.


Meet in cafeteria in Longworth House Office Building at 9:00 am.

Together we will go to Paul Ryan's office at about 10:00 am.

Bring packets of seeds and photos or news articles of issues you would like to address i.e. war, climate crisis, poverty, institutionalized violence etc.

Leave Ryan's office around 11:00 or 11:15.

Take public transportation to Edward R. Murrow Park – 1800 block of Pennsylvania Ave. NW



We will proceed together from the park to the White House.

We'll hear speakers at the White House, read a letter sent to Obama, and some will protest even at risk of arrest but others need not do so.

Sign up here:

Dear friends who have had #Enough!

Today, every day, we wake up, and we want to live differently, because the status quo stinks! :) Join the Afghan Peace Volunteers and street kids, Zarghuna, Muheb, Barath, Mursal, Inam, Deeba and Zahra, to say #Enough!  

From Afghanistan, #Enough!


100 Afghan street kids, including Muqadisa in the photo, will cook and serve a meal for 100 Afghan labourers to launch #Enough! on 21st Sept, the International Day of Peace. Beautiful! Why do the elite know only ugly violence and ugly war? #Enough!


We want to abolish war, and we need you! So, we hope that you and your friends can:

  1. Sign ‘The People’s Agreement to Abolish War’ at You’ll be generating the critical mass of friends needed to build a world without war.
  2. Get together with one or more friends to serve a vulnerable person/persons in your vicinity. Energies and resources invested in wars will instead be redirected toward meeting human needs. Register your local solidarity action at
  3. Give one another hope and be in solidarity by writing a letter to, or send a selfie, a photo of friends with ‘#Enough!’ written on the palms of your hands, or a captioned photo of your solidarity action.


Love and thanks,

Hakim with the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Tomgram: John Feffer, The Star Trek Fallacy

We were both experiencing the Sixties, Captain Kirk and I.  Admittedly, I was still in the 1960s and the captain was somewhere in  the 2260s.

Put a Little Love in the Next Election

This article was first published by the Albany Times Union.
Politicians should work toward nurturing the ability to comfortably shift our understanding of others

Bombast, insults, shallow courtesy, authentic unkindness, corporate donations, lavish spending, rancorous debates: When observing presidential candidates, do you feel you're witnessing the best democracy has to offer? Ideal human qualities? Or just the opposite?
Where, for instance, is love?
Oh! A bad word in politics! Love rattles politicians' anxious determination to be tough. Love sounds soft, feminine. More bad words.
In my mind's eye I clearly see an autumn day at the park 12 years ago. My son had found a little wasp, struggling upside down in a pool of water on a slide. We watched it caringly, intending to help if needed, and suddenly, to my son's great joy, the wasp turned over and crawled out of the pool -- alive! We were elated, and my son happily began conversing with the wasp.
A father and his children approached. We explained to him to be caring toward the weary wasp we loved. But then, frozen in disbelief, we stared as he raised his massive boot and stomped it to death.

Where there were massacres there are now power plants

In the United States it's hard to imagine admiring an attorney general. The words call to mind people like Eric Holder, Michael Mukasey, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Janet Reno, and Edwin Meese. There were those who fantasized that Barack Obama would not prevent an attorney general from prosecuting top officials for torture, but the idea of a U.S. attorney general prosecuting a U.S. president for war/genocide doesn't even enter the realm of fantasy (in part, because Americans don't even think of what the U.S. military does in the Middle East in those terms).

For a lesson in daring to imagine equality before the law, we can turn our eyes toward Guatemala. Here's a country suffering under the Monroe Doctrine since the dawn of time, a place where the United States engaged in human experimentation giving syphilis to unwitting victims during the time that U.S. lawyers were prosecuting Nazis in Nuremberg. Guatemala had a relatively decent government in 1954 when the CIA overthrew it. U.S. destruction has been unremitting in Guatemala, with the U.S. government backing dictators, killers, and torturers, including during the 1980s and 1990s, a period from which Guatemala is still trying to recover.

A new film called Burden of Peace tells the story of Claudia Paz y Paz, Attorney General of Guatemala from December 9, 2010 to May 17, 2014. Paz y Paz had a poster of Robert Kennedy on her wall during her time as attorney general, herself finding something admirable in a U.S. holder of that same office. Kennedy's actual record was quite mixed, of course. Paz y Paz became attorney general following a long period of unaccountable crime, understood impunity, and rampant corruption.

"Where there were massacres there are now power plants," says one voice in the film. "Where there were massacres there are now mines." People had been killed in large numbers for money, and those responsible would be protected from prosecution as well.

A 1996 peace agreement did not end violence in Guatemala. The government remained corrupt, with killers still holding positions of power.

It's interesting to imagine what would happen if a true reformer were made president or attorney general in the United States, while their staff and colleagues and Congress and the courts and the system of bribery and lobbying remained unchanged. It will be fun to watch Jeremy Corbyn try to take on the British Parliament. We have an example of how this works from Guatemala.

In Burden of Peace we see Claudia Paz y Paz meeting with an office of attorneys in a northen province that had solved zero murder cases and prosecuted almost no one. She insists on change. And she gets it. For over three years she achieves big increases in prosecutions and convictions, including of gang members, including of police officers.

This law-and-order heroism should appeal to Americans if they can overlook the fact that the United States helped cause the problem. I have a mixed reaction. I can't be totally thrilled watching a SWAT team arrest gang members. This is not truth and reconciliation, but force and degradation. And yet I recognize that in a state of lawless violence it will be difficult to address other problems and solutions unless the violence is addressed first. Paz y Paz, in fact, reduced crime rates as solved murdered cases increased from 5% to 30%.

She had previously worked on the first big investigation of crimes committed during the civil war in Guatemala, which accused top military and political leaders, inlcuding the head of state, of genocide. Bishop Juan José Gerardi presented the report to the public and was murdered the next day. You see a big crowd taking part in his funeral in footage included in the film.

In her second year as AG, Paz y Paz reopened the investigation of war crimes. Soon she would issue warrants for the arrest of Oscar Mejia Victores, former Secretary of "Defense," for genocide. But because of his age and health, he was not tried.

Paz y Paz continued to increase law enforcement, as Otto Perez Molina, a former military official, was elected president. Business elites wanted Paz y Paz not to prosecute military members. In fact they wanted her removed from office. But she held a four-year term and refused to leave early.

During the dictatorship of Rios Montt, Mayans had been murdered in large numbers. He was not held accountable. He enjoyed immunity as president of Congress until 2012. Then Paz y Paz prosecuted him for genocide. In Burden of Peace we see the trial, including survivors recounting the horrors of soldiers killing and raping, as the accused sits and listens.

His lawyers declare the trial illegal and rise and leave, leaving him sitting there alone. The trial is suspended, then reconvened with new lawyers. The elderly Montt is convicted and sentenced to decades in prison. We see the people of Guatemala celebrating.

And then a higher court overturns the sentence, and people protest to no avail. But Montt spends only one day in prison, and the rightwingers acquire a taste for blood. They pursue Paz y Paz. Seeking to block her from completing her fourth year in office, they charge her with abuse of power (although they publicly focus on accusing her of being a Marxist). The same court that overturned the sentence for Montt removes Paz y Paz from office.

She appeals, and we see a crowd cheering her at the appeal. She tries to run for reelection, and a court denies her that right. It's over. She is out of office, and we see her staff as well as the public cheer for her, tearfully, as she departs, fleeing the country with her husband and son because she will no longer have security guards.

This is a true story that ends in May of 2014, crying out for a sequel. But earlier this month, Molina was forced to resign as president, after prosecutors accused him of running a scheme to defraud the customs service of millions of dollars, and Congress stripped him of immunity from prosecution. This was a first in Central America, as was much of what Claudia Paz y Paz did. It begins to appear that she was part of a change in the culture of Guatemalan governance, that the idea of holding the powerful to account has actually caught on.

Perhaps she will return to Guatemala one day. Perhaps peace will return to Guatemala one day.

Imagine if the United States were to leave Guatemala alone and try following its example in the U.S. Justice Department.

Syria/Russia News - Sep 16, 2015


White House on Russia: Continuing to support Assad is destabilizing and counterproductive  (VIDEO) - Washington Examiner

State Dept.: We are working hard on achieving a political transition away from Assad who is to blame for ISIS - RT

VIDEO: State Dept. spokesman Kirby Press Briefing, Questions on Syria start at minute 1:04 - YouTube

Pentagon has no plans to deconflict airspace with Russia in Syria, despite signs Moscow is establishing a forward air base - TheHill

U.S. defense chief has no plans to talk to Russia counterpart, Pentagon says - Jamestown Sun

Russia’s Assertive Moves Weigh on Pentagon Plans for 2017 Budget - Bloomberg Business

VIDEO: U.S. ambassador Samantha Power: Russia and Iran should be blamed for supporting a regime that is fueling the rise of terrorism - CNN

Analysis: The Russian involvement in Syria could work in favor of U.S. national interests by fighting Islamic terrorists and restoring stability, a prerequisite for a political settlement - Consortiumnews

UN: Peace in Syria only after we combat terror and protect state institutions so as the country doesn’t follow the Libya and Iraqi scenarios -

26 armed rebel factions issue a statement rejecting U.N. special envoy plan to end Syria conflict -

Barrel Bombs and Artillery Take Heavy Toll on Vital Rebel Offensive in Syria's South - VICE News



Putin defends military aid to Syria to fight 'terrorist aggression', says migrant crisis in Europe would be far worse without it - New York Times

ISIS 'has designs on' Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and is a danger to Europe, Vladimir Putin warns - The Independent

VIDEO (English subtitles): Speach of Vladimir Putin on Syria (it starts at minute 2:40) - YouTube

Kremlin: Talks between US And Russia ‘indispensable’ to solve Syria crisis, Obama and Putin might meet at the UN General Assembly - Sputnik

Russia Is Setting Up A Forward Air Operating Base in Syria, Pentagon Confirms - Defense One

Russia 'Closing Gap' Between US with Newer Air Defenses, General Says -

Russia military reportedly deploying to Hama - NOW

Senior Iranian general said to make second Moscow trip - The Times of Israel

'If you are worried about refugees, stop supporting terrorists’: Assad interview - RT News


Cold War weaponry and modern military hardware: Inside the ISIS arsenal - Fox News

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

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Maintaining American Supremacy in the Twenty-First Century

This article
 originally appeared at To receive TomDispatch in your 
inbox three times a week, click here.

What if Americans Had Known in 2013 that U.S. rejected Syria Deal in 2012?

In the United States it is considered fashionable to maintain a steadfast ignorance of rejected peace offers, and to believe that all the wars launched by the U.S. government are matters of "last resort." Our schools still don't teach that Spain wanted the matter of the Maine to go to international arbitration, that Japan wanted peace before Hiroshima, that the Soviet Union proposed peace negotiations before the Korean War, or that the U.S. sabotaged peace proposals for Vietnam from the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French. When a Spanish newspaper reported that Saddam Hussein had offered to leave Iraq before the 2003 invasion, U.S. media took little interest. When British media reported that the Taliban was willing to have Osama bin Laden put on trial before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. journalists yawned. Iran's 2003 offer to negotiate ending its nuclear energy program wasn't mentioned much during this year's debate over an agreement with Iran -- which was itself nearly rejected as an impediment to war.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, who had been involved in negotiations in 2012, said that in 2012 Russia had proposed a process of peace settlement between the Syrian government and its opponents that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down. But, according to Ahtisaari, the United States was so confident that Assad would soon be violently overthrown that it rejected the proposal.

The catastrophic Syrian civil war since 2012 has followed U.S. adherence to actual U.S. policy in which peaceful compromise is usually the last resort. Does the U.S. government believe violence tends to produce better results? The record shows otherwise. More likely it believes that violence will lead to greater U.S.-control, while satisfying the war industry. The record on the first part of that is mixed at best.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000 Wesley Clark claims that in 2001, Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo proposing to take over seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. The basic outline of this plan was confirmed by none other than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2010 pinned it on former Vice President Dick Cheney:

"Cheney wanted forcible 'regime change' in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair. 'He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it — Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.,' Blair wrote. 'In other words, he [Cheney] thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.'"

U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks trace U.S. efforts in Syria to undermine the government back to at least 2006. In 2013, the White House went public with plans to lob some unspecified number of missiles into Syria, which was in the midst of a horrible civil war already fueled in part by U.S. arms and training camps, as well as by wealthy U.S. allies in the region and fighters emerging from other U.S.-created disasters in the region.

The excuse for the missiles was an alleged killing of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons -- a crime that President Barack Obama claimed to have certain proof had been committed by the Syrian government. Watch the videos of the dead children, the President said, and support that horror or support my missile strikes. Those were the only choices, supposedly. It wasn't a soft sell, but it wasn't a powerful or successful one either.

The "proof" of responsibility for that use of chemical weapons fell apart, and public opposition to what we later learned would have been a massive bombing campaign succeeded. Public opposition succeeded without knowing about the rejected proposal for peace of 2012. But it succeeded without follow-through. No new effort was made for peace, and the U.S. went right ahead inching its way into the war with trainers and weapons and drones.

In January 2015, a scholarly study found that the U.S. public believes that whenever the U.S. government proposes a war, it has already exhausted all other possibilities. When a sample group was asked if they supported a particular war, and a second group was asked if they supported that particular war after being told that all alternatives were no good, and a third group was asked if they supported that war even though there were good alternatives, the first two groups registered the same level of support, while support for war dropped off significantly in the third group. This led the researchers to the conclusion that if alternatives are not mentioned, people don't assume they exist — rather, people assume they've already been tried. So, if you mention that there is a serious alternative, the game is up. You'll have to get your war on later.

Based on the record of past wars, engaged in and avoided, as it dribbles out in the years that follow, the general assumption should always be that peace has been carefully avoided at every turn.

Focus: Clinton, Sanders, Biden - Sep 15, 2015

POLL (ABC News/Washington Post) : Clinton's support falls by 21 points to 42 %, while Sanders and Biden are at 24 % and 21 % - POLITICO

POLL: Sharp erosion in Clinton support among Democratic women - The Washington Post

POLL: Clinton’s e-mail issues have become a massive political problem, Just 35 percent believe she is 'honest' and 'trustworthy' - Washington Post

POLL: Full results of the ABC News/Washington Post poll -

POLL (CBS News/YouGov): Sanders Surges in Iowa, NH; Clinton holds the lead in SC - CBS News

POLL: (CBS News/YouGov): Should Joe Biden run for president? - CBS News

Why Are Women Ditching Hillary? - The Daily Beast

Clinton faces trouble in Florida - TheHill

Hillary Clinton says Bill as VP has 'crossed her mind', 'He would be good, but he's not eligible, under the Constitution' -

'Stand with the poor, stand with working people’, Bernie Sanders tells thousands of students at Christian conservative Liberty University -

VIDEO: Bernie Sanders Full Speech at Liberty University - C-SPAN

TRANSCRIPT: Bernie Sanders’ Liberty University speech, annotated - The Washington Post

Bernie who? Winning over southern black voters is Sanders campaign’s next hurdle - The Guardian

Meet the Group of African-American Organizers Building Black Support for Bernie Sanders - In These Times

Bernie Sanders running strong among Kansas Democrats - The Wichita Eagle

Bernie Sanders has zero endorsements from elected national Democrats in his bid for the White House - The Daily Caller

Democrats divided over Biden run - TheHill

Joe Biden advisers, supporters eyeing ballot deadlines -

Biden Secretly Meets With Top Obama Bundler During New York Swing - Bloomberg Politics



GOP senators ask Justice to clarify Clinton email inquiry - Newsday

Text of GOP Sens. Grassley and Johnson letter to Justice Dept wanting details on investigations into Clinton email server -

GOP senators want to talk to Clinton tech staffer's boss - POLITICO

State Dept. has no plans to make all Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills emails public - Washington Times

State Dept 'transparency czar' received classified Clinton emails she is meant to oversee - Washington Examiner

State Dept. records showed four-month gap in Clinton emails, though the agency claims it has filled in the gaps - TheHill

Tech company: No indication that Clinton’s e-mail server was ‘wiped’, If true tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered - The Washington Post

These Are the Forensic Tests the FBI Is Running on Hillary Clinton's Server - Mother Jones

Hillary Clinton email scandal: Experts raise questions about Gmail and other services - POLITICO

Clinton Foundation illegally solicited tax-exempt donations - WND

Clinton Foundation and the IRS - National Review Online

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

Intelligence Vets Blast CIA Brass Attempt to Justify Torture



US Intel Vets Decry CIA’s Use of Torture



Editor Note:  Torture defenders are back on the offensive publishing a book by ex-CIA leaders rebutting a Senate report that denounced the brutal tactics as illegal, inhumane and ineffective. Now, in a memo to President Obama, other U.S. intelligence veterans are siding with the Senate findings and repudiating the torture apologists.


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Veteran Intelligence Professionals Challenge CIA’s “Rebuttal” on Torture

Tomgram: David Vine, Our Base Nation

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: This morning we have a special offer for you. TomDispatch regular David Vine will send any of you willing to donate $100 (or more) to  this website a signed, personalized copy of his groundbreaking new book, <

Elites Want More Refugees: Why?

There is much being written about the refugee crisis in Europe at the moment but none of what I have read explains why the problem is occurring and what will need to be done for the problem to be addressed.


The Empire Files - 9/11's Victims

International Day of Peace 2015 in Central Virginia

Flyer here.

On Monday, September 21st, millions of people around the world will honor and celebrate the International Day of Peace, established in 1981 by the United Nations.  At the same time streams of refugees are fleeing areas of conflict around the world, especially from the wars in the Middle East.  People honor peace, people see the need for peace, but wars rage on. 

For Peace Day this year, we will learn about and honor efforts by some champions of peace who work to bridge the divides of enmity that fuel conflicts and wars.  We will also hold a “Be the Peace” meditation in concert with thousands of similar meditations around the world.  We will do all this in the Social Hall at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist, 117 Rugby Road in Charlottesville.  Our program will follow this schedule:
- 6:00 gather in the Social Hall
- 6:15 begin the “Be the Peace” meditation
- 6:45 close the meditation with a musical interlude provided by Heena Reiter
- 7:00 begin a panel conversation on Bridging the Divides of Enmity
- 8:30 conclude the event
Our panel will include:
Roy Hange who serves as co-pastor of the Charlottesville Mennonite Church and has worked with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.  Roy has spent many years in the Middle East and has extensive knowledge of the conflicts in that region.
Mary Reed who has worked to help AIDs victims in Rwanda, currently co-leads a program to help rebuild rural education in Cambodia, and resides most of the time at Thosamling, a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in northern India.
Carroll Houle who, as a priest with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers of the Catholic Church, served in Tanzania for 21 years, in Kenya for 17 years, and at the United Nations in New York for 5 years.

Our panelists will share insights from their experiences.  Everyone attending can do the same, all in hope of strengthening our vision of a more just and peaceful world.  This event is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Cooperation Circle of Central Virginia and the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice.  The event is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.

A Peace Activist Leads the Labour Party

I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn't favor "only the smart wars" or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism. He was over here in Washington recently trying to get a Brit freed from Guantanamo. He chairs the Stop the War Coalition, one of the biggest peace organizations in Britain. He meets with foreign peace activists, like me, who can't even enter the same worldview, much less the same room, with any U.S. leaders.

When Corbyn and I both spoke at a peace event in London four years ago, he was introduced by Andrew Murray as working in Parliament with "a pack of war lords." Corbyn agreed: Parliament is made up of war lords and war criminals, he remarked.

Corbyn at that point credited the Stop the War Coalition with having helped to prevent an attack on Iran in recent years, just as I believed the US peace movement deserved credit, and does so again this year.

Corbyn called the idea that more time was needed to finish a job in Afghanistan a "load of tosh." He also pointed out that the two sides fighting in Libya could exchange parts for their rifles, because they both had rifles provided by Britain.

Corbyn doesn't just call war criminals "war criminals." He intends to see them prosecuted, including Tony Blair, whom Corbyn wants to see face charges for the 2003 attack on Iraq, which Corbyn of course opposed.

Corbyn doesn't just oppose militarism rhetorically. He wants to shut it down. He opposes the Trident nuclear boondoggle and intends to withdraw the UK from NATO. What other NATO members might follow the UK's lead?

Corbyn doesn't just express nice sentiments about a distant future without nuclear weapons. He advocates unilateral disarmament by the UK, in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty.

Corbyn doesn't just muse about non-military solutions in Syria but seeks to find them and to prevent military action that makes crises worse. He plans to halt British airstrikes from planes or drones in Syria. He also mentions the uncomfortable topic of "some of our supposed allies in the region" providing weapons and funding to ISIS -- and proposes to cut that off rather than fueling the fire with more weapons and attacks.

Corbyn is even opposed to the steady buildup of hostility toward Russia, and faults NATO for expanding and the West for creating the crisis in Ukraine. He doesn't excuse actual misdeeds by Russia, but faults U.S. and European aggression and hypocrisy.

And, though this may be difficult for Americans to imagine, Corbyn opposes the mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israel.

Hours after being elected leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn spoke on Saturday at a huge pro-refugee rally in Parliament Square, and blamed the refugee crisis on its cause, declaring that he would not support the past policy of rushing about the world launching wars.

Americans have come to believe that politicians who support, promote, tolerate, or fund wars can be "war critics" by proposing various tweaks to the war machine.

Bernie Sanders focuses on money issues, taxing the rich, spending on the poor, but has thus far been permitted to engage in the general practice of speaking only about the 46% of federal discretionary spending that it not military. Nobody has asked him about the 54% that by the calculation of National Priorities Project is military. Nobody has asked him if Eisenhower was right that military spending produces wars. Here are 25,000 people who want to know whether and how much Sanders would want to cut military spending.

Sanders is silent on the public support for two, not one, great sources of revenue: taxing the rich (which he's all over) and cutting the military (which he avoids). When he is asked about wars and says Saudi Arabia should pay for and lead them, nobody has followed up by asking whether the wars are themselves good or not or how the theocratic murderous regime in Saudi Arabia which openly seeks to overthrow other governments and is dropping US cluster bombs on Yemen will transform the wars into forces for good. Since when is THAT "socialism"?

If you go to Bernie's website and click on ISSUES and search for foreign policy it's just not there. In the United States, candidates for high office are permitted to just be silent on how much they'd cut the military, even within a range of $100 billion. Does Sanders, or do any of the other candidates, favor $45 billion in more free weapons for Israel paid for by the U.S. public whom Sanders usually wants to spare lesser expenses than that? Who knows.

Jeremy Corbyn just won leadership of the Labour Party by promoting socialism at home and abroad. What are we yanks afraid of?

Apartheid law enforcement in the US: Standing While Black in New York Can Get You Attacked by NYPD Thugs

By Dave Lindorff

If tennis great James Blake had done the obvious thing and resisted being tackled by an apparent thug on a New York sidewalk who didn’t identify himself as a cop before attacking him, he would probably be dead today like Eric Garner, or at least seriously injured or tased.

Stop a war before it starts

By Tom H. Hastings

Everyone knows that diplomacy is the weakest way to deal with insurgencies and civil wars, tough sanctions are next, and if you really want to end a civil war, sorry, you need the military.

Well, everyone thinks that.

OK, not everyone.

Turns out, that order of effectiveness is precisely backward. Three political scientists conducted a historical metastudy of all the movements for self-determination that looked like or actually became civil wars between 1960-2005 that resulted in resolutions by the United Nations Security Council.

The outcomes were clear. Using the UN troops had almost no effect on stopping civil war. Sanctions were better, but diplomatic initiatives succeeded far more often than either of the other approaches.

Is this always true? Of course not, but if you want to go with your best bet to prevent wars, trot out the Ban Ki-Moonies and his coterie of helpers. We in the US generally ignore or chuckle at a Kofi Annan, or a Boutrus Boutrus-Ghali. Ineffectual wimps! Send in the Marines.

Another myth bites the dust.

Think about the cost/benefit matrix. What if we would have sent then-US Secretary of State James Baker or perhaps then-UN Secretary General Javier Pèrez de Cuèllar to deal with Saddam Hussein in August of 1990 instead of instantly mobilizing to go to war? That was a made-for-diplomacy moment that could have avoided 383 US dead, 467 US wounded, $102 billion in US expenses and the lowest estimates are about 20,000 Iraqis killed, half of them civilians. Instead, George Bush the Elder first suckerpunched Saddam by the April Glaspie bumble, giving Saddam a US green light to invade Kuwait and then instantly declaiming “This will not stand,” beginning the buildup and then attacking. All very likely completely avoidable.

This is one of the least costly US wars, in blood and treasure. What if diplomacy could have prevented even one war? Isn’t that worth a very serious effort indeed? Are human lives and the massive energy/money/resource costs worth some serious effort by diplomats, by mediators, by professional interlocutors? In my field of Conflict Transformation we always believe that, and the research is increasingly proving our methods are vastly superior (unless you are a war profiteer, an elite class of people who help shape the media message that we don’t have a clue, that talk is weak, and that only bombing and invading works).

Am I dissenting from US war policy? Yes, I’d say so, and that makes me a traitor and a lawful target for a drone attack, according to a West Point law professor. Should I warn my housemates? Wait—he only says legal scholars who dissent are legitimate targets. I’m a peace and nonviolence scholar, so my dissent isn’t yet qualified as targetable, apparently, or perhaps he simply assumes that activist scholars like me have been lawful targets all along.

I should probably inquire to see if I can get a little help from the UN on this one. My chances would be improved, at least according to the science.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

Film Review: This Changes Everything

I thought the cause of climate destruction was political corruption, but I thought the cause of so little popular resistance was ignorance and denial. Naomi Klein's new film This Changes Everything seems to assume that everyone is aware of the problem. The enemy that the film takes on is the belief that "human nature" is simply greedy and destructive and destined to behave in the way that Western culture behaves toward the natural world.

I think that is an increasingly common frame of mind among those paying attention. But if it ever becomes truly widespread, I expect it to be followed by epidemics of despair.

Of course, the idea that "human nature" destroys the earth is as ridiculous as the idea that "human nature" creates war, or the idea that human nature combined with climate change must produce war. Human societies are destroying the climate at vastly different rates, as are individuals within them. Which are we to suppose are "human nature" and which acting in violation of the same?

I think it's safe to assume that those not recognizing the climate crisis are going to be brought to recognize it along an exponentially rising curve, and it's possible that treating an audience as if they all already know the problem is a helpful way to get them there.

The problem, this film tells us, is a story that humans have been telling each other for 400 years, a story in which people are the masters of the earth rather than its children. The fact that a story is the problem, Klein says, should give us hope, because we can change it. In fact, we largely need to change it to what it was before and what it has remained in some of the communities featured in the film.

Whether that should give us hope is, I think, a whole different question. Either we're past the point of being able to maintain a livable climate or we're not. Either the conference in Copenhagen was the last chance or it wasn't. Either the upcoming conference in Paris will be the last chance or it won't be. Either there's a grassroots way around the failure of such conferences, or there isn't. Either Obama's drill-baby-Arctic drilling is the final nail or it isn't. Same for the tar sands featured in the movie.

But if we are going to act, we need to act as Klein urges: not by intensifying our efforts to control nature, and not by seeking out a different planet to ruin, but by re-learning to live as part of the planet earth rather than its controllers. This film shows us horrific images of the wasteland created in Alberta to get at the tar sands. Canada is dumping some $150 to $200 billion into extracting this poison. And those involved speak in the film as if it were simply inevitable, thus allowing themselves no blame. In their view, humans may be masters of the earth, but they clearly are not masters of themselves.

In contrast, This Changes Everything shows us indigenous cultures where the belief that the land owns us rather than the reverse leads toward sustainable and also more enjoyable life. The film seems to focus on the immediate local destruction of projects like the tar sands and others, rather than the climate of the whole planet. But the point of featuring acts of local resistance is clearly to show us not only the joy and solidarity that comes in acting for a better world, but also to model what that world could look like and how it could be experienced.

We're usually told that it is a weakness of solar energy that it must function when the sun shines, a weakness of wind energy that it must wait for the wind to blow -- whereas it is a strength of coal or oil or nuclear that it can render your home uninhabitable 24-7. This Changes Everything suggests that renewable energy's dependence on nature is a strength because it is part of how we must live and think if we are to cease attacking our natural home.

Hurricane Sandy is featured as a hint of how nature will eventually let humans know who is really in charge. Not in charge because we haven't developed good enough technology yet to truly master it. Not in charge because we need to alter our energy consumption a little as soon as Wall Street approves. Not in charge because of a quirk of corruption in our government that fails to help people in danger while bombing other distant people to control more fossil fuels with which to bring on more danger. No. In charge now and forever, whether you like it or not -- but perfectly happy to work with us, to live in harmony with us, if we live in harmony with the rest of the earth.


David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Focus: Syria/Russia - Sep 12, 2015

Russia calls on for military-to-military cooperation with the United States on Syria to avert 'unintended incidents' -

VIDEO: FM Lavrov says Russia seeks coordination with US over Syria to avoid 'incidents' - YouTube

Pentagon: Neither U.S. nor coalition forces have contacted Russian forces in Syria to prevent any miscalculation or miscommunication - Stripes

Russia calls on world to back Syrian military, calling it the 'most powerful ground force' in the fight against the Islamic State - Washington Times

Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran’s Quds Force leader: intel sources - Fox News

1000 Iranian Marines Join Russian Troops in Jablah Base to Fight Syrian Rebels, Says Report -

Russia intensifies naval exercises off Syrian coast: sources - Reuters

Russia is sending advanced air defenses to Syria - Business Insider

Russia running Damascus International Airport: pro-opposition report - NOW

VIDEO: Russian troops live-fire training in Syria - The Washington Post

Berlin says would welcome Russian role in fight against IS - Reuters

Syria, Egypt agree on restoring ties: report - THE DAILY STAR



Obama: Russia's support for Assad 'a big mistake' - TheHill

VIDEO: Obama Comments On Russian Military In Syria - CBS News

U.S. scrambling for a plan, options are to confront Russia inside Syria or cooperate with it on the fight against the Islamic State - Bloomberg

The Pentagon's Syria debacle, top brass debate how to rescue costly effort to raise rebel army to fight Islamic State - POLITICO

Critics: No way U.S. can meet Syria training goals - Washington Examiner

Syrian rebel training program costs millions and counting - DoD Buzz

Pentagon now training fourth class of Syrian rebels - TheHill

Western states train Kurdish force battling ISIS in Syria - THE DAILY STAR

Lawmakers welcome whistleblowers as DoD probes cooked intel on ISIS and Qaeda, Altered reports allegedly portrayed the terror groups weaker than they are -

Exclusive: 50 spies say ISIS intelligence was cooked - The Daily Beast

US spy chief’s ‘highly unusual’ reported contact with military official raises concerns over rosy portrayals of the war against the Islamic State -

VIDEO: White House spokesman Earnest can't say the U.S. is winning the war against Islamic State - YouTube

President Obama directs administration to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year - The Washington Post

U.S. charities urge Obama to let in more Syrians, ask churches to help - The Washington Post



US official: 'IS making and using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria’ (VIDEO) - BBC News

Islamic State Ordnance Shows Traces of Chemical Agents, U.S. Says - The New York Times

VIDEO: Islamic State using 'chemical weapons' as wounded soldiers reveal painful skin burns in graphic footage - Mirror Online

UN Security Council OKs Syria chemical probe -

Syrian air base falls to rebels, troops exit: state TV - Reuters

Islamic State seizes last Syrian oilfield under government control, monitor says - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Al Qaeda calls Islamic State illegitimate but suggests cooperation - Reuters

Kurds say Syrian opposition supports Islamic State - Kurdpress News Aganecy

Former Sex Slave Says Kayla Mueller Was Killed By ISIS, Not An Airstrike -

The women taking on ISIS: on the ground with Iraq's Yazidi female fighters - The Guardian

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


Where are we going and why are we in Hillary's hand basket?

Hillary Clinton's favorite "Hitler" these days is Putin, with Assad in close second. Her days of giggling triumphantly over the murder of Gadaffi may be behind her. And one of her favorite ways of demonizing Putin has been denouncing his opposition to gay rights. Yet Hillary, along with Rick Santorum, was a supporter of proposed legislation that might have legalized the recently hyped refusal of a government employee in Kentucky to allow a gay couple to marry. Hillary has long favored bombing places that lack civil liberties, and sponsored legislation to criminalize the burning of a U.S. flag.

Some contradictions in U.S. politics (President Obama allowing Arctic drilling and then visiting the Arctic to lament his own destruction of the earth's climate, for example) appear easily explained by sheer soulless corruption via the simple transfer of dollars. Other contradictions (the eagerness of Hillary and her then-president husband Bill) to launch a war over fictional atrocities in Yugoslavia but not over real ones in Rwanda) require at least a bit more analysis.

Diana Johnstone's forthcoming book, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, succeeds in providing an understanding of Hillary Clinton's own worldview like nothing else I've read -- and it does so despite being largely not about Hillary Clinton. Johnstone's book is culture and political criticism at its finest. It's a study of the American neo-liberal, with a particular focus here-and-there on Clinton. I strongly recommend reading it, whatever your level of interest in the "Queen of Chaos" herself, for its illumination of the ideologies underlying U.S. adventurism, exceptionalism, and "responsibility to protect" obsession with identifying believable threats of "genocide" in nations disloyal to Washington or Wall Street.

Johnstone has little interest in "proving" that a woman can be president, a point that she takes to be obvious. "Avoiding World War III is somewhat more urgent," she maintains. Why World War III? Isn't everything well with the world, other than a few evil Muslims trying to kill us all? And wouldn't a woman president help ease tensions?

Johnstone's account of Clinton's record moves from her support of a right-wing military coup in Honduras to her active engagement in facilitating a right-wing military coup in Ukraine. In between, Johnstone looks in-depth at Clinton's backing of her husband's illegal war on Yugoslavia, and the lies she's told about it, which go much deeper than her false claim to have braved sniper fire at an airport. Johnstone also examines the 2011 war on Libya for which she gives Clinton significant blame. (And lest we forget, here's video of Clinton promoting the 2002 authorization for an invasion of Iraq.)

Then there's Clinton's allegiance to the right-wing Israeli government agenda, on exhibit in her speech this week and in Queen of Chaos:

"In July 2014, billionaire Haim Saban declared in a Bloomberg TV interview that he would contribute 'as much as needed' to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is significant because both Saban's fortune and his zeal seem to be inexhaustible. Saban declares proudly that his greatest concern is to protect Israel through strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. 'I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.' . . . Saban showered seven million dollars on the Democratic National Committee, donated five million dollars to Bill Clinton's Presidential Library, and above all, founded his very own think tank, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy within the Brookings Institution, previously considered the most politically neutral of major Washington think tanks. This was accomplished by a record donation to Brookings of thirteen million dollars. . . . As things look now, the 2016 presidential race could be a contest between Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson. In either case, the winner would be Israel."

Johnstone does a good job of bringing out Clinton's belief in the rightness of all U.S. wars, past and possible. In 2012 Clinton gave a speech in which she claimed that a "small group" was preventing the U.S. from going in and saving Syria from Hitler/Assad, a small group consisting of Iran, Russia, and China:

"She went on to say that: 'we are also increasing our efforts to assist the opposition,' before adding that if we are successful, 'Assad will increase the level of violent response.' At a moment like this, one must ask whether she realizes what she is saying. She is admitting that U.S. military aid to the opposition intended to prevent violence will provoke more violence. If there is indeed a possibility of 'genocide,' which is doubtful, this possibility will be increased by that very assistance to the opposition Hillary is calling for, since it will increase the overall violence."

When asked about bombing Libya on Meet the Press, Clinton said, "Let's be fair here. They didn't attack us, but what they were doing and Gaddafi's history and the potential for the disruption and instability was very much in our interests ... and seen by our European friends and our Arab partners as very vital to their interests.' In short, bombing the hell out of a sovereign country that did us no harm is perfectly okay if we consider it to be in our 'interests,' or in the 'interests' of our 'European friends' and our 'Arab partners.' Not only that, but bombing a country, arming rebels and overthrowing its government is the way to prevent 'disruption' and 'instability.'"

Clinton is open about her view of the world, but would prefer the details remained unknown. She has condemned Edward Snowden's whistleblowing as criminal and even suggested that he should face prosecution under the Espionage Act.

One way of grasping where Clinton is coming from is to examine, in her case, what she herself admits is the major corrupting factor in U.S. elections: money. Who funds her? Here's Johnstone:

"Take a look at the list of Clinton Foundation donors who have contributed millions of dollars, supposedly for charity – the sort of charity that begins at home. These are philanthropists who give in order to get. Eight digit donors include: Saudi Arabia, the pro-Israel Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, and the Saban family. Pinchuk has pledged millions to a branch of the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, for a program to train future Ukrainian leaders according to 'European values.' Seven digit donors include: Kuwait, Exxon Mobil, 'Friends of Saudi Arabia,' James Murdoch, Qatar, Boeing, Dow, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart and the United Arab Emirates. Cheapskates paying their dues to the Clintons with contributions above only half a million include: the Bank of America, Chevron, Monsanto, Citigroup and the inevitable Soros Foundation."

For an example of how Clinton does the bidding of her funders, look at the case of Boeing, examined by the Washington Post.

Does this help explain why Republicans on Wall Street are backing her?

Here's a list of horrible governments to which Hillary supported transferring weaponry once they had donated to her foundations.

Can you get more corrupt that that? Hillary Clinton can. Here's a collection of examples how.

For a deeper understanding of where candidates like Hillary Clinton, her husband, the three Bushes, Obama, and others come from, I also strongly recommend another forthcoming book called Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014, by Laurence Shoup, who co-authored the 1977 book, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy.

The CFR, according to Shoup, is the world's most powerful private organization. It has about 5,000 individual members and 170 corporate members, a staff of 330, a budget of $60 million, and assets of $492 million. It began at the end of World War I and included both wings of the wealth-and-war party, dedicated to spreading U.S. dominance and influence around the globe for the good of the heathen.

Madeleine Albright brought Bill Clinton into the CFR in the 1980s, and the contacts he made there, in Shoup's view, brought him the media, funding, and insider advisers that made him president, not to mention his post-presidential fortune. Co-Chair of CFR Robert Rubin led Clinton's National Economic Council and his push for NAFTA before being made Secretary of the Treasury and pushing the repeal of Glass-Steagall before moving on to the board of Citigroup -- listed as a major Clinton-foundation funder above. Fifteen of Bill Clinton's top 17 foreign policy officials were, like him, CFR members, five of whom had been or would soon be directors. Daughter Chelsea Clinton became a CFR member in 2013.

What's wrong with CFR broadcasting its views on National Public Radio and holding its elitist meetings with movers and shakers? You might as well ask what's wrong with U.S. foreign policy, because the policy of the past decades has in fact been largely the policy desired, proposed, and enacted by the CFR and its members. And it is not what the U.S. public has wanted.

In 2013, a Pew-CFR effort polled CFR members and the general public. Among the public, 81% wanted protecting U.S. jobs to be a priority, but only 29% of CFR members did. Among CFR members, 93% favored corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a much higher percentage than among the general public believed that drone murders make the United States safer. These results line up with the 2014 peer-reviewed study done at Princeton and Northwestern Universities, which found that the United States is not a democracy, but an "oligarchy," that the demands of the wealthy are met by the government, whereas the desires of everyone else are ignored.

Changing that will require a nonviolent revolution, not a particular outcome from an almost completely corrupted electoral (and communications) system. But with the current corporate media behaving as if we need to know something more about Hillary Clinton before rejecting her, let me just say this to the infinitely annoying plague-like medium known as the email: My Dear emails, you little maggots eating away the minutes of my day, if your scandal rids us of the risk of installing Hillary Clinton in the White House, all shall be forgiven.

Speaking Events


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

(Invite David Swanson to your town!)


April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
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April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
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April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
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April 15, Seattle, WA


April 16 Portland, OR




Other Events Here.


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