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All Governments Lie, The Movie

Picture, if you will, video footage of vintage (early 2016) Donald Trump buffoonery with the CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves commenting on major media's choice to give Trump vastly more air time than other candidates: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS."

That's the introduction to a powerful critique of the U.S. media. A new film screens in New York and Los Angeles this week called All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone.

The website AllGovernmentsLie.com has screening dates, a list of lies, and a list of good journalists who expose lies. The lists on the website are not identical to the content of the film, but there's a good deal of overlap -- enough to give you a sense of what this project is about.

I'd have made various changes and additions to the film. In particular, I'm tired of all the focus on Iraq 2003. This film touches on war lies since then, but still gives that one particular set of war lies prominence.

Still, this is a film that should be shown in cities, homes, and classrooms across the United States. It includes and is driven by Noam Chomsky's analysis of how the media system is "rigged" without those doing the rigging believing they've done anything at all. It's a survey of skullduggery by corporate media. It's an introduction to numerous journalists far superior to the norm. And it's an introduction to I.F. Stone. It includes footage of a presentation of the annual Izzy Award which goes to journalists acting in Stone's tradition.

Focus: FBI Director James Comey - Oct 30, 2016

 

Hillary Clinton campaign turns up pressure on FBI Director James Comey about the email investigation - Time

 

Harry Reid accuses Comey of possibly breaking the law, makes ‘explosive' claim about Trump-Russia connection in fiery letter - Business Insider


Harry Reid's letter to FBI Director Comey about the Clinton email investigation - reid.senate.gov


In a letter sent to Comey and Lynch, Senate Democrats want an update on the Clinton email investigation no later than Monday - Huffington Post


Letter by Senate Democrats Leahy, Feinstein, Carper and Cardin to Comey and Lynch requesting information on the Clinton investigation - Huffington Post


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton campaign releases defiant video against James Comey, FBI over email review - us.blastingnews.com


Clinton campaign asks ex-prosecutors to criticize FBI Director James Comey - The Daily Beast


Republican attorney files complaint against James Comey for latest disclosures on Clinton email probe - people.com


In op-ed, former Dem and GOP deputy attorney generals say 'Comey is damaging democracy' - NBC News


FBI Director James Comey begins briefing Congressional leaders on email review - ABC News


GOP House Judiciary Chair Goodlatte: Comey asked to release as much as he could - newsmax.com


FBI obtains warrant to examine Clinton emails: U.S. media - Reuters


DOJ objected to FBI disclosure of new steps in Clinton probe, sources say - ABC News


Comey internal memo to FBI staffers says election, timing required disclosure of renewed probe - Fox News


FBI moved to disclose the re-opening of the Clinton investigation because it feared the information would leak otherwise, law enforcement officials say - CNNPolitics.com


'Controversy’ among FBI and DOJ officials over not indicting Clinton drove Comey's decision to re-open the investigation: Goodlatte - Washington Examiner


Why Comey jumped at chance to reopen Clinton email investigation: Resignation letters piling up from disaffected FBI agents, his wife urging him - Daily Mail


FBI in internal feud over Clinton Foundation probe - WSJ


Former assistant director: FBI has an investigation ongoing into Clinton Foundation - The Daily Caller


Judicial Watch sues for FBI records of Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton tarmac meeting - BizPac Review


POLL: Trump behind 1 percent, Clinton hurt by FBI bombshell - Washington Examiner


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


Punishment is Violent and Counterproductive

Punishment is a popular pastime for humans. Parents punish children. Teachers punish students. Employers punish workers. Courts punish lawbreakers. People punish each other. Governments punish 'enemies'. And, according to some, God punishes evildoers.

What is 'punishment'? Punishment is the infliction of violence as revenge on a person who is judged to have behaved inappropriately. It is a key word we use when we want to obscure from ourselves that we are being violent.

Focus: The Iraqi Shiite Militias and the Mosul offensive

 

A spokesman for the Iraqi Shiite militias said thousands of fighters "started operations this morning to clean up the hotbeds of Daesh (Islamic State) in the western parts of Mosul”. Accordong to Reuters, “their goal is to cut off any option of retreat by Islamic State insurgents into neighboring Syria or any reinforcement for their defense of Mosul." Iraqi Shiite militias are backed by Iran, but first of all they are Iraqi patriots strongly dedicated to fight Islamic State. Their contribution is essential to win this battle. They will weaken Islamic State and help the Iraqi army and the U.S. troops who are suppporting this operation (5,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Iraq.)


Amnesty International has reported that Iraqi Shiite militias in previous campaigns have committed "serious human rights violations, including war crimes" against Sunni civilians. The Iraq government says that violations were limited and were investigated, denies that they were widespread and systematic. It is up to the Iraq government and army to make sure that in the Mosul offensive the Shiite militias’ conduct complies with the international humanitarian law which seeks to protect civilians who are not participating in hostilities and regulate the means of warfare available to combatants. But the fact is that in Iraq the Shiites have been the victims of the Sunni Islamic State terrorism. Recently there has been a spike in violence perpetrated by the Islamic State against the Iraqi Shiites with frequent bombings on streets, markets, mosques, army and police stations. According to a July statement of a senior Baghdad police officer, there are around six to ten explosions every day.

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Michael Moore Owes Me $4.99

Michael Moore has made some terrific movies in the past, and Where to Invade Next may be the best of them, but I expected Trumpland to be (1) about Trump, (2) funny, (3) honest, (4) at least relatively free of jokes glorifying mass murder. I was wrong on all counts and would like my $4.99 back, Michael.

Moore's new movie is a film of him doing a stand-up comedy show about how wonderfully awesome Hillary Clinton is -- except that he mentions Trump a bit at the beginning and he's dead serious about Clinton being wonderfully awesome.

This film is a text book illustration of why rational arguments for lesser evilist voting do not work. Lesser evilists become self-delusionists. They identify with their lesser evil candidate and delude themselves into adoring the person. Moore is not pushing the "Elect her and then hold her accountable" stuff. He says we have a responsibility to "support her" and "get behind her," and that if after two years -- yes, TWO YEARS -- she hasn't lived up to a platform he's fantasized for her, well then, never fear, because he, Michael Moore, will run a joke presidential campaign against her for the next two years (this from a guy who backed restricting the length of election campaigns in one of his better works).

Disobey or Die

Back in the winter of 1982, Air Florida flight 90 took off from National Airport. The first officer noticed dangerous readings on some instruments and pointed them out to the captain. The captain told him he was wrong, and he accepted the captain's authority. He did nothing. Thirty seconds later the plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridge. Everyone on board died except for four passengers rescued out of the icy river.

During the latter decades of the 20th and first part of the 21st century, millions and millions of first officers on spaceship earth noticed that climate and nuclear dangers loomed. But every authoritative captain in sight, from elected officials to CEOs to media pundits, said "Don't be a fool. I've got this." And millions upon millions sat back and mumbled "Oh, all right, if you're sure."

The people pushing through the vote this week at the United Nations to create a treaty next year banning nuclear weapons are engaged in necessary disobedience to mainstream authority and acceptance. The people putting their bodies in the way of a pipeline in North Dakota are disobeying immoral orders.

Ira Chaleff's book, Intelligent Disobedience, re-examines the lessons of the Milgram and Stanford prison experiments, and other more recent demonstrations of the severe dangers of uncritical obedience. Chaleff highlights some techniques that can facilitate intelligent refusals to obey.

Focus: Turkey's President Erdogan - Oct 27, 2016


Obama, Erdoğan discuss fight against ISIL in Iraq, Syria - hurriyetdailynews.com


Statement: President Erdoğan and U.S. President Obama discuss anti-DAESH fight - Presidency of the Republic of Turkey


Erdogan says Turkey will target Syrian towns of Manbij and Raqqa, demands role in Mosul offensive - The Washington Post


Erdogan speech: 'Turkey will definitely take part in any development in Iraq and Syria’ - Presidency of the Republic of Turkey


Turkey rejects US plan for Raqqa offensive involving Kurds, Erdogan tells Obama to exclude the ‘terrorist’ PYD and YPG - Military.com


Turkish minister says US must 'keep its word' on Manbij - aa.com


Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces accuse Turkey-backed rebels of ethnic cleansing, call for investigation - ARA News


Erdogan says Turkey would not allow a PKK presence in the Iraqi region of Sinjar: 'We will go on this campaign...and now in Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar and Sinjar' - Worldbulletin News


Turkish and Saudi weapons supplied to ISIS found in Mosul, says Shia leader - Iraqi News


Turkish, US, French defence ministers discuss anti-Daesh fight, military sources say they agreed on basic principles - trend.az


Turkey’s new maps are reclaiming the Ottoman Empire - Foreign Policy


Land ownership certificates around Mosul and Kirkuk could provide the basis for future legal challenges by Turkey: Archive Department head - middleeastmonitor.com


Assad allies bomb Turkish-backed FSA, warn that attempts to move on Aleppo would be a breach of 'red lines' - Middle East Eye


Turkey’s military operations in Syria targets Manbij not Aleppo: President Erdoğan - hurriyetdailynews.com


Iran, Russia, Syrian FMs to meet in Moscow - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

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Erdoğan pursues his plan for even greater power, Seizing on post-coup popularity ramps up the rhetoric to boost a presidential referendum – POLITICO


Turkey ramps up pressure on U.S. to extradite 'murderer' Gulen, Justice Minister met his U.S. counterpart Loretta Lynch - POLITICO


Turkish Justice Minister: Fethullah Gulen is our Osama bin Laden - ABC News


Human Rights Watch report accuses Turkish police of torture - VOA


Turkey replaces most province police chiefs, shake-up continues - Reuters


Turkey detains dozens of air force pilots in coup probe - hurriyetdailynews.com


Violence flares in Turkey's tense southeast after mayors' arrest - Reuters


Turkey cuts Internet for 6M people in 11 Kurdish cities to ‘prevent protests’ - The Daily Dot


Turkey launches probe into Kurdish leader after speech - Middle East Eye


Journalist on trial in Turkey for alleged pro-PKK tweets - ABC News


Interview: U.S. judge says Turkey's judiciary ‘taken over' by Erdogan - rferl.org


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

Public vs. Media on War

A new poll from an unlikely source suggests that the U.S. public and the U.S. media have very little in common when it comes to matters of war and peace.

This poll was commissioned by that notorious leftwing hotbed of peaceniks, the Charles Koch Institute, along with the Center for the National Interest (previously the Nixon Center, and before that the humorously named Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom). The poll was conducted by Survey Sampling International.

They polled 1,000 registered voters from across the U.S. and across the political spectrum but slanted slightly toward older age groups. They asked:

"Over the last 15 years, do you think U.S. foreign policy has made Americans more or less safe?"

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Too Big to Fail, Hillary-Style

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

The U.S. National Bird Is Now a Drone

Officially, of course, the national bird of the United States is that half-a-peace-sign that Philadelphia sports fans like to hold up at opposing teams. But unofficially, the film National Bird has it right: the national bird is a killer drone.

Finally, finally, finally, somebody allowed me to see this movie. And finally somebody made this movie. There have been several drone movies worth seeing, most of them fictional drama, and one very much worth avoiding (Eye in the Sky). But National Bird is raw truth, not entirely unlike what you might fantasize media news reports would be in a magical world in which media outlets gave a damn about human life.

The first half of National Bird is the stories of three participants in the U.S. military's drone murder program, as told by them. And then, just as you're starting to think you'll have to write that old familiar review that praises how well the stories of the victims among the aggressors were told but asks in exasperation whether any of the victims of the actual missiles have any stories, National Bird expands to include just what is so often missing, and even to combine the two narratives in a powerful way.

Brief note about Trump adviser General Michael Flynn's article about the Middle East

 

I strongly disagree with the opinions of Trump adviser General Michael Flynn in his article about the Middle East. I hope that, if Trump becomes President, will reject his advices. A few excerpts from the above mentioned article:


"Today, the Shiite Crescent is a real threat, not only to our Sunni allies, especially Egypt and Jordan, but also presents a direct threat to the national security of the United States.”


 "a government [Iraq] that is influenced and controlled by Iran, the number one state sponsor of radical Islamic terrorism.”


"There is no difference between the ideology of ISIS and the Iranian regime, except ISIS is Sunni and Iran is Shiite. They both have goals of establishing an Islamic global caliphate using military force." 


This is my take: The real enemy in the Middle East and elsewhere (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, etc) is not Iran, but Sunni terrorism (Islamic State and other groups) sponsored primarily by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. The President of Iran Hassan Rouhani is a moderate reformist open to dialogue with United States. It is in the interest of United States to engage and talk with him and avert a return of the anti-American hardliners at the helm of the Iran government.


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

Antiwar March on Hillary Clinton's Office

Antiwar demo on Saturday, November 5th, rallying at Brooklyn Boro Hall (209 Joralemon Street) on the steps at 1 pm, and then marching to Hillary Clinton's office:

Organizations Endorsing:

Brooklyn Greens / Green Party

Veterans for Peace-NYC, Chapter 34

Popular Resistance

World Can't Wait

U.S. Peace Council

The Nuclear Resister

Friends of Brad Will

Center for Global Justice

World Beyond War

Free Radicals (freerads.com), Houston TX



Individuals Endorsing:

Steve Ault
, long-time activist

David Barouh, ActionGreens

Medea Benjamin,

Betsy Bowman, Center for Global Justice - Mexico

Howard Brandstein, Director, Sixth Street Community Center, NYC*

Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators

Ellen Brown, Attorney & Public Banking advocate

Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa, Nuclear Resister ( www.nukeresister@igc.org)

Mitchel Cohen, former Chair WBAI radio Local Station Board*

Carolina Cositore Sitrin, Raging Grannies/NJ Green Party*

Curtis Cost, Author and Community Activist

Dawn Real, community-based technologist

Ecegul "AJ" Elterman, member of Public Citizen*

Terri Ginsberg, Assistant Professor of Film, The American University in Cairo

Margaret Flowers, MD, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Robert Gold, Brooklyn Greens

Marcy Gordon, attorney, singer-songwriter

Michael Hirsch, New Politics magazine*

Ron Jacobs, writer

Edwin Johnston, Houston TX anti-war activist

Chris Kinder, coordinator of the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Sallie Latch, artist

Patricia Mann, author "On the Precipice", in Radical Philosophy Review*

Alfred R. Marder, President, U.S. Peace Council

Joel Meyers,

Bertell Ollman,
professor & author

Christopher Reed, environmental activist

Jack Shalom, Math Teacher

Alice Slater, World Beyond War*

Bob Stone,

Alice Sturm Sutter,
retired nurse practitioner, NYC Metro Raging Grannies*

David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org

Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait

Daniel Vila, Green Party candidate for Congress, 13th C.D., NYC

Kevin Zeese, co-director of PopularResistance.org

*For ID purposes only

Lost drug war: Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

A vivid example of value from decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana occurred at the Philadelphia airport recently, a few days after the release of a report from two prominent organizations that called for the national decriminalization of personal use/possession of marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Talk Nation Radio: Timeka Drew on Protecting Voter Rights

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-timeka-drew-on-protecting-voter-rights

Timeka Drew is National Director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, a position she has served in since February of 2016. Previously she served as Liberty Tree's Communications Director and worked as lead organizer of the Global Climate Convergence. Timeka came to the Liberty Tree community via her work with the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and local democracy, food sovereignty, and anti-racist organizing in Los Angeles and her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.                         

For more information, see http://libertytreefoundation.org and http://NoMoreStolenElections.org     

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Slavery Was Abolished

By David Swanson, World Beyond War

I recently debated a pro-war professor on the topic “Is war ever necessary?” (video). I argued for abolishing war. And because people like to see successes before doing something, no matter how indisputably possible that thing is, I gave examples of other institutions that have been abolished in the past. One might include such practices as human sacrifice, polygamy, cannibalism, trial by ordeal, blood feuds, dueling, or the death penalty in a list of human institutions that have been largely abolished in some parts of the earth or which people have at least come to understand could be abolished.

Of course, an important example is slavery. But when I claimed that slavery had been abolished, my debate opponent quickly announced that there are more slaves in the world today than there were before foolish activists imagined they were abolishing slavery. This stunning factoid was meant as a lesson to me: Do not try to improve the world. It cannot be done. In fact, it may be counter-productive.

But let’s examine this claim for the 2 minutes necessary to reject it. Let’s look at it globally and then with the inevitable U.S. focus.

Tomgram: William Hartung, The Doctrine of Armed Exceptionalism

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: The Mosul Offensive Against Islamic State - Oct 24, 2016


Wave of U.S. coalition’s air strikes as ISIS puts up tough defence of Mosul - Channel NewsAsia


US drops 1400 bombs on ISIS in first week of Mosul fight - The Daily Caller


U.S. troops, embedded with Iraqi brigades and battalions, push toward Mosul’s city center - militarytimes.com


Navy explosives expert from California first U.S. death in battle for Mosul - UPI.com


Ferocity of ISIS Kirkuk counter-attack points to tough fight for Mosul - Reuters


The worst is yet to come in Mosul, US leaders say - Defense One


Pentagon: Daesh arming administrative personel, recruiting from outside Mosul to reinforce its defense of the city - aa.com


Labyrinth of tunnels revealed as ISIS try to dodge assault on Iraq's second city - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: A tour of a tunnel where ISIS fighters hide out from satellite detection, drone strikes and artillery - YouTube


ISIS carries out mass relocation of civilians amid Mosul offensive - Rudaw


In opposition to the Iraq government Turkey says its artillery playing role in Mosul, jets on standby - Reuters


US scrambles to contain flaring Turkey-Iraq tensions over Mosul - VOA


Iran's Rohani says Turkish Intervention In Iraq ‘very dangerous’ - rferl.org


VIDEO (Persian): Iran leader Hassan Rouhani expresses his opposition to Turkey military operation in Iraq and Syria - YouTube


The attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster. We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb. VOTE TRUMP and WIN AGAIN! - Donald J. Trump on Twitter


VIDEO: Trump: Now we're gogged down In Mosul because Obama gave away the element of surprise, The enemy is much tougher than they thought - RealClearPolitics


White House: 'Too early' to claim Mosul is a failure, Obama has confidence the battle will be successful - Washington Examiner


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton goes after Donald Trump for tweet about ‘total disaster’ In Mosul, adding that it is 'dangerous' declaring defeat before the battle has even started - YouTube


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

David Swanson: “We need to unite globally around opposition to the entire institution of war”

By Anna Polo, PRESSENZA

This post is also available in: Italian

David Swanson: “We need to unite globally around opposition to the entire institution of war”
(Image by Ragesoss, Wikimedia Commons)

In your website http://worldbeyondwar.org/ you say: “We strive to replace a culture of war with one of peace, in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed”. So which role and value can nonviolence have in building such a culture?

Nonviolent action can play at least three roles here.

  1. It can demonstrate a superior means of resisting tyranny that causes less suffering, is more likely to succeed, and is likely to have a longer lasting success. While most of the examples, such as Tunisia 2011, are of overcoming domestic tyranny, there is a growing list of successful nonviolent resistance actions against foreign invasion and occupation as well — and a growing understanding of how to apply the lessons of domestic nonviolence to resistance to foreign attack.
  1. It can model a world that has outgrown war. Nations can lead by example, by joining international bodies and treaties, abiding by the rule of law and enforcing it. The International Criminal Court could indict a non-African. The United States which has stopped manufacturing cluster bombs could join the ban on them. Truth and reconciliation commissions could be expanded. Disarmament talks, humanitarian aid on a new scale, and the closure of foreign bases could be the change we want to see.
  1. Nonviolent protest and resistance tools can be used by activists to resist bases, weapons manufacture, military recruitment, and new wars. We didn’t stop Dal Molin in Vicenza, but we don’t have to accept it. The U.S. military should not be permitted to use facilities in Sicily to murder with drones in Asia and Africa. A year’s service to one’s country should not involve participating in a military.  Public and private funds must be divested from weapons companies. Et cetera.

Tomgram: Gary Younge, America's Deserving and Undeserving Dead Children

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: The Mosul Offensive Against Islamic State - Oct 22, 2016


News reports shows that Islamic State is retreating from villages near Mosul but it is digging in the city. It launched waves of suicide bombers, burned sulfur stocks leading to civilian injuries, blowed up the Mosul biggest hotel, used civilians as a human shield and threatened to kill everybody who tried to flee. According to an unconfirmed CNN report Islamic State executed men and boys. The group launched a counterattack in Kirkuk with grenades and suicide bombings to divert attention from their Mosul bastion. These events are troubling signs. It is too early to assess the Mosul offensive but I have strong reservations about the Obama administration anti-terrorism plan and the Clinton plan is even worse. 


Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc) and Turkey finance, arm and maybe provide training and logistical support to the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. There is evidence of this support but no U.S. official publicly acknowledges it. Furthermore it is unthinkable that Islamic State was able to build an army and conquer vast territory in Syria and Iraq in a short period of time without foreign support. Gulf states and Turkey have invested hundreds of millions if not billions to fund and arm jihadi terrorism through Muslim institutions, banks, schools and clandestine operations. The U.S. led coalition’s war on terror will go on and on with no end in sight if the flows of money and weapons to Islamic State from these countries are not stopped. And the costs in terms of lives, displacements, destructions, military expenses will grow proportionally. Gulf states and Turkey should be condemned in international forums for their sponsorship of this barbaric terrorism and warned that they will pay a price for doing so. By the way, Turkey is also bombing and killing the U.S. backed Kurdish forces in Syria which are the ones who fought Islamic State successfully. 


In my opinion it is not possible to defeat and eradicate Islamic State without the full participation of Russia. A joint U.S.- Russia military command was envisioned in the September agreement which called for the establishment of a Joint Implementation Center to coordinate activities against the Islamic State. This will send a signal to the Islamic State and its sponsors that the world is united and determined to fight terrorism with all its capacities. U.S. should drop the demand that Assad is be removed from power before democratic elections are held in Syria because this is the stumbling block impeding the cooperation with Russia. Today Putin’s spokesman reiterated that demands for Assad’s departure are “thoughtless” and Assad must remain in power to prevent the country by falling into the hands of the jihadists. 


A note about the Sirte offensive in Libya that is similar of the Mosul offensive but on a smaller scale. The U.N. designated Libya government, which is located in Tripoli, decided to launch the Sirte offensive against Islamic State without seeking the consent and participation of the Tobruk government, which is the parliament elected by the Libyans. Subsequently the Tobruk government, which has been successful in fighting the jihadists in Benghazi, opposed the Sirte offensive. To this day after a six-month campaign  Islamic State militants are surrounded in a district less than one-kilometre square in Sirte. Sheltering in tunnels and improvised bunkers, Islamic State defends itself with snipers, booby-traps and car bombs. More than 500 pro-government Misrata fighters have been killed. Western special forces teams are advising on the ground and since August U.S. has launched more than 300 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Sirte. Overall this military strategy appears to be weak and costly because the Tobruk government did not participate.

Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn't

By David Swanson, originally published by the Fairbanks Alaska Daily Miner

I would not rank Vladimir Putin high on a list of leaders. If I lived in Russia I'd be working for major reforms in my government, just as I'm doing where I do live, in the United States. I regularly go on Russian media and criticize the Russian government. Russia is illegally and immorally bombing people in Syria, just as the United States is doing in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

But there are Putin Halloween masks for sale in U.S. stores. Time magazine has Putin on the cover accusing him of trying to damage U.S. elections. A Google search for "Hitler Putin" brings back 11 million results. This demonization of a foreign leader should frighten us more than that leader himself.

Wars do not only kill, if they kill at all, a foreign leader. But they do kill large numbers of children, grandparents, mothers, and fathers. They enrage people, endanger us, damage the natural environment, justify the removal of our rights, and divert unfathomable resources from areas where they could have done a world of good.

The actual Adolph Hitler had no plans or ability to invade the United States and was defeated primarily by Russians who lost at least 27 million lives in the process. For over 70 years, since the end of World War II, the United States has bombed dozens of nations, and in every case that I am aware of U.S. officials have labeled a targeted individual "Hitler."

In May the Politico newspaper reported on Pentagon testimony in Congress to the effect that Russia had a superior and threatening military, but followed that with this: "'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock."

Politico then cited a less-than-credible "study" of Russian military superiority and aggression and added: "While the reporting about the Army study made headlines in the major media, a large number in the military's influential retired community, including former senior Army officers, rolled their eyes."

The United States has overseen the expansion of NATO to Russia's border. The buffer zone of the last Cold War is gone. U.S./NATO missile bases are now in Romania and being built in Poland. The U.S. has organized in Eastern Europe the largest military exercises seen there since World War II. The U.S. role in supporting a violent coup that created an anti-Russian government in Ukraine was exposed before the coup. When the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia, the U.S. media characterized Russian actions that resulted in total casualties of zero as "an invasion of Ukraine."

Without presenting us with any evidence, the U.S. government has accused Russia of shooting down an airplane, of exposing the corruption within the Democratic National Committee (shouldn't we be grateful?), and of somehow sabotaging the upcoming U.S. election. Every atrocity committed by Russia or Syria in Syria is big news. Every U.S. atrocity there is a yawn.

The stakes are high every time the United States overthrows a government. The disasters of Iraq and Libya have fueled the current catastrophes in those countries and Syria and around the region. But the stakes are higher when the United States and Russia confront each other. These are nuclear nations. Russia has announced that it is considering re-opening a base in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in case anyone has forgotten, was one of the many times since the creation of nuclear weapons that humanity has come close to intentionally or accidentally destroying itself.

The nukes are of far greater strength now. And our understanding has grown of how a limited nuclear war anywhere on earth would create a crop-destroying nuclear winter followed by mass starvation. We don't need to take this sort of risk. To avoid it we need to turn away from war. And that means we need to stop using human rights abuses by targeted governments as excuses to bomb people.

We should protect human rights through leadership by example and consistent application of the rule of law. Doing so would then open the United States up to the possibility of opposing human rights abuses by some of the nasty governments that it props up and sells or gives weapons to, beginning perhaps with Saudi Arabia, a monarchy that makes Vladimir Putin look like Mohandas Gandhi.

David Swanson is speaking at the University of Alaska Schaible Auditorium at 7 p.m. on October 22nd. His books include War Is A Lie and War Is Never Just. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Focus: U.S. Presidential Elections and the Independents - Oct 20, 2016

 

According to the post-debate CNN poll 44% of Independents said that Trump won the debate while 40% said that Clinton won. This is opposite to what all registered voters (including Independents, Democrats and Republicans) said. In the same poll 52% all registered voters said that Clinton won the debate while 39% said that Trump won. 


While the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans will not change their mind in the coming weeks about which presidential candidate to vote (unless there are major revelations about Clinton or Trump), many Independents are volatile and still undecided about whom to vote. The post-debate YouGov poll shows that the 61% of voters undecided or selecting third party candidates would choose Trump while only 39% would choose Clinton if they had to choose between the two. Moreover 90% of respondents not voting for or leaning toward Clinton would never vote for Clinton, while 78% of respondents not voting for or leaning toward Trump would never vote for Trump. Independents are a major factor to determine the next U.S. President given the fact that, according to Gallup, they are the largest voting bloc: the percentage of American that identify as Independents are 40%, as Democrats 32% and as Republicans 27%.

 

In the post debate YouGov poll 48% of all voters nationally vote for Clinton while 44% vote for Trump. In the pre debate Quinnipiac poll 47% of all likely voters vote for Clinton and 40% for Trump while 42% of Independents vote for Trump and 38% for Clinton.


Note: in the YouGov poll, the presidential candidates were virtually tied on most issues discussed in the debate except trade and fairness of U.S. elections. On gun control, 48% say they agree with Clinton versus 47% for Trump. On taxes, 49% pick Clinton against 46% for Trump. On US-Russia relations, Clinton 47%, Trump 46%. On Supreme Court nominations, 48% for Trump and 47% for Clinton. 50% to 47%, more agreed with Trump on immigration. Trump had a more significant lead on trade: 50% to 41%. Similarly, Clinton led by more on the "fairness of U.S. elections" 50% to 39%.


Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Perpetual Killing Field

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Rigged

The 2016 Republican presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by the Republicans, the Democrats, Russians, space aliens, or voters. It was rigged by the owners of television networks who believed that giving one candidate far more coverage than others was good for their ratings. The CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves said of this decision: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Justifying that choice based on polling gets the chronology backwards, ignores Moonves' actual motivation, and avoids the problem, which is that there ought to be fair coverage for all qualified candidates (and a democratic way to determine who is qualified).

The 2016 Democratic presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by bankers, misogynists, Russians, Republicans, or computer hackers. It was rigged by the Democratic National Committee and its co-conspirators in the media, many of whom have helpfully confessed (in case it wasn't obvious) in emails leaked from the DNC and from John Podesta. The DNC chose Hillary Clinton and worked hard to make sure that she "won." Nobody has produced a hint of evidence as to who leaked the emails that added unnecessary confirmation of this rigging, but they should be thanked for informing us, whoever they are.

The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of email was as rigged as the non-prosecution of the CEO of Wells Fargo. The U.S. political system is bought and paid for. Without millions of dollars to funnel to television networks for advertising, any candidate is rigged right out of participating. This rigging of the system is not fixed by someone like Donald Trump pretending for a while that he won't take bribes, that he'll spend only his own money, because most people don't have that kind of money to spend. This rigging is not fixed by making someone like Hillary Clinton take her bribes through her family foundation or requiring that her political action committees remain theoretically separate from the campaign they are collaborating hand-in-glove with, because money buys power.

The debates are rigged by a private entity with no official status that calls itself the Commission on Presidential Debates and transforms open debates among multiple candidates into exclusively bipartisan joint appearances with many large and fine points negotiated beforehand.

Focus: The Mosul Offensive Against Islamic State - Oct 18, 2016


Tough resistance from Islamic State slows Iraqi advance on Mosul - The Washington Post


Iraqi forces face Islamic State snipers, rockets and suicide bombers during Mosul offensive - LA Times


Tensions arise among allies fighting to retake ISIS-held Mosul, On second day of offensive Kurdish fighters accuse the Iraqi army of inaction - WSJ


Islamic State said to use human shields as coalition advances on Mosul - Reuters


'Anyone who flees is shot dead': Mosul locals trapped as ISIS digs in for fight - The Guardian


U.S. expects Islamic State to wield chemical weapons in Mosul fight - Reuters


Masked ISIS fighters taunt allied forces in new video as they patrol the streets of Mosul in battledress declaring America will leave Iraq 'dragging its tail in defeat’ (VIDEO - English Subs) - Daily Mail


VIDEO (Arabic): IS news agency amaq published video from Mosul where promise "U.S. will be forced to leave Iraq in humiliation”- Juan Maza Calleja on Twitter


On video and social media ISIS says business as usual in Mosul despite attacks - Vocativ


VIDEO: Amaq Agency showing normal life ongoing in Mosul under IS control, on the first day of Mosul battle - Forests and News on Twitter


Unconfirmed - At Least 70 Iraqi soldiers dead in suicide bomber attack on convoy in Mosul: ANF - ekurd


ISIS claims to recaptures 3 villages in east Mosul - almasdarnews.com


Baghdadi survives coup attempt by ISIS Islamic Police in Mosul? - Iraqi News

 

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

President Obama: 'Mosul will be a difficult fight and there will be advances and setbacks’ - CNNPolitics.com


ISIS preparing for protracted fight in Mosul with many of its foreign fighters remaining in the Iraqi city, US officials say - Fox News


Battle for Mosul could take 'months': French defence minister - France 24


ISIS failing in Iraq but will fight for Mosul: British defence minister - THE DAILY STAR


Iraqi Kurdish Foreign Minister: Mosul fighting could go on for months, depending on the morale of ISIS fighters - Al Jazeera


Mosul refugees: 'This is going to take a long time – ISIS won't give up' - The Guardian


Iraqi anti-terror chief details Mosul plan: Corridors have already been opened to allow Daesh [IS] escaping from Mosul to go to Syria - alaraby.co.uk


Syria says U.S. plans safe passage for militants from Mosul into Syria, it will confront this attempt with all its means - Reuters Reuters


Statement by the Syrian Army Command about ISIS terrorists attempting to flee Mosul into Syria - Syrian Arab News Agency


Lavrov: We will take 'political and military decisions' if ISIS flees Mosul for Syria - RT News

 

EU anti-terror chief: Mosul offensive could send ISIS fighters to Europe - POLITICO


Erdogan voicing concern for future of Sunnis in Mosul: 'We have a historical responsibility in Iraq...They say 30,000 Shia militants are coming. They should be prepared for what they will face’ - Al Jazeera

 

‘Get out, Erdogan!’ Huge demo in Baghdad protests Turkey’s Iraq presence - RT News


Only 2 cities ISIS has given up without putting up fights: Jerablush & Dabiq (small). Both to Turkey - ilhan tanir on Twitter


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Sandy Tolan, The Death of the Two-State Solution

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Finding Hope in Dismal Times

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

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