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Syria News - Dec 15

 

Sunni Syrian rebels burn Shi'ite mosque: video | Reuters

VIDEOS: An Islamist Free Syrian Army Brigade Burns A Shiite Mosque In Zarzur, The group involved associates itself with the Islamic State of Iraq - Brown Moses Blog

Amnesty International: Ukrainian journalist's release must be first test of Syrian opposition coalition - kyivpost.com

Syrian Rebel Seeks Prisoner Exchange to Free Hostages (VIDEO)- NYTimes.com

Was there a massacre in the Syrian town of Aqrab (VIDEO)? All eyewitnesses insist that the Free Syrian Army corralled around 500 Alawite civilians - channel4.com

Syrian Protesters Slam U.S. Blacklisting of al-Nusra as Fighting Rocks Capital, North — Naharnet

VIDEO: Syrians back al-Nusra despite 'terrorist' tag - Al Jazeera English

Al Nusra Front Implements Its Model in the “Liberated” Areas of Syria - almanar.com

Syrian jihadists in Aleppo form 'Supporters of the Khilafah' Brigade (VIDEO) - The Long War Journal

VIDEO: Allepo Figthing Gone Bad Today for Syrian rebels - LiveLeak.com

Jordanian tapped to lead jihadist forces in Syria - The Jordan Times

The Syrian Brotherhood’s Armed Struggle - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Other Victims of the War in Syria: Christians Tortured, Terrorized, Killed and Driven From Their Ancient Home - Catholic Online

Syria's Kurds face uncertain future if Assad falls | World news | guardian.co.uk

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Russia denies shifting policy on Syria - Yahoo! News

Pentagon to send missiles, 400 troops to Turkey - Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. Officials: Syria Has Prepared Several Dozen Chemical Bombs - NPR

Intelligence on Syrian troops readying chemical weapons for potential use prompted Obama’s warning - The Washington Post

Assad will not be a part of Syrian future: White House — freepressjournal.in 

Brazil welcomes Russia`s stance on Syria - Voice of Russia

VIDEO: Russia insists no change in Syrian policy - YouTube

VIDEOS: Grads Join Scuds And Incendiary Bombs In The Latest Escalation Of The Syrian Conflict - Brown Moses Blog

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

A Way to Stop the Violence

The troubled souls (generally known in the media as "monsters" and "lunatics") who keep shooting up schools and shopping centers, believe they are solving deeper problems.  We all know, of course, that in reality they are making things dramatically worse.

This is not an easy problem for us to solve.  We could make it harder to obtain guns, and especially guns designed specifically for mass killings.  We could take on the problem with our entertainment: we have movies, television shows, video games, books, and toys promoting killing as the way to fix what ails us.  We could take on the problem of our news media: we have newspapers and broadcast chatterers promoting killing as a necessary tool of public policy.  We could reverse the past 40 years of rising inequality, poverty, and plutocracy -- a trend that correlates with violence in whatever country it's found. 

What we can't do is stop arming, training, funding, and supporting the mass murderers in our towns and cities, because of course we haven't been supporting them.  They aren't acting in our name as our representatives.  When our children run in horror from classrooms strewn with their classmates' bloody corpses, they are running from killers never authorized by us or elected by us.

This situation changes when we look abroad. 

Picture a family in a house in Pakistan.  There's a little dot very high up in the sky above.  It's making a buzzing noise.  The dot is an unmanned airplane, a drone.  It's being flown from a desk in Nevada.  The family knows what it is.  The children know what it is.  They know their lives may be ended at any moment.  And they are traumatized.  They are in a constant state of terror.  And then, one bright clear morning, they are torn limb from limb, bleeding, screaming, groaning out their last breaths as their home collapses into smoking rubble.

Picture a family in a house in Afghanistan.  They're asleep in their beds.  A door is kicked in. Incomprehensible words are shouted.  Bullets fly.  Loved ones are grabbed and dragged away, kicking and screaming with horror -- never to be seen again.

The troubled souls (generally known in the media as "tax-payers") who keep this far greater volume of violence going, believe they are solving deeper problems.  But when we look closely, we see that in reality we are making things dramatically worse. 

That is the good news.  There is violence that we can much more easily stop, because it is our violence.  The U.S. Army last week said that targeting children in Afghanistan was perfectly acceptable.  The U.S. President maintains a list of men, women, and children to be killed, and he kills them -- but the vast majority of the people killed through that program are people not on the list, people in the wrong place at the wrong time (just like the people in our shopping malls and schools). 

In fact, the vast majority of the people killed in our foreign wars are simply bystanders.  And they are killed in their homes, their stores, their schools, their weddings.  The violence that we can easily end looks very much like the violence we find so difficult to address at home.  It doesn't take place between a pair of armies on a battlefield.  It happens where its victims live.

Were we to stop pouring $1.2 trillion each year into war preparations, we would also be stopping the public funding of the manufacturers of the weapons that rip open our loved ones and neighbors in our schools and parking lots.  We would be altering dramatically the context in which we generate public policy, public entertainment, and public myths about how problems can be solved.  We would be saving lives every bit as precious as any other lives, while learning how to go on to saving more. 

One place to start, I believe, would be in withdrawing U.S. troops from over 1,000 bases in other people's countries -- an imperial presence that costs us $170 billion each year while building hostility and tensions, not peace.  There's a reason why, at this time of year, we don't sing about "Peace in My Backyard."  If we want peace on Earth, we must stop and consider how to get it.


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David Swanson's books include "War Is A Lie." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Police Corruption Blues: Red Flags & Black Marks

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


A Philadelphia police officer stood outside the front door of the department’s headquarters building next to a “No Smoking” sign, cavalierly smoking a cigarette and ignoring the smoking ban imposed by the police commissioner.

TSA detains yet another child

As we’ve reported many times, the TSA’s so-called explosive detection devices routinely alarm on ordinary, everyday things. Have you been working in your garden? Oops. You might have specks of fertilizer on you. Do you use hand or body lotions? Oops. There’s glycerin in them thar things. All those can get you hauled aside as a potential terrorist. Because fertilizer and glycerin show up as “bomb-making residue.”

Read the rest at TSA News.

Propaganda War on Syria Rages

 

Propaganda War on Syria Rages

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Propaganda wars precede hot ones. Conflicts and other forms of violence are glorified in the name of peace. Doublespeak duplicity claim it. Wars are waged to prevent it. 

 

Ongoing ones assure more ahead. Unconscionable death counts rise. America, Israel, key NATO partners, and regional allies bear full responsibility. Humanity hangs in the balance.

Waging War on US Workers

 

Waging War on US Workers

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's war on workers dates from the 19th century. Labor learned the hard way what it takes to win. 

 

It requires organizing, pressing demands, taking to the streets, going on strike, holding boycotts, battling police and National Guard forces supporting management, as wells paying with blood and lives to get results.

Syria News - Dec 14

 

Moscow: Syria Opposition Victory ‘Possible’ - RIA Novosti

Moscow ‘Concerned’ Over Syria Chemical Weapons Falling Into Extremists Hands - RIA Novosti

U.S. lawmaker says Syria's chemical weapons are ready to use - Reuters

VIDEO: Panetta says Syria's chemical weapons represent a real danger - CNN.com Blogs

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At Least 24 Killed in Car Bombings near Damascus including children and women — Naharnet

Villagers say missiles fired by rebels caused the death of Alawites in Aqreb - channel4.com

Ransom deadline passes for Ukrainian reporter held in Syria - Reuters

Amnesty urges Syria rebels to free Ukraine journalist - NOW 

Jihadist group Al Nusra claims Syria interior ministry attack - alarabiya.net

Ford: al-Nusra Front is just another name for al Qaeda in Iraq - The Cable

FSA head: "Al-Nusra Front has never done anything illegal or worth condemning...They are fighting side by side with us" - AFP.

VIDEO: Demonstrations in war torn Aleppo against Syrian rebels - LiveLeak.com

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PYD: Despite the fact that not all our demands have been definitely accepted, we got a promise from the Syrian National Coalition- ANF ENGLISH

Syrian Christians in valley besieged by Islamic militia - Catholic Culture

A young Christian of the opposition: "Minorities crushed in Ras Al Ain - Fides Service

VIDEO: Syrian rebels battle PYD in Ras Al Ain - YouTube

VIDEO: The Syrian Kurds A People Discovered - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

US Intelligence Analysts: American Power is in Terminal Decline

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The US is on the way out as a hegemonic power. 


That is the primary conclusion of a new report out of the National Intelligence Council -- a government organization that produces mid-term and long-range thinking for the US intelligence community.


America and Israel Wage War on Humanity

 

America and Israel Wage War on Humanity

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's longstanding policy is permanent war. It's the only nation ever to wage them ever year in its history abroad and/or at home.

 

Multiple direct and proxy wars rage now. Obama plans more. He's a war criminal multiple times over. 

 

Uncertainty about Chavez's Health

 

Uncertainty about Chavez's Health

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On December 8, Chavez announced he'll return to Cuba. More surgery is needed. It'll be his fourth for cancer. Tests after his October reelection found no reoccurrence. 

 

Iran War Weekly - December 12, 2012

Iran War Weekly

December 12, 2012

 

Syria News - Dec 13

 

 

'Friends of Syria' Recognize Syrian Opposition, Assad Fires Scud Missiles at Rebels - VOA

Russia Criticizes U.S. Recognition of Syrian Opposition - NationalJournal.com

France says not ready to arm Syrian opposition - Yahoo! News

Canada tells Syrian opposition it won’t be recognized until it rejects extremism despite U.S. acceptance - National Post

US Stops Short of Legal Recognition of Syrian Rebels - RIA Novosti

$ 100 m new Saudi aid to bolster Syrian revolution - ArabNews

Sources: Syrian Rebels Training On Anti-Aircraft Weapons In Jordan - NPR

Kurdish Council Agrees to Join Syrian Opposition Coalition - Rudaw.net

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Syrian opposition chief urges review of al-Nusra blacklisting, U.S. urges him to "take a firm stand against extremists" - Reuters

West Seeks to Isolate Jihadists In Supporting Syrian Opposition - As-Safir Newspaper

Three blasts strike Syrian Interior Ministry in Damascus — RT

Journalist held in Syria faces execution by her FSA kidnappers - guardian.co.uk

Syrian rebels in Aleppo ‘exclusively’ America-hating jihadists - WND

Syrian jihadists, including al Qaeda's Al Nusrah Front, form Mujahideen Shura Council - The Long War Journal

Highlights from the interview with Syrian rebel leader Moaz al-Khatib - CBS News

VIDEO: Bloody aftermath of Damascus bomb aired on Syrian TV - Telegraph

VIDEO: Moaz AL Khatib speech in Friends of Syria - YALLA SOURIYA

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com  

The Original Abolitionists

If you're like me, there are some things you would like to abolish.  My list includes war, weapons, fossil fuel use, plutocracy, corporate personhood, health insurance corporations, poverty wages, poverty, homelessness, factory farming, prisons, the drug war, the death penalty, nuclear energy, the U.S. Senate, the electoral college, gerrymandering, electronic voting machines, murder, rape, child abuse, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and the Washington Post.  I could go on.  I bet you can think of at least one institution you believe we'd be better off without.

All of us, then, can almost certainly learn a thing or two from the men and women in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in England who abolished first the slave trade and then slavery within the British empire.  I highly recommend watching a film about them called "Amazing Grace."  If you like it, you'll love a book called "Bury the Chains."

You'll discover that this was in many ways the original activist movement.  It created activist committees, with chapters, newsletters, posters, speaking tours, book tours, petitioning, boycotts of products, theatrical props, and investigative journalism -- pioneering all of these now familiar tactics.  It achieved great success without voting, as only a tiny fraction of the population could vote.  That, in itself, should be a lesson to those who believe elections are the only tool available. 

The abolition movement had stamina.  Looking back, its gains appear stunningly swift.  At the end of the 1700s the world was dominated by slavery.  Slavery was the norm.  Before the end of the 1800s it had been outlawed almost everywhere.  Yet, those who worked night and day against the current of their times to create the abolition movement faced endless defeats.  Many of the hardest working activists didn't live to see the final success.  And yet they kept working.  That too may be a lesson for us.

A war between England and France halted progress, and could have stopped it cold.  But the war ended, and the movement was revived -- in large part with a new cast of characters, a younger generation of radicals.  Freezing all forward momentum for wars has been the rule over the ages.  It's a hard lesson for us to face, as we've now accepted that we live in an era of permanent war.  The difficult truth may be that we must escape that era if we are to make headway on numerous fronts.

When the abolition movement sprang into being in England, it was a moral movement demanding rights -- but, unlike most movements we've seen -- demanding rights for other people.  The Britons were not demanding their own freedom.  In fact, they were willing to make sacrifices, to risk a reduction in their own prosperity, and to boycott the use of slave-grown sugar.  This is a useful fact in an age when we are often told that people can only care about themselves.  Never mind the dead Afghans and Pakistanis, we're advised, just make sure that Americans know the financial cost of the wars.  Perhaps that advice can be questioned after all.

However, Adam Hochschild, the author of "Bury the Chains," believes that Britons were able to appreciate the evil of the slave trade because of their own experience with the practice of naval impressment.  That is to say, because they themselves lived in fear of being kidnapped and enslaved by the British Navy and forced to sail naval vessels around the world, and in fear of their loved ones meeting that fate, they were able to imagine the misery of Africans living in fear of being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the West Indies. 

Where might this insight lead us?  Americans do face random senseless gun violence.  Can we appreciate the evil of a drone buzzing over a village and then blowing up a family because we know that our shopping mall or school could soon be the scene of mass murder?  Americans have also been taught to fear foreign terrorism.  Can we appreciate the need to stop funding foreign terrorism in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, foreign terrorism carried out by the U.S. military? 

We do have another tool available to us.  We can make use of video, audio, and instantaneous reporting on the victims of war or other evils.  Perhaps, understanding that morality can move people, we will figure out a better way to communicate what needs to be abolished.  The original abolitionists did not have this ability.

The original abolitionists made great use of newspapers and books which -- unlike those in France and other nations that failed to develop a similar mass movement -- were completely uncensored.  (We come back to the need to abolish our corporate media cartel.)  The original abolitionists benefitted from the egalitarian organizing of the Quakers, at whose meeting any man or woman could speak -- although they were remarkably slow to make use of the voices of freed slaves who could have spoken of slavery first-hand, and who eventually did so to great effect.

The movement to abolish the slave trade was aimed at Parliament.  It did not demand freedom or rights for blacks.  It threatened the livelihood of ship captains but not of the wealthy whose investments were in the plantations across the sea.  The movement persuaded MPs of just enough to pass the legislation desired -- and even less, as abolitionists slipped through Parliament a bill designed to damage the slave trade but not advertised that way or understood by its opponents until the vote had been taken.

The movement was launched in 1787 and by 1807 had outlawed the slave trade.  By August 1, 1838, all slaves in the British empire were free. 

The slaves themselves heard of these efforts, of course, and their own struggles for freedom may have done more than anything else to win the day.  The rebellions in Saint-Domingue (Haiti), Jamaica, and elsewhere had a significant impact on British thinking about slavery.  In fact, the first generation of abolitionists, now aging, failed to keep pace with public sentiment.  Their proposals for a slow and gradual end to slavery had to make way for the demand of immediate emancipation advanced by younger men and the now very active groups of women.  And ultimately a reform bill had to be passed to somewhat democratize the government before the popular demand for slavery's abolition could be answered.

 

Compensated Emancipation

Activists were somewhat disappointed when Parliament chose to compensate slave owners for the liberation of their slaves.  The slaves themselves were, of course, not compensated.  They had little but hard times ahead.

But the compensation of slave owners offered a model that might have served the United States better than bloody civil war.  During the American revolutionary war, the British had recruited slaves to fight on their side by promising them freedom.  After the war, slave owners, including George Washington, demanded their slaves back.  A British commander, General Sir Guy Carleton, refused.  Thousands of freed slaves were transported from New York to Nova Scotia to avoid their re-enslavement.  But Carleton did promise to compensate the slaves' owners, and Washington settled for that.

The original British abolitionists, including Thomas Clarkson, greatly influenced Americans like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas Douglass.  But few picked up on the idea of compensated emancipation, which had not originated with the abolitionists.

Elihu Burritt was an exception.  From 1856 to 1860 he promoted a plan to prevent a U.S. civil war through compensated emancipation, or the purchase and liberation of slaves by the government, following the example that the English had set in the West Indies.  Burritt traveled constantly, all over the country, speaking.  He organized a mass convention that was held in Cleveland.  He lined up prominent supporters.  He edited newsletters.  He behaved, in other words, like Clarkson and many an activist since.

And Burritt was right.  Britain had freed its slaves without a civil war or a slave rebellion on the scale that was possible.  Russia had freed its serfs without a war.  Slave owners in the U.S. South would almost certainly have preferred a pile of money to five years of hell, the deaths of loved ones, the burning and destruction of their property, and the uncompensated emancipation that followed, not to mention the century and a half of bitter resentment that followed that.  And not only the slave owners would have preferred the way of peace; it's not as if they did the killing and dying.

 

Virginia

When a former slave found his voice in London, told his story in a best-selling book, filled debating halls, and became a leader in the movement to free all others, he was a man who had been a slave in my home state of Virginia.  His name was Olaudah Equiano.  He was one of, if not the first, black to speak publicly in Britain.  He did as much to end the slave trade as anyone, and it might have gone on considerably longer without him.

I've never seen a monument or memorial in Virginia to Equiano.  In contrast, just down the street from my house in Charlottesville is a tree called Tarleton's Oak.  Next to it is a gas station by the same name.  The tree is not old, having been planted to replace an enormous aging oak that I recall seeing.  Under that one, supposedly, during the revolution, British troops camped.  They were led by a young officer named Banastre Tarleton.  He later got himself into Parliament, and there was no more obnoxious defender of the slave trade than he.  Africans themselves, he maintained, did not object in the least to being enslaved.  Tarleton lied at tremendous length without a hint of shame.  His memory we mark, not Equiano's.

Talk Nation Radio: Erica Chenoweth on the Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict

Erica Chenoweth is co-author with Maria J. Stephan of "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict."  Their research finds that nonviolent action works against tyrannical rule with a higher success rate than violence and with longer-lasting results.  Their book has received the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, as well as the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, which the American Political Science Association gives annually to the best book on government, politics, or international affairs published in the U.S. during the previous calendar year.  Listeners to Talk Nation Radio can pick up the newly-released paperback at a 30% discount from http://www.cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-15682-0/why-civil-resistance-works by using the discount code WHYCHE. Learn more at http://ericachenoweth.com

Total run time: 29:00

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

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TSA: confiscating your property and passing it on for sale elsewhere, by Amy Alkon

As we’ve written at TSA News before, when your property is confiscated at TSA checkpoints, that property ends up being sold at state-run surplus stores.

But it bears repeating, because so many people still don’t know about it. At a more recent story about this practice on CNN.com, commenter Dev said:

Syria: Tightening the Noose

 

Syria: Tightening the Noose

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Since conflict erupted last year, Washington, other NATO states, and regional allies recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed Syrian insurgents. 

 

Lawsuits for Information on Drones

 

Lawsuits for Information on Drones

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Drones are increasingly becoming America's weapon of choice. They're used to kill and spy. Domestic warrantless surveillance is illegal. 

 

It's done extrajudicially on a regular basis. By around 2020, eyes in the sky spying will cover America. Fourth Amendment freedoms are null and void. It states:

 

Another senior TSA employee who abuses women, by Sommer Gentry

Several months ago, we reported on the firings of two men from the Dulles Airport TSA staff.  These firings came after police charged the TSA employees with various crimes of sexual misconduct.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Syria News - Dec 12

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: President Obama Recognizes Syrian Opposition Group - ABC News

Russia gets Syrian crisis plan from US with conditions - newspaper — RT

U.S. blacklisting of Islamist opposition group ‘very wrong:’ Syrian Brotherhood - .alarabiya.net

U.S. intelligence sees no new activity indicating Syria prepares to use chemical weapons against rebel forces (VIDEO) - Huffington Post

Rep: 'Blissful silence' from Pentagon on questions over arms shipments from Libya to Syria - Fox News

Kurdish KNC Joins Syrian National Coalition - Mesopotamische Gesellschaft

VIDEO: Diplomats: U.S. trains rebels to secure Syrian WMDs - YouTube

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Up to 200 hurt in attack on Syrian Alawite village — uk.reuters.com

Syria rebels attack military school north of Aleppo, Elsewhere in the city 11 Kurds, including three children and two women, killed by four mortars fired by rebels - NOW

Stalemate stokes anger at rebels in Aleppo - Al Jazeera English

FSA involved in north Lebanon battle: Eid - THE DAILY STAR

VIDEO: Man in Aleppo Describes How it is to Live in FSA-Controlled Areas - YouTube

VIDEO: Aleppo Kurdish civilians attacked - YouTube

VIDEO: Aftermath Of Attack On And Shelling Of Alawite Village - YouTube

VIDEO: Citizen Tortured with Flesh-Burning Materials by Rebels - LiveLeak.com

VIDEO: Public Market Massacre in Alkorah City, Syria - Best Gore

VIDEO: Armed Sunnis Pose with Severed Body Parts in Damascus Suburb of Admal - Best Gore

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Syria Boils

 

Syria Boils

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

News from Syria is grim. Libya 2.0 looms. Fabricating a chemical weapons threat looks like pretext for full-scale war.

 

Abbas: Betrayal Pays Well

 

Abbas: Betrayal Pays Well

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

In 2003, Forbes magazine estimated Yasser Arafat's wealth at about $300 million. No verifying source was listed. Fatah was notoriously corrupt. It still is today. 

 

Its finances are a black hole. Bribes, foreign aid, secret investments, hidden bank accounts, slush funds, and other ill-gotten gains define them.

On Torture Memo Authors John Yoo & Jay Bybee

by San Francisco World Can't Wait.  "Let them die and decrease the surplus population." Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol Scrooge and Company torture health care.The Berkeley Federalist Society has assigned Torture Memo author John Yoo(yes, the guy who defines severe pain amounting to torture as that occasioned by "serious physical injury, such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions") to make the case against what has come to be termed 'Obamacare'.

Thursday, January 10 at 12:40 pm, Boalt Hall, Room 105
on the eve of the 11 year anniversary of Guantanamo.

Almost three years ago Truthout noted that while it may seem like a
stretch to talk about health care and torture in the same breath, there is
a direct link between the two issues. Indeed, it was a Medicare benefits
statute and other health care provisions that were used to form the basis

Syria News - Dec 11

 

 

U.S. designates Syrian group Al Nusra as terrorist organization - The Washington Post

Syrian rebels defy US and pledge allegiance to jihadi group Al Nusra - Telegraph

Al Nusra and and allied jihadists groups seize key north Syria army base, many of the fighters were foreigners from Arab countries and Central Asia - Ahram Online

Ukrainian journalist life threatened in Syria, Rebels are demanding 50 million U.S. dollars for her life - Voice of Russia

Jihadists: Christians can only live in post-Assad Syria if they pay the jizya - Jihad Watch

VIDEO: State Dept: Al Qaeda Linked Al-Nusra Has Moved Operations into Syria - YouTube

VIDEO: Jabhat al-Nusra Captures 111 Regiment Base, Give Us A Tour - YouTube

VIDEO: Syria Rebels make child behead unarmed prisoner - WARNING - Extremely Graphic - LiveLeak.com

VIDEO: Syrian Rebels Attack Aleppo's Armenian Quarter and Destroy a Building Killing its Residents - LiveLeak.com

VIDEO: Ras al Ain, Syrian Rebels' War Crimes Part 3 - YouTube

Syria: Muslim lovers of death celebrate "marriage" of three "martyrs" with "virgins of Paradise" (VIDEO) - Jihad Watch

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U.S. Troops Are Reported Back in Iraq Over Syrian Crisis - thenewamerican

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons – CNN.com Blogs

US Denies Arming Syrian Opposition As Reported By The Times Of London - RIA Novosti

Exclusive: UK military in talks to help Syria rebels, International coalition could offer air and sea support as well as military training - The Independent

Syria rebels hope arms will flow to new fighter command - Reuters

Russia stands by Syria President Bashar Assad - latimes.com

Syrian economy to shrink 20 percent in 2012: IIF - Reuters

VIDEO: FSA Rebels Receive Chemical Weapon Protective Suits - YouTube

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Syrian Kurds start forming their army - Voice of Russia

VIDEO: Interview with Salih Muslim, Leader of PYD Kurdish Party in Syria - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

UN Development Goals Could Be Met With a Few Percent of Military Spending

Here's a useful new report from the International Peace Bureau.  Globally, the report finds, spending on war preparations is higher than ever as an absolute amount and as a percentage of public spending (if not as a percentage of GDP).  This spending is led and dominated by the United States, which of course pressures other nations to try to keep pace.  The United States also dominates the manufacture and sale of weapons to other nations. 

The figures that the IPB uses admittedly leave out many types of military spending.  In fact, they capture less than 60% of U.S. military spending.  So, the conclusions are all extremely "conservative" -- that is to say: dramatically wrong.  Without knowing how much of other nations' war preparations spending is missing, one cannot do the calculations correctly.  Nonetheless, IPB's conclusions are stunning and include these:

--the world's military spending is 12.7 times higher than its official development assistance, and

--604 times higher than UN budgets for peace, security, development, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and international law, and

--2,508 times higher than the combined expenditures of the UN's International Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Organizations.

--the war preparations spending of the world is $249 per day per person on earth. [UPDATE: This cannot be correct.]

--about 5% of that would meet the UN's Millenium Development Goals by 2015.

In other words, war spending does not just generate the well-known Military Industrial Complex's pressure for more war, which takes more lives, but the failure to use a little of that money for something useful means the failure to save and improve countless lives as well.  Our budgets are at once sins of commission and omission.  The millenium goals are goals for ending poverty and hunger, providing education, and protecting health, sustainability, and human rights.

There may not be a war on Christmas, but if our "leaders" have their way there will be several wars on Christmas, and we're paying for them in several senses of the word.

Peace on Earth. Pass the ammunition.

The Normalization of Treason

How did right-wing politics in the United States survive the 1960s and 1970s and thrive beyond?  Not only did the wealthy invest in the corruption of politics, but the politicians invested in the normalization of treason.

When presidential candidate Richard Nixon sabotaged the peace process in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson privately called it treason and publicly kept his mouth shut. 

By the time Bush the Elder, also involved in that earlier treason, worked with Robert Gates and William Casey to sabotage President Carter's efforts to free hostages in Iran, the normalization was well underway.

The corruption of Watergate involved not only no-holds-barred political thievery, but also Nixon's fear that Daniel Ellsberg or the Brookings Institution or someone else had possession of a file detailing Nixon's successful 1968 efforts to prevent the war on Vietnam from ending.

The Iran-Contra scandal that grew out of the U.S.-Israeli-Iranian plot to replace Carter with Reagan, and the Iraq-gate scandal that followed, witnessed a last fling of half-hearted pushback in Congress and the corporate media.  Today such non-sexual scandals no longer end in -gate.  In fact, they are no longer scandals.

Piling George W. Bush's blatantly stolen elections onto the history of recent U.S. politics calls into question the ability of Republicans to get elected to national office without cheating.  But the normalization of treason has been very much a bi-partisan affair.

Robert Parry, who runs the invaluable website ConsortiumNews.com, has a new book out called "America's Stolen Narrative."  My recommendation is to immediately read this book from Chapter 2 through to the end.  The introduction and chapter 1 depict President Barack Obama as having nothing but the best intentions, glorify the American Revolution, argue in favor of a strong federal government, and defend the practice of requiring people to purchase private health insurance (a Republican idea in its origins, of course, although Parry has adopted it as Democratic and good).  Also, Chapter 3 takes a detour into arguing unpersuasively for lesser-evilism.  If you're into that sort of thing, knock yourselves out.  But in my view such discussions muddle and belittle the significance of the rest of this tremendously important book.

The "stolen narratives" referred to in the title are the accurate accounts that Parry presents of the treasonous acts I've mentioned above.  Parry is an investigative journalist who has unearthed powerful evidence of the crimes of Nixon, Reagan, and others.  Parry not only details the evidence but recounts the processes of coverup and distortion that the U.S. media has made its second nature.  The result of this history is, I'm afraid, far worse than Parry's opening pages let on.  Not only do Americans imagine that their politicians mean well when they do not, particularly in the area of foreign policy, but the United States has fundamentally accepted unlimited presidential powers.  Nixon's crimes during his famous coverup, and the far worse underlying crimes as well, have now been legalized and accepted.  Presidents do not answer to Congress or the public or the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  To a great extent, the people of our country have accepted temporary despots, and to a great extent our people falsely believe themselves powerless to act.  They imagine the left did something wrong through acting.  This is part of how history must be explained when leaving out the fact that the right has been cheating.

Parry's account of Nixon's undoing of peace in Vietnam, allowing for another four years of slaughter in Southeast Asia, is the best I've seen and alone worth the purchase of "America's Stolen Narrative."  Parry imagines what it might have meant, not only for peace in the world, but also for social justice and the "war on poverty" in the United States had Hubert Humphrey defeated Nixon.  To the extent that Nixon's successful electoral sabotage in 1968 opened the door to dirtier politics ever since, the damage can be multiplied. 

Needless to say, that door was always somewhat opened.  The Business Plot of 1933 was hardly less treasonous than anything Nixon did.  Nixon's go-between with the Vietnamese in 1968 was the widow of Claire Lee Chennault who had worked to provide China with U.S. planes, pilots, and training, to plan the firebombing of Japan and provoke Japan into the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Our false narratives still require the acceptance or glorification of all things related to World War II, but in fact one can see a bit of the husband in the widow Chennault.  And then there's the assassination of President Kennedy, which evidence suggests George H.W. Bush played a role in as in most of Parry's post-1960's narrative.

But Parry's case that we turned a corner toward a nastier political world with the Nixon presidency is a strong one.

The account of the Carter-Reagan October Surprise is also the best I've seen, in terms of the evidence presented and the background provided, including on the central role of the Israeli government.  The same gang that hung President Carter out to dry for failing to free the hostages had earlier pressured him to bring the Shah of Iran to the United States, thereby provoking the fears of Iranians and the seizure of the U.S. Embassy.  The weapons shipments to Iran later grew into the Iran-Contra scandal, but common understanding of that scandal fails to trace it to its roots in the treasonous bargain that kept the hostages prisoners until the day of Reagan's inauguration.

Parry devotes whole chapters to the history of corrupt manipulation by a couple of the dirtiest individuals in Washington: Colin Powell and Robert Gates.  These two manage their heights of corruption and influence, in part, through their cross-partisanship.  Democrats in Parry's worldview seem to be largely battered wives failing to push back, failing to speak out, refusing to investigate or prosecute or impeach. True enough, as far as it goes.  But I think there is a great measure of complicity and outright expansion of bipartisan abuses that must be credited to the Democrats as well.  An accurate understanding of exactly how evil some of our Republicans have been need not turn us into cheerleaders for the party of the current president, his record classifications, his groundbreaking secrecy claims, his record whistleblower prosecutions, his record levels of warrantless spying, his imprisonments without trial, his wars without Congress, his war-making CIA, or his "kill list" murder program.  Instead, an accurate understanding of how evil some of our politicians have been should move us to become, like Robert Parry, dogged pursuers of the facts that those in power seek to bury or beautify.

A Case of Just Looking Stupid? The Not-So-Bright Bulbs at the White House and Pentagon

 

By Dave Lindorff


Let me see if I’ve got this right.


TSA violence, by Fill Fisher

A TSA screener was shot and killed at Cleveland International Airport by her husband, who then turned the gun on himself.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
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War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
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April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
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April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
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April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
7:30pm
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April 16 Portland, OR

 

April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
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May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
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May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
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May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
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May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
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May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
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June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
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