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Who Are the Real Criminals?

Who Are the Real Criminals?

83 year old nun, Sister Megan Rice and two other peace activists, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were convicted and could be sentenced to 20 year for breaking into a Tennessee storage facility for depleted uranium weapons and splashing them with blood.  They are members of the group Transform Now Plowshares that lives the words of the Bible "They shall beat their swords into plowshares.  They shall learn war no more."

With skyrocketing cancer rates and birth defects, the city of Fallujah, Iraq has never recovered from the 2004 U.S. assault on it using depleted uranium munitions.  A study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health states that the after effects of the Fallujah assault are "worse" than those after the U.S. nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Syria News May 10

 

U.S. Presses Russia on Syria Arms Sale (VIDEO) - WSJ.com

U.S. Is Warned Russia Plans Syria Arms Sale - WSJ.com

Israel asks Russia not to sell Syria advanced S-300 air shield: officials - Reuters

Deputy FM: Syria will 'respond immediately' to any Israeli strike - Yahoo!7

Assad: We have decided to give Hezbollah everything, it is not just an ally, we share the same destiny - almanar.com

Hezbollah: Syria to supply “game-changing” weapons to militia (VIDEO) - Chicago Sun-Times

Hezbollah offers to help Syria fight for Israel-occupied Golan - Yahoo! News

Syria troops, Hezbollah advancing on Qusayr, NGO says - Alarabiya.net 

Interview: NATO Supreme Allied Commander on Syria and Soft Power, warns Syria may ‘break apart’ post-Assad - The Atlantic

VIDEO: Deputy FM Muqdad: We'll 'Respond Immediately' to Any New Israeli Strike - LiveLeak.com

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Syria to let in UN experts to investigate chemical arms use — RT News

Damascus Welcomes Russia-US Rapprochement on Syria Crisis - RIA Novosti

Proposed UN General Assembly resolution backs political transition in Syria, condemns regime, Russia urges other countries to vote "no" - Fox News

Exclusive: Opposing Qatar's Syria Draft UNGA Resolution, Russia Cites Lavrov - Kerry Peace Conference , Letter Here - Inner City Press

France wants U.N. to label Syria's al-Nusra Front a terrorist group - Yahoo! News

Brahimi to stay on as Syria envoy after Russia-US bid, UN says

Exclusive: Turkish PM Erdogan: Syria has crossed red line, used chemical weapons VIDEO) - NBC World News

Turkey would support U.S.-led no-fly zone in Syria - NBC - Yahoo!7

Turkey steps up chemical weapons tests on Syria casualties - Reuters

Reports: Warnings about Syria from the US to Ankara especially about the support provided for pro-al-Qaeda “jihadist” elements - hurriyetdailynews.com

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SNC acting chief: Abducted Aleppo bishops 'in good health', held in a small village northwest of Aleppo by a rebel group - Al Bawaba

The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq to train Syrian Kurds to stop extremists gaining ground - FT.com

60% of Syrian oil controlled by Kurds: PYD leader Salih Muslim - ekurd

Europe and the Politics Of Syrian Oil - Al-Monitor

Top U.S. Official Meets With Rebels Inside Syria - WBUR & NPR

Syrian opposition coalition's acting president urges U.S. action - chicagotribune.com

New report on the Muslim Brotherhood - Syria Comment

Al-Nusra Front denies chief wounded in Syria - AFP

Syrian Warplanes Pound Rebels Near Northern Mannagh Air Base - AP

Syrian army launches new operations in Banias - World Bulletin

Syrian troops advance in central city of Homs - Las Vegas Sun News

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Speaking with an Alleged Member of the Syrian Electronic Army About the 'Onion' Twitter Hack - VICE United States

No joke: The Onion tells how Syrian Electronic Army hacked its Twitter - Ars Technica

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Legacy of European Colonialism Liberating Women With Bombs and Bags of Cash

 

By John Grant

It was the summer of 1981. I was working on an ambulance in Philadelphia, transporting a cancer patient to a hospital for radiation treatments. The man was in his sixties, and I felt he knew his days were numbered.

In my conversations with the man, it came up that I was a Vietnam veteran. He told me he was in the CIA in Saigon in the early 1970s.

“What did you do?” I asked.

Willie Manning: Unjustly Sentenced to Death

 

Willie Manning: Unjustly Sentenced to Death

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Capital punishment is barbaric, unjust and unconscionable. It's the ultimate denial of human rights. Nothing justifies state-sponsored murder. Wrongfully executing innocent victims alone explains why.

 

Kerry in Moscow

 

Kerry in Moscow

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Russian condemnation of Israeli air strikes preceded Kerry's arrival. Moscow's Foreign Ministry called them "a threat to regional stability." 

 

Syria News May 9

 

Syrian opposition would find it impossible to hold peace talks over a transitional government that still has Assad at its head - Reuters

White House says Syria's future can't include Assad despite efforts to lure rebels, regime into talks - The Washington Post

VIDEO: Carney: Assad Does Not Represent Syrian People - Yahoo! Finance Canada

US unveiling extra $100 million humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees - AFP

Pentagon Plans for the Worst in Syria - WSJ.com

EU "very satisfied" with US-Russia Syria accord - AFP

Brahimi Calls Russia-US Deal on Syria ‘Significant Step’ - RIA Novosti

Jordan, Iran Agree on Need For Political Solution in Syria - Al-Monitor

Saudi Arabia takes over from Qatar to deal with the Syrian opposition, as great powers begin to agree on general principles for a solution - Hassan Hassan 

Canada urges political solution in Syria - AFP

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Syrian troops push into strategic town along highway to Jordan - Reuters

FSA commanders say that entire units have gone over to al-Nusra while others have lost a quarter or more of their strength - The Guardian

US Intelligence Asked Moderate Syrian Rebels to Fight Al-Nusra - thenational.ae

Watchdog: Jihadist al-Nusra chief wounded near Damascus - Alarabiya.net 

Syrian rebels release video of captive peacekeepers (VIDEO) - The Times of Israel

UN pulls back Golan peacekeepers after abduction- AFP

Al-Assad tries to open safe corridor for Alawites, says Turkish FM - hurriyetdailynews.com

Thousands of Hezbollah fighters in Syria protecting Assad regime’s escape route? - Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Israeli- and Hizballah-controlled enclaves take shape inside Syria - DEBKAfile

Hezbollah seeking more arms after Israeli raid on Syria - NOW

Fatah: Resistance doesn't take orders from Syria - JPost

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Evidence suggests Al-Nusra used riot control agents, Symptoms are respiratory problems as those described by people who were under "chemical weapons" attacks - M of A

Jabhat Al-Nusra Photographed With "Chemical Weapons" that May be Riot Control Agents (PHOTO) - Brown Moses Blog

Alleged chemical weapon delivery systems in Syria are more likely less-lethal munitions - The Rogue Adventurer

VIDEO: Investigating Syrian rebels’ chemical weapons claims - Today Show

VIDEO: FSA Leader Says Syrian Govt Used Chemical Weapons 4 Times - Today Show

Growing signs Syria uses chemical weapons: Britain's Cameron - Yahoo! News

Britain lays out plan for arming Syrian rebels amid fears of 'likely' chemical weapons attack - Telegraph

Britain launches new drive to lift EU arms ban on Syria - Reuters

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Kurdish Group Gaining Autonomy In Northern Syria - Al-Monitor

‘Westren Kurdistan could be a model for a free and democratic Syria’: PYD leader Salih Muslim - ekurd

Divisions Plague Kurdish Opposition Groups in Syria - Rudaw

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Stop the Torture! Close Guantánamo! End the War Crimes & Violations of Fundamental Rights!

by Debra Sweet          We’ve been pondering hard on what more we can do to create a political situation where Obama has to back down, release at least a few of the men at Guantanamo, and be forced into closing the prison. All of our frequent protests, petitions, call-ins, editorials and op-eds are part of what's needed.

Talk Nation Radio: Highway Boondoggles Bypass Budget Crunch

Randy "Salz" Salzman is a transportation writer and researcher and the author of Fatal Attraction: Curbing Our Love Affair With the Automobile Before it Kills Us.  He discusses how highway construction boondoggles that are bad for health, heritage, the environment, and even the flow of traffic, have survived in these times of cramped public budgets.  In particular, Salzman looks at the example of a proposed highway in Charlottesville, Va., opposed by the public but rolling ahead toward unsafe, destructive, and ridiculously expensive construction.

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

Death Penalty Dying Out

Most of the world's governments no longer use the death penalty.  Among wealthy nations there is one exception remaining.  The United States is among the top five killers in the world.  Also in the top five: the recently "liberated" Iraq.

But most of the United States' 50 states no longer use the death penalty.  There are 18 states that have abolished it, including 6 in this new millennium, including Maryland this week.  Thirty-one states haven't used the death penalty in the past 5 years, 26 in the past 10 years, 17 in the past 40 years or more.  A handful of Southern states -- with Texas in the lead -- do most of the killing.

The progress is slow and painful.  Mississippi is right now having trouble deciding whether to spare a man just because he might be innocent.  Maryland has perversely left five people waiting to be killed while banning the death penalty for any future cases.  Next-door in Virginia we hold second place behind Texas and continue to kill. 

Virginia electrocuted a man named Robert Gleason in January.  Since then, Texas has killed four men, Ohio two, and Florida, Oklahoma, and Georgia one each -- all by lethal injection.  Since 1973, there have been 141 exonerations from death row nationwide, including an innocent Virginian who came within days of being killed. 

If you're convicted of killing a white person in Virginia, you're over three times as likely to receive the death penalty as you would be if the victim had been black.  The injustice and backwardness is staggering, but so is the lack of democracy.  Only a third of Virginians tell pollsters they favor the death penalty.

The evil of the death penalty is not limited to the instances in which it is used -- or to the corrosive influence it has on our culture.  The death penalty primarily serves as a valuable chip in plea bargaining.  Want someone to plead guilty, whether or not they actually are guilty?  Threaten them with the death penalty.  Who needs trials by jury (now used in under 2% of cases) when you have that kind of tool?  And who has time for them when you've overloaded the system by treating drug use as a crime?

Remarkably, a former commonwealth's attorney here in Charlottesville, Va., named Steve Deaton is campaigning for his old job with a commitment to never use or threaten to use the death penalty.

"I believe the death penalty is barbaric and has no place in modern Charlottesville courts," Deaton says, reversing the electoral wisdom of many decades, which firmly holds that candidates must pretend to believe the death penalty is just and righteous and a deterrent to crime, even if the public thinks that's nonsense.

"I am calling for a moratorium on death penalty prosecutions," says Deaton.  "During the past 20 years -- that is, the term of the incumbent Commonwealth's Attorney -- a number of capital murder charges have been brought against some people, almost all of them poor.  Then the charge is often used as a bargaining chip to get the defendant to plead guilty to murder and accept a life sentence.  This practice of using the threat of death to plea bargain is legal, and under current ethical standards, considered ethical.  However, I find such a practice appalling. By engaging in this practice the prosecutor is tempting fate: what if their threat doesn't work and the case goes to a jury?"

Many in Charlottesville oppose the death penalty.  Deaton explains the very real possibility that it will nonetheless be employed here: "The notion that no Charlottesville jury will return a death sentence is misleading.  In a capital murder case the jury has to be 'death qualified,' meaning that the jurors must believe in the death penalty.  Such a jury is not representative of the community!  Studies have shown that a 'death qualified jury' is also much more likely to convict."

Deaton points out that prosecutors have a great deal of discretion: "A prosecutor does not have to bring a capital murder charge.  They have the option of bringing a regular murder charge instead."

If elected, Deaton intends to use the enormous discretion given to prosecutors to try to make punishments more reasonably fit crimes, including so-called drug crimes.  While Charlottesville City Council failed by a vote of 3-2 in February to end jail time for possession of marijuana, Deaton intends to charge those possessing marijuana with a different charge: disorderly conduct.  It's technically a higher level charge -- a Class 1 misdemeanor -- but it does not carry the draconian punishments of loss of driver's license, subjection to drug testing, ruined college acceptance and student loan prospects, immigration status, etc.  "If a person makes a mistake, they should be punished.  They shouldn't have their lives ruined," Deaton says.

Deaton aims to counter mass-incarceration, not add to it.  "The state has built a new $100 million prison in Grayson County and there is talk of expanding our local jail," he says.  "All of this in spite of declining crime rates.  It is time to stop feeding the prison-industrial complex. I believe the goal of the justice system should be to empty out spaces in the jails and prisons -- not to fill every available space!"

Of course, the system of mass incarceration creates a caste system by stamping the scarlet F of "Felon" on those released, no matter how many years of their lives are wasted in cages.  Deaton favors restoring rights, including voting rights, for people convicted of nonviolent felonies.

Charlottesville has a chance to give the death penalty in Virginia a big push toward the door, which would help the United States and the world along that path.  As Charlottesville only elects Democrats (and packs the full range of great to awful candidates into that one party) the election for Deaton is effectively the June 11th primary.  Anyone in Charlottesville can vote in that primary, without swearing any loyalty to any party.  And anyone else can help to spread the word or donate to the campaign.

UN Human Rights Council Duplicity

 

UN Human Rights Council Duplicity

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article said the following:

 

On May 5, Reuters headlined "UN has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator."

 

Fannie and Freddie in Good Hands with Mel Watt

 

Fannie and Freddie in Good Hands with Mel Watt

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 1, Obama nominated Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). 

 

It replaced the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB), the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD).

 

Syria News May 8

 

Russia, U.S. agree to push both Syria sides to find a negotiated solution, to hold a peace conference attended by Assad government and opposition - Alarabiya.net English

VIDEO: Joint Lavrov and Kerry conference in Moscow - YouTube

Obama: We need proof of Syria chemical weapons use, "I don't make decisions based on perceived evidence" - usatoday.com

VIDEO: Obama on Syria: I don't make decisions based on perceived evidence - NBCNews.com

Army chief of staff Odierno: Syria rebels will prevail, but sequester makes U.S. intervention risky - The E-Ring

On Syria Sarin, UN Ban Ki Spokesman Won't Say If Sellstrom Has Got or Wants Del Ponte Info - Inner City Press

Syrian Opposition to Discuss Replacing Hitto as Interim PM–Source - Asharq Alawsat English Mobile

VIDEO: Interview with Syrian opposition PM Hitto: Negotiated end to Syria's civil war? - CNN.com Blogs

VIDEO: Syrian National Coalition member discusses allegations of chemical weapons use - Al Jazeera Blogs

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Syria Civil War: Rebel Group Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade Abducts Four UN Peacekeepers - IBTimes UK

VIDEO: More Filipino UN peacekeepers ‘held by Syrian rebels’ - euronews

FSA leader Idriss says he has little influence over what the rebels do, no authority over some of the largest factions but coordinates with Islamic extremists - fresnobee.com

Iran Warns Syrian Rebels After Report of Shrine Desecration - NYTimes.com

International effort for the release of the Bishops kidnapped, but beware of fake mediators - Fides News Agency

Chatting About 'Game of Thrones' with Syria's Most Feared Islamic Militants - VICE United States

Danish jihadist killed while fighting for Muhajireen Brigade in Syria - The Long War Journal

FSA brigade pledges to fight Hezbollah’s Qusayr advances - nosratashraf.com

VIDEO: Syrian army gains control of strategic Qusayr suburban areas - YouTube

Turkey’s Kurdish solution process paves the way for PYD in Syria- report - World Bulletin

Syria Internet Goes Down, Traffic Monitoring Sites Confirm

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Assad says Syria able to face Israel but stops short of threatening retaliation - CBC News

Syrian authorities give the "green light" to the military to respond to any Israeli aggression without referring back to them - NOW

Palestinian group says Syria OKs attacks on Israel - usatoday.com

Iran FM meets Assad, says time to dissuade Israel - NOW

UN complains to Israel about violations of Lebanese airspace - Reuters

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

 

On Its 20th Birthday, Its Future is Challenged: Social Networking Poses Threat to World Wide Web

 

By Alfredo Lopez


This Summer, a team at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has undertaken a remarkable project: to recreate the first web site and the computer on which it was first seen.

Asking Amnesty International to Oppose War

Some human rights groups, especially Amnesty International, seem to have forgotten an important human right: peace.  A petition has been launched to remind them.

These organizations are not the warmongers. They do tremendously great work addressing some of the symptoms of warmaking, including imprisonment and torture.  But, because they avoid taking any position on war, and because of an apparent bias in favor of U.S. military intervention, they sometimes find themselves effectively promoting war and all the horrors that come with it.  At Nuremberg to initiate a war of aggression was called the supreme international crime "encompassing the evil of the whole."  Yet human rights groups are often on the wrong side of the fundamental question of war.

Amnesty International (AI) promoted the babies-taken-from-incubators hoax that helped launch the 1991 war on Iraq.  AI has upheld the pretense that the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is about women's rights.  And now Amnesty International is highlighting warmaking in Syria's civil war by one side only:

"Our team of researchers on the ground found evidence that government forces bombed entire neighborhoods and targeted residential areas with long-range surface-to-surface missiles," said an AI fundraising email on April 29th that made no mention of abuses committed by Syrian rebels supported by the U.S. and its allies. 

This one-sided treatment by a group supposedly dedicated to all humans fuels the fires of a wider war from which the people of Syria can only suffer.

The email continued: "Amnesty has a strong track record of using our on-the-ground findings to pressure governments and the United Nations Security Council to hold those responsible for the slaughter of civilians accountable."

Does it?  When the United States kills civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya, AI's silence has often been deafening.  Shouldn't a human rights group press for an end to the killing of all humans by all parties?

While many good individuals who work for human rights groups like AI oppose wars, these organizations officially ignore President Eisenhower's warning and a half-century of evidence regarding the power of the military industrial complex -- and they ignore the criminality of war under the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and other laws.

These groups accept the existence of war (when not encouraging it) and then focus on specific crimes and abuses within the larger war-making enterprise. They promote the idea that human rights are governed by two sets of laws, one in peace and another weaker set in war. Voices for the human right to peace are missing and badly needed, as "humanitarianism" and "the right to protect" are used as excuses for war and intervention.

Amnesty International opposes imprisonment without trial and other abuses unless they adhere to the "laws of war," which is why AI is not opposing the outrageous charges leveled against Bradley Manning. Killing is opposed unless it adheres to the "laws of war."  Under this standard, we pretend not to know whether blowing families up with drones is legal or not as long as the memos purporting to legalize it are kept hidden.

Groups like Amnesty oppose particular weapons, including the development of fully autonomous weapons (drones that fly themselves).  No one in their right mind would oppose that step.  But surely the human right not to be blown up does not vanish if the button is pushed by a person instead of an autonomous robot.  Other organizations are pushing to ban all weaponized drones from the world. 

Human rights groups should join the peace movement in targeting war and militarism itself, rather than just some of its symptoms.  Amnesty International and all groups favoring human rights should be asked to oppose a U.S. escalation of war on Syria.

Profile of Lawless Aggression

 

Profile of Lawless Aggression

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel and America are longstanding imperial partners. They spurn international laws. They do so repeatedly. They ignore their own. 

 

Yair Shamir: Profile of Israeli Extremism

 

Yair Shamir: Profile of Israeli Extremism

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's a former IDF officer. He's now an Israeli politician and businessman. He's former Prime Minister Yitzhak's son. He's named after Avraham "Yair" Stern.

 

In 1940, he founded the terrorist Lehi group. It's commonly called the Stern Gang. During WW II, it offered to help Nazi Germany and fascist Italy against Britain. 

Syria News May 7

 

 

UN: No conclusive proof chemical weapons used in Syria - NOW

Statement from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria (chemical weapons), The Commission is scheduled to issue its findings to the Council on 3 June - ohchr.org

White House skeptical Syrian rebels used chemical weapons, "We find it highly likely that ...if they were in fact used in Syria...the Assad regime was responsible" - Yahoo! News

Moscow Sees No Hard Evidence of Chemical Weapons in Syria - RIA Novosti

US State Dep official: Syrian rebels lack 'ability or intent' to use chemical weapons - MBC World News

Al Qaeda's track record with chemical weapons - CNN.com

Senate Dem introduces bill to arm Syria opposition - Fox News

Syrian Opposition Groups Deny Chemical Weapons Attack - US News and World Report

FSA Commander Idris issued this statement in response to suspicions of opposition chemical weapons use - YALLA SOURIYA

U.N. chemical weapons chief: time is running out to get to the scene of the crime in Syria - Turtle Bay

Will The UN Find Sarin In Syria? - Medical Daily

VIDEO: UN commissioner Carla Del Ponte on sarin use by Syrian rebels - YouTube

VIDEO: Sarin use strongly suspected in Syria - YouTube

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Israel Tries to Cool Tension With Syria After Missile Attack, "activity...is only against Hezbollah, not against the Syrian regime" - ABC News

No early warning for US over Israeli strikes in Syria - todayszaman

Russia "especially concerned" by Israel's Syria air strikes - NOW

Putin, Israeli PM Discuss Syria by Phone - Naharnet

China criticizes Syria raid as Netanyahu, Abbas visit - NOW

EU warns of 'spillover' threat in Syria region following Israeli air strikes - straitstimes.com

Al-Maliki: Israeli Aggression on Sites in Syria Violates International Law- SANA, Syria

Jordan Lower House condemns Israeli attacks on Syria - Jordan News Agency (Petra)

Any arms Israel targeted in Syria not Iranian, general says - NOW

VIDEO: FSA Spokesman on Israeli Channel 2: FSA Was Desperate, Israeli Strikes Very Very Helpful - YouTube

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Turkey launches military exercise near Syrian border - Yahoo! News

Turkish PM calls Syrian President Assad ‘a butcher’ - PanARMENIAN.Net

Erdogan Keeps Silent About Israeli Strikes on Syria - Al-Monitor

Analysts: Turkey urged to be impartial with Syria, "Turkey is perceived to be a contract killer in Syria backing the radicals" - AFP

Turkey Fears Russia Too Much to Intervene in Syria - The Atlantic

Turkey rejects claims of joining regional cooperation against Iran - todayszaman

Top Iraqi official accuses Turkey of controlling Sunni protests - todayszaman

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Lebanon gets kidnappers' list, readies for Syria talks - THE DAILY STAR

Turkish intelligence to secure release of kidnapped Lebanese in Syria - todayszaman

Lebanese factions train Syrian refugees as militants: Lebanon interior minister - PressTV

Iraqi Shiites begin to hold public funerals for ‘martyrs’ killed in Syria - Middle East Online

Iraqi death hints of Iran's role in Syrian crisis - newsday.com

VIDEO: Funeral in Iraq for Shi'ite militant killed in Syria - Reuters.com

Iran: Funeral for IRGC officer killed in Syria - ncr-iran.org

Exclusive: Syrian aid in crisis as Gulf states renege on promises - The Independent

Syrian Opposition Seeks Control of Oil Resources - Al-Monitor

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The 'Onion' latest victim of Syrian Electronic Army's fat jokes - FP Passport

The 'Onion' response: Syrian Electronic Army Has A Little Fun Before Inevitable Upcoming Deaths At Hands Of Rebels - The Onion 

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Stop Expanding Arlington National Cemetery and Stop Producing Corpses

An NPR story on Monday carried this headline: "Expansion Plans At Arlington National Cemetery Cause Environmental Concerns."  Only environmental concerns?  Are there any other concerns that anyone can think of?  I mean if, for example, "All Things" were going to be "Considered," would there be any other things worth considering?

U.S. troop deaths were 0.3 percent of the deaths in the most recent attack on Iraq.  Most of those U.S. dead (and all of the non-U.S. dead) do not end up in Arlington.  Most end up in other cemeteries.  Some are never recovered.  Some are unceremoniously dumped in land fills.  And yet the cemetery is running out of room even for cremated corpses. 

Advocates of military spending often push for increases to keep pace with gross domestic product.  Should Arlington be the same?  Should we kill off our young in proportion to how much money our bankers have?  Should we expand cemeteries to keep pace with weapons budgets, prisons, highways, and fracking subsidies?  Or should we take this opportunity to consider altering our priorities?

President Kennedy, whose eternal flame burns atop the hill at Arlington, wrote that we would have wars until the conscientious objector was given the prestige and respect now given to soldiers.  Why is there no cemetery to honor those who resist massive crimes based on the sort of lies told about Iraq 10 years ago and told about Syria today?  Why do we have to educators or doctors or diplomats or firefighters or historians or poets honored with the ceremonial wasting of fertile soil?  Why only those who participate in state-sanctioned murder?

As Eisenhower warned on his way out of office, we get the society we prepare for.  Expanding Arlington Cemetery is preparing us for a horrible future, one that we and the rest of humanity may not survive.  The environmental concerns raised by this vision should be much more encompassing that a particular creek and stand of trees.  The destructive arrogance of our war economy will either be replaced by a sustainable peaceful system or destroy us.

Pass that along to National Pentagon Radio when you get a chance.

BBC's Longstanding Pro-Israeli Bias

 

BBC's Longstanding Pro-Israeli Bias

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Since 1922, BBC's first general manager, John Reith, explained his mandate. UK officials "know they can trust us not be be really impartial," he said.

 

It's a reliable business/government partner. Earlier it was called the "British Falsehood Corporation." More recently it's been known as the "British Bombing (or Bombast) Club."

Stay Out of Syria

The following statement of Leah Bolger, Secretary of Defense and David Swanson, Secretary of Peace, of the Foreign Affairs Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet, is available online here. It may be republished with attribution and a link back to its original web location.

  The Obama administration has seemingly painted itself into yet another military corner by announcing that use of chemical weapons by Syria would constitute a red line that would mandate military action on the part of the United States. Now we are hearing reports that the red line may have been crossed, and some prominent officials are calling for the U.S. to step up its aid to the rebels and/or impose a no-fly zone. Proponents of military action such as Secretary of State John Kerry and hawkish Senator John McCain seem to think that the U.S. can sort out the “good guys” in the Syrian civil war, and use U.S. military assets to help the rebels take down the Assad government.

  U.S. military involvement in Syria could only make things worse. Syria does not need a "no fly" zone. It needs a "no weaponizing" zone. The White House and its allies need to stop arming one side of a civil war, and to persuade Russia to stop arming the other. Further escalating the violence will result in nothing that could outweigh the damage of that violence.

  The Netanyahu government in Israel has just raised the ante in this precarious situation by conducting air-to-ground missile attacks against Syria, undoubtedly with the tacit approval of the United States. Allowing Israel to attack Syria without consequences is not only the sanctioning of a crime; it also allows momentum to develop for greater violence and pushes peaceful resolution further out of reach. Diplomacy must be actively pursued before it is too late.

  Further military interference in Syria would be a disastrous decision in important ways. For one thing, it is not at all clear if chemical weapons have been used, and if so, by which side. U.S. media has a tendency to turn conjecture into accepted fact merely by repeating it. Furthermore, the U.S. military has itself used  and continues to use chemical and nuclear weapons — Agent Orange and napalm in Vietnam and white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ongoing hypocrisy of U.S. policy and practice in this regard undermines our nation’s international moral and legal position.

  Secondly, there are few if any “good guys” among the combatants in Syria. Because the White House has decided that regime change in Syria is our business, Americans are now squarely allied with extremist anti-democratic insurgents—the same people the administration has deemed our enemy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As it has time after the time, the theory that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” will come back to bite the U.S. once Assad is out of office.  

  Those who hold Libya up as an example of the kind of military action that should be taken in Syria don’t understand some very basic concepts. Syria’s air defense batteries are located in urban centers, not like Libya’s, which could be attacked without causing a high number of civilian casualties. If the U.S. targets urban centers in Syria, global opinion will quickly turn against us. Furthermore, the Assad government’s close relationship with major powers Russia and Iran could mean that a U.S. attack would lead to widespread war. An escalated U.S. war in Syria would not be waged simply on American terms. Those who advocate for military action don’t seem to understand the global response to our actions.

  But the most basic reason that the U.S. should not interfere militarily in Syria is because we should support self-determination. It should be left to the Syrian people to decide who will run their government. Overthrowing foreign governments is not legal, moral, or practical.  It is not a safe practice to encourage. In fact, in nearly a century of warmaking, there is still no example of the United States or NATO having “liberated” a country to beneficial effect. Libya's violence is spilling into neighboring nations. Iraq is arguably in worse shape post-intervention than Syria is pre-intervention.

  In the immediate term, the Green Shadow Cabinet calls on the United States government and the international community to provide humanitarian aid—food and shelter for those displaced, and assistance to countries that are providing safe haven for Syrian refugees. And the administration should invest in multilateral diplomatic efforts involving both Russia and Iran, as well as others, to push for a cease fire and an end to weapons shipments.

  In the long term, we must win an international ban on weapons and war profiteering, which is a major factor in feeding the cycle of violence.

 

LEAH BOLGER is Secretary of Defense in the Green Shadow Cabinet. She is a former Commander in the United States Navy, retired.

DAVID SWANSON is Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet. He is author of War is a Lie, When the World Outlawed War, and The Military Industrial Complex at 50.

 

Iran War Weekly - May 5, 2013

Iran War Weekly

May 5, 2013

 

Hello All – It is too soon to tell whether Israel’s weekend bombing of Syria will irrevocably change the course of the war and engulf the region in death and fire.  Israel has intimated that further attacks are on the way, and the Obama administration has stated that US strikes against Syria’s air defenses and air fields are under discussion.  Syria (via the Arab League) seems about to take the issue to the UN Security Council, where we can expect the United States to defend Israel by blocking discussion.  What will Syria then do after further Israeli aggression?

 

Iran War Weekly - April 21, 2013

Iran War Weekly

April 21, 2013

 

Hello All -- Following on the failure of the talks in Kazakhstan about Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and its allies renewed their non-diplomatic offensive against Iran this week.  Secretary of Defense Hagel was in the Middle East, most especially in Israel, to push a $10 billion program introducing more advanced offensive weapons into the Israel, Saudi, and UAE arsenals.  Like the trips of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry made two weeks earlier, Hagel’s mission is both to reassure Israel and other regional allies that the United States still considers “all options on the table,” while at the same time  pressuring Israel to defer military action against Iran and to give sanctions and negotiations more time.

 

May 2013 Appearances/Protests of War Criminals

Here is the list of appearances/Protests of War Criminals for May, 2013. If any of these war criminals are in your area, please plan something around their appearance. We will be happy to help you get things started.  You may access posters and leaflets on our website - http://warcriminalswatch.org/index.php/downloadable-materials/173-posters-a-leaflets

Iran War Weekly - April 11, 2013

Iran War Weekly

April 11, 2013

 

Hello All – As expected, last week’s negotiations in Kazakhstan between the P5+1 and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program ended in failure.  While leaders of the two sides have agreed to keep talking, no next meeting has been scheduled, and it is unlikely that there will be one until the conclusion of Iran’s presidential election, which will take place in June.

 

America and Israel: Imperial Partners in Crime (Part II)

 

America and Israel: Imperial Partners in Crime (Part II)

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

In late January, Lebanese military sources reported multiple Israeli violations of Lebanon's airspace. One or more targets on the Syrian-Lebanese border were struck.

 

Around the same time, Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Jamraya. It's about 10 miles from the Lebanese border. Early Sunday morning, Israel struck it again.

Google Recognizes Palestinian Statehood

 

Google Recognizes Palestinian Statehood

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 1, Google recognized Palestine. It did so on its homepage. Earlier it referred to "The Palestinian Territories." More on that below.

 

On January 4, Abbas' presidential decree acknowledged the State of Palestine. It followed gaining UN nonmember observer status. 

 

Reuters: U.N. Investigators Say Syrian Rebels, Not Syrian Regime, Used Chemical Weapons

By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2013, 7:33pm PT  

So, wait. It wasn't the Syrian regime, but rather the Syrian rebels who used sarin nerve gas recently? That's the story being reported tonight by Reuters, from actually named sources among U.N. investigators. But will anybody notice? Or, with Israeli airstrikes already under way, and the neo-cons already demanding another new war, is the news too little, too late...again?

The week before last, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, reading from a letter sent by the White House to Congress, announced that the Administration believes that the Syrian government recently used chemical weapons against its own people. If true, it would be a move which President Obama had previously described as a "red line" and a "game changer" in the Administration's policy on the two-year old civil war still raging in that country.

READ THE REST AT BRADBLOG.

Some Don't Pay Their War Taxes

This past Saturday morning felt like mid-winter in Asheville, North Carolina, but was actually some weeks past tax day, and dozens of people were gathered in front of a federal building to say something about what federal income taxes are used for -- something much more unusual than one would expect.

Posters carried messages including: "War steals from the poor" and "Defund Militerrorism."  This in itself was not so unusual.  Opponents of war often use tax season to inform their friends and neighbors that roughly half of income tax dollars go to war preparation.  We could have the educations and health and happiness that other nations have if we didn't waste our money on the military, we say.  We'd have more and better jobs, and jobs we could feel better about, we tell people.

If only our taxes weren't put to such bad ends.

But the people gathered from across the country in Asheville on Saturday were in town for a meeting of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.  They had gathered on Saturday morning to announce the awarding of grants of thousands of dollars to a long list of great humanitarian causes -- all the things we wish our taxes were going to.  For these people, this is in fact what their taxes are going to.  Many of them have put the dollars they owe in taxes into one of a number of funds set up for this purpose.  They can take their money back if they choose, but meanwhile the interest it earns goes to worthy causes of their choosing in the form of these grants announced in something more like a celebration than the usual tax-day lamentation that war opponents are all familiar with.

Following the announcements in front of the federal building, the small crowd stretched out in a long single-file line walking through Asheville, posters held high, making a tour of locations in the lives of the homeless and destitute, locations in need of the money that went to buy the bombs Israel was just then dropping on Syria.

Speaking Events

Jan 19-22: Washington, D.C.: Non-Violent Protest Anti War/Anti Nuke on Inauguration Day and on Facebook

January 29: David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.

February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.

April 7-9: Huntsville, Alabama: 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

May or June: UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va. April 29: possible multi-issue protest in DC.

August 2-6: Democracy Convention in Minneapolis.

Find more events here.

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