ALEC's Fracking Chemical Disclosure Bill Moving Through Florida Legislature

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) model bill for disclosure of chemicals injected into the ground during the controversial hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process is back for a sequel in the Sunshine State legislature.

Nuclear Weapons Spoilers Sentenced to Long Prison Terms

By John LaForge

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee —Three anti-war activists who easily snuck into what is touted as one of the country’s most secure nuclear weapons facilities were sentenced to long terms in federal prison Tuesday, Feb. 18.

The three were convicted last May on felony charges of depredation of property and sabotage for their nonviolent action called Transform Now Plowshares at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The convictions carried possible maximum sentences of 30 years in prison.

Federal District Judge Amul R. Thapar sentenced both Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, of Duluth, and Michael Walli, 65, of Washington, DC, to five years and two months in prison (“62 months,” in the parlance of the federal court) plus three years of heavily supervised probation.  Sr. Megan Rice, 84, of New York, NY, was sentenced to 35 months in prison plus three years of probation.

Megan, Michael and Greg entered Y-12 in the wee hours of the morning on July 28, 2012, cutting four fences and traversing a “lethal-force-authorized” zone, arriving at the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, the country’s warehouse of weapons-grade uranium. They poured blood on the walls and spray painted “Woe to an Empire of Blood” and “The Fruit of Justice is Peace.” They also chipped a corner of the concrete wall with a small hammer, a symbolic act reflecting the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah who said, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.”

The judge also ordered the three to collectively pay $52,900 in restitution for what prosecutors said was materials and overtime costs to fix the openings in four wire fences and paint over the slogans. Defense attorneys for the three have indicated that the grossly exaggerated repair costs would be challenged on appeal.

At Tuesday’s hearing, each of the nuclear resisters spoke, reminding the court of the central purpose of their action ¾to call the court’s attention to the ongoing US violation of the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. In testimony at hearings before trial, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark called the production of nuclear weapons components at Y-12 “unlawful” —and the work there “a criminal enterprise” —because the NPT obliges the US government to pursue good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Ignoring each of the defendant’s direct appeals to the government’s binding legal obligations under the NPT and the Constitution (which holds that treaties are the “Supreme law of the land”) Judge Thapar repeatedly accused the three of showing “complete disrespect for law.”

Judge Thapar’s accusation of “lawlessness” was plainly dishonest and likely designed for the press, especially in view of his pre-trial orders forbidding the defendants from presenting legitimate law-based defenses. The defense of necessity —that unlawful government actions may be interfered with by citizens acting in the spirit of crime prevention —was also disallowed by Judge Thapar, who ruled before trial that the question of whether nuclear weapons production is unlawful was not relevant to the case and would confuse the jury. What the judge did not say was that when juries are allowed to consider evidence of the outlaw status of nuclear weapons, they regularly find protesters not guilty by reason of justification.

Assistant US District Attorney Jeffery Theodore had recommended much longer sentences for all three: At least 92 months for Michael; 78 months for Greg; and 70 months for Sr. Megan. But Judge Thapar challenged the prosecutor on his claim that the three had “harmed the national defense.” When Mr. Theodore asserted that the protesters “did not just monetary harm” but much more, the judge flatly disagreed. “What is the other harm —beyond the property damage —harm to pride? What is the real harm to the security of the United States?” the judge asked. Mr. Theodore merely noted the sworn testimony of a General Johnson who said that break-in had destroyed the “mystique” of robust security around nuclear weapons factories.

Speaking for himself in reply to the judge’s characterization of the action as “disrespectful of law,” Michael Walli, said in part, “I’m offended by the notion that Auschwitz had a legal right to exist. The gas ovens, the crematoria, fences and buildings there all had a purpose that was not legal or just. The name of the law used by the US to protect the criminal state terrorism going on at Y-12 is preposterous. … The law codified in the Nuremberg Principles forbids complicity in ongoing crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes” such as the planning a preparation of mass destruction.

The statement issued by the three at the time of their action said Y-12 was chosen for the action because of its plans for a multi-billion dollar H-bomb factory there —the Uranium Processing Facility. The sole purpose of the UPF (price tag now $19 billion) is to produce thermonuclear cores for gravity H-bombs and ballistic missile warheads. Y-12 is a weapons production facility where workers today perform so-called “Life Extension Upgrades” on the W76 warhead and potentially the B-61 gravity H-bomb.

John LaForge is a co-director of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, edits its Quarterly, and writes for PeaceVoice.

Complaint filed at International Criminal Court over NATO allies’ complicity in US drone strikes

From REPRIEVE:
 
Drone victims are today lodging a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing NATO member states of war crimes over their role in facilitating the US’ covert drone programme in Pakistan.
 
It has been revealed in recent months that the UK, Germany, Australia, and other NATO partners support US drone strikes through intelligence-sharing. Because all these countries are signatories to the Rome Statute, they fall under The ICC’s jurisdiction and can therefore be investigated for war crimes. Kareem Khan - whose civilian brother and son were killed in a 2009 drone strike – is at The Hague with his lawyers from the human rights charity Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who have filed the complaint on his behalf. 
 
The CIA has launched more than 300 missiles at North Waziristan since its covert drone programme began and it is estimated that between 2004 and 2013, thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians including children.
 
The US has immunised itself from legal accountability over drone strikes and the UK has closed its domestic courts to foreign drone victims. In a recent decision, the Court of Appeal in London ruled that it would not opine on the legality of British agents' involvement in the US drone war in Pakistan, for fear of causing embarrassment to its closest ally.
 
Kat Craig, Reprieve’s legal director, said: “There can surely be no doubt that facilitating the deaths of thousands of civilians – as NATO allies are doing in a plethora of ways - constitutes war crimes. The International Criminal Court, established specifically to hold overwhelming state power to account, is in a unique position to offer some semblance of justice to individual drone victims with nowhere else to go. They must take this complaint seriously and investigate.”

62- and 35-Month Sentences for Protesting WMDs

KnoxNews.com:

In the end, U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar showed some leniency to the Y-12 protesters, handing out lower-than-recommended sentences to the three, but he emphasized Tuesday that no matter how much he admired their conviction to ridding the world of nuclear weapons, the law comes first.

Aleppo, Yabrud, and the end of the war on Syria

The Syrian Arab Army may be on the verge of another set of victories that go far beyond those gained in the summer of 2013 when the Syrian army and Hezbollah took the rebel held city of Qusayr.   The hotly contested battles rage in the major city of Aleppo and the much smaller mountain city of Yabrud. Major gains in either locale would be significant.  Victories in both would raise questions about the various rebel factions and their ability to continue contesting for control of the country.  (Image: Michael Swan)

Syria's commercial center and largest city, Aleppo, was divided at the start of the Syrian conflict in July 2012.  The government lost control of half of the metropolitan area, key towns surrounding the city, and the international airport.

The situation has changed substantially since October 2013.   The Syrian army captured key towns in the countryside surrounding Aleppo, a critical army base, the international airport, and scores of smaller villages.   Government forces continue to take key locations in preparation for a final push to retake the city.  The tactics on both sides are brutal.  Syrian forces drop barrel bombs on Aleppo's rebel strongholds.  Rebels recently executed twenty-one Syrian government sympathizers.   

Syria News - Feb 19

 

Syria army, rebels agree new Damascus area truce - THE DAILY STAR


A moment of peace in Syria's devastating conflict, The residents we met with were overjoyed with the ceasefire: Correspondent (PHOTOS) - AFP


Trading laughter instead of bullets: Amazing photos of Syrian soldiers and rebels SHAKING HANDS could signal the beginning of the end (PHOTOS) - dailymail


Syria's warring parties share ire over jovial photos of local truce - Reuters


VIDEO: The Babbila truce 1 - YouTube


VIDEO: The Babbila truce 2 - YouTube


VIDEO: The Babbila truce 3 - YouTube


VIDEO: Another truce: Rebels in Asali hand over their heavy weapons - YouTube

 

VIDEO: Assad forces gain momentum in Syria - CNN

 

VIDEO: Switching sides in Syria's civil war - CNN

 

Syria drives rebels from Maan, site of alleged killings - The Washington Post

 

Assad's forces kill top rebel commander in Al Zara, Homs - ZAMAN ALWSL #syria

 

Syrian regime flags spotted on several Al-Raqqa buildings - Syria Newsdesk

 

AFP: Syria rebels say planning Damascus spring offensive - AFP

 

U.S. opposes supply of shoulder-fired missiles to Syria rebels - Reuters

 

Syrian Coalition Happy with FSA Chief of Staff Appointment of Brigadier General Bashir - Syrian National Coalition

 

VIDEO: Official statement from SMC declares Idriss & deputy fired, appoints Bashir as new leader & Heitham Afeisi as deputy - YouTube

 

VIDEO (Arabic): The new Leader of FSA - YouTube

 

Salim Idriss supporters reject his dismissal: statement - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

Idriss Ousting Remains Opaque - The Syrian Observer

 

Whatever happened to the Western supplies stolen in Syria? - Threat Matrix

 

Syria boy pictured alone was actually crossing border with family - Telegraph

 

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CNN Exclusive: Syrian town describes atrocities committed by ISIS (VIDEO) - CNN.com


CNN Exclusive: Video documenting interrogations and executions conducted by ISIS (VIDEO) - CNN.com


Al Qaeda splinter group ISIS tortured to death Suqour Al Sham commander in Al Shaer, Homs - ZAMAN ALWSL


ISIS embarks on arrest campaigns in Tal Abyad - Syria Newsdesk


ISIS forcing Raqqa women to wed its fighters, say activists - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

 

VIDEO: This large convoy very strongly suggests ISIS intends to retake lost territory & influence in Deir ez Zour - Twitter / Charles_Lister

 

Lebanon issues arrest warrants against ISIS suspects - THE DAILY STAR

 

Syria: A Brief Guide To Chechen & North Caucasian Factions In Syria - EA WorldView

 

The New Generation of Jordanian Jihadi Fighters - ceip.org

 

The Saudi Arabia and Kuwait “Outposts Project”: Al-Qaeda and Its Affiliates - INSS Insight

 

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Iraqi Kurdish government snubs Kurdish group PYD, rejects the recently announced Kurdish administration in Syria - Al-Monitor


Syrian Kurdish Finance Minister Interviewed - Transnational Middle-East Observer


How the Kurdish PYD Operates Its Own Autonomous Government - Syria Deeply


Peace, equality and self-determination: The Kurds take the lead in proposing a new way for Syria - Support Kurds in Syria


Kurds are now shaping the Middle East - Dicle News Agency

 

YPG captures village of Jez'a close to Iraqi border after violent clashes took place against ISIS, Nusra and Ahrar - Transnational Middle-East Observer

 

YPG fighters clash with ISIS near Raqqa - aranews.org

 

Kurdish YPG forces capture 30 ISIS militants in operations - ekurd

 

VIDEO: Kurdish YPG forces capture 30 ISIS militants in operations - LiveLeak.com

 

ISIS fighters behead four Syrian Kurds - aranews.org

 

VIDEO: ISIS statement against 'PKK' in Tal Hamis - Transnational Middle-East Observer

 

Syrian Kurds Recruit Regime Loyalists to Fight Jihadists - aina.org

 

Gang members captured by Kurdish YPG forces admit there are camps in Turkey - ekurd

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Tim DeChristopher Interview - Climate Change is The Context of Our Times

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

http://youtu.be/Tqwd9hZ8n6A

An Interview with Tim DeChristopher, the founder of Peaceful Uprising who is widely known known for one of the more creative acts of non violent insurrection and civil disobedience in recent memory when he disrupted a government oil and gas lease auction in order to protect fragile land in southern Utah from long term damage. That story became the subject of the documentary Bidder 70, and that act resulted in DeChrispher spending 21 months in federal custody.

Talk Nation Radio: U.S. Marine Corps Threatens Small Pacific Island

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-u-s-marine

Michael Hadfield is a Professor of Zoology and Principal Investigator at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii, and at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center. He discusses the need to save Pagan Island, its people and other species, from the U.S. military. See http://savepaganisland.org

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Misremembering America’s Wars, 2003-2053

The Pentagon’s Latest “Mission Accomplished” Moment 
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch

It’s 2053 -- 20 years since you needed a computer, tablet, or smart phone to go online.  At least, that’s true in the developed world: you know, China, India, Brazil, and even some parts of the United States.  Cybernetic eye implants allow you to see everything with a digital overlay.  And once facial recognition software was linked to high-speed records searches, you had the lowdown on every person standing around you.  Of course, in polite society you still introduce yourself as if you don’t instantly know another person’s net worth, arrest record, and Amazooglebook search history.  (Yes, the fading old-tech firms Amazon, Google, and Facebook merged in 2033.) You also get a tax break these days if you log into one of the government’s immersive propaganda portals.  (Nope, “propaganda” doesn’t have negative connotations anymore.)  So you choose the Iraq War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Experience and take a stroll through the virtual interactive timeline. 

Look to your right, and you see happy Iraqis pulling down Saddam’s statue and showering U.S. Marines with flowers and candy.  Was that exactly how it happened?  Who really remembers?  Now, you’re walking on the flight deck of what they used to call an aircraft carrier behind a flight-suit-clad President George W. Bush.  He turns and shoots you a thumbs-up under a “mission accomplished” banner.  A voice beamed into your head says that Bush proclaimed victory that day, but that for years afterward, valiant U.S. troops would have to re-win the war again and again.  Sounds a little strange, but okay. 

A few more paces down the digital road and you encounter a sullen looking woman holding a dog leash, the collar attached to a man lying nude on the floor of a prison.  Your digital tour guide explains: “An unfortunate picture was taken.  Luckily, the bad apple was punished and military honor was restored.”  Fair enough.  Soon, a digital General David Petraeus strides forward and shoots you another thumbs-up.  (It looks as if they just put a new cyber-skin over the President Bush avatar to save money.)  “He surged his way to victory and the mission was accomplished again,” you hear over strains of the National Anthem and a chorus of “hooahs.”

Celebrate World Social Justice Day – February 20

By Brian J. Trautman
 
In one of his most famous writings, "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said of injustice, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” In other words, the very existence of injustice has implications for us all. Thus, we each have a responsibility to actively challenge unjust power structures wherever they should surface. According to the United Nations, “the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have never been more relevant than they are today.” Structural injustices are pervasive in the United States, perhaps more than in any other Western industrialized nation. They include record levels of economic inequality and mass incarceration and attempts to slash entitlement programs, restrict women’s reproductive rights, and erode voting rights. Globally, injustice exists more frequently in other forms, such as poverty, hunger, worker exploitation, sex trafficking, resource privatization, and severe restrictions on women’s and gay rights. In every corner of the world people’s rights and dignity are under constant assault by different forces.

Presidential Restraint Is Alive and Well

... among people who are not the president.

On Presidents Day, RootsAction.org set up a petition in response to this news:

"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say," the Associated Press reports -- "and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year."

The petition reads:

"Mr. President, Without making any exception for the president, the Constitution requires adherence to the Fifth Amendment. 'Due process' is mandatory, not optional. Legality is a question of law, not policy. You are not allowed to kill whoever you want on your own say-so."

Within the first several hours, over 10,000 people had signed. You can sign it too.

Here are some of the comments that people have posted:

"Has the CONSTITUTION become an - OPTION ???" —S. Schwenchy, CA

"And we thought Bush was a liar!" —Richard Wilkey, TN

"And you are also not allowed to pass judgement on someone before they are judged by a jury of their peers as you did in the case of Pvt. Manning. I thought you were better than that. My bad." —John Nettleton, OR

"Please, just stop murdering suspicious people. This is like what happened to Trayvon Martin, but there's no trial afterward." —Tim Ferguson, CA

"Expedience is not an excuse. We can't be the good guys just because we say so, we have to act on it too. Killing terrorists just creates more terrorists." —Boola Lomuscio, MA

"A country which can imprison indefinitely its citizens without due process, without ever charging them with any wrongdoing is not a democracy. Period. Let alone the country which can KILL citizens without due process, without ever charging them with any wrongdoing. Obey the law. Obey the Constitution." —Jamil Said, CA

"A President is nothing more than a servant, and if he commits a crime, it is ten times the crime and should have ten times the penalty." —Ronald Denner, MI

"According to the Nuremberg Principles if we remain silent while our government is engaged in illegal activities, then we are complicit, we are equally guilty of being in violation of international law and of going against our most dearly held values. It is our responsibility as citizens, as taxpayers, as voters, to speak out." —Robert Stevens

"All labels aside, ANY president who does not follow his oath needs to be impeached. It really is that simple." —Robert Horan, OH

"All presidents seem to think that the Constitution is for the people to obey, not them. The 5th Amendment provides due process for American citizens. If one suspects criminal activity against the USA, then the suspect must have his day in court. This is part of the democratic process, and NO ONE, NOT EVEN THE PRESIDENT, IS ABOVE THE LAW!" —Robert Glasner, CA

"Amendment IV -- 'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures' -- Does that include the life of the person?" —David Bean, OR

"America is supposed to have the rule of law, not of men. I don't care how well-intentioned people are; if the precedent is set, then less well-intentioned people will take advantage of it." —Deborah Goldsmith, CA

"Among other reasons, drone strikes kill innocents without exception, and you know it, Mr. President, and that's not something to accept regardless of what your military advisers believe." —Marianne Kenady, WA

"Are we back in the dark ages where the king decides to behead anyone he wants? Seems that way. I don't think that is where we want to be, none of us." —Kenneth Walton, IA

"Are you still a constitutional lawyer? - - Then, why are you acting as you are? That is, choosing and selecting American citizens for annihilation." —William See, OR

"Believe it or not, murder is murder. Murdering a murderer is still murder." —Frank C Benjamin, NY

"Don't stray from the mandates, including the Constitution, you have been sworn to uphold. People accused of crimes are supposed to be tried by a jury of their peers, not one man on a power trip." —John Davis, ME

"Execution of citizens without any due process, especially a jury of peers, is one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian government -- no matter how much the tyrant pleads otherwise." —Robert Anderson, CA

"Execution without arrest and fair trial is unethical, immoral and goes against all American values." —Patricia Robinett, MO

"Extraordinary renditions and torture perpetrated by the Bush Administration was illegal and immoral. Killing without due process, especially an American citizen, is even worse." —Audrey Bomse, FL

"Following our example, I guess it is ok for foreign governments to send drones over our territory to murder dissidents from their country?" —Michael JamesLong, OR

"For a constitutional lawyer, our President does not honor, in any way, shape or form, the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th & 8th amendments to the U.S. Constitution." —Lisbeth Caccese, CA

Read thousands more, pick your favorites, add your own:
http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9288

Interview with a GOP opponent of militarization: Police State Gears Up

By Dave Lindorff

(This article originally ran in WhoWhatWhy News)

If you’re a small-town police chief, or perhaps the chief of a university security department, the US Department of Defense has got a deal for you!

Thanks to the ending of the Iraq War, and the winding down of the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has 11,000 heavily armored vehicles that it has no use for.  Called MRAPs—Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected—they are designed to protect against AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and IEDs. And as pitchman Paul Richards used to say of the ’69 Pontiac Firebird, “They’re practically giving them away!”

Correction, they are giving them away.

All a local police department has to do to get itself an 18-ton MRAP—which originally cost taxpayers between $400,000-$700,000 complete with gun turret and bullet-proof windows—is send a few cops to pick it up and pay for the gas.

There are a few downsides: the things get only five miles to the gallon, can’t go over most bridges (or under them), and have a nasty habit of tipping over on rough terrain.

Turkey News - Feb 18

 

Recordings expose involvement of PM's son in an illicit plan to transfer land of the Etiler Police Academy to a company called Bosphorus 360 - Today's Zaman


VIDEO: Bosphorus360 1 - Cardboard model of the project to be constructed on the land - YouTube


AUDIO (Turkish): Bosphorus360 2 - Intercepted phone conversation - YouTube


AUDIO (Turkish): Bosphorus360 3 - Intercepted phone conversation - YouTube


VIDEO: Bosphorus360 4 - Animation of the project prepared for Bosphorus 360 - YouTube


AUDIO (Turkish): Bosphorus360 5 - Intercepted phone conversation - YouTube


PHOTO: Bosphorus 360 - Photo of the project - Google Search


CHP takes Erdoğan’s daughter’s villa conversation to parliament - CİHAN

 

AUDIO: Erdoğan’s daughter’s villa conversation - YouTube

 

CHP leader calls PM Erdoğan ‘liar,' dares him to court challenge - CİHAN

 

Former minister promised to protect suspected swindler Zarrab - Today's Zaman

 

Chronology of Dec. 17: The stones are settling into place… - Today's Zaman

 

POLL: Erdogan's approval rating tumbles to 39.4 percent this month from 48.1 percent in December and 59.1 percent a year earlier - SES Türkiye

 

POLL: Survey reveals widespread public support for corruption probe in Turkey - Today's Zaman

 

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Erdoğan instructs media manager to cut news on opposition’s İstanbul mayoral candidate - Today's Zaman


AUDIO: Erdoğan instructs media manager to cut news on opposition’s İstanbul mayoral

candidate - YouTube


Turkey elections: On the campaign trail with the İstanbul mayoral candidate hoping to deliver Erdogan a body blow - Telegraph


Hundreds of journalists held a march on Sunday in İstanbul protesting censorship, extensive gov't meddling in media (VIDEO) - Today's Zaman


No answer to request to investigate MİT agents for monitoring reporter - Today's Zaman

 

CHP submits parliamentary question on Erdoğan's wink - CİHAN

 

The Erdoğan model of journalism in Turkey - CİHAN

 

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Amid fisticuffs and injuries Turkish Parliament approves controversial bill tightening up gov't grip on judicial body - hurriyetdailynews


VIDEO: Policy punch-up as brawls break outs in Turkey's parliament over judicial reform - YouTube


Judiciary even weaker than in coup times with new HSYK law - CİHAN


HSYK deputy chairman denies pro-gov't media report - CİHAN

 

New bill blocks appeals of removed public servants - Today's Zaman

 

Fourteen governors replaced across Turkey - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Counterterrorism unit head resigns in protest of police purge - CİHAN

 

PM Erdoğan uses lawsuits as weapon against opponents - Today's Zaman

 

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Police, Kurdish demonstrators clash on anniversary of PKK leader's capture - Today's Zaman


VIDEO: Kurds calling for rebel leader’s release - Al Jazeera


VIDEO: In southeast Turkey police, protesters clash on anniversary of Kurdish rebel arrest - RT In motion


VIDEO: More on Kurds clashing with police in the southeast Turkey on the anniversary of capture of rebel leader - YouTube


Probe reveals top-military officers’ efforts to cover up involvement in raid on National Intelligence trucks allegedely carrying weapons to Syrian rebels - Sabah English

 

VIDEO: Footage of controversial Syria-bound truck aired - Worldbulletin News

 

Turkey's laws against terrorism financing under scrutiny - Today's Zaman

 

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Turkey most vulnerable emerging market, US Federal Reserve says - Today's Zaman


Turkey in eye of emerging market storm as everything goes wrong at once - Telegraph


Turkey economic model faltering - usatoday.com


The "hard landing" of Turkish economy - balkans.com

 

PM's war against judiciary makes his party a damaging factor for economy - Today's Zaman

 

Union: Workers' rights violated as gov't watches - CİHAN

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Pandering to the Fraternal Order of Police: Senator Calls Winning Constitutional Case on the Death Penalty ‘Undermining Justice

By Dave Lindorff

Pennsylvania Senator Republican Pat Toomey last week went before the whole US Senate to oppose the nomination by President Obama of Debo Adegbile, former head of the litigation department of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. In his speech, Toomey tried to argue that Adegbile is unfit for the job because he supervised the Legal Defense Fund’s successful appeal in federal court of the death sentence of Philadelphia journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal -- an appeal that ended up vacating that sentence, and that was left standing by the US Supreme Court.

Toomey’s position -- that Adegbile had “undermined the justice system” by filing that appeal claiming that Abu-Jamal’s death sentence had been unconstitutional -- is ludicrous on its face. Given that the appeal was successful in federal court, and then upheld on appeal by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and given that the US Supreme Court, asked to reverse that ruling by Philadelphia’s District Attorney and the Pennsylvania Attorney General, refused to hear the case, thereby affirming it -- to say that Adegbile had “undermined justice” is the same as saying that a Federal District Judge, an Appellate Court panel, and the Supreme Court all “undermined justice.”

That’s a pretty heavy indictment, even for a self-styled “Tea Party” senator!

But Pennsylvania’s junior senator didn’t stop there.

Do We Care About People If They Live in Bahrain?

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy's new motto "A Global Force for Good" until I realized that it meant "We are a global force, and wherever we go we're never leaving."

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms. 

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents.  An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even "insulting" the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

For three years now, Saudi Arabia has been aiding the King of Bahrain in his crackdown on the people of Bahrain.  A U.S. police chief named John Timoney, with a reputation for brutality earned in Miami and Philadelphia, was hired to help the Bahraini government intimidate and brutalize its population.

For three years now, the U.S. government has been tolerating the abuses committed by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, continuing to sell weapons to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and continuing to dock the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.  In fact, the U.S. military has recently announced big and pricey plans to expand its bases in Bahrain and add more ships.

For three years now, the U.S. government has continued to dump some $150 billion (with a 'B') each year into the U.S. Navy, a large portion of which goes for the maintenance of the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. Withdrawing and disbanding that fleet would save that gargantuan expense. Retraining and re-employing in peaceful activities all personnel would cost a fraction of $150 billion. Providing aid to nonviolent pro-democracy activists in Bahrain would cost a tiny fraction of a fraction. Establishing a policy in the case of this one country of supporting human rights over brutal dictatorship would be, as they say, priceless. It would create a very useful model for a transformation of U.S. policy in numerous other nations as well.

Accurate and timely information about the horrors underway for the past three years in Bahrain are available online, via Western human rights groups, and via small back-page stories in U.S. newspapers.  There's little dispute over the general facts.  Yet, there's little outrage.  There appears to have been no polling done of the U.S. public on the topic of Bahrain whatsoever, so it's impossible to know what people think.  But my impression is that most people have never heard of the place. 

The U.S. government is not shouting about the need to bomb Bahrain to protect its people.  Senators are not insisting on sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions.  There seems to be no crisis, no need for "intervention," only the need to end an intervention we aren't told about. 

Which raises a tough question for people who give a damn.  We're able to reject a war on Iran or Syria when the question is raised on our televisions. But we can't seem to stop drone strikes nobody tells us about. How do we create a question nobody is asking, about a topic nobody has heard of, and then answer it humanely and wisely?  And how do we overcome the inevitable pretense that the Fifth Fleet serves some useful purpose, and that this purpose justifies a little teargas, a bit of torture, and some murders here and there?

The Fifth Fleet claims to be responsible for these nations: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.  None of these nations have ships in U.S. waters claiming to be responsible for it.  None of these nations' peoples have indicated majority support for having the Fifth Fleet be responsible for them.  Afghanistan has suffered under U.S. occupation for over a decade, with chaos and tyranny to follow.  Egypt's thugs are rising anew with steady U.S. support, money, and weaponry. Iran has threatened and attacked no other nation for centuries, has never had a nuclear weapons program, spends less than 1% what the U.S. does on its military, and moves away from democracy with every U.S. threat. Why not leave Iran alone?  Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others of these nations, including Bahrain, suffer under the rule of U.S.-backed governments. One might reasonably add Israel and the lands it occupies to the list, even if the Navy cannot bring itself to mention them. Yemen and Pakistan suffer under the constant buzzing and missile launching of U.S. drones, which are creating far more enemies than they kill.  In fact, not a single nation falling under the past 19 years of benevolent "responsibility" of the Fifth Fleet has clearly benefitted in any way.

At a third annual conference recently held in Lebanon, Bahraini activists laid out a plan of action. It includes building international connections with people who care and are willing to help. It includes supporting the International Day to End Impunity on November 23rd.  It includes pushing Bahrain to join the ICC, although that may be of little value until the U.S. can be persuaded to do the same and until the United Nations can be democratized.  The plan includes calls for an end to weapons sales and the initiation of sanctions against the Bahraini government (not its people).

Those would certainly be good steps. The first question in my mind remains: do the people in the nation that screams most loudly about "freedom" and does the most to support its repression wherever deemed useful, care?

Ignoring injustice: Philly Black Officials Silent On Police Brutality

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Philadelphia -- Back in 1978, a respected newspaper columnist in in this city blasted local black elected officials for their failure to criticize police brutality – the scourge that ravaged blacks for decades, often with the sanction of white elected officials like then Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, a former city police commissioner.

Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars

arabwomenresistance300

1. War is immoral.

Murder is the one crime that we're taught to excuse if it's done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.

Over the centuries and decades, death counts in wars have grown dramatically, shifted heavily onto civilians rather than combatants, and been overtaken by injury counts as even greater numbers have been injured but medicine has allowed them to survive.

Deaths are now due primarily to violence rather than to disease, formerly the biggest killer in wars.

Death and injury counts have also shifted very heavily toward one side in each war, rather than being evenly divided between two parties. Those traumatized, rendered homeless, and otherwise damaged far outnumber the injured and the dead.

The idea of a "good war" or a "just war" sounds obscene when one looks honestly at independent reporting on wars.

When we say that war goes back 10,000 years it’s not clear that we’re talking about a single thing, as opposed to two or more different things going by the same name. Picture a family in Yemen or Pakistan living under a constant buzz produced by a drone overhead. One day their home and everyone in it is shattered by a missile. Were they at war? Where was the battlefield? Where were their weapons? Who declared the war? What was contested in the war? How would it end?

Is it not perhaps the case that we have already ended war and now must end something else as well (a name for it might be: the hunting of humans)?

If we can change our manner of killing foreigners to render it almost unrecognizable, who’s to say we can’t eliminate the practice altogether?

Read more.

 

2. War endangers us.

There are more effective tools than war for protection.

tankWar planning leads to wars.

In arming, many factors must be considered: weapon-related accidents, malicious testing on human beings, theft, sales to allies who become enemies, and the distraction from efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and war must all be taken into account. So, of course, must the tendency to use weapons once you have them.  And a nation’s stockpiling of weapons for war puts pressure on other nations to do the same. Even a nation that intends to fight only in defense, may understand “defense” to be the ability to retaliate against other nations. This makes it necessary to create the weaponry and strategies for aggressive war. When you put a lot of people to work planning something, when that project is in fact your largest public investment and proudest cause, it can be difficult to keep those people from finding opportunities to execute their plans. Read more.

War making provokes danger.

While the best defense in many sports may be a good offense, an offense in war is not defensive, not when it generates hatred, resentment, and blowback, not when the alternative is no war at all. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.  Read More.

War's weapons risk intentional or accidental apocalypse.

We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There's no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many.
As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. And possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military's ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States' ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes.

Read more.


3. War threatens our environment.

oiljetsA major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas.

Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines.

The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. The world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military. Not only do we fight wars in areas of the globe that happen to be rich in oil; we also burn more oil fighting those wars than we do in any other activity. Author Ted Rall writes:

“The U.S. Department of [War] is the world’s worst polluter, belching, dumping, and spilling more pesticides, defoliants, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium than the five biggest American chemical corporations combined. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, 60 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions between 2003 and 2007 originated in U.S.-occupied Iraq, due to the enormous amount of oil and gas required to maintain hundreds of thousands of American military forces and private contractors, not to mention the toxins released by fighter jets, drone planes, and the missiles and other ordnance they fire at Iraqis.”

The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption.

The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars.

Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.

Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.

The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.

If militaries were made green in terms of their operations, they would lose one of their main reasons for war.  (Nobody can own the sun or the wind.)  And we would still have a long list of ... More reasons to end war.

Read more.

 

4. War erodes our liberties.

policeWe're often told that wars are fought for "freedom." But when a wealthy nation fights a war against a poor (if often resource-rich) nation halfway around the globe, among the goals is not actually to prevent that poor nation from taking over the wealthy one, after which it might restrict people's rights and liberties. The fears used to build support for the wars don't involve such an incredible scenario at all; rather the threat is depicted as one to safety, not liberty.

In close proportion to levels of military spending, liberties are restricted in the name of war -- even while wars may simultaneously be waged in the name of liberty.  We try to resist the erosion of liberties, the warrantless surveillance, the drones in the skies, the lawless imprisonment, the torture, the assassinations, the denial of a lawyer, the denial of access to information on the government, etc.  But these are symptoms.  The disease is war and the preparation for war.

It is the idea of the enemy that allows government secrecy.

The nature of war, as fought between valued and devalued people, facilitates the erosion of liberties in another way, in addition to the fear for safety.  That is, it allows liberties to first be taken away from devalued people.  But the programs developed to accomplish that are later predictably expanded to include valued people as well.

Militarism erodes not just particular rights but the very basis of self-governance. It privatizes public goods, it corrupts public servants, it creates momentum for war by making people's careers dependent on it.

One way in which war erodes public trust and morals is by its predictable generation of public lies.

Also eroded, of course, is the very idea of the rule of law -- replaced with the practice of might-makes-right.

Read more.

 

5. War impoverishes us.

sadDirect Expenses:

War has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what's thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government's discretionary budget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.

Indirect Expenses:

Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twise as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures.

The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.

War Spending Drains an Economy:

It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs -- with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.

War Spending Increases Inequality:

Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved.

War Spending Is Unsustainable, As Is Exploitation it Facilitates:

While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.

Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates' wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.

Read more.

 

6. We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

aidIt would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world.  That sounds like a lot of money to you or me.  But if we had $2 trillion it wouldn't.  And we do.

It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water.  Again, that sounds like a lot. Let's round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.

Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don't share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.

But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning "college debt" can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as "human sacrifice"), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices.  What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?

The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?

U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year.  Taking it up to $100 billion -- never mind $523 billion! -- would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering.  It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth.  A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world.  Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels, the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups, but only if one other factor were added -- only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.

Some U.S. states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace insustries.

Read more.

 

Drone victim meets with German MPs and officials in wake of Pakistan kidnapping

From REPRIEVE:
 
A Pakistani man who lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike is this week visiting Germany to hold meetings with MPs and Government officials about the impact of the US’ secret bombing campaign.
 
Kareem Khan will today meet with the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Committees, as well as members of Germany’s Green Party.  Tomorrow he is set to meet officials from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 
There had been fears for Mr Khan’s safety up until last Friday, following his abduction from his Rawalpindi home by men in police uniforms on February 5.  Mr Khan had not been heard from until his release on February 14, after which he revealed that, during his captivity, he had been beaten and questioned about his activities.
 
Mr Khan is being accompanied on his visit by Noor Behram, a journalist from North Waziristan (the region which bears the brunt of CIA strikes); his lawyer Shahzad Akbar, a fellow of human rights charity Reprieve; and Jennifer Gibson, a staff attorney at Reprieve.
 
The group is visiting Germany, followed by the Netherlands and the UK, in order to discuss the impact of the CIA drone programme on civilians in Pakistan.
 
European states have been revealed to be involved in the CIA campaign through the sharing of intelligence used to target strikes, and the provision of crucial infrastructure – notably at US air bases such as Ramstein in Germany and RAF Croughton in the UK.
 
Kareem Khan said: “I hope my meetings with parliamentarians in Europe will help raise awareness about the real impact of US drone strikes. It is imperative that Germany take a stand on such drones. They are making no one safer, least of all America's allies.”
 
Jennifer Gibson said: “Given the involvement of European countries in the CIA’s illegal and counter-productive campaign of drone strikes, it is important that politicians and public alike are aware of how this affects innocent civilians on the ground.  Mr Khan lost his son and his brother to these strikes, and when he started speaking out, ended up being kidnapped.  People in Germany, the UK and the US deserve to know about the abuses that are being carried out in their name – it is high  time the drone campaign was brought out of the shadows.”
 
Further information on Mr Khan’s abduction can be found here:
http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2014_02_14_Kareem_Khan_released

Syria News - Feb 17

 

Saudis Agree to Provide Syrian Rebels With Mobile Antiaircraft Missiles, U.S. Also Giving Fighters Millions of Dollars for Salaries - WSJ


Free Syrian Army fires commander many considered ineffective - latimes.com


MAP: Syria military situation with control areas - imgur


Syrian Rebels' Southern Spring Offensive - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Southern Comfort: As Geneva II falters, the United States is providing modest support to rebels in southern Syria - NOW


US and Gulf Arabs seem to bet on the “Southern Front” led by Bashar al-Zoubi and the "Syria Revolutionaries’ Front" led by Jamaal Maarouf - joshualandis.com


Bashar al-Zoubi, the biography of an FSA leader - The Arab Chronicle


VIDEO (Arabic): Interview with Bashar Al-Zoubi - LiveLeak.com

 

Special Report On The Yabrud Offensive - Brown Moses Blog

 

Thousands flee Syrian rebel-held town as 'major assault' looms - BuenosAiresHerald.com

 

Exclusive: Al-Qalamoun Battle in Final Days - islamicinvitationturkey.com

 

Yabroud battle: the Army paralyzes supplying the insurgents through blocking the crossings - breakingnews.sy

 

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Al Qaeda splinter group ISIS executes 21 near Aleppo and Azaz, including fighters from rival rebel groups and their relatives: report - Reuters


VIDEO: ISIS terrorists execute 13 civilians near Aleppo - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Horrific images from Aleppo - New ISIS mass grave discovered - LiveLeak.com


Inter-Rebel Fighting Enters a New Phase as Salafists Declare Open War on ISIS - Syria Comment


VIDEO (Arabic): Jamal Maarouf, admitting 1100 killed +1650 injured fighters sofar in rebel infighting - LiveLeak.com


FSA, ISIS clash in Al-Raqqa city - Syria Newsdesk

 

Violent explosions rock ISIS's stronghold east Syria as infighting continues - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

VIDEO: ISIS Convoy Headed By Umar Shishani Arrives In Azaz - EA WorldView

 

VİDEO: New videos of Azerbaijanis fighting in Syria - APA

 

Are Syria charities a front for Jihadists? Fears convoys in the country are being used to help militants after thousands in cash is seized - Mail Online

 

VIDEO: Syria rebels explode mines in tunnel under Aleppo hotel - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

Jihadists release video of British suicide bomber in the failed Aleppo prison attack - The Long War Journal

 

VIDEO: Video shows British Syria suicide bomber in the failed Aleppo prison attack - BBC News

 

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Obama to offer Saudi Arabia coordination on Syria policy - JPost 


Kerry Says Syrian Regime Obstructed Peace Talks - Bloomberg


Statement by Secretary Kerry on the Geneva Conference and Situation in Syria - US Mission Geneva


VIDEO: Syria UN Envoy Bashar al-Jaafari: Terrorism must be fully addressed before talking about a transitional government - YouTube


Hezbollah says will quit Syria if Arabs stop meddling - Reuters

 

Evacuation of Syria's Homs halts, governor blames 'armed groups' - THE DAILY STAR

 

Homs rebel puts fate in Syrian government hands - Reuters

 

At Homs Evacuation, Syrian Rebels And Soldiers Come Warily Together - ibtimes.com

 

Rebels have left Syria's Yarmuk: Palestinian official - Yahoo News

 

Oil extraction in Syria declines by 96 percent since beginning of conflict - The Voice of Russia

 

Syrian Electronic Army hacks into Forbes.com - usatoday.com

 

VIDEO: Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Forbes, Steals 1 Million User Accounts - TeleManagement

 

Syria’s Jihadist Twitter Wars - The Daily Beast

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

A man of many convictions: The Shape-Shifting Secretary of State John Kerry

By Dave Lindorff

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry is a man of many convictions--many of them in open conflict with one another. 

Recall that back in 2004, while trying to unseat President George W. Bush, he famously told students at Marshall University who wanted to know his stand on the US invasion of Iraq, that he “actually did vote for” a bill funding the war “before I voted against it.”

The Story of My Arrest at David Petraeus' Speaking Engagement

By  Deb Vanpoolen 

The Essential Facts:

As I sat in that room, I decided my action would be designed to send a fissure through David Petraeus’ edifice of lies with the intent to reach someone with the truth who desperately needed to hear it like I once did.

February and March 2014 War Criminals Appearances

Check out the February and March 2014 War Criminals appearances/protests to see if any of them will be in your area. Join a protest or start one.  On our website you will find posters and leaflets for your event. If you like, we will assist you in organizing and getting the word out for your event.

Turkey News - Feb 15

 

Turkish PM's son Bilal Erdoğan testifies in graft probe - hurriyetdailynews.com


Audio tape reveals transfer of the Police Academy's land to Bilal Erdogan was negotiated by PM’s Undersecretary who is now Minister of the Interior - ufilter


AUDIO (Turkish) : Audio tape reveals transfer of the Police Academy's land to Bilal Erdogan - Youtube


Pictures show Topbaş's defense may be false - CİHAN


PHOTOS: Pictures show Topbaş's defense may be false - t24.com.tr


Six suspects, including Halkbank's ex-general manager, released in Turkey's massive graft probe - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Former CHP leader criticizes delay in motions against ministers - Today's Zaman

 

Purges continue with over 70 reassignments - CİHAN

 

Turkey removes 27 police chiefs - Worldbulletin News

 

900 AK Party members resign in Ankara - CİHAN

 

Ocalan: Greater Democracy is the Solution for Turkey’s Kurdish - Rudaw

 

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Court orders press ban regarding probe into suspicious trucks which were allegedly carrying weapons and ammunition to Syrian rebels - Today's Zaman


Report: Syria Most Deadly For Journalists, While Turkey No. 1 Jailer - rferl.org


Images of Turkish Reporter Felled by Police Water Cannon Stir Anger Online (VIDEO)- NYTimes.com


PHOTO: Turkey Reporter Hit With Water Cannon - Business Insider


PM also slammed me for my questions on Uludere, says journalist - CİHAN

 

Government interference in media revealed in book of former editor-in-chief - Today's Zaman

 

Social media becomes new venue for corruption revelations - CİHAN

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Drone victim Kareem Khan released from illegal detention in Pakistan

From REPRIEVE:

A Pakistani drone victim who had been missing since being abducted from his home by men in police uniforms on February 5 has been released.
 
Kareem Khan, who had not been heard from since being taken from his Rawalpindi home, was freed earlier today (February 14).
 
Mr Khan lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike, and had been set to travel to Europe to discuss his experiences with parliamentarians when he disappeared.  He was also involved in legal action against the Pakistani police over their refusal to investigate the killing of his relatives.
 
After being abducted in the early morning hours of 5 February by 15-20 men, 8 of whom were in police uniform, Mr Khan was taken to a cell in an undisclosed location. Later in the day of 5 February, he was blindfolded and driven for approximately 2-3 hours to another undisclosed location where he remained until his release. While detained, Mr Khan was interrogated, beaten and tortured. He was placed in chains and repeatedly questioned about his investigations into drone strikes, his knowledge of drone strike victims and his work advocating on their behalf.
 
In the early hours of this morning (14 February), he was driven to the Tarnol area of Rawlpindi, where he was thrown from a van after being told not to speak to the media.
 
Mr Khan is now with his lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, a fellow of human rights charity Reprieve.  Mr Akbar, who is also director of NGO the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, had filed ‘habeas’ proceedings in the courts earlier this week in an attempt to secure Mr Khan’s release.  In response, a judge from the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court had ordered the Ministry of the Interior, which has oversight of the Pakistani intelligence services, to produce Mr Khan by February 20.
  
Mr Khan plans to go ahead with his trip to meet parliamentarians in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands later this week.  Today he said: “When I was picked up I thought I would never see my family again, that I would never be free again because of all the stories I have heard about disappeared people. Now that I have been released and have seen the news, the efforts of activists, I know it is because of them that I am free, and I would like to thank them.”
 
Shahzad Akbar said: “What happened to Kareem Khan in last few days is nothing new in Pakistan. We are living in a state of lawlessness where the executive enjoys impunity. The lesson learned though this experience is that we must always raise our voices. We need to take this stand for each and every person who disappears, it is the only way to force those in power to listen. That is why I am so thankful to all the local and international activists who spoke out for Kareem.”
 
Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said: “It is a huge relief that Mr. Khan has finally been released, though we are deeply concerned to hear about the mistreatment he has endured.  No one should have to suffer as he and his family have done for simply trying to get to the truth about the deaths of their loved ones.  Serious questions remain for the Pakistani Government on how this was allowed to happen.”

New weekly ThisCantBeHappening! radio show Climate change: Washington and the Oil Companies Know but Won’t Act to Stop It

ThisCantBeHappening! has a new radio program of the same name. TCBH founder Dave Lindotff  will be hosting the show every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on theProgressive Radio Network.

Syria News - Feb 14

 

U.S., Russia pledge to unblock Syria talks, Brahimi says - Reuters


VIDEO: Lakhdar Brahimi, Press Conference (Geneva, 13 Februrary 2014) English - YouTube


Opposition plan for post-war Syria ignores Assad - Reuters


FULL TEXT: Syrian opposition issues “Statement of Basic Principles” at Geneva talks - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


Syrian Coalition: We Seek To Eliminate the Terror of the Assad Regime - Syrian National Coalition


Syrian Coalition: Regime’s claims about Alleged Massacre in Maan are False - Syrian National Coalition


VIDEO: Rebel: No “Massacre” By Insurgents in Maan in Hama Province - EA WorldView

 

What Happened in Maan, the Two Massacres (PHOTOS) - SyriaNews

 

VIDEO: Report about the Islamic Terrorist Massacre on Civilans in al Maan - LiveLeak.com

 

Russian Resolution Focuses on Fighting Terrorism in Syria – Minister - RIA Novosti

 

Syria's warring sides agree to extend cease-fire in Old City of Homs - latimes.com

 

Homs governor says detained evacuees to be freed - AFP

 

Some almost good news from Yarmouk: UNRWA says deal in works to allow aid access - MiamiHerald.com

 

Non-Palestinian fighters leave Yarmouk camp - Worldbulletin News

 

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VIDEO: Takfiri terrorists strangulate Syrian girl in public - PressTV


ISIS Sharia Court Orders Syrian Girl Stoned to Death in Raqqa for Facebook Account - FrontPage Magazine


PHOTO: ISIS Sharia Court Orders Syrian Girl Stoned to Death in Raqqa for Facebook Account - Google Search


Exclusive: Top ISIS leaders revealed (PHOTOS) - Al Arabiya News


ISIS losing ground in Syria to Jabhat al-Nusra - Al-Monitor

 

New rebel group wages war on ISIS in Latakia countryside - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

Child soldiers: victims of an expanding practice by al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria - Al-Shorfa

 

The destruction of the idols: Syria’s patrimony at risk from extremists - The Independent

 

Escaped Inmates From Iraq Fuel Syrian Insurgency - NYTimes.com

 

In Syria, Western Fundamentalists Are Tweeting From Amongst the Corpses - Newsweek

 

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Battle for Qalamoun reignites in strategic town of Yabroud - Syria Direct


Syrian planes pound rebel-held Yabroud - THE DAILY STAR


Special Report On Hezbollah's Role In The Yabrud Offensive - Brown Moses Blog


Opposition spokesman: 'FSA on home turf' in Yabroud - Syria Direct


When the battle in the city of Yabroud ends, political discourse in Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iran will hit a new milestone - Al Akhbar English


Syrian Opposition Militants Holed Up in Krak des Chevaliers “Waiting for their Turn” - Al Akhbar English

 

49 FSA rebel groups unite in one entity in south Syria - ZAMAN ALWSL 

 

Al-Qaeda offshoot releases video of Iran embassy bombing, warns of more attacks to come - THE DAILY STAR

 

VIDEO: Abdullah Azzam Brigades publish new video of Iranian embassy attack - NOW

 

Lebanese army seizes top al Qaeda-linked militant - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

Lebanese Sunnis fighting 'holy war' in Syria - Al Jazeera English

 

To protect Shiites, Hezbollah imposes its own checkpoints in Lebanon - CSMonitor.com

 

What's wrong with this conflict map of Syria? - Threat Matrix

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Bahrain: Seven years for criticising dictator as Saudis intensify occupation

The latest martyr on the road to freedom and democracy is 50-years old Asmaa Hussain whose soul ascended to Heavens yesterday. In the early hours of Tuesday, 11th February members of Death Squads attacked several houses at Jid Al Hajj town, West of Manama, breaking doors, smashing furniture and terrorizing whole families. The victim was frozen to death when heavily-armed “security” thugs broke into her home while the family were asleep. She immediately collapsed. Attempts by her family to rush her to hospital failed because of the refusal of the attackers to allow them out. People were enraged as they were also attacked during her funeral few hours later. They remained defiant calling for regime’s downfall and calling on the world to take the killers to task and defend Bahraini native population from Alkhalifa policies of extermination.

Meanwhile the preparations for the third anniversary of the 14th February Revolution continued amid unprecedented crackdown on activists. Many young Bahrainis have been kidnapped and taken to the regime’s torture dungeons. The aim is to break the will of the people who are more enthusiastic than ever to pursue their peaceful activities until their demands are fulfilled. Three years of unprecedented repression and state terrorism have convinced most native Bahrainis that nothing short of regime change could salvage the country and the people. Yesterday two children, Ahmad Jaffar, 14, and Salman Abdullah, 15, from Abu Saiba’ town were condemned to imprisonment in torture dungeons. Many others were also detained to ensure that maximum Bahrainis are taken off the streets during the anniversary activities. On 10th February, Sayed Ahmad Salman Al Mousawi, a photographer from Duraz and his brother, Mohammad were arrested as part of the regime’s campaign to round up independent journalists and photographers. From Karranah, Hassan Ahmad was arrested by members of Death Squads operated by royal court. Sayed Ali Nazar was arrested on Monday from Qurayya Town.

The face of Mohammad Abd Ali, 13, reflects the horrific wounds sustained when he was hit by police with shotgun s. On Saturday 8th February, the boy opened the door of his house to go out when he was showered by police using lethal shotguns. These attacks happen daily in most parts of Bahrain as the regime continues to use shotguns as a weapon against peaceful protesters.

An Emirati company has decided to close down its operations in Bahrain after accumulating losses exceeding 7 million Bahraini Dinars (around $20 millions). The company had opened six branches for Waitrose in the towns of Saar, Barbar, Mahooz, Rafaa and Sitra. The Bahraini economy has been hit hard by the Revolution and all attempts by Alkhalifa crown prince to change the image of his family rule have failed. This year’s Formula 1 race, scheduled for April, has already been thrown into turmoil as Bahrainis intensify their efforts to stop the race. Last year, a Bahraini activist, Salah Abbas, was killed by regime’s Death Squads in their attempts to stop protests in the days leading to the race that is now commonly known as “blood race”. Two women are languishing at Alkhalifa torture dungeons for attempting to take the political case of Bahrainis inside the F1 race course.

Meanwhile Freedom House has issued a statement entitled: Bahrain Toughens Imprisonment, Fines for Anyone "Insulting" Monarch”. It said: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain should rescind a new law imposing prison sentences of up to seven years for anyone convicted of publicly insulting the king or national emblems, a measure that violates fundamental rights of freedom of speech, Freedom House said. It further added that the new law “went beyond existing law measures by providing for the prison sentence as well as fine of up to the equivalent of $26,500. It also applies to “whoever has insulted, in any kind of public manner, the king of Bahrain, or its national flag or its national emblem.” The measure clearly targets protesters whose calls for greater political freedom began in February 2011. The Bahraini government has increasingly used national security arguments and the threat of terrorism to enact legislation curbing basic freedoms, such as freedom of assembly and free expression online. Continuing human rights abuses have worsened tension between the Sunni-dominated government and the majority Shiite population, which is largely unrepresented in state institutions like the police and military, and has accounted for the bulk of protesters. Freedom House calls on Bahraini authorities to guarantee all citizens their rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
12th February 2014

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