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Talk Nation Radio: Paul Findley, 93, Key Author of the War Powers Resolution on How It Might Be Complied With

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-paul-findley-93-key-author-of-the-war-powers-resolution

Paul Findley served as a Republican member of United States House of Representatives from Illinois for 22 years. He was a key author of the War Powers Resolution and a leader in securing its enactment by overriding the veto of President Richard Nixon. The federal building in Springfield, Ill. is named for him. He discusses the legality, or lack thereof, of recent wars and proposals for wars, including in Syria and Iraq.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Bowe Bergdahl and the Voice of War

By Kathy Kelly

During my recent visit to Gangjeong, on Jeju Island, South Korea, where a protest community has struggled for years to block construction of a U.S. military base, conversations over delicious meals in the community kitchen were a delightful daily event.  At lunchtime on my first day there I met Emily and Dongwon, a young and recently married couple, both protesters, who had met each other in Gangjeong. Emily recalled that when her parents finally travelled from Taiwan to meet her partner, they had to visit him in prison. 

Dongwon, who is from a rural area of South Korea, had visited Gangjeong and gotten to know the small protest community living on the Gureombi Rock.  Drawn by their tenacity and commitment, he had decided to join them.  When a barge crane was dredgingthe sea in front of Gureombi Rock, Dongwon had climbed up to its tip and declined to come down. On February 18, 2013, a judge had sentenced him to one year in prison for the nonviolent action. 

Emily laughs happily as she recalls how muscular she became while she was learning to become a sailor.  She had wanted to be able to transport herself and others to and around the islands that in this region tend disproportionately to be affected by militarization, such as Taiwan, Okinawa, and Jeju Island.  Boats have factored significantly into civil disobedience against the construction of Jeju’s naval base.   Emily had recently returned from an international meeting with Okinawan islanders.  Participants were eager to develop  flotilla actions, defending peace  in Asian seas, where the U.S. military, as part of its “Asia Pivot,” plans to create a ring of militarized islands in order to contain (even at the cost of provoking) emerging superpower rival China and other nations of concern.   

Meanwhile, Dongwon was arranging a conference at Jeju University to explore conscientious objection to war.  He and his friend Mark do not want to be conscripted into military service, but failure to comply with the Republic of Korea’s mandatory service could result in extremely severe punishments.  Worldwide fully 90 per cent of those presently incarcerated for conscientious objection to military service are to be found in South Korean prisons.   

It’s a privilege and a challenge to confer with new, young friends in places like Jeju Island and Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Today, as I write these thoughts, Bowe Bergdahl is adjusting to life in the United States.   While serving with the U.S. military in Afghanistan he experienced a crisis of conscience.  His experiences in Afghanistan suggested that his platoon was as ready to massacre the local population as to serve it.  His youth had been filled with an aspiration to courageous and fierce independence in the pursuit of integrity, and in response to a letter home his father had instructed: “follow your conscience.”  Unarmed, he had walked away from his base with the apparent intention to continue walking in the mountains.  Picked up by a militant group, he was held as a prisoner of war for half a decade before his release in exchange for five of the 149 prisoners of war held by the U.S. government at its Guantanamo base.  While some of these prisoners are military fighters, others are acknowledged civilians suffering their second decade of detention without trial or promise of eventual release.

This exchange, and seemingly the very prospect of Bowe Bergdahl’s release under any conditions, enraged some U.S. critics who blamed Bergdahl for daring to place the dictates of conscience before those of the United States Government.

Some also blamed Bergdahl for casualties among the troops which the U.S. had sent into battle.  These soldiers were required to defend the prestige of a U.S. government that takes prisoners of war by the hundreds, shackling them for decades with no prospect of release, even when it’s proven that they are civilians who never took up arms, who were uninvolved in any militia, and who were caught “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Meanwhile, speaking of the five prisoners of war exchanged for Bergdahl (as one of a series of halting but desperately needed steps towards a peace treaty and withdrawal from Afghanistan) Senator John McCain, himself a former prisoner of war, raged, “"They're the five biggest murderers in world history! … They killed Americans!" (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607)

Bergdahl listened to conscience; listened to the best he knew of the United States; and, heedless of the danger to himself, walked away from war.  His military superiors knew that he was troubled, that his platoon was barely functional, and that he needed to find a way out, but they weren’t listening to the voice of compassion.  They were listening to the voice of war.  

War – this war and the many others like it – has changed us.  It demands that a young man brutalized in captivity, that over a hundred of his counterparts brutalized daily in Guantanamo, never meet with any compassion from us ever again.   And from Iraq to Syria, Afghanistan to the Ukraine, U.S. war makers will demand newer wars of us, more rage, and more fear cloaked in expressions of our exceptional humanitarian concern for others. We are absolutely forbidden ever to walk away from war.  

That is the voice of war.  South Korea’s own ongoing war is screaming at it to destroy young conscientious objectors with punitive jail sentences.  Dissenting island communities face ever-increasing militarization in service of future U.S. superpower clashes.   Worldwide the rage screaming in our ears wherever our power is blocked and our instructions defied drives us further and further into destructive madness in the clutches of which we should be pitied almost as much as feared.  But we each do have a choice: We can choose not to listen to war, and act on this choice.  For me, it was a saving grace to be able to listen to young people exchanging stories of hope, humor, dedication, and courage over lunches in the Gangjeong community kitchen.


Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (vcnv.org

This article will appear on its source site, the new Telesur English, in the third week of July, when that new site goes online.

Celebrating Independence from America in England

By David Swanson
Remarks at Independence from America event outside Menwith Hill "RFA" (NSA) base in Yorkshire.

First of all, thank you to Lindis Percy and everyone else involved in bringing me here, and letting me bring my son Wesley along.

And thank you to the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases. I know you share my view that accountability of American bases would lead to elimination of American bases.

And thank you to Lindis for sending me her accounts of refusing to be arrested unless the police disarmed themselves.  In the United States, refusing any sort of direction from a police officer will get you charged with the crime of refusing a lawful order, even when the order is unlawful. In fact, that's often the only charge levied against people ordered to cease protests and demonstrations that in theory are completely legal.  And, of course, telling a U.S. police officer to disarm could quite easily get you locked up for insanity if it didn't get you shot.

Can I just say how wonderful it is to be outside of the United States on the Fourth of July?  There are many wonderful and beautiful things in the United States, including my family and friends, including thousands of truly dedicated peace activists, including people bravely going to prison to protest the murders by drone of others they've never met in distant lands whose loved ones will probably never hear about the sacrifices protesters are making.  (Did you know the commander of a military base in New York State has court orders of protection to keep specific nonviolent peace activists away from his base to ensure his physical safety -- or is it his peace of mind?)  And, of course, millions of Americans who tolerate or celebrate wars or climate destruction are wonderful and even heroic in their families and neighborhoods and towns -- and that's valuable too.

I've been cheering during U.S. World Cup games.  But I cheer for neighborhood, city, and regional teams too.  And I don't talk about the teams as if I'm them.  I don't say "We scored!" as I sit in a chair opening a beer.  And I don't say "We won!" when the U.S. military destroys a nation, kills huge numbers of people, poisons the earth, water, and air, creates new enemies, wastes trillions of dollars, and passes its old weapons to the local police who restrict our rights in the name of wars fought in the name of freedom.  I don't say "We lost!" either. We who resist have a responsibility to resist harder, but not to identify with the killers, and certainly not to imagine that the men, women, children, and infants being murdered by the hundreds of thousands constitute an opposing team wearing a different uniform, a team whose defeat by hellfire missile I should cheer for. 

Identifying with my street or my town or my continent doesn't lead the same places that identifying with the military-plus-some-minor-side-services that calls itself my national government leads.  And it's very hard to identify with my street; I have such little control over what my neighbors do.  And I can't manage to identify with my state because I've never even seen most of it.  So, once I start identifying abstractly with people I don't know, I see no sensible argument for stopping anywhere short of identifying with everybody, rather than leaving out 95% and identifying with the United States, or leaving out 90% and identifying with the so-called "International Community" that cooperates with U.S. wars.  Why not just identify with all humans everywhere? On those rare occasions when we learn the personal stories of distant or disparaged people, we're supposed to remark, "Wow, that really humanizes them!" Well, I'd like to know, what were they before those details made them humanized?  

In the U.S. there are U.S. flags everywhere all the time now, and there's a military holiday for every day of the year.  But the Fourth of July is the highest holiday of holy nationalism.  More than any other day, you're likely to see children being taught to pledge allegiance to a flag, regurgitating a psalm to obedience like little fascist robots.  You're more likely to hear the U.S. national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.  Who knows which war the words of that song come from? 

That's right, the War of Canadian Liberation, in which the United States tried to liberate Canadians (not for the first or last time) who welcomed them much as the Iraqis would later do, and the British burned Washington.  Also known as the War of 1812, the bicentennial was celebrated in the U.S. two years ago.  During that war, which killed thousands of Americans and Brits, mostly through disease, during one pointless bloody battle among others, plenty of people died, but a flag survived.  And so we celebrate the survival of that flag by singing about the land of the free that imprisons more people than anywhere else on earth and the home of the brave that strip-searches airplane passengers and launches wars if three Muslims shout "boo!"

Did you know the U.S. flag was recalled? You know how a car will be recalled by the manufacturer if the brakes don't work? A satirical paper called the Onion reported that the U.S. flag had been recalled after resulting in 143 million deaths.  Better late than never.

There are many wonderful and rapidly improving elements in U.S. culture.  It has become widely and increasingly unacceptable to be bigoted or prejudiced against people, at least nearby people, because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, and other factors.  It still goes on, of course, but it's frowned upon.  I had a conversation last year with a man sitting in the shadow of a carving of confederate generals on a spot that used to be sacred to the Ku Klux Klan, and I realized that he would never, even if he thought it, say something racist about blacks in the United States to a stranger he'd just met.  And then he told me he'd like to see the entire Middle East wiped out with nuclear bombs. 

We've had comedians' and columnists' careers ended over racist or sexist remarks, but weapons CEOs joke on the radio about wanting big new occupations of certain countries, and nobody blinks.  We have antiwar groups that push for celebration of the military on  Memorial Day and other days like this one.  We have so-called progressive politicians who describe the military as a jobs program, even though it actually produces fewer jobs per dollar than education or energy or infrastructure or never taxing those dollars at all.  We have peace groups that argue against wars on the grounds that the military needs to be kept ready for other, possibly more important wars.  We have peace groups that oppose military waste, when the alternative of military efficiency is not what's needed.  We have libertarians who oppose wars because they cost money, exactly as they oppose schools or parks.  We have humanitarian warriors who argue for wars because of their compassion for the people they want bombed.  We have peace groups that side with the libertarians and urge selfishness, arguing for schools at home instead of bombs for Syrians, without explaining that we could give actual aid to Syrians and ourselves for a fraction of the cost of the bombs. 

We have liberal lawyers who say they can't tell whether blowing children up with drones is legal or not, because President Obama has a secret memo (now only partially secret) in which he legalizes it by making it part of a war, and they haven't seen the memo, and as a matter of principle they, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, ignore the U.N. Charter, the Kellogg Briand Pact, and the illegality of war.  We have people arguing that bombing Iraq is now a good thing because it finally gets the U.S. and Iran talking to each other.  We have steadfast refusals to mention a half-million to a million-and-a-half Iraqis based on the belief that Americans can only possibly care about 4,000 Americans killed in Iraq.  We have earnest crusades to turn the U.S. military into a force for good, and the inevitable demand of those who begin to turn against war, that the United States must lead the way to peace -- when of course the world would be thrilled if it just brought up the rear.

And yet, we also have tremendous progress.  A hundred years ago Americans were listening to snappy tunes about how hunting Huns was a fun game to play, and professors were teaching that war builds national character.  Now war has to be sold as necessary and humanitarian because nobody believes it's fun or good for you anymore.  Polls in the United States put support for possible new wars below 20 percent and sometimes below 10 percent.  After the House of Commons over here said No to missile strikes on Syria, Congress listened to an enormous public uproar in the U.S. and said No as well.  In February, public pressure led to Congress backing off a new sanctions bill on Iran that became widely understood as a step toward war rather than away from it.  A new war on Iraq is having to be sold and developed slowly in the face of huge public resistance that has even resulted in some prominent advocates of war in 2003 recently recanting. 

This shift in attitude toward wars is largely the result of the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq and the exposure of the lies and horrors involved.  We shouldn't underestimate this trend or imagine that it's unique to the question of Syria or Ukraine.  People are turning against war.  For some it may be all about the money.  For others it may be a question of which political party owns the White House.  The Washington Post has a poll showing that almost nobody in the U.S. can find Ukraine on a map, and those who place it furthest from where it really lies are most likely to want a U.S. war there, including those who place it in the United States.  One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.  Yet the larger trend is this: from geniuses right down to morons, we are, most of us, turning against war.  The Americans who want Ukraine attacked are fewer than those believing in ghosts, U.F.O.s, or the benefits of climate change.

Now, the question is whether we can shake off the idea that after hundreds of bad wars there just might be a good one around the corner.  To do that we have to recognize that wars and militaries make us less safe, not safer.  We have to understand that Iraqis aren't ungrateful because they're stupid but because the U.S. and allies destroyed their home. 

We can pile even more weight on the argument for ending the institution of war.  These U.S. spy bases are used for targeting missiles but also for spying on governments and companies and activists.  And what justifies the secrecy?  What allows treating everyone as an enemy?  Well, one necessary component is the concept of an enemy.  Without wars nations lose enemies.  Without enemies, nations lose excuses to abuse people.  Britain was the first enemy manufactured by the would-be rulers of the United States on July 4, 1776.  And yet King George's abuses don't measure up to the abuses our governments now engage in, justified by their traditions of war making and enabled by the sort of technologies housed here.

War is our worst destroyer of the natural environment, the worst generator of human rights abuses, a leading cause of death and creator of refugee crises.  It swallows some $2 trillion a year globally, while tens of billions could alleviate incredible suffering, and hundreds of billions could pay for a massive shift to renewable energies that might help protect us from an actual danger. 

What we need now is a movement of education and lobbying and nonviolent resistance that doesn't try to civilize war but to take steps in the direction of abolishing it -- which begins by realizing that we can abolish it.  If we can stop missiles into Syria, there's no magical force that prevents our stopping missiles into every other country.  War is not a primal urge of nations that must burst out a little later if once suppressed.  Nations aren't real like that.  War is a decision made by people, and one that we can make utterly unacceptable.

People in dozens of countries are now working on a campaign for the elimination of all war called World Beyond War.  Please check out WorldBeyondWar.org or talk to me about getting involved.  Our goal is to bring many more people and organizations into a movement not aimed at a specific war proposal from a specific government, but at the entire institution of war everywhere.  We'll have to work globally to do this.  We'll have to throw our support behind the work being done by groups like the Campaign for Accountability of American Bases and the Movement for the Abolition of War and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Veterans For Peace and so many more.

Some friends of ours in Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers, have proposed that everyone living under the same blue sky who wants to move the world beyond war wear a sky blue scarf.  You can make your own or find them at TheBlueScarf.org.  I hope by wearing this to communicate my sense of connection to those back in the United States working for actual freedom and bravery, and my same sense of connection to those in the rest of the world who have had enough of war. Happy Fourth of July!

Pay No Attention to the Apocalypse Behind the Curtain

By David Swanson, Remarks in London, England, July 2, 2014.

Thank you to Bruce Kent and the Movement for the Abolition of War and to Veterans For Peace and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Thank you to the Stop the War Coalition and everyone else for helping spread the word.

In 8 days, on July 10th Mary Ann Grady-Flores, a grandmother from Ithaca, NY, is scheduled to be sentenced to up to one year in prison.  Her crime is violating an order of protection, which is a legal tool to protect a particular person from the violence of another particular person.  In this case, the commander of Hancock Air Base has been legally protected from dedicated nonviolent protesters, despite the protection of commanding his own military base, and despite the protesters having no idea who the guy is.  That's how badly the people in charge of the flying killer robots we call drones want to avoid any questioning of their activity entering the minds of the drone pilots.

Last Thursday a place in the U.S. called the Stimson Center released a report on the new U.S. habit of murdering people with missiles from drones.  The Stimson Center is named for Henry Stimson, the U.S. Secretary of War who, prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor wrote in his diary, following a meeting with President Roosevelt: "The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition." (Four months earlier, Churchill had told his cabinet at 10 Downing Street that U.S. policy toward Japan consisted of this: "Everything was to be done to force an incident.")  This was the same Henry Stimson who later forbid dropping the first nuclear bomb on Kyoto, because he'd once been to Kyoto. He'd never visited Hiroshima, much to the misfortune of the people of Hiroshima.

I know there's a big celebration of World War I going on over here (as well as big resistance to it), but in the United States there's been an ongoing celebration of World War II for 70 years. In fact, one might even suggest that World War II has continued in a certain way and on a lesser scale for 70 years (and on a greater scale in particular times and places like Korea and Vietnam and Iraq).  The United States has never returned to pre-World War II levels of taxes or military spending, never left Japan or Germany, has engaged in some 200 military actions abroad during the so-called post-war era, has never stopped expanding its military presence abroad, and now has troops permanently stationed in almost every country on earth.  Two exceptions, Iran and Syria, are regularly threatened.

So it is altogether appropriate, I think, that it was the Stimson Center that released this report, by former military officials and military-friendly lawyers, a report that included this rather significant statement: "The increasing use of lethal UAVs may create a slippery slope leading to continual or wider wars." 

At least that sounds significant to me. Continual wars? That's a pretty bad thing, right?

Also last week, the U.S. government made public a memo in which it claims the right to legally murder a U.S. citizen (never mind anybody else) as part of a war that has no limit in time or space.  Call me crazy, but this seems serious.  What if this war goes on long enough to generate significant enemies? 

Last year the United Nations released a report that stated that drones were making war the norm rather than the exception.  Wow.  That could be a problem for a species of creatures who prefer not being bombed, don't you think?  The United Nations, created to rid the world of war, mentions in passing that war is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Surely the response to such a grave development should be equally significant. 

We've grown habituated, I think, to reading reports that say things like "If we don't leave 80% of known fossil fuels in the ground we're all going to die, and lots of other species with us," and then experts recommend that we use more efficient light bulbs and grow our own tomatoes.  I mean we've become used to the response not remotely fitting the crisis at hand.

Such is the case with the UN, the Stimson Center, and a good crowd of humanitarian law experts, as far as I can tell.

The Stimson Center says of murders by drone, they should be "neither glorified not demonized."  Nor, apparently, should they be stopped.  Instead, the Stimson Center recommends reviews and transparency and robust studies.  I'm willing to bet that if you or I threatened massive continual or widening death and destruction we'd be demonized.  I'm willing to bet the idea of our being glorified wouldn't even come up for consideration.

The United Nations, too, thinks transparency is the answer.  Just let us know whom you're murdering and why. We'll get you the forms to do a monthly report.  As other nations get in on this game we'll compile their reports and create some real international transparency. 

That's some people's idea of progress.

Drones are, of course, not the only way or -- thus far -- the most deadly way the U.S. and its allies wage wars.  But there is this minimal pretense of ethical discussion about drones because drone murders look like murders to a lot of people.  The U.S. president goes through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays, picks whom to murder, and has them and anyone standing too close to them murdered -- although he also often targets people without knowing their name.  Bombing Libya or anywhere else looks less like murder to many people, especially if -- like Stimson in Hiroshima -- they've never been to Libya, and if numerous bombs are all supposedly aimed at one evil person whom the U.S. government has turned against.  So, the United States goes through something like the 2011 war on Libya that has left that nation in such a fine state without it occurring to any military-friendly think tanks that there's an ethical question to be pondered.

How, I wonder, would we talk about drones or bombs or so-called non-combat advisors if we were trying to eliminate war rather than ameliorate it?  Well, I think that if we saw the complete abolition of war as even our very distant goal, we'd talk very differently about every type of war today.  I think we'd stop encouraging the idea that any memo could possibly legalize murder, whether or not we'd seen the memo.  I think we'd reject the human rights groups' position that the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact should be ignored.  Rather than considering the illegality of tactics during a war, we'd object to the illegality of the war itself.  We wouldn't speak positively of the United States and Iran possibly joining hands in friendship if the basis for such a proposed alliance was to be a joint effort to kill Iraqis. 

In the U.S. it's not unusual for peace groups to focus on 4,000 dead Americans and the financial costs of the war on Iraq, and to steadfastly refuse to mention a half-million to a million and a half Iraqis killed, which silence has contributed to most Americans not knowing what happened.  But that's the strategy of opponents of some wars, not opponents of all wars.  Depicting a particular war as costly to the aggressor doesn't move people against war preparations or rid them of the fantasy that there could be a good and just war in the days ahead.

It's common in Washington to argue against military waste, such as weapons that don't work or that the Pentagon didn't even ask Congress for, or to argue against bad wars that leave the military less prepared for other possible wars.  If our project was aimed ultimately at war's elimination, we'd be against military efficiency more than military waste and in favor of an ill-prepared military unable to launch more wars.  We'd also be as focused on keeping young people out of the military and militarism out of school books as we are on preventing a particular batch of missiles from flying.  It's routine to profess loyalty to soldiers while opposing their commanders' policies, but once you've praised soldiers for their supposed service, you've accepted that they must have provided one.  Celebrating World War I resisters, as I know some of you have been doing recently, is the sort of thing that ought to replace honoring war participants.

We may need to not just change our conversation from opposing specific war after specific war to discussing the ending of the whole institution.  We may also need to alter at least subtly every part of the conversation along the way. 

Instead of proposing that veterans in particular have earned our gratitude and should receive healthcare and retirement (which one hears all the time in the U.S.), we may want to propose that all people -- including veterans -- have human rights, and that one of our chief duties is to cease creating any more veterans.

Instead of objecting to troops urinating on corpses, we may want to object to the creation of the corpses.  Instead of trying to eliminate torture and rape and lawless imprisonment from an operation of mass-murder, we may want to focus on the cause. We can't go on putting $2 trillion a year globally, and half of that just in the United States, into getting ready for wars and not expect wars to result. 

With other addictions we're told to go after the biggest dealers of the drug or to go after the demand by the users.  The dealers of the drug of war are those funding the military with our grandchildren's unearned pay and dumping buckets of money into propaganda about Vietnam and World War I.  They know the lies about past wars are even more important than the lies about new wars.  And we know that the institution of war could not survive people learning the truth about it to such an extent that some people begin to act on that knowledge.

U.S. public opinion has moved against wars.  When Parliament and Congress said no to missiles into Syria, public pressure of the past decade played a big role.  The same is true of stopping a horrible bill on Iran in Congress earlier this year, and of resistance to a new war on Iraq.  Congress members are worried about voting for another war like Iraq, whether in Iraq or elsewhere.  Her vote to attack Iraq 12 years ago is the only thing that has kept us thus far from seeing Hillary Clinton in the White House.  People don't want to vote for someone who voted for that.  And, let's get this said early to our dear friends at the Nobel Committee: another peace prize will not help things.  The United States doesn't need another peace prize for a war maker, it needs what Bruce and so many of you have been working on over here: a popular movement for the abolition of war!

A number of peace activists have started up a new effort called World Beyond War at http://WorldBeyondWar.org aimed at bringing more people into peace activism. People and organizations in at least 58 countries so far have signed the Declaration of Peace at WorldBeyondWar.org.  Our hope is that, by bringing more people and groups into the movement, we can strengthen and enlarge, rather than compete against, existing peace organizations.  We hope that we can support the work of groups like the Movement for the Abolition of War, and that we can, as groups and individuals, work globally.

The website at WorldBeyondWar.org is intended to provide educational tools: videos, maps, reports, talking points.  We make the case against the idea that war protects us -- an outrageous idea, given that the nations that engage in the most war face the most hostility as a result.  A poll at the start of this year of people in 65 nations found the U.S. in a huge lead as the nation considered the greatest threat to peace in the world.  U.S. veterans are killing themselves in record numbers, in part over what they've done to Iraq and Afghanistan. Our humanitarian wars are a leading cause of suffering and death for humanity. And so we also refute the idea that war can benefit the people where it is waged.

We also lay out the arguments that war is deeply immoral, a first-cousin of and frequent cause of, not alternative to, genocide; that war destroys our natural environment, that war erodes our civil liberties, and that just transferring a bit of what we spend on war to something useful would make us beloved rather than feared around the world.  One and a half percent of what the world spends on war could be spent to end starvation on earth.  War has taken 200 million lives over the past century, but the good that could be done with the resources dumped into war far outstrips the evil that could be avoided by ending war.  For one thing, if we quickly redirected war's resources we'd have our best shot at doing something to protect the climate of the planet.  That our concept of "defense" doesn't include that illustrates how far we've gone toward accepting the inevitability of what is after all the perfectly avoidable and perfectly horrible and completely indefensible institution of war.

Having accepted war, we try for cheaper wars, better wars, even more one-sided wars, and what do we get?  We get warnings from respectable war supporters that we're beginning to make war the norm and risking continual warfare. 

On the one hand this is a case of unintended consequences to rival those who sought the truth about god's creation and ended up with the guy who's on the money around here, Charles Darwin.  On the other hand it's not unintended at all.  A professor at Stanford University has just put out a book arguing that war is so good for us that we must always keep it going.  That strain of thought courses through the veins of our military funded academia and activism. 

But that kind of thinking is increasingly unpopular, and this may be the moment in which to expose it, denounce it, and crystallize into action the growing popular sentiment against war, and the realization into which we've stumbled that particular wars can be prevented, and if particular wars can be prevented then each and every one of them can be prevented.  I look forward to working on that project, with the urgency it demands, and together with all of you.

I'm Speaking in England This Week and You're Invited

David Swanson from the Coordinating Committee of WorldBeyondWar.org will be visiting London from the United States on July 2nd before heading up to speak in Northern England with CAAB.org.uk on the Fourth of July.  Swanson is an author whose books include: War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013), War Is A Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011), and The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012). See http://davidswanson.org

LONDON:
July 2, 2014, 8:00 p.m., Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holburn.
David Swanson from WorldBeyondWar.org
Also speaking: Ben Griffin of Veterans For Peace UK (http://veteransforpeace.org.uk) Ben is a former SAS soldier who refused to return to Iraq in 2005. He is now the coordinator of Veterans For Peace UK.
Hosted by London Region Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (http://cnduk.org) Chair: Jim Brann
Organized by Movement for the Abolition of War (http://abolishwar.org.uk)
RSVP to Bruce Kent brucek@uk2.net

NSA MENWITH HILL BASE:
July 4, 2014, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Annual Independence FROM America Demonstration at the main entrance to NSA Menwith Hill HG1 4QZ.

Speakers: Caroline Hughes, David Swanson, Annie Machon
Learn more: http://caab.org.uk

Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form

As a Syrian rebel, I think the word or phrase that best describes me is:
A) Moderate
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C) Crazy moderate
D) Other

Complete the form for your $500,000,000 in weapons here.

Talk Nation Radio: Ted Glick: We Must Block Exports of Fracked Gas

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-ted-glick-we-must-block-exports-of-fracked-gas

On July 13th a rally in Washington D.C. will seek to prevent the opening of a first U.S. facility to export gas from fracking.  See http://StopGasExports.org  We speak with one of the organizers of the rally, Ted Glick.

Ted Glick has devoted 46 years of his life to the progressive social change movement. He was active in the peace movement against the Vietnam war, was a founder and national coordinator of the National Campaign to Impeach Nixon and has been actively involved in progressive coalition-building and independent politics efforts since 1975. Since 2003 he has played a leadership role in the effort to stabilize our climate and for a clean energy revolution. He was a founder in early 2004 of the Climate Crisis Coalition, and he is currently  the National Campaign Coordinator of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. For three and a half months in the fall of 2007 he ate no solid food as part of a climate emergency fast focused on getting Congress to pass strong climate legislation. Over the course of his activist career, he has been arrested 17 times for acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, including five times between October, 2006 and  May 2010 on climate issues. Since 2000, he has been writing Future Hope, a nationally-circulated column of political and social commentary , accessible at http://tedglick.com

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

Audio on Afghanistan and Iraq on the Coy Barefoot Show

GUEST: David Swanson, author, activist, and blogger. His books includes Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union and War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. Follow him on Twitter.

TOPIC: David reacts to the news that Bowe Bergdahl has been released— and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Friday, June 6, 2014.

Listen.

Mapping Militarism

World Beyond War has created a set of online interactive maps to help us all see where and how war and preparations for war exist in the world today.  You can find the maps we’ve created thus far at http://bit.ly/mappingmilitarism and send us your ideas for more maps here.  We’ll be updating some of these maps with new data every year and displaying animation of the progress away from war or the regress toward more war as the case may be.

The following are still screen-shots of some of the maps available in interactive form at the link above.

spending

This map displays annual spending on war and war preparations. When you view the interactive version, the key at the bottom left is adjustable. Here the darkest color is set to $200 billion. You can raise or lower it. Or you can click on one of the colored squares and change the colors if you don’t like blue.  When you run the cursor over one of the countries on the interactive version it will give you details. You can also choose to see the same data as a graph without the map by clicking the full-screen symbol on the graph at the top of the page. Then you’ll see this:

spendinggraph

At the moment, the nation “United States” has been clicked on. The bar for the United States is noticably larger than for the other nations. It would be about twice as high if all U.S. military spending were included. But then at least some of the other nations’ would be higher as well. The data used here for the comparison across nations comes from a report called “The Military Balance” by IISS. By comparing, as well as possible, absolute spending dollars, it becomes clear that the U.S. military dwarfs all others. Maps and charts that show military spending as a percentage of GDP (of a nation’s economy) have their own use, but they seem to imply that if a government has more money if can buy more weapons without becoming more militaristic, that in fact it will become less militaristic if it does not buy more weapons.

Another way to look at spending on war and war preparations by national governments is as a per-capita figure. Perhaps nations with more people can make an argument in defense of more spending. Here’s a screenshot of that map:

percapita

The above map of military spending per capita has something in common with the basic spending map: The United States is still the darkest color. But China’s not a (very) distant second-place anymore. And the U.S. isn’t in first place anymore. It’s been edged out by Israel and Oman. And trailing right behind it are Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Kuwait, and the land of the Nobel Peace Prize: Norway, followed by Australia and the United (for the moment anyway) Kingdom.

Countries don’t just spend money on their own militaries. They also sell and give weapons to other countries. We’ve included a couple of maps displaying those nations that make the most weapons transfers to others. Here’s one, using data from the Congressional Research Service:

transfers

This just seems to be the United States’ night at the Oscars. But here the distant runners up are Russia, France, Germany, Italy, China, and the U.K. This gives us a different view of the weapons industries in these countries. They aren’t just arming their own governments. And they aren’t just arming wealthy allies either. Here’s a look at who’s arming poor nations:

poor

We decided it was worth a particular look at where all the U.S.-made weapons are being shipped to. Here’s that map (all nations colored the same if they received any major weapons systems from the United States in 2012). Click it to go to the interactive versions:

received

We’ve also included at http://bit.ly/mappingmilitarism maps showing who has how many nuclear weapons and who has biological and chemical weapons. They might surprise you.

There are also maps of which nations have troops right now in Afghanistan, which nations are experiencing wars at the moment, and which nations have recently been hit with missiles (most of them from drones).

Because the United States does things that other nations do not, there are a number of U.S.-specific maps. For example: Here are nations with U.S. troops permanently stationed in them. The interactive version will give you the details. The data is from the U.S. military:

ustroops

The above does not include special forces or the CIA or drone strikes. The few gray nations without U.S. troops permanently in them stand out, including Iran and Syria. Should Greenland be worried?

We’ve also included a map of U.S. military actions since 1945. It has quite a bit of color on it.

And we’ve included a series of maps indicating some level of national interest in replacing war with the rule of law. While the International Criminal Court is seriously flawed, it might be improved by greater membership, particularly by major war makers. Here is which countries are now members:

iccAlso available is a map of which nations are party to the long-forgotten treaty that bans war, known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact. That membership ought to be very surprising. There’s also a map of which nations have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions banning the horrendously awful and murderous cluster bombs, a.k.a. flying landmines.

See if you find these maps useful, and let us know what you think is missing.

If you find projects like this one useful, please support them here.

Talk Nation Radio: Nell Bernstein: Close All Juvenile Prisons

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-nell-bernstein-close-all-juvenile-prisons

Most kids commit crimes. Those locked up in juvenile prisons are more likely to commit crimes as adults than are those left alone.  So, why do we lock them up? What drives such counterproductive programs that create such misery despite demonstratd failure to achieve their purported ends? And how can we alter our approach?  We speak with Nell Bernstein.

Nell Bernstein is the author of Burning Down the House (forthcoming from The New Press) and All Alone in the World (The New Press), a Newsweek "Book of the Week." She is a former Soros Justice Media Fellow and a winner of a White House Champion of Change award. Her articles have appeared in Newsday, Salon, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in Albany, California.

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

Audio: Connect the Dots on Iraq

Listen to Lila Garrett's Connect the Dots on KPFK: AUDIO.

Guests include:

David Swanson organizer of WORLD BEYOND WAR does an in depth analysis of our intervention in this civil war in Iraq including its connection to those interests in the US determined to feed and maintain our permanent war economy.

Former Congressman Bob Filner served as Chair of the Congressional Com. On Veteran Affairs from 2006-2010.   As chairman, Filner increased spending on veterans healthcare, and a new GI bill for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Filner describes the serious cut backs by this Congress on those benefits. This includes the 50,000 vets on medical lists waiting to see a doctor for months…even years.

Senate Candidate  Shenna Bellows, Democrat from Maine, whom journalist John Nichols has called “possibly the future of progressive politics in America”, describes Maine’s extreme rightwing leadership.  About Bellows' opposition, Republican Susan Collins,  author Stephen King writes: “Senator Susan Collins is considered a moderate who compromises a lot. Sounds good, but when it comes down to casting votes that serve Mainers, she always seems to end up with her Republican colleagues, led by Mitch McConnell.”

Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)

KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;

99.5 China Lake

Airs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.

So That's Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret

Now that the U.S. government has released parts of its We-Can-Kill-People-With-Drones memo, it's hard to miss why it was kept secret until now.

Liberal professors and human rights groups and the United Nations were claiming an inability to know whether drone murders were legal or not because they hadn't seen the memo that the White House said legalized them. Some may continue to claim that the redactions in the memo make judgment impossible.

I expect most, however, will now be willing to drop the pretense that ANY memo could possibly legalize murder. 

Oh, and yall can stop telling me not to use the impolite term "murder" to describe the, you know, murders -- since "murder" is precisely the term used by the no-longer secret memo.

The memo considers a section of the U.S. code dealing with the murder of a U.S. citizen by another U.S. citizen abroad, drawing on another section that defines murder as "the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought."

David Barron, the memo's author, needed a loophole to make murder-by-missile a lawful killing rather than an unlawful killing, so he pulls out the "public authority justification" under which the government gets to use force to enforce a law.  It's a novel twist, though, for the government to get to use force to violate the law, claiming the violation is legal on the Nixonian basis that it is the government doing it.

Alternatively, Barron suggests, a government gets to use force if doing so is part of a war. This, of course, ignores the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact and the illegality of wars, as well as the novelty of claiming that a war exists everywhere on earth forever and ever. (None of Barron's arguments justify governmental murder on U.S. soil any less than off U.S. soil.)

In essence, Barron seems to argue, the people who wrote the laws were thinking about private citizens and terrorists, not the government (which, somehow, cannot be a terrorist), and therefore it's OK for the government to violate the laws.

Then there's the problem of Congressional authorization of war, or lack thereof, which Barron gets around by pretending that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was as broad as the White House pretends rather than worded to allow targeting only those responsible for the 911 attacks. 

Then there are the facts of the matter in the case of Anwar al Awlaki, who was targeted for murder prior in time to the actions that President Obama has claimed justified that targeting.

Then there are the facts in the other cases of U.S. killings of U.S. citizens, which aren't even redacted, as they're never considered.

Then there are the vastly more numerous killings of non-U.S. citizens, which the memo does not even attempt to excuse.

In the end, the memo admits that calling something a war isn't good enough; the targeted victim has to have been an imminent threat to the United States.  But who gets to decide whether he or she was that?  Why, whoever does the killing of course.  And what happens if nobody ever even makes an unsupported assertion to that effect? Nothing, of course.

This is not the rule of law.  This is savage brute force in minimal disguise.  I don't want to see any more of these memos.  I want to see the video footage of the drone murders on a television.  I want to see law professors and revolving-door State Department / human rights group hacks argue that dead children fall under the public authority justification.

Fund billboards and ads to organize for abolition of war, an idea whose time has come

We need funds for billboards and ads around the world to bring together those ready to work for an end to war. Please contribute at http://igg.me/at/worldbeyondwar

Strongest Antiwar Statement Yet from a Congressional Candidate

In this local TV news interview (video), we see Virginia Fifth District Democratic nominee for Congress Lawrence Gaughan say, "We need to get back to the Constitution on the issue of war, and I will never authorize the executive to use force when there is no direct or imminent threat to our national security here on our soil."

I'm not aware of a stronger statement from any candidate for Congress. 

Virginia's Fifth District is currently misrepresented by Republican Robert Hurt who on Thursday voted against blocking funds for a new war on Iraq:

Lee (D-CA)- Amendment No. 31 - Prohibits funds from being used to conduct combat operations in Iraq. – REJECTED 165 – 250

Twice:

Lee (D-CA)- Amendment No. 33 - Prohibits funds from being used pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution of 2002. – REJECTED 182 – 231

Prior to Hurt, VA-05 was misrepresented by Democrat Tom Perriello, an enthusiastic warmonger who recently moved to the State Department from the Center for American Progress, which is advocating for missile strikes on Iraq.

Prior to Perriello, this district was embarrassed and disgraced by Democrat turned Republican Virgil Goode.

When people voted for Perriello (and Obama) in 2008, many blindly followed a party line, and many fantasized that they were electing an anti-war representative. 

Many imagined Hurt was hopeless in this regard, although he did prove willing in the end to oppose missile strikes into Syria.

Now, as it happens, there appears to be an opportunity to vote for someone who is actually running on an antiwar platform, not just a platform of being from a different party than Bush and Cheney.  And what a platform!

It's quite common to say you'll only back wars when "U.S. national interests are at stake" or when the U.S. is threatened, but those phrases can usually be defined to mean anything at all, including U.S. troops halfway around the globe getting into a shoot out.  That's not what Gaughan has said.  He has said there must be a threat to the United States in the United States.  That's a rejection of at least the past 70 years of U.S. war making.

It's also common to claim that one will take a decent position against wars if asked by the President.  That's not what Gaughan has said.  He has said that he will abide by the Constitution, which does not allow presidents to make wars, and that he will not permit the executive to wage wars except under the narrow circumstances described.

We're not going to find better than this around here for a long, long time to come, and I doubt anybody can find better elsewhere in the country. 

I therefore suggest that wherever you live, you consider supporting putting this man in Congress.

The Democratic Push to Bomb Iraq Again

People forget the extent to which Democrats, who controlled the U.S. Senate at the time, pushed for and supported the 2003 attack on Iraq.  Remember them or not, theeeeeeeeeey're back!

The Center for American Progress, the head of whose "action fund," former Democratic Congressman from Virginia's Fifth District Tom Perriello, slipped through the revolving door into a State Department job in February, is now pushing for "principled" bombings of Iraq.

Principled or not, the Center for American Progress is funded by Lockheed Martin and other huge war profiteers. C.A.P. has just put out a report recommending that air strikes be considered.

For that to happen, many other things need to not be considered:

1. The views of the U.S. public, which opposes more wars and some of whom here in the fifth district of Virginia fantasized they'd elected an antiwar candidate in Periello several years back.

2. The views of the Iraqi public, who have been nonviolently and violently protesting an illegitimate government installed by the U.S.-led occupation.

3. The rule of law, which bans wars (under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact) even in places where the U.S. has recently fought wars in blatant violation of the law without any legal consequences.

4. The U.S. Constitution, which required that wars be authorized by Congress even before Article VI came to encompass the aforementioned treaties.

5. The 100-year history of foreign military interference consistently making things worse in Iraq.

6. The 11-year history of foreign military interference making things dramatically worse in Iraq to the point where it is no exaggeration to say that the nation has been destroyed.

7. The record suicide rate among U.S. war veterans, many of whom are realizing the role they played in destroying Iraq.

8. The liberties we keep losing as long as the wars for "freedom" role on.

9. The environmental destruction of our largest consumer of petroleum and greatest poisoner of land masses, the U.S. military.

10. The financial cost of trillion-dollar wars when tens of billions in reparations and actual aid could make a world of difference.

11. The history of small numbers of "advisors" in Vietnam and many other wars mushrooming into devastating occupations and millions of murders.

12. The need people have to imagine that Democrats are fundamentally different from Republicans. Think of the damage being done to that already tenuous pretense.  Spare those tender souls any troubled thoughts if you can't spare the lives of Iraqis for their own sake.

A Brief History of Iraq for Westerners

Iraq was saved from ignorant subhuman barbarism by a gentlewoman named Gertrude at the time that the civilized nations of the world were, in a quite advanced and sophisticated manner, slaughtering their young men in a project now called the First World War. 

Because the Arabs were too backward to be allowed to govern themselves, or even to contemplate creating a world war, and because tribes and ethnicities and religions never really garner much loyalty or support that can't be wiped away with a good cup of tea or a few clouds of poison gas, and because the French were too dumb to know where the oil was, it became necessary for the British to install an Iraqi leader who wasn't Iraqi, through a democratic election with one candidate running.

The great Winston Churchill explained the governance of Iraq and the new civilizing technique of bombing civilians thusly: "I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes." Others failed to see the wisdom, and the Royal Air Force used non-chemical "terror bombing, night bombing, heavy bombers, [and] delayed action bombs (particularly lethal against children)" to police disobedient Iraqis. Only by developing these techniques on Iraqis were the world's civilizers prepared to use them on Nazis when the time came to level German cities in the name of defeating Nazis, which of course also places the rest of this paper beyond the reach of moral criticism.

Iraqis, from the formation of Iraq by Gertrude to this day, were never quite able to create a democracy for the CIA to overthrow as in neighboring Iran.  But the idea that Iraqis have been violent or resistant to control because of lack of representation misses the central fact that people in the Middle East enjoy killing each other over sectarian differences.  Of course it's hard to find evidence of significant sectarian fighting in Iraq prior to 2003 and some say there wasn't any.  There was violent looting of Jewish neighborhoods in 1941, but the British government keeps all information on that event secret.  There was bombing of synagogues in Baghdad in 1950-51 but that turned out to have been done by Zionists trying to convince Jews to come to Israel.  And "until the 1970s nearly all Iraq's political organisations were secular, attracting people from all religions and none."  But what was simmering just below the surface waiting to burst out at the slightest scratching?

Think how little it took.  Supporting and arming a brutal dictator in Saddam Hussein and his catastrophic war against Iran, then bombing Iraq and imposing the most murderous sanctions in history, and then newly bombing Iraq and occupying it for 8 years while arming and training death squads and torturers and imposing sectarian segregation, creating 5 million refugees, and killing a half-million to a million-and-a-half people, while devastating the nation's infrastructure, and then imposing a puppet government loyal to one sect and one neighboring nation.  That, plus arming the new government for vicious attacks on its own people, while arming mad killers in neighboring Syria, some of whom want to combine parts of Syria and Iraq: that was all it took, and suddenly, out of nowhere, ignorant Arabs are killing each other, just out of pure irrationality, just like in Palestine.

During the 8 years of U.S.-led occupation people mistook purely irrational violence that had been bubbling under the surface for centuries for resistance to the occupiers, and now some imagine that part of the violence against the puppet government is motivated by grievances against that government. But this misses the fundamental truths here, which are:

1. Shock and Awe was meant to put people at ease and make them comfortable.

2. The plan to rid Iraq of weapons it was about to use against those of us who matter was successful beyond the wildest expectations, working retroactively by a decade.

3. Our great leaders, Bush and Cheney, meant well in giving Iraqis freedom even if they weren't ready for it.

4. The election of Maliki was even more legitimate than the election of Faisal.

5. When the Bush-Maliki treaty ended the U.S. military presence in Iraq, that was thanks to President Obama who is way smarter than Bush but couldn't get Iraq to let U.S. troops stay with immunity for crimes -- crimes of course being necessary for policing, just ask Winnie.

6. When Iraq remained a disaster, that was President Obama's fault for focusing too much on murdering people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen, and never Iraq -- as if we just don't care about Iraq any more.

7. The U.S. weapons being seized and used against the U.S. puppet government in Iraq are no match for the vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction that we can and must ship into Iraq now to be seized and redirected later on down the road.

8. The few people getting rich from all of this misery mean well.

Talk Nation Radio: Bruce Kent on Peace Activism of Past Several Decades

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-bruce-kent-on-peace-activism-of-past-several-decades

Bruce Kent is Vice President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and of Pax Christi, and of the Movement for the Abolition of War (See http://abolishwar.org.uk ) Born in 1929, Kent joined CND in 1960 and served as its General Secretary and Chair during a period of tremendous growth from 1980 to 1990. He was president of the International Peace Bureau from 1985 to 1992, and the UK organizer of the 1999 Hague Conference.  We discuss the ups and downs, accomplishments and challenges, of the peace movement over the years.

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

Tell the Pentagon to stop "helping" in Iraq and Ukraine


To: U.S. Congress, President, Department of "Defense"

Stop arming Iraq. And do not bomb or send in troops. Remove U.S. drones immediately. Pursue a ceasefire and negotiations, working through the United Nations and the Arab League.

Why is this important?
Iraq needs actual aid, not "military aid." A policy of promoting, facilitating, and engaging in violence has produced nothing but disasters for decades.





To: U.S. Congress, President, Department of "Defense"

We call on the U.S. government to work with other NATO governments to cancel the Rapid Trident exercise, and to commit to not participating in military exercises in Ukraine.

Why is this important?
We note with great concern that U.S. and other NATO troops are scheduled to participate in joint military exercises in Ukraine in July as part of NATO’s Rapid Trident maneuvers. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Its participation in military exercises by a nuclear-armed alliance with a first-strike policy can only further destabilize the country.




Make your own petition like the ones above. Promote it, show us it's popular, and we'll promote it too!

Give it a try: http://DIY.rootsaction.org

UVA Research Park Drains Our Economy

The University of Virginia research park, across Rt. 29 North from the National Ground Intelligence Center, is hosting a conference on weapons technologies that has been promoted as dealing with economically beneficial matters.

And why not?  Both the military facility and the research park provide jobs, and the people who hold those jobs spend their money on things that support other jobs.  What's not to like? 

Well, one problem is what those jobs do.  A Win/Gallup poll of 65 nations earlier this year found the United States by far most widely considered the greatest threat to peace in the world.  Imagine how it must sound to people in other countries when we talk about the U.S. military as a jobs program.

But let's stick to economics.  Where does the money come from for most of what goes on at the base and the research park north of town?  From our taxes and government borrowing.  Between 2000 and 2010, 161 military contractors in Charlottesville pulled in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government. Over $8 million of that went to Mr. Jefferson's university, and three-quarters of that to the Darden Business School. And the trend is ever upward. 

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.

The superiority of other spending or even tax cuts has been established repeatedly by seminal studies out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, frequently cited and never refuted over the last several years.  Not only would spending on trains or solar panels or schools produce more and better paying jobs, but so would never taxing the dollars in the first place.  Military spending is worse than nothing, just in economic terms.

Add to this the impact on foreign policy that massive military spending has had since before President Eisenhower warned us on the day he left office: "The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual --" he said, "is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government."  Today even more so, so much so perhaps that we notice it less, so routine has it become.

Connecticut has set up a commission to work on transitioning to peaceful industries, largely for economic reasons.  Virginia or Charlottesville could do the same. 

The U.S. government spends over $600 billion a year just on the Department of Defense, and over $1 trillion total every year on militarism across all departments and debts for past wars.  It's over half of U.S. discretionary spending and about as much as the rest of the world's nations combined, including the many NATO members and allies of the United States.

It 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.  It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water.  Again, that sounds like a lot.  But consider the amounts being spent on economically detrimental programs that also damage our civil liberties, our environment, our safety, and our morality.  It wouldn't cost much for the U.S. to become seen as the greatest threat to suffering and poverty instead of to peace.

David Swanson is a Charlottesville resident and organizer of WorldBeyondWar.org.

Talk Nation Radio: Daniel Hyslop on How Militarism and Violence Cost Us Prosperity

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-daniel-hyslop-on-how-militarism-and-violence-cost-us-prosperity

Daniel Hyslop is research manager at the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) where he coordinates research and manages IEP’s research team (see http://economicsandpeace.org ).  IEP produces the Global Peace Index (see http://visionofhumanity.org ). He discusses the economic costs of war and violence.

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

Going to England

David Swanson from the Coordinating Committee of WorldBeyondWar.org will be visiting London from the United States on July 2nd before heading up to speak in Northern England with CAAB.org.uk on the Fourth of July.  Swanson is an author whose books include: War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013), War Is A Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011), and The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012). See http://davidswanson.org

LONDON:
July 2, 2014, 8:00 p.m., Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holburn.
David Swanson from WorldBeyondWar.org
Also speaking: Ben Griffin of Veterans For Peace UK (http://veteransforpeace.org.uk) Ben is a former SAS soldier who refused to return to Iraq in 2005. He is now the coordinator of Veterans For Peace UK.
Hosted by London Region Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (http://cnduk.org) Chair: Jim Brann
Organized by Movement for the Abolition of War (http://abolishwar.org.uk)
RSVP to Bruce Kent brucek@uk2.net

NSA MENWITH HILL BASE:
July 4, 2014, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Annual Independence FROM America Demonstration at the main entrance to NSA Menwith Hill HG1 4QZ.

Speakers: Caroline Hughes, David Swanson, Annie Machon
Learn more: http://caab.org.uk

Mass Murderers Brazenly Hold Conference, Discuss Tools of Trade

A unique conference is planned in Charlottesville, Va., featuring the latest technologies for the practice of large-scale killing. The Daily Progress tells us that,

"to allow participants to speak more freely about potentially sensitive topics, the conference is closed to the media and open only to registered participants."

Well I should think so! Registered participants? How does one get registered for such a thing?

"From a local perspective, this industry is really growing in Charlottesville," says one expert, speaking with great objectivity, as if this growth were a matter of complete moral indifference.

Exactly how many people will be there?

"About 225 people are expected to attend the inaugural event, which is attracting government, business and academic leaders, said conference chairwoman and organizer Joan Bienvenue, who is also the director of the UVa Applied Research Institute."

Wait, what? The University of Virginia has an "applied research institute" for applying research to the practice of mass murder?

Is there no shame left in any institution?

"Sen. Timothy M. Kaine and Rep. Randy Forbes, R-4th, are also scheduled to give key speeches at the conference."

I guess that answers my question.

And where exactly will this blood-soaked confab take place?

"Located in Albemarle County, Rivanna Station is a sub-installation of the Army's Fort Belvoir. The local base employs mostly civilians and houses operations of the National Ground Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency."

The National Ground Intelligence Center, previously downtown in what became the SNL Financial building, is now north of Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia has built a "research park" next door, where this conference will be held.  The NGIC famously played an utterly shameless role in marketing the war on Iraq that took at least a half a million lives and destroyed that nation. 

When the experts at the Department of Energy refused to say that aluminum tubes in Iraq were for nuclear facilities, because they knew they could not possibly be and were almost certainly for rockets, and when the State Department's people also refused to reach the "correct" conclusion, a couple of guys at the NGIC were happy to oblige.  Their names were George Norris and Robert Campus, and they received "performance awards" (cash) for the service. 

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell used Norris' and Campus' claims in his U.N. speech despite the warning of his own staff that they weren't true.  NGIC also hired a company called MZM to assist with war lies for a good chunk of change.  MZM then gave a well-paid job to NGIC's deputy director Bill Rich Jr, and for good measure Bill Rich III too.  MZM was far and away the top "contributor" to former Congressman Virgil Goode's campaigns, and he got them a big contract in Martinsville before they went down in the Duke Cunningham scandal.  Rich then picked up a job with a company called Sparta, which, like MZM, was conveniently located in the UVA Research Park.

Local want ads in Charlottesville offer jobs "researching biological and chemical weapons" at Battelle Memorial Institute (located in the UVA Research Park).  As you may know, researching such weapons is rarely if ever done without producing or at least possessing them.  Other jobs are available producing all kinds of weaponry for all kinds of governments at Northrop Grumman. Then there's Teksystems, Pragmatics, Wiser, and many others with fat Pentagon contracts. 

From 2000 to 2010, 161 military contractors in Charlottesville pulled in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government. Over $8 million of that went to Mr. Jefferson's university, and three-quarters of that to the Darden Business School. And the trend is ever upward.  The 161 contractors are found in various industries other than higher education, including nautical system and instrument manufacturing; blind and shade manufacturing; printed circuit assembly; real estate appraisers; engineering services; recreational sports centers; research and development in biotechnology; new car dealers; internet publishing; petroleum merchant wholesalers; and a 2006 contract with Pig Daddy's BBQ.

Have we at long last no sense of decency?  War has taken 200 million lives in the past 100 years, costs the world $2 trillion a year and the United States half of that.  It is the top destroyer of our natural environment and undergirds all the removal of our civil liberties and the creation of mass surveillance. Military spending produces fewer jobs that other government spending or even tax cuts.  Numerous top officials say it produces more enemies than it kills.

And who does it kill? Over 90% are civilians of all ages. Over 90% are on one side of conflicts between wealthy and poor countries.  These one-sided slaughters leave behind devastated nations: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.  A poll of 65 nations found the U.S. most widely viewed as the greatest threat to peace. For 3% of what the United States spends on a program of killing that endangers us, impoverishes us, and erodes our way of life, starvation could be eliminated worldwide. It wouldn't take much to become the most beloved nation rather than the most feared

And wouldn't it be nice to live in a society where our top public program didn't have to be kept hush-hush to protect "sensitive topics"?

War Meat

The most patriotic Fourth of July celebration I've ever been to was not in Washington, D.C., but at a little lake in Virginia. We were picnicking on the shore of the lake along with about 75 not very close friends and family. This was a few years ago. I must have been 8 years old.

The lake was packed with boats almost the way the Beltway gets packed with cars, but this fact wasn't slowing them down.  The boats were mostly, if not all, decorated with red, white, and blue, and mostly, if not all, had motors and were using them.  Predictably enough, every once in a while two boats would collide.  It sounded like the end of a car crash, without the screeching before it.

The first time two boats crashed into each other, my Dad jumped into panic mode, ready to call 911, eager to coordinate a rescue, but my Uncle and some other grownups standing around waved him off.  This was normal, they said. Everyone would be all right.  "Are you sure?" asked my Dad. He seemed worried, but by about the third crash he didn't even look up.

It was about 90 degrees out in the bright sun of early afternoon when the fireworks started.  There was a floating platform out in the lake, and a bunch of kids on it began setting off fireworks that were no doubt smaller than those on the National Mall but really didn't seem it.  Some of the boats slowed down to watch, but watched from as close as immediately against the platform.

You should know that my Mom has always been horrified of fireworks.  When they began going off in the daytime, she assumed something was wrong.  And when it was kids, some of them younger than I, setting them off, she -- in her turn -- went into panic mode.  She was quickly reassured by all around her that nothing was amiss.  I'll admit I thought this was all pretty cool.

But when a little boy on the fireworks platform began screaming as if in horrible pain, I started to worry.  The fireworks continued, uninterrupted, but there was a bunch of hurried movement, and a few minutes later a man carried a boy up the grass away from the lake, blood dripping from his arm, which was wrapped in what looked like an American flag.  The kid had "just lost a pinky" everyone said, and had some "minor burns."

Not one to make a public fuss, my Mom spoke quietly to me, but more seriously than I can ever recall: "Don't ever go near fireworks. Do you understand?"

I said that I did, and it was actually true.  I did. 

Uncles and others were firing up grills when the fireworks finally stopped and the sound of boats motoring and crunching into each other returned.  I was actually feeling hungry.  Nobody had consumed anything yet, except soda or beer. 

As soon as the smoke had all cleared from the sky, the air show began.  There was a buzzing noise that drowned out all the boat motors.  A shadow passed over our picnic table.  A predator drone, flying very low and carrying two very visible Hellfire missiles, circled over the lake.  Drunk guys started telling their girlfriends that the drone was going to blow some people up, so that when it turned toward us there was lots of screaming, followed by uproarious laughter.

Luckily, the drone finally left without firing.  I wish it hadn't.  Left, I mean.  As soon as it was gone, all concentration seemed to focus on food preparation.  I've never been much of a meat eater, and there appeared to be nothing but hot dogs and hamburgers.  I asked one of my cousins if there were any veggie-dogs and he acted like I'd said something rude.  "Only other thing is war meat," he said.  Whatever that meant.

I found out soon enough.  The man at the grill by our table shouted for everyone to listen up.  He pulled a metal container, like a large curved lunchbox, out of a freezer.  "Are you ready?" he asked.  For what, I did not know, but everyone nodded.  "One," he said.  "Two. One. Two. Three. Four." And our whole table started singing the Star Spangled Banner, and I mean bad enough to make a dog cry in agony, which a couple of them did. 

When the song was finally over, the man opened the metal container like he was opening a birthday present.  People started asking, "What'd we get? What'd we get?" The man pulled a big red chunk of raw meat out with his hand and said, "Pakistani." And after a pause, "Again."  He seemed a bit disappointed, but then quickly seemed overwhelmed with pleasure.  "Pakistani!" "Pakistani!" our whole little bunch started shouting.  Although how the chunk of flesh had actually been identified or recognized I couldn't tell.

"Pakistani!" "Pakistani!" Other tables were shouting it too.  Word was passed up and down the picnic grounds, tables telling each other what they'd received.  The tally seemed to include almost entirely Pakistani meat, with one or two Yemeni, a few Afghans, and a Libyan.  But then a rumor spread that actually caused a hush.  One table at the far end of the area, down around a curve in the lake, had apparently been so fortunate as to pull out a piece of "U.S. troop."

"This is a really sick joke!" my Dad said, turning to our table from my Mom, to whom he had apparently been talking and who was apparently crying.  "This needs to end right now," my Dad said quite firmly and impressively.  But people didn't respond the way I hoped.  They just edged away from me and my parents. "What's the matter with you?" a woman asked.  There was a lot of whispering.  I heard the words "pacifist" and "socialist."

Then a big commotion in the parking lot up the hill took attention away.  There were lights of numerous police cars.  A crowd of people clumped closely together began drifting in our general direction, stopping at each picnic table for a moment or two before moving on.  As they drew closer they took on the look of a celebrity encircled by body guards and swarmed by paparazzi.  Then a strangely familiar voice was saying "Good afternoon! How are you all doing this fine day?"

And there was President Obama, grinning and shaking hands.  Our crowd seemed delighted and respectful, but not at all surprised.  However, one guy spoke up kind of loudly: "I hear we're not having any more wars next year, Mr. President."

Obama turned on him, not unlike that predator drone turning toward us, and with a somewhat similar reaction.  "That's all right," he said.  "That's all right.  Let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency.  Let me be clear.  The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it -- when our people are threatened, when our livelihood is at stake, or when the security of our allies is in danger."

The President grinned as though he were in possession of a wonderful secret. "Let me let you in on something," he said, almost whispering. "We've got troops permanently stationed in 175 countries. Our people can be threatened any time we want." He laughed and glanced around appreciating the knowing nods and smiles. "So, how's the meat?"

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