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Judges Nixing Keystone XL South Cases Had Tar Sands-Related Oil Investments

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On August 4, the U.S. Appeals Court for the 10th Circuit shot down the Sierra Club's petition for rehearing motion for the southern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline. The decision effectively writes the final chapter of a years-long legal battle in federal courts. 

Corporate Media Crap Coverage of Sanders Is Norm

There are now articles about the predictable fluff BS horserace personality lifestyle crap coverage by the corporate media of the Bernie Sanders for president campaign (and articles about the predictable non-coverage of the Jill Stein for president campaign).

I wish it would all go away, as I think having no election would be preferable to holding such a broken one, and I'd limit even an open, free, credible, functioning, publicly-funded, fairly reported election to something under 6 months in duration.

But the Sanders coverage is actually far better, not worse, than I would have predicted. And its awfulness is par for the course, as is perhaps pointed out by this exchange I had recently with a reporter from Politico, who addressed me as Congressman Kucinich's former campaign manager, even though I never was that:  

"Hi David,
"My name is --------------- and I’m a reporter at Politico. I'm working on a story about the presidential candidates and how they can stay fit and stay on their diets on the campaign trail. I know that Rep. Kucinich was a vegan when he ran for office and I was hoping you could share your experiences on what it was like on the trail for him. As the Iowa fair heats up candidates will be offered lots of fried food and I just wanted to know how candidates are able to stay on diets, and keep fit. I would really appreciate your insight on this. Please feel free to call my cell phone ----------------. My deadline is tomorrow at noon EST."

I wrote back:

"Supporters were more than happy to prepare and provide vegan food, and I think I understand why they were. If Congressman Kucinich had been elected president in 2005, there's a decent chance that this past decade of wars and environmental destruction and advancing plutocracy and increasing violence and hatred would have moved us, instead, in a far better direction, a direction unimaginable to media consumers who -- the day after Kucinich won the most applause in a debate -- were typically told little more than that he was also there and, of course, what he fucking had for dinner. Do you have a serious question? I would be more than happy to answer one.

The reporter replied:

"The story is about how candidates balance using food on campaign stops to portray a certain image while maintains lifestyle and health restrictions. I was looking for someone who had experience managing it, if you're not interested in an interview, no problem, thanks for your time."

I replied again:

"I was press secretary, not campaign manager, and yet I can assure you that Congressman Kucinich -- in what you may find an interesting twist -- didn't use food to create an image of any sort ever. He used food to fuel his health and his energy, and to ethically relate to a world being ravaged by industrial carnivorism. You can imagine that I'm not interested in an interview if it helps you feel better about the fluff you've been assigned to produce, but please understand my sincere interest in any meaningful, non-'lifestyle' discussion of the U.S. presidency, its candidates, and what we so grandiosely mischaracterize as our democratic elections."

Mark Warner Hides From Virginia Public

Senator Mark Warner's staff says he's holding only unannounced, closed-door meetings in Virginia this summer.

It's a good thing he doesn't have a job that requires knowing what the people of Virginia think about anything.

Virginians can click here to ask Warner by email to appear in public.

It's hardly an unreasonable demand. While Congress is on summer break, most senators and representatives attend publicly announced public meetings at which they speak about their work and hear comments from, and answer questions from, their constituents.

Warner could play a decisive role in upholding or rejecting the Iran deal (on which he has taken no public position), the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and all sorts of other projects of critical interest to the people of Virginia.

On the Iran agreement, Warner is on a shrinking list of Democratic senators who continue to maintain the pretense that they're carefully reviewing the data on whether peace or war is preferable.

On the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, rumor has it that Warner will be meeting behind closed doors to discuss imposing that inevitable disaster on Virginians.

The TPP itself is secret because, in the view of several who have seen it, if it were to appear openly the public would never stand for it. Maybe Warner has the same idea for himself.

Shouldn't he want to know what Virginians think?

Please forward this message to your friends in Virginia. Please phone and tweet Warner if you're from Virginia, and email him here.

Could a Plant Win a Presidential Debate?

I don't mean an infiltrator planted in a nefarious plot to throw an election. I mean a green, soil-rooted, leafy plant.

I've been reading Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola. It is at the very least a suggestive treatise.

Imagine that astronauts discover life on another planet, and that the life discovered there is very different from humans. It doesn't use our sort of language or engage in our sort of thought. Yet it senses the world with many more senses than our pathetic little five. It communicates with others of its type and other types of life on the planet. Its individuals learn quickly through experience and adjust their behavior accordingly, strategizing and planning based on experience. It lives sustainably, adapts, and thrives for periods of time that make the existence of humanity seem momentary.

We might not choose to call that newly discovered life "intelligent" or "thinking." We might puff our chests out proudly, realizing that while we have arrived from afar to study it, it will never study us, at least not in a way we can recognize. But wouldn't much of our pride and excitement come from recognizing the impressive accomplishments and abilities of the novel life forms? Like a prophet outside his hometown, wouldn't those alien life forms become the focus of admiring academic disciplines?

Let's come back to earth for a minute. On the earth, 99.7% of the mass of living beings is plants. All animals and insects are negligible in those terms, and also in terms of survival. If plants vanished, the rest of us would be gone in a week or two. If we vanished, plants would carry on just fine thank you. When I say "we," you can imagine I mean "mammals" or "animals" because during the past several decades Western people have begun to return to believing that animals can feel and think and in other ways be like humans. A century ago non-human animals were thought to have no more awareness than plants or rocks.

If life forms on another planet were mysterious to us because they moved very quickly or very slowly, we would laugh at the Hollywood movies that had always imagined that aliens must move at more or less our speed. Yet, we film plants' movements, make them recognizable by speeding up the film, and go right on supposing that plants don't move.

Plants detect light above the ground and move toward it, and below the ground and move away from it. Plants detect nutrients below the ground and move toward them. Plants detect other plants closely related to themselves and leave them room, or detect unrelated competitors and crowd them out. Plants persuade insects to do their bidding. Plants hunt and dine on insects, mice, and lizards above ground, and worms below. Plants warn other plants of danger by releasing chemical messages.

A plant that closes its leaves up when touched by a hand, though not by wind or rain, if rolled on a cart along a bumpy road, will at first close up with each bump, but quickly learn not to bother, while still continuing to close up if touched by a person or animal.

Plants see light without having eyes. Plants hear sounds as snakes and worms do, by feeling the vibrations -- there's no need for ears. Plants that are played music between 100 and 500 Hz grow larger and produce more and better seeds. Plant roots themselves produce sounds, which conceivably may help explain coordinated movements of numerous roots. Plants sense and produce smells. Plants detect the most minute presence of countless substances in soil, putting any human gourmet chef to shame. And plants reach out and touch rocks they must grow around or fence posts they must climb.

Plants have at least 15 additional senses. They detect gravity, electromagnetic fields, temperature, electric field, pressure, and humidity. They can determine the direction of water and its quantity. They can identify numerous chemicals in soil or air, even at a distance of several meters. Plants can identify insect threats and release substances to attract particular insects that will prey on the undesired ones.

Plants can manipulate insects into assisting them in numerous ways. And if we weren't humans, we could describe the relationship between certain food crops and flowers and other plants, on the one hand, and the humans who care for them on the other, in similar terms of plants manipulating people.

In 2008, the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology recognized plants as possessing dignity and rights. Also in 2008, the Constitution of Ecuador recognized nature as a whole as possessing "the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes."

In 2008, the United States endured what at that point amounted to a truly outrageous presidential election circus. That was then. This is now. Imagine that scientists discovered the Fox News Presidential Primary debate. Here, they might observe, are life forms that wish to destroy life, detest the females of their own species, seek out violence for its own sake, reject learned experience through the bestowing of value on ignorance and error in their own right, and generate ill will in an apparent attempt to shorten and worsen their existence. Tell me honestly, would you be more impressed and pleased to stumble upon such a thing or to walk into a garden?

The most draconian information-gathering law yet: The Senate Wants to Make Internet Providers Spies

By Alfredo Lopez

How much noise does the other shoe make when it drops? If the shoe is a law that would complete the development of a police surveillance state in the United States, it's almost silent.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - Aug 13, 2015

Turmoil mounts surrounding Clinton emails containing top secret information - TheHill

Hillary Clinton to turn on her private server to the Justice Department - POLITICO

Grassley Statement: Intelligence Community Inspector General Confirms Highly-Classified Emails Stored on Clinton’s Server - Chuck Grassley

Memorandum from intel Inspector General stating that two Clinton emails contain information that was classified as Top Secret - Chuck Grassley

The Spy Satellite Secrets in Hillary’s Emails - The Daily Beast

State Dept disputes the intel Inspector General determination that Clinton emails were classified at the time they were sent - Fox News

The Hillary Email Server Scandal Runs Deeper at State Dept. -

Gabriel Malor counters State Dept spin that classified info was sent to Hillary Clinton, but not by her - Twitchy

Boehner: Clinton’s email statements shown ‘patently untrue’ - TheHill

Gowdy: Hillary Clinton Should Be Treated As David Petreaus Was, Equal Under The Law -

Top Clinton Aides’ Unauthorized Possession Of Classified Info A Growing Concern - GOP

OPSEC calls upon John Kerry to immediately suspend all security clearances presently held by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides - MarketWatch

Hillary Clinton's campaign just sent out this 13-paragraph message explaining her 'complicated' email controversy - Business Insider

Pro-Clinton Research Center: Myths And Facts On Hillary Clinton's Email And Reports Of "Top Secret" Materials - Media Matters for America

Clinton Spokesman Won't Say if FBI Ordered Her to Hand Over Email Server - Breitbart

Hillary Clinton certifies email handover, but aides demur - POLITICO

Did Hillary Clinton emails reveal location of ambassador killed in Benghazi attack? They are vague and don’t reveal much more than what was publicly known at the time - PunditFact

POLL: Hillary Clinton Email Criminal Investigation Should Happen, Most American Voters Say, Monmouth University Poll Finds - IBTimes

POLL: Full text of Monmouth University Poll on American voters supporting criminal investigation of Clinton emails - Monmouth University Poll



POLL: Sanders surges into lead over Clinton in New Hampshire, 44 percent to 37 percent - Fox News

POLL: Full text of Franklin Pierce-Boston Herald poll on Sanders leading Clinton in New Hampshire - Franklin Pierce-Boston Herald

POLL: Hillary Behind 4 Republicans in Iowa -

Bernie Sanders Draws Crowd Five Times Larger Than Audience at Hillary Clinton Campaign Launch - Washington Free Beacon

Joe Biden Is Sounding Out Allies About a 2016 Bid - WSJ

Judge appointed by Clinton tosses case against … Clinton Fondation - WND

Hillary ignores charges of sexual harassment against Clinton Foundation donor - Power Line

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

Syria/Turkey News - Aug 12, 2015

U.S. denies reaching agreement with Turkey on Syria 'safe zone' - Reuters

VIDEO: US denies any Pact with Turkey on Safe Zone in Syria - YouTube

Turkey PM: Syria no-fly zone needed - BBC News

VIDEO: Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu pledges Syria 'safe zone' - BBC News

Ankara says Turkish, US forces to hit ISIL, Kurdish militants if entered ’safe zone’ -

State Dept: US will not allow Turkey to attack PYD in Syria - Rudaw

U.S. Shelves Its $500M Syrian Rebel Army - The Daily Beast

Islamic State attacks Syrian rebels near Turkish border in an area where Turkey and the United States aim to create an area free of the jihadist group - Reuters

Al-Qaida affiliate ceases fighting ISIS in parts of Syria, orders fighters to stand down in parts of the country where Turkey intends to create a 'safe zone’ - The Guardian

Ahrar al-Sham announces support for ISIS-free Syria zone - Middle East Online

Ahrar al-Sham’s Political Office has posted an English version of its statement on Turkey’s “safe zone” in N Syria - Charles Lister on Twitter

Turkmen fighters arrive in Syria to launch the first phase of a joint U.S.-Turkish initiative to establish an Islamic State-free zone - IBTimes

Syrian Rebels Are Using Turkish Lira In ISIS-Free Zone -

New Coalition Airstrikes Destroy ISIL Infrastructure in Syria, Iraq -

Source on ground, who listened in to Nusra walkie talkie, tells me Nusra said 50 fighters dead after coalition strikes. 20 injured - Jenan Moussa on Twitter

As Rifts Open Up in Syria’s al-Qaeda Franchise, Secrets Spill Out - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

ISIS Takes Aim at Its Toughest Foes in Southern Syria- The Daily Beast

Two days ceasefire agreed between Syrian army and rebels in three Syrian towns - sources - Reuters


Saudi Arabia rejects Russian calls to work with Assad against IS - Yahoo News

VIDEO (English): Lavrov and Saudi's al-Jubeir disagree about Syria and Assad - YouTube

Proposed UN Statement Would Back Preparatory Talks on Syria - ABC News



Turkey's strikes on Kurds could drag US into new front, Pentagon sources fear - Fox News

Report claims Turkey gave US only 10 minutes warning before strikes on PKK - Middle East Eye

PKK should bury arms, ceasefire not enough: Erdoğan -

VIDEO: Erdoğan: PKK should bury arms, ceasefire not enough, airstrikes will continue until 'not one terrorist is left' - YouTube

PKK claims responsibility for Monday's suicide bombing and a subsequent armed attack on a police station - Anadolu Agency

Swaggering Gunmen on Camera as PKK Targets Turkish Towns - Bloomberg Business

Turkish warplanes strike PKK targets in southeast - US News

Erdoğan seeks damages from HDP leader Demirtaş -

HDP deputy claims Turkey handed over YPG fighters to al-Nusra-allied group -

Diplomatic crisis between Ankara, Tehran as FM's visit delayed - Cihan Politics News


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

Tomgram: Engelhardt, What It Means When You Kill People On the Other Side of the Planet and No One Notices

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

Talk Nation Radio: Cat Zavis on How to Update the U.S. Constitution

Cat J. Zavis is the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives ( ). We discuss their proposed Enviroinmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ESRA) ( ). Zavis is a Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Child Advocate, Coach for Parents co-parenting their children after divorce and Author of the upcoming book, Parenting with Your Ex: Another F***ing Growth Opportunity. She is also a sought after trainer in empathic communication, having trained hundreds of Collaborative Attorneys, Coaches, Therapists, Mediators, spiritual practitioners and parents. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

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

and at

SYRIA After the Iran-U.S. Sanctions Agreement: What’s Ahead – Diplomacy or Military Escalation?

Via U-Stream, Conference Call, Youtube and in person

TUES. Aug 11 @ 7:30pm EST Sharp


In Person at: Solidarity Center

Please arrive no later than 7pm at:

147 West 24th St, 2nd Floor, NY, NY 10011

(Between 6th & 7th Ave – Free parking available on street after 7pm, F, M, E  #1 subway or NJ PATH train to 23 St)


Or join us via

Conference Call Audio at 712-432-6100, Access code: 41853116 #


Or watch live U-stream

Questions for Panelists can be sent via the U-stream link


Or watch on Youtube by Tues 11pm at:


Facebook Event Page:


Pease link to this program and help spread the word


Speakers include:

Dr. Ghias Moussa – Syrian American Forum

Ramsey Clark – former U.S. Attorney General & human rights attorney,

Margaret Kimberly – Black Agenda Report

Larry Hamm – Peoples Organization for Progress

Joe Lombardo – United National Antiwar Coalition

Sara Flounders – International Action Center


With discussion and video comments from

Dr. Cynthia McKinney, David Swanson, Caleb Maupin, Eva Bartlett, Kazem Azin … and others


An ALERT on Dangerous U.S. War Moves – U.S. bombing to support “moderate rebels” new inspections for chemical weapons, “Safe Zone” on Turkish border, new U.S. bases in Turkey… 


Organized by International Action Center –

With participants from: Syrian American Forum, Black Agenda Report, CPR Metro Radio, Go Pro Radio, International League of Peoples Struggles, Peoples Organization for Progress, SI Solidarity Iran, Syria Solidarity Movement, United National Antiwar Coalition, World Beyond War,

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton State Department Emails, Mexico Energy Reform and the Revolving Door

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Emails released on July 31 by the U.S. State Department reveal more about the origins of energy reform efforts in Mexico. The State Department released them as part of the once-a-month rolling release schedule for emails generated by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now a Democratic presidential candidate.

Hillary Clinton Emails

Turkey News - Aug 10, 2015

Kurdish rebels attack police, military in Turkey, policeman killed - Reuters

Report: 7 hurt in bomb attack at Istanbul police station - The Sun Herald

VIDEO: 5 police, 2 civilians injured in blast at Istanbul police station, protest against PKK ensues - YouTube

Anti-goverment protests in Cizre turn violent after three people killed and seven wounded in clashes between Turkey police and PKK - Aganecy

VIDEO: Pro-Kurdish protesters clash with Turkey police in Cizre (Part 1) - YouTube

VIDEO: Kurds clash with Turkey police in Cizre (Part 2) - YouTube

Nearly 400 Kurdish rebels killed in 2 weeks of Turkey airstrikes: report - Yahoo News

Turkish authorities launch probe into video of handcuffed Kurdish villagers lying face down -

VIDEO (English Subs): Turkish police chief shouts Kurdish villagers handcuffed and lying face down - YouTube

Thousands attend demonstration in Istanbul calling on peace between Turkey and PKK -

VIDEO: Thousands gather in Istanbul to protest against the Turkish government's intensified military offensive on PKK targets (Part 1) - Reuters

VIDEO: Istanbul peace protest calls for end of hostilities with PKK (Part 2) -

Thousands of Kurds in Germany march against Turkish air strikes - Yahoo News

VIDEO: Kurds in France and Germany protest Turkish military actions - YouTube

Brussels rally calls on US, Europe to help stop Turkish attacks - Rudaw

German FM: End of Turkey’s peace process would be fatal -

Europe 'rejects' extradition of nearly 650 PKK and leftish suspects -

Turkey's pursuit of Kurdish rebels threatens to further destabilize the region - The Washington Post

Minister: Turkey will not give Syrian refugees right to work -

Turkey faces credit downgrade risk by year end -



Pro-Kurdish party leader Demirtas urges the PKK to 'remove its finger from the trigger' and the government to launch peace talks - Yahoo News

Demirtaş visits family of slain soldier, calls for peace -

HDP says negotiations for settlement should be with Öcalan-led delegation -

Öcalan demands PKK and Turkey to stop the fighting, return to the table of negotiations - ARA News

Peshmerga chief urges PKK to leave Iraq’s Kurdish region - Anadolu Agency

VIDEO: Rifts among Kurdish parties over KRG call on PKK to leave Iraq's Kurdistan - YouTube

VIDEO: PKK leader: Turkey is protecting IS by attacking Kurds - BBC News

Ambulances ferry ISIL terrorists between Turkey and Syria, CHP report says -

Kurdish Forces Discover Network of Tunnels Connecting Towns on Opposite Sides of the Syrian-Turkish Border - BasNews

Turkey intentionally late in action against ISIL recruiters: Report -

YPG accuses Turkey of handing over six Kurdish fighters to Nusra Front, facing the risk of execution - ARA News

Another Jabhat al-Nusra judicial document for execution of individuals for fornication and homosexuality - Aymenn J Al-Tamimi on Twitter

US deploys six F-16 jets with 300 personnel to Turkey for IS fight - Yahoo News

Russia's Lavrov says U.S. must work with Assad to fight Islamic State - Yahoo News

Islamic State kills 37 rival insurgents in Syria's Aleppo province: monitor - Reuters

ISIS battles Syria rebels for key supply lifeline near Turkey border crossing: activists - THE DAILY STAR

Islamic State is led by more than 100 of Saddam's former officers - AP

Terra Incognita: Are Saddam-era soldiers secretly behind the rise of Islamic State? No. - Jerusalem Post

REPORT: A Snapshot of the Islamic State's Official Media Output - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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

Lila Garrett’s CONNECT THE DOTS. This Monday:

Monday morning  at 7-8AM  tune in (KPFK 90.7 fm) or log on:

Guests include:
I share my open letter to Congressman Ted Lieu of Los Angeles about his decision to accept a junket to Israel for freshman Congress people at this critical time.  (You can also read it in the LA Progressive) 

MEDEA BENJAMIN, co-founder of Code Pink & author of DRONE WARFARE on the importance of approving the Iran deal, the alarming increase in our use of drones, protests that work,  and more.

DAVID SWANSON, Director of,  author of WHEN THE WORLD OUTLAWED WAR,  DAYBREAK ,   THE MILITARY COMPLEX AT 50, WAR IS A LIE  &  more, discuses Israel’s part in trying to torpedo the Iran deal,  some Congress people’s collusion, risks if we don’t pass it, how to get it approved.

70 Years of Korean War

After marking the destruction of Nagasaki and the police-murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9th, Americans have options for what to commemorate on August 10th. I'm inclined to think that August 10th should be formally recognized as Gulf of Tonkin War Fraud Day. But I'm not sure, because another event is in even more need of remembrance.

It was the day after the death blow to Nagasaki, 70 years ago, that the victors of the most awesomest war ever chose to create a division of Korea along the 38th parallel -- a line that would be revered as a holy thing when North Korean troops later came across it, but dismissed as "imaginary" when U.S. troops crossed it heading north.

The Korean war was to World War II what the anthrax letters were to 9-11 -- without it sanity had a real chance; militarism was being scaled back drastically until the Korean war created the excuse for the permanent imperial war economy; but almost nobody even recalls what happened. Even Dean Acheson, who had imposed sanctions on Japan that led to Pearl Harbor and whose decision it was to fight a horrible war in Korea, is almost unknown. In part this is because the war coincided with McCarthyism, and few dared speak the truth about it at the time. In part it is because remembering it brings predominantly shame and disgust.

Before the war came the U.S. occupation of the South, the repression of leftists, the massacres of the people by the U.S. and South Koreans, including the slaughter of 30,000 to 60,000 on Jeju Island where South Korea is now building a huge new base for the U.S. Navy. Then came aggression from the South, including a year of raids across the sacred 38th parallel, and the South's announced intention to invade the North.

Make deal not war!: Obama’s, and Washington’s, Absurd Choice of a Nuclear Deal or War on Iran

By Dave Lindorff

I don’t know which is worse: President Obama asserting, in defense of the nuclear deal he and his Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated with Iran, that “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” or the fact that most Americans, and most American pundits, seem to accept that limited choice of options as a given.

Syria/Turkey News - Aug 8, 2015

Attack on Syrian rebels raises questions about how a small ragtag group of U.S.-trained forces was sent into battle - AP

Pentagon says Syrian training program no longer seen as major way to fight Islamic State, praises Syrian Kurdish forces - Miami Herald

CENTCOM insists it’s in regular contact with US-trained Syrian rebels despite reports that it had lost track of many of the fighters - U.S. Stripes

VIDEO: US-trained Syria troops 'not supported', senior rebel says the US failed to protect Division 30 when it came under attack by Nusra - BBC

US-trained Syrian rebels refuse to fight Nusra Front after kidnappings, also opposes American air strikes carried out against the al-Qaida-linked fighters - The Guardian

Arab media are laughing at the Pentagon, see US-trained anti-Islamist force as only fit to ‘play paintball’ - Jerusalem Post

Nusra militants evacuate headquarters near Aleppo to avoid U.S.-led strikes - ARA News

The Nusra Front’s internal purges, two top leaders arguing for total war against the Islamic State dumped - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

VIDEO: Pushing Back the Islamic State: The Kurdish Battle for Rojava - VICE News

As Iran Rises in the Mideast, Kurds Benefit in Iraq and Syria -

Syria says fight against Islamic State must include Damascus - Daily Mail Online

Assad must leave or forced to: Saudi FM - KUNA



Obama To Turks: Don't Use The War On ISIS To Bomb The Kurds -

US defends itself, claims agreement with Turkey not a betrayal of Kurds -

PKK calls on US to be part of the peace process by bringing Turkish and Kurdish sides around a negotiation table -

Kurdish leader Demirtas seeks EU help in peace talks with Turkey - Al Bawaba

Five killed as PKK continues its attacks in Turkey -

VIDEO: Kurds clash with Turkish police in two southeastern towns - YouTube

'There Will Be a Civil War in Turkey': Welcome to Cizre, the 'Center of Kurdish Resistance' - VICE News

PKK guerrillas: We will stay in Iraq until war is finished - Rudaw

Arab league condemns Turkey’s PKK operations -

Medvedev says legitimacy of Turkey’s air strikes in Iraq ’doubtful’ -

Academics call on government to restore peace in Turkey -



U.S. Central Command: One year in, officials assess anti-ISIL progress -

Pentagon on the year long anti-ISIL campaign: "the true situation shows a waning insurgency, losing ground on nearly every front" -

Dozens of Syrian Christians missing and believed to be captives of the Islamic State after it seizes town - The New York Times

Islamic State executed 2,000 Iraqis in Mosul region since takeover: Iraq defense minister - Yahoo News

Kurdish official says ISIS executed 19 girls for refusing to have sex with fighters - Daily Mail Online

Artificial intelligence decodes Islamic State strategy, Roadside bombs more likely after air campaigns (VIDEO) - BBC News

REPORT: Mining for Causal Relationships: A Data-Driven Study of the Islamic State -

What it takes to join the Islamic State, a prospective jihadist is subjected to information based on books, publications and fatwas, accompanied by military training - Al-Monitor

If You Retweet an ISIS Message, You’re Being Recorded by the F.B.I. -

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

Which U.S. Senators Want War on Iran

Let's do the count:

Senators rallying and whipping their colleagues to support the Iran agreement: 0.

Senators admitting that Iran has had no nuclear weapons program and has never threatened or been a threat to the United States: 0.

Senators pushing the false idea that Iran is a nuclear threat but indicating they will vote to support the agreement precisely in order to counter that threat: 16
(Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Martin Heinrich, Tim Kaine, Angus King, Patrick Leahy, Chris Murphy, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Bernie Sanders, Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren)

Republican (and "Libertarian") senators indicating they will try to kill the agreement, thereby moving the United States toward a war on Iran: 54.
(All of them.)

Democratic senators inspired during the repulsive Republican debate Thursday night to announce that they will try to kill the deal (and would rather have a war): 1.
(Charles Schumer.)

Democratic senators who haven't clearly stated a position: 29.

The number of those 29 who would have to join Schumer to kill the agreement and set the United States on a path toward self-isolation, international disgrace, and disastrous illegal immoral catastrophic war that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like diplomacy: 12.

Can we keep the agreement protected from such a fate? Of course we can. We've been stopping a war on Iran for many years now. We stopped it in 2007. Such things never enter U.S. history books, but wars are stopped all the time. In 2013, the push for a massive bombing campaign on Syria was hard and absolutely bipartisan, yet public pressure played the key role in stopping it.

Now we have the White House on our side for godsake. When Obama wants a horrible corporate trade agreement fast tracked or a supplemental war spending bill rammed through or a "healthcare" bill passed, he twists arms and offers bribes, he gives rides on his airplane, he sends cabinet secretaries to do PR events in districts. If he really wants this, he'll hardly need our help. So one strategy we need to keep after is making clear he knows we expect this of him.

Senator Sanders has a gazillion fans now, and something like all but 3 of them believe he is a hero for peace. If you're a Bernie supporter, you can urge him to rally his colleagues to protect the Iran agreement.

In states like Virginia where one senator is taking the right position and one is keeping quiet, urge the first one (Kaine) to lobby the other one (Warner).

Would-be senators like Alan Grayson who want people to think of them as progressives but who have been pushing to kill the deal since before Schumer slithered out from under his rock, should be hounded everywhere they show their faces.

Schumer himself should not be permitted to appear in public without protest of his warmongering.

Just as in the summer of 2013, most senators and house members are going to be at public events in the coming weeks. Email and call them here. That's easy. That's the least anyone can do. And it had an impact last time in 2013. But also find out where they will be (senators and representatives both) and be there in small or large numbers to demand NO WAR ON IRAN.

The most expensive weapons system they've got ("missile defense") has been using the mythical Iranian threat as a ridiculous justification for picking your pocket and antagonizing the world in your name for years and years. But Raytheon wanted those missiles to hit Syria, and Wall Street believed they would.

The Israel lobby has much of Congress bought and paid for. But the public is turning against it, and you can shame its servants.

In the long run, it's useful to remember that lies do not set us free.

If both proponents and opponents of the agreement depict Iran falsely as a nuclear threat, the danger of a U.S. war on Iran is going to continue, with or without the deal. The deal could end with the election of a new president or Congress. Ending the agreement could be the first act of a Republican president or a Schumerian Democratic Leader.

So, don't just urge the right vote while pushing the propaganda. Oppose the propaganda as well.

Bernie Talks Militarism But Says Nothing New

Yes, I think the election season is a disastrously overlong distraction. If people's interest in it can be used to get them to ask their heroes to lead on important matters -- such as asking Bernie Sanders to rally the Senate for the Iran agreement or against the TPP -- then that's a nice silver lining. If people want to get drunk watching Republicans debate rather than some other poorly conceived tragicomedy on TV, what do I care?

But there's usually little of moving the beloved leader forward on anything, because supporters take on the role of servants, not masters. Criticism equals endorsement of some other leader. Advice equals endorsement of some other leader. And facts are seen through glasses tinted the shade of one's preferred public commander.

RootsAction's petition asking Sanders to talk about the military has nearly 14,000 signatures. It's produced a number of claims that Bernie in fact does talk about the military, and has a great record on it, etc. Following up on each of these claims thus far has led to virtually nothing new. If you go to Bernie's website and click on ISSUES and search for foreign policy or war or peace or overall budget priorities (militarism now actually gets 54% now), you'll be searching forever -- unless he adds something. His "issues" page acts as if 199 nations and 54% of the budget just don't exist.

If Senator Sanders were to add anything about war to his website, judging by his standard response when asked, it would be this:

The military wastes money and its contractors routinely engage in fraud. The Department of Defense should be audited. Some weapons that I won't name should be eliminated. Some cuts that I won't even vaguely estimate should be made. All the wars in the Middle East should continue, but Saudi Arabia should lead the way with the U.S. assisting, because Saudi Arabia has plenty of weapons -- and if Saudi Arabia has murdered lots of its own citizens and countless little babies in Yemen and has the goal of overthrowing a number of governments and slaughtering people of the wrong sect and dominating the area for the ideology of its fanatical dictatorial regime, who cares, better that than the U.S. funding all the wars, and the idea of actually ending any wars should be effectively brushed aside by changing the subject to how unfair it is for Saudi Arabia not to carry more of the militarized man's burden. Oh, and veterans, U.S. veterans, are owed the deepest gratitude imaginable for the generous and beneficial service they have performed by killing so many people in the wars I've voted against and the ones I've voted for alike.

A brilliant and talented friend of mine named Jonathan Tasini is about to publish a book on Sanders' platform on numerous issues. I asked to read an early copy because I had a huge hope that perhaps Sanders had addressed what he's silent on in an interview with Tasini. He's silent on how much he'd cut the military, even within a range of $100 billion. He's silent on alternatives to war. He's usually silent on U.S. subservience to Israel. He's silent on drone murders. He's silent on militarism and military spending driving the wars, the civil liberties losses, the militarization of local police, the militarization of the borders, the nasty attitudes toward immigrants and minorities, etc. He's silent on the public support for two, not one, great sources of revenue: taxing the rich (which he's all over) and cutting the military (which he avoids). I admit that I also had a secret fear that Tasini's book would not mention foreign policy at all.

Well, the book turns out not to include new interviews but just to collect past speeches and remarks and interviews and legislative records, carefully selected to paint the most progressive picture. So, wars Sanders opposed are mentioned. Wars he supported are not. Critiques of wasteful spending are included. Support for wasteful spending when it's in Vermont is not. Etc. I do recommend getting the book as soon as it comes out. No similar book could be produced about any other candidate in the two mega parties. But take it all with a grain of salt. You'll still have no grasp of Sander's basic budgetary platform or approach to diplomacy or foreign aid or international law or demilitarization or transition to peaceful industries -- assuming he develops any approach to some of those things.

And to those who are already telling me that Sanders has to censor his actually wonderful secret desires to move the world from war to peace (and presumably a 12-dimensional chess move by which Saudi Arabia check mates all the warmongers and fossil fuel consumers) -- that he has to keep quiet or he'll have powerful forces against him or he'll be assassinated or he'll lose the election -- I'm going to say what I said when people told me this about Obama: IT'S NEVER WORKED THAT WAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? We're lucky if candidates keep half the promises they make. Getting them to keep promises they never made but we fantasized has never been done.

I also had hopes for the wonderful and admirable Nicole Sandler's radio show on Thursday. She'd said that Sanders had no reluctance at all to discuss militarism. But of course I didn't expect him to refuse to talk. I expected him to just muddle through the same old same old. And so he did. He talked about cost overruns and waste, fraud, a DoD audit. He said he'd eliminate some weapons (but didn't name a single one). He said he'd make cuts but "I can't tell you exactly how many." Can you tell us roughly how many? He said he wanted "Muslim countries" to help with fighting the wars. Sandler prompted him with his Saudi Arabia thing, and he went off on that, and the host agreed with him.

So the Socialist wants to turn foreign affairs over to a royal theocratic dictatorship, won't say what he'd do to the largest item in the budget even though it's WAR, and he's bravely come out against fraud and waste without naming any instances of it.

And now I have a choice of being satisfied or an ungrateful perfectionist secretly supporting Hillary, even though her record on militarism is worse than that of almost any human alive and her website lists Iran, ISIS, Russia, and China as enemies to be stood up strong against. Oh, forget it. What time do the Republicans come on? Pass the whiskey.

Tomgram: Susan Southard, Under the Mushroom Cloud -- Nagasaki after Nuclear War

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

Grave of Man Who Outlawed War Found in Chicago

Thanks to David Karcher and Frank Goetz and the staff at Oak Woods Cemetery, the grave of Salmon Oliver Levinson has been found:

It's not that it had been lost so much as that nobody had looked for it. Various websites identify the graves of all the supposedly notable people in this same cemetery. None mentions Levinson.

If you don't know that Levinson started a movement that created a treaty, still on the books, that bans all war... If you don't know that war was perfectly legal until that happened... If you don't appreciate what this did to stigmatize war, reduce war, prevent wars, allow the first-ever prosecutions for the crime of war, and advance the cause of war abolition... you haven't read my book on the subject, which Ralph Nader once put in his annual list of the books everyone should read:

I'll be speaking about this in Chicago with Kathy Kelly on the 87th anniversary of the treaty's signing.

Join us.

Hiroshima-Nagasaki: 70-Year Nuclear Explosions Not Done Yet

By David Swanson, Telesur

This August 6th and 9th millions of people will mark the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in those cities and at events around the world. Some will celebrate the recent deal in which Iran committed not to pursue nuclear weapons, and to comply with the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and with requirements not imposed on any other nation.

Yet, those nations that have nuclear weapons are either violating the NPT by failing to disarm or by building more (U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, India), or they have refused to sign the treaty (Israel, Pakistan, North Korea). Meanwhile new nations are acquiring nuclear energy despite possessing an abundance of oil and/or some of the best conditions for solar energy on earth (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE).

Nuclear missiles containing more than the entire bombing power of World War II in a single bomb are aimed by the thousands at Russia from the United States and vice versa. A thirty-second fit of insanity in a U.S. or Russian president could eliminate all life on earth. And the United States is playing war games on Russia's border. The acceptance of this madness as normal and routine is part of the continued explosion of those two bombs, begun 70 years ago and rarely properly understood.

The dropping of those bombs and the explicit threat ever since to drop more is a new crime that has given birth to a new species of imperialism. The United States has intervened in over 70 nations -- more than one per year -- since World War II, and has now come full-circle to the re-militarization of Japan.

The history of the first U.S. militarization of Japan has been brought to light by James Bradley. In 1853 the U.S. Navy forced Japan open to U.S. merchants, missionaries, and militarism. In 1872 the U.S. military began training the Japanese in how to conquer other nations, with an eye on Taiwan.

Charles LeGendre, an American general training the Japanese in the ways of war, proposed that they adopt a Monroe Doctrine for Asia, that is a policy of dominating Asia in the way that the United States dominated its hemisphere. In 1873, Japan invaded Taiwan with U.S. military advisors and weaponry. Korea was next, followed by China in 1894. In 1904, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt encouraged Japan in attacking Russia. But he broke a promise to Japan by refusing to go public with his support for its Monroe Doctrine, and he backed Russia's refusal to pay Japan a dime following the war. The Japanese empire became seen as a competitor rather than a proxy, and the U.S. military spent decades planning for a war with Japan.

Harry Truman, who would order the nuclear bombings in 1945, spoke in the U.S. Senate on June 23, 1941: "If we see that Germany is winning," he said, "we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible." Did Truman value Japanese lives above Russian and German? There is nothing anywhere to suggest that he did. A U.S. Army poll in 1943 found that roughly half of all GIs believed it would be necessary to kill every Japanese person on earth. William Halsey, who commanded U.S. naval forces in the South Pacific, vowed that when the war was over, the Japanese language would be spoken only in hell.

On August 6, 1945, President Truman announced: "Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese army base." Of course it was a city, not an army base at all. "Having found the bomb we have used it," Truman declared. "We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, and against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international law of warfare." Truman said nothing about reluctance or the price necessary for ending the war.

In fact, Japan had been trying to surrender for months, including in its July 13th cable sent to Stalin, who read it to Truman. Japan wanted only to keep its emperor, terms the United States refused until after the nuclear bombings. Truman's advisor James Byrnes wanted the bombs dropped to end the war before the Soviet Union could invade Japan. In fact, the Soviets attacked the Japanese in Manchuria on the same day as the Nagasaki bombing and overwhelmed them. The U.S. and the Soviets continued the war on Japan for weeks after Nagasaki. Then the Japanese surrendered.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, "… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." One opponent of the nuclear bombings who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."

The war wasn't just over. The new American empire was launched. "The revulsion against war ... will be an almost insuperable obstacle for us to overcome," said General Electric CEO Charles Wilson in 1944. "For that reason, I am convinced that we must begin now to set the machinery in motion for a permanent wartime economy." And so they did. Although invasions were nothing new to the U.S. military, they now came on a whole new scale. And the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons use has been a key part of it.

Truman threatened to nuke China in 1950. The myth developed, in fact, that Eisenhower's enthusiasm for nuking China led to the rapid conclusion of the Korean War. Belief in that myth led President Richard Nixon, decades later, to imagine he could end the Vietnam War by pretending to be crazy enough to use nuclear bombs. Even more disturbingly, he actually was crazy enough. "The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes," Nixon said to Henry Kissinger in discussing options for Vietnam. And how many times has Iran been reminded that "all options are on the table"?

A new campaign to abolish nuclear weapons is growing fast and deserves our support. But Japan is being remilitarized. And once again, the U.S. government imagines it will like the results. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with U.S. support, is reinterpreting this language in the Japanese Constitution:

"[T]he Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. ... [L]and, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."

The new "reinterpretation," accomplished without amending the Constitution, holds that Japan can maintain land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, and that Japan will use war or threaten war to defend itself, to defend any of its allies, or to take part in a U.N.-authorized war anywhere on earth. Abe's "reinterpretation" skills would make the U.S. Office of Legal Counsel blush.

U.S. commentators are referring to this shift in Japan as "normalization" and expressing outrage at Japan's failure to engage in any wars since World War II. The U.S. government will now expect Japan's participation in any threat or use of war against China or Russia. But accompanying the return of Japanese militarism is the rise of Japanese nationalism, not Japanese devotion to U.S. rule. And even the Japanese nationalism is weak in Okinawa, where the movement to evict U.S. military bases grows stronger all the time. In remilitarizing Japan, rather than demilitarizing itself, the United States is playing with fire.

New TCBH! poem by Gary Lindorff: 'A moment of silence for Cecil'

Let’s have a moment’s

Silence for Cecil (Ses’-al),

But not yet.

During that silence

Let us think about why

Focus: Hillary Clinton - Aug 6, 2015

FBI looking into the security of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail setup - The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton campaign responds to FBI inquiry, 'she did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time' - MSNBC

Stated Dept: we have not seen anything that former Secretary Clinton has given to us that should have been classified at the time - CBS News

Clinton Lawyer Cleared by the State Department to Hold Potentially Classified Material in Her Emails - Washington Free Beacon

Intelligence watchdog was denied access to Clinton emails by the State Department - Washington Examiner

VIDEO: State Department Press Briefing, Clinton emails questions start at 1:30 min - YouTube

Former Intel Officials Call for Revocation of Clinton and Her Confidants’ Security Privileges - Washington Free Beacon

Text of the letter of former intelligence officials to John Kerry to revoke classified privileges for Clinton, as well as her confidants -

Interview with Former State Dept. Employee: No One Else Could Do What Hillary Clinton Did Without an Investigation - Breitbart

Former State Dept. Employee op/ed: What everyone with a Top Secret security clearance knows – or should know -

New documents suggest Clinton's email server may have crashed - Washington Examiner

State Department review scrubs sensitive information, now marked classified, from latest Clinton email release - McClatchy DC

Data in Clinton’s ‘secret’ emails came from 5 intelligence agencies - McClatchy DC

Judge orders Hillary Clinton and her top aides to provide details about their email arrangement to a court while under penalty of perjury.- Washington Examiner

Former Clinton spokesman turns over 20 boxes calling into question the extent to which top aides to the former secretary of state also engaged in controversial email practices - POLITICO

POLL: Hillary Clinton’s Emails: 69% Want Special Prosecutor To Investigate – Hillary Daily

Sen. Grassley puts hold on State Dept nominee until he gets more information about the email practices of Clinton and her top brass - POLITICO

Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin linked to Bill Clinton's 'enterprises' -

Huma planned party for Clinton pal on taxpayers’ dime - New York Post



POLL: Hillary Clinton’s popularity drops sharply in WSJ/NBC poll - MSNBC

POLL: Hillary Clinton Loses Ground With White Women in WSJ/NBC Poll - WSJ

POLL: Sanders in ‘statistical tie’ with Clinton in New Hampshire, attracting 36 percent to Clinton's 42 percent among likely primary voters - Fox News

POLL: Democrats Want Biden to Run in Zogby Poll - Newsmax

Wary On Trade, Iowa Unions Aren't Ready for Hillary Clinton - Bloomberg Politics

Martin O'Malley: DNC trying to 'circle the wagons' around Clinton, by limiting the number of debates between the party’s candidates - MSNBC

Hillary Clinton’s Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush - The Daily Beast

Hillary Clinton adds another Hamptons fundraiser - POLITICO

Hillary and Bill Clinton release 8 years of tax returns, paid $44 million in federal taxes from 2007 through 2014 on gross income totaling $139 million - Bloomberg

The Clinton family's byzantine financial arrangements disclosed - Washington Examiner

The Clinton Charity Case, A nearly $15 million tax write-off for donations to the family foundation - WSJ

Half of Clintons’ Charitable Giving in 2014 Went to Their Own Foundation - Washington Free Beacon

Bill Clinton Bagged $16 Million from Company that Received Millions from Hillary's State Dept. - Breitbart

Swiss bank's donations to Clinton Foundation increased after Hillary intervention in IRS dispute, she may have interfered with US program against offshore banks - Fox News

Chelsea Clinton’s Clinton Foundation Role, NBC Stint, and Rise to Power - Vanity Fair

Hillary Clinton Secret Service Assignment Considered Punishment By Agents, Author Claims -

In 2011 and 2012 Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of Obama and the congressional leadership from both parties - Fox News

The Obama-Hillary Libya debacle - Power Line

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


Puerto Rico's the new Greece, DC's the new Berlin, bankers are the same: Washington and Wall Street to Puerto Ricans: Drop Dead!

By Dave Lindorff

You can read the entire article in the New York Times Tuesday business section   reporting on Puerto Rico’s default on a payment on its staggering $72 billion debt without once learning that the little Caribbean island, home to 3.5 million US citizens, is a territory of the United States, or more properly, a  colony, insofar as its residents have no representation in Washington, cannot vote for national candidates for office, and furthermore, are subject to US federal courts, whose judges are all appointed by the federal government.

Kaine Gets Iran Right -- Where Is Warner?

Well, he certainly doesn't get every bit right, but he gets the vote right. Now where is his colleague from Virginia, Senator Mark Warner?

Syria/Turkey News - Aug 5, 2015

Al Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front hunting down U.S.-trained Syrian rebels, more believed captured: source - Reuters

U.S.-trained Syria rebel believed killed in fighting with Nusra Front: sources - Reuters

U.S backed Division 30 losses: July 30 - 8 captured. July 31 - 5 killed, 18 wounded, 20 captured. August 3 - 5 captured - Charles Lister on Twitter

U.S backed Division 30: Yet another Pentagon's failure in Syria - The News Hub

U.S. drones flying out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey defending Syrian rebels from Nusra Front - NBC News

Pentagon: US not at war with Assad, “The people we are training and equipping are pledged to fight ISIL and only ISIL - PressTV

A US warning that it would use its air power to defend Pentagon-trained rebels should they be attacked by Syrian troops was met with scepticism by officials in Damascus - AFP

US, Turkey agree to keep Syrian Kurds out of proposed border zone - WSJ

US support of Syrian Kurds ruffles Turkey's feathers - Al-Monitor

Syrian Kurds set terms for partnership with Assad, official of YPG group battling ISIL says they are willing to coordinate with anyone who is ready for democracy - Al Jazeera

Russia Seeks Coalition on Islamic State While It Backs Assad - Bloomberg Business

Russia not planning to send troops to fight ISIS in Syria: Putin’s spokesman - RT News

At least 11 IS militants killed in US-led coalition airstrikes on their headquarter in al- Mayadin - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Jihadists in Syria honor Mullah Omar, praise Taliban’s radical state - The Long War Journal

Why haven’t Syrian banks collapsed under sanctions and war? - The Washington Post



Report: Turkish Jets Attack PKK Targets in Southeast Turkey - ABC News

Three soldiers killed by PKK in southeast amid violence outbreak -

VIDEO: Three killed by PKK mine in southeast Turkey: security sources - Reuters

PKK attacks Turkey's halted Shah Deniz gas pipeline - Yahoo News

EU, US call for Turkish restraint against Kurds, urge the PKK to renounce violence and re-engage in peace talks - VOA

CHP, HDP seek to reduce tension, call on PKK to stop violence -

Demirtaş says PKK ready to return to negotiations, quoting a senior PKK figure -

It’s never late to call for peace: Demirtaş -

ISIL revealed to have conducted reconnaissance before Suruç bombing -

ISIS fighters throw man from a building in Iraq for being gay (PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online

Islamic State Circulates Sex Slave Price List - Bloomberg Business

Islamic State Yazidi Slaves: Thousands Remain In ISIS Captivity As Iraqi Kurdistan Marks One Year Since Sinjar Massacre - IBTIMES

Yazidis Demand UN Action Against ISIS on 1st anniversary of attack -

Islamic State launches Android app for news and recruitment - IBTimes

ISIS or Al Qaeda? American Officials Split Over Top Terror Threat - The New York Times

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

U.S. Movies and T.V. Shows Have U.S. Army Ratings

The U.S. Army and Air Force public relations offices have responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by releasing huge lists of movies and television shows that they have assessed and, at least in many cases, sought to influence. Here's the Army's PDF. Here's the Air Force's PDF.

The shows and films, foreign and U.S. made, aimed at foreign and U.S. audiences, including documentaries and dramas and talk shows and "reality" TV, cross every genre from those obviously related to war to those with little discernable connection to it.

Films show up in theaters without any notice that they have been influenced by the Army or Air Force or other branch of the military. And they carry ratings like G, PG, PG-13, or R. But the Army's until-now-secret assessments of films also give them ratings. Every rating is positive and cryptic. They include:

  • Supports Building Resiliency,
  • Supports Restoring Balance,
  • Supports Maintaining our Combat Edge,
  • Supports Adapting Our Institutions,
  • Supports Modernizing Our Force.

Some films have multiple ratings. Truth in advertising, I think, would include these ratings on previews and advertisements for films. I'd like to know what the Army thinks of a film. It would make my decision to avoid it much easier. Go ahead and scroll through the Army document linked above, and chances are you'll find out what a movie you're currently interested in or recently saw is rated by the folks who brought you Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and top ratings worldwide for the U.S. as the nation considered the greatest threat to peace on earth (Gallup, December 2013).

Here's a comment from Zaid Jilani at Salon: "The sheer scale of the Army and the Air Force's involvement in TV shows, particularly reality TV shows, is the most remarkable thing about these files. 'American Idol,' 'The X-Factor,' 'Masterchef,' 'Cupcake Wars,' numerous Oprah Winfrey shows, 'Ice Road Truckers,' 'Battlefield Priests,' 'America’s Got Talent,' 'Hawaii Five-O,' lots of BBC, History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, 'War Dogs,' 'Big Kitchens' — the list is almost endless. Alongside these shows are blockbuster movies like Godzilla, Transformers, Aloha and Superman: Man of Steel."

That list is a sampling, nothing more. The full list goes on and on and on. It includes many films about wars or U.S. base construction. There's an Extreme Makeover Home Edition at Fort Hood. There's The Price Is Right's Military Appreciation Episode. There's a C-Span show called "The Price of Peace" -- C-Span is of course often thought of as a neutral fly on the wall. There are, as mentioned above, lots of BBC documentaries -- the BBC is of course often thought of as British.

The documents linked above consist mostly of assessments with relatively little explicit discussion of military influence. But further research has produced that. The Mirror reports on the censoring of an Iron Man movie because the military is -- not kidding -- actually trying to create Iron Man type suits of armor/weaponry: "Directors are being forced to re-write scripts by the United States Department of Defense if the content is deemed inappropriate -- and the big screen hits affected include Iron Man, Terminator Salvation, Transformers, King Kong and Superman: Man of Steel. . . . Last year, President Barack Obama appeared to be joking when he said the U.S. military was working on its own Iron Man suit for troops. But the first prototypes of a super-strong exoskeleton being developed for chiefs by universities and technology players were delivered last June."

Shouldn't viewers of fantasy cartoonish movies know that the Army has been involved and what it rates those films in terms of their recruitment value?

"To keep Pentagon chiefs happy," reports the Mirror, "some Hollywood producers have also turned villains into heroes, cut central characters, changed politically sensitive settings -- or added military rescue scenes to movies. Having altered scripts to accommodate Pentagon requests, many have in exchange gained inexpensive access to military locations, vehicles and gear they need to make their films."

Guess who pays for that?

In fact many of the listings in the documents above originated as requests from film makers to the military. Here's an example:

"Comedy Central – OCPA-LA received a request from Comedy Central to have Jeff Ross, the Roastmaster General, spend 3 to 4 days on an Army post where he will embed himself amongst the Soldiers. This project will be a hybrid of a documentary and a stand up special/comedy roast. Ross, who has gone on several USO tours, wants to participate in various tactical drills and exercises, as well as interview soldiers and officers of all different ranks to get a fuller understanding of what a life in the military is really like, and how extraordinary those who choose to serve truly are. Then on his last day at the base, armed with the personal knowledge he has acquired, Jeff will put on a roast/standup comedy concert for all the people on the base that he has gotten to know during his tenure there. We are working with OCPA to see if this is something that can be supported and, if so, to find the best fit."

These questions as to whether something can be supported are frequent, but in skimming the documents I notice no negative ratings like

  • Supports Resistance to Mass-Murder
  • Supports Peace, Diplomacy, or Intelligent Foreign Relations
  • Supports Disarmament and Wise Use of Peace Dividend

Apparently all news is good news. Even cancellations get good ratings:

"'BAMA BELLES' REALITY TV SHOW (U), The Bama Belles, a reality show based out of Dothan, AL is being cancelled. According to cast member and producer Amie Pollard, TLC will not continue with a second season of "Bama Belles" and is still deciding whether to air the third episode. One of the actors on the show was SGT 80th Training Command (USAR). Assessment: Cancellation of the show is in the best interest of the US Army. Supports Building Resiliency."

Propaganda aimed at foreign audiences is included right alongside that aimed at potential recruits and voters in the United States:

"(FOUO) STATE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTARY, AFGHANISTAN (FOUO) (SAPA-CRD), OCPA-LA contacted by production company contracted by U.S. State Dept. Filmmaker requesting to film short scene on FOB in Afghanistan and involving use of five soldiers. The short scene will 'involve a female interrupter [sic] working for US forces and her family struggles.' The soldiers will be mostly background and will only have a few lines. Filmmaker requesting to film the scene in the last two weeks of JAN. ISAF/RC-E has expressed willingness to support. OCPA-LA is coordinating with OSD(PA) for approval. ASSESSMENT: Viewership UNK; video product aimed at Afghan national audiences. Supports Adapting Our Institutions."

Perhaps most disturbing are the advertisements for future war-making. There is, for example, a National Geographic series on "futuristic weapons." There's also this video game that seeks to depict a U.S. soldier in the year 2075:

"(FOUO) ACTIVISION/BLIZZARD VIDEO GAME (FOUO) (OCPA-LA), OCPA-LA was contacted by Activision/Blizzard, the largest video game publisher in the world. They are in the initial stages of a new project designed to create a realistic representation of a Soldier in 2075. They are interested in discussing the U.S. Army of the future; equipment, units, tactics, etc. Have scheduled an introductory meeting this week to discuss. While their interests will require an outside paid consultant, our interest is to correctly establish and frame the Army brand within the game while still in development. Update: and met with company president and game developers. Expressed concern that scenario being considered involves future war with China. Game developers looking at other possible conflicts to design the game around, however, developers are seeking a military power with substantial capabilities. ASSESSMENT: Anticipate game release will be very high-profile and comparable to recent ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Medal of Honor’ releases. Will likely sell in the range of 20-30 million copies. Supports Adapting our Institutions and Maintaining Our Combat Edge."

The Joint Chiefs of Staff last month published the nonfiction "National Military Strategy of the United States of America -- 2015," which also struggled to identify a frightening enemy. It named four nations as the justification for massive U.S. military spending, while admitting that none of the four wanted war with the United States. So, after U.S. government consultation with Sony and its depiction of the fictional murder of the leader of North Korea, it's nice to see some hesitation about depicting a 2075 US-China war. But what exactly is a "correct" depiction of the U.S. Army in 2075? Who has credibly suggested that Western "civilization" can survive war and nationalism that long? And where is Hollywood's investment in depicting an alternative future with greater likelihood of actually being sustainable?

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