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Pope Tells World's Top Arms Dealers to End Arms Trade

I lack patience. I admit it.

There's my confession.

I couldn't sit through the Pope's slow and plodding and polite speech to Congress, waiting for him to say something against the primary thing that body does and spends our money on. But finally he got there:

"Being at the service of dialogue and peace," he said, "also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade."

No, he didn't list the wars that must be ended or the bases that must be closed or the resources that Congress itself must stop investing in militarism. But he told the world's top arms dealers to end the arms dealing.

Perhaps they heard his words as a mandate to end the arms trade by everyone other than the United States, since the United States of course only sells and gives away weapons for the sake of peace and progress. But the Pope explicitly rejected those justifications.

Perhaps, instead, Congress members heard a condemnation of the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, which is using them to slaughter innocents. Perhaps they heard a warning not to promise $45 billion in new free weapons to Israel. Perhaps they heard a verbal slap in the face to a body that often debates the violence of the Middle East without acknowledging that the majority of the weapons of war in the region originate in the United States. Perhaps Secretary of State John Kerry, whose hand the Pope shook on his way to the podium, heard a suggestion to transform the State Department into something other than a marketing firm for weaponry.

Perhaps in combination with the Pope's comments on aiding refugees some listeners heard the responsibility of those fueling the violence to address the results, and to cease making matters worse.

Perhaps they even heard the shout of honesty in the line: "Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood."

We do all know that, don't we? But we're told that it's good for the world for weapons to be shipped to dozens of nasty governments. It's for a balance of power. It's for U.S. jobs distributed across unnecessarily large numbers of Congressional districts. It's to counter terrorism with greater terrorism.

The Pope brushed aside such logic and spoke the truth. Weapons of war -- which are sold and shipped by the United States far more than any other nation -- are sold for profit. They encourage, initiate, escalate, elongate, and exacerbate wars for profit.

But in the end, I'm not sure such a remark was hearable by members of Congress. I'm not sure they weren't secretly thinking of something else. Because they gave those lines in the Pope's speech a standing ovation.

Did they mean it? Will the U.S. corporate media ask them if they meant it, if they'll act on it? Of course not, but perhaps we can.

Tomgram: Nick Turse, A Secret War in 135 Countries

It was an impressive effort: a front-page New York Times story about a "new way of war" with the bylines of six reporters, and two more and a team of researchers cited at the end of the piece. "They have plotted deadly missions from secret bases in the badlands of Somalia. In Afghanistan, they have engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that was not their own.

The War to End Slavery Didn't

As documented in Douglas Blackmon's book, Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, the institution of slavery in the U.S. South largely ended for as long as 20 years in some places upon completion of the U.S. civil war. And then it was back again, in a slightly different form, widespread, controlling, publicly known and accepted -- right up to World War II. In fact, in other forms, it remains today. But it does not remain today in the overpowering form that prevented a civil rights movement for nearly a century. It exists today in ways that we are free to oppose and resist, and we fail to do so only to our own shame.

During widely publicized trials of slave owners for the crime of slavery in 1903 -- trials that did virtually nothing to end the pervasive practice -- the Montgomery Advertiser editorialized: "Forgiveness is a Christian virtue and forgetfulness is often a relief, but some of us will never forgive nor forget the damnable and brutal excesses that were committed all over the South by negroes and their white allies, many of whom were federal officials, against whose acts our people were practically powerless."

This was a publicly acceptable position in Alabama in 1903: slavery should be tolerated because of the evils committed by the North during the war and during the occupation that followed. It's worth considering whether slavery might have ended more quickly had it been ended without a war. To say that is not, of course, to assert that in reality the pre-war United States was radically different than it was, that slave owners were willing to sell out, or that either side was open to a non-violent solution. But most nations that ended slavery did so without a civil war. Some did it in the way that Washington, D.C., did it, through compensated emancipation.

Had the United States ended slavery without the war and without division, it would have been, by definition, a very different and less violent place. But, beyond that, it would have avoided the bitter war resentment that has yet to die down. Ending racism would have been a very lengthy process, regardless. But it might have been given a head start rather than having one arm tied behind our backs. Our stubborn refusal to recognize the U.S. civil war as a hindrance to freedom rather than the path to it, allows us to devastate places like Iraq and then marvel at the duration of the resulting animosity.

Wars acquire new victims for many years after they end, even if all the cluster bombs are picked up. Just try to imagine the justifications that would be made for Israel's attacks on Palestinians had World War II not happened.

Had the Northern U.S. allowed the South to secede, ended the returning of "fugitive slaves," and used diplomatic and economic means to urge the South to abolish slavery, it seems reasonable to suppose that slavery might have lasted in the South beyond 1865, but very likely not until 1945. To say this is, once again, not to imagine that it actually happened, or that there weren't Northerners who wanted it to happen and who really didn't care about the fate of enslaved African Americans. It is just to put into proper context the traditional defense of the civil war as having murdered hundreds of thousands of people on both sides in order to accomplish the greater good of ending slavery. Slavery did not end.

Across most of the South, a system of petty, even meaningless, crimes, such as "vagrancy," created the threat of arrest for any black person. Upon arrest, a black man would be presented with a debt to pay through years of hard labor. The way to protect oneself from being put into one of the hundreds of forced labor camps was to put oneself in debt to and under the protection of a white owner. The 13th Amendment sanctions slavery for convicts, and no statute prohibited slavery until the 1950s. All that was needed for the pretense of legality was the equivalent of today's plea bargain.

Not only did slavery not end. For many thousands it was dramatically worsened. The antebellum slave owner typically had a financial interest in keeping an enslaved person alive and healthy enough to work. A mine or mill that purchased the work of hundreds of convicts had no interest in their futures beyond the term of their sentences. In fact, local governments would replace a convict who died with another, so there was no economic reason not to work them to death. Mortality rates for leased-out convicts in Alabama were as high as 45 percent per year. Some who died in mines were tossed into coke ovens rather than going to the trouble to bury them.

Enslaved Americans after the "ending of slavery" were bought and sold, chained by the ankles and necks at night, whipped to death, waterboarded, and murdered at the discretion of their owners, such as U.S. Steel Corporation which purchased mines near Birmingham where generations of "free" people were worked to death underground.

The threat of that fate hung over every black man not enduring it, as well as the threat of lynching that escalated in the early 20th century along with newly pseudo-scientific justifications for racism. "God ordained the southern white man to teach the lessons of Aryan  supremacy," declared Woodrow Wilson's friend Thomas Dixon, author of the book and play The Clansman, which became the film Birth of a Nation.

Five days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government decided to take prosecuting slavery seriously, to counter possible criticism from Germany or Japan.

Five years after World War II, a group of former Nazis, some of whom had used slave labor in caves in Germany, set up shop in Alabama to work on creating new instruments of death and space travel. They found the people of Alabama extremely forgiving of their past deeds.

Prison labor continues in the United States. Mass incarceration continues as a tool of racial oppression. Slave farm labor continues as well. So does the use of fines and debt to create convicts. And of course, companies that swear they would never do what their earlier versions did, profit from slave labor on distant shores.

But what ended mass-slavery in the United States for good was not the idiotic mass-slaughter of the civil war. It was the nonviolent educational and moral force of the civil rights movement a full century later.

Focus: Clinton, Biden, Sanders - Sep 24, 2015

POLL (Bloomberg): Clinton's lead over Biden and Sanders slips among Democrats - The Guardian

POLL (Bloomberg): Full Results of the Bloomberg national poll - Bloomberg

POLL (Fox News): Biden takes bite out of Clinton's lead, Sanders remains at the same level - Washington Examiner

POLL (Fox News): Full results of the Fox News Poll -

POLL (Chegg) : Hillary plummets among college students, Sanders climbs - Washington Examiner

POLL (Chegg): Full Results of the Chegg Presidential Campaign Tracking Study - cheggmediacenter

Top unions put brakes on Clinton endorsement, SEIU and AFSCME decide to hold off in part because of a prospective Biden candidacy - POLITICO

Democratic donors urge Biden to challenge Clinton in U.S. 2016 race - Reuters

Key Hollywood Donor Backs Joe Biden for President, Says Others Could Follow (Exclusive) - Hollywood Reporter

Election 2016: Joe Biden team considers whether to set up "exploratory committee" - CBS News

Biden invites 2 Iowa co-chairs for the Draft Biden super PAC to greet Pope Francis, Also guest in the VIP greeting area was Sanders -

Biden, the first Catholic vice president, will trail the pope throughout his six-day visit to the United States - ABC

Joe Biden Op-Ed: ‘Pope Francis Is Challenging Us’ - TIME

VIDEO: Bernie Sanders says the pope's progressive agenda is just like his - CNN

Bernie Sanders supports striking US Capitol workers, says government has more low wage workers than McDonald's - Fortune

Sanders Now Beating Clinton In Google Searches And Trump Is Higher Than Ever - Forbes

A Pro-Clinton Super PAC Is Going Negative On Bernie Sanders -

Sanders sees burst of fundraising after pro-Clinton research against him surfaces - The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders scores 100+ celebrity endorsements - MSNBC

2016 election: Hillary Clinton, DNC face pressure to add debates - POLITICO

VIDEO: DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Gets Heckled By Protesters Calling for More Democratic Debates - ABC News

DNC allows one additional 2016 candidate forum - Washington Examiner

Progressive Groups Release Letter Urging DNC Chair to Host Additional Presidential Debates - MoveOn.Org



FBI reportedly recovers deleted emails from Clinton server - Fox News

GOP Pressing DOJ About Investigation Into Clinton Emails - The New York Times

POLL (Fox News): Voters think Clinton is lying about emails - Fox News

Judge orders quicker State Dept review of emails from Hillary Clinton aide - AP

State Department: New Batch of Clinton Aides’ Private Emails May Also Contain Classified Info - Washington Free Beacon

Hillary Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Exposed State Department Travel Schedules On Unsecure Private Network - Breitbart

Judicial Watch Obtains New Huma Abedin Emails from Server - Judicial Watch

Hillary Clinton Email Company Was Hacked By Foreign Attackers - Breitbart

Huma Abedin private consulting firm ties shown in emails - POLITICO

Emails showing Clinton charity ties withheld by State Department - Washington Examiner

Clinton fundraises with State Dept. contractor - Washington Examiner

Obama skips Global Initiative Clinton summit, The president's decision comes as his vice president is weighing whether to run - POLITICO

Clinton Global Initiative Gets 'Half of Dow,' Draws Sponsorships -

Clinton Foundation remains on Charity Navigator's 'watch list': spokeswoman - Washington Times

Book: 'Call off your f- -king dogs!’ Hillary rages to Obama, furious at what she believed were damaging leaks by Obama aides on the private email server - New York Post

Hillary Clinton’s Violent Rages & Fits Of Paranoia Are Exposed In Explosive Ed Klein Tell-All - The National Enquirer

VIDEO: Ed Klein Examines 'The Problem With Hillary' in New Book ‘Unlikeable’ -

Hillary is dealing with mounting health issues, new book claims - New York Post

More Than 30 Reporters From Across The Spectrum Explain Why You Shouldn't Trust Anti-Clinton Author Ed Klein - Media Matters for America

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

Does the Pope Know a Boy Is About to Be Crucified?

The Pope will speak to Congress on Thursday. No other institution on earth does more to destroy the habitability of the planet for future generations. Will the Pope raise his concerns with them or only when he's thousands of miles away?

No other institution sells and gives as many weapons to the world, participates in as many wars, or invests remotely as much in planning, provoking, and pursuing war after war. Will the Pope speak up for abolishing war in the U.S. Capitol or only when he's nowhere near the leading maker of war on earth?

As Nicolas Davies documents in a forthcoming article, when the U.S. has reduced military spending, the world has followed. When it has increased, the world has followed. The Pope wants nuclear weapons eliminated. Will he mention that to the leading investor in nuclear weapons?

Occasionally a particular variety of horror serves to catch people's attention. The boy in the photo at right has been sentenced to be crucified. His crime was participation in a pro-democracy rally. Now he will have done to him what the Pope's religion says was done to Jesus Christ. He won't be smiling blissfully like a Christ on a crucifix either. He will suffer immense pain and torment, and then die.

Who would do this? Why, Saudi Arabia, of course. And who is Saudi Arabia's chief ally, weapons provider, and oil customer? Why, the United States Congress.

Is it possible that this particular murder can arouse action among all of those moral leaders in the United States so desirous of being followers that they're focusing all attention on the Pope?

And if this murder can attract attention, what about all the others? During the course of a brutal civil war in Syria in which all sides have slaughtered numerous innocents with all variety of weaponry, we've been advised at certain points to be indignant over the use of chemical weapons or beheadings. But we don't seem to have managed to carry that over to the full range of murder going on.

Saudi Arabia is dropping bombs, including U.S.-made cluster bombs, on Yemen, slaughtering children by the hundreds. Saudi Arabia is brutalizing the people of Bahrain, not to mention the people of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians are funding ISIS and other murderers in the region. Are all of these murders acceptable even if the crucifixion isn't? Or can we seize this opportunity to build opposition to all murder? Or might we if the Pope mentions it to Congress?

On Tuesday the Senate Armed Services Committee brought in David Petraeus to testify yet again on how to escalate more wars. Petraeus recently proposed arming al Qaeda. Senator John McCain gave Petraeus credit on Tuesday for extending the Iraq war from 2007 to 2011. Petraeus noted that the whole region is in horrible turmoil. Nobody made any connection between the U.S. wars on Iraq and Libya that have created that turmoil and the results. Nobody questioned the wisdom of using more war to try to repair the damage of war.

Well, a few of us did. The wonderful CodePink was there as always. I was there with a sign that said "Arm al Qaeda? Reagan tried that."

The mad men who run the U.S. government have reached the point of re-arming the enemies of enemies whose blowback first drove them to radically escalate the global murder of innocent people in the name of opposing terrorism while increasing it.

The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance had an answer to this on Tuesday, taking a protest of endless war and environmental destruction to the gate of the White House.

The Secret Service arrested the people in the photo below rather than accept a letter from them articulating their opposition to policies of massive cruelty to the earth and its inhabitants.

The Pope has the opportunity to speak that same message to Congress and to the U.S. corporate media. Will he use it?


Tomgram: Krushnic and King, The Corporate Nuclear Complex

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

Will Pope Punt?



A Moral Challenge for Pope Francis



Editor Note: In modern times, the Catholic Church has made excuses for unjustifiable wars even as it has made abortion a cardinal sin, a hypocrisy that will be tested as Pope Francis visits the United States, a country immersed in all the immorality that comes from warfare, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Pope Francis could use his visit to the U.S. this week to make unmistakably clear that the Catholic Church’s teaching on the “sanctity of life” applies to more than just the first nine months of gestation.

Syria/Russia News - Sep 22, 2015

Russia Deploys Ground-Attack Aircraft to Syrian Base, 28 Combat Planes and 20 Helicopters - The New York Times

These are the 28 jets Russia now has in Syria - The Washington Post

Russia starts Syria drone surveillance missions: U.S. officials - Reuters

Russia to deploy 2,000 in Syria air base mission’s ‘first phase’ -

Russia to Start Bombing in Syria asap: US official - The Daily Beast

Anticipation of a Russian Strike on ISIS in Syria: Novaya Gazeta -

Russia, Iran Seen Coordinating in Syria - WSJ

Russia ready to consider Syria’s request to send troops if Damascus asks for it: Kremlin - TASS

Israel and Russia to Coordinate Military Action in Syria: Benjamin Netanyahu - NBC News

Russian defense, Pentagon chiefs agree to restore military contacts, discuss Syria - RT

Russian Official: 'Without Cooperation With Moscow, US Is Only a Second Fiddle in Syria’ - Sputnik

Syrian army starts using new weapons from Russia: military source - Yahoo News

Syrian army bombards ISIS positions in Palmyra, Raqqa, Idlib - The Guardian

Why Russia is expanding its Syrian naval base: seeks to help the Syrian government but also to increase its presence in the Mediterranean - The Moscow Times

Rebels depict Russia as a new occupier, say Syria could be the next Afghanistan - Business Insider



Activists report 75 U.S.-trained rebels return to Syria - AP

US-backed Syrian rebels arrested and later released by another group, The Times report - Middle East Eye

Was Syrian train-and-equip effort always a ‘mission impossible'? General acknowledges the $500 million program is in tatters -

US-backed leader of Syrian rebel group quits and lists 6 problems with the training program - Business Insider

This is the ISIS intel the U.S. military dumbed down, reports overstated the damage that U.S. strikes had on specific ISIS targets - The Daily Beast

Senseless slaughter, corruption and broken promises of money and glory: Landmark report reveals why growing numbers of foreign fighters are defecting from ISIS - Daily Mail Online


REPORT: Victims, Perpetrators, Assets: The Narratives of Islamic State Defectors - International Center for the Study of Radicalisation

Interview on ISIS defectors with Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation - VOX

Islamic State defectors: Three case studies - BBC News

Syrian rebels say they’ve helped hundreds defect from Islamic State -

IS executes 10 people accused of being gay in Syria - The Times of Israel

US pledges another $419M to Syrian refugees, Kerry: US to accept 85,000 refugees in 2016, 100,000 in 2017 - TheHill

Plan to admit more refugees faces stiff opposition in U.S. Congress, many worry that Islamist fighters posing as refugees might sneak into the country - Daily Mail Online

Syrian Kurdish leaders planning to capture last border crossing with Turkey held by ISIS - The Independent

Centcom Spokesman: Syrian Kurd Fighters Disrupt ISIL Movement - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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

Peace Boat & Global Article 9 Campaign Statement on the Occasion of the International Day of Peace

As the world celebrates the International Day of Peace and marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign strongly condemn the forceful passage in the Diet of security legislation that breaches Japan’s peace constitution and allows its Self-Defense Forces to use force overseas.

Article 9 is the famous peace clause by which the Japanese people aspires to an international peace based on justice and order, renounces war and prohibits the use of force as means of settling international disputes. Adopted following WWII, Article 9 is a pledge to Japan itself and to the world, particularly to neighboring countries that suffered under Japanese invasions and colonial rule, to never repeat its mistakes. Since then, Article 9 has been widely recognized as a regional and international peace mechanism that has contributed to maintaining peace and stability in Northeast Asia and served as a legal framework to promote peace, disarmament and sustainability.

The adoption of new security legislation is the latest of a long series of initiatives that challenge Japan’s longstanding peace policies. Such measures include re-interpreting Article 9, increasing the country’s military budget and relaxing the long-held arms export ban. Indeed, the bills codifies the Cabinet’s contentious decision to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and expand Japan’s security role around the world, under Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s pet-doctrine of “pro-active pacifism”. It also puts the newly revised guidelines on Japan-U.S. defense cooperation into effect, granting the U.S. increased Japanese support in its military strategy not only in Asia but also in other parts of the world.

In Japan, the bills face broad opposition in the Diet and amongst the public, as shown by successive opinion polls and massive public protests, many of which organized by students and youth throughout Japan. Most of Japan’s constitutional scholars (including former Prime Ministers, high-rank Cabinet officials and Supreme Court judges) deem the bills unconstitutional and the way they have been pushed through a worrisome deviation from the rule of law.  At the regional level, the legislation has been met with anxiety from Japan’s neighbors that consider the move a threat to regional peace and security in Asia.

On this International Day of Peace, Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign

- Condemn in strongest terms the adoption of the security bills that fundamentally violate the principles and letter of war-renouncing Article 9;

- Decry the way by which the legislation was passed, in disregard for Japan’s legal procedure and democratic process;

- Express utmost concerns at the possible repercussions the legislation will have on the region, and ask Japan and other countries in the region to refrain from any actions that would accelerate arms race and destabilize peace and stability in Northeast Asia;

- Support Japan’s civil society efforts to prevent the legislation from being implemented and Article 9 to be further eroded;

- And call on people around the world to support Japan’s vibrant mobilization towards the revocation of the bills, the preservation of Japan’s democracy and pacific values, and the safeguard of Article 9 as a regional and global peace mechanism.

Download the full statement at

** Please sign our petition "Save Japan Peace Constitution"

Celine Nahory
International Coordinator
Peace Boat
Global Article 9 Campaign

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Flying the Unfriendly Skies of America

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

After the Iran Nuclear Agreement: Will the Nuclear Powers Also Play by the Rules?

When all is said and done, what the recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons.

But the NPT—which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970—has two kinds of provisions.  The first is that non-nuclear powers forswear developing a nuclear weapons capability.  The second is that nuclear-armed nations divest themselves of their own nuclear weapons.  Article VI of the treaty is quite explicit on this second point, stating: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Talk Nation Radio: Khury Petersen-Smith on Black Solidarity with Palestine

Khury Petersen-Smith is an activist who lives in Boston. He traveled to Gaza in 2009 as part of the Viva Palestina medical relief delegation. He also traveled to Iraq on a peace delegation in 2004. His organizing and writing focus particularly on Black liberation, Palestine solidarity, and U.S. empire. He was an organizer of a new statement of black solidarity with Palestine:

Also find him here: and here:

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Join us in DC on Tuesday


Join us at an event organized by the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Part of a week of actions with Campaign Nonviolence.


Meet in cafeteria in Longworth House Office Building at 9:00 am.

Together we will go to Paul Ryan's office at about 10:00 am.

Bring packets of seeds and photos or news articles of issues you would like to address i.e. war, climate crisis, poverty, institutionalized violence etc.

Leave Ryan's office around 11:00 or 11:15.

Take public transportation to Edward R. Murrow Park – 1800 block of Pennsylvania Ave. NW



We will proceed together from the park to the White House.

We'll hear speakers at the White House, read a letter sent to Obama, and some will protest even at risk of arrest but others need not do so.

Sign up here:

Tomgram: John Feffer, The Star Trek Fallacy

We were both experiencing the Sixties, Captain Kirk and I.  Admittedly, I was still in the 1960s and the captain was somewhere in  the 2260s.

Where there were massacres there are now power plants

In the United States it's hard to imagine admiring an attorney general. The words call to mind people like Eric Holder, Michael Mukasey, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Janet Reno, and Edwin Meese. There were those who fantasized that Barack Obama would not prevent an attorney general from prosecuting top officials for torture, but the idea of a U.S. attorney general prosecuting a U.S. president for war/genocide doesn't even enter the realm of fantasy (in part, because Americans don't even think of what the U.S. military does in the Middle East in those terms).

For a lesson in daring to imagine equality before the law, we can turn our eyes toward Guatemala. Here's a country suffering under the Monroe Doctrine since the dawn of time, a place where the United States engaged in human experimentation giving syphilis to unwitting victims during the time that U.S. lawyers were prosecuting Nazis in Nuremberg. Guatemala had a relatively decent government in 1954 when the CIA overthrew it. U.S. destruction has been unremitting in Guatemala, with the U.S. government backing dictators, killers, and torturers, including during the 1980s and 1990s, a period from which Guatemala is still trying to recover.

A new film called Burden of Peace tells the story of Claudia Paz y Paz, Attorney General of Guatemala from December 9, 2010 to May 17, 2014. Paz y Paz had a poster of Robert Kennedy on her wall during her time as attorney general, herself finding something admirable in a U.S. holder of that same office. Kennedy's actual record was quite mixed, of course. Paz y Paz became attorney general following a long period of unaccountable crime, understood impunity, and rampant corruption.

"Where there were massacres there are now power plants," says one voice in the film. "Where there were massacres there are now mines." People had been killed in large numbers for money, and those responsible would be protected from prosecution as well.

A 1996 peace agreement did not end violence in Guatemala. The government remained corrupt, with killers still holding positions of power.

It's interesting to imagine what would happen if a true reformer were made president or attorney general in the United States, while their staff and colleagues and Congress and the courts and the system of bribery and lobbying remained unchanged. It will be fun to watch Jeremy Corbyn try to take on the British Parliament. We have an example of how this works from Guatemala.

In Burden of Peace we see Claudia Paz y Paz meeting with an office of attorneys in a northen province that had solved zero murder cases and prosecuted almost no one. She insists on change. And she gets it. For over three years she achieves big increases in prosecutions and convictions, including of gang members, including of police officers.

This law-and-order heroism should appeal to Americans if they can overlook the fact that the United States helped cause the problem. I have a mixed reaction. I can't be totally thrilled watching a SWAT team arrest gang members. This is not truth and reconciliation, but force and degradation. And yet I recognize that in a state of lawless violence it will be difficult to address other problems and solutions unless the violence is addressed first. Paz y Paz, in fact, reduced crime rates as solved murdered cases increased from 5% to 30%.

She had previously worked on the first big investigation of crimes committed during the civil war in Guatemala, which accused top military and political leaders, inlcuding the head of state, of genocide. Bishop Juan José Gerardi presented the report to the public and was murdered the next day. You see a big crowd taking part in his funeral in footage included in the film.

In her second year as AG, Paz y Paz reopened the investigation of war crimes. Soon she would issue warrants for the arrest of Oscar Mejia Victores, former Secretary of "Defense," for genocide. But because of his age and health, he was not tried.

Paz y Paz continued to increase law enforcement, as Otto Perez Molina, a former military official, was elected president. Business elites wanted Paz y Paz not to prosecute military members. In fact they wanted her removed from office. But she held a four-year term and refused to leave early.

During the dictatorship of Rios Montt, Mayans had been murdered in large numbers. He was not held accountable. He enjoyed immunity as president of Congress until 2012. Then Paz y Paz prosecuted him for genocide. In Burden of Peace we see the trial, including survivors recounting the horrors of soldiers killing and raping, as the accused sits and listens.

His lawyers declare the trial illegal and rise and leave, leaving him sitting there alone. The trial is suspended, then reconvened with new lawyers. The elderly Montt is convicted and sentenced to decades in prison. We see the people of Guatemala celebrating.

And then a higher court overturns the sentence, and people protest to no avail. But Montt spends only one day in prison, and the rightwingers acquire a taste for blood. They pursue Paz y Paz. Seeking to block her from completing her fourth year in office, they charge her with abuse of power (although they publicly focus on accusing her of being a Marxist). The same court that overturned the sentence for Montt removes Paz y Paz from office.

She appeals, and we see a crowd cheering her at the appeal. She tries to run for reelection, and a court denies her that right. It's over. She is out of office, and we see her staff as well as the public cheer for her, tearfully, as she departs, fleeing the country with her husband and son because she will no longer have security guards.

This is a true story that ends in May of 2014, crying out for a sequel. But earlier this month, Molina was forced to resign as president, after prosecutors accused him of running a scheme to defraud the customs service of millions of dollars, and Congress stripped him of immunity from prosecution. This was a first in Central America, as was much of what Claudia Paz y Paz did. It begins to appear that she was part of a change in the culture of Guatemalan governance, that the idea of holding the powerful to account has actually caught on.

Perhaps she will return to Guatemala one day. Perhaps peace will return to Guatemala one day.

Imagine if the United States were to leave Guatemala alone and try following its example in the U.S. Justice Department.

Syria/Russia News - Sep 16, 2015


White House on Russia: Continuing to support Assad is destabilizing and counterproductive  (VIDEO) - Washington Examiner

State Dept.: We are working hard on achieving a political transition away from Assad who is to blame for ISIS - RT

VIDEO: State Dept. spokesman Kirby Press Briefing, Questions on Syria start at minute 1:04 - YouTube

Pentagon has no plans to deconflict airspace with Russia in Syria, despite signs Moscow is establishing a forward air base - TheHill

U.S. defense chief has no plans to talk to Russia counterpart, Pentagon says - Jamestown Sun

Russia’s Assertive Moves Weigh on Pentagon Plans for 2017 Budget - Bloomberg Business

VIDEO: U.S. ambassador Samantha Power: Russia and Iran should be blamed for supporting a regime that is fueling the rise of terrorism - CNN

Analysis: The Russian involvement in Syria could work in favor of U.S. national interests by fighting Islamic terrorists and restoring stability, a prerequisite for a political settlement - Consortiumnews

UN: Peace in Syria only after we combat terror and protect state institutions so as the country doesn’t follow the Libya and Iraqi scenarios -

26 armed rebel factions issue a statement rejecting U.N. special envoy plan to end Syria conflict -

Barrel Bombs and Artillery Take Heavy Toll on Vital Rebel Offensive in Syria's South - VICE News



Putin defends military aid to Syria to fight 'terrorist aggression', says migrant crisis in Europe would be far worse without it - New York Times

ISIS 'has designs on' Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and is a danger to Europe, Vladimir Putin warns - The Independent

VIDEO (English subtitles): Speach of Vladimir Putin on Syria (it starts at minute 2:40) - YouTube

Kremlin: Talks between US And Russia ‘indispensable’ to solve Syria crisis, Obama and Putin might meet at the UN General Assembly - Sputnik

Russia Is Setting Up A Forward Air Operating Base in Syria, Pentagon Confirms - Defense One

Russia 'Closing Gap' Between US with Newer Air Defenses, General Says -

Russia military reportedly deploying to Hama - NOW

Senior Iranian general said to make second Moscow trip - The Times of Israel

'If you are worried about refugees, stop supporting terrorists’: Assad interview - RT News


Cold War weaponry and modern military hardware: Inside the ISIS arsenal - Fox News

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

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Maintaining American Supremacy in the Twenty-First Century

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What if Americans Had Known in 2013 that U.S. rejected Syria Deal in 2012?

In the United States it is considered fashionable to maintain a steadfast ignorance of rejected peace offers, and to believe that all the wars launched by the U.S. government are matters of "last resort." Our schools still don't teach that Spain wanted the matter of the Maine to go to international arbitration, that Japan wanted peace before Hiroshima, that the Soviet Union proposed peace negotiations before the Korean War, or that the U.S. sabotaged peace proposals for Vietnam from the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French. When a Spanish newspaper reported that Saddam Hussein had offered to leave Iraq before the 2003 invasion, U.S. media took little interest. When British media reported that the Taliban was willing to have Osama bin Laden put on trial before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. journalists yawned. Iran's 2003 offer to negotiate ending its nuclear energy program wasn't mentioned much during this year's debate over an agreement with Iran -- which was itself nearly rejected as an impediment to war.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, who had been involved in negotiations in 2012, said that in 2012 Russia had proposed a process of peace settlement between the Syrian government and its opponents that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down. But, according to Ahtisaari, the United States was so confident that Assad would soon be violently overthrown that it rejected the proposal.

The catastrophic Syrian civil war since 2012 has followed U.S. adherence to actual U.S. policy in which peaceful compromise is usually the last resort. Does the U.S. government believe violence tends to produce better results? The record shows otherwise. More likely it believes that violence will lead to greater U.S.-control, while satisfying the war industry. The record on the first part of that is mixed at best.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000 Wesley Clark claims that in 2001, Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo proposing to take over seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. The basic outline of this plan was confirmed by none other than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2010 pinned it on former Vice President Dick Cheney:

"Cheney wanted forcible 'regime change' in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair. 'He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it — Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.,' Blair wrote. 'In other words, he [Cheney] thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.'"

U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks trace U.S. efforts in Syria to undermine the government back to at least 2006. In 2013, the White House went public with plans to lob some unspecified number of missiles into Syria, which was in the midst of a horrible civil war already fueled in part by U.S. arms and training camps, as well as by wealthy U.S. allies in the region and fighters emerging from other U.S.-created disasters in the region.

The excuse for the missiles was an alleged killing of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons -- a crime that President Barack Obama claimed to have certain proof had been committed by the Syrian government. Watch the videos of the dead children, the President said, and support that horror or support my missile strikes. Those were the only choices, supposedly. It wasn't a soft sell, but it wasn't a powerful or successful one either.

The "proof" of responsibility for that use of chemical weapons fell apart, and public opposition to what we later learned would have been a massive bombing campaign succeeded. Public opposition succeeded without knowing about the rejected proposal for peace of 2012. But it succeeded without follow-through. No new effort was made for peace, and the U.S. went right ahead inching its way into the war with trainers and weapons and drones.

In January 2015, a scholarly study found that the U.S. public believes that whenever the U.S. government proposes a war, it has already exhausted all other possibilities. When a sample group was asked if they supported a particular war, and a second group was asked if they supported that particular war after being told that all alternatives were no good, and a third group was asked if they supported that war even though there were good alternatives, the first two groups registered the same level of support, while support for war dropped off significantly in the third group. This led the researchers to the conclusion that if alternatives are not mentioned, people don't assume they exist — rather, people assume they've already been tried. So, if you mention that there is a serious alternative, the game is up. You'll have to get your war on later.

Based on the record of past wars, engaged in and avoided, as it dribbles out in the years that follow, the general assumption should always be that peace has been carefully avoided at every turn.

Focus: Clinton, Sanders, Biden - Sep 15, 2015

POLL (ABC News/Washington Post) : Clinton's support falls by 21 points to 42 %, while Sanders and Biden are at 24 % and 21 % - POLITICO

POLL: Sharp erosion in Clinton support among Democratic women - The Washington Post

POLL: Clinton’s e-mail issues have become a massive political problem, Just 35 percent believe she is 'honest' and 'trustworthy' - Washington Post

POLL: Full results of the ABC News/Washington Post poll -

POLL (CBS News/YouGov): Sanders Surges in Iowa, NH; Clinton holds the lead in SC - CBS News

POLL: (CBS News/YouGov): Should Joe Biden run for president? - CBS News

Why Are Women Ditching Hillary? - The Daily Beast

Clinton faces trouble in Florida - TheHill

Hillary Clinton says Bill as VP has 'crossed her mind', 'He would be good, but he's not eligible, under the Constitution' -

'Stand with the poor, stand with working people’, Bernie Sanders tells thousands of students at Christian conservative Liberty University -

VIDEO: Bernie Sanders Full Speech at Liberty University - C-SPAN

TRANSCRIPT: Bernie Sanders’ Liberty University speech, annotated - The Washington Post

Bernie who? Winning over southern black voters is Sanders campaign’s next hurdle - The Guardian

Meet the Group of African-American Organizers Building Black Support for Bernie Sanders - In These Times

Bernie Sanders running strong among Kansas Democrats - The Wichita Eagle

Bernie Sanders has zero endorsements from elected national Democrats in his bid for the White House - The Daily Caller

Democrats divided over Biden run - TheHill

Joe Biden advisers, supporters eyeing ballot deadlines -

Biden Secretly Meets With Top Obama Bundler During New York Swing - Bloomberg Politics



GOP senators ask Justice to clarify Clinton email inquiry - Newsday

Text of GOP Sens. Grassley and Johnson letter to Justice Dept wanting details on investigations into Clinton email server -

GOP senators want to talk to Clinton tech staffer's boss - POLITICO

State Dept. has no plans to make all Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills emails public - Washington Times

State Dept 'transparency czar' received classified Clinton emails she is meant to oversee - Washington Examiner

State Dept. records showed four-month gap in Clinton emails, though the agency claims it has filled in the gaps - TheHill

Tech company: No indication that Clinton’s e-mail server was ‘wiped’, If true tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered - The Washington Post

These Are the Forensic Tests the FBI Is Running on Hillary Clinton's Server - Mother Jones

Hillary Clinton email scandal: Experts raise questions about Gmail and other services - POLITICO

Clinton Foundation illegally solicited tax-exempt donations - WND

Clinton Foundation and the IRS - National Review Online

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

Intelligence Vets Blast CIA Brass Attempt to Justify Torture



US Intel Vets Decry CIA’s Use of Torture



Editor Note:  Torture defenders are back on the offensive publishing a book by ex-CIA leaders rebutting a Senate report that denounced the brutal tactics as illegal, inhumane and ineffective. Now, in a memo to President Obama, other U.S. intelligence veterans are siding with the Senate findings and repudiating the torture apologists.


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Veteran Intelligence Professionals Challenge CIA’s “Rebuttal” on Torture

Tomgram: David Vine, Our Base Nation

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: This morning we have a special offer for you. TomDispatch regular David Vine will send any of you willing to donate $100 (or more) to  this website a signed, personalized copy of his groundbreaking new book, <

Elites Want More Refugees: Why?

There is much being written about the refugee crisis in Europe at the moment but none of what I have read explains why the problem is occurring and what will need to be done for the problem to be addressed.


A Peace Activist Leads the Labour Party

I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn't favor "only the smart wars" or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism. He was over here in Washington recently trying to get a Brit freed from Guantanamo. He chairs the Stop the War Coalition, one of the biggest peace organizations in Britain. He meets with foreign peace activists, like me, who can't even enter the same worldview, much less the same room, with any U.S. leaders.

When Corbyn and I both spoke at a peace event in London four years ago, he was introduced by Andrew Murray as working in Parliament with "a pack of war lords." Corbyn agreed: Parliament is made up of war lords and war criminals, he remarked.

Corbyn at that point credited the Stop the War Coalition with having helped to prevent an attack on Iran in recent years, just as I believed the US peace movement deserved credit, and does so again this year.

Corbyn called the idea that more time was needed to finish a job in Afghanistan a "load of tosh." He also pointed out that the two sides fighting in Libya could exchange parts for their rifles, because they both had rifles provided by Britain.

Corbyn doesn't just call war criminals "war criminals." He intends to see them prosecuted, including Tony Blair, whom Corbyn wants to see face charges for the 2003 attack on Iraq, which Corbyn of course opposed.

Corbyn doesn't just oppose militarism rhetorically. He wants to shut it down. He opposes the Trident nuclear boondoggle and intends to withdraw the UK from NATO. What other NATO members might follow the UK's lead?

Corbyn doesn't just express nice sentiments about a distant future without nuclear weapons. He advocates unilateral disarmament by the UK, in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty.

Corbyn doesn't just muse about non-military solutions in Syria but seeks to find them and to prevent military action that makes crises worse. He plans to halt British airstrikes from planes or drones in Syria. He also mentions the uncomfortable topic of "some of our supposed allies in the region" providing weapons and funding to ISIS -- and proposes to cut that off rather than fueling the fire with more weapons and attacks.

Corbyn is even opposed to the steady buildup of hostility toward Russia, and faults NATO for expanding and the West for creating the crisis in Ukraine. He doesn't excuse actual misdeeds by Russia, but faults U.S. and European aggression and hypocrisy.

And, though this may be difficult for Americans to imagine, Corbyn opposes the mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israel.

Hours after being elected leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn spoke on Saturday at a huge pro-refugee rally in Parliament Square, and blamed the refugee crisis on its cause, declaring that he would not support the past policy of rushing about the world launching wars.

Americans have come to believe that politicians who support, promote, tolerate, or fund wars can be "war critics" by proposing various tweaks to the war machine.

Bernie Sanders focuses on money issues, taxing the rich, spending on the poor, but has thus far been permitted to engage in the general practice of speaking only about the 46% of federal discretionary spending that it not military. Nobody has asked him about the 54% that by the calculation of National Priorities Project is military. Nobody has asked him if Eisenhower was right that military spending produces wars. Here are 25,000 people who want to know whether and how much Sanders would want to cut military spending.

Sanders is 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). When he is asked about wars and says Saudi Arabia should pay for and lead them, nobody has followed up by asking whether the wars are themselves good or not or how the theocratic murderous regime in Saudi Arabia which openly seeks to overthrow other governments and is dropping US cluster bombs on Yemen will transform the wars into forces for good. Since when is THAT "socialism"?

If you go to Bernie's website and click on ISSUES and search for foreign policy it's just not there. In the United States, candidates for high office are permitted to just be silent on how much they'd cut the military, even within a range of $100 billion. Does Sanders, or do any of the other candidates, favor $45 billion in more free weapons for Israel paid for by the U.S. public whom Sanders usually wants to spare lesser expenses than that? Who knows.

Jeremy Corbyn just won leadership of the Labour Party by promoting socialism at home and abroad. What are we yanks afraid of?

Apartheid law enforcement in the US: Standing While Black in New York Can Get You Attacked by NYPD Thugs

By Dave Lindorff

If tennis great James Blake had done the obvious thing and resisted being tackled by an apparent thug on a New York sidewalk who didn’t identify himself as a cop before attacking him, he would probably be dead today like Eric Garner, or at least seriously injured or tased.

Film Review: This Changes Everything

I thought the cause of climate destruction was political corruption, but I thought the cause of so little popular resistance was ignorance and denial. Naomi Klein's new film This Changes Everything seems to assume that everyone is aware of the problem. The enemy that the film takes on is the belief that "human nature" is simply greedy and destructive and destined to behave in the way that Western culture behaves toward the natural world.

I think that is an increasingly common frame of mind among those paying attention. But if it ever becomes truly widespread, I expect it to be followed by epidemics of despair.

Of course, the idea that "human nature" destroys the earth is as ridiculous as the idea that "human nature" creates war, or the idea that human nature combined with climate change must produce war. Human societies are destroying the climate at vastly different rates, as are individuals within them. Which are we to suppose are "human nature" and which acting in violation of the same?

I think it's safe to assume that those not recognizing the climate crisis are going to be brought to recognize it along an exponentially rising curve, and it's possible that treating an audience as if they all already know the problem is a helpful way to get them there.

The problem, this film tells us, is a story that humans have been telling each other for 400 years, a story in which people are the masters of the earth rather than its children. The fact that a story is the problem, Klein says, should give us hope, because we can change it. In fact, we largely need to change it to what it was before and what it has remained in some of the communities featured in the film.

Whether that should give us hope is, I think, a whole different question. Either we're past the point of being able to maintain a livable climate or we're not. Either the conference in Copenhagen was the last chance or it wasn't. Either the upcoming conference in Paris will be the last chance or it won't be. Either there's a grassroots way around the failure of such conferences, or there isn't. Either Obama's drill-baby-Arctic drilling is the final nail or it isn't. Same for the tar sands featured in the movie.

But if we are going to act, we need to act as Klein urges: not by intensifying our efforts to control nature, and not by seeking out a different planet to ruin, but by re-learning to live as part of the planet earth rather than its controllers. This film shows us horrific images of the wasteland created in Alberta to get at the tar sands. Canada is dumping some $150 to $200 billion into extracting this poison. And those involved speak in the film as if it were simply inevitable, thus allowing themselves no blame. In their view, humans may be masters of the earth, but they clearly are not masters of themselves.

In contrast, This Changes Everything shows us indigenous cultures where the belief that the land owns us rather than the reverse leads toward sustainable and also more enjoyable life. The film seems to focus on the immediate local destruction of projects like the tar sands and others, rather than the climate of the whole planet. But the point of featuring acts of local resistance is clearly to show us not only the joy and solidarity that comes in acting for a better world, but also to model what that world could look like and how it could be experienced.

We're usually told that it is a weakness of solar energy that it must function when the sun shines, a weakness of wind energy that it must wait for the wind to blow -- whereas it is a strength of coal or oil or nuclear that it can render your home uninhabitable 24-7. This Changes Everything suggests that renewable energy's dependence on nature is a strength because it is part of how we must live and think if we are to cease attacking our natural home.

Hurricane Sandy is featured as a hint of how nature will eventually let humans know who is really in charge. Not in charge because we haven't developed good enough technology yet to truly master it. Not in charge because we need to alter our energy consumption a little as soon as Wall Street approves. Not in charge because of a quirk of corruption in our government that fails to help people in danger while bombing other distant people to control more fossil fuels with which to bring on more danger. No. In charge now and forever, whether you like it or not -- but perfectly happy to work with us, to live in harmony with us, if we live in harmony with the rest of the earth.


David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Focus: Syria/Russia - Sep 12, 2015

Russia calls on for military-to-military cooperation with the United States on Syria to avert 'unintended incidents' -

VIDEO: FM Lavrov says Russia seeks coordination with US over Syria to avoid 'incidents' - YouTube

Pentagon: Neither U.S. nor coalition forces have contacted Russian forces in Syria to prevent any miscalculation or miscommunication - Stripes

Russia calls on world to back Syrian military, calling it the 'most powerful ground force' in the fight against the Islamic State - Washington Times

Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran’s Quds Force leader: intel sources - Fox News

1000 Iranian Marines Join Russian Troops in Jablah Base to Fight Syrian Rebels, Says Report -

Russia intensifies naval exercises off Syrian coast: sources - Reuters

Russia is sending advanced air defenses to Syria - Business Insider

Russia running Damascus International Airport: pro-opposition report - NOW

VIDEO: Russian troops live-fire training in Syria - The Washington Post

Berlin says would welcome Russian role in fight against IS - Reuters

Syria, Egypt agree on restoring ties: report - THE DAILY STAR



Obama: Russia's support for Assad 'a big mistake' - TheHill

VIDEO: Obama Comments On Russian Military In Syria - CBS News

U.S. scrambling for a plan, options are to confront Russia inside Syria or cooperate with it on the fight against the Islamic State - Bloomberg

The Pentagon's Syria debacle, top brass debate how to rescue costly effort to raise rebel army to fight Islamic State - POLITICO

Critics: No way U.S. can meet Syria training goals - Washington Examiner

Syrian rebel training program costs millions and counting - DoD Buzz

Pentagon now training fourth class of Syrian rebels - TheHill

Western states train Kurdish force battling ISIS in Syria - THE DAILY STAR

Lawmakers welcome whistleblowers as DoD probes cooked intel on ISIS and Qaeda, Altered reports allegedly portrayed the terror groups weaker than they are -

Exclusive: 50 spies say ISIS intelligence was cooked - The Daily Beast

US spy chief’s ‘highly unusual’ reported contact with military official raises concerns over rosy portrayals of the war against the Islamic State -

VIDEO: White House spokesman Earnest can't say the U.S. is winning the war against Islamic State - YouTube

President Obama directs administration to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year - The Washington Post

U.S. charities urge Obama to let in more Syrians, ask churches to help - The Washington Post



US official: 'IS making and using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria’ (VIDEO) - BBC News

Islamic State Ordnance Shows Traces of Chemical Agents, U.S. Says - The New York Times

VIDEO: Islamic State using 'chemical weapons' as wounded soldiers reveal painful skin burns in graphic footage - Mirror Online

UN Security Council OKs Syria chemical probe -

Syrian air base falls to rebels, troops exit: state TV - Reuters

Islamic State seizes last Syrian oilfield under government control, monitor says - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Al Qaeda calls Islamic State illegitimate but suggests cooperation - Reuters

Kurds say Syrian opposition supports Islamic State - Kurdpress News Aganecy

Former Sex Slave Says Kayla Mueller Was Killed By ISIS, Not An Airstrike -

The women taking on ISIS: on the ground with Iraq's Yazidi female fighters - The Guardian

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


Where are we going and why are we in Hillary's hand basket?

Hillary Clinton's favorite "Hitler" these days is Putin, with Assad in close second. Her days of giggling triumphantly over the murder of Gadaffi may be behind her. And one of her favorite ways of demonizing Putin has been denouncing his opposition to gay rights. Yet Hillary, along with Rick Santorum, was a supporter of proposed legislation that might have legalized the recently hyped refusal of a government employee in Kentucky to allow a gay couple to marry. Hillary has long favored bombing places that lack civil liberties, and sponsored legislation to criminalize the burning of a U.S. flag.

Some contradictions in U.S. politics (President Obama allowing Arctic drilling and then visiting the Arctic to lament his own destruction of the earth's climate, for example) appear easily explained by sheer soulless corruption via the simple transfer of dollars. Other contradictions (the eagerness of Hillary and her then-president husband Bill) to launch a war over fictional atrocities in Yugoslavia but not over real ones in Rwanda) require at least a bit more analysis.

Diana Johnstone's forthcoming book, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, succeeds in providing an understanding of Hillary Clinton's own worldview like nothing else I've read -- and it does so despite being largely not about Hillary Clinton. Johnstone's book is culture and political criticism at its finest. It's a study of the American neo-liberal, with a particular focus here-and-there on Clinton. I strongly recommend reading it, whatever your level of interest in the "Queen of Chaos" herself, for its illumination of the ideologies underlying U.S. adventurism, exceptionalism, and "responsibility to protect" obsession with identifying believable threats of "genocide" in nations disloyal to Washington or Wall Street.

Johnstone has little interest in "proving" that a woman can be president, a point that she takes to be obvious. "Avoiding World War III is somewhat more urgent," she maintains. Why World War III? Isn't everything well with the world, other than a few evil Muslims trying to kill us all? And wouldn't a woman president help ease tensions?

Johnstone's account of Clinton's record moves from her support of a right-wing military coup in Honduras to her active engagement in facilitating a right-wing military coup in Ukraine. In between, Johnstone looks in-depth at Clinton's backing of her husband's illegal war on Yugoslavia, and the lies she's told about it, which go much deeper than her false claim to have braved sniper fire at an airport. Johnstone also examines the 2011 war on Libya for which she gives Clinton significant blame. (And lest we forget, here's video of Clinton promoting the 2002 authorization for an invasion of Iraq.)

Then there's Clinton's allegiance to the right-wing Israeli government agenda, on exhibit in her speech this week and in Queen of Chaos:

"In July 2014, billionaire Haim Saban declared in a Bloomberg TV interview that he would contribute 'as much as needed' to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is significant because both Saban's fortune and his zeal seem to be inexhaustible. Saban declares proudly that his greatest concern is to protect Israel through strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. 'I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.' . . . Saban showered seven million dollars on the Democratic National Committee, donated five million dollars to Bill Clinton's Presidential Library, and above all, founded his very own think tank, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy within the Brookings Institution, previously considered the most politically neutral of major Washington think tanks. This was accomplished by a record donation to Brookings of thirteen million dollars. . . . As things look now, the 2016 presidential race could be a contest between Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson. In either case, the winner would be Israel."

Johnstone does a good job of bringing out Clinton's belief in the rightness of all U.S. wars, past and possible. In 2012 Clinton gave a speech in which she claimed that a "small group" was preventing the U.S. from going in and saving Syria from Hitler/Assad, a small group consisting of Iran, Russia, and China:

"She went on to say that: 'we are also increasing our efforts to assist the opposition,' before adding that if we are successful, 'Assad will increase the level of violent response.' At a moment like this, one must ask whether she realizes what she is saying. She is admitting that U.S. military aid to the opposition intended to prevent violence will provoke more violence. If there is indeed a possibility of 'genocide,' which is doubtful, this possibility will be increased by that very assistance to the opposition Hillary is calling for, since it will increase the overall violence."

When asked about bombing Libya on Meet the Press, Clinton said, "Let's be fair here. They didn't attack us, but what they were doing and Gaddafi's history and the potential for the disruption and instability was very much in our interests ... and seen by our European friends and our Arab partners as very vital to their interests.' In short, bombing the hell out of a sovereign country that did us no harm is perfectly okay if we consider it to be in our 'interests,' or in the 'interests' of our 'European friends' and our 'Arab partners.' Not only that, but bombing a country, arming rebels and overthrowing its government is the way to prevent 'disruption' and 'instability.'"

Clinton is open about her view of the world, but would prefer the details remained unknown. She has condemned Edward Snowden's whistleblowing as criminal and even suggested that he should face prosecution under the Espionage Act.

One way of grasping where Clinton is coming from is to examine, in her case, what she herself admits is the major corrupting factor in U.S. elections: money. Who funds her? Here's Johnstone:

"Take a look at the list of Clinton Foundation donors who have contributed millions of dollars, supposedly for charity – the sort of charity that begins at home. These are philanthropists who give in order to get. Eight digit donors include: Saudi Arabia, the pro-Israel Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, and the Saban family. Pinchuk has pledged millions to a branch of the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, for a program to train future Ukrainian leaders according to 'European values.' Seven digit donors include: Kuwait, Exxon Mobil, 'Friends of Saudi Arabia,' James Murdoch, Qatar, Boeing, Dow, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart and the United Arab Emirates. Cheapskates paying their dues to the Clintons with contributions above only half a million include: the Bank of America, Chevron, Monsanto, Citigroup and the inevitable Soros Foundation."

For an example of how Clinton does the bidding of her funders, look at the case of Boeing, examined by the Washington Post.

Does this help explain why Republicans on Wall Street are backing her?

Here's a list of horrible governments to which Hillary supported transferring weaponry once they had donated to her foundations.

Can you get more corrupt that that? Hillary Clinton can. Here's a collection of examples how.

For a deeper understanding of where candidates like Hillary Clinton, her husband, the three Bushes, Obama, and others come from, I also strongly recommend another forthcoming book called Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014, by Laurence Shoup, who co-authored the 1977 book, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy.

The CFR, according to Shoup, is the world's most powerful private organization. It has about 5,000 individual members and 170 corporate members, a staff of 330, a budget of $60 million, and assets of $492 million. It began at the end of World War I and included both wings of the wealth-and-war party, dedicated to spreading U.S. dominance and influence around the globe for the good of the heathen.

Madeleine Albright brought Bill Clinton into the CFR in the 1980s, and the contacts he made there, in Shoup's view, brought him the media, funding, and insider advisers that made him president, not to mention his post-presidential fortune. Co-Chair of CFR Robert Rubin led Clinton's National Economic Council and his push for NAFTA before being made Secretary of the Treasury and pushing the repeal of Glass-Steagall before moving on to the board of Citigroup -- listed as a major Clinton-foundation funder above. Fifteen of Bill Clinton's top 17 foreign policy officials were, like him, CFR members, five of whom had been or would soon be directors. Daughter Chelsea Clinton became a CFR member in 2013.

What's wrong with CFR broadcasting its views on National Public Radio and holding its elitist meetings with movers and shakers? You might as well ask what's wrong with U.S. foreign policy, because the policy of the past decades has in fact been largely the policy desired, proposed, and enacted by the CFR and its members. And it is not what the U.S. public has wanted.

In 2013, a Pew-CFR effort polled CFR members and the general public. Among the public, 81% wanted protecting U.S. jobs to be a priority, but only 29% of CFR members did. Among CFR members, 93% favored corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a much higher percentage than among the general public believed that drone murders make the United States safer. These results line up with the 2014 peer-reviewed study done at Princeton and Northwestern Universities, which found that the United States is not a democracy, but an "oligarchy," that the demands of the wealthy are met by the government, whereas the desires of everyone else are ignored.

Changing that will require a nonviolent revolution, not a particular outcome from an almost completely corrupted electoral (and communications) system. But with the current corporate media behaving as if we need to know something more about Hillary Clinton before rejecting her, let me just say this to the infinitely annoying plague-like medium known as the email: My Dear emails, you little maggots eating away the minutes of my day, if your scandal rids us of the risk of installing Hillary Clinton in the White House, all shall be forgiven.

Focus: Clinton, Sanders, Biden - Sep 11, 2015

POLL (CNN-ORC): Clinton’s lead over Sanders shrinks nationally as her edge over GOP vanishes, gets 37%, Sanders 27% and Biden 20% - CNN

POLL: Full results of the CNN-ORC poll - CNN

POLL (Quinnipiac): Bernie Sanders leaps to 1-point lead over Clinton in Iowa, erases 19-point deficit -

POLL: Full results of the Quinnipiac poll - Quinnipiac University

VIDEO: Sanders 'stunned' he's beating Clinton - YouTube

Sanders campaign set for expansion, strategy is focused on a slew of primary elections on March 1 known as Super Tuesday - TheHill

Sanders makes pitch to black caucus - TheHill

Sanders to roll out criminal justice bill - TheHill

Bernie Sanders: 'Not Acceptable' To Jail Young Pot Smokers And Let Big Bank CEOs Walk -

Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor outlines his support of the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal, likening its critics to those who backed the Iraq War in 2002 - CNN

VIDEO: Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor: War Should Be the Last Option: Why I Support the Iran Deal - YouTube

Bernie Sanders Has a Fan in the James Bond Actor Daniel Craig - The New York Times



Clinton calls for tougher response to Russia on Ukraine and Syria, 'effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular on Putin'  - rferl

Hillary Clinton draws hard line on Iran as she speaks in support of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with the country - MSNBC

VIDEOS: A compilation of Brookings remarks from Hillary Clinton on her view of the Iran nuclear deal (full speech included) - YouTube

Hillary Clinton's foreign policy isn't ‘muscular’—it's bellicose, When the press mistakes being hawkish for being strong - The Atlantic

Hillary Clinton Speaks to Mostly Empty Hall in Columbus, Ohio - Breitbart

Donors urge Hillary Clinton to stop ignoring Sanders - POLITICO

Hillary Clinton’s Bulldog David Brock Blazes New Campaign Finance Trails - TIME

Pro-Clinton crusader David Brockin in his new book: The New York Times has 'a special place in hell' - POLITICO

Joe Biden visits New York City amid 2016 presidential bid speculation - Newsday

Joe Biden, in Colbert Interview, Expresses Doubts About Bid for President - The New York Times

Two D.N.C. Officials Call for Adding More Debates - The New York Times



Huma Abedin, top Clinton aide, formally investigated by feds for embezzlement - Washington Times

Huma Abedin criminal probe: Watchdog opened, but DOJ passed - POLITICO

State Department only turns over fraction of requested documents about Clinton aide Huma Abedin - Fox News

Clinton aide Abedin to testify at Benghazi panel on Oct 22 - TheHill

Justice Department rules Hillary Clinton followed law in deleting emails - Washington Times

State Department 'Email Czar' Received Classified Hillary Emails -

Kirby: Transparency Czar's Donations To Hillary 'Not Relevant' - Breitbart

Lawsuit seeks info on Hillary Clinton lawyer's thumb drive - POLITICO

Hillary Clinton IT specialist Pagliano takes the Fifth - POLITICO

Wall Street expert: Clinton Foundation a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ - WND

Second Interim Report on the Clinton Foundation - Charles Ortel

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

Speaking Events


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

(Invite David Swanson to your town!)


April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
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April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
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April 14, Bellingham, WA, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, evening

April 15, Seattle, WA

April 16 Portland, OR




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