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Why Release the Torture Report Now

A young man was tortured in Chicago this week. It wasn’t an act of the Chicago police. It was live streamed on Facebook. And the President of the United States declared it an horrific hate crime.

The President did not advise “looking forward” rather than enforcing the law. Nor did he hold open the possibility that the crime might have served some higher purpose. In fact, he didn’t excuse the crime in any way that might help recommend it for imitation by others.

Yet this same president has forbidden the prosecution of U.S. government torturers for the past 8 years and has now seen fit to keep a four-year-old Senate report on their torture secret for at least 12 years more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Weapons Dealers, Laws Are Decorative Holiday Ornaments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there’s this one:

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

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

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

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

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

The Hague Convention of 1899:

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

The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928:

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

The United Nations Charter:

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

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

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

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

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

Tell the ICC to prosecute all criminals equally.

Build pressure for divestment from weapons dealers.

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

Join a movement to replace war with wiser behaviors.

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

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

Those standards are gone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How is not impeaching Bush working out for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

See if you can predict what the Democrats will do.

Talk Nation Radio: Vincent Emanuele on Wars for Oil Companies; Robert Alvarez on Department of Energy for Nuclear Weapons

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-vincent-emanuele-on-wars-for-oil-robert-alvarez-on-dept-of-energy-for-nukes

Vincent Emanuele joined the United States Marine Corps as a squad automatic machine gunner in 2002. After two combat-deployments in Iraq, he refused orders for a third and immediately began organizing with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

In 2008, Vince testified to Congress at the Winter Soldier Hearings on Capitol Hill, where he provided detailed accounts of war crimes, atrocities, drug abuse and sexual assault within the military.

See https://www.facebook.com/vincentjr.emanuele

Emanuele is just back from Standing Rock and discusses environmental and antiwar strategy. This show contains the second half of a discussion begun last week.

Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Strategic International Studies. He is considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts on civilian and military nuclear programs.

Between 1993 and 1999, Mr. Alvarez served as Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Between 1988 and 1993, Mr. Alvarez served on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator John Glenn (D-OH).

His work has appeared in Ambio, Science and Global Security, Science, the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Issues in Science and Technology (the magazine of the National Academy of Sciences), the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Technology Review, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and other publications. Mr. Alvarez won the John Barlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism and has been featured on CBS
“60 minutes,” the PBS NOVA show, NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Times, and several documentary films.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

What Racist Registries Look Like

A new large photo book has just been published called Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

People who support creating a Muslim registry should take a look. Here are the victims before, in their small farms and their LA mansions. Here they are being forcibly removed. Here they are incarcerated. Here is what was done to their homes in their absence. Here they are in the camps, prisoners for nothing, and after their release.

To this day, no proof has ever been produced that any Japanese American planned to assist Japan in war against the United States in any way. Nor was there reason to think so at the time. Instead there was open admission of racist and greedy motivations on the part of government officials and white farmers respectively.

These photographs were the U.S. government's own documentation of its crime, and the hired photographers included Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others with the talent to capture stories in stills. The accompanying text by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams expands one's understanding.

In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a list of Japanese-Americans who would be the "first to be placed in a concentration camp" once a war could be started.

In 1939 FDR ordered the ONI and the FBI to create a larger "custodial detention index" of primarily Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, renamed and continued as the "security index" by J. Edgar Hoover after Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered it shut down.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required all non-citizen adults to register with the government. In early 1941 FDR commissioned a study of West coast Japanese-Americans, which concluded that they were no threat at all. He commissioned another study that reached the same conclusion.

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

The growing push to defeat Trump by any of the following means:

VIDEO: Militarizing Police and a Policelike Military

C-Span Video is here.

Speakers:

Jamani Montague

ProfPhoto (1).jpg

Jamani Montague is a student activist at Emory University, studying International Studies and Environmental Science. Her research interests include race theory, prison ecology, comparative politics and eco-colonialism. Jamani is the Prison Advocacy Coordinator for RootsAction.org, where she works closely with prisoners, the media, and legal activists to bring civil and environmental justice to those behind bars. She plans to pursue a PhD in Environmental Health Studies and eventually teach in universities and prisons.

 

David Swanson

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

 

Leah Muskin-Pierret

Leah is an activist working on challenging U.S. militarism in the Middle East. She focuses on ending U.S. complicity in Israeli apartheid to make way for Palestinian liberation. She hopes to chip away steadily at the military industrial complex until that day when activists have all the resources they need and the military needs to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Miriam Pemberton
Miriam Pemberton

Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She directs its Peace Economy Transitions Project which focuses on helping to build the foundations of a postwar economy at the federal, state and local levels. She co-chairs the Budget Priorities Working Group, the principal information-sharing collaboration of U.S. NGOs working on reducing Pentagon spending.

In addition to articles and opeds, her publications include two report series. “Military vs. Climate Security” compares federal spending on the two security domains, and argues for a shift of security resources toward mitigating climate change. “A Unified Security Budget for the United States” examined the balance of spending on military forces, homeland security and non-military foreign engagement and argues for a rebalanced security budget.

With William Hartung of the New America Foundation, she is co-editor of the book Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Publishers, 2008). Formerly she was editor, researcher and finally director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Talk Nation Radio: Craig Murray: Russia Didn't Do It; Vincent Emanuele on Stopping Pipelines and Wars

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-craig-murray-russia-didnt-do-it-vincent-emanuele-on-stopping-pipelines

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. See https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Murray explains that he has met the leaker of either the DNC or Podesta emails and that both sets of emails were leaked by one or more people at either the NSA or the Democratic Party, that Russia played no role at all.

Vincent Emanuele (pictured at right) joined the United States Marine Corps as a squad automatic machine gunner in 2002. After two combat-deployments in Iraq, he refused orders for a third and immediately began organizing with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. In 2008, Vince testified to Congress at the Winter Soldier Hearings on Capitol Hill, where he provided detailed accounts of war crimes, atrocities, drug abuse and sexual assault within the military. See https://www.facebook.com/vincentjr.emanuele

Emanuele is just back from Standing Rock and discusses environmental and antiwar strategy. This show contains half our discussion. The second half will appear next week.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Today, Pope Francis Issued the Catholic Church’s First Statement on Nonviolence—Ever

By Rev. John Dear

            Today, Pope Francis released the annual World Day of Peace Message for January 1, 2017, called “Nonviolence—A Style of Politics for Peace.” This is the Vatican’s fiftieth World Day of Peace message, but it’s the first statement on nonviolence, in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—in history.

            We need to make “active nonviolence our way of life,” Francis writes at the start, and suggests nonviolence become our new style of politics. “I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values,” Francis writes. “May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.  When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking.  In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.”

            In his historic statement, Pope Francis discusses the violence of the world, Jesus’ way of nonviolence, and the viable alternative of nonviolence for today. His message is a breath of fresh air for all of us, and offers a framework for all of us to envision our lives and our world.

Black and Foreign Lives Matter: Ending Gun Violence Requires Ending War

Happy Human Rights Day, and what ever happened to the right to life?

We need to stop imagining that when wars come home to the land of their creators that the suffering created is something separate from war. And we need to stop imagining that racist cruelty at home doesn't fuel the distant wars.

Imagine a country in which people condemn gun violence and police violence while actively pushing for a new cold war with Russia or urging the bombing of Syria or cheering a string of drone murders and tolerating the expansion of the U.S. military presence to darn near the whole globe. Or a peace movement that condemns foreign drone murders while failing to focus on the higher number of murders creating by U.S. police officers.

Weapons dealing is an integrated global enterprise that feeds on racist, bigoted, violent, and macho ideologies wherever it can find them. Trying to defeat it with separate anti-gun and anti-war movements not united in their work won't succeed. Most of the guns are sold abroad, many of them deployed against U.S. fighters in the wars. Many gun owners' fantasies are closely related to war.

When local police are given weapons by the U.S. military and training by the militaries of the United States and other nations, and when they employ veterans of the military, which employs veterans of the police and prison industries in turn, demanding that the warlike behavior that results on our streets and in our homes be restricted to foreign wars will not work, not practically and not morally. It makes as much sense as a protester asking that an oil pipeline be rerouted somewhere else. The damage to the earth will still be done, no matter the route. Donald Trump says he'll have less war but more military spending. That's like having more ice cream to lose weight.

Military Recruiting in the United States, and Planning its Decline and Fall

This text is the foreword to a new book by Pat Elder called Military Recruiting in the United States.

Most people in the United States are far from aware of the full extent of military marketing, advertising, and recruitment efforts. We run into movies and comic books and video games and toys and school worksheets and science fairs and television shows and websites all the time that have been funded by and created in collaboration with the U.S. military. But we don’t know it. Or we know it, but we have so internalized the idea that the most expensive and extensive military the earth has ever known is simply normal, that we don’t think of its role in our educational and entertainment systems as in any way questionable. We don’t even think of the military’s marketing as being aimed at recruitment, much less ask each other whether that’s a good thing or being done in a proper way, or whether we ourselves should be forking over some $600 million a year just for the military’s advertising budget.

Talk Nation Radio: Chip Gibbons on Anti-Russia Committee and Censoring Criticism of Israel

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-chip-gibbons-on-anti-russia-committee-and-censoring-criticism-of-israel

Chip Gibbons is the Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He is also a writer whose work has been featured in Jacobin, Truthout, and Counterpunch. We discuss U.S. Congressional efforts to censor criticism of the Israeli government, and to create a new McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee.

The petition we mention is here.

The account of a sleeping Congress Member we mention is here.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in "Intelligence" Act

I don't know why we didn't pick playing with live electrical wires and call that "intelligence" instead of the stuff we do. I think I'll stick with calling what the U.S. government does "counter-intelligence." So, here's the latest from the counter-intelligence community.

Section 501 of the Counter Intelligence Act creates a "Committee to Counter Active Measures by the Russian Federation to Exert Covert Influence Over Peoples and Governments."

This is followed by Section 502 which limits Russian and only Russian diplomats in the United States to traveling no more than 25 miles from their offices.

I suspect there may have been a Section 503 in an earlier draft that required CNN to show a photo of Vladimir Putin without his shirt and make fun of him at least once every 4 hours. If so, that section would have been stripped out as unnecessary.

The establishment wants more and more hostility with Russia. Trump wants to ever so slightly tweak the establishment and focus more hostility on China. That shift is obviously not one toward enlightenment. But when there is a chance for better relations between the U.S. and Russian governments, Congress should not be allowed to inject its counter-intelligence.

Of course countering active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments sounds like a good thing. But it's not a good thing if those active measures do not exist. This is like putting weapons in space to "counter" others doing it, when nobody else is. It's offense under the banner of defense. And offense will be taken.

It's also not a good thing if the active measures (real or imagined) are not countered in the wisest manner. One way to counter assassinations, for example, would be to expose them, prosecute them as crimes, and seek reconciliation. Another would be to empower a special committee to engage in "counter-assassinations."

Contrary to good liberal faith, there is zero public evidence that Russia has been engaging in these activities listed in the Counter Intelligence Act:

(A) Establishment or funding of a front group.
(B) Covert broadcasting.
(C) Media manipulation.
(D) Disinformation and forgeries.
(E) Funding agents of influence.
(F) Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
(G) Assassinations.
(H) Terrorist acts.

Are there Russian front groups in the United States? Name one. Prove it. Is there covert broadcasting underway? Is that where you broadcast to nobody? Presumably it is where you create television and radio content purporting not to be Russian but actually serving the Russian government. Where is that? May we see a 30 second clip of it, please? Has the media been manipulated? [Apart from this failed effort?] By disinformation and forgeries? Expose one, for godsake, this is an emergency! Don't let those forgeries go on deceiving us a moment longer! "Funding agents of influence" sounds more like overt broadcasting. Russia does do that using Russian television and radio networks (something the United States would never ever engage in!) -- but how will this committee counter those? "Incitement" to what? "Offensive counterintelligence"? Offensive to whom? "Assassinations"? Of whom? Has someone been assassinated? "Terrorist acts"? Wouldn't we, almost by definition, have heard of these?

Now I realize that most people don't give a rat's ass about stirring up hostility with the other major nuclear nation. So, here's another problem with this bill that people may want to object to, as they should. This committee is empowered to do anything the president tells it to, and it sends occasional reports to Congress, not the public. Most, if not all, of the people it counter-intelligently counters will not have anything to do with the Russian government.

The Washington Post has already published a ludicrous but dangerous list of supposed Russian front group media outlets. If this committee does the same, and especially if it does so in secret, what recourse will the falsely accused have? This committee, selected by presidential appointees, will not be publicly accountable.

If the New-McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee secretly labels you a Russian agent and accuses you of media manipulation, will it then manipulate the media to destroy your reputation? If it accuses you of "disinformation and forgeries" will it "counter" that with disinformation about you and forgeries incriminating you? Will it confiscate your funding as being that of an "agent of influence"? What will it do if it accuses you of assassinations? And will all the Russian agents of influence turn out to be Democrats during Republican presidencies, and vice versa?

Presumably the CIA hasn't challenged Congress to a duel over this new committee horning in on its territory because it's not technically supposed to spread its counter-intelligence domestically. Same with USAID and the rest. And the FBI is not supposed to be at war with foreign nations. But the lines between the military policing of the globe and the police militarization at home are ever blurring. And that's part of what's wrong with this bill. All's fair in war, meaning there is no requirement of fairness. Don't expect any. Resist instead.

Give Wes Bellamy a Break

Charlottesville City Council Member Wes Bellamy is being widely denounced for tweets he tweeted years ago. I think he should be given a break.

I don't know Bellamy well and have not communicated with him about this. I don't support everything he's done even in recent years. I have almost nothing but contempt for the Democratic Party. I don't believe Bellamy deserves more of a break than would anyone else from some other demographic. I don't sympathize in the least with the disgusting things he tweeted.

And yet I find this criticism of him outrageous. And I find it consistent with some disturbing trends that extend well beyond Charlottesville.

Bellamy speaking at a rally on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

1. Privilege

The problem of unfair privilege here is not one of race or class or gender but of age and position. If you grew up before every Spring Break lunacy and adolescent pretense was enshrined forever on the internet (outside of wise European efforts to provide a Right to Be Forgotten), you must be very careful in criticizing those who have grown up since that underappreciated age. If you have not stuck your neck out into the fire of partisan politics, you must give careful consideration to what most-ugly and most-deeply-forgotten thing you would be at risk of becoming known for if you did.

6 weeks Left for President Obama to Approve Clemency for U.S. Army Whistleblower Chelsea Manning

By Colonel (Retired) Ann Wright

At a vigil on November 20, 2016 outside the gates of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, speakers underscored the need for pressure in the next six weeks on President Obama, before he leaves office on January 19, 2017 to approve clemency for U.S. Army whistleblower Private First Class Chelsea Manning.  Manning’s lawyers filed a Petition for Clemency on November 10, 2016.

Chelsea Manning has been in prison for six and one-half years, three in pre-trial confinement and three since her 2013 conviction by court-martial of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to Wikileaks in what has been described as the largest leak of classified material in U.S. history. Manning was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges against her, including violations of the US Espionage Act.

Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison.

The speakers at the vigil in front of Fort Leavenworth included Chase Strangio, attorney and friend of Chelsea's; Christine Gibbs, founder of the Transgender Institute in Kansas City; Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, a former US Army doctor who refused to go to Gulf War I and who was court-martialed and sentenced to 30 months in prison, of which she spent 8 months in Leavenworth; Brian Terrell who spent six months in federal prison for challenging the US assassin drone program at Whiteman Air Force Base;
Peaceworks Kansas City peace activist and attorney Henry Stoever; and  Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel (29 years in Army and Army Reserve) and former US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to Bush's war on Iraq.


lev3

The vigil was called after Chelsea’s second suicide attempt inside the Leavenworth military prison.  During the six and one-half years she has been imprisoned, Manning spent nearly a year in solitary confinement. A United Nations investigation into her isolation at Quantico Marine base, which involved being forced to strip naked every night, described her situation as "cruel, inhuman, and degrading."

In 2015, Manning was threatened with solitary confinement again after she was charged for violations including storing a tube of expired toothpaste in her cell and having a copy of Vanity Fair. More than 100,000 people signed a petition against those charges. Manning was found guilty but was not put in solitary; instead, she faced three weeks of restricted access to the gym, the library, and the outdoors.

75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies

Pearl Harbor Day today is like Columbus Day 50 years ago. That is to say: most people still believe the hype. The myths are still maintained in their blissful unquestioned state. "New Pearl Harbors" are longed for by war makers, claimed, and exploited. Yet the original Pearl Harbor remains the most popular U.S. argument for all things military, including the long-delayed remilitarization of Japan -- not to mention the WWII internment of Japanese Americans as a model for targeting other groups today. Believers in Pearl Harbor imagine for their mythical event, in contrast to today, a greater U.S. innocence, a purer victimhood, a higher contrast of good and evil, and a total necessity of defensive war making.

The facts do not support the mythology. The United States government did not need to make Japan a junior partner in imperialism, did not need to fuel an arms race, did not need to support Nazism and fascism (as some of the biggest U.S. corporations did right through the war), did not need to provoke Japan, did not need to join the war in Asia or Europe, and was not surprised by the attack on Pearl Harbor. For support of each of these statements, keep reading.

This week I'm testifying at an Iraq Tribunal about the Downing Street Minutes. In U.S. thinking the 2003-2008 period of the decades-long war on Iraq is somehow worse than World War II. But when it comes to lies, bad decisions, and levels of death and destruction, there is just no comparison: World War II stands unchallenged as the worst thing humanity in general and the U.S. government in particular (as well as numerous other governments) have ever done. There's even a parallel to the Downing Street Minutes.

On August 18, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: "The President had said he would wage war but not declare it." In addition, "Everything was to be done to force an incident."

Indeed, everything was done to force an incident, and the incident was Pearl Harbor.

Talk Nation Radio: George Lakey on Viking Economics

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-george-lakey-on-viking-economics

George Lakey recently retired from Swarthmore College where he was Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change and managed the Global Nonviolent Action Database research project. His first arrest was for a civil rights sit-in. He has served as an unarmed bodyguard for human rights defenders in Sri Lanka. Lakey has led over 1500 social change workshops on five continents, and founded and for fifteen years directed Training for Change. In 2010 he was named “Peace Educator of the Year” and published his authoritative text on adult education, Facilitating Group Learning. We discuss his ninth book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got it Right -- and How We Can Too.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Our Chance to Hold War Makers Accountable

As the International Criminal Court loses any remaining credibility as a truly international and neutral body, it has finally claimed to be considering investigating certain war crimes of the world's greatest wager of war.

If the ICC hears from people all over the world, including from the United States, that we want U.S. war makers held accountable the same as any others, the ICC just might save itself and the idea of international justice along with it.


To: Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court

We encourage you to also prosecute war crimes by non-Africans including by U.S. war criminals. SIGN HERE.

Why is this important?

The ICC is degrading rather than enhancing the idea of international justice by giving a free pass to Western war makers. The United States has itself given a free pass to its war makers, kidnappers, torturers, and assassins. The U.S. president-elect and his advisors openly plan to violate laws against war, torture, and the targeting of civilians. The people of the United States and the world need the ICC to fulfill its mission and step in where domestic justice has failed.

Background:
> Preliminary ICC report on consideration of investigating U.S. crimes in Afghanistan and at secret sites in other countries.
> New York Times report.
> Congressman Ted Lieu on U.S. and Saudi war crimes in Yemen.
> John LaForge article.

ADD YOUR NAME.

*****


Watch the Iraq Tribunal Live Stream This Thursday

World Beyond War director David Swanson and many of our friends and allies will be testifying. Learn more about it now, and watch it live on both December 1st and December 2nd from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET (GMT-5) at
http://IraqTribunal.org

*****

On Giving Tuesday support the world-wide campaign to abolish all war! World Beyond War is now interviewing some outstanding candidates for the job of fulltime organizer. And we're about to launch a global campaign to divest public money from weapons dealers. We can only do this work with your generous support, needed now more than ever!

DONATE HERE.


*****

Millennials Organize Gun Violence Prevention Intersectionality Summit

Millennials Organize Gun Violence Prevention Intersectionality Summit to Bring People Together Post-Election to Combat Divisiveness and Hate for a Day of Education, Organizing, Solidarity, and Art

Strength in Synergy Summit to be help December 10th at American University, DC

WASHINGTON, DC – On Saturday, December 10 from 9:30am - 7:30pm, a gun violence prevention summit organized by millennials will hold workshops, panel discussions, breakout grassroots organizing sessions, and conclude with a concert featuring local DC artists such as: Shepard Kings, Terry Gibson, and WERK for Peace. Workshops will be led by April Goggans (Black Lives Matter), Rachel Graber (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), Miriam Pembleton (Institute for Policy Studies), and other significant members of gun violence prevention actions. To find more information about workshops and presenters click here.

Leading a workshops on intersections between domestic and foreign violence and racism will be David Swanson (World Beyond War and RootsAction.org), Jamani Montague (RootsAction.org), and Leah Muskin-Pierret.

Sign up: http://strengthinsynergy.com

“My host sister was murdered in Portland in 2008 by a man who bought a gun from a gun show with no background check; she was one of the many victims that would be alive today if we had a comprehensive, inclusive response to gun violence. Preventing the type of horror that affected my family is one of the most important issues to me. I recognize that gun violence is a deeply intersectional issue with the many oppressions that people face. With Trump’s violent and hateful rhetoric being quickly normalized, now is the time to bring our communities together.”
- Martha Durkee-Neuman, 20, CODEPINK.

Co-sponsoring/co-organizing organizations include: the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Black Lives Matter DC, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, CODEPINK, WERK For Peace, Gays Against Guns, the Coalition of Concerned Mothers, the Timothy Dawkins El Project, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the DC Anti-Violence Project, and MomsRising.

Visit http://strengthinsynergy.com for more information,

or on Facebook: https://facebook.com/events/157950498008430


Speaking Events

March 27-April 6 Events Everywhere

 

April 4: Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next: An event to mark 100 years since the United States entered World War I, and 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech against war. A new movement to end all war is growing. 6-8 p.m. at 5th and K Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C.
 

 

April 7-9: Huntsville, Alabama: 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

 

April 22: David Swanson speaking in Burlington, Vermont

 

June 16-18: David Swanson and many others speaking at United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) annual conference in Richmond, Va.



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.



Find more events here.

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