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Time to “Speak Out, Not Hold Your Peace” about the Kellogg-Briand Pact Outlawing War

By Stephen McKeown and Coleen Rowley

On July 28th 2012, Michael Wali, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed entered the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the pre-dawn hours by cutting a fence.  They hoisted banners, spray painted messages, and poured their blood on the nation's only storage facility for weapons grade highly enriched uranium.  They were arrested and immediately charged with misdemeanor trespass.  Several days later, charges were raised to felony level, so the trio is now facing up to a $600,000 fine and 16 years in prison

Obamobedience

Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine spoke prior to Obama's speech on Wednesday in Charlottesville, Va.  He had praise for anyone signing up to go to war in Afghanistan.  "We can still put our positive thumbprint on that nation," he said, to wild cheers.  Imagine the competition among the world's nations to get our thumbprint next!  Imagine what it costs to get our assprint.

"So, who are you voting for?" an Obama follower asked me prior to the event.  I was holding posters with 12 friends and handing out hundreds of flyers that looked like Obama material until you read them. (PDF).

The posters objected to the tripling of weapons sales to foreign dictators last year, Obama's willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare, the kill list, imprisonment without trial, warrantless spying, corporate trade agreements, the continued so-called "Bush" tax cuts, the war on Afghanistan, the drone wars, the increased military budget, the murder of Tariq Aziz and of Abdulrahman al Awlaki, the weak auto efficiency standards in the news that day, the refusal to prosecute torturers, Obama's sabotaging of agreements to counter global warming, etc.

"So, who are you going to vote for?"

"Well," I said, "you know, you can vote for someone good like Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, or you can vote for Obama, but today is not election day.  If you vote for the lesser evil candidate on election day, that's great.  Knock yourself out.  But that does not begin to produce an argument for being his apologist and cheerleader throughout the year.  If you push the culture and the government in a better direction, both evil candidates will get a little less evil.  One guy wants to trash Social Security, and the other guy brags about his willingness to make huge compromises with that agenda -- that is, to partially trash Social Security.  So, is your job to demand that not a dime be cut (regardless of how you vote), or is your job to cheer for the partially trash it guy, thereby guaranteeing that he and the other guy both get even worse?"

"Yeah, I see, but I'm trying to understand who you think we should vote for."

"Let me try again.  Take Obama's kill list for . . . "

"His what?"

"President Obama keeps a list of the people he wants to kill.  It was a frontpage New York Times story three months ago that made a lot of news but was carefully avoided by Democrats even more assiduously than you would have sought it out and trumpeted your outrage were the president a Republican.  Anyway, take the kill list, which includes Americans and non-Americans, adults and children.  Is it your job to ignore it, to celebrate it, or to protest it?  I don't mean your job as a voter, but your job as a citizen.  What are you supposed to do in such a case?"

"Well what's the alternative?"

"The alternative to murdering people?  Well, I don't know how to put this.  The alternative is essentially not murdering people."

"No, what's the alternative to Obama? Isn't the other guy worse?"

"Let me try again.  You'll grant me that women didn't vote themselves the right to vote.  Will you go along with that?  They didn't get the right to vote by voting for it?"

"Yes."

"And the civil rights movement didn't end the sit ins and marches and endorse Democrats and pack events like this one to cheer loudly?  That wouldn't have worked as well and wouldn't have been required in order for those activists to be serious activists, right?  We don't accuse Martin Luther King of not being a serious activist because he didn't endorse candidates, right?  And if you'd asked him what the alternative was to your candidate, would you be shocked if he had replied that the alternative was educating, organizing, mobilizing, and engaging in nonviolent resistance to evil?"

"So, you're not going to vote for anybody?"

"I'm not sure I'm being very clear here.  70% of the country wants the war in Afghanistan ended.  Neither candidate is willing to end it.  Obama pretends he's ending it.  Romney doesn't mention it.  Should 70% of the country keep quiet while large numbers of people are killed?  Or should we approach both branches of our government, the two parties, with our just and moral demand until we're satisfied -- regardless of who we're going to vote for?"

"Well, you can have your opinion about Afghanistan, but that's no reason to character assassinate the President."

"Seventy percent of the country is character assassinating the president by wanting to get out of Afghanistan?  Or only if you mention it out loud?  How do you character assassinate someone?  Did you catch the part where I pointed out that Obama actually assassinates people?"

Three of us went into the event.  I had tickets, which were free and which the campaign could barely give away, while back in 2007 Obama had sold out the same venue.  We didn't go in so as to spend hours in the hot sun just to hear an Obama speech like the one he'd given the day before in another town which we could have watched on Youtube.  Thousands of people did that.  We went in to disturb the war.

We wanted to shout.  But what could we shout?  We were only three.  We were not near the front.  (I recommend taking 10 to the front of one of these events if you can. You'll own the place.)  We would have to be loud and clear.  We couldn't mention the kill list which would be like mentioning UFOs to these people.  We couldn't mention Social Security because they pretend Obama's not threatening it.  We couldn't mention peace because people would think it was a pro-Obama chant.  We decided to say this: Get out of Afghanistan! End the sanctions on Iran!

Here's how the Washington Post's blog reported on that:

"Protesters drown out Obama

"Posted by Amy Gardner on August 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm
"CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — An outdoor political rally erupted into a moment of chaos as protesters drowned out President Obama’s speech at a downtown amphitheater here — and then the rest of the crowd drowned out the protesters. It was unclear what the protesters were saying, but several members of the crowd said a few minutes later that they heard 'Get out of Afghanistan!' The shouts prompted a flurry of Secret Service activity, and they also prompted an enthusiastic crowd of more than 7,000 to shut down the protesters with two cacophonous chants: 'Four more years!' and 'O-ba-ma!' Obama couldn't continue for a long moment, but when the noise finally died down, he said: 'I couldn’t hear what those young people had to say, but that's good that they got involved.' To the rest of the crowd, he said: 'Don't just chant! Vote!'"

Obama was pretending the crowd was all young people.  He'd tried to speak at the University of Virginia which had turned him down, but he gave his speech as if he were there.  The crowd didn't shout us down till we'd run out of breath.  They were not nearly as fast as Republicans are with their "U-S-A! U-S-A!"  In fact, they seemed tremendously proud of themselves when they managed to discover that they could yell "O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!"  Voting, in the pretense of those in power, constitutes more activism than chanting or any other activity.  Don't just hold teach-ins, vote! Don't just occupy the square, vote! Don't just risk your life to expose injustice, vote! If Bradley Manning had just voted, that would have been the last full measure of devotion.

As to the flurry of Secret Service activity, an Obama campaign guy started standing next to us, and a mean possibly drunk guy started shoving and threatening us.  After various additional disruptions of the war (not the peace) by us, the Obama guy called the local police over who asked us to leave, and asked for our names, etc., to tell them to the Secret Service.  The police had earlier refused numerous requests by the Obama staff and volunteers to evict our poster demonstration.  The police had mentioned freedom of speech.  The local media, as well as the police, were surprisingly decent.  The Obama campaigners, on the other hand, would have exiled us all to Gitmo if they'd been able, and if they weren't suffering under the misconception that it's been closed.

Syria News - Aug 29

Settler Attacks on Palestinians

 

Settler Attacks on Palestinians

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Last February, a Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Center (PC) report titled "When Settlers Attack" discussed data collected from 2004 to 2011. It includes over 3,700 separate incidents. It explains when, how, and why they occur.

 

Circus Shenanigans in Tampa

 

Circus Shenanigans in Tampa

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey calls theirs "the greatest show on earth." Politics in America combines sham with show me the money.

 

Republicans got first dibs. Their version of politics US-style hits Tampa from August 27 - 30. Mother nature had first say. Isaac's fury claimed day one. Perhaps its message was nyet on three days of hype, bombast, fraud, and promises made to be broken.

Israeli Court Legitimizes Murder

 

Israeli Court Legitimizes Murder

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Cindy and Craig Corrie hoped for better. So did sister Sarah. The world knows Israel murdered their daughter, Rachel, in cold blood. On August 28, Israeli justice ruled otherwise. 

 

It's unsurprising in a nation contemptuous of rule of law principles, democratic values, and life itself. More on the court ruling below.

Talk Nation Radio: How Young People Shut Down a Strip Mine in West Virginia and Why

Eva Westheimer was recently arrested for shutting down a strip mine in West Virginia, along with Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival ( http://rampscampaign.org ). Westheimer is a junior at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.  She describes the recent action she took, the ongoing campaign, and what motivates her.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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About Face, Bloody Hell

"About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War," is a book that should be stacked up on a table in every high school cafeteria, next to the vultures.  Sorry, I mean the war pushers. Sorry, I mean the good recruiters for the services of the profiteers of death. Sorry, you know the people I mean.  That is, unless useful books can make it into classrooms, which would be even better.

Most G.I. resistance in Vietnam, this book points out, came from those who had willingly signed up, not from draftees.  It is often those who believe the hype, who are trying to benefit the world by going to war, who find the will try to benefit the world when their blinders have been removed and they've seen what war is and what war is used for. 

"About Face" collects stories of recent resistance within the "volunteer" U.S. military.  These are young people with few job options who choose military "service" but discover it isn't a service.  They all have stories, many of them highlighting particular moments of conversion.  The reality is usually more complex and gradual, but the stories make the point.

Benji Lewis was a Marine in Iraq.  After two "tours" he gave some thought to things that had happened on his first tour, including this:

"They were shooting at this lady who was walking up to our posts waving her arms and asking for help in Arabic.  So I came up close and talked to her, and her face looked like death itself.  She had salt crusted all over her face.  It was obvious that she had been crying for quite a bit.  I kind of got the story that she had a family.  We were like, 'Go back home, go to your family.'  And then it came out that she was asking for help.  Three days ago, her entire family, her children, had been pretty much buried in the rubble of their house, and she was asking for help.  I asked my staff sergeant, 'Can we help her?'  He said to tell her to walk to the Red Cross aid station, which was a few miles away.  We couldn't leave our posts to help her, so we gave her a couple of bottles of water and wished her luck, you know.  It downed on me later on that me being the adjusting gunner for the mortar section, there was a good probability that I was the one that put those rounds on her house." 

Lewis refused orders for his Individual Ready Reserve recall and was discharged with no penalties.  While some resisters are punished, that does not seem to be the norm.  Often the resistance takes the form of going AWOL, and in some cases later turning oneself in.  Andre Shepherd sought refugee status in Germany:

"I made a decision during [a] two-week period that I would have to walk away from the service rather than either get myself killed or get somebody else killed in a war that was based on a pack of lies."

Some resisters don't believe they should request conscientious objector status, because that requires opposing all wars.  Having come to see through the lies and horror of one war, they still fantasize that some other war might be a good idea.  Those who do apply for conscientious objector status don't always receive it, but many do.  Hart Viges joined up in 2001, gung ho for the war on terra.  He was honorably discharged as a conscientious objector three years later.  "I am opposed to all wars," he says.  "When anybody picks up a tool to violently fight their brother or sister, I am opposed to it and do not support it.  I finally found my fight, my good fight.  It's the path that I am most comfortable with, more comfortable with myself than I have ever been in the rest of my life."  Telling the truth about war turns out to be great therapy for veterans and for our whole society.

But the stories should perhaps be taken in small doses.  Reading through these books without pause can make you understand why it is sometimes the counselors who hear all the soldiers' stories who end up losing their own minds.  "About Face" informs potential recruits and those already recruited that they have options, as well as informing aging peace activists where the young ones are: they're among the veterans.  Many other books and videos can add to the reality that needs to be communicated to a culture increasingly viewing war as a harmless sport.  Probably the most powerful collection of veterans' stories I've read is "Bloody Hell" by Dan Hallock.  This is essentially an uncensored view of what can become of you if you don't resist.

"Bloody Hell" shows us homeless men, men mad with nightmares, in prison, on death row, drunk, weeping, drugged, screaming, suicidal, and unable to prevent themselves from harming those they love.  A Vietnam veteran identified as Lee married and had a little girl with a Vietnamese woman while stationed in Vietnam during the war.  That wife and daughter, plus drug use, were what carried him through the hell he was a part of, the killing and the dying all around him.  But the Army denied the legitimacy of his marriage and made clear he would have to leave his wife and daughter behind or desert:

"Chi and I met one last time before I was supposed to leave.  We both cried our eyes out.  It was so bad, so much pain.  We trembled in each other's arms.  I left her and went back to my unit.  Then she sent me a note saying to meet her at a cliff above the South China Sea, a very beautiful place where we had gone a lot.  I went.  I was leaving tomorrow, so I had to see her today.  I took an officer's jeep and drove to the cliff.  There they were, waiting, crying.  We didn't talk, we just held each other, with Le in between us.  We cried so much.  I reached into my pocket and took out my pistol, put it to Chi's head and pulled the trigger.  There was a splatter -- then her blood gushed out -- all over me.  I held her tightly -- with Le screaming still between us.  I held her as long as I could -- then let her go -- over the cliff and into the sea they both fell.  I pounded the earth as hard as I could -- I screamed till I had no voice.  I had nothing left inside me when I drove back.  I should have died in Vietnam instead of living the thousands of deaths that I have.  Back at the hooch no one said a word to me.  I had walked in covered with blood and looked pretty bad -- no one said a word."

Lee recounts his life back in the United States as a veteran, with a new wife, and a new child.  You can imagine.  But you should read it.  Everyone should.  Especially everyone who's 17 and not the child of a billionaire.

Shooting Your Own Side

Veterans' stories often depict war differently from what the television told us.  Drones won't talk, of course, but human warriors tell us how early the 2003 invasion of Iraq began, how the Gulf of Tonkin incident didn't happen, and how countless families have been murdered rather than liberated.  "Bloody Hell" includes an account from a veteran named Doug of the 1989 U.S. attack on Panama.  I had known that the war plans had been in place months before an incident that was used to justify this "intervention" against long-time U.S.-backed dictator Manuel Noriega.  Some drunk Panamanian soldiers had beaten up a U.S. navy officer and threatened his wife.  But listen to this account from Doug:

"At Fort Bragg I was ordered to go on a mission against a group of people I had never dreamed of -- our own soldiers.  I was assembled along with Michael and four other men whom I never had met before.  We were among the few soldiers in the U.S. Army at the time with combat experience, with confirmed sniper kills; we were also the best of the best.  The thinking at the Pentagon was that to get the soldiers stationed in Panama to fight, they had to have very good reasons.  We're talking here about soldiers who have never experienced combat before.  And the best way to get them riled up was to attack them.  When Michael asked what the other four men in our mission were doing, we were told it was none of our business.  You see, American soldiers, especially infantry soldiers, stick together.  If one of them gets into a predicament in a bar -- I mean a fight -- the others don't walk away, they join in.  You don't fight one of them, you fight all of them.  Their training has taught them to be a team; they depend on each other, and it doesn't matter if it's a barroom brawl or not.  They depend on each other to get home.  So what better way to get them all worked up than to take pot shots at them?  We were told that we would be saving lives by doing this.  For weeks leading up to the invasion of Panama, Michael and I took pot shots at soldiers during the night." 

There's wrong.

And then there's Army wrong.

A Frenzy of War Talk—Israel’s Outrageous Threats to Attack Iran

"Decision by Netanyahu, Barak to strike Iran is almost final-Israel TV"

        (Times of Israel, August 11)

        "Israeli speculation over Iran strike reaches fever pitch"

        (Guardian, August 14)

Over the past several weeks there has been an eruption of alarming reports, high-level meetings, and public debate over whether Israel is close to deciding—or has already decided—to launch a military assault on Iran before the November U.S. presidential election.

Boiling Frogs: Activist and Author David Swanson on the Thinning Ranks of Peace Activists and the Expanding War Machinery

Source

by Peter B. Collins on August 27, 2012

Preview Clip

 

David Swanson, author and tireless, inspiring activist, joins us for this Boiling Frogs interview, co-hosted with Sibel Edmonds.Author and peace activist David Swanson joins us to discuss our nation’s perpetual war status, the latest in the peace activists’ movement, and the disappearance of Anti-Republicans from the peace movement since Barack Obama’s presidency. He talks about the need to overcome Americans’ understanding of the war machine as a jobs engine and militarism as a normal way of life, and for broader understanding of the Military Industrial Complex as the top opponent of all that is good and just, broader-based opposition to not only domestic surveillance drones but also our killer drones abroad, and more!

David Swanson is an activist, blogger and author, and a founder of WarIsACrime.Org. He was press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, and Voters for Peace. Mr. Swanson has authored several books including Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, War Is A Lie , When the World Outlawed War, and The Military Industrial Complex at 50. To learn more about David Swanson visit http://davidswanson.org

Austin Police to Start Enforcing 50-Foot Rule to Record Them in Public

Austin police are trying their best to deter Antonio Buehler from recording them in public, doing everything from arresting him, accusing him of “inciting violence” against them, and attempting to create a rule in his honor that would require citizens with cameras to stand at least 50 feet away from police officers.

READ THE REST HERE.

Kafkaesque Parole Practices Ruin Lives

 

By Linn Washington, Jr. 

 

The perplexing predicament confronting Daryl Brooks could confound writers Albert Camus and Franz Kafka, two authors acclaimed for their works about individuals subjected to surreal forms of injustice.

Brooks, a community activist in Trenton, New Jersey, is facing a Kafkaesque return to prison because some NJ state parole personnel charged him with committing a parole violation that top NJ Parole Board officials contend is not actually a violation.

Tom Vellner, Boston Magazine: my cousin’s experience with the TSA

Tom Vellner writes in Boston Magazine about the experience of his cousin at the hands of the TSA.

Read the rest at TSA News.

WBAI on When the Republican Convention Favored Peace

Believe it or not, once upon a time in America, there was a close-enough-to "pacificist" Republican President:  Calvin Coolidge.    RootsAction.org's David Swanson reviews the forgotten 1924 campaign of "Outlawry" against war, versus contemporary Republican policy; RNC Opening with a "Voter Suppression" counterpoint; and Independent Institute's Ivan Eland on Ron Paul's prospects of "libertarianating" the RNC; and Ron Paul himself, rallying in Tampa, and not endorsing Mitt Romney.



 Program details below...


-Robert Knight
Senior National Correspondent

"Five  O'Clock  Shadow"
WBAI . 99.5FM . wbai.org 

We Are the 99.5!
 
 "Five O'Clock Shadow" with Robert Knight 
 Daily Program
 Calvin Coolige; David Swanson; RNC; Ivan Eland; Ron Paul; Robert Knight
 

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION COVERAGE: DAY ONE


WHAT A DIFFERENCE A CENTURY MAKES: REPUBLICAN MORPHING FROM PEACE TO WAR

CALVIN COOLIDGE - 1924 Campaign Statement of contemporaneous Republican Party principles;

DAVID SWANSON [ davidswanson.org , rootsaction.org ], author of "War Is a Lie," discusses his latest essay, "A Forgotten RNC," and the counterintuitive peace-asserting Republican (and Socialist and Progressive) party philosophy of 1924's "outlawry" movement leading to the Kellog-Briand Treaty that nominally refutes war as an instrument of statecraft;

RNC (2012) - Opening Statement and immediate "adjournment";

Daniel R. Queen [ queenspalaceinc.com ] - "Voter Suppression"; 

IVAN ELAND [ independent.org ], senior fellow at the Independent Institute, and author of "Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity and Liberty," discusses the Ron Paul populist/libertarian impulse within the Republican party, and the prospects of his international anti-war philosophy being subverted by domestic conservative interests; and

RON PAUL addresses supporters at a "Sun Dome" rally in Tampa.



Anchor: Robert Knight
Producer: Thiago Barrozo
Engineer: Michael G. Haskins
Origin: WBAI/Pacifica

Support the "Shadow" - give2wbai.org

Anti-Syrian Blame Game

 

Anti-Syrian Blame Game

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Washington, NATO allies, complicit regional partners, the UN, and media scoundrels wrongfully blame Syria for massacres, other killings, and atrocities committed by Western recruited death squads.

 

Washington features dirty tactics. They include blaming victims. Syria has been ravaged for months. Fingers point the wrong way. Assad is more victim than villain.

Palestinians Living in Firing Zones

 

Palestinians Living in Firing Zones

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Life in Occupied Palestine is hard enough. Imagine how much worse in firing zones.

 

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Audio: David Swanson on Protesting Obama's War Making

Charlottesville Right Now: 8-27-12 David Swanson
David Swanson, renowned activist and author joins the show to discuss the President's upcoming visit in Charlottesville.

Go here.

Your pants may be cleared, but baggage still goes unscreened

As so many Americans love to say, "Meh, facts schmacts."

READ THE REST AT TSA NEWS.

Support Bradly Manning- Grand Central Station NYC

Are Human Rights Becoming a Tool of US "Smart Power"?

By Coleen Rowley

Some nonpartisan commentators finally recognize that current US foreign policy continues to escalate militarily as though on steroids. It has become evident that use of deadly force by a US-dominated NATO is not only outside the parameters of international and constitutional law, but also in some cases outside basic legal principles that have stood the test of time not only for decades, but for centuries.  One explanation, however, for why American civil society, in general, has not pushed back is the "better rhetoric" now being used to sell war. 

Washington Opposes Peace

 

Washington Opposes Peace

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's history is blood-drenched. Permanent war is policy. Peace and stability are verboten. 

 

One nation after another is targeted. Aggressive wars follow. Rule of law principles and democratic values are discarded. Wealth, power and unchallengeable dominance alone matter.

 

Historic Tehran NAM Summit

 

Historic Tehran NAM Summit

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

After the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is the most important world body. Hopefully its 16th summit will infuse it with new life. 

 

As host, Iran has a historic opportunity. At the same time, it can enhance its own prestige and enlist support against hostile Washington/Israeli designs.

 

What happens when they start killing Christians?

Michael Collins

What really scandalizes us is that the Western world is encouraging this rise of sectarian violence just to topple the [al-Assad] regime. Mother Agnes Miriam, Syria

NATO and Saudi supported Free Syrian Army democracy warriors are attacking and killing Christians in Syria. Reports indicate that various Christian denominations are special targets for kidnapping, violence and intimidation. (Image) For example:

"Syrian rebel forces have trapped over 12,000 Greek Catholics in a village near the Lebanese border, causing shortages of food, medicine and other urgent supplies." CNA, August 25

The Greek Catholics in the village of Reblah may suffer the same fate as Christians in Qusair who were forced to seek refuge in Lebanon recently after their village lost supplies for days thanks to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The residents were told to leave or face annihilation. They chose to leave.

August 27th and the Strangest Dream

In a few places around the country groups are working to make August 27th a local or national holiday as a result of reading "When the World Outlawed War."  

“Last night I had the strangest dream I’d ever dreamed before,” wrote Ed McCurdy in 1950 in what became a popular folk song. “I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war. I dreamed I saw a mighty room, and the room was filled with men. And the paper they were signing said they’d never fight again.” (Here are a few videos: Johnny Cash - Pete Seeger - Simon and Garfunkel - John Denver - Serena Ryder.) 

That scene had happened in reality on August 27, 1928, in Paris, France. The treaty that was signed that day, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, was subsequently ratified by the United States Senate in a vote of 85 to 1 and remains on the books (and on the U.S. State Department’s website) to this day as part of what Article VI of the U.S. Constitution calls “the supreme Law of the Land.”  Frank Kellogg, the U.S. Secretary of State who made this treaty happen, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and saw his public reputation soar — so much so that the United States named a ship after him, one of the “Liberty ships” that carried war supplies to Europe during World War II. Kellogg was dead at the time. So, many believed, were prospects for world peace. But following World War II, for the first time ever people were prosecuted for the brand new crime of making war -- these charges explicitly justified by the Kellogg-Briand Pact.  And the wealthy nations have not gone to war with each other since.  War continues against and among poor nations only, much to our shame.  But the possibility of eliminating war entirely if we choose has been well established.

IMAGE: the author at Frank Kellogg's house in St. Paul, Minn. Photo by Coleen Rowley.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact and its renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy is something we might want to revive. This treaty gathered the adherence of the world’s nations swiftly and publicly, driven by fervent public demand. We might think about how public opinion of that sort might be created anew, what insights it possessed that have yet to be realized, and what systems of communication, education, and elections would allow the public again to influence government policy, as the ongoing campaign to eliminate war — understood by its originators to be an undertaking of generations — continues to develop.

We might begin by remembering what the Kellogg-Briand Pact is and where it came from. Perhaps, in between celebrating Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Yellow Ribbon Day, Patriots Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and the Iraq-Afghanistan Wars Day legislated by Congress in 2011, not to mention the militaristic festival that bombards us every September 11th, we could squeeze in a day marking a step toward peace. I propose we do so every August 27th. Perhaps a national focus for Kellogg-Briand Day might be on an event in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., (if it safely reopens following the recent earthquake) where the inscription below the Kellogg Window gives Kellogg, who is buried there, credit for having “sought equity and peace among the nations of the world.”

We would be celebrating a step toward peace, not its achievement. We celebrate steps taken toward establishing civil rights, despite that remaining a work in progress. By marking partial achievements we help build the momentum that will achieve more. We also, of course, respect and celebrate the ancient establishment of laws banning murder and theft, although murder and theft are still with us. The earliest laws making war into a crime, something it had not been before, are just as significant and will long be remembered if the movement for the Outlawry of war succeeds. If it does not, and if the nuclear proliferation, economic exploitation, and environmental degradation that come with our wars continue, then before long there may be nobody remembering anything at all.

Another way to revive a treaty that in fact remains law would, of course, be to begin complying with it. When lawyers, politicians, and judges want to bestow human rights on corporations, they do so largely on the basis of a court reporter’s note added to, but not actually part of, a Supreme Court ruling from over a century back. When the Department of Justice wants to “legalize” torture or, for that matter, war, it reaches back to a twisted reading of one of the Federalist Papers or a court decision from some long forgotten era. If anyone in power today favored peace, there would be every justification for recalling and making use of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. It is actually law. And it is far more recent law than the U.S. Constitution itself, which our elected officials still claim, mostly unconvincingly, to support. The Pact, excluding formalities and procedural matters, reads in full,

The High Contracting Parties solemly [sic] declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.

The French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, whose initiative had led to the Pact and whose previous work for peace had already earned him a Nobel Peace Prize, remarked at the signing ceremony,

For the first time, on a scale as absolute as it is vast, a treaty has been truly devoted to the very establishment of  peace, and has laid down laws that are new and free from all political considerations. Such a treaty means a beginning and not an end. . . . [S]elfish and willful war which has been regarded from of old as springing from divine right, and has remained in international ethics as an attribute of sovereignty, has been at last deprived by law of what constituted its most serious danger, its legitimacy. For the future, branded with illegality, it is by mutual accord truly and regularly outlawed so that a culprit must incur the unconditional condemnation and probably the hostility of all his co-signatories.

Protest at Obama Event in Charlottesville This Wednesday

Please sign up on FaceBook:
http://facebook.com/events/278485415586563

Please bring signs, banners, posters!

1 p.m. at the Free Speech Wall.

Please print lots of these flyers to hand out:
http://warisacrime.org/downloads/obamaflyercville.pdf

Here's what the flyers say:

Go, Obama, Go! 

While you wait . . .

It's important that we remind ourselves why we're here, and what we're cheering for!

Accomplishment Highlights
President Obama keeps a list of "nominees" for murder and holds meetings on Tuesdays to pick the winners.  We can ask him who got the nod yesterday.  The list includes adults and children, men and women, boys and girls, Americans and non-Americans.   See: New York Times, May 29, 2012.

President Obama has enlarged the U.S. military three years in a row, deployed it to more nations, engaged it in more secret wars, and invented a new form of warfare using drones.  The drone wars are killing large numbers of people and creating vastly greater numbers of refugees.  Their illegality is not a concern, following Obama's war in Libya conducted despite the opposition of Congress, and the current U.S. role in a civil war in Syria unilaterally announced by the White House.  These are on top of a war in Afghanistan that Obama tripled in size and intends to continue for two-and-a-half more years before continuing at an unspecified smaller scale for 10 more years after that, despite 70 percent public opposition now.

In fact, legality has been removed from all discussion, as President Obama has publicly instructed the Attorney General of the United States not to prosecute any members of the Central Intelligence Agency for torture.  President Obama, together with Congress, has "legalized" imprisonment without trial for Americans or non-Americans (something Obama's Justice Department is currently struggling to uphold in court), as well as rendition, and torture (now a policy choice rather than a crime). 

The Obama administration has engaged in an unprecedented assault on whistleblowers, charging more than all previous administrations combined under the Espionage Act, creating a climate of secrecy and fear, torturing Bradley Manning, and maneuvering in an extensive effort to gain custody of Julian Assange and try or at least punish him for journalism.

This unprecedented militarism was the inevitable result of our failure to hold Bush and Cheney responsible for their crimes.  It carries with it the inevitable trade-off on the domestic side.  Over half of federal discretionary spending (and rising) now goes to war preparation.  Obama's major complaint with the U.S. media is that, "He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security" (New York Times, Aug. 7, 2012). The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few has advanced faster under Obama than under Bush.  Corporate trade agreements have been created at a faster pace.  The destruction of the earth's atmosphere has continued at a faster pace. 

The Horrible Romney Alternative
OF COURSE you should not vote for Romney.  But civil rights were not gained by avoiding the responsibilities of citizenship in order to pretend that every day is election day.  Today is not election day.  Today is an opportunity to communicate a message to the holder of an office that has been given unprecedented power (again, by allowing Bush to walk free).  Women did not vote themselves the right to vote.  The labor movement was not built by the current strategy of funding a corporate political party with working people's hard-earned pay.  In that moment of voting, vote as you see fit.  But censoring your criticism of your government, cheering as a spectator for one half of a corrupt government, treating government of the people as a spectator sport is working against what has always done the good you are intending to do here.  We don't need well-meaning props in electoral commercials so much as we need activists, organizers, mobilizers, educators.  If we reject any cuts to our Social Security and Medicare, if we insist on an end to all the killing, we will move the culture of the country and with it all the politicians.  That's what's worked for centuries.  Avoiding ugly facts has never gotten us anywhere.

A Shift in the Zeitgeist? Hitchhiker Finds Drivers Suddenly More Willing to Give a Lift

 

By Dave Lindorff


Sometimes a journalist just has to go with the story, even if it’s going all wrong. 


Iran War Weekly - August 26, 2012

Iran War Weekly

August 26, 2012

Hello All – Once again the front-burner drama this week re: Iran’s nuclear program was the debate within Israel about whether it should attack Iran’s nuclear sites, and especially whether Israel would/should attack before the US presidential election.  As noted below, elite opinion in Israel is running strongly against Netanyahu and the bombs-away camp; and increasingly Israelis are accusing Netanyahu of attempting to intervene in the US election to help out Mitt Romney.  While US experts largely discount the possibility of an Israeli attack, I think it’s a pretty unstable situation.

Syria News - Aug 26

 

Rebels accuse Assad's forces of massacre in Daraya near Syrian capital - Reuters

VIDEO: Syrian TV extensive report on the Daraya massacre, Interviews with residents who claim rebels perpetrated the massacre - YouTube

VIDEO: Another Report on Daraya Residents Disputing Claim Massacre Carried Out by Syrian Army - Alex Jones' Infowars

VIDEO: Posted by Syrian rebels, The Daraya Massacre - YouTube

More on the Syrian Christians in 2-week blockade by rebel fighters, residents desperate - RT

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Dozens of jihadis to join Syrian rebels within days , Informed sources said that the jihadis will fight with the Free Syrian Army - Egypt Independent

VIDEO: Tunisian Al Qaeda Jihadists in Syria: Al Mayadeen report - YouTube

Security services 'failing' to stop British jihadis heading to Syria - Telegraph

VIDEO: Rebels swear allegiance to Emir of Jubhat al-Nusra - LiveLeak.com

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

Egypt defends Syria contact group that includes Iran - AFP

Iran supports Quartet Committee for Syria - Daily News Egypt

Iran's national security chief meets Syria's Assad, top aids - Xinhua | English.news.cn

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

VIDEO: Sen. Lugar proposes joint US- Russia takeover of Syria's chemical weapons if Assad's regime falls- firstpost.com

200 elite SAS and SBS troops are in or around Syria hunting for Assad’s weapons of mass destruction - Daily Star

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

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