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Syria News - Feb 23

 

 

Russia accuses U.S. of double standards over Syria for blocking a U.N. Security Council statement condemning a car bomb attack in Damascus- Reuters

US says it accepted the Russian draft statement but requested the addition of language concerning the regime's brutal attacks against the Syrian people - The Hill

No easy options for ending Syrian violence: White House - SINA English

Brahimi says Damascus attack that killed 100 people is a ‘war crime' - AFP

VIDEO: Lavrov alarmed by US refusal to condemn Syria bombing - RT Free Video

VIDEO: U.S. Remarks on Syria and Russia - U.S. Department of State

VIDEO: Brahimi: No military victory for any side in Syria - RT Op-Edge

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Syria opposition to choose PM to head a provisional government that would operate in rebel-controlled areas of Syria - Reuters

Syria opposition spurns U.S., Russia invites to protest the international silence over destruction of Aleppo by Syrian missile strikes - Reuters

Explosions in Syria's Aleppo kill at least 12: activists - Toronto Star

FSA Chief says Assad must step down and there must be trials of security-force commanders - washingtonpost.com

VIDEOS: Jabhat al-Nusra releases videos of its deadliest attacks in Syria - The Observers

VIDEO: Chechen Commander AbdulKarimov of Jubhat Al Nusra Killed in Syria - LiveLeak.com

VIDEO: Report: Foreign Jihadis Infiltrate Syria and Fight in an Islamist-Infested Syrian Revolution - LiveLeak.com

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Reports: Qatar Ready to Pay $5 Million to Free Lebanese Held in Aazaz by the Syrian rebels — Naharnet

Israel closely watching what weapons are being sent to Syria’s rebels - NewsObserver.com

Poll Shows Weak Support For Turkey’s Syria Policies - Al-Monitor

Syria: Difficult to Read New Kurdish-FSA Alliance - Al-Monitor

VIDEO: Christians, threatened by Syrian war, flee to Lebanon - CBS News

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Update on NYC Rally Against Resurgence of Japanese Militarism

The following is an update (to my earlier post here): 

 

Talkin’ ‘bout My Generation: In Defense of Baby Boomers

 

By Dave Lindorff


I’m fed up with the trashing of the Baby Boom generation.


Sure you can find plenty of scoundrels, freeloaders, charlatans and thugs who were born between 1946 and 1964, but you can find bad and lazy people in every generation. In fact, the so called “Greatest Generation” who preceded the Boomers abounds in them. That doesn’t prove anything.


Denouncing Torture and "Zero Dark Thirty" in Hollywood

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait                          It happened on The Hollywood Walk of Shame. World Can't Wait joined with ICUJP and other groups in a march and vigil that took over the intersection at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave for about 45 minutes on Sunday, Feb 17. This is the famous scene where Oscars will be awarded in one week. Actor David Clennon spoke at a nearby church and then led the group of about 40 people, all ages, down to the Avenue of the Stars. 

Where is the Hope in Stopping the Planet's Destruction

by Debra Sweet                            It’s a good thing that tens of thousands of people, many young, braved the cold Sunday and marched around the White House demanding that Barack Obama turn against the Keystone Pipeline.  The pipeline is already a disaster for Canada, and for the ultimate recipients of the oil, whether that’s the U.S.

Further Evidence John Brennan Unfit to Lead CIA

Brennan’s Loose Talk on Iran Nukes

February 22, 2013

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on John Brennan to head the CIA focused on lethal drones, but Brennan’s loose talk lumping Iran with North Korea as nuclear threats could be even more worrisome, recalling Iraq WMD exaggerations, as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

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

February 22, 2013

MEMORANDUM FOR: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Due Diligence on John Brennan

TSA truth

Why we won’t stop writing about the abuses of the TSA, DHS, and the entire National Security State, why we won’t stop naming things by their proper names, calling them out for what they are, and speaking the truth, no matter how many people it disturbs.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Straight Talk on Israel

 

Straight Talk on Israel

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Zygmunt Bauman is UK-based University of Leeds Emeritus Professor of Sociology. His work spans five decades. He's now aged 87.

 

His wide-ranging interests include consumerism, globalization, ethics, power, the status of workers, intellectuals in society, and nature of modern relationships.

 

Guilt by Accusation

 

Guilt by Accusation

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Police states govern this way. Israel's one of the worst. Racism is institutionalized. Arabs have no rights. They're considered subhumans. They're viciously persecuted. 

 

World leaders turn a blind eye. Washington provides generous support. It's longstanding policy. Bipartisan support affirms it. Doing so conspires with high crimes. 

Syria News - Feb 22

 

 

Syria car bomb leaves at least 53 dead, 235 injured, officials say - latimes.com

Syrian National Coalition denounces Damascus "terrorist" bombing - NOW

Syria urges UNSC to condemn "terrorist" blasts in Damascus - KUNA

Moscow Calls for West to Pressure Extremists in Syria to Stop Terrorist Acts - Friends of Syria

VIDEO: Syria Car Bombing Kills Children in Damascus - ABC News

VIDEO: Dozens dead in central Damascus bombing, People reactions - Al Jazeera

VIDEO: Blast in Damascus (raw footage) - YouTube

PHOTOS: In Photos: 53 Killed In Damascus Car Bomb -- VosIzNeias.com

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Armenian Christian martyred, One of the terrorists shot point blank at the cross tearing open the man’s chest - Fides

Christians in Syria Being Targeted for Kidnapping By Islamic Extremists - aina.org

Bus Passengers Kidnapped in Idleb Released - SANA

Jihadists from Caucasus arrive in Syria - The Times of Israel

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Syrian National Coalition says Assad cannot be part of any 'political solution' for Syria, but does not call for his ousting - GlobalPost

Syrian Opposition Leader May Visit Russia in Early March - RIA Novosti

There is a chance to end war in Syria - Arab League chief - Voice of Russia

Lavrov and Kerry to meet next week — RT Russian politics

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Syrian rebels attack Hezbollah's positions in Lebanon: FSA commander - hurriyetdailynews

Lebanon FM: Lebanese in Syrian Territories Defended Themselves against Attacks - almanar

Syria War Spurs US Military Aid To Lebanon - Al-Monitor

Iraq shuts down 3 illegal tunnels used to smuggle arms to Syria - Al-Shorfa

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Tour de Peace

Between April 4 and July 3, the entire country (and the other 96% of humanity too) is invited to join in a bicycle ride from California to Washington, D.C.  You can join as a bicycler or as a sponsor.

This won't be a ride to raise awareness about cruelty to animals, but it will raise awareness about war -- by many measures the greatest destroyer of the natural environment we have, as well as consisting first and foremost of the mass killing of that peculiar animal we're all rather fond of: the homo sapiens. 

This won't be a ride to raise money for cancer research, but it will raise money for the campaign to abolish war -- a carcinogen if the people of Fallujah ever saw one.

This paragraph is exclusively for supporters of President Obama.  If that's not you, please skip to the following paragraph right now.  With Republicans out of the White House and no election this year, there is no need to fund election campaigns or to work against particular wars.  This is a moment in which our time and our resources are freed up to support long-term structure building so that the plague of war never returns.  Remember all those promises to engage in policy-based activism once the most important election of our lives was over?  This is the time to get in better physical shape before phone banking season.  Pump up your tires and polish your handlebars!  Stop reading and get riding right now.

With presidential war powers expanding rapidly and war gaining widespread acceptance among liberals there is an urgent need for an educational and organizing effort that pedals under, over, and around the barricades of the corporate media.  U.S. forces are in more nations than ever before, the military budget is still rising and will still be rising even if the sequester "cuts" go through, the CIA has been handed war making powers, the president has claimed the power to spy without warrants, imprison without trial, and murder at will.  Wars are launched on nations like Libya in defiance of Congress and the United Nations, with blowback spreading rapidly.  Pentagon friendly dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are backed against their people's nonviolent movements for democracy, while violence is encouraged in Syria and Iran.  Palestinians are left to their fate, while a new kind of war launched from flying robots slaughters men, women, and children, traumatizes populations, and generates refugee crises, engulfing nations in boiling hatred of the United States of America. 

When MSNBC assigns David Axelrod (who refused to deny that President Obama maintains the power to torture anyone as he sees fit) to analyze and punditrify John Brennan's refusal to deny that President Obama maintains the power to murder U.S. citizens within the United States (never mind anyone at all outside the United States or 96% of humanity within it), the triumph of freemarket journalism will have reached a pinnacle unsurpassed in history, putting the Soviet Union's efforts to shame and finally concluding the Cold War, unless nobody notices.

You know who just might wake some people up to what's staring them in the face?

Cindy Sheehan.  Cindy has proposed the Tour de Peace.  She's been lining up events and participants along the route.  She's ready to ride, and to me she is an inspiration.  Cindy's appeal, both before and after the corporate media made her a story in Crawford Texas seven-and-a-half years ago, was her uncensored honesty.  She's still got it.  I've seen a lot of people dump their heart and soul into the peace movement over the past decade and burn out and quit.  I appreciate their efforts.  We need sprinters, just as the Tour de Peace needs short-distance riders. 

But when I see someone become even more aware of the evil that has swallowed up our government, and continually find new ways to confront it, I see a model others should follow.  Cindy's gone at it as hard as anyone.  She's taken nasty blows from the right and the so-called left.  She's burned out and quit, too, but never for more than a day or so.  She just keeps coming.  Cindy has quit paying her taxes because of the wars they fund.  She's been arrested for nonviolent resistance countless times.  She's traveled endlessly, speaking and inspiring.  She's written a stack of important books.  She's hosted a radio show, blogged, and run for Congress and the Vice Presidency.  And in this age in which pundits openly say they'd oppose the president's abuses if he were a Republican, Cindy goes ahead and opposed them anyway, with plenty of opposition left over for the Congress, the courts, the funders, the weapons makers, the lobbyists, and the White House Press Corpse.

Creating a mass of people in the streets for peace or justice usually requires money and staff, bus rentals and leg work, coalition building and compromising.  Two moments stand out in my mind when none of that was needed.  One was when Cindy went to Crawford.  The other was when Occupy went to Wall Street.  Both were moments of brilliant principled and courageous activism.  Neither would have ever been heard of by most who heard of them if not for the corporate media.  I've seen Cindy attempt to recreate Crawford countless times since (not to mention before), without the same success.  She does so fully aware of the forces at work.  She does so with every effort to create our own media and bypass the corporate censors.  And she does so knowing that the only way to guarantee failure is to not try.

What if we were to create a movement capable of thinking of itself as real and national or international even outside of our television sets?  One of the side effects would be its inevitable infiltration into our television sets.  But the primary effect would be the beginning of hope and change as something more than perverse slogans of star-gazing servitude.

When the Tour de Peace leaves Casey Sheehan's grave in Vacaville, Calif., on the ninth anniversary of his death in Iraq and the 45th of Dr. King's in Memphis, it will follow the mother road, Route 66, to Chicago, and other highways and byways from there to D.C.  The tour will conclude on July 3, 2013, with a ride from Arlington National Cemetery to the White House.

This August will mark 8 years since Sheehan began her widely reported protest at then-President George W. Bush's "ranch".  She was demanding to know what the "noble cause" was for which Bush claimed Americans were dying in Iraq.  Neither Bush nor Obama has yet offered a justification for a global war now in its 12th year.  The Tour de Peace will carry with it these demands:

To end wars,

To end immunity for U.S. war crimes,

To end suppression of our civil rights,

To end the use of fossil fuels,

To end persecution of whistleblowers,

To end partisan apathy and inaction.

as well as the names of everyone who signs on in support.

Watch the trailer here.

TSA’s kinda-sorta apology to 3-year-old girl in wheelchair: par for the course, by Lisa Simeone

In time-honored fashion, the TSA, once again, offers a weak, responsibility-avoiding apology to 3-year-old Lucy Forcke and her parents Nathan Forcke and Annie Schulte.

It took a while, but the national media finally picked up on the story we reported here three days ago about the TSA harassing the family after they had already successfully cleared the checkpoint.

Targeting Jeremy Hammond

 

Targeting Jeremy Hammond

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America is no democracy. It never was an isn't now. Obama enforces police state harshness. It's official policy. Lawless entrapment reflects it. More on that below.

 

CISPA Is Back

 

CISPA Is Back

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It shouldn't surprise. The 2011 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) never really went away. It ducked and covered for another day.

 

It's more about destroying personal freedom than online security. It gives government and corporate supporters unlimited power to access personal/privileged information online. 

Syria News - Feb 21

 

Russia and the Arab League offer to broker talks between the Syrian government and the opposition - Reuters

Russia Urges Syria to Respond to Opposition’s Talks Offer - Bloomberg

Israel Not Pushing Obama to Arm Syrian Rebels - Inter Press Service

Britain's Hague discusses Syria war in Qatar - Ahram Online

Saudi Arabia, Qatar press for more help to Syrian rebels - Reuters

$100m Qatar aid to Syrian opposition - thepeninsulaqatar.com

Libya transporting weapons and fighters to Syria - phantomreport.com

Analysis: Who just started arming Syria rebels? - NOW

Female Syrian refugees in Turkey being sold to Arab states: Turkish politician - PressTV

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Hezbollah Announces Alert after Members Killed in Nusra Front Attack on Border Town — Naharnet

FSA gives Hezbollah 48-hour ultimatum to stop intervention in Syria (VIDEO) - alarabiya.net

Lebanese, Syrian officials indicted in bomb plot targeting Syrian rebels and weapons smugglers - Yahoo! News

Lebanese Druze Leaders Divided on Syria - Al-Monitor

News Agencies Claim Israeli Drone Downed by Syria near the Lebanese Border - The Jewish Press

Lebanon braces for spillover from Syrian civil war - UPI.com

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Syrian footballer killed by rebels in Damascus stadium mortar attack - guardian.co.uk

VIDEO: Rebel Mortar attack kills footballer, injures several in Syrian capital - LiveLeak.com 

Syrian regime says Aleppo airport is 'safe' and under army control despite rebel offensive - Fox News

Yesterday's Aleppo missile blast wounded Syrian rebel commander, killed or wounded other fighters: activists - Reuters

Chechen commander leads Muhajireen Brigade in Syria, A jihadist group that fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front - The Long War Journal

Ex-Guantanamo detainee reportedly killed in Syria - The Long War Journal

Deciphering the Jihadist Presence in Syria: An Analysis of Martyrdom Notices - CTC

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Talk Nation Radio: The Crisis in Mali and How to Stop Contributing to It

Ana Edwards is the host of Defenders Live on WRIR in Richmond, Va.  Edwards tells us what we should know about Mali, the crisis there, the causes of it, what the Pentagon should stop doing, and what the people of Richmond are doing to help.

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!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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

Lawrence Wilkerson and David Swanson Debate Colin Powell's Lies at the United Nations

When I wrote about MSNBC's documentary on Iraq war lies this week, I linked to an earlier blog post of mine that drew heavily on a House Judiciary Committee report on the same topic, as well as to Lawrence Wilkerson's recent debate with Norman Solomon on Democracy Now!

When Brad Friedman reposted my Hubris review, he suggested I ask Wilkerson for a response.  I did and here it is:

 

David,
 
Several misleading and even spurious bullets and headlines that make strong claims that are not supported in the surrounding narrative.  For example, no one ever DID warn Powell about Curveball, in fact quite the opposite. This particular source--billed as an Iraqi engineer who had defected--was George Tenet's--the DCI's--strongest weapon.  And incidentally, the title "Curveball" was never heard until well after the 5 Feb presentation.
 
Your use of INR's assessment of "weak" repeatedly, is weak itself.  INR was at the time one of 15 intelligence entities in the US intelligence architecture at the federal level. (Add Israel  France, the UK, Jordan, Germany, et al, and of course you get even more).  INR's assessments were often viewed--indeed still are--as maverick within that group (and were particularly so viewed by George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin.  Indeed, INR's insistence on putting a footnote in the October 2002 NIE with regard to its doubts about Saddam's having an active nuclear weapons program was only grudgingly acknowledged and allowed by Tenet.  And in truth, INR itself concurred in the overall NIE's finding that chems and bios existed (and the NIE was the root document of Powell's 5 Feb presentation). 
 
I have admitted what a hoax we perpetrated.  But it actually spoils or desecrates a fair condemnation of what is already a bad enough set of misstatements, very poor intelligence analysis, and--I am increasingly convinced, outright lies--to take the matter to absurdity with one man, in this case Powell.   
 
To see my point dramatically, one must realize that whether Powell had given his presentation or not, the President would have gone to war with Iraq. That doesn't relieve Powell or me or any of us who participated in preparing Powell of responsibility; it simply places the bulk of that responsibility squarely where it should rest. 
 
You, Ray McGovern, and I will never reach accord on this I'm certain; but I must say that just as I may have biases from my long association with Powell, I believe both of you should examine your biases with regard to the man.  Just as it was very difficult for me to face the fact I had participated in a hoax, it probably is just as difficult that you two admit you may be too aggressively critical of Powell. Both our conditions are recognizably human and yours more forgiveable than mine to be sure.  lw
 
 
Here's my reply:
 
Larry,
Thanks for this response.
I'm CCing Brad Blog which posted my commentary and might want to post your reply.
Here's my reply to your reply (also available to publish) :-)

Whether or not anyone told Powell of Curveball's reputation, Powell's own staff, the INR, told him the claims were weak, the claims that came from Curveball and from numerous other sources.  The INR told him the claims were weak and questionable and even implausible. 
 
Powell used fabricated dialogue.  He used evidence from a source who had admitted all the weapons had been destroyed years ago, but failed to mention that bit.  Again, here is the catalog of bogus claims: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/021811a.html
 
You yourself in Hubris state that claims you'd rejected were put back in.  That is a moment to resign in protest, not to move forward and dismiss the INR, the State Department's own experts, as "maverick." 
 
When the Pentagon and the White House build a transparently fraudulent case for war, rejected by countless experts, many nations, and much of the public, the State Department's job is to support fact-based analysis regardless of whether it is "maverick." 
 
You recently accused Norman Solomon on DemocracyNow! and all other truth tellers of that time of having failed to warn you -- as if we weren't shouting into every available microphone.  If word had slipped through to you, it seems you would have rejected it as "maverick." 
 
This is highly discouraging.  If analysis within our government consciously engages in groupthink, where will we find the whistleblowers necessary to prevent the next war? 
 
Please do not imagine that any of us suppose the President wasn't intent on going to war at all costs.  It was the transparency of that intention that created the largest public protest in world history.  But to suggest that Powell and you did no harm by supporting a war that might have gone ahead even if you'd resisted is a complete breakdown in morality.
 
I don't believe blame works that way.  Blaming Bush more doesn't blame Powell or you less.  It just blames Bush more.  Blame is not a finite quantity born of a drive for vengeance and distributable to a limited number of people.  Blame is what we each deserve when we fail to take the best actions available, as explained here.

Aaron Schwartz and the Fight for Information Freedom

 

By Alfredo Lopez


In the madness of our media-fed consciousness, the greatest threat to an informative news story is time. Given enough time, and the dysfunctional and disinformative way the mainstream media cover news, even the most important and revealing story quickly dies out. 


That is, unless we who use alternative media keep that story alive.


Israel's War Criminal of the Year Award

 

Israel's War Criminal of the Year Award

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Imagining honoring crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. Imagine calling war on humanity honorable.

 

Imagine granting a nation's highest civilian award for waging it. It shouldn't surprise. Obama will receive Israel's Presidential Medal of Distinction. More on him below.

 

Straight Talk on US/Israeli Relations

 

Straight Talk on US/Israeli Relations

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Harry Truman recognized Israel minutes after its May 14, 1948 independence was declared. He was the first world leader to do so.

 

Weeks earlier on March 25, he met secretly with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann. He pledged support. A special bond was established.

 

Syria News - Feb 20

 

More Russian warships head to Syria in show of power - latimes.com

Russia opposes referring Syrians to ICC now: official - Reuters

Lavrov: Moscow, Washington Stress Necessity of Negotiations between the Government and Opposition- SANA

VIDEO (Russian): Russia, US ready to mediate in Syria peace talks – Lavrov - RT Free Video

Qatar criticises EU over Syria arms embargo - guardian.co.uk

Assad: I will stay in Damascus and continue my work as ophthalmologist, even if I won't be president -  Ynetnews

Moaz Khatib warned Turkey against military intervention in Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy

What the Syrian death tolls really tell us - guardian.co.uk

Iraq greenlights gas pipeline deal with Iran, Syria - hurriyetdailynews

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Activists say Syrian missile strike kills at least 19 in Aleppo - Newser

VIDEO: Aftermath of missile attack on Aleppo - YouTube

Al Nusra Headquarters Stormed By Syrian Army In Aleppo - Real Syria Updates

Aleppo Jihadists “whip” a media activist who did not mention al-Nusra Front in his report - Friends of Syria

Rebels shell Assad Damascus palace causing material damage near an hospital - NOW

Syrian rebel fighters threaten to hit Hezbollah targets in Lebanon - The Washington Post

Lebanese delegation meets with Syria kidnappers - THE DAILY STAR

Gazans Joining Jihadist Groups in Syria - Algemeiner.com

Danish jihadist reported dead in Syria - The Copenhagen Post

VIDEO: Syrian rebels cut off citizens' heads in Syria - YouTube

VIDEO: 20-minutes documentary on the atrocities committed by Syrian rebels - Firstpost

VIDEO: Syrian army barbarically beats detainees - YouTube

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Islamists and Kurds End Hostilities, Agree to complete withdrawal of military forces from Ras Al Ain — Naharnet

VIDEO: Syrian Kurds and FSA reach peace agreement - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

No, there is no law saying you can’t crack a joke at the TSA checkpoint, by Lisa Simeone

 

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley has written about this more than once.

It is simply false to claim that someone is violating a law if he/she makes a joke — about bombs or anything else — at the airport security checkpoint. I repeat: it’s false.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Samer Easawi: Hunger Striking for Justice

 

Samer Easawi: Hunger Striking for Justice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Samer's a Palestinian activist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member. On April 15, 2002, Israel kidnapped him in Ramallah. It did so during multiple community incursions.

 

Samer was wrongly charged with allegedly planning attacks on Israel. When evidence doesn't exist, Israel invents it. 

When Is a Cut Not a Cut? When It's in the Pentagon's Budget

Bloomberg:

Even if the budget cuts happen, U.S. defense spending is projected to grow about 2.4 percent annually through 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The military, the defense industry and their allies in Congress have gone to war over the automatic cuts, called sequestration, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and other leaders saying they would devastate the military.

Read both paragraphs together a few times.

Israel's Racist of the Year Award

 

Israel's Racist of the Year Award

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israeli racism is longstanding. It's institutionalized. Imagine honoring it. Israel did so. It finds new ways of reaching new lows. It disgraces itself in the process.

 

It shouldn't surprise. It's common practice. Jews alone matter. Arabs are considered subhuman.

 

West Bank Village Struggles to Survive

 

West Bank Village Struggles to Survive

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Batir is special. Its heritage is longstanding. It's been that way for centuries. It's one of Palestine's most beautiful villages. 

 

It's built around natural spring water. It's dotted by wells and reservoirs. Traditional agriculture is its way of life. Villagers want it kept that way.

 

Hubris Isn't the Half of It

As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air.  The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week, and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world, as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people.

From there, MSNBC proceeded to support the war with mild critiques around the edges, and to white-out the idea of impeachment or accountability.

But now MSNBC has seen its way clear to airing a documentary about the fraudulent case it assisted in, a documentary titled Hubris.  This short film (which aired between 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, but with roughly half of those minutes occupied by commercials) pointed out the role of the New York Times in defrauding the public, but not MSNBC's role.

Yet, my primary response to that is joy rather than disgust.  It is now cool to acknowledge war lies.  Truth-tellers, including truth-tellers rarely presented with a corporate microphone, made that happen. 

MSNBC host and Obama promoter Rachel Maddow even introduced Hubris by pointing to another war lie -- the Gulf of Tonkin incident that wasn't -- and a war lie by a Democrat in that case.  Similar lies can be found surrounding every war that has ever been, which is why I wrote War Is A Lie.  We have to stop imagining that "bad wars" are a subset of wars.

But, of course, using Maddow as the presenter and narrator of a film about Republican war lies during a period of unacknowledged Democratic war lies unavoidably gives the thing a partisan slant.  Watching Hubris, I was reminded of something that Michael Moore tweeted last Friday: "Senate Repubs: U started 2 illegal wars that broke the treasury & sacrificed the lives of thousands of our troops & countless civilians."

Of course, the Senate that gave us the two wars in question was in reality controlled by Democrats, and the war lies were pushed hard by Senators Kerry, Clinton, and their comrades.  Hubris touches on this reality but not with sufficient clarity for most viewers -- I suspect -- to pick up on it.

The film presents a great deal of good evidence that the war on Iraq was based on lies.  Unavoidably, endless terrific bits of such evidence were not included.  Less excusably, also left out was an analysis of the evidence that only dishonesty -- not incompetence -- explains the propaganda that was produced.

Hubris is the wrong word for what took the United States into war with Iraq.  The forces at work were greed, lust for power, and sadistic vengeance.  The word "hubris" suggests the tragic downfall of the guilty party.  But the war on Iraq did not destroy the United States; it destroyed Iraq.  It damaged the United States, to be sure, but in a manner hardly worthy of mention in comparison to the sociocide committed against Iraq. 

Hubris, the film, provides a reprehensibly ludicrous underestimation of Iraqi deaths, and only after listing U.S. casualties. 

It was not pride but a disregard for human life that generated mass murder.  Congressman Walter Jones, who voted for the war, is shown in Hubris saying that he would have voted No if he had bothered to read the National Intelligence Estimate that very few of his colleagues bothered to read.

Another talking head in the film is Lawrence Wilkerson.  He is, of course, the former chief of staff of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.  Wilkerson is shown explaining that the reason not to attack Iraq was that doing so would take a focus away from attacking Afghanistan.  Clearly this was not a reason that led to Wilkerson or Powell taking any kind of stand. 

Wilkerson says in this film that he and Powell knew the war was based on lies, that the claims were junk, that no WMDs were likely to be found, etc.  Yet, when confronted last week by Norman Solomon on Democracy Now! with the question of why he hadn't resigned in protest, Wilkerson claimed that at the time he'd had no idea whatsoever that there were good arguments against the war.  In fact, he blamed opponents of the war for not having contacted him to educate him on the matter.

The Hubris version of Colin Powell's lies at the United Nations is misleadingly undertold.  Powell was not a victim.  He "knowingly lied."

The same goes for Bush, Cheney, and gang.  According to Hubris it may have just been incompetence or hubris.  It wasn't.  Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the former president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: "What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."

What's the difference?  In a society based on the rule of law, the difference would be a criminal prosecution.  MSNBC and Hubris steer us away from any ideas of accountability.  And no connection is drawn to current war lies about Iran or other nations. 

But the production of programs like this one that prolong Americans' awareness of the lies that destroyed Iraq are the best hope Iran has right now.  MSNBC should be contacted and applauded for airing this and urged to follow up on it.

Speaking Events

David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.

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