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IRS Scandals: MoreThan Meets the Eye

 

IRS Scandal Headlines: More Than Meets the Eye

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

More than targeting political enemies is involved. More on than below. The practice is longstanding. Republican and Democrat administrations use the IRS abusively.

 

During the Coolidge administration, Republican Senator James Couzens investigated the IRS' predecessor - the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 

 

Putin v. Obama et al

 

Putin v. Obama et al

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 16, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Russia Raises Stakes in Syria," saying:

 

Syria News May 18

 

 

Russia provides Syria with advanced missiles, To counter any effort at imposing a naval embargo, establishing a no-fly zone or carrying out limited airstrikes - NYTimes.com

Russia boosts fleet off Syria, A warning to the West and Israel not to intervene in Syria's bloody civil war - WSJ

US general slams Russia for giving Syria anti-ship missiles, calls it an "unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime" - AP

Russia defends weapons shipments to Syria, “There is absolutely no danger that these systems may end up in the hands of Hezbollah" -  latimes.com

Russia has data that Israel targeted Syrian defense facilities in May: Lavrov - Strategic-Culture.org

Syria not a bargaining chip in relations with West : Lavrov - RT Russian politics

Fox News Video Allegedly Shows Israeli Special Forces Returning From A Mission In Syria (VIDEO) - Business Insider

France opposes Syria conference if Iran to attend - Reuters

Turkey's Erdogan says U.N. must decide on any Syria no-fly zone - Reuters

Peacekeepers in Golan Abducted but Released by Rebels - NYTimes.com

Number of Syrian refugees tops 1.5 million mark, says UN agency - United Nations News Centre

Moscow ‘Hopeful’ on Syria Chemical Weapons Inspections, "the Syrian government has expressed readiness - after that place near Aleppo is inspected - to consider requests for inspections in other parts of the country” - RIA Novosti

Financial Times becomes the latest victim of the Syrian Electronic Army as its website and Twitter accounts get hacked - The Next Web

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Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms, has spent as much as $3bn over the past two years supporting the rebellion - FT.com

How Qatar seized control of the Syrian revolution, Yet it also stands accused of dividing the opposition - FT.com

Insight: Syria's Nusra Front eclipsed by Iraq-based al Qaeda - Reuters

Jabhat al-Nusra and The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (VIDEOS) - Brown Moses Blog

Vice and virtue police gain foothold in rebel-held territory in Syria to enforce a strict and brutally imposed form of Islamic rule - USAToday

Syrian rebels demand weapons before talks - The Washington Post

Syrian opposition to name new president in Istanbul - hurriyetdailynews.com

Syrian Oil Becomes Fault Line In War, the European Union lifting of the oil embargo on the opposition is likely to stir up Kurdish-Arab strife - aina.org

Syrian grain imports pick up despite worsening war - Ahram Online

Germany fears return of European jihadists in Syria, Up to 700 Europeans are fighting the Assad regime - The Guardian

Iraqis in southern city mourn 2 Shiite fighters killed in Syria - Fox News

Sectarianism in Iraq stoked by Syrian war - The Washington Post

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Politicalspeak: U.S. Style

                It has been some time since the language of U.S. politics has been twisted so far as to render words nearly meaningless. In an effort to clarify what is actually being said in Washington, D.C., this writer offers this glossary of terms, with historical context, current usage and, at times, synonyms and antonyms.

                Some of these words and terms have been around for a while; others are brand new.

Ensure That The NY Times Close Guantanamo Ad Gets Published

by Debra Sweet  Yesterday, Pentagon officials claimed the president has authorization to pursue war without limits of time or space, saying the Authorization of Use of Military Force passed in 2001 means war could go on, as Dick Cheney said, "for generations."

Tsarnaev's Handwriting on the Wall

Boston Suspect’s Writing on the Wall

May 17, 2013

Editor Note: Hiding and near death, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly scrawled on the inside of a boat that he did what he did to avenge innocent Muslims killed by U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a rare look at the why behind “terrorism."

By Ray McGovern

Quick, somebody tell CIA Director John Brennan about the handwriting on the inside wall of the boat in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding before Boston-area police riddled it and him with bullets. Tell Brennan that Tsarnaev’s note is in plain English and that it needs neither translation nor interpretation in solving the mystery: “why do they hate us?”

FBI Twists History: 'Terror' War Gets Stupider as Shakur is Added to the List

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Federal authorities publicly plot encouraging bounty hunters to kidnap a fugitive black radical from a foreign country for return to prison in the U.S. to achieve long-delayed justice.

This sounds like the FBI action on May 2, 2013 in placing former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur on its “Most Wanted Terrorists” list – the first female to have that dubious distinction.

Stop and Frisk: NYPD Racial Profiling

 

Stop and Frisk: NYPD Racial Profiling

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The Fourth Amendment states: 

 

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

 

Israel Threatens More Syrian Attacks

 

Israel Threatens More Syrian Attacks

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

May 15 is Nakba Day. It follows Israel's May 14 Independence Day. This year was no exception. 

 

Clashes erupted across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel confronts peaceful demonstrations violently. Fundamental human rights are spurned. Rogue governments operate that way.

 

If We Don't Speak Out Now, When Will We?

by Debra Sweet          If you haven't signed and donated to publish the Close Guantanamo ad in The New York Times, please do so now & make it count DOUBLE: we get matching funds from a generous donor up to $5,000 by noon Friday, May 17.

Syria News May 17

 

 

Obama: Syrian peace talks may yield results, No magic formula to end the civil war - The Hill

Obama says U.S. won't act alone on chemical weapons in Syria - latimes.com

VIDEO: Obama and Erdogan: We both agree that Assad needs to go. He needs to transfer power to a transitional body - YouTube

VIDEO: Obama: I preserve the options of taking additional steps on Syria—both diplomatic and military - www.foxreno.com

Russia: Iran should take part in Syria conference - AFP

West wants to limit participants of coming conference on Syria, to virtually determine result: Lavrov - The Voice of Russia

Lavrov says Russia will send top air-defense system S-300 to Assad - The Times of Israel

Russian warships enter Mediterranean to form permanent task force - RT News

Russia wary of attacks by rebels returning from Syria - Reuters

VIDEO: Lavrov wants all Syrian voices at the table, barring terrorists - Ruptly

EU to block arming of Syrian rebels to give a US-Russian peace initiative time to work - Telegraph

In UN General  Assembly on Syria, 107 Votes Is "Big Loss for Qatar" - Inner City Press

MAP: How the world voted on a U.N. resolution on Syria - washingtonpost.com

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Graph on casualty levels in Syria: there is a definite correlation between the level of monthly casualties and the shipping in of arms to the rebels (GRAPH) - LiveLeak.com

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: 41.000 Alawites killed in Syria, between 34-43 percent of all dead although Alawites only make up 10 percent of the population - abna

Syria Execution Video: Jabhat Al Nusra Jihadists Kill Regime Supporters (VIDEO) - Huffington Post

Syrian troops push back rebels who stormed central prison in northern city of Aleppo - The Washington Post

Syrian rebels launch offensive in south to reverse losses - Reuters

Report: Iran told Nasrallah to prevent Assad downfall 'at all costs' - Ynetnews

CIA head visits Israel to discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear program - Haaretz Daily Newspaper

US sets sanctions on 4 ministers in Assad's government, leader of al-Nusra - Fox News

Iraqi forces bust cell with ties to Jabhat al-Nusra - Al-Shorfa

Syria erects earth mounds along border with Lebanon - THE DAILY STAR

VIDEO: When I met the Syrian rebel who 'ate soldier's heart' - Channel 4 News

VIDEO: Video Of An Unknown Object Reportedly Dropped From A Helicopter During The Alleged Chemical Attack In Saraqeb, Idlid - Brown Moses Blog

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

 

No Koch News: A Movement to Unsubscribe

After years of mismanagement, the Tribune Company newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times -- are up for sale.  And one of the potential buyers? The Koch brothers.  And wow are people outraged!

Yes, it's those Koch brothers:the billionaire businessmen who run Koch Industries, a sprawling multinational corporation involved in everything from oil to fertilizer to paper towels.  But you probably know the Koch brothers for how they spend their considerable wealth: bankrolling right-wing political causes like the Tea Party movement, and funneling millions of dollars to front groups and politicians devoted to their anti-regulatory, anti-labor, and pro-corporate ideology.  The Kochs have spent millions propping up climate-change deniers, and have been instrumental in funding ALEC, the powerful business lobby that pushes corporate-friendly policies at the state level.

What would the Kochs do with a few major newspapers?  They would push public opinion and public despair further to the right and further into the depths.  This is why taxing billionaires is not a policy driven by greed or jealousy or even the desire to put vast sums of riches to good use.  Taxing billionaires is necessary if we are going to have representative government.  We talk about "freedom of the press."  Never mind government surveillance of reporters' phone records.  Never mind the prosecutions of whistleblowers and journalists.  If billionaires can dominate our communications system with what to them amounts to pocket change, while we blog dissent to people who believe nothing that doesn't appear on Tee-Vee or in a corporate paper, whose freedom of the press is it?

Some recent reports indicate that many L.A. Times staffers would consider leaving the paper if it were purchased by the Kochs -- which is probably music to their cost-cutting ears.  Better than staff promising to quit is subscribers promising to unsubscribe:

"I will cancel my subscription and so will family members. We have no need for propaganda dictated by far right-wing spoiled billionaires with an anti-citizenry, pro 1% agenda.  This will be the death of your struggling paper in a town that once had a proud history of journalism.  It's a disgrace."

That comment was posted with a signature on this petition.  Here are some more:

"If you want to increase the circulation of the New York TIMES in Los Angeles, let the Koch brothers buy the Los Angeles TIMES."

"No Koch news!!!"

"If the Koch brothers get their hands on your paper, it will only be useful as tp."

"Don't give up the integrity of your company for a measley few bucks."

"I refuse to continue my newspaper subscription if the Koch Brothers buy the Tribune. I boycott their other products so I will do the same if they buy the Tribune."

"If you sell to the Koch brothers, you can remove us from your subscription list!!"

"Don't let your long tradition of fair reporting be purchased away."

"Koch purchase is a bad deal for our nation!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Keep the corporate greed off of our free press!"

"Selling out to the Koch's will pretty much put the kabosh on the 4th Estate's duty to afflict the comfortable."

"If the Koch Brothers take over, you'll lose this loyal reader of the Chicago Tribune forever."

"What an ignoble end to two fine papers known for excellence it would be if the Koch Bros. became the new owner. Forget about fairness and accuracy; the papers would simply become the latest bullhorn from which Charles and David would spew their propaganda. Has it come to this? Please don't sell."

"I am producer/director of Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press.  Seldes worked 10 years for the Chi Tribune as a foreign correspondent when their foreign press corps was one of the best in the world!  Remember with pride that high-quality journalism of the early Twentieth Century and don't sell out!"

"This country is going in the wrong direction, don't help it."

"As a Chicago Tribune subscriber, I can say we will no longer subscribe to either the print or online version of the Trib if this sale goes through. The reputation and standing of the Tribune organization is on the line, and it will suffer irreparable harm if the sale occurs."

"I have subscribed for 36 years and will cancel."

"As the son of a former Editor on the Chicago Tribune I urge you to remember the Colonel and stand for something.  Don't turn the Trib over to men that care only for this country for what they can dredge out of it for their own personal wealth."

"I am an LA Times reader, my parents are Chicago Tribune readers.  We will do everything we can to make sure everyone we know never reads another edition of these papers if sold to the Kochs."

Add your own comments for the Tribune Company to read.

Drone Pilots Expose Politicians' Lies

Our elected and unelected officials tell us that drone strikes target top level enemies of the United States who are imminent threats to us, and that killing innocent people is avoided altogether or minimized. 

Congressional hearings, with a couple of excellent exceptions, question outside academics about the legality of this purported strategy.  The Obama administration declines to send any witnesses.

But drone pilots have begun talking to the media.  And they describe policies that bear a lot closer resemblance to reporting from the areas where the missiles strike.  These pilots should be brought before Congress.

Here is a stunning new interview with one of them:

"So the pilot is not only flying the airplane, he or she is using all those sensors to watch a potential target, circling over it for hours or days at a time. What can you really see?

"Okay, so in a village in, say, country X, where the houses are built together, there are adults who live in this house, and these children belong to those adults because we see them out in the fields together or we see them eating dinner. So you can start figuring out who is associated with who. Who is a stranger, who is it that's visiting this house? There's a dog and it barks at strangers, so if we needed to go in and free a hostage or conduct a raid, you'd want to tell the land forces there's a dog there and either it's an attack dog or it alerts the village that somebody's coming.

"You must develop an emotional tie with the people on the ground that makes it hard if there is going to be a strike or a raid, people are going to be killed.

"I would couch it not in terms of an emotional connection, but a … seriousness. I have watched this individual, and regardless of how many children he has, no matter how close his wife is, no matter what they do, that individual fired at Americans or coalition forces, or planted an IED -- did something that met the rules of engagement and the laws of armed conflict, and I am tasked to strike that individual.  The seriousness of it is that I am going to do this and it will affect his family. But that individual is the one that brought it on himself. He became a combatant the minute he took up arms."

This pilot, in fact this director of the Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft Capabilities Division, has not said that a high level operation leader of terrorists who is imminently threatening the United States is targeted.  He has said that some ordinary guy who has chosen to violently resist the hostile foreign occupation of his country by shooting at the occupiers is targeted.

He has also not said anything to satisfy those who support the notion of just wars but want them conducted in compliance with the Geneva Conventions and other such legally binding limitations.  This director of a U.S. drone kill program openly says that our public employees target a family for death if needed in order to blow up a foreign soldier from thousands of miles away.  Every effort is made to avoid killing innocent family members, he says in the interview, but if it can't be avoided, well, the target "brought it on himself."

Here another pilot describes specific such incidents.  Here the New York Times reports on the resulting PTSD suffered by drone pilots.

War is murder, and this type of war ought to look to most people like the murder that it is.  But even if you accept war, this is not how ANYBODY claims it is to be legally done.  This is beyond what Congressional witnesses or even Congress members would say is acceptable or legal.  Yet this pilot blurts it out to the media with apparently no concern that his life will be inconvenienced by further questioning.

Enough is enough is enough. End this madness now.

 

What We Know is Bad; What's Behind It is Worse! The AP Seizures and the Frightening Web They've Uncovered

 

By Alfredo Lopez


"Paranoia," said Woody Allen, "is knowing all the facts." By that measure, we're becoming more and more "paranoid" every day.

Russia Catches CIA Spy Red-Handed

 

Russia Catches CIA Spy Red-Handed

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

CIA agents operate most everywhere. They don't promote friendly relations. They're up to no good. Some pose as diplomats. 

 

Diplomacy provides cover for why they're sent. Christopher Fogle was caught red-handed. He was assigned to Washington's Moscow embassy political section. He was third secretary.

 

Obama's Contempt for Venezuelan Democracy

 

Obama's Contempt for Venezuelan Democracy

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's no surprise. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He abhors democratic values. He defiles rule of law principles. He governs by diktat authority.

 

He's waging war on humanity. He targets all independent states. He wants puppet pro-US regimes replacing them. 

 

Syria News May 16

 

 

Israeli Official Signals Possibility of More Syria Strikes, Warning Syria Not to Hit Back - NYTimes.com

Netanyahu to Putin: 'Your missile sales to Assad could trigger war' - The Times of Israel

In meeting with Netanyahu, Putin did not commit not to provide Damascus with S-300 missiles systems - Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Iran's FM: Assad 'Unimpressed' by Israeli Attacks - Israel National News

Report: Iran convinced Assad to allow Hezbollah to attack Israel from Golan, However officials in the Arab world expressed doubt over it - Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Syria: Hezbollah fighters reached the border with Jordan - SyriaNews

The imminent Hezbollah-Nusra war - AFP

Iraqi officials: Extremist groups seek to fuel sectarian conflict in Syria - Mawtani

Hundreds of Turkish students condemn government's Syria policy, clash with police in the capital Ankara - PressTV

PHOTOS: Satellite images show damage caused by alleged Syria strike - JPost 

VIDEO: Syria air strike: Hizbollah TV station broadcast aftermath of Israeli attack - YouTube

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Kerry, Lavrov "very, very hopeful" on Syria peace talks plan - Yahoo! News

UN General  Assembly condemns Assad’s forces, urges support for Syria opposition; Russia opposed - Reuters

Syria UN Envoy Al-Jaafari: Draft Resolution Submitted to General Assembly Seeks to Inflame Situation in Syria - Syrian TV

Syrian opposition not to attend Friends of Syria meeting in Jordan: minister - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Syrian Minister: Removal Of Assad Means Destruction Of Syria - NPR

Obama to Seek $200 Million to Help Jordan With Syrian Refugees - Bloomberg

Iraq: Syrian Refugees' Health Deteriorates at Domeez Camp - Doctors Without Borders

Syrian refugees sell daughters in bid to survive VIDEO - CBS News

Confirming poison gas use in Syria will be tough task - Yahoo! News

Berlin Sees Chemical Weapons As Trigger for Intervention in Syria - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Iraq Then, Syria Now? The New York Times coverage of allegations of chemical weapons use by Syria - FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

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Civilians Come Under Fire From Rebels, Sky's Editor Tim Marshall witnesses a crowd of pro-regime demonstrators being shot at in Damascus VIDEO - Sky News

'He will be punished severely': Free Syrian Army vows to hunt down rebel commander Abu Sakkar filmed eating government soldier's 'heart' - The Independent

Guns and Money Divide Syrian Rebels - The Daily Beast

The Muslim Brotherhood Prepares for a Comeback in Syria - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Iraqi Kurds Reportedly Fighting Among Jihadists in Syria - aina.org

VIDEO: Extended interview with Brown Moses about the Syria jihadist execution video - YouTube

VIDEO: New Rebel Army Forms in Eastern Ghouta led by Jabhat al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham May-13 - YouTube

VIDEO: Controversy Over Tunisian Jihadists Fighting in Syria - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Talk Nation Radio: Arun Gupta on Iraqis in California and Professor Petraeus

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-arun-gupta

Arun Gupta, whose writings can be found at occupyusatoday.com, discusses the lives of refugees from the U.S. war on Iraq now living in California, and the crimes of David Petraeus who has now been made a professor by the City University of New York and the University of Southern California.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

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

Hit and Stay

The CIA has been so busy consulting on Zero Dark Thirty, not to mention funding Hamid Karzai, bribing Russians, lying about weapons, and conducting humanitarian drone murders, that it didn't have any time at all to help out with Hit and Stay, and yet arguably the latter turned out to be the better film despite such a severe handicap.  You can check it out at http://hitandstay.com

This is a film about people taking risks to prevent killing rather than to engage in it.  The focus is on the Catonsville Nine action on May 17, 1968, 45 years ago this Friday.  That action, in which activists burned draft cards and apologized for burning papers rather than children, was preceded by the Baltimore Four action of October 27, 1967, in which four activists poured their blood on draft papers.  It was followed by countless other actions, leading right up to the Transform Plowshares action in Tennessee for which three are currently awaiting sentencing.

The Catonsville action received so much publicity that it had something of an Occupy effect.  That is, others who felt the same way about the slaughter of the Vietnamese people but didn't believe they could do anything, suddenly began doing something.  Some did very similar actions.  Others tried their own approaches to the same problem.  Catonsville Nine inspired other tactics, enlarged marches and rallies, and generally moved the peace movement forward.  The creativity and novelty of the action even made people think about the war who hadn't before.

Draft records were destroyed, preventing the drafting of those people.  So, this was substantive resistance that couldn't be undone.  At the same time it was educational and inspirational.  It didn't inspire sadistic shouts of "Bin Laden's dead!"  It inspired people to act on their moral outrage.  There were over 100 actions taken at draft boards over the next few years.  Many thousands of people's draft records were destroyed, saving them from the draft and saving those they would have killed from that fate.  Some of the draft offices were shut down permanently.  In the end the Selective Service declared it was under assault, and Nixon declared that the military would now be volunteer. 

Some of the actions went after FBI offices and U.S. attorneys offices.  Activists never yet apprehended stole COINTELPRO documents and sent them to the media, exposing the FBI's abuses and creating a major news story that lasted until it was overshadowed by the Pentagon Papers -- released by Dan Ellsberg, himself inspired by the activism shown in Hit and Stay.  The people shown engaging in these actions are, in many cases, still active today -- although they look a bit older.  In other cases, their sons and daughters are still involved. 

The name "Hit and Stay" comes from the method of engaging in civil disobedience (or civil resistance for those who prefer to point to laws being upheld through the violation of other laws deemed less important) and then staying at the scene of the crime to take responsibility.  This was a communications strategy, not a masochistic drive toward suffering.  Some of the Catonsville Nine went into hiding to avoid their trial and remain active, even after having stood still long enough to be arrested and charged.

The film shows us the Milwaukee 14, the DC 9 who went after the Dow Chemical Company, and the New York 8.  The New York activists hit more than one location and chose not to stay.  Instead, they held a press conference to claim responsibility without identifying who was at which location or agreeing to answer questions.  They were not prosecuted. 

We see the Boston 2, the Rhode Island Political Offensive For Freedom (RIPOFF) -- modeled after the New York 8.  We see the Rochester Flower City Conspiracy, the Buffalo, the Camden 28.  That last one was encouraged, assisted, and then busted by an informant, but in the trial the judge allowed defense witnesses including people like Howard Zinn.  The jury nullified the law by acquitting defendants who openly admitted to their actions.  The jury joined in singing "Amazing Grace," and the foreman threw a party for the defendants.

Activists have not entirely figured out how to counter the brilliant move of creating a "volunteer" poverty draft, but neither has it shut down resistance in quite the way as is generally imagined.  The stories of these long-ago actions and so many thousands of actions since still inspire.  And resistance is in many ways greater now.  Wars are protested before they even start, and sometimes prevented from starting.  There is much to inspire us in independent media reports of nonviolent actions today, but I suspect this movie has the power to inspire us further. 

Efrain Rios Montt Sent to Jail: Guatemala's Mayan People Win One For a Change

 

By John Grant


I saw the masked men
throwing truth into a well.
When I began to weep for it
I found it everywhere.

                 - Claudia Lars (El Salvador)
 

Spies "R" Us

 

Spies "R" Us

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article discussed institutionalized spying on Americans. Anyone can be monitored for any reason or none at all. 

 

Manufactured national security threats, silencing dissent, targeting whistleblowers, and challenging press freedom subvert constitutional rights. 

 

Anti-Assad Forces: Caught in the Act Again

 

Anti-Assad Forces: Caught in the Act Again

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Previous articles discussed Washington-supported death squads in Syria. It's common practice in all US direct and proxy wars.

 

Massacres and unspeakable atrocities are committed. Women are raped. Civilians are treated like combatants. Official coverup and denial follow.

 

Syria News May 15

 

 

Syria Gives Russia List of Envoys to Peace Talks - NYTimes.com

Kerry says the “core group” of countries that support the rebels and Free Syrian Army chief have agreed to the peace talks  - The Hill

Lavrov criticizes U.S.-proposed choice of participants in Syria conference, suggests that Iran and Saudi Arabia be invited - Russia Beyond The Headlines

No moves to shake up situation in Syria – Putin to Netanyahu - RT News

5 Questions on Russian S-300 Missile System Sales to Syria - RIA Novosti

Austria determined to keep EU's Syria arms embargo, says UK push to arm rebels would violate international law - guardian.co.uk

Qatar says to tighten control of the arms flow to Syria to keep weapons out of the hands of al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters - Reuters

Arab League: Syria seat not yet given to coalition because it has not formed a government - ArabNews

Syria developments suggest Assad may go out quietly after all, In any case his staying power hasn't run its course - Haaretz Daily Newspaper

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The Islamic State Of Iraq And Al-Sham (Nusra/Qaeda) Executes Three Men In Raqqa Stating That It Is In Retaliation For Alleged Sunni Massacres (VIDEOS) - Brown Moses Blog

VIDEO: Residents of Raqqa rally in protest against the Al Nusra executions - YouTube

Exclusive: “We Will Slaughter All of Them.” Interview With The Rebel Who Cut out and Ate The Heart of a Soldier  - TIME.com

FSA, Al Nusra and others unite to retake strategic town near Damascus, Their flag with declaration: "There is no god but God; Mohammad is God's prophet" - Reuters

Excitement fades to despair in rebel-held Syria as war grinds on - CSMonitor.com

Free Syrian Army Chief of Staff: Israel is an Enemy Country collaborating with Syrian President Bashar Assad -  Algemeiner.com

Report: Hizbullah Fighters Advance to Syria-Jordan Border - Naharnet

Al Nusra linked Jordan salafists: Fighting Hezbollah militants a top priority - MTV

Attacks Against Lebanese Alawites Deepen Fears - ABC News

Sinai: Foreign Militiamen Trained to Join Fight in Syria - almanar.com

More and More Europeans Are Flying to Syria to Fight Assad - VICE United Kingdom

Syrian Kurdish parties capture Kurdish youths waging jihad - al-monitor.com 

Terrorists in Syria stole 1000 year minbar of Aleppo Kaber Mosque - islamicinvitationturkey

New Syrian opposition group formed, appears to be an attempt to counterbalance the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood - Alarabiya.net 

The Structure and Organization of the Syrian Opposition - Center for American Progress

VIDEO: Syrian National Coalition discusses rebels' videos - YouTube

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Syria says ready for joint inquiry on Turkey attacks - Alarabiya.net

Erdogan Rejects Syrian Proposal of Joint Inquiry on Reyhanli Blasts - AFP

Turkish PM criticizes main opposition’s Syria stance - hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkish Court Imposes Media Clampdown on Reyhanli Bombing - Al-Monitor

Turkish MP blames Al Nusra for border town attack - The National

Reports suggest Syrian opposition involvement in Turkish bombings, the cars that were used had been smuggled into the country from areas controlled by Nusra Front - World Socialist Web Site

VIDEO: Turkish civilians attack FSA propaganda booth in Turkish market - LiveLeak.com

VIDEO: Syria - One of the biggest stadiums chanted for the resignation of Turkish government - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

 

An Anti-Drone Play You Can Perform

Jack Gilory has written a short 2-act play called The Predator.  The script is available here.

The characters include a college student, a drone pilot, a senator, and a peace activist.  The drone pilot supports war.  The senator supports herself.  The peace activist opposes murder.  And the student is almost in agreement with the peace activist.  All four of them turn toward the audience at the end of the play and ask "What do you think?"

What a great way to start a discussion!  The play has been performed or read at Georgetown, Syracuse, and Wittenberg Universities, among other venues.  It would make a great event in YOUR town and requires no expenses, just four people who can read lines.  Try it out.

New Study Shows How Microlending has Gotten Off Track: Stumbling on Its Own Success

 

By Dave Lindorff


An article by TCBH! journalist Dave Lindorff in the May issue of  American Banker magazine details how the mission of microlending has gotten off track, and why helping impoverished women is getting harder to do.
 

How Your Town Can Stop Drones

Local resolutions have helped advance many issues, including war opposition, when they've been passed in large numbers.  When we passed a resolution in Charlottesville, Va., last year opposing any attack on Iran, I heard from numerous cities that wanted to do the same.  As far as I know, none did.  I heard back from some that they'd been told it was anti-Semitic to oppose a U.S. attack on Iran.  I didn't have an answer to that -- not a printable one anyway.

When Charlottesville passed a resolution against drones in February of this year, I heard from people all over the country again.  Since that time, to my knowledge, one little town in Minnesota called St. Bonifacius has passed something, while dozens and dozens have tried and failed.  The problem seems to be that drones can have good uses as well as bad.  Of course, that's grounds for halting the lawless and reckless spread of drones until we can figure out any ways in which their good use can be compatible with our Constitutional rights.  But that would make too much sense.  When there's money to be made, technology to be played with, and terrorists to destroy our freedoms if we don't hurry up and destroy them first, the American way is full steam ahead.  But I actually think I might have at least a partial answer this time.

There are two separable issues to be addresses in anti-drone resolutions and ordinances and laws and treaties.  One is weaponization.  The other is surveillance.  I'm not aware of anyone yet having any difficulty getting their local officials to oppose weaponized drones.  Most are unaware that some U.S. localities already have drones armed with rubber bullets and tear gas.  Most consider it a crazy idea -- as they should.  But it is an idea that should be addressed, because it is not science fiction; it is a dystopia that is already upon us.  Getting localities in the United States to oppose the use of weaponized drones in their skies should be easy.  Having thus established that our towns can address the problem of drones, we could come back and deal with the complex matter of surveillance. 

The best solution on surveillance may be the one produced by the Rutherford Institute and embodied in the Charlottesville resolution.  There is nothing in that resolution that prevents a drone from delivering your coffee or checking out a forest fire.  I wish there were, but there actually isn't.  While I'd like stronger resolutions, I think at this point the movement would benefit from passing any resolutions at all.  And I think the way to make it simpler, clearer, and extremely easy would be to ask our local representatives to simply oppose weaponized drones.

Ideally, of course, I'd like to see cities and counties join the movement to ban weaponized drones from the world.  Such a resolution might read:

Weaponized drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles) -- including those carrying lethal weapons such as hellfire missiles, and those carrying non-lethal weapons such as tear gas or rubber bullets -- are no more acceptable than chemical weapons or land mines.  Whether these drones are controlled by pilots or act autonomously, whether they are publicly or privately owned, they can have no place in a civilized world and should be banned.  The City of ________ urges the State of _________, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. State Department to pursue state, national, and international prohibitions on the development, ownership, or use of weaponized drones.

The trouble with this, of course, is that most of your city council members approve of murdering foreigners with drones.  Thus it becomes a harder measure to pass.  What we want, therefore, is something that does not conflict with the resolution above but addresses itself to local, state, or U.S. skies.  To ease passage most swiftly, we want local resolutions that don't commit localities to anything, but simply make recommendations to states and the federal government.  However, I suspect that -- as in Charlottesville -- a statement of local policy will not be a deal breaker.  Here's a version of the Charlottesville resolution stripped down to the weaponized drone issue alone (just delete the last 14 words to commit your city to nothing):

NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the City Council of ________ calls on the United States Congress and the State of ________ to adopt legislation precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being; and pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.

Opponents of this resolution will be, and should be denounced for being, supporters of putting weaponized drones in our skies.  Supporters can remain technology lovers.  They can continue to believe every move we make should be videotaped by Big Brother.  They can plow right ahead with their brilliant idea for replacing the pizza guy with a drone.  But they will be taking a stand on a popular issue that has no opposition.  There is no organized popular movement in your town in support of putting weaponized drones in the sky.  There's not even a concerted effort by police, or even by the drone profiteers.  They can make big bucks off surveillance.  They can fill the skies with drones first.  The weapons can largely come later.  They are not prepared for us to build a movement against weaponized drones and then turn our focus toward the lesser offense of spying.  And by us I mean essentially everyone.  Libertarians and leftists are in agreement on this, and so is everybody else.

So, you can build public pressure.  It's not hard.  In Charlottesville, we brought a crowd of people to two consecutive city council meetings and dominated the public speaking period.  You should watch the videos of the January 22nd and February 4th meetings here.  We published a column in the newspaper making the case, including the case that it is proper for cities to speak up on national issues.  We organized an event in front of City Hall on the day before the vote.  We displayed a giant model drone produced by New York anti-drone activist Nick Mottern.  Our little stunt produced coverage on the two television channels and in the newspaper.  I asked people to commit to attending the meeting on a FaceBook page.  And when I spoke in the packed meeting, I asked those in agreement to stand.  Most of the room stood.

We presented a weak resolution at the first meeting, which put the issue on the agenda.  We then proposed a stronger one, which one of the best city council members put into the official agenda for the second meeting.  At the second meeting, the council members negotiated a compromise.  You might want to try that approach, which we stumbled into unplanned.

You can also lay the groundwork.  We invited Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin and Nick Mottern and Kathy Kelly and other great speakers to Charlottesville in the months leading up to this resolution effort.  This was not part of a plan, but we knew that it never hurts to educate people about their government's crimes.  If you sign the international petition to ban weaponized drones from the world, you'll see a list of organizations at the bottom.  Those are the places to go for resources, speakers, props, reports, flyers, and books that can help you in this effort.  You can also print out a mammoth list of signatures on the petition to impress your elected officials.  Or you can gather signatures locally and add them.

It's time we made things nice and simple.  Are we in favor of killer flying robots over our homes and schools, or are we not?

Once we've given the obvious answer, maybe we'll start asking each other whether we really think Pakistanis disagree.

Turkey: US Imperial Tool

 

Turkey: US Imperial Tool

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

In 1999, Nobel laureate/outspoken anti-war critic Harold Pinter minced no words denouncing NATO's Yugoslavia war.

 

"Let us face the truth," he said. "The truth is that neither Clinton nor Blair gives a damn about the Kosovar Albanians. This action has been another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile."

 

Close Guantanamo Now!

 

Close Guantanamo Now!

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

As president and commander-in-chief, Obama has legal authority to do so. On May 3, New York City Bar president Carey R. Dunne wrote him. He did so on behalf of the organization he heads.

 

He called indefinite detention "legally and morally indefensible." He said 25 retired military flag officers said it's "an effective recruiting tool for our enemies."

 

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

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