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Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, The Best Defense

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

Talk Nation Radio: Millions Lose Their Minds Over Russia

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-millions-lose-their-minds-over-russia

This week on Talk Nation Radio: millions of Americans lose their everloving minds over unproven accusations against Russia, the ACLU and CAIR publish claim that war on Iraq has been to protect the U.S. Bill of Rights, and a torture report gets buried.

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

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, How We Got Here

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

Focus: Russia - Jan 8, 2017


McCain, Graham call for greater sanctions against Russia, say Trump in conflict with congressional Republicans if he doesn't get tougher on Putin - USAToday


McCain, Graham still have questions about Tillerson - POLITICO


Senator Menendez raises concerns on secretary of state nominee Tillerson over Russia, says he remains open to his nomination - dailyprogress.com


VIDEO: Full Interview: Lindsey Graham and John McCain On NBC's 'Meet The Press' - YouTube


McConnell: Trump's Russia hopes will quickly be dashed - Washington Examiner


VIDEO: McConnell predicts Trump's hope of better U.S.-Russia relationship will be 'will be dashed pretty quickly' - YouTube


House Intel Chair Nunes and committee's ranking Democrat Schiff: US friendship with Russia may not be possible - newsmax.com


VIDEO: Devin Nunes full Interview on 'Fox News Sunday' - YouTube


Pentagon chief Carter: We shouldn't 'limit ourselves' in response to Russia, 'I don’t think it should be a military, or purely military response' - TheHill


Pentagon chief Carter: Russian efforts in fight against ISIS 'virtually zero' - TheHill


VIDEO: Ash Carter interview On NBC's 'Meet The Press' - YouTube


Obama worried some citizens have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Democrats, says 'Putin is not on our team' - Orlando Sentinel


VIDEO: Obama on  ABC’s 'This Week’ says he didn't underestimate Putin but did misjudged Russia’s ability to tamper in the American electoral process YouTube


Reince Priebus says Trump accepts Russia is to blame for election-season hacking - slate.com


VIDEO: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says President elect Donald Trump accepts that Russia were behind the election hacking campaign - YouTube


Daniel Ellsberg hopes Trump, Putin can avoid doomsday scenario - San Francisco Chronicle


Russia election hack update: WikiLeaks will respond to CIA report Monday - ibtimes.com


 

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

 

Note: Senators McCain, Graham and Klobuchar trip to Ukraine, the Baltics states and Georgia during the New Year 2017 holidays.

 

U.S. Senators vow no 'Faustian bargain' with Russia, pledge to target Putin ‘harder' - rferl.org


VIDEO: Interview with senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Aimee Klobuchar - YouTube


US senators McCain and Graham praise frontline Ukrainian marines in the Donetsk region, slam Putin – POLITICO


VIDEO: Sen. McCain in Donetsk region, Ukraine: Putin, we will defeat you in 2017 - YouTube


VIDEO: Poroshenko gives John McCain and US senators tour of Donetsk frontline on NYE - YouTube


VIDEO: Poroshenko awards Orders of Ukraine to US Senators McCain and Graham - YouTube

 

McCain calls for permanent US troops in Baltics - AFP


VIDEO: Senator McCain wants permanent US military presence in the Baltics - YouTube


US Senator McCain meets Lithuanian Prime Minister, reaffirms NATO support - Sputnik


John McCain reaffirms U.S. security guarantee against Russia during visit to Georgia - Democracy & Freedom Watch


VIDEO: U.S. Senator McCain visits Georgia's breakaway region frontier on the border to South Ossetia - rferl.org


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

Allegations Against Russia Less Credible Every Day

The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple "reports" aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. What has been made is the case for writing your own news coverage. The "reports" from the "intelligence community" are no lengthier than the New York Times and Washington Post articles about them. Why not just read the reports and cut out the middle-person?

The New York Times calls the latest report "damning and surprisingly detailed" before later admitting in the same "news" article that the report "contained no information about how the agencies had collected their data or had come to their conclusions." A quick glance at the report itself would have made clear to you that it did not pretend to present a shred of evidence that Russia hacked emails or served as a source for WikiLeaks. Yet Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared the evidence in this evidence-free report "overwhelming." What should progressives believe, the best Congresswoman we've got or our own lying eyes?

Focus: NATO and Russia - Jan 6, 2016

 

Hundreds of U.S. tanks, trucks and other military equipment arrive in Germany to be deployed in eastern Europe as part of a NATO buildup - Reuters


Fort Carson: About 4,400 soldiers in the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team deploys to Europe for Operation Atlantic Resolve - TheDenverChannel.com


VIDEO: US military shipment arrives in Germany, ahead of NATO exercises - YouTube


New nuclear-armed subs get Pentagon OK before Obama leaves White House, a potential $126 billion project that the Navy calls its top priority - Bloomberg


NATO and Russia in game of cat and mouse in Baltic skies - AFP


NATO: Russian aircraft intercepted 110 times above Baltic in 2016 - newsweek.com


Germany continues augmenting Baltic air policing - NATO HQ Aircom


US sends elite commandos to reassure Baltic states while NATO beefs up defenses - Daily Mail Online


This is how NATO members are preparing for a possible Russian aggression in Baltic Sea - ibtimes.com


Defense minister: Turkey ‘can end US use of (Incirlik) base if interests hurt’, row between Ankara and Washington over relations with the Syrian Kurdish party PYD - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey Defense Ministry report reveals İncirlik Air Base links to putschist F-16 pilots - Daily Sabah


ISIS jihadist admits: 'We want to attack Incirlik airbase' - pjmedia.com


In Turkey, US hand is seen provoking nearly every crisis - The Boston Globe


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

 

Senators finalizing new Russia sanctions for next week, in response to hacking as well as ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria - TheHill


AUDIO: Senator Cardin details bill on Russian sanctions - WBAL Radio 1090 AM


Key Senate Republicans hesitant about Russia sanctions - Washington Examiner


Kerry: 'Very dangerous' for Trump to reverse sanctions on Russia - TheHill


Report: Anti-Russian sanctions annihilated 400,000 jobs in Europe - Fort Russ


Russia begins withdrawal from Syria, The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier naval group will be the first to leave the conflict area: official - TheHill


New satellite evidence of Russian Iskander M Missile deployment in Syria - Defense Update


Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines' ally and protector - Reuters


Philippines’ Duterte open to Russian navy joint drill - newsweek.com


VIDEO: Duterte tours Russian warship: Come to Philippines more often - YouTube


Russian warship visit to Philippines part of broader pivot to Asia: analyst - ABS-CBN News


Russia's economy may be weak but its military is on a spending spree - afr.com


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

More Clapp-trap: Senate Hearing on Russian Election Mischief Again Fails to Prove Anything

By Dave Lindorff

 

            The Russian hacking hysteria in the US media and, surprisingly, among educated liberals (who should know better after years of government lies and deceit, particularly about foreign affairs), is becoming increasingly embarrassing.

Why Release the Torture Report Now

A young man was tortured in Chicago this week. It wasn’t an act of the Chicago police. It was live streamed on Facebook. And the President of the United States declared it an horrific hate crime.

The President did not advise “looking forward” rather than enforcing the law. Nor did he hold open the possibility that the crime might have served some higher purpose. In fact, he didn’t excuse the crime in any way that might help recommend it for imitation by others.

Yet this same president has forbidden the prosecution of U.S. government torturers for the past 8 years and has now seen fit to keep a four-year-old Senate report on their torture secret for at least 12 years more.

Big win for Hep-C infected inmates: Federal Judge Orders Pennsylvania to Provide Anti-Viral Hep-C Treatment to Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Dave Lindorff

 

            In a stunning conclusion to a year-and-a-half legal drama, a federal judge in Scranton, has ordered the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to quit stalling and to begin treating prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal with the latest available and highly effective anti-viral drugs for curing him of a raging and life-threatening case of Hepatitis C.

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Special Ops, Shadow Wars, and the Golden Age of the Gray Zone

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

Tomgram: Engelhardt, It Can Happen Here (In Fact, It Did!)

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

Yes, Positivity, Pangloss, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Populism

Eight years ago Yes! Magazine published a political platform of progressive policies, along with polling showing strong majority support for each proposal. Now, eight years later, we can show almost total failure to advance any of the proposals, most of which were focused on the U.S. federal government.

Where there have been any small successes, they have mostly come at the state or local level or outside the United States. New York State just took a step toward free college and Washington State toward shutting down fossil fuels while everyone was watching Donald Trump's twitter feed. Most of the world's nations are working on a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons from the earth, while Obama's government has invested heavily in new nukes and (far more offensively, I'm told) Trump has tweeted about them.

The general federal-level failure in the United States is very clearly because the U.S. government in Washington D.C. is a financially corrupted and anti-democratic structure, and because the U.S. public is generally disinclined to hold it accountable. The United States enjoys remarkably less activism than many other countries, and suffers as a result.

A huge reason for the activism shortage is partisan loyalty. Of that minority of people who will do anything at all, many will only make demands of or protest members of one political party. For the other party all is forgiven. And most policy positions are utterly expendable at the slightest shift in the party line. Witness the current Democratic fever for believing the CIA on faith and desiring hostility toward Russia.

On No-Guts-Obama Leaving Behind an Imperial Graveyard in Afghanistan

 

 


Obama’s Deadly Afghan Acquiescence

 

 

 

From his first days, President Obama showed a lack of guts when confronted by powerful insiders. He backed down even when that meant squandering U.S. soldiers in the futile Afghan War “surges,” says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern.

Occasionally a New York Times writer like Mark Landler will be permitted to step up to the plate and write a sensible article about President “No Guts Obama” and how he caved in to folks whom he lacked the political courage to cross.

Talk Nation Radio: Dave Webb on Keeping Weapons and Nuclear Power Out of Space

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-dave-webb-on-keeping-weapons-and-nuclear-power-out-of-space

Dave Webb is a member of the World Beyond War Coordinating Committee and chair of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and well as Vice President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space: http://space4peace.org

Webb is an Emeritus Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Leeds Beckett University (previously  Leeds Metropolitan University). Webb has been involved in the campaign to scrap the UK Trident nuclear weapons system and has also focused on campaigning to close two U.S. bases in Yorkshire (where he lives) – Fylingdales (a missile defence radar base) and Menwith Hill (the huge NSA spy base).

We discuss the upcoming 25th Annual Global Network Conference & Protest: "Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense & the Weaponization of Space" to be held on April 7-9, 2017, in Huntsville, Alabama: http://space4peace.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

Focus: Russian Hacking - Jan 2, 2017


According to both private cybersecurity firms and US intelligence agencies, there is no doubt that Russian group "Fancy Bear" (also known as Sofacy, APT 28, Sednit, Tsar Team or other names) hacked the Democratic party. Is Fancy Bear an agent of the Russian military intelligence service? I believe it is. Fancy Bear is well known by the cybersecurity experts and has been studied in the past at length. Since 2007, targets of Fancy Bear’s hacking have been Georgia and the Caucasus, Eastern European governments and militaries, Ukraine, US, Germany, UK, NATO, OSCE, Soros, etc. Lately it hacked the World Anti-Doping Agency in response to the WADA's recommendation to ban all Russian athletes from the Olympic games in Brazil. While China hacking conducts intellectual property theft, cybersecurity firm FireEye found that Fancy Bear 'has been targeting privileged information related to governments, militaries and security organizations that would likely benefit the Russian government.’ Another cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike states that Fancy Bear’s profile "closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government."


During the years Fancy Bear’ hacking activity has grown in size, sophistication and scope. FireEye reports that Fancy Bear has continuously evolved its malware "using flexible and lasting platforms indicative of plans for long-term use and sophisticated coding practices;" it also uses obfuscation techniques to hide or disguise the code's true purpose and to prevent it from being detected. CrowdStrike has shown that Fancy Bear has the ability to run multiple and extensive intrusion operations concurrently; while it was hacking US political organizations was at the same time involved targeting European military organizations. CrowdStrike on Fancy Bear and another Russian hacking group "Cozy Bear": "Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of 'living-off-the-land' techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities including deliberate targeting and 'access management' tradecraft — both groups were constantly going back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels and perform other tasks to try to stay ahead of being detected." This is not lone wolf or kiddie stuff. This level of activity requires a complex structure that only the Russian government can provide. The New York Times reports that Russian officials recruit programmers "placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders.” Fancy Bear developers use the Russian language and operate during business hours consistent with the time zone of Russia’s major cities.


Also Cozy Bear was involved in the hacking of the Democratic party. Recently, after the American presidential elections, it attacked several Russia-focused think tanks in Washington DC who advise the US government. Crowdstrike said Cozy Bear has also been in the past behind attacks against the White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff. For convenience, here I only focus on Fancy Bear. Enclosed is publicly available documentation. Additional classified material may be in the hand of the US intelligence agencies.


In September 2015 Obama signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in which both countries agreed not to hack the other’s private sector firms. After that there was a dramatic drop in Chinese state-sponsored hacking; around 90 percent of the cyber attacks disappeared in 2016. CrowdStrikes calls those Chinese hacking statistics "the biggest accomplishment we’ve had in the cyber domain in the last 30 years." Hopefully Trump will be able to do the same with Putin cutting down the Russian hacking. To this end, opening a friendly dialogue and establishing cooperation with Moscow will certainly help. Russians feel threatened by the West and their fears are the root causes of their cyberspionage surge.


REPORT: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee - CrowdStrike 


Findings from analysis of DNC intrusion malware - Threat Geek


Russian-linked group leaks US lawmakers’ phone numbers, emails - Nextgov.com


ThreatConnect follows Guccifer 2.0 to Russian VPN Service - ThreatConnect


Faketivists: Fancy Bears in disguise - ThreatConnect Blog


How hackers broke into John Podesta and Colin Powell’s Gmail accounts - Motherboard


Threat Group-4127 (Fancy Bear) targets Google accounts - SecureWorks


Russian hackers of DNC said to nab secrets from top NATO general, Soros - Bloomberg


Can a BEAR fit down a rabbit hole? Nexus between attacks against US State Election Boards and spearphishing campaign against Turkish, Ukrainian governments - ThreatConnect


Fancy Bears possibly involved in the hacking of OSCE which is monitoring a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists - softpedia.com


Fancy Bear tracks Ukraine troop movements via trojanized app - Infosecurity Magazine


Fancy Bear hack of Ukrainian artillery fighters shows future of war - Motherboard


REPORT: Danger Close: Fancy Bear Tracking of Ukrainian Field Artillery Units - CrowdStrike


Russian 'Fancy Bear' hackers targeted BBC election broadcasts and government departments - Daily Mail Online


Experts: Same Russians hacked World Anti-Doping Agency, Democrats - NBC News


REPORT: ThreatConnect Identifies FANCY BEAR World Anti-Doping Agency Breach - ThreatConnect


Fancy Bear hackers use a new Mac Trojan against aerospace industry – Cyber Defense Magazine


Fancy Bear goes all out to beat Adobe, MSFT zero-day patches - Ars Technica


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FBI-DHS report provides insight into Russian malicious cyber activity - eweek.com


REPORT: GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity - us-cert.gov


Critiques of the DHS/FBI’s GRIZZLY STEPPE Report – Robert M. Lee


Meet Fancy Bear, the Russian group hacking the US election - BuzzFeed News


All signs point to Russia being behind the DNC hack - Motherboard


Russian government likely to be behind APT 28 (Fancy Bear): Bitdefender - scmagazineuk.com


REPORT: APT28 (Fancy Bear) Under the Scope: A Journey into Exfiltrating Intelligence and Government Information - bitdefender.com


APT28: A Window into Russia's cyber espionage operations? APT28 is most likely sponsored by the Russian government based on numerous factors - FireEye Inc


How Russia recruited elite hackers for its cyberwar - The New York Times


Obama curbed Chinese hacking, but Russia wont be so easy - WIRED


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

Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump

To many Democrats for whom killing a million people in Iraq just didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and who considered Obama's bombing of eight nations and the creation of the drone murder program to be praiseworthy, Trump will be impeachable on Day 1.

Indeed Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. Here's a "progressive" Democrat:

"In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason. ... By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American democracy."

There's a bit of a nod there -- in the word "investigations" -- to the lack of any evidence that Russia manipulated any U.S. election, yet that manipulation is stated as fact, and a failure to support further sanctions as punishment for it becomes "aid and comfort." What level of punishment exactly constitutes the absence of aid and comfort? And how does that level of punishment compare with the level likely to produce war or nuclear holocaust? Who knows.

Failure to sufficiently punish a foreign government, even for an actual proven offense, has never been a high crime and misdemeanor. The United States is in fact bound by the Hague Convention of 1899, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the United Nations Charter to take any such dispute to arbitration and to settle it by pacific means. But that would require producing some evidence rather than mere allegations. Lawless "punishment" is much easier.

But further evidence can emerge to counter the claim. The lack of evidence for the claim can weigh ever more heavily on public opinion. And the dangers of creating further hostility with Russia can enter the consciousness of additional people.

Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate the U.S. Constitution in terms of not only foreign but also domestic corruption. That's a perfectly overwhelming case for impeachment and removal from office that doesn't require opposing a single incident of mass murder or offending a single Pentagon contractor.

Beyond that, Trump is becoming president after election day intimidation, the partisan-based removal of voters from the rolls, and opposition to attempting to count paper ballots where they existed. He's arriving with the stated policies of unconstitutionally discriminating against Muslims, murdering families, stealing oil, torturing, and proliferating nuclear weapons.

In other words, Donald Trump will be from Day 1 an impeachable president, and Democrats will have already spent months building their campaign around the one thing that won't work. Imagine what will happen after all their hearings and press conferences, when their supporters find out that they aren't even accusing Vladimir Putin of hacking into election machines, that in fact they are accusing unknown individuals of hacking into Democrats' emails, and that they are then vaguely speculating that those individuals could have been sources for WikiLeaks, thereby informing the U.S. public of what was quite obvious and ought to have been widely reported for the good of the U.S. government, namely that the DNC rigged its primary.

By the time the Democrats beat themselves to the floor with this charade, more facts will likely have come out regarding WikiLeaks' actual source(s), and more hostility will likely have been stirred up with Russia. The war hawks have already got Trump talking up nuclear escalation.

Luckily there is an ace in the hole. There is something else that Democrats will be eager to hold Trump accountable for. And give Trump a month and he'll produce it. I'm referring, of course, to that greatest fear of Our Beloved Founding Fathers, the ultimate high crime and misdemeanor: the presidential sex scandal.

ACLU & CAIR Use Gold Star Father to Claim War on Iraq Was for Bill of Rights

Are you old enough to remember when liberal groups openly admitted that the war on Iraq was illegal and fraudulent, based on oil and profit and sadism?

Well, can you recall when the proponents of the war claimed it was a defense against nonexistent ties to terrorists and nonexistent weapons?

Even if you've wiped those memories, let me assure you, NOBODY ever claimed that attacking and destroying Iraq was necessary to protect civil liberties in the United States (which have been seriously eroded during the course of the war).

Yet, in recent months the generic defense of murdering large numbers of people far away has taken over as the explanation for the war on Iraq.

The ACLU on Friday used the voice of my fellow Charlottesvillian Khizr Khan to claim that attacking Iraq was done "in defense of our country's ideals."

Focus: Syria - Dec 29, 2016

 

Syrian government and rebels sign cease-fire deal, says Russia - LA Times


VIDEO (English subs): Putin: Syria ceasefire agreement reached, readiness to start peace talks - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Shoigu and Lavrov brief Putin on agreements between the Syrian government and the opposition on a ceasefire and peace talks - Kremlin


Russia to cut military presence in Syria: Putin - TASS


Syria ceasefire deal — the draft text - TRT World


List of armed formations, which joined the ceasefire in the Syrian Arab Republic on December 30, 2016 - Russia Ministry of Defence


POLL: Putin’s approval rating hits 2016 record-high of nearly 87 percent - TASS


Lavrov hopes Trump administration will join efforts on Syria peace talks - TASS


Lavrov says Egypt could join Syria talks in Astana, while Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Iraq could join them at subsequent stages - TASS


Two parallel talks on Syria settlement might be held in Astana - Sputnik


Press release regarding the announcement of country-wide ceasefire between the warring parties in Syria - Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Assad believes agreements on Syria lay grounds for stabilization 'for first time ever’ - TASS


Syrian foreign minister sees 'real chance' for political settlement - Reuters


Press Release: Syrian Coalition calls for full implementation of the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement - etilaf.org


FSA says Syria ceasefire agreed, reveals details - orient-news.net

 

Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham says has 'reservations' about Syria agreement, and was not among the groups that had signed it - Reuters


"Nor did Nour al-Din Zinki sign the agreement” - Sami on Twitter


Turkey says Lebanon's Hezbollah should leave Syria - The Times of Israel


"Hezbollah says fighters from the party will remain in #Syria indefinitely, despite Turkey's demands that the group withdraw” - Zeina Khodr on Twitter

 

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US State Dept 'welcomes' Syria cease-fire, sees it as 'a positive development' - Washington Examiner


Graham fears Syria truce a ‘capitulation’ to Russia, Iran - TheHill


"#Putin declares ceasefire in #Syria to make way for talks. Make a desert, call it peace - John McCain on Twitter

 

US supplies weapons to YPG terrorists in Syria, period, Turkey FM says - Daily Sabah


Erdogan to US: 'We are your NATO ally. How on earth can you support terrorist organizations and not us?' - aa.com


The truth regarding misinformation in Turkish media concerning United States and Coalition operations against ISIL in Syria - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey

 

ISIS 'war committee' member killed in coalition airstrike, US official tweets that Kurdish-Arab SDF have so far cleared 1,900 square kilometres in their campaign to isolate Raqqa - Rudaw


Kurdish PYD says not invited to join Syrian ceasefire deal - Sputnik


Syrian Kurdish groups, allies say approve blueprint for federal system - Reuters


Syrian Kurdistan drops Rojava (Western Kurdistan) word in its draft constitution - Rudaw


Kurds and Damascus meet over the status of the Kurdish-administrated entities in the north of the country - Rudaw


Syrian Democratic Front (not to be confused with the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces) unites internal opposition groups - Sputnik


"Of 111,000 displaced fr east Aleppo, 74,951 or 2/3 went to Gov-controlled areas, & 36,086 to reb areas” - Joshua Landis on Twitter


MAP: "As a ceasefire is announced, @ReutersGraphics maps estimated Syrian civil war fatalities - Reuters Top News on Twitter



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

To Weapons Dealers, Laws Are Decorative Holiday Ornaments

You might be forgiven for imagining that laws are serious things. When you violate them, you can be locked in a cage for decades. That’s not true for big-time weapons dealers like the U.S. government.

Two years after the creation of the Arms Trade Treaty, the news is that it’s failing in Yemen. I’m hard pressed to see why it isn’t, thus far, failing everywhere. The weapons dealers keep dealing weapons by the tens of billions of dollars exactly as if nothing has changed.

Here (courtesy of the CIA-funded Amazon data cloud) is the key text of the treaty:

“. . . A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms . . . if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party . . . .”

The dominant weapons dealer, the U.S. government, has not ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. The second-place dealer in instruments of death, Russia, has not either. Neither has China. Certainly France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have ratified it, but they seem to have little difficulty ignoring it. They’ve even ratified the convention on cluster bombs but, at least in the case of the UK, ignore that one too. (The U.S. has temporarily paused its sales of cluster bombs, but not ratified the treaty.)

And another 87 nations have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, none of which do any significant weapons dealing on the scale of the top 6, but plenty of which violate the treaty in their own small ways.

The U.S. has very similar laws on its own books already and long has. Ignoring them, or taking advantage of the ability to waive them, has become routine. The United States is far and away the biggest seller of weapons, giver of weapons, producer of weapons, buyer of weapons, deliverer of weapons to poor countries, and deliverer of weapons to the Middle East. It sells or gives weapons to all types of nations just as if no restrictions applied. Yet, here are some U.S. laws almost pretty enough to frame on the wall:

“No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. . . .

“. . . Of the amounts made available to the Department of Defense, none may be used for any training, equipment, or other assistance for a unit of a foreign security force if the Secretary of Defense has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

And there’s this one:

“The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. . . .”

This one may actually have been written with the assistance of medical marijuana:

“No [weaponry] shall be sold or leased by the United States Government under this chapter to any country or international organization . . . unless —

(1) the President finds that the furnishing . . . to such country or international organization will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace. . . .”

This may come as shocking news, but none of the weapons sales made by the United States or any other nation thus far in the history of the world has promoted world peace. None has reduced — on the contrary, all have increased — terrorism. All have constituted gross violations of human rights. All have been transferred with knowledge that they would be used against civilians and in violation of international laws. Here are a few of those laws:

The Hague Convention of 1899:

“. . . the Signatory Powers agree to use their best efforts to insure the pacific settlement of international differences. In case of serious disagreement or conflict, before an appeal to arms, the Signatory Powers agree to have recourse, as far as circumstances allow, to the good offices or mediation of one or more friendly Powers.”

The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928:

“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”

The United Nations Charter:

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. . . .”

The United States has temporarily halted some of its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, while continuing others and continuing to actively wage war alongside Saudi Arabia against the people of Yemen. This is no more or less a violation of law and morality than U.S. weapons sales to Iraq or South Korea or (gifts to) Israel or the United States itself. No amount of lawyerly rejiggering of terminology, selective definition of “terrorism,” or narrowing of what counts as a “human right” can change that.

Yet the shoplifters go to jail while the weapons dealers walk free. None of the death dealing nations solves or even strives to solve its disputes by pacific means any more than every heroin user is a model citizen, yet the weapons — like the drugs — keep flowing.

The International Criminal Court denies itself the right to prosecute the crime of war (only “war crimes”) or to challenge the U.N.’s dominant powers (coincidentally the world’s major weapons dealers) or to prosecute crimes by non-members of the ICC committed in the territories of non-members. Yet when Barack Obama drone-murders people in the Philippines (a member), the ICC is silent. And in Afghanistan (another member) it suggests that it might someday see fit to open a prosecution.

Obviously the answer to this charade is not utter lawlessness. Here are some partial answers:

Tell the ICC to prosecute all criminals equally.

Build pressure for divestment from weapons dealers.

Tell the next U.S. president we’ll stand for no more wars.

Join a movement to replace war with wiser behaviors.

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

From all around the globe, nearly 50,000 people have signed this statement:

I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.

Anyone inclined to can sign it here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/individual

In each of 143 countries, somewhere between 1 and several thousand people have signed. The purpose of the statement is to begin organizing a truly global movement. But certain countries are missing. Let’s resolve to add them to the map in 2017.

Obviously there exists at least one person in Venezuela and in Cuba and in Honduras and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic who wants to end all war. As in most countries, it is likely that most people in those countries want to do so. But who will be the first to put their name down?

Organizations can sign too, and several hundred have done so at: http://worldbeyondwar.org/organization

Can we find signers who will sign online or on hardcopy in Algeria, Libya, Western Sahara, Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Liberia, Chad, Angola?

What about in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, North Korea, or Papua New Guinea?

Beyond adding a single signer in each of these places, we want to add volunteer leaders who will join the global coordination of educational and activist efforts to rid our species of the disease of militarism before it rids the planet of us.

In 143 countries people have already signed and in a growing list have become active. World Beyond War now has country coordinators all over the world and is hiring paid staff to begin in January and work with them to accelerate our growth and intensify our activities.

Do you know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Do you know anyone who might know anyone who might know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Can you bring sign up sheets to any events you organize or attend in 2017 and ask everyone to sign, then mail them in (or photograph and email them in)? This is how we’ll grow. And this growth combined with the power of our message will change the world.

Focus: Russia and Syria - Dec 27, 2016


FM spokesperson: US defense bill 'directly threatens' security of Russian military in Syria, delivering more weapons to rebels including portable anti-aircraft missiles - RT


U.S. says not providing portable anti-aircraft missiles to Syrian rebels - Reuters


Russia: US defense bill to create problems for the Trump administration, 'as well as to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy' - TheHill


Russia Foreign Ministry: Washington seeks to disrupt nuclear parity with Moscow - TASS


Comment by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on new US National Defence Authorisation Act - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation


Boris Johnson called 'undiplomatic and unprofessional' by Russia over Syria comments - Mirror Online


Moscow would welcome Henry Kissinger’s expertise in Russia-US relations: Kremlin - RT News


American officials: US, Russian militaries sharing more information on Syria, with both sides trading information in real time and even outlining some of their strategic objectives - AP


John McCain op-ed: We have a stake in Syria, yet we have done nothing - Chicago Tribune


McCain: NATO key to stopping 'Russian misbehavior' - TheHill


Obama administration is close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference - The Washington Post


Intelligence agencies sued for records on Russian election interference - TheHill


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

 

Russia says will boost cooperation with Turkey, Iran on Syria: Interfax - Reuters


Kazakh leader says ready to host Russia, Iran, Turkey for Syria talks - rferl.org


Turkey says Saudis, Qatar should attend Syria peace talks - Bloomberg


Erdogan accuses West of 'supporting all the terror groups -- the YPG, PYD but also including Daesh (IS)', breaking promises in Syria - AFP


U.S. calls 'ludicrous' Turkey's claims coalition supported terrorists in Syria - Reuters


Putin orders expansion of Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria - Countercurrents


Iran considers letting Russia use its Hamadan base - Al Arabiya English


Russian troops in Aleppo report finding mass graves with tortured and mutilated bodies - AP


First photos of Russian military police in Syria's Aleppo - southfront.org


Iran says could send military advisors to Syria's Aleppo if needed: RIA - Reuters


Massive battle brewing in western Palmyra as Syrian Army mobilizes 7000 soldiers to fight ISIS - almasdarnews.com


Unknown special forces eliminate leaders of militant groups in Syria - southfront.org

 

Saudi Arabian king launches fundraising campaign for Syria, donates millions - ibtimes.com


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

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-richard-cahan-on-the-forced-removal-and-incarceration-of-japanese-americans

Richard Cahan is a journalist who writes about photography, art and history. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago in the year 2000. Since then, he has authored and co-authored more than a dozen books, including Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows and Richard Nickel’s Chicago. He also works as a curator, creating photo and exhibitions at Chicago museums.

We discuss the new photo book co-authored by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

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

Focus: Turkey and Syria - Dec 26, 2016


All-out Turkey offensive to liberate al-Bab nears end as focus turns toward next target Manbij - Daily Sabah


US led int'l coalition refusing air support in al-Bab anti-Daesh op. unacceptable, Turkey spox Kalın says - Daily Sabah


Turkey moves tanks and guns to Syria border, eyes Raqqa if Trump agrees to block Kurdish forces from participating - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Erdogan says 'Turkey will never allow the formation of a new [Kurdish] state in northern Syria’, wants role in Raqqa ‘because Turkey is a global power' - Breibart


President Tayyip Erdoğan to ask Donald Trump to impose no-fly zone over Syria - The Independent

 

Qatar, Turkey hold talks on Syria crisis - gulf-times.com


Turkish military, Free Syrian Army shell Kurdish villages on Afrin canton situated between al-Bab and Manbij - Sputnik


Kurdish YPG reports ongoing attacks by Turkish army near Kobanê with heavy weapons - ANF 


Kurdish YPG militia says to leave Manbij, it finished training local security units in Manbij which it captured from Islamic State - Kurdpress News Aganecy


U.S. does not support connecting Kurdish cantons in Syrian Kurdistan: Ambassador to Ankara - ekurd


Russia met 24 Syrian Kurdish parties: Russian general - Kurdpress News Aganecy


US backed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces 5km from strategic Tabqa dam west of Raqqa - Rudaw


Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces say make gains in Raqqa province, have liberated 97 villages from ISIS in the past 10 days - VOA


Kurdish female fighters playing key role in battle for Raqqa - ARA News


US-Led coalition bracing for bombing raids against Daesh in Syria's Raqqa, 'We will be stepping up the training for Syrian Democratic Forces’ - Sputnik

 

ISIS jihadists burn four men to death on charges of supporting Kurdish forces - ARA News


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

Poet’s notebook: What do I do about the mice: A pacifist's quandary'

It was late,

In the middle of the second half of the night.

We were asleep.

Speaking Events

March 27-April 6 Events Everywhere

 

April 4: Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next: An event to mark 100 years since the United States entered World War I, and 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech against war. A new movement to end all war is growing. 6-8 p.m. at 5th and K Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C.
 

 

April 7-9: Huntsville, Alabama: 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

 

April 22: David Swanson speaking in Burlington, Vermont

 

June 16-18: David Swanson and many others speaking at United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) annual conference in Richmond, Va.



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.



Find more events here.

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