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America: A Modern-Day Sparta

 

America: A Modern-Day Sparta

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Permanent war is longstanding policy. America deplores peace. Throughout its history, it's waged war annually at home and/or abroad. Today it does so globally.

 

Giving peace a chance is loathed. Direct or proxy wars rage in multiple countries. 

 

Guantanamo Force-Feeding Constitutes Torture

 

Guantanamo Force-Feeding Constitutes Torture

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Guantanamo detention constitutes torture, abuse and ill-treatment. Long-term detention compounds it. 

 

Force-feeding increases unconscionable pain and suffering. Doing so violates core rule of law principles.

 

Disconnect: Soaring Markets/Troubled Economies

 

Disconnect: Soaring Markets/Troubled Economies

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Forget everything you learned about markets, economics and finance. Perhaps Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and other noted figures were wrong.

 

Central banks run today's world. Major ones matter most. Money printing madness controls everything. Love doesn't make the world go round. Liquidity-driven markets reflect the power of bankers to do it. 

America Honors Its Worst

 

America Honors Its Worst

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Presidential Medals of Freedom are awarded annually. They mock what they claim to represent. Many go to deplorable recipients. 

 

Previous dishonorees include GHW Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Gates, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, Shimon Peres, Margaret Thatcher, Alvaro Uribe, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Alan Greenspan among others.

Why Obama Can & Should Close Guantanamo NOW

 

by Debra Sweet         While promoting the message to Close Guantanamo that we are raising funds to publish in The New York Times, we  have been hearing, especially in the Twitterverse, that people think, because Obama promised to close Guantanamo, and says that Congress is not allowing him to do that, the main problem is with Congress.

Syria News May 19

 

 

Syria's Assad says he won't leave before elections are held in his country - Yahoo! News

VIDEO: Interview: Bashar al-Assad on Syria and the international community – guardian.co.uk

Syrian troops advance in northern, southern areas as rebels storm central towns - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Syrian army thwarts infiltration from Lebanon - AFP

Official: Gunmen abduct father of Syria deputy FM - AFP

Syrian opposition considers sacking its interim PM Hitto - McClatchy

Kurdish Youth Groups in Syria Blame Opposition Parties for Divisions - Rudaw

One Year After the Houla Massacre. New Report on Official vs. Real Truth - globalresearch.ca 

Was The Attack In Saraqeb Chemical Weapons, Or Something Else (VIDEOS)? - Brown Moses Blog

VIDEO: Saudi cannibal rebel in Syria is interviewed, He ate the heart of a soldier - YouTube

VIDEO: The "Osama bin Laden" brigade, It belongs to the Souqour Dimashq (Hawks of Damascus) Battalion of the “Free Syrian Army” - YouTube

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Turkey "softens opposition" to Syria conference, Obama sways Erdogan on Russia-US brokered peace deal - AFP

VIDEO: Angered by Erdogan’ policy towards Syria hundreds of protesters clash with Turkish police near Syrian border - RT News

VIDEO: Turkish citizens blame government negligence for border town blasts - YouTube

US Secretary of Defense : US, Russia "are doing their best to convince the powers in the region to be cautious against any escalation in military options" in Syria- SANA, Syria

Putin sending a letter to Obama,The key message will be that Russia and the US must jointly respond to global challenges - Russia Beyond The Headlines

Assad accuses Israel of providing intelligence to Syrian rebels -  Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Tunisia to reopen its embassy in Syria - Medafrica Times

Lebanon arrests a network smuggling Syrian antiquities - Ya Libnan

Hackers target Saudi government websites - Al Jazeera English

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

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)
 

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