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Independent Libyan Fact-Finding Mission
by Stephen Lendman
A joint report was released by the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC).
In 2007, when the Bush regime was threatening to attack Iran, with substantially the same justification that the U.S. is now using to impose sanctions, carry out secret operations, and prepare the population for more war, World Can't Wait made a quiz. We administered it on dozens of college campuses, and on street corners.
The Armenian Genocide
by Stephen Lendman
Raphael Lemkin defined genocide as:
Whistling Past the Graveyard
by Stephen Lendman
Europe's sinking. Japan's in recession. China risks landing hard. America's sure to follow. Yet equity markets rallied impressively so far in January.
US/Israel: Iran NOT Building Nukes
Exclusive: Recent comments by U.S and Israeli military leaders indicate that the intelligence services of the two countries agree that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb, a crack in the Western narrative that the U.S. press corps won’t accept, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.
By Ray McGovern
Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”
A 24-member delegation from Japan is in Washington, D.C., this week opposing the presence and new construction of U.S. military bases in Okinawa. Participating are members of the Japanese House of Councilors, of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, and of city governments in Okinawa, as well as leading protest organizers and the heads of several important organizations opposed to the ongoing U.S. military occupation of Okinawa.
The famously stingy U.S. tax payer, frequently seen bitterly protesting outrageously wasteful spending of a few million dollars, is paying billions of dollars to maintain and expand some 90 military bases in Japan (and to make those who profit from such business filthy rich). Thirty-four of those bases, containing 74% of their total land area, are in Okinawa, which itself contains only 0.6% of Japanese land. Okinawa is dominated by U.S. military bases and has been for 67 years since the U.S. forcibly appropriated much of the best land.
The people of Okinawa tell pollsters year after year that they oppose the bases. Year after year they elect government officials who oppose the bases. Year after year they march, sit-in, protest, and demand to be heard. Year after year, the national Japanese government confronts the issue and fails to take any decisive steps to resolve it. Year after year, the people of the United States remain blissfully unaware that, as in so many other places around the world, our military occupation of Okinawa is ruining people's lives.
Members of the delegation spoke at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., Monday night. Toshio Ikemiyagi thanked people who came to hear them and pointed out that we all looked healthy and alert. That, he said, is because you have all had sleep. You've been able to sleep at night without deafening jet noise, he said. Ikemiyagi is the lead attorney on a lawsuit challenging the Kadena Air Base's noise pollution. He played us a video on Monday of what it is like. For the people who live there, he said, the war that ended 67 years ago has never ended.
Keiko Itokazu, a Member of the Japanese National Diet, depicted in this painting, said the Okinawan people had been heartbroken since having been unable to protect a 12-year-old girl from gang rape by U.S. troops in 1995. The Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Japan gives U.S. troops immunity from Japanese prosecution. Between 1979 and 2008, U.S. forces in Okinawa caused 1,439 accidents (487 of them airplane related), and 5,584 criminal cases (559 of them involving violent crimes). The list includes fatal driving incidents, residential break-ins, taxi robberies, sexual violence, and other serious crimes against local citizens.
I spoke recently with Maria Allwine who describes herself as "a former Marine Corps spouse." She said, "It is common practice for military personnel to use Japanese women as 'mama-sans,' exchanging house cleaning and sexual favors for money. Nothing new, but it's given a wink and a nod by military brass. Those who don't cheat are considered abnormal by their peers."
The sex police are as absent as the skinflints from their usual place of prominence in U.S. political debate when it comes to occupying other people's countries. Imagine, however, just for a moment, that even one Japanese military base existed in the United States, and imagine that even one Japanese soldier committed a single crime. Can you imagine some things that U.S. television talking heads might say?
Our military is trying to build yet more bases in Okinawa. Why, you ask? Word around town is that even the Pentagon thinks it serves no purpose, but the Marine Corps likes to hold onto anything it's got. The Marines have even named one of their bases in Okinawa for Smedley Butler, the author of "War Is A Racket," and a man whom the Marines once imprisoned at Quantico for having spoken badly of Benito Mussolini. Don't look for logic. Look for petty rivalry and power, combined with unaccountability and we the people missing in action.
The least popular base in Okinawa is probably Futenma Air Base, which sits in the middle of a city, near schools, a hospital, and houses -- houses which military helicopters have been known to crash into. The Marine Corps plans to bring the accident-prone MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to Futenma in 2012. Overwhelmingly, the people of Okinawa want the base closed, and do not want it relocated to a less populated area, and do not want it combined with another existing base. For the past 16 years, residents of Henoko, a location under consideration for relocation of the base, have held a continuous sit-in protest without pause. They have also risked their lives hanging onto a floating platform in the ocean, surrounded by supportive fishing boats, successfully preventing the military from surveying the site for construction.
Hiroshi Ashitomi has been a leader of the nonviolent resistance in Henoko for 16 years. "We use our own bodies," he said on Monday, "to resist aggressive actions by the Japanese government." Pointing to the picture of Gandhi in the collage on the wall at Busboys, Ashitomi said, "We follow the example of Gandhi. It is not easy. We receive threats from the police. But we are determined to use nonviolent resistance, and we get a lot of support from all over Japan. We are trying to protect the environment, so many young people from all over Japan come to our tent and participate in our resistance."
In fact, the environment and the rights of certain endangered species have come to dominate the anti-base movement in Okinawa. Apparently the rights of humans are far less interesting than the rights of the black naped tern, the blue coral, or above all the dugong. The dugong is the manatee-like creature in this photo. Osamu Makishi of the Citizens' Network for Okinawan Biodiversity spoke movingly about these species and their ecosystem on Monday, which he said are protected by treaty.
The Japanese delegation is meeting with Congress Members, including Senator Jim Webb on Wednesday, urging them to close and consolidate bases. I once accompanied a group of Italians on almost identical visits to Congress. The people of Vicenza, Italy, oppose the bases the U.S. military and the national Italian government impose on them, just as the people of Okinawa do. The congress members and staffers we met with at that time gave not the slightest damn for human rights or the environment or popular opinion. I don't think any of the Japanese delegates expect to encounter such humanity this week either. Their hope is to highlight the financial costs to the United States of the occupation of Japan. My hope is that we can help them by telling our misrepresentatives that we agree with the members of the delegation. If you're inclined to help, please call your rep and two senators with that message.
Specifically, the delegation is asking for the closure of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station; cancellation of plans to construct a new Marine Corps air base at Cape Henoko; reduction of unbearable noise caused by air operations at Kadena Air Base; withdrawal of any proposal to integrate Futenma's helicopter squadrons into Kadena's operations; an end to the construction of six new helipads in the Yanbaru forest in northern Okinawa; and revision of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement to allow fair prosecutions of crimes.
Ultimately, however, the members of the delegation want the bases all to be closed. And they do not want them relocated to Guam or Australia or anywhere else, except perhaps to the United States. Itokazu suggested that the U.S. government could save money and produce jobs by bringing bases home. But, of course, we don't want a military occupation any more than Japan does, and the same money would produce more jobs if spent on a non-military industry.
Base opponents in Okinawa work with others in Korea, Guam, and Hawaii, and with former residents of Diego Garcia, as well as others around the world. An international conference called "Dialogue Under Occupation" was held in Okinawa last summer. In fact, people are working extremely hard in cities around the world to shut down or prevent the construction of giant military bases that we in the United States pay for and are endangered by but have very little awareness of.
John Feffer of the Institute for Policy Studies (see http://closethebase.org ) believes Futenma can be closed and can serve as a model for closing more. It is very difficult, however, Feffer says, to accomplish base closings cleanly without some sort of asterisk attached. When a base was closed in Seoul, Korea, a new one was opened outside it. When bases were closed in the Philippines, a Visiting Forces Agreement was drawn up. Yet, the Navy left Vieques, and the President of Ecuador seems to have found the magic formula in his proposal that any U.S. base in Ecuador be matched by an Ecuadorean base in Florida.
Here is another proposal: bring in the IAEA for inspections. No independent organization has verified U.S. claims to no longer be storing nuclear weapons in Japan. On the model of Iran, if full inspections are not permitted by, say, Thursday, or even if they are, we should seriously consider launching preemptive strikes against ourselves. The Constitution that the United States imposed on Japan 65 years ago forbids war preparation, yet the United States trains its forces in Japan to fight wars elsewhere in the world. Are we spreading democracy or hypocrisy? Are we building trust or animosity?
Ikemiyagi says democracy requires U.S. withdrawal from Okinawa. As with the location of nuclear power plants in Japan, he says, the Japanese government wants the military bases out of sight. If Tokyo wants bases, he says, then put them in Tokyo. The people of Okinawa have had enough.
Haven't we all?
I'm writing in the hope that you might be able to publicize the new "Close Guantanamo" campaign, and specifically the petition calling on President Obama to close Guantanamo, which is on the White House's "We the People" website.
The petition is here:https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/close-guantanamo-now/6cMPlxQw
We're seeking to secure 25,000 signatures by February 6, so please, if this concerns you, sign the petition, publicize it, and tell ten of your friends and relations to sign it. With your help, we can reach our target, I'm sure!
Arab League Arrogance
by Stephen Lendman
On December 26, Arab League observers began monitoring Syrian cities. They'll remain another month, despite calls to remove them.
Violence Rages in Libya
by Stephen Lendman
Occupied Libya isn't pretty. Libya SOS said its government "recognize(d) the presence of the forces belonging to 14 different nationalities in the country under the umbrella of the training, assistance and advice."
It’s three years since President Obama promised to close Guantánamo.
Remind President Obama of his promise. Sign the petition on the White House’s “We the People” website urging him to honor his promise. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 6 to secure a response, so please sign up, and please spread the word.
What happened to President Obama’s bold promise?
Three years ago, on January 22, 2009, President Obama issued an executive order promising to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay within a year, but he did not move swiftly to implement his promise, and Congress then stepped in with onerous restrictions on the release of prisoners or their transfer to the US mainland for any reason, even to be tried or imprisoned.
Instead of being closed, Guantánamo still holds 171 men, even though 89 of these men were cleared for release more than two years ago by the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force (PDF), which was established by the President after taking office.
By Dave Lindorff
The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.
On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama won the Democratic primary last time around largely on the strength of his extremely limited and inconsistent opposition to the war on Iraq. Then he chose as his running mate Senator Joe Biden, a man who had led efforts in the U.S. Senate to support the invasion. Obama's staff told reporters that he would be inclined to keep Robert Gates on as Secretary of War (or "Defense") -- exactly the same plan proposed by Senator John McCain's campaign. Obama said he'd like Colin Powell to be a part of his administration, and repeatedly announced that his cabinet would include Republicans. Obama had approached leading warmonger Congressman Rahm Emanuel about becoming his chief of staff.
By Michael Collins
Bionic candidate Mitt Romney went from inevitable to simply evitable thanks to South Carolina Republican primary voters. With 600,000 voting, turnout was up 34% over 2008. Ninety eight percent of voters were white. This is even less representative of the nation than Iowa and New Hampshire. But that's how things work in this democracy
The South Carolina exit poll (sponsored by the mainstream media) had a new question for voters as they left their polling places. They were asked if they had a positive or negative opinion of Mitt Romney's background as an investor. Investor refers to Romney's time as an investment banker with Bain Capital and can be taken as a proxy for a pro or anti-Wall Street/financial elite stance.
The results indicate what may turn into a fatal flaw in the Romney campaign. Sixty four percent of voters had a positive view of Romney as an investor with 28% negative. However, Gingrich won 50% of those who had a negative view of Romney's wheeler-dealer days as an investor. Romney took only 3% of voters who had a negative view of his role as an investor. Mitt can't buy an anti-wall Street vote.
America's Great Divide Between Rich and Poor
by Stephen Lendman
In 1962, Michael Harrington's "The Other America" exposed the nation's dark side, saying:
NPR and PBS Anti-Iranian Propaganda
by Stephen Lendman
Both National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting serve corporate and imperial interests. They're called public to conceal their agenda.
UK Government Suppresses Truth
by Stephen Lendman
Press TV broke the news headlining, "Ofcom revokes Press TV's UK license," saying:
Handbook on Israeli Apartheid
by Stephen Lendman
In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created the global BDS movement - for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.
The idea of economic conversion, of retooling and retraining pieces of the military industrial complex to build what other wealthy nations have (infrastructure, energy, education, etc.) converged with the end of the Cold War two decades back. It was time for a peace dividend as well as a little sanity in public spending. Among the cosponsors of a bill to begin economic conversion in the late 1980s was a guy by the name of Leon Panetta.
Standing in the way was Congressman Newt Gingrich (Republican, Lockheed Martin).
As Mary Beth Sullivan recounts ( http://MIC50.org ),
This week, more than a dozen anti-war organizations responded to a call by World Can't Wait to plan for a day of Mass Action against war or on sanctions on Iran. We united on a day, Saturday February 4, for the first action, and a simple set of demands:
By Dave Lindorff
On my Yahoo home page today, there was a picture of the globe, and an instant poll asking me to check one of two choices: Yes or No, Do you believe global warming is a real threat?
I don’t usually waste my time on these things, but there was that tantalizing link to “See the results,” and you had to vote to see them, so I voted.
By Michael Collins
It's official. The crazies have arrived for the 2012 presidential race, florid in their deviant and repulsive rhetoric. Andrew B. Adler, editor of The Atlanta Jewish Times, called on Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu to "Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence." This reference to President Barack Obama appeared in the print edition of the paper on January 13 and was first published online by Gawker on the 20th (alternate links here and here).
Right wing Republican Mike O'Neal, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, forwarded an email referring to the president that quoted (approximately) Psalm 109.8: “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him." The Lawrence Journal World noted that the very next verse, 109.9, indicates how the president should be replaced: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." (Image SND)
The First Amendment is ignored when reactionary mayors want to stop the free speech and assemblies of Occupy Wall Street. However, free speech is expanded beyond the limits of the law when religious extremists in Atlanta and Kansas step well outside of the boundaries of U.S. Code.
Anti-Syrian Pack Journalism - by Stephen Lendman
When America wages war or plans it, major media scoundrels cheerlead in lockstep. Incendiary managed news follows. Truth and full disclosure lose out.
As a result, readers and viewers are uninformed. Imperial Washington gets free reign to keep ravaging the world one country at a time, threatening humanity in the process.
Israel Claims Syria/Hamas-Connected Terror Cells Uncovered - by Stephen Lendman
Here we go again. We've seen it before strategically timed. Weigh all Israeli claims skeptically. On its face, this one lacks credibility.
Cui bono? Not Syria embroiled for months battling an externally generated insurgency and threats of foreign intervention.
The best book I've read in a very long time is a new one: "The End of War" by John Horgan. Its conclusions will be vigorously resisted by many and yet, in a certain light, considered perfectly obvious to some others. The central conclusion -- that ending the institution of war is entirely up to us to choose -- was, arguably, reached by (among many others before and since) John Paul Sartre sitting in a café utilizing exactly no research.
Horgan is a writer for "Scientific American," and approaches the question of whether war can be ended as a scientist. It's all about research. He concludes that war can be ended, has in various times and places been ended, and is in the process (an entirely reversible process) of being ended on the earth right now.
Beating Up on Chavez - by Stephen Lendman
Since inaugurated in February 1999, he's faced open US hostility, including by go-along major media scoundrels.
Wisconsinites v. Governor Scott Walker - by Stephen Lendman
Last winter's epic battle between Wisconsin public workers and Republican Governor Walker ended badly for social justice. Nonetheless, struggling for it continues.
As issue was old-fashioned union busting. It included eroding collective bargain rights before ending them altogether. In addition, draconian wage and benefit cuts were imposed.
Sometimes an event breaks into the mainstream media that reveals the truly brutal, oppressive nature of the armed forces of the US and the wars they are fighting. At a moment when we are being told by the oh-so-rational and humane administration of Barack Obama and Co. that we must line up behind a new aggressive war against an oil-producing Central Asian country, the recently released video of US soldiers urinating on Afghan corpses has exposed the way "our" soldiers view the entire population of the region: as subhuman.
Now we must challenge Americans to not look away from these terrible images, but absorb what these incidents tell us about the essence of what is still happening in our names: unjust, illegitimate violence unleashed by the most powerful against some of the poorest people on the planet.
Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, New York 300+ cities: Without doubt, last week saw the largest protests yet against the torture and detention policies of the US in Washington, DC.
When Iranian director Asghar Farhadi received the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Film Sunday night, he said:
When I was coming up on the stage, I was thinking what should I say here. Should I say something about my mother, father, my kind wife, my daughters, my dear friends, my great and lovely crew. But now I just prefer to say something about my people. I think they are a truly peace-loving people. Thank you very much.
19 January 2012 - A North Carolina human rights group is calling on state officials to investigate and stop alleged CIA missions originating in Johnston County that involve illegal torture.
North Carolina Stop Torture Now delivered a University of North Carolina School of Law report Wednesday to the governor, attorney general and others that claims the Central Intelligence Agency relies on Smithfield-based Aero Contractors Ltd. to provide planes and pilots to transport prisoners overseas from the Johnston County Airport for secret interrogation using torture techniques.