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

By Rev. John Dear

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

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

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

False Flag; Shock and Awe: Who Cares

 

 


The Syrian-Sarin ‘False Flag’ Lesson

 

 

 

Editor Comment: Amid Official Washington’s desire to censor non-official news on the Internet, it’s worth remembering how the lack of mainstream skepticism almost led the U.S. into a war on Syria.

By Ray McGovern

A review of events leading to the very edge of full-blown U.S. shock-and-awe on Syria three years ago provides a case study with important lessons for new policymakers as they begin to arrive in Washington.

Life on Earth is Dying

On the day that you read this article, 200 species of life on Earth (plants, birds, animals, fish, amphibians, insects, reptiles) will cease to exist. Tomorrow, another 200 species will vanish forever.

Scapegoating by the Political Right: A Mask for Privilege

Recently, many commentators have expressed surprise at the romance between the incoming Trump administration and the hate-filled ranks of racial, religious, and nativist bigots.

Focus: Donald Trump and Russia - Dec 11, 2016


Trump says Secretary of State candidate Tillerson’s ties with Russia is a ‘great advantage...he knows many of the players, and he knows them well' - New York Post


VIDEO: Chris Wallace asks Donald Trump: Why pick business exec Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State? - YouTube


GOP senators challenge Trump on Secretary of State prospect Tillerson's Russia ties - Fox News


McCain: Tillerson ties to Putin a 'matter of concern', the Russian president 'is a thug, bully and a murderer, and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying' - TheHill


VIDEO: Interview with Sen. John McCain on Russia (Tillerson question at 5:55 min) - YouTube


Democratic Sen. Menendez Statement: ‘Reports that Rex Tillerson could be nominated to be our nation's top diplomat is alarming and absurd' - U.S. Senator Bob Menendez


Democratic Sen. Casey: Trump's potential Tillerson nomination raises 'serious questions about whether the incoming Administration will adequately stand up to Russia’s aggression' - The Morning Call


Statement of DNC Communications Director Adam Hodge (bottom of page): 'Trump's outrageous pick of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State...another victory for Vladimir Putin' - bustle.com


Behind the deep ties between Exxon's Rex Tillerson and Russia - CNN


What the Chinese think about Exxon's Rex Tillerson - Yahoo Finance

 

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Trump: Claims of Russian interference in 2016 race 'ridiculous,' Dems making excuses - Fox News


Senate Republicans join Democrats in calling for probe of Russian electioneering hacks - CBS News


McCain, Graham, Schumer, Reed joint statement on reports that Russia interfered with the 2016 election - United States Commitee on Armed Services


Trump, CIA on collision course over Russia’s role in U.S. election - The Washington Post


FBI and CIA give differing accounts to lawmakers on Russia’s evidence in 2016 hacks of American elections - The Washington Post


New York Times editorial: Russia’s hand in America’s election - The New York Times


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


Focus: Russia and NATO - Dec 9, 2016

 

U.S. Senators urge Trump to take tough line on Russia - Reuters


Full text of the senators’ letter calling on pres.-elect Trump to stand against Russian aggression, support NATO, Ukrainian sovereignty - Rob Portman


Congress reassures Baltic representatives on NATO commitment - defensenews.com


Republicans ready to launch wide-ranging probe of Russia alleged meddling in the U.S. elections and its potential cyberthreats to the military - Chicago Tribune


Obama orders 'full review' of possible Russian hacking in US election - The Guardian


Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House - The Washington Post


EU, NATO cement 'transatlantic bond' before Trump takes office - Reuters


Joint press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini - NATO


European Defence Action Plan: Towards a European Defence Fund - European Commission


Opinion: US should redesign NATO and let Europe lead its defense - US News


NATO chief urges West to keep pressuring Russia over Ukraine - AP


Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers - NATO


NATO troops are to be put on heightened alert amid mounting tensions with Russia - Daily Mail Online


Pentagon awards $350Mln contract to integrate joint planning systems for NATO members - Sputnik


Montenegro's accession to NATO faces hurdle, White House and Pentagon support the Balkan state gaining membership but the Senate has yet to approve it and Trump could oppose it - The Guardian


Lavrov: NATO trying to drag Montenegro into alliance before Obama leaves office - TASS

 

Opinion: Lame duck Senate shouldn't ratify NATO's inclusion of corrupt, military midget Montenegro - Forbes


ARCHIVE: NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark overruled in Kosovo, General Jackson rejected his order saying: 'No, I'm not going to do that. It's not worth starting World War III' - New York Times


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Satellite images suggest that Russia appears to be preparing to permanently base its nuclear capable Iskander missile system in Kaliningrad - NPR


Russia’s buildup in Kaliningrad to test Donald Trump on NATO, U.S. calls Moscow’s moves to reinforce its territory between Poland and Lithuania ‘destabilizing’ - WSJ


Inside Russia's stronghold of Kaliningrad 'where World War Three could start' - Daily Mail Online


Russian Foreign Ministry refutes claims on militarization of Kaliningrad exclave - Sputnik


Putin sends a squadron of Russia’s new Su-35S fighter jets to the Finnish border - Daily Mail Online


Russia tests nuclear-capable drone sub that poses a major strategic threat to U.S. ports and harbors - Washington Free Beacon


Russia announces new drone sub that can mimic any other submersible vessel potentially fooling the enemy - SOFREP


US Navy searching for Russian submarines feared to have been sent after NATO warships - Daily Mail Online


Russian ambassador to Swedish television: ‘We have no plans whatsoever to invade Sweden’ - The Washington Post


Trump has Goldman Sachs rethinking Russia - Forbes


One-time Trump adviser Page sees business opportunities in Russia - Reuters


Vladimir Putin advised Oliver Stone on Snowden film - TV3 Xposé


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus: Aleppo - Dec 8, 2016

 

Obama and other Western leaders condemn Russia’s role in Aleppo’s ‘humanitarian disaster’, appeal for an immediate ceasefire - windsorstar.com


'No progress' as Kerry, Lavrov meet on Syria: US - AFP


VIDEO: US envoy to UN Samantha Power says Russia 'has walked away from diplomacy' on Syria - France 24


U.N.'s Egeland says U.S. and Russia 'poles apart' on Aleppo - Reuters


VIDEO: Statement of Jan Egeland, Special Advisor to Special Envoy for Syria - UN Web TV


Lavrov: Russia, US military experts, diplomats to meet in Geneva on Dec. 10 to discuss withdrawal of all militants from Aleppo - TASS


Lavrov regrets Obama administration continues unfriendly steps against Russia - TASS


Lavrov says US voiced regret over shelling of Russian hospital in Aleppo but somewhat hazily - TASS


Russian naval task force enters port of Tartus. What does this mean? - southfront.org


Agreement on Russian permanent naval base in Syria's Tartus is on final stage - southfront.org


Russian Special Forces actively participate in military operations in Syria, contributing to elimination of leaders of militants: Reports - southfront.org


Russia deploys military police to Syria - southfront.org


VIDEO: Russia deploys military police to Syria - YouTube


A rising star in the Russian military killed in Aleppo - The Daily Beast


Turkey sending 300 troops to reinforce Syria operation: state media - Reuters


Turkish border guards kill three Syrian Kurdish civilians - kurdistan24.net

 

Turkey launches humanitarian campaign for besieged Aleppo - hurriyetdailynews.com


Iranian-made drone involved in attack on Turkish soldiers in Syria on Nov 24 - hurriyetdailynews.com


50 Iranian students killed over the last three months in Syria, they volunteered to protect Shia shrines – Middle East Monitor


Up to 1,750 ISIS jihadists have returned to Europe, some with 'specific missions’ to carry out attacks, EU report warns - Daily Mail Online


Obama admits he underestimated Islamic State, says 'not on my intelligence radar screen' - Washington Examiner

 

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Syrian army's Aleppo advance slows but victory in sight - Reuters


Syrian Army fully control 50 neighborhoods in the eastern part of Aleppo that account for 70 percent of the territory - southfront.org


Ignoring last distress call from east Aleppo Assad vows to press on, says Aleppo victory will not end the country’s war - CBS


Lebanon cannot disassociate itself from the Syrian conflict, Al Assad warns - GulfNews.com


Full interview with President Assad: Failure of Western states and Turkey in the battle of Aleppo means transformation of the course of the war in Syria - SANA


Lavrov: Combat operations by the Syrian army have been suspended in eastern Aleppo because there is a large operation underway to evacuate civilians - Sky News


Govt forces liberate key district in Aleppo city, Al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda) requests safe passage - southfront.org


Kurdish forces liberate six districts of Aleppo from al-Nusra Front terrorists - Sputnik


Turkey says Syrian Kurdish YPG working with Assad's forces north of Aleppo - Reuters


Assad supporters see domino effect in Aleppo government win - Fox News


Rebels seek ceasefire with Syrian army closer to retaking Aleppo - Reuters


Syrian rebels pin hopes on Trump, hope that his hostility to Iran will offset his desire to improve relations with Russia - WSJ

 

Islamic State makes advances towards Palmyra killing atleast 34 Syrian soldiers: monitor - Reuters


MAP: Military situation in area of Palmyra on December 8, 2016 - southfront.org


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


Tomgram: Nomi Prins, The March of the Billionaires

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: The Pentagon - Dec 6, 2016


Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste, almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget spent on overhead and office operations - Washington Post

 

REPORT: The Defense Business Board’s 2015 study on how the Pentagon could save $125 billion - Washington Post


Congress wants hearing on Pentagon wasteful spending charges - TheHill


Chaffetz: Congress will ‘absolutely’ look at $125B in waste at Pentagon - TheHill


Pentagon plays down report on cost-cutting study, says it lacked 'specific, actionable recommendations appropriate to the department' - AP


Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work: 'There is this meme that we’re some bloated giant organization, though there is a little bit of truth in that … I think it vastly overstates what’s really going on' - Daily Caller


Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work’s response to The Washington Post - Washington Post


Defense Business Board recommends a 'disciplined effort to rein in costs and overhead’ at the Pentagon and warns against marginal piecemeal cuts, change must come as a result of 'major surgery’ - (ASMC)


REPORT: Focusing a Transition, Challenges Facing the New Administration: A report by the Defense Business Board - FederalNewsRadio.com


VIDEO: Defense Business Board's Bayer on transition priorities for the Trump administration - Defense & Aerospace Report


Donald Trump Pentagon pick Mattis made nearly $1,000,000 on board of defense contractor - ibtimes.com


ARCHIVE: Auditor finds U.S. Army fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars, it lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up - Reuters


ARCHIVE: Donald Trump denounces wasteful Pentagon spending, vows great defense w/no additional spending - Reason.com

 

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Citing high cost, Trump says Boeing’s contract to build Air Force One should be canceled - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Trump accuses Boeing of doing a little bit of a number with new Air Force One - YouTube


Boeing said to offer talks on Air Force One after Trump tweets - Bloomberg Politics


White House: New Air Force One will benefit future presidents - TheHill


Pentagon chief arms buyer 'hopeful' that Lockheed F-35 block buy will proceed, it covers purchases of more than 400 aircraft - Reuters


F-35 crisis as Pentagon’s top weapon testing official warns plan to put unfinished $400bn fighters into service puts pilots at 'significant risk' - Daily Mail Online


Congress calls for a war games 'flyoff' between 40 year old A-10 and new F-35 jets - Daily Mail Online


Air Force grounds ‘combat ready’ F-35 over coolant line flaw - Bloomberg Politics


Yet another F-35 fighter catches fire, The incident did at least two million dollars in damage - popularmechanics.com


When pork flies: The F-35, the Pentagon’s $1.1 trillion flying money pit, is (sort of) ready for duty - Salon.com


The Pentagon is planning a new super rival to the troubled F-35 - The Fiscal Times

 

House lawmakers push for more F-35 funding in FY17 budget - defensenews.com


ARCHIVE: Flawed F-35 is too big to kill, it counts 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs - Bloomberg


Pentagon's top tester: Littoral ships 'have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission' - Washington Examiner


Acquisition Chief: Littoral Combat Ship program ‘broke' the Navy, is costing taxpayers billions more than budgeted - Military.com


VIDEO: Congressional hearing focuses Navy's use of Littoral Combat Ships - C-SPAN.org


Navy's troubled Littoral Combat Ship at crossroads, GAO says - Stripes


REPORT: Littoral Combat Ship and Frigate: Congress Faced with Critical Acquisition Decisions - U.S. GAO


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


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

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

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

The petition we mention is here.

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

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Tomgram: John Feffer, The Deconstruction of America, 2016-2050

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: Libya - Dec 5, 2016


IS loses Libya bastion Sirte in major blow to jihadists, almost seven months of fighting have left nearly 700 GNA fighters dead and 3,000 wounded - yahoo.com


US forces conduct 22 airstrikes against Daesh near Libya’s Sirte - Sputnik


With fall of Sirte IS down but not out in Libya, the group is likely to maintain a clandestine presence - Daily Mail Online


As fall of Sirte nears, female suicide bombers attack - US News


Abused, pregnant and behind bars: Women raped by IS are being held as suspects by forces of UN-backed government - Middle East Eye


Libyan forces capture 32 IS militants as they comb through last holdout in Sirte - Libyan Express


Last week Libya’s Tripoli saw worst militias clashes in 2 years - Inquirer News


Brigades from Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos operation denounce murder and kidnap in Tripoli - The Libya Observer


Tripoli clashes halted after clashing armed groups reached ceasefire - The Libya Observer


Op-Ed: Mediation stops Tripoli militia clashes only temporarily - digitaljournal.com


UN envoy Martin Kobler: Extremely alarmed by fighting in Tripoli, calls for calm - Libya - ReliefWeb


US urges armed groups to cease fighting in Libyan capital immediately - Sputnik

 

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Official: Haftar’s Libyan Army declares state of emergency, government institutions except for the house of representatives will suspend activities - Sputnik


Al-Gotrani proposes transitional government led by Haftar, Presidential Council shuns commenting - The Libya Observer


International community must be in contact with Beida (Tobruk) government if Libya’s problems are to be solved says its foreign minister Mohamed Dayri - libyaherald.com


Haftar's Libyan National Army forces threaten to bomb Canadian ship delivering aid to Islamist held area - digitaljournal.com


UN envoy Martin Kobler departs Tobruk after being prevented from going into city by protesters - The Libya Observer


Libya outgoing ambassador Dabbashi bows out of UN with bitter attack on UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler - libyaherald.com


Interview with UN envoy Kobler on Libya - libyaherald.com


Kerry and Gentiloni confirm working with regional states that have influence on the two main sides in Lybia: Egypt, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - libyaherald.com


Chairs the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 'the status quo in Libya is unsustainable’ - Sunshine State News


Moscow wants Hafter involved in political process but will not give him arms, says it has political and economic interests in Libya 'but not military interests' - libyaherald.com


Will Egypt intervene in Libya? - Libya Prospect


A shift on policy towards Libya? On abandoning efforts to create a Libyan unity government and instead lending support to the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar - atlanticcouncil.org


Libya sticks to plans to boost output by 50 per cent after OPEC deal - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide


Libyan oil has to be depoliticized and demilitarized: NOC chairman Sanalla - libyaherald.com


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomgram: Pratap Chatterjee, Obama's Last Chance

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Imagine this scenario: you’ve occupied an office for eight years and now you’re about to move out. You know who's going to move in and, by reputation, he’s a fellow with a minimal ability to control himself who might conceivably be a danger to others. So here’s one thing you undoubtedly wouldn’t do: leave a loaded revolver in the top desk drawer and a stash of extra ammunition in the closet.

However -- if you’ll excuse the analogy -- that seems to be exactly what President Obama and his national security team are doing when it comes to Donald Trump.

Focus: Aleppo - Dec 4, 2016


Syrian army nears Aleppo's Old City, rebels tell U.S. they won't leave - Reuters


Syrian army regains control of access to Aleppo airport - SBS News


MAP: Syrian Army captures 60% of rebel-held Aleppo in the space of a week - almasdarnews.com


Syrian army tells rebels in Aleppo to leave or die - Fox News


Russia seeks full withdrawal of Aleppo rebels - Reuters


Syrian rebel commander recently appointed head of new military alliance 'Aleppo Army' seriously wounded, rebels say - Reuters


Over 2,500 Syrian militants granted amnesty over past week: Russia Reconciliation Center - RT News


Reconciliation agreements signed with 6 Syrian settlements, including two in Hama, two in Latakia, one in Damascus and one in Homs: Russian Defense Ministry - TASS


Syrian Army General Command calls on residents of Aleppo’s secured northeastern neighborhoods to return to their homes - Syrian TV


First buses home for Aleppo residents, traveled directly from the government-held west to recently recaptured neighborhoods in the east - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO: Buses take residents back to their abandoned east Aleppo homes - YouTube


Russia delivers over 150 tonnes of aid to Aleppo residents - Sputnik


Syrian Army squeezes rebels in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, as Russia prepares massive aerial campaign - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army 5th Corps is new Shiite foreign legion: Israeli intelligence source - debka.com

 

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Kerry: Assad is part of the transition. Ultimately, there is an election and the people of Syria make a decision about the future leadership - Sputnik


VIDEO: Kerry (at 2:20 min): Assad is part of the transition - socialfeed.info


EU offers cash to Assad regime for Syria peace deal, said to have accepted that previous western demands that Assad step down are unrealistic - The Times


Congress authorizes Trump to arm Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles - al-monitor.com


Syria provisions in the FY2017 Defense Bill: House Bill, Senate Bill, Final Bill - al-monitor.com


Rep. Gabbard votes against Defense Bill: It contains the same deeply concerning and dangerous Syria train and equip measures including the transfer of Manpads - Hawaii 24/7


Media silent as House quietly passes possible no-fly zone over Syria - Freedom Outpost


Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016: Assessment of potential effectiveness of and requirements for the establishment of safe zones or a no-fly zone in Syria - Congress.gov


US and UK explore possibility of aid airdrops to besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo - The Guardian


Fearing abandonment by Trump, CIA-backed rebels in Syria mull alternatives - The Washington Post


All the rebel forces active in Aleppo have merged into a newly-formed military alliance 'Army of Aleppo' - almasdarnews.com


Lavrov: Creation of 'Army of Aleppo' could just be rebranding of al-Nusra Front - Tasnim News Agency


Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra) bomb Kurdish district amid mounting violence in Syria's Aleppo - ARA News


Aleppo: Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra) raids Islam Army's bastion in Kalaseh neighborhood, Aleppo - ZAMAN ALWSL


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


Give Wes Bellamy a Break

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

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

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

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

1. Privilege

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

Focus: Trump's Carrier Deal - Dec 2, 2016


Trump warns of 'consequences' for companies leaving US, says firms can move from state to state but leaving the country will be 'very, very difficult' - Sky News


Trump defends direct negotiations with companies to keep jobs in U.S., says 'we’re going to have a lot of phone calls'  - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Donald Trump Carrier plant full speech in Indiana - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Donald Trump’s remarks at Carrier plant in Indiana - TIME


Several companies this year have announced plans to lay off workers and move production abroad, among them Caterpillar, Rexnord, Manitowoc and CTS - WSJ


Ford open to making deals with Trump on keeping jobs, CEO Says - Bloomberg


Trump’s Carrier talks up the ante for Ford, Auto maker is well on its way to spending $1.6 billion to build a new factory in Mexico - WSJ


Ford to be first automaker to import cars made in India to US - Sputnik


Trump Carrier deal worry US defense firms that may lose their contracts with the federal government because of outsourcing jobs abroad - CNBC


Donald Trump offers Apple’s Tim Cook incentives to make iPhone in U.S.: Tax cuts and less regulations - iTech Post


How much would the iPhone cost if manufactured in the U.S.? - valuewalk.com


Trump strikes deal with Carrier, Ford, what about Oreo? - Fox Business


State, local officials see pluses and minuses of Trump’s Carrier deal, While cheering effort to keep jobs some see increased competition between states - WSJ


Trump's Commerce pick: NAFTA likely starting point on Day 1 - CNN

 

‘Modernize’ NAFTA, Mexico’s new ambassador to US says in Tucson - Tucson Business News


As Trump prepares for office, concerns about Chinese trade intensify - The Washington Post


New York Times editorial: The Carrier deal on its own doesn’t offer a template to protect millions of workers whose futures are threatened by offshoring or technological change - The New York Times


Wall Street Journal editorial: Trump’s Carrier shakedown, Workers don’t prosper when politicians force companies to make noneconomic decisions. - WSJ


Bloomberg editorial: Trump’s Carrier victory is the economy's loss - Bloomberg View


Lawrence H. Summers: Trump’s Carrier deal could permanently damage American capitalism - The Washington Post


Conservatives are worried Trump's Carrier deal could set a bad precedent, 'American presidents aren’t supposed to interfere on behalf of individual companies' - Business Insider


Americans, not Mexicans, should worry about Trump, billionaire Slim says - Bloomberg


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


Too busy getting rich to commit war crimes?: Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?

By Dave Lindorff

 

       Donald Trump’s cabinet choices are suggesting a governing philosophy along the lines of a corrupt municipal police force relying on gangsters to help it keep street crime held in check.

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

By Colonel (Retired) Ann Wright

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

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

Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison.

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


lev3

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

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

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Most Dangerous Country on Earth

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Was 11/8 a New 9/11?
The Election That Changed Everything and Could Prove History’s Deal-Breaker
By Tom Engelhardt

Focus: Iran - Nov 30, 2016


Pressure mounts on Trump to keep the Iran nuclear deal, Foreign policy luminaries warn that scrapping the accord would create a huge mess - The Huffington Post


CIA's Brennan says tearing up Iran deal would be ‘folly’, because it would make it more likely that Iran and others in the region would acquire nuclear weapons - Reuters


Theresa May's officials to discuss Iran nuclear deal with Trump's camp: 'We firmly support the agreement...make sure that it is properly implemented' - Independent


No New Talks between Iran, US on JCPOA: FM spokesman - Tasnim News Agency


Iran will increase enrichment to 190k SWU if JCPOA breached: MP - campaigniran.org


Washington Post editorial: Trump shouldn’t rip up the Iran deal - The Washington Post


Alan M. Dershowitz: Don’t rip up the Iran deal, enforce it - The Boston Globe


Ellen Laipson: Will the Iran nuclear deal survive under Trump?, The costs of reverting to a confrontational approach to Iran would include more regional instability - worldpoliticsreview


Aaron Arnold: How Trump can strengthen US leverage against Iran, Scrapping the nuclear deal will backfire - thediplomat.com


Former IAEA Director: 'Very dishonest' to claim Iran violated the nuclear deal (VIDEO) - therealnews.com


Iran, Russia stress completion of 2 nuclear units in Bushehr - Mehr News Agency


Russia gets permission to use Iran's Hamadan air base for Syria airstrikes - UPI.com


Weapons seizures show Iran ‘arms pipeline’ to Yemen’s Houthi rebels - The National

 

--------------------------------------------------

 

Senate to vote on Iran sanctions bill - Washington Examiner


Iran ready to respond to US if sanctions renewed: Nuclear official - payvand.com


Iran's Khamenei slams Rouhani for being 'too open' toward West - Jerusalem Post


Democratic Senators fire back at Iran for retaliation threat over sanctions renewal - The Weekly Standard


Kerry urges Senate Democrats to back off Iran sanctions renewal - al-monitor.com


Reimposing sanctions on Iran would be difficult for the US - The National


The Iran Sanctions Extension Act: Enforcement overkill, international changes to monitoring Iran's nuclear program have made congressional action unnecessary - JURIST


U.S. grants second Airbus license to sell planes to Iran, after the House passed a bill to block the sale including also planes from Boeing - Reuters


Editorial: Congress shouldn’t kill Boeing’s sale to Iran Air - HeraldNet.com


OPEC Agrees first oil cuts in eight years, The deal overcame disagreements between the group’s three largest producers -- Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq - Bloomberg


Asia's October imports of Iranian oil more than double from year ago - Reuters


Scrapping the Iran deal: What it would mean for oil markets - Global Trade Magazine


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

75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies

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

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

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

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

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

Will Trump See Through Chump Petraeus?

 

 


Trump Ponders Petraeus for Senior Job

 

 

 

Exclusive: President-elect Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington seems forgotten — like so many political promises — as he meets with swamp creatures, such as disgraced Gen. David Petraeus, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

The news that President-elect Donald Trump called in disgraced retired Gen. David Petraeus for a job interview as possible Secretary of State tests whether Trump’s experience in hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” honed his skills for spotting an incompetent phony or not.

Focus: Russia - Nov 29, 2016


Note: The next US Secretary of State should be one who has a deep knowledge of Russia, willing to engage in friendly talks with Moscow and build a partnership to foster world peace and security. In my opinion Russia is right in Syria, Ukraine and with regard to NATO.


11 NATO states take part in massive ‘Iron Sword’ drills in Lithuania - RT News


New Cold War: US Marines' war games on Norway-Russia border - CNN.com


VIDEO: US Marines in Lithuania - Exercise Iron Sword 16 - YouTube


German president visits NATO command center, reassures eastern members of Berlin's commitments, questions Trump campaign comments - DW.COM


Britain expects Donald Trump to 'stand up' to Russia and not treat it 'as any kind of equal partner’, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon warns - telegraph.co.uk


Britain to send troops to Poland as NATO deployment against ‘increasing Russian aggressiveness’ - news.com.au


NATO should be acting as a bridge between Baltics & Russia, defuse tension: UK Tory MP - RT UK


France says lifting sanctions on Russia would be counterproductive - Reuters


Italian minister would welcome more openness to Russia from U.S. - Reuters


Peace talks in Minsk end without agreement, both Ukraine and Russia hardened their positions and there was no political agreement on holding local elections in Donbass - Reuters


Russian Senator warns Ukraine against missile-firing exercise in Crimea airspace - TASS


Does NATO need Montenegro? How does this tiny Balkan nation contribute to NATO’s collective security? The short answer is: It doesn’t. - The National Interest


Arms expert Joe Cirincione op-ed: Trump should halt US missile-defense plans in Europe - Defense One


GOP supporters of better Cuba relations warn Trump not to let Russia, China step in. - McClatchy DC


----------------------------------------------

 

Russia fully deploys 2 new divisions near Western border - The Washington Post


Russia to deploy S-400 and nuclear-capable Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad as "countermeasures" to NATO expansion - CBS News


Putin's robo-tank: New weapon is deployed to the Polish border to protect Russia's missile launchers from attack - Daily Mail Online


Moscow offered NATO to hold consultations on military flights over Baltic sea but the bloc refused - Sputnik


NATO drills in Georgia negatively affect regional safety: Russia Foreign Ministry - Sputnik


No sign of NATO giving up myth of 'Russian threat' in policymaking: Envoy - Sputnik


Russian diplomat says spending so much time on Russia-NATO Council agenda is pointless - TASS


Russia, Uzbekistan sign treaty on military-technical cooperation - TASS


Armenia is literally joining forces with Russia - Foreign Policy


Russia eyes supplying military hardware to the Philippines - ABC News


Philippines foreign affairs secretary: Duterte to visit Russia in 2017 - CNN Philippines


Libyan commander Haftar visits Russia to ask for help: 'We hope we will eliminate terrorism with your help in the nearest future' - Reuters


Russian top diplomat Lavrov praises Libyan army for its role in protecting state’s independence - TASS


VIDEO (Russian/Arabic): Lavrov and Libyan Marshal Haftar laud strong bilateral ties - YouTube


Putin orders mobile hospitals to be sent to residents of Aleppo, Syria - RT News


Russia to send 100,000 tons of wheat in humanitarian aid to Syria - THE DAILY STAR


Turkey entered Syria to end al-Assad’s rule: President Erdoğan - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkish parliament endorse ratification of the Turkish-Russian stream pipeline deal - Sputnik


Turkish premier to visit Russia on December 6-7 - TASS


Are relations between Pakistan and Russia beginning to thaw? - Daily Mail Online


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


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