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Decades in the Making: The U.S. Police State

By David Swanson

Andrew Kolin's new book "State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush" actually begins with the war for independence and continues into the Obama years. A 231-page monotone recounting of endless facts, it doesn't pick up with Bush the Lesser until page 137. Kolin chronicles a gradual slide into an imperial presidency that really got going after World War II. Along the way he chronicles the damage done to the forces of resistance, making a compelling case that our movements for peace and justice are weak in part because of the extreme repression of recent decades.

The Art of Demonization

By David Swanson

One of the oldest excuses for war is that the enemy is irredeemably evil. He worships the wrong god, has the wrong skin and language, commits atrocities, and cannot be reasoned with. The long-standing tradition of making war on foreigners and converting those not killed to the proper religion "for their own good" is similar to the current practice of killing hated foreigners for the stated reason that their governments ignore women's rights. From among the rights of women encompassed by such an approach, one is missing: the right to life, as women's groups in Afghanistan have tried to explain to those who use their plight to justify the war. The believed evil of our opponents allows us to avoid counting the non-American women or men or children killed. Western media reinforce our skewed perspective with endless images of women in burqas, but they never risk offending us with pictures of women and children killed by our troops and air strikes.

60 Minutes: Putting the BS in CBS

By David Swanson

The reason people in Tunisia, Egypt, and other parts of the world have been influenced to some extent by the work of Wikileaks is that they have read or heard about the material that Wikileaks has helped to make public. The CBS program "60 Minutes" has just published video of an interview with Wikileaks' Julian Assange -- with the video focused, of course, on Assange himself, with almost no substantive content related to the massive crimes and abuses that have made news around the globe.

The value of the "60 Minutes" video is not in its potential to inform anyone about Wikileaks. We can't, after all, judge the utility of informing Americans about their nation's illegal spying, bombing, war making, or coup facilitating until Americans are actually informed of it, which will require that we finally drop the BS "reporting" on Assange's childhood and haircuts.

Audio: Phonecall With Protester in Egypt Just Recorded

I just phoned Tighe Barry, a great US activist with Code Pink, who has been in Cairo, Egypt, all week. Here is the audio. Tighe describes a different situation from what we get through the US media.

Code Pink Wins the Future

By David Swanson

The future will be here in April and Code Pink: Women for Peace has already won it (thus answering President Obama's State of the Union call to "win the future"). The color coded threat warnings our government has been bombarding us with since shortly after September 11, 2001, will be gone. The fear-mongering tactic that Code Pink was named in mockery of will have been mocked right out of existence.

To listen to the corporate media, Code Pink cannot be taken seriously because decorum and politeness are universal values of a much higher order than peace or justice. (Code Pink has been known to disrupt a formal event or two, in addition to all its other work advocating for peace.) But that sort of snobbish mockery has nothing on Code Pink's power to afflict the comfortable in the process of comforting the afflicted. Code Pink has gone from being ignored, to being laughed at, to being attacked, to being agreed with on matters of war and peace by two-thirds of the country.

It is something else entirely that cannot be taken seriously -- and increasingly has not been taken seriously: the moronic and insulting color coded threat level warnings. Announcing that they will cease to exist is effectively to remind us that they once did. These meaningless warnings are announced incessantly but have faded into the background along with advertisements and campaign promises: nobody notices. (And of course it's hard to notice while you're being scared by the new techniques of pat-downs and porno-scans.) The Code Yellow and Code Orange propaganda aids to the terrorists are scheduled to be phased out over the next 90 days, but their involuntary phasing out began almost 9 years ago when what was at first a small group of Americans had the presence of mind to make fun of them rather than obediently calibrating fear levels as instructed.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to announce the demise of the already dead and rotting colored threats on Thursday in what she is calling the "first annual State of America's Homeland Security address." I sincerely hope that Code Pink holds a first annual state of the fatherland's insecurity dress contest or something of the sort. Because, the fear mongering is not going to end, and whatever the color codes are replaced with could be subtler but more effective; and therefore Code Pink cannot end either -- even if its name has served its purpose.

He Didn't Leave Government Service, It Left Him

By David Swanson

Whistleblowing takes many forms but almost always involves the disillusionment of an insider with the nature of what he or she is inside. Leaking secret documents exposing dramatic crimes and abuses is one way to blow a whistle. Another, equally valuable approach, is to publish a lengthy analysis of your experiences in government service. This is what Chas Freeman has done with his new book "America's Misadventures in the Middle East," which he will discuss in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Chas Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council. A campaign of lies orchestrated by AIPAC (The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) blocked Freeman's appointment. As Freeman recounts:

England, Canada, and Poland Today Pursuing Accountability for Roles in US War Crimes That US Shrugs Off

Canada is investigating its war crimes in the US-led war on Afghanistan.

Poland is investigating its role in lawless US imprisonment and torture.

And Tony Blair is being questioned yet again in London about why exactly he parroted George W. Bush's Iraq War lies.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is thanking Obama for protecting him by rubbing his face in the dirt and shouting "You see, we did nothing wrong! Say it! Say it!"

Wars Are Not Fought on Battlefields

Wednesday 19 January 2011
by: David Swanson, t r u t h o u t | Book Excerpt

We talk of sending soldiers off to fight on battlefields. The word 'battlefield' appears in millions, possibly billions, of news stories about our wars. And the term conveys to many of us a location in which soldiers fight other soldiers. We don't think of certain things being found in a battlefield. We don't imagine whole families, or picnics, or wedding parties, for example, as being found on a battlefield — or grocery stores or churches. We don't picture schools or playgrounds or grandparents in the middle of an active battlefield. We visualize something similar to Gettysburg or World War I France: a field with a battle on it. Maybe it's in the jungle or the mountains or the desert of some distant land we're "defending," but it's some sort of a field with a battle on it. What else could a battlefield be?

CONTINUED AT
http://www.truth-out.org/wars-are-not-fought-battlefields66959

People Who Have Pull

By David Swanson

On Monday, two U.S. marines grabbed me and began pulling me away from a crowd of protesters. For a split second I was certain I would be locked up and charged with some made-up offense, such as failure to obey an unlawful order, or disrupting the war. But that was only for a split second, because without any hesitation the people I was with grabbed me and pulled me back.

These were people who have pull.

Here's a video. http://warisacrime.org/node/56282

This happened at Quantico, Virginia, where we were protesting the cruel and unusual pre-trial isolated confinement of Bradley Manning, the young man who allegedly did his legal duty and made public through wikileaks the evidence of numerous felonies.

Canadians Committing War Crimes in Afghanistan

JTF2 command 'encouraged' war crimes, soldier alleges
By CBC News

A member of Canada's elite special forces unit says he felt his peers were being "encouraged" by the Canadian Forces chain of command to commit war crimes in Afghanistan, according to new documents obtained by CBC News.

READ THE REST.

Florida Is Next Stop on "War Is A Lie" Tour

David Swanson and Nicolas "Sandy" Davies in South Florida on Feb. 26, 2011

Click for flyer (PDF):

David Swanson will discuss and sign copies of "War Is A Lie".
Sandy Davies will discuss and sign copies of "Blood on Our Hands".

3-5 p.m. Saturday, February 26, 2011
Saint Andrews Estates South Auditorium
6045 Verde Trail South
Boca Raton, FL 33433

PLEASE RSVP to nparker0511 at gmail dot com
561-702-4174

Sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America

"While most media continue to ignore the US-installed disaster in Iraq, author Nicolas Davies refuses to do so, and his book 'Blood on our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq' could not be released at a better time. This sweeping work covers US policy in Iraq that spans decades, and is written as a call to action for the US to begin following international law—not just in Iraq, but everywhere. For it was the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq that, more than perhaps anything else, continues to defile what is left of the tattered reputation of the US." -Dahr Jamail

"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young

"Not since General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published." — Geoffrey Millard

“David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence. I learn something new on every page.” — Jeff Cohen

How Is Bradley Manning Really Being Treated?

By David Swanson

There are conflicting accounts of exactly how Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower on countless U.S. government crimes, has been illegally punished for 8 months so far, pre-trial. There's no denying that this young man who allegedly sought to make his government's actions known for the public good and did not seek to profit thereby has been denied a speedy trial. The question is to what extent he has already been punished, and even cruelly and unusually punished, without having been convicted of any crime. But the accounts differ less than it at first appears. And there is one sure way to find out the facts.

Why Pentagon Claims MLK Would Love War on Afghanistan

By David Swanson

According to the Pentagon's lawyer, Martin Luther King Jr., if alive today, would view the US war on Afghanistan as both the act of a Good Samaritan and as necessary self-defense.

Jeh C. Johnson, the "Defense" Department's general counsel, said, on the one hand:

"I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack."

On the other hand, he also said this:

What Eisenhower Got Wrong

By David Swanson

Fifty years ago this Monday, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address in which he famously warned of the dangers of influence on our government by the "military industrial complex." Our current Secretary of War, Robert Gates, has proposed to retire this year and has recommended that his successors stop increasing the military budget. But Eisenhower didn't just bring this up on his way out the door. It was seven years earlier that he had remarked:

Will Bush's Torture Memo Team Face Justice in Spain?

There may yet be justice for the victims of the post-9/11 US torture program. Just not in the United States.

Here, our previous president is enjoying terrific sales for a memoir where he boasts about having authorized waterboarding. The current administration's commitment to "moving past" the illegalities incurred on its predecessor's watch is so hardcore that the Department of Justice decided late last year against prosecuting anyone from the CIA for destroying ninety-two videotapes that showed the torture of prisoners detained as suspected terrorists. Which leaves Attorney General Eric Holder more time to subpoena Twitter records and figure out how to criminalize Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for promoting government transparency.

Read the Rest at THE NATION

Lee Wants Obama to Campaign Next Year on Ending War? And This Year?

I was sorry I missed this conference call doing an interview. I appreciate Congresswoman Lee doing anything to try to end the wars. But asking Obama to campaign next year on ending the War on Afghanistan? Sorry. He campaigned three years ago on ending the War on Iraq and hasn't ended it. Both of those wars should be ended now. That's strong majority opinion. Now if we only had a representative government.

Peace and Justice Groups Ask Military to End Inhumane Treatment of Bradley Manning

January 12, 2011

Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20318-9999

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army Chief of Staff
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400

Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-3000

Colonel Daniel J. Choike, Base Commander
Marine Corps Base Quantico
3250 Catlin Avenue
Quantico, VA 22134-5000

Dear Adm. Mullen, Gen. Casey, Gen. Amos, Col. Choike,

The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned about the inhumane treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning, who has not been convicted of any crime, and yet has been subjected to six months of solitary confinement with no known end date. It has been reported by his attorney and a visitor that Manning's mental health is suffering from this cruelty, which serves no known judicial purpose and could result in Manning being found unfit to stand trial.

Your conduct, as judged by the information available to the public, appears to be in clear violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty to which the United States is a party and which is therefore, under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. The treaty is also enforced by US Code Title 18, Part I, CHAPTER 113C.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice states that "No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence." The same UCMJ bans cruel and unusual punishments following convictions.

We urge you to come into immediate compliance with the law. As a U.S. citizen and as a member of the U.S. military, Bradley Manning has legal rights that are being grossly violated. If you have reclassified Manning as an enemy in some sort of war, the same is true. The US Code bans war crimes, defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party. The following are a few examples of the rights you are bound by the Supreme Law of the Land to respect for prisoners of war:

-Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated.
-The Power detaining prisoners of war shall be bound to provide free of charge for their maintenance and for the medical attention required by their state of health.
-Prisoners shall have opportunities for taking physical exercise, including sports and games, and for being out of doors. Sufficient open spaces shall be provided for this purpose in all camps.

This is not to suggest that Bradley Manning could rightly be considered some kind of Prisoner of War, but under international treaties which the U.S. has signed, EVEN POWs are guaranteed certain rights now being ignored in the case of Manning, a citizen of the United States. Manning is, in fact, being subjected to treatment almost certain to cause permanent psychological damage. Please see the enclosed letter from Psychologists for Social Responsibility to Robert Gates re. Bradley Manning on January 3, 2011. The following steps should, at a minimum, be taken immediately to mitigate the damage and increase the likelihood of Manning being capable of assisting in his own defense. He should be permitted:

-Lifting of the baseless POI (prevention of injury) status that allows guards to harass him with inquiries
-Extensive daily interaction with other accused but not convicted prisoners
-His meals in a common area with other accused but not convicted prisoners
-Nightly sleep undisturbed by light, noise, or interruption
-Sleep during daytime as desired
-Normal blankets
-Sight at all times of daylight or night's darkness
-Exercise in his cell anytime he wants
-At least three hours outside each day, and access to basic exercise and sports equipment
-Whatever reading material he wants

Please contact us to discuss this matter further at david at davidswanson dot org

Sincerely,

Backbone Campaign, Bill of Right Defense Committee, CodePink, Courage to Resist, DC Bill of Rights Coalition, DC National Lawyers Guild, Defending Dissent Foundation, Democrats.com, Friends of Human Rights, Jobs for Afghans, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, National Accountability Action Network, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Tackling Torture at the Top - subcommittee of Women Against Military Madness, United for Peace and Justice, Voters for Peace, WarIsALie.org, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Witness Against Torture, World Can’t Wait

Background.

See You in Baltimore on Monday!

Here's a poster/flyer: PDF

David Swanson to Discuss, Sign Copies of "War Is A Lie" in Baltimore, Md.
January 10, 2011
7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Johns Hopkins Bookstore
3330 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 662-5850

CONTACT info at chesapeakecitizens.org

Special guests:
Andy Worthington, author of "Guantanamo Files"
Debra Sweet, director of The World Can't Wait
Cindy Sheehan, the Peace Mom
and other surprises!

Cosponsors:
Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Chesapeake Citizens
Voters for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America/Maryland
Generations for Peace and Democracy
Indypendent Reader

"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young

"Not since General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published." — Geoffrey Millard

“David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence. I learn something new on every page.” — Jeff Cohen

http://warisalie.org

Audio: Marc Steiner and David Swanson on War Lies

The Marc Steiner Show


Synopsis: 

Interview with writer and political activist David Swanson

David Swanson joins us to discuss his new book War Is A Lie.  He is also the author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union and blogs at davidswanson.org and warisacrime.org.

David will be speaking at Barnes & Noble at 3330 St. Paul Street in Baltimore Monday January 10th at 7pm.  Click here for more details.

Wall Street Is Told Military Budget Will Go Up in FY 2012

Source:

Defence Stocks - U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has received approval from the White House for a small increase in the Pentagon's budget for 2012 compared with 2011. Although the administration is looking for a 2.67% cut in defence spending over five years, Gates plans to shift savings from reducing overhead and inefficiencies into current weapons systems and research in order to prevent deep cuts in those programs. (theflyonthewall.com)

What, you may ask, about that $100 Billion in cuts that Gates was talking up just yesterday?

Turns out those are for future years and future people:

Like Paul Bunyan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is going to do a lot of chopping as early as Thursday, when he's expected to detail $100 billion in new cuts to future Pentagon budgets. But some time after that, he's going to lay down his ax, leave his Pentagon E-ring office for the last time, and head west to his Washington state home overlooking Big Lake, some 50 miles north of Seattle. So just who's going to inherit his task of selling all that timber -- not to mention two wars -- to the White House, Congress and the American public?

UPDATE:

The President has more recently spoken of cutting the war budget. However:

cutting 25% or so out of budgeted war spending (which should be ENDED) doesn't mean anything until we know whether there will be more supplemental bills outside the budget;

cutting war spending while nonetheless increasing the much larger category of military spending isn't much good; and

the talk about cutting non-"war" military spending is intended to refer to future years rather than the coming year. It is nonetheless good rhetoric as far as it goes, which is not far at all.

State of the Union UPDATE:

Freeze Non-War Spending for Five Years?

"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years." Thus spoke the President last night. "Domestic" spending means non-war and non-military spending. Over half of our public spending goes to wars and the military. Even the President's own catfood (deficit) commission recommended cutting $100 billion. Why leave it out of the freeze? This may be why:

"And we've sent a message ... to all parts of the globe: We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you." That's going to be expensive, and President Obama promised lower taxes on corporations in the same speech. He's already signed off on tax cuts for billionaires. Spending cuts will have to come somewhere else.

It's time to resist: http://warisacrime.org/primary

"Already, we've frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I've proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without." But those little cuts out of the $1 trillion we spend on the military each year are planned for future years, not this one. The President is expected to propose a larger military budget for the third year in a row next month. And he has thus far consistently used off-the-books supplemental bills to add more funding to his wars.

If you oppose this agenda, add your name now to a growing movement to push back.

http://warisacrime.org/primary

And check out the videos and links to further action that we're adding at the bottom of the page.

Christians at War, by John F. Kendrick, 1916

Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite.
Splinter skulls with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Saviour's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.

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