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New TCBH! poem: 'Holding the door'

I watched a man whipping an apple tree.
I held the door open to him.
I knew that when he got tired
he would turn around and see me
holding the door for him.
And maybe he would come inside and we could talk.
I could see that many of the trees in his orchard
bore the scars of the whippings
they had received over the years.
Some of the older trees were bent over and knotted
as if riddled with pain.
Finally he turned around.
Who are you? he asked.
I am your door-man, I said.
I never saw you before, or that door.
Has that ever helped, I asked?
Whipping your trees?
It helps quiet my demons, said he.
And then I saw that the grass was crawling
with a nasty host of creeping and flying
and buzzing creatures of hideous appearance.
Anyone might have thought they were insects.
Nothing will make them go away, he said,

Clinton Days Are Here Again!

See if you can spot the mistake in this activist email I received recently:

"In 2001, the Clinton Administration handed George Bush peace, prosperity, and record budget surpluses. Eight years later, Bush handed Barack Obama two disastrous wars and a global economic crash that destroyed over 8 million American jobs. Now that President Obama has finally brought those jobs back - in the face of vicious GOP opposition - Bush's brother Jeb is now blaming American workers for not working hard enough. If you're as outraged as we are, please click here to sign Hillary Clinton's petition telling Jeb Bush that Americans need a raise, not a lecture."

OK, it was a trick; there's more than one mistake. Let's list a few:

Here are things Bill Clinton is now apologizing for: mass incarceration, Wall Street deregulation, the drug war, and corporate trade agreements. Here are a few of the things he should also be apologizing for: destroying welfare, creating media monopolies, expanding NATO toward Russia, creating a precedent for illegal NATO wars without Congressional or UN authorizations, and 500,000 children killed by sanctions in Iraq.

Here are a few little-known facts about President Barack Obama: the war on Afghanistan is more his than Bush's by any measure, he had regularly voted to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senator, he broke his promised schedule for ending the war on Iraq and never fully ended it and soon revived it, he's supported coups in Honduras and Egypt and Ukraine, he's claimed the power to murder anyone anywhere by drone, he's expanded the military into numerous nations laying the groundwork for future hostilities, and his war on Libya followed the Clinton model of blatant illegality rather than the Bush Jr. approach of at least bothering to lie to Congress and the United Nations.

Another activist group sent me an email this week reading, in part: "The truth is, Republicans don't want diplomacy to work. They want another costly war like the one they started in Iraq in 2003." In reality, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate voted for the war on Iraq in 2002. The same parties hold the same branches now. There's a wise saying that goes something like this: those who convince themselves of a bullshit version of history may be condemned to repeat what actually happened.

Those who study what actually happened may be less shocked to discover how grotesquely corrupt Hillary Clinton is, how murderous, how fervently she promoted that war on Iraq, how very long she has been so disastrous, how she out-hawks almost any hawk, how awful she is for feminism, how brutal she can be, how close she is to Wall Street Republicans and oil barons and Henry Kissinger, how hard it would be to actually elect her, how she used the State Department to market weapons and fracking and pushed weapons on governments she called soft on terrorism while waiving restrictions on sales to brutal governments that donated to her foundation, how she backs mass surveillance, how she believes in representing banks, and how greedy she is.

So long sad times, go long bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times, cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Clinton days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So lets sing a song of cheer again
Clinton days are here again

Yall Are Talking About War Wrong

Former head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lt. General Michael Flynn has joined the ranks of the many recently retired officials openly admitting that what the U.S. military does generates dangers rather than reducing them. (Flynn didn't explicitly apply this to every recent war and tactic, but did apply it to drone wars, proxy wars, the invasion of Iraq, the occupation of Iraq, and the new war on ISIS, which seems to cover most of the actions the Pentagon engages in. Other recently retired officials have said the same of every other recent U.S. war.)

Once you've admitted that the means of mass killing is not justified by some higher end, once you've called the wars "strategic mistakes," once you've accepted that the wars don't work on their own terms, well then there's no way left to claim that they are excusable in moral terms. Mass killing for some greater good is a tough argument to make, but possible. Mass killing for no damn good reason is totally indefensible and the equivalent of what we call it when it's done by a non-government: mass murder.

But if war is mass murder, then virtually everything that people from Donald Trump to Glenn Greenwald say about war is not quite right.

Here's Trump regarding John McCain: "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." This is not just wrong because of your view of the good, bad, or indifference of being captured (or what you think McCain did while captured), but because there is no such thing as a war hero. That is the unavoidable consequence of recognizing war as mass murder. You cannot participate in mass murder and be a hero. You can be incredibly brave, loyal, self-sacrificing, and all kinds of other things, but not a hero, which requires that you be brave for a noble cause, that you serve as a model for others.

Not only did John McCain participate in a war that killed some 4 million Vietnamese men, women, and children for no damn good reason, but he has been among the leading advocates for numerous additional wars ever since, resulting in the additional deaths of millions of men, women, and children for, yet again, no damn good reason -- as part of wars that have mostly been defeats and always been failures even on their own terms. This senator, who sings "bomb, bomb Iran!" accuses Trump of firing up "the crazies." Kettle, meet pot.

Let's turn to what a couple of our best commentators are saying about the recent shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn.: Dave Lindorff and Glenn Greenwald. First Lindorff:

"If it turns out that Abdulazeez was in any way linked to ISIS, then his action in attacking U.S. military personnel in the U.S. and killing them has to be seen not as terrorism but as a legitimate retributive act of war. . . . Abdulazeez, if he was a combatant, deserves credit really, at least for following the rules of war. He appears to have focused his killing remarkably well on actual military personnel. There were no civilian casualties in his attacks, no children killed or even wounded. Compare that to the U.S. record."

Now Greenwald:

"Under the law of war, one cannot, for instance, legally hunt down soldiers while they're sleeping in their homes, or playing with their children, or buying groceries at a supermarket. Their mere status as 'soldiers' does not mean it is legally permissible to target and kill them wherever they are found. It is only permissible to do so on the battlefield, when they are engaged in combat. That argument has a solid footing in both law and morality. But it is extremely difficult to understand how anyone who supports the military actions of the U.S. and their allies under the 'War on Terror' rubric can possibly advance that view with a straight face."

These comments are off because there is no such thing as a "legitimate retributive act of war," or an act of mass murder for which someone "deserves credit," or a "solid" legal or moral "footing" for the permissibility of killing "on the battlefield." Lindorff thinks a high standard is to target only soldiers. Greenwald thinks targeting only soldiers while they are engaged in war is a higher standard. (One could make an argument that the soldiers in Chattanooga were in fact engaged in war.) Both are right to point out U.S. hypocrisy regardless. But mass murder is neither moral nor legal.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans all war. The U.N. Charter bans war with narrow exceptions, none of which is retribution, and none of which is any war that takes place on a "battlefield" or in which only those engaged in fighting are fought. A legal war or component of a war, under the U.N. Charter, must be either defensive or U.N.-authorized. One could fantasize a United Nations without its Western bias accepting an ISIS attack in the United States as somehow defensive against a U.S. attack in what used to be Iraq or Syria, but it wouldn't get you around the Kellogg-Briand Pact or the basic moral problem of mass murder and of the ineffectiveness of war as a defense.

Lindorff might also consider what "in any way linked to ISIS" means for the U.S. side of the war, in terms of whom the United States claims the right to target, from those guilty of "material support" for trying to promote nonviolence in Iraq, to those guilty of assisting FBI agents pretending to be part of ISIS, to members of groups with ties to ISIS -- which includes groups that the U.S. government itself arms and trains.

Lindorff ends his article discussing actions like the Chattanooga shooting in these terms: "As long as we diminish them by calling them acts of terrorism, nobody's going to demand a halt to the War on Terror. And that 'war' is the real act of terrorism, when you come right down to it." One might exactly as well say: that "act of terrorism" is the real war, when you come right down to it, or: that governmental mass-murder is the real non-governmental mass-murder.

When you come right down to it, we have too much vocabulary for our own good: war, terrorism, collateral damage, hate crime, surgical strike, shooting spree, capital punishment, mass murder, kinetic overseas contingency operation, targeted assassination -- these are all ways of distinguishing types of unjustifiable killing that aren't actually morally distinguishable from each other.

Ukraine News - July 19, 2015


'Normandy Four' leaders agree to implement Minsk accords on Ukraine by end of 2015 - UNIAN news


Russia calls Ukrainian constitutional changes inadequate, decentralization does not include defense, foreign policy, national security - rferl.org


Putin stresses the establishment of direct dialogue between Kiev authorities and representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk - Sputnik 


Moscow: West should persuade Ukrainian authorities to start real national dialogue instead of encouraging Kiev’s irresponsible policy - TASS


Poroshenko: Constitutional changes stipulate no special status for Donbass, “There isn’t a single hint on federalization" - Sputnik 


Ukraine calls local elections but not in rebel-held east - US News


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nuland sees no ground to talk about Ukraine's way to federalization, only decentralization - interfax.com


Russia says US Nuland ‘jumping to conclusions’ backing Ukraine constitutional law - TASS


Nuland: In case of escalation in Donbas costs for Russia will go up - interfax.com


Victoria Nuland Press Conference in Ukraine - Embassy of the United States Kyiv, Ukraine


US to punish Putin by stepping up financial sanctions if Russia does not fulfil commitment to Minsk agreement - The Independent


Separatist: Kiev didn't submit new draft law on constitution to Contact Group for discussion - TASS


Statement Of The LNR Chairman of the Government Plotnitsky On The Draft Amendments To The Ukrainian Constitution - Voices from Russia

 

Ukrainian law on local elections has nothing to do with the DPR: Pushilin - Novorossia Today


Lavrov and Steinmeier call for soonest Ukrainian troops’ withdrawal from Shyrokino - TASS


Ukraine Rebels Claim Readiness To Pull Back Tanks, Smaller Arms - rferl.org


Strelkov Reportedly Says that Motorola, Givi Out; Zakharchenko Stripped of Guard; DNR Defense Ministry Dismantled after Moscow VIP Visit - Interpreter_Mag


Savchenko moved to Russia's Rostov region: lawyer (VIDEO) - uatoday.tv


Right Sector to hold popular assembly in Kyiv on Tuesday - interfax.com


Right Sector doesn't believe in unbiased inquiry into Mukacheve events, ready to defend its fighters - interfax.com

 

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MH17 investigators to analyse footage of Russian-backed rebels at crash site in Ukraine - news.com.au


The moment Russian-backed rebels realise their momentous mistake after shooting down flight MH17 - news.com.au


VIDEO: Footage reveals Russian-backed rebels arriving at the wreckage of MH17 - news.com.au


TRANSCRIPT: Russian-backed rebels ransack the wreckage of MH17 in shocking 17-minute video - news.com.au


MH17 Victims' Families Suing Igor Girkin, AKA Strelkov, For $900 Million - Interpreter_Mag


VIDEO: MH17 investigator: ‘Buk Missile strike most credible scenario' - BBC News


Chemical examination found submunitions from Boeing corresponding to Russian Buk missiles: Butusov - EN.Censor.net


Unraveling the mystery of MH17: A full recount of the event (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) - mashable.com


MH17 In Their Own Words: Witness Testimonies on Social Media from July 17th, 2014 - bellingcat


A local resident describes seeing a rocket flew from south of Snizhne towards MH17 - MH17 Live on Twitter


SBU intercepted conversation between separatists discussing the downing of Flight MH17 - MH17 Live on Twitter


Separatist communications discussing the Buk intercepted by the SBU - MH17 Live on Twitter

 

Russia’s Colin Powell Moment – How the Russian Government’s MH17 Lies Were Exposed - bellingcat


Zaroshchens’ke Launch Site: Claims and Reality: A Bellingcat Investigation - bellingcat


Evidence the Russian Military Supplied the Type of Missile Used to Shoot Down MH17 - bellingcat


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

Lila Garrett’s CONNECT THE DOTS. Guests include:

Monday morning  at 7-8AM  tune in (KPFK 90.7 fm)  or log on: http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Swanson on the virtues of the American-Iranian diplomatic deal.  Will it pass this hawkish Congress or will they reject diplomacy for another war. 

Ben Beachy Research Dir of Global Trade Watch for Public Citizen on the future of the TPP, the trade agreement that gives corporations final say over government rule.  Can this assault on democracy be defeated in this right wing Congress?

Dr. Paul Song, Chair of the Courage Campaign joins us with facts & myths about Obamacare.  Is it another gift to the insurance companies and big pharma or can it actually lead to Medicare for All.

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.

Link to my program page
http://www.kpfk.org/index.php/programs/67-connect-the-dots-with-lila-garrett

Link to my podcasts
http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Each show is online for three months.

It's not terrorism if it's retaliation: Chattanooga Shooting, If Linked to ISIS, is a Legitimate Act of War

By Dave Lindorff

 

I'm not a fan of war or of killing of any kind, but the labeling of the deadly attack by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez on two US military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee as an act of terror is absurd.

Are Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements of Any Value?

The recent announcement of a nuclear deal between the governments of Iran and other major nations, including the United States, naturally draws our attention to the history of international nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements.  What accounts for their advent on the world scene and what have they accomplished?

Ever since 1945, when the atomic bomb was built and used by the U.S. government in a devastating attack upon Japanese cities, the world has lived on the brink of catastrophe, for nuclear weapons, if integrated into war, could cause the total destruction of civilization.

Join Me and Kathy Kelly in Chicago on the 87th Anniversary of Kellogg-Briand Pact

From David Swanson:

Please indicate you're coming here and share it widely:https://www.facebook.com/events/1451800825124185/

Here's a webpage. Here's a flyer.
 
Here's the book I wrote that alerted people to the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Chicago activist who made it happen and put forward, with others, a vision that could help us actually eliminate war: http://davidswanson.org/outlawry
 
In that book I advocated celebrating August 27. St Paul, Minn., has taken that up. There's an event this year in Albuquerque. But I'll be at the third-annual award ceremony for a related essay contest created by Frank Goetz and others in Chicago.
 
And if you can't be there, you can organize your own event to mark the day evoked in "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" when nations said they'd never fight again (ask me to help!).
 
The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans all war, is acknowledged as in force by the U.S. State Dept on its website -- and by the Pentagon just last month in its new publication.

We have a long way to go to end war, and one way is to learn from the model of Kathy Kelly's work. Join me and her in Chicago where Outlawry of War was born.

And make sure you're part of World Beyond War.

Greece News - July 17, 2015


Europe moves to restore funding to Greece after bailout vote - Reuters


ECB's Mario Draghi Confirms: Greece Is Saved, Debt Relief ‘Necessary' - thestreet.com


VIDEO: Press conference with Mario Draghi following the meeting of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (Full) - ECB


IMF's Lagarde sees hope for Greek debt restructure - AFP


VIDEO (and transcript): IMF chief Lagarde: Europe must do much more to help Greece, accept debt adjustments - PBS


Greece needs debt relief far beyond EU plans: Secret IMF report - Reuters


Text of the IMF’s four-page Greece debt sustainability analysis - IMF


Eurozone chief Dijsselbloem: EU loan to Greece allows the country to pay debts it owes to the International Monetary Fund so the IMF can rejoin negotiations on a third bailout - sigmalive.com


France's Sapin says on same line as IMF on Greek debt relief - Reuters


US Treasury's Lew Presses German And French Finance Ministers on Greek Debt Relief - WSJ


Readout from a Treasury Spokesperson on Secretary Lew’s Meetings in Europe on Greece - treasury.gov


German parliament seen clearly backing talks on Greece aid - Reuters


Germany's Schaeuble casts doubt on chance of Greek bailout success, still thinks temporary Grexit a good idea - Reuters


Greek parliament backs bailout deal amid protests - usatoday.com


After a night of rioting quiet acceptance in Athens, despite protests Greece is largely supportive of Tsipras and the bailout deal - ibtimes


VIDEO: Riots in Athens over Austerity Measures & Bailout Plan - YouTube


Tsipras says Greece needs debt restructuring to exit the crisis - Channel NewsAsia


VIDEO: Alexander Tsipras' speech to the Greek Parliament: 'We had a choice: A deal we disagreed with or a chaotic default’ - The Independent


Tsipras: Early Elections Unlikely Despite Weakening Syriza Support - Sputnik International


PM Tsipras hit out at lawmakers in his leftist Syriza party for breaking ranks over the terms of Greece's bailout - Reuters


Former Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis Calls Bailout Deal Reforms 'Fiscal Waterboarding' - huffingtonpost.com

 

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

Tomgram: Max Blumenthal, The Next Gaza War

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

NBC Dares Mention Climate in Spread of Lyme Disease, But Not Who Created Lyme Disease

Climate change is apparently encouraging the spread of Lyme disease, and a report by NBC News dares to say so. This may seem like a fresh breath of honest sanity in a media context in which even the weather reports usually avoid the topic of human global destruction.

However, another topic is clearly still off limits: the topic of who created Lyme disease.

Who created it is not in any real doubt. The facts have been well reported and never refuted.

The relevance of the disease's creators to this and numerous other news reports about Lyme disease is indisputable. If you're going to report on what's facilitating the disease's spread, you should report on what started it, and how it was intentionally created to spread and why.

That NBC News knows the information is easily shown. In 2004 Michael Christopher Carroll published a book called Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory. He appeared on several television shows to discuss the book, including on MSNBC and on NBC's Today Show (where the book was made a Today Show Book Club selection). Lab 257 hit the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list soon after its publication.

And what did that book say? Well, the wonderful thing about books is that you can still go and read them. But I'll give you a brief summary of the part about Lyme disease. For a wide array of other diseases, some far worse, you'll have to read the book.

Less than 2 miles off the east end of Long Island sits Plum Island, where the U.S. government makes biological weapons, including weapons consisting of diseased insects that can be dropped from airplanes on a (presumably foreign) population. One such insect is the deer tick, pursued as a germ weapon by the Nazis, the Japanese, the Soviets, and the Americans.

Deer swim to Plum Island.

I wasn't aware that deer swam at all, but apparently they are ocean swimmers. A quick internet search finds plenty of reports and photos and videos of deer swimming, miles from shore, including in Long Island Sound. And people are often so surprised (and kind hearted) that they rescue the deer -- which may in some cases not actually be needed. Deer frequently swim between Long Island and Plum Island; there's not any dispute about that fact.

Birds fly to Plum Island. The island lies in the middle of the Atlantic migration route for numerous species. "Ticks," Carroll writes, "find baby chicks irresistible."

In July of 1975 a brand new disease appeared in Old Lyme, Connecticut, just north of Plum Island. It wasn't a disease that gradually grew and finally attracted attention. It was 12 cases of a disease that, as far as anyone knows, had never been seen before. Scientists' efforts to find it in the past haven't gotten any further than the 1940s in the areas right around Plum Island.

And what was on Plum Island? A germ warfare lab to which the U.S. government had brought former Nazi germ warfare scientists in the 1940s to work on the same evil work for a different employer. These included the head of the Nazi germ warfare program who had worked directly for Heinrich Himmler. On Plum Island was a germ warfare lab that frequently conducted its experiments out of doors. After all, it was on an island. What could go wrong? Documents record outdoor experiments with diseased ticks in the 1950s. Even the indoors, where participants admit to experiments with ticks, was not sealed tight. And test animals mingled with wild deer, test birds with wild birds.

By the 1990s, the eastern end of Long Island had by far the greatest concentration of Lyme disease. If you drew a circle around the area of the world heavily impacted by Lyme disease, which happened to be in the Northeast United States, the center of that circle was Plum Island.

Plum Island experimented with the Lone Star tick, whose habitat at the time was confined to Texas. Yet it showed up in New York and Connecticut, infecting people with Lyme disease -- and killing them. The Lone Star tick is now endemic in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

So, by all means blame ExxonMobil and all the other climate liars, and their servants in government, for the spread of Lyme disease, among other horrors. But save a little blame for the military industrial complex. Either it murdered the victims of Lyme disease, or -- if you believe in the nobility of its mission -- then perhaps we'd better say they are collateral damage.

Iran News - July 16, 2015


Obama: Iran nuclear deal debate is a choice between diplomacy and war - The Guardian


Obama asks Iran deal skeptics: What's your alternative? - KTVQ.com


VIDEO: President Obama News Conference Iran Nuclear Deal (Full) - C-SPAN.org


Obama called Putin thanking him for his role in reaching a deal on Iran's nuclear program: White House - The Economic Times


Obama: US needs Iran's help in Syria - TheHill


VIDEO: Obama Unloads On Major Garrett For Rude Question on Iran hostages: 'That’s nonsense, you should know better' - YouTube


Nuclear Pact Raises Kin’s Hopes of Freedom for 3 Held in Iran - The New York Times


White House works to convince Democrats to back Iran deal - Reuters


Iran deal putting Schumer in a vise - TheHill


GOP crafts Iran deal attack plan - TheHill


2016 Republican Candidates Slam Iran Nuke Deal - NBC News


VIDEO: Dick Cheney torches Iran deal - Business Insider


AIPAC tells Congress to reject Iran deal; J Street to support it - The Times of Israel


VIDEO: Benjamin Netanyahu: Iran Nuclear Deal Poses Threat to U.S., Israel - NBC News


U.S. circulates United Nations resolution on Iran nuclear deal - CBS News


VIDEO: Iran nuclear deal: IAEA chief 'confident' over early detection - BBC News


How the nuclear deal can keep Iran from ‘cheating,’ according to a former U.N. inspector - The Washington Post


Why Is Iran's Refusal to Allow No-Notice Inspections Legit? U.S. History With Iraq - The Intercept


Iran and UN Watchdog Agree on Roadmap - The Iran Primer


Iran May Sell to Buffett-Backed Uranium Bank Under Nuclear Pact - Bloomberg Business


Here's the full text of the Iran nuclear deal - Vox

 

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Rouhani: With nuclear deal Iran will no longer be called a world threat - Reuters


Iran's Khamenei Lends Cautious Support To Nuclear Deal, Says It Should Be Scrutinized Carefully - huffingtonpost.com


Iranians dance in streets and thank Rouhani for nuclear deal, hoping it will end years of economic sanctions and international isolation - Reuters


VIDEO: Iranians celebrate a future with no sanctions after nuclear deal - YouTube


Iran Nuclear Deal: High Hopes for Economy Amid 'New Beginning’ (VIDEO) - NBC News


After Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran Poised For Large Economic Influx - Algemeiner.com


Iran nuclear deal: Which companies will benefit the most? - Fortune


Iran Nuclear Deal: Lifting Sanctions Could Transform Business For Pharmaceutical Companies, Ease Financial Roadblocks - ibtimes.com


Looking for Lucrative Contracts Russia Quickly Maneuvers to Capitalize on Iran Nuclear Deal - The New York Times


French, German ministers plan Iran visits after nuclear deal - DW.COM


Exclusive: US defense chief Carter to travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran, says Rice - Reuters


How the Pentagon got its way in Iran deal, Restrictions on advanced military weapons sales to Iran will remain in place for five to eight years - POLITICO


Syria’s Assad praises Iran deal as ‘Great victory’ - Al Arabiya News


Syrian rebels fighting Assad express concern that the nuclear deal would expand Iranian influence in the region at their expense - todayszaman.com


Palestinians welcome Iran deal, expect similar international pressure on Israel - Haaretz Daily Newspaper


NSA documents: In 2008 Israeli special forces assassinated senior Syrian official suspected of facilitating Iran’s provision of arms and military training to Hezbollah - The Intercept


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

AIPAC: Anti-Iranian Propaganda at Congress

AIPAC's statement on Iran inspires me to make a graphic:

Here's AIPAC's statement:

"AIPAC Statement on Proposed Iran Nuclear Agreement

"AIPAC has consistently supported diplomatic efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program,"

Except when lobbying for ever greater sanctions that would have blocked the negotiations, and even for a US commitment to jump into any Israeli-Iranian war. Here's a brief history in the form of activist opposition to AIPAC.

"and we appreciate the commitment and dedication of President Obama and his administration throughout these negotiations. Unfortunately, this proposed agreement fails to halt Iran’s nuclear quest."

There is no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapon. Gareth Porter makes this clear in his book Manufactured Crisis.

My Congressman Is Wrong On Iran and Yours Might Be Too

For the United States to sit and talk and come to an agreement with a nation it has been antagonizing and demonizing since the dictator it installed in 1953 was overthrown in 1979 is historic and, I hope, precedent setting. Let's seal this deal!

Four months ago the Washington Post published an op-ed headlined 'War With Iran Is Probably Our Best Option.' It wasn't. Defenders of war present war as a last resort, but when other options are tried the result is never war. We should carry this lesson over to several other parts of the world.

The time has come to remove the "missile defense" weaponry from Europe that was put there under the false pretense of protecting Europe from Iran. With that justification gone, U.S. aggression toward Russia will become damagingly apparent if this step is not taken. And the time has come for the nations that actually have nuclear weapons to join and/or comply with the nonproliferation treaty, which Iran was never actually in violation of.

Tomgram: Tim Weiner, The Nixon Legacy

 This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

ISIS Crisis Exegesis

Talking with Iran has made the war profiteers and their servants sad and the rest of the world happy. Perhaps the novel idea of negotiating rather than killing will be carried over to several other parts of the world. Mainstream corporate voices are even raising the idea of talking with ISIS, or at least talking with the nations of the region ISIS is in about ISIS, or at least ceasing to make the ISIS Crisis worse by ignorantly doing everything wrong -- which just might include making friends with Iran in order to fight ISIS together.

"But what about ISIS?" That has been the endless zombie question encountered by all peace activists ever since the propaganda coup of the videos of two U.S. journalist beheadings. And part of the answer has always been: learn where it came from. Phyllis Bennis's new book can help with that job wonderfully. The book is called Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer. Whether you think you understand ISIS or not, I urge you to pick up a copy, or better a box of copies. This is a small book that should be passed out like a vaccine to residents of the enormous camp of refugees from sanity and historicity that we call the United States of America.

Bennis's book is excellent on what to do, although that topic is found in a handful of pages near the end. The focus, however, is on understanding origins and context. If anything, this is overdone, though it's hard to see what the harm could be in people learning a little too much. The book covers Syria, the Arab Spring, Libya, Iran, the United Nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many other tangentially related topics (I wish she's added a section on the phony reports of ISIS actions in the United States). The book is excellent on the 2013 Syria Missile Crisis and the role that popular resistance played in preventing a massive U.S. bombing campaign in Syria. That, even more so than the successful negotiation with Iran this week, should be our model for future activism.

Bennis relates an excellent history of the Mountain Rescue Excuse and places it in the context of the Imminent-Genocide-in-Benghazi Scam and other past justifications to launch wars that have predictably and immediately veered off into unrelated murderous operations.

But I think the most interesting point in this wide-ranging book may be one that Bennis makes about the Sunni Awakening. You might recall that when the United States began the 2003-2011 destruction of Iraq it quickly dissolved the Iraqi military, dismantled the civil service, and got rid of the Baath Party. Angry, trained, and armed fighters joined the popular resistance to the U.S. occupation. Among the new fighting groups that formed was Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2006, the Bush administration gave up on the hopeless mission-never-to-be-accomplished of trying to fight these groups, and started buying them off. This was a key part of the success of the "surge" that was itself no success at all. But some of the groups, including AQI refused to be bought off or to cease fighting.

In 2008, the United States turned over to the Iraqi government the job of buying off Sunni groups. The Iraqi government ceased making the payments. And the growth of ISIS, the renamed AQI, was underway. And it was exacerbated by an Iraqi government that shut out Sunnis and attacked Sunnis, while being funded and armed by the U.S. government. People think ISIS came out of nowhere, but many of us were, in the years before ISIS hit the news, struggling to oppose the U.S. provision of weapons to the Iraqi government for use in attacking Iraqis. This is where ISIS and broad support for ISIS among Sunnis came from.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia had told Sir Richard Dearlove of MI6, "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shi'a.' More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them." ISIS funding flows from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar, as well as from oil sales and artifact sales and kidnappings and thefts.

When 1,300 ISIS fighters overwhelmed 350,000 Iraqi soldiers and helped themselves to loads of U.S. weaponry, ISIS had the support of Sunni leaders angered by the Iraqi government, and of former Iraqi military leaders thrown out of work by Paul Bremmer -- not to mention benefitting from the chaos and flood of weaponry into Syria, and critically from the lack of enthusiasm for their cause among members of the Iraqi military.

So why do I say the Sunni Awakening is the most interesting point? Because something was working. Making small payments of cash to Sunnis -- sums far smaller than those spent on the weapons and the training (at $4 million per trainee now) to fight them -- was working. What if, instead of ending those payments, they had been continued, or been transformed into a program of nonviolent aid to everyone in the region, accompanied perhaps by a note of apology for having destroyed the place?

Bennis' first recommendation for what to do is an arms embargo. I think if Americans realized that their country was arming the region that their country constantly laments the violence in, the idea of an arms embargo would have overwhelming appeal. Beyond that, Bennis recommends: an inclusive Iraqi government, an end to airstrikes, a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the use of diplomacy, including possibly talks with ISIS.

Bennis also suggests reversing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project which can make teaching non-violent activism to groups abroad into the crime of "material support for terrorism." And she proposes a massive increase in U.S. aid through U.N. agencies.

Of course, aid has a tendency to make things better and a proven record of working in Iraq. So I assume every other possible approach will be tried first.

NOTE TO THOSE IN WASHINGTON DC AREA:
Come to the book launch party for this book, with its author, on July 27 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Busboys & Poets 5th and K, 1025 5th St NW, Washington, DC.

A tale of sexism, racism and corporate pressure”: Ellen Pao’s Resignation from Reddit

By Alfredo Lopez


The Internet -- always ablaze with controversy -- is a wildfire these days with revelations about more pernicious government spying, deals between governments and corporate "hacker companies", and Ellen Pao's resignation as head of Reddit.

Greece News - July 14, 2015

 

Greece strikes deal with eurozone, avoiding financial collapse and euro exit - AP


Text of Greece debt agreement: the eurozone summit statement in full - The Guardian


VIDEO: Press conference after European Council meeting on Greece - YouTube


Hollande’s victory: The French president never stopped hammering home the message that Greece must remain in the eurozone - POLITICO


Greek president thanks French counterpart for role in talks, Hollande hails PM Tsipras for making a 'courageous choice' - ekathimerini.com


White House says Greece deal 'credible step', cautions that there are 'still important decisions and important steps to be taken' - Business Standard News

 

US Treasury Secretary Lew says Greek deal important step forward, but substantial work remains to be done - TheHill

 

VIDEO: Lagarde: Greece Deal Good Step to Rebuild Confidence - usatoday.com

 

Greece misses new payment to IMF despite bailout deal - AFP

 

Greece’s Banks Are Next in Line for a European Bailout - The New York Times

 

ECB will wait on Greek vote before another aid move - Irish Examiner

 

Greek economy minister says bank recapitalisation will safeguard deposits - Reuters

 

Greek debt crisis: How is Greece going to spend its €86bn rescue package? - ibtimes.co.uk

 

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VIDEO: Tsipras: Grexit is a 'thing of the past' - YouTube


Greek PM says secured debt restructuring and medium-term financing in a growth package - Reuters


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ statement following the conclusion of the Eurozone Summit - Prime Minister of Greece


Tsipras prepares to send bailout deal to parliament for approval facing a left-wing revolt – POLITICO


Greek bailout deal 'a new Versailles Treaty', says Yanis Varoufakis in first post-resignation interview - ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

 

Greek Defense Minister: This Bailout Deal Is a Coup - GreekReporter.com

 

Right-Wing Partner of Tsipras Criticizes Deal - The New York Times

 

Greek civil servants' union calls 24-hour strike for Wednesday - AFP

 

VIDEO: Greek protester burns Syriza flag after Tsipras accepts bailout programme - YouTube

 

POLL: Overwhelming majority of Greeks want to keep euro, poll shows - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

 

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

 

Tomgram: Pratap Chatterjee, No Lone Rangers in Drone Warfare

Since November 2002, when a CIA drone strike destroyed the SUV of “al-Qaeda's chief operative in Yemen,” Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi (“U.S.

What Are Foreign Military Bases For?

If you're like most people in the United States, you have a vague awareness that the U.S. military keeps lots of troops permanently stationed on foreign bases around the world. But have you ever wondered and really investigated to find out how many, and where exactly, and at what cost, and to what purpose, and in terms of what relationship with the host nations?

A wonderfully researched new book, six years in the works, answers these questions in a manner you'll find engaging whether you've ever asked them or not. It's called Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Harm America and the World, by David Vine.

Some 800 bases with hundreds of thousands of troops in some 70 nations, plus all kinds of other "trainers" and "non-permanent" exercises that last indefinitely, maintain an ongoing U.S. military presence around the world for a price tag of at least $100 billion a year.

Why they do this is a harder question to answer.

Talk Nation Radio: David Vine on U.S. Bases Around the World

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-david-vine-on-us-bases-around-the-world

David Vine is Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC. David is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2009). His new book, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, will be published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt in August 2015. Many of David’s articles and information about his books and other work can be found at www.davidvine.net.

A review of Base Nation by David Swanson is here: http://davidswanson.org/node/4825

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://TalkNationRadio.org

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

Read Mumia

Yes, I also want to say Free Mumia. In fact, I want to say Free all the prisoners. Turn the prison holding Mumia Abu-Jamal into a school and make him dean. And if you won't free all the prisoners, free one who has been punished to a level that ought to satisfy any retributive scheme for any crime he might have committed. And if you won't do that, free him because he was put into prison by a fraudulent and corrupt trial that hid as much evidence as it revealed, and fabricated the latter.

More importantly, Read Mumia. His new book is called Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and it includes commentaries by Mumia from 1982 through 2014. Mumia went ahead and made his prison a school -- a school in history, in politics, and in morality. And his own moral teaching is primarily by example. He teaches the liberating lesson that, if you so choose, you can know right now that never ever will anyone be able to beat you down. You can be cheerful for the rest of your life and rest completely assured that nothing can ever take that away.

Why? Because Mumia was shot and beaten within an inch of his life by the police, who then tried to kill him in the hospital with cold air meant to bring death by pneumonia. Then he was framed up and railroaded into a "correctional" institution. Then he was subjected for as long as perhaps anyone alive to the torture of solitary confinement (which drives some to self-mutilation). He was essentially mock-executed twice with dates set for his murder by the state of Pennsylvania. And it's never let up, with a new effort to kill him through denial of medical care this year.

Yet from day-1 in prison to this day, Mumia has been creating written and radio commentaries that go after every injustice in the world, including those committed by the very prison guards who threaten his life. And one cannot find a word of self-pity in any of them. Nor a word of self-indulgence or of narrow focus. From behind bars, Mumia sees the global perspective better than most on the outside. He takes on the war machine as determinedly as poverty and draws the connections between them. With no fear. No bitterness. No paranoia. No despair. No let up. And no lack of love and understanding.

And that's not primarily why you should read Mumia. He's not a great wrongly-imprisoned-black writer. He's a great writer. And if he were free and on book tour, chances are certainly better that you would be reading him. Mumia's commentaries from prison are as informed and more insightful than many from academia. And less compromising -- Compromising being something he takes on effectively with his critiques of what W.E.B. Dubois called the Philadelphia Negro.

If you want a sports score on Mumia's insights, how about a list of accurate predictions?

He predicted the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.

He predicted Colin Powell's performance long before his U.N. speech: "[A]s he has done all of his professional, military life, the General will follow the orders he's given, even if he is in disagreement with them." —Aug. 30, 2001

He predicted war disasters before the wars. He predicted who George W. Bush and Barack Obama would be prior to Bush's selection and Obama's election (and nailed the theft of Florida for Bush in 2000 before it was completed). Of Obama he said:

"Black faces in high places does not freedom make. Power is more than presence. It is the ability to meet people's political objectives of freedom, independence, and material well-being. We are as far from those objectives as we were in 1967." —Aug. 6, 2008

Mumia got Hillary Clinton right before she was even a senator, never mind before, as president, she started World War III:

"The Democratic senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton, in the aftermath of the Diallo killers' acquittal, issued a statement to the effect that 'police officers should work to understand the community, and the community should understand the risks faced by police officers.' This in the afterglow of a whitewash quasi-prosecution and acquittal of four cops who glocked Diallo to death in his doorway for committing the capital crime of 'standing while black.'--SWB. This in studied political reflection of a case where cops fired 41 shots at an unarmed man!" —March 13, 2000

Mumia answered "Why do they hate us?" on September 17, 2001. He got the Cuban Five right before they were freed. He got Black Lives Matter before leaders of that movement were born. He got Distant Lives Matter too, also right, before that movement was even born, if it ever is.

Mumia even addressed Bill Cosby with appropriate contempt decades before that was cool.

Mumia above all has been a leading voice in helping to end the death penalty, and he has urged on and celebrated each step in that direction.

Mumia knows what is happening better from behind bars than do many on the outside, because he has access to books. He once recorded this radio review of one of my books, which I considered superior to any other review.

Those of us outside of prison have access to books, too, although many seem to forget it. We could all be as well-informed as Mumia. We could all know what's coming next before it hits us in the face. A good place to start would be by reading the Writing on the Wall.

Most Attitudes and Beliefs are Outcomes of Fear

I routinely come across efforts to change an individual’s attitude, belief and/or value by using education to teach the ‘right’ one. This is most usually intended to lead to a better behavioural outcome, such as someone who is not sexist, racist or violent. I would like to explain why education cannot achieve such a change, except in the most superficial of circumstances, as the evidence clearly demonstrates.

For the sake of this article, an attitude is a settled way of thinking about someone or something, a belief is an acceptance that something is true and a value is a principle in relation to something judged to be important in life.

Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq

By David Swanson, teleSUR

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The National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents, one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and the resources of the U.S. military.

Duelfer was appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to lead a massive search after an earlier massive search led by David Kay had determined that there were no WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Duelfer went to work in January 2004, to find nothing for a second time, on behalf of people who had launched a war knowing full well that their own statements about WMDs were not true.

The fact that Duelfer states quite clearly that he found none of the alleged WMD stockpiles cannot be repeated enough, with 42% of Americans (and 51 percent of Republicans) still believing the opposite.

A New York Times story last October about the remnants of a long-abandoned chemical weapons program has been misused and abused to advance misunderstanding. A search of Iraq today would find U.S. cluster bombs that were dropped a decade back, without of course finding evidence of a current operation.

Duelfer is also clear that Saddam Hussein's government had accurately denied having WMD, contrary to a popular U.S. myth that Hussein had pretended to have what he did not.

The fact that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their team knowingly lied cannot be overemphasized. This group took the testimony of Hussein Kamel regarding weapons he'd said had been destroyed years ago, and used it as if he'd said they currently existed. This team used forged documents to allege a uranium purchase. They used claims about aluminum tubes that had been rejected by all of their own usual experts. They "summarized" a National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq was unlikely to attack unless attacked to say nearly the opposite in a "white paper" released to the public. Colin Powell took claims to the U.N. that had been rejected by his own staff, and touched them up with fabricated dialogue.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller concluded that, "In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even nonexistent."

On January 31, 2003, Bush suggested to Blair that they could paint an airplane with U.N. colors, fly it low to get it shot at, and thereby start the war. Then the two of them walked out to a press conference at which they said they would avoid war if at all possible. Troop deployments and bombing missions were already underway.

When Diane Sawyer asked Bush on television why he had made the claims he had about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, he replied: "What's the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, if he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."

Duelfer's newly released internal report on his hunt, and that of Kay before him, for the figments of propagandists' imagination refers to "Saddam Hussein's WMD program," which Duelfer treats as an on-again, off-again institution, as if the 2003 invasion had just caught it in one of its naturally cyclical low tides of non-existence. Duelfer also describes the nonexistent program as "an international security problem that vexed the world for three decades," -- except perhaps for the part of the world engaged in the largest public demonstrations in history, which rejected the U.S. case for war.

Duelfer openly states that his goal was to rebuild "confidence in intelligence projections of threat." Of course, having found no WMDs, he can't alter the inaccuracy of the "projections of threat." Or can he? What Duelfer did publicly at the time and does again here is to claim, without providing any evidence for it, that "Saddam was directing resources to sustain the capacity to recommence producing WMD once U.N. sanctions and international scrutiny collapsed."

Duelfer claims that former Saddam yes men, rigorously conditioned to say whatever would most please their questioner, had assured him that Saddam harbored these secret intentions to start rebuilding WMD someday. But, Duelfer admits, "there is no documentation of this objective. And analysts should not expect to find any."

So, in Duelfer's rehabilitation of the "intelligence community" that may soon be trying to sell you another "projection of threat" (a phrase that perfectly fits what a Freudian would say they were doing), the U.S. government invaded Iraq, devastated a society, killed upwards of a million people by best estimates, wounded, traumatized, and made homeless millions more, generated hatred for the United States, drained the U.S. economy, stripped away civil liberties back home, and laid the groundwork for the creation of ISIS, as a matter not of "preempting" an "imminent threat" but of preempting a secret plan to possibly begin constructing a future threat should circumstances totally change.

This conception of "preemptive defense" is identical to two other concepts. It's identical to the justifications we've been offered recently for drone strikes. And it's identical to aggression. Once "defense" has been stretched to include defense against theoretical future threats, it ceases to credibly distinguish itself from aggression. And yet Duelfer seems to believe he succeeded in his assignment.

Call for Sanity on Sixtieth Anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto



The original Einstein-Russell manifesto

It was exactly 60 years ago that Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein gathered together with a group of leading intellectuals in London to draft and sign a manifesto in which they denounced the dangerous drive toward war between the world’s Communist and anti-Communist factions. The signers of this manifesto included leading Nobel Prize winners such as Hideki Yukawa and Linus Pauling.

They were blunt, equating the drive for war and reckless talk of the use of nuclear weapons sweeping the United States and the Soviet Union at the time, as endangering all of humanity. The manifesto argued that advancements in technology, specifically the invention of the atomic bomb, had set human history on a new and likely disastrous course.

The manifesto stated in harsh terms the choice confronting humanity:

Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?

The Russell-Einstein Manifesto forced a serious reconsideration of the dangerous strategic direction in which the United States was heading at that time and was the beginning of a recalibration of the concept of security that would lead to the signing of the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1968 and the arms control talks of the 1970s.

But we take little comfort in those accomplishments today. The United States has completely forgotten about its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty, and the words “arms control” have disappeared from the conversation on security. The last year has seen the United States confront Russia in Ukraine to such a degree that many have spoken about the risks of nuclear war.

As a result, on June 16 of this year Russia announced that it will add 40 new ICBMs in response to the investment of the United States over the last two years in upgrading its nuclear forces.

Similar tensions have emerged between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Isles and between the United States and China over the South China Sea. Discussions about the possibility of war with China are showing up in the Western media with increasing frequency, and a deeply disturbing push to militarize American relations with Asia is emerging.

But this time, the dangers of nuclear war are complemented by an equal, or greater, threat: climate change. Even the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, told the Boston Globe in 2013 that climate change “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’

More recently, Pope Francis issued a detailed, and blunt, encyclical dedicated to the threat of climate change in which he charged:

It is remarkable how weak international political responses (to climate change) have been. Consequently the most one can expect is superficial rhetoric, sporadic acts of philanthropy and perfunctory expressions of concern for the environment, whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusions or an obstacle to be circumvented.

As the 60th anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto drew near, I became increasing disturbed by the complete inaction among the best-educated and best-connected in the face of the most dangerous moment in modern history and perhaps in human history, grimmer even than the catastrophe that Russell and Einstein contemplated. Not only are we facing the increased likelihood of nuclear war, but there are signs that climate change is advancing more rapidly than previously estimated. Science Magazine recently released a study that predicts massive marine destruction if we follow the current trends, and even the glaciers of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula, once thought to be the most stable, are observed to be melting rapidly. And yet we see not even the most superficial efforts to defend against this threat by the major powers.

I spoke informally about my worries with my friend John Feffer, director of Foreign Policy in Focus and associate of the Asia Institute. John has written extensively about the need to identify climate change as the primary security threat and also has worked closely with Miriam Pemberton of the Institute for Policy Studies on efforts to move the United States away from a military economy. Between the two of us we have put together a slightly updated version of the manifesto that highlights climate change — an issue that was not understood in 1955 — and hereby have published it in the form of a petition that we invite anyone in the world to sign. This new version of the manifesto is open to the participation of all, not restricted to that of an elite group of Nobel Prize winners.

I also spoke with David Swanson, a friend from my days working on the Dennis Kucinich campaign for the Democratic nomination back in 2004. David now serves as director of World Beyond War, a broad effort to create a consensus that war no longer has any legitimate place in human society. He offered to introduce the manifesto to a broad group of activists and we agreed that Foreign Policy in Focus, the Asia Institute and World Beyond War would co-sponsor the new manifesto.

Finally, I sent the draft to Noam Chomsky who readily offered to sign it and offered the following comment.

Last January the famous Doomsday Clock was moved two minutes closer to midnight, the closest it has been since a major war scare 30 years ago.  The accompanying declaration, which warned that the constant threat of nuclear war and “unchecked climate change” severely threaten human civilization, brings to mind the grim warning to the people of the world just 60 years ago by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, calling on them to face a choice that is “stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?” In all of human history, there has never been a choice like the one we face today.

The declaration on the 60th anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto is displayed below. We urge all people who are concerned about humanity’s future and about the health of the Earth’s biosphere to join us in signing the declaration, and to invite friends and family members to sign. The statement can be signed at the petition page on DIY RootsAction website:

Declaration on the 60th Anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto

July 9, 2015

In view of the growing risk that in future wars weapons, nuclear and otherwise, will be employed that threaten the continued existence of humanity, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.

We also propose that all governments of the world begin to convert those resources previously allocated to preparations for destructive conflict to a new constructive purpose: the mitigation of climate change and the creation of a new sustainable civilization on a global scale.

This effort is endorsed by Foreign Policy in Focus, the Asia Institute, and World Beyond War, and is being launched on July 9, 2015.

You can sign, and ask everyone you know to sign, this declaration here:

http://diy.rootsaction.org/p/man

Why is this declaration important?

Exactly 60 years ago today, leading intellectuals led by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein gathered in London to sign a manifesto voicing their concern that the struggle between the Communist and anti-Communist blocs in the age of the hydrogen bomb guaranteed annihilation for humanity.

Although we have so far avoided the nuclear war that those intellectuals dreaded, the danger has merely been postponed. The threat, which has reemerged recently with the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, has only grown more dire.

Moreover, the rapid acceleration of technological development threatens to put nuclear weapons, and many other weapons of similar destructiveness, into the hands of a growing circle of nations (and potentially even of “non-state actors”). At the same time, the early possessors of nuclear weapons have failed to abide by their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to destroy their stockpiles.

And now we are faced with an existential threat that may rival the destructive consequences even of a full-scale nuclear war: climate change. The rapacious exploitation of our resources and a thoughtless over-reliance upon fossil fuels have caused an unprecedented disruption of our climate. Combined with an unmitigated attack on our forests, our wetlands, our oceans, and our farmland in the pursuit of short-term gains, this unsustainable economic expansion has brought us to the edge of an abyss.

The original 1955 manifesto states: “We are speaking on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent, or creed, but as human beings,” members of the human species “whose continued existence is in doubt.”

The time has come for us to break out of the distorted and misleading conception of progress and development that has so seduced us and led us towards destruction.

Intellectuals bear a particular responsibility of leadership by virtue of their specialized expertise and insight regarding the scientific, cultural, and historical forces that have led to our predicament. Between a mercenary element that pursues an agenda of narrow interests without regard to consequences and a frequently discouraged, misled, and sometimes apathetic citizenry stand the intellectuals in every field of study and sphere of activity. It falls to us that it falls to decry the reckless acceleration of armaments and the criminal destruction of the ecosystem. The time has come for us to raise our voices in a concerted effort.

Initial Signers

Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus, MIT

Last January the famous Doomsday Clock was moved two minutes closer to midnight, the closest it has been since a major war scare 30 years ago.  The accompanying declaration, which warned that the constant threat of nuclear war and “unchecked climate change” severely threaten human civilization, brings to mind the grim warning to the people of the world just 50 years ago by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, calling on them to face a choice that is “stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?” In all of human history, there has never been a choice like the one we face today.

Helen Caldicott, author

It was the Russell Einstein manifesto on the threat of nuclear war 60 years ago that started me upon my journey to try to abolish nuclear weapons. I then read and devoured the three volumes of Russell’s autobiography which had an amazing influence upon my thinking as a young girl.

The manifesto was so extraordinarily sensible written by two of the world’s greatest thinkers, and I am truly amazed that the world at that time took practically no notice of their prescient warning, and today we are orders of magnitude in greater danger than we were 60 years ago. The governments of the world still think in primitive terms of retribution and killing while the nuclear weapons in Russia and the US are presently maintained on hair trigger alert, and these two nuclear superpowers are practicing nuclear war drills during a state of heightened international tension exacerbated by the Ukrainian situation and the Middle East. It is in truth sheer luck that we are still here on this lovely planet of ours.

Larry Wilkerson, retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

From central Europe to Southwest Asia, from the South China Sea to the Arctic, tensions are on the rise as the world’s sole empire is roiled in peripheral activities largely of its own doing and just as largely destructive of its power and corruptive of its leadership. This, while humanity’s most pressing challenge–planetary climate change–threatens catastrophe for all.  Stockpiles of nuclear weapons add danger to this already explosive situation.  We humans have never been so powerfully challenged–and so apparently helpless to do anything about it.

Benjamin R. Barber, president, Global Parliament of Mayors Project

Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything

David Swanson, director, World Beyond War

John Feffer, director, Foreign Policy in Focus

Emanuel Pastreich, director, The Asia Institute

Leah Bolger,  chair, coordinating committee, World Beyond War

Ben Griffin, coordinator, Veterans For Peace UK

Michael Nagler, founder and president, The Metta Center for Nonviolence

John Horgan, science journalist & author of The End of War

Kevin Zeese, co-director, Popular Resistance.

Margaret Flowers, M.D., co-director of Popular Resistance

Dahr Jamail, staff reporter, Truthout

John Kiriakou, associate fellow, Institute for Policy Studies and CIA Torture Whistleblower

Kim Hyung yul, president of the Asia Institute and professor of history, Sook Myung University

Choi Murim, professor of medicine, Seoul National University

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division legal counsel

Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and former US diplomat

Mike Madden, vice president, Veterans For Peace, Chapter 27 (veteran of the US Air Force)

Chante Wolf, 12 year Air Force, Desert Shield/Storm veteran, member of Chapter 27, Veterans For Peace

William Binney, former NSA technical director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis and co-founder of the SIGINT Automation Research Center.

Jean Bricmont, professor, Université Catholique de Louvain

Emanuel Pastreich is the director of the Asia Institute in Seoul, South Korea.

 

 

Greece News - July 9, 2015

 

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew: Greece needs debt restructure, sustainable debt plan - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew: There is a Way Out of Greek Crisis (to see his remarks fast forward video to 31:00) - The Pappas Post


In Separate Phone Calls Obama Urges Merkel, Tsipras to Compromise on Emergency Financing - NASDAQ.com


U.S. At Odds With Germany Over Greek Debt Crisis (VIDEO) - huffingtonpost.com


IMF chief Lagarde says debt restructuring needed in Greece, further belt-tightening and structural reforms will not be enough - La Prensa


VIDEO: IMF chief Lagarde says debt restructuring needed in Greece, financing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda - YouTube


France says 'No' to Greek euro exit, talks on Greek debt should not be taboo.: PM Valls - Yahoo News


Greece faces 'chaos and riots' unless a deal is found soon: French bank chief - The Local


POLL: Why French are easier on Greece than Germans - The Local


Noonan says Ireland favours debt restructuring for Greece - irishtimes.com


Greek debt haircut not a taboo: Luxembourg FinMin - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide


Greece, euro zone can still reach a deal: EU's Moscovici - Yahoo News


Pittella: S&D Group rejects any option of Grexit. There is no Europe without Greece - Socialists & Democrats


Where did the Greek bailout money go? Most went to the banks that lent Greece funds before the crash, less than 10% was used by the government for reforming its economy - The Guardian


This chart shows how Greece's last bailout money was spent - theweek.com


How Greece's Bank Bailout Benefited Greeks - Bloomberg View


How a Chaotic Greek Exit Could Wipe Out $1.4 Trillion in M&A - Bloomberg Business

 

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Berlin rules out any steps that cut value of loans to Greece - Reuters


Meet Germany’s hard-line finance minister who won’t budge on Greece - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Schäuble says Greek debt haircut 'not allowed' - EurActiv


In a letter Economists Piketty, Sachs urge Merkel to cut Greek debt - Yahoo Maktoob News


Austerity Has Failed: Text of the Open Letter From Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs and others to Angela Merkel - The Nation


Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece - The Washington Post


Text of the Interview of Thomas Piketty: ‘Germany Has Never Repaid its Debts. It Has No Right to Lecture Greece’ - The Wire


Europe must back away from Greek austerity cliff: Joseph Stiglitz - usatoday.com


Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel faces revolt from the right for wanting to keep Athens in euro - The Independent


Merkel to visit Balkans amid Greek crisis - NewsAdvance.com

 

Merkel Can’t Escape Greece’s Geopolitical Pull in Balkans - Bloomberg Business


Greece's Debt Crisis Is Hurting Its Even Poorer Neighbors - huffingtonpost.com

 

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Greece offers pension and tax reforms to gain new bailout - Yahoo Maktoob News


Text of Greece’s request for a 3-year loan facility to the ESM - The Financial Express


The Greek Prime Minister’s Speech in the European Parliament - GreekReporter.com


VIDEO: Boos & cheers for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the European Parliament - BBC News


European Central Bank keeps emergency funding for Greece frozen, banks will remain shuttered through the end of the week - The Washington Post


No deal, no liquidity, ECB's Noyer tells Greece - Yahoo News


CHARTS: Greece’s debt crisis explained in charts and maps - Vox


Greek Pensioners Are Surviving On Just 120 Euros. Here's What That Buys - huffingtonpost.com


Wealthy Greeks go on spending spree for Apple gadgets and jewellery as they fear they'll lose cash when banks collapse - DailyMail


The next Greek crisis: gas shortages - POLITICO


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

Peace Lessons

I just read what may be the best introduction to peace studies I’ve ever seen. It’s called Peace Lessons, and is a new book by Timothy Braatz. It’s not too fast or too slow, neither obscure nor boring. It does not drive the reader away from activism toward meditation and “inner peace,” but begins with and maintains a focus on activism and effective strategy for revolutionary change in the world on the scale that is needed. As you may be gathering, I’ve read some similar books about which I had major complaints.

No doubt there are many more, similar books I haven’t read, and no doubt most of them cover the basic concepts of direct, structural, and cultural violence and nonviolence. No doubt many of them review the 20th century history of nonviolent overthrows of dictators. No doubt the U.S. civil rights movement is a common theme, especially among U.S. authors. Braatz’s book covers this and other familiar territory so well I was never tempted to set it down. He gives some of the best answers available to the usual questions from the dominant war-based culture, as well: “Would you shoot a crazed gunman to save your grandma?” “What about Hitler?”

Braatz introduces basic concepts with crystal clarity, and then proceeds to illuminate them with a discussion of the battle of Little Bighorn from a peace perspective. The book is worth acquiring for this alone, or for the similarly insightful discussion of John Brown’s use of nonviolent strategies in combination with his use of violence. Brown established a constructive project, a cooperative interracial non-patriarchal community. Brown had concluded that only the death of white men could awaken Northerners to the evil of slavery, prior to his failure to flee Harper’s Ferry. Read Braatz on Brown’s Quaker roots before assuming you understand his complexity.

We’re #1...in the heroin business!: US Lost in Afghanistan, But Did Make Afghanistan World’s Top Heroin Exporter

By Jack Balkwill


...The US government pretends to care about eradicating opium production in Afghanistan, while production soars to record levels.  Can this be an accident? 

The largest marketplace for illegal drugs continues to be the United States, despite a decades-long so-called "war on drugs."  Can this be an accident? 

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