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Editor Note: The West has accused Russia of violating a 1994 pledge to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for its surrender of Soviet-era nuclear weapons. But the West’s political and economic interference might also represent a violation, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
Did Russia’s annexation of Crimea on March violate the 1994 Budapest agreement among Ukraine, Russia, Great Britain and the U.S.? Specifically, in Paragraph One, Ukraine agreed to remove all nuclear weapons from its territory in return for a commitment by Russia, Britain and the U.S. “to respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine?”
Dear Colleagues, dear Friends:
First of all, thank you very much for organizing the very interesting and important Peace Event in Sarajevo from June 6th to 9th, which you’ve called “the biggest international peace event 2014.” You have put together a compelling program.
Weeks ago I purchased my flight tickets to Sarajevo. I looked forward to the meetings and discussions with colleagues. I was also grateful for the opportunity to show a film, “The Killing Floor,” and to co-present a workshop about the first Global Action Day against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing on October 4, 2014.
Only very recently did I notice that the donors for Peace Event Sarajevo include not only respected NGOs and foundations, but also the French Foreign Ministry (Ministère des Affaires Etrangères) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
How can this be? What do the governments of France and the United States hope to achieve by financing a peace event in Sarajevo? Have you perhaps heardthis same concern from other conference participants?
After all, the U.S. is by far the most aggressive war power in the world, with annual military spending that dwarfs that of all other countries and with operations all over the planet in violation of the sovereignty of other nations and international law. Among European nations, France is playing a particularly aggressive role, especially in Africa, and is working to persuade its European partners in NATO and the EU to join in more military ventures, often in the guise of “peacemaking” and “humanitarian” intervention.
Since I am a U.S. citizen, in the remainder of this letter I wish to explain more fully why I strongly object to the acceptance of a donation from USAID for a peace conference.
As you must know, USAID was founded at the height of the Cold War in 1961 and has played a controversial role in U.S. government destabilization efforts in various countries ever since, beginning with Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The USAID website sets forth the mission of this agency:
“USAID is a U.S. Government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.”
“Although technically an independent federal agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.”
“Further, since 9/11, America’s foreign assistance programs have been more fully integrated into the United States’ National Security Strategy.”
Over the years, many countries have expelled USAID. In 2012 Russia expelled USAID because of “attempts to influence political processes through its grants,” and Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Venezuela called on all the Latin American ALBA countries to expel USAID.
It seems that these countries had good grounds to expel USAID. For example, in 2013 Wikileaks exposed how USAID worked in Venezuela to destabilize its government. In April 2014, an investigative article by the Associated Press exposed USAID attempts to destabilize Cuba by setting up a Cuban Twitter service. Some 40,000 Cubans joined the Twitter service, unaware of the U.S. role in setting it up. They also were unaware that the U.S. government was monitoring their private Twitter communications. The U.S. had planned to subsequently intervene in Cuban social networks by sending messages to the Twitter subscribers with the aim of fomenting unrest in Cuba. Reporting on the Cuban Twitter scandal, the well-known U.S. independent news program Democracy Now asked: “Is USAID the New CIA?”
Nearer to Sarajevo, USAID has played a leading role in the U.S. “regime change” effort in the Ukraine. USAID of course supports the coup government in Kiev, which includes acknowledged fascists and has unleashed terror and death on countless Ukrainians. Over the last twenty years, USAID pumped $1.8 billion into various Ukrainian projects, including $1.25 million to subsidize the pro-Kiev media in advance of the May 25th presidential election. In May 2014 USAID brokered a U.S. government loan guarantee of another billion dollars.
And here in Germany, USAID is partnered with AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, which is part of the Pentagon and the central command for all U.S. military ventures in Africa, including intelligence gathering, illegal drone murders, clandestine special forces ventures, and providing training and assistance for African military forces allied with the U.S. The U.S. military activities in Africa are often conducted in close association with those of France, and the U.S. has provided France with Reaper drones for use in Africa. To summarize, USAID provides a “humanitarian” veneer for brutal neo-colonial policies in Africa. USAID is the glove on the massive U.S. military fist.
Acceptance of the USAID donation damages the reputation of Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 and of its participants, and undermines the conference’s credibility.
Acceptance of the donation also helps the nefarious USAID to spruce up its image through association with well-respected peace activists, so that USAID can continue to “talk of peace” while preparing wars.
Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 should immediately return the USAID donation.
If for some reason it is not possible to return the USAID donation, Peace Event Sarajevo organizers should at the beginning of the conference disclose to all conference participants all details concerning the USAID donation, including how it came about, its amount, and any donor letters, contracts or correspondence.
Furthermore, Peace Event Sarajevo organizers must assure conference participants that their contact data and other personal information have not been and will not be made available to USAID for future schemes to influence social networks as was attempted by USAID in the Cuban Twitter project.
This article is a Truthout original.
Author Elsa Rassbach is US citizen, filmmaker and journalist, who often lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She heads the “GIs & US Bases” working group in DFG-VK (the German affiliate of War Resisters International, WRI) and is active in Code Pink, UNAC,No to NATO, and the anti-drone campaign in Germany. Her film short “We Were Soldiers in the ‘War on Terror’” has just been released in the U.S., and “The Killing Floor,” her award-winning film set in the Chicago Stockyards, will be re-released next year.
On Thursday, May 29, with 25 meters of signatures, the resounding NO to Italian cooperation with Israeli water company Mekorot was taken to Rome City Hall. The 7114 signatures on the petition against the agreement signed between Rome’s water utility ACEA and Mekorot snaked their way through the public square where a delegation of the Committee Against ACEA-Mekorot Cooperation and the Rome Coordination for Public Water delivered a copy to the office of mayor Ignazio Marino. The petition calls on the city of Rome, the majority shareholder in ACEA, thus far silent on the issue, to take the necessary steps to block the agreement signed by the two companies.
Mekorot, Israel's national water company, is responsible for serious violations of international law. The company extracts water illegally from Palestinian water sources, in turn providing the stolen water to Israeli settlements built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory, which could not exist without Mekorot. An artificial water shortage that concerns only the Palestinian people has been created by Israeli policies, implemented by Mekorot, while abundant water supplies flow to the swimming pools, lawns and intensive agriculture of the Israeli settlements. The Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq refers to this as "water apartheid," and organizations such as Amnesty International have stated that the purpose of these policies is to expel the Palestinians from their land.
On the Campidoglio Square in front of City Hall, where the movement for the right to housing was also protesting, activists noted that while the ACEA denies the fundamental right to water with cutoffs for those unable to pay their water bill, the company is now looking to go into business with those stealing water in Palestine in order to turn a profit on a common good.
Beyond Rome and Italy, the signatures on the petition also came from more than 60 countries around the world, including Israel. Just days prior, on May 25 a letter from Israeli citizens was sent to the City of Rome and ACEA demanding that all cooperation with Mekorot cease immediately. http://bdsitalia.org/index.
Protests will continue on June 5 at 10:00 am during the ACEA annual shareholders meeting, where activists working to defend the fundamental right to water, from Rome to Palestine, will reaffirm, in addition to the calls for an end to the agreement with Mekorot, that there is no room for profits and private speculation on water and its management must be public.
No Committee Mekorot ACEA Agreement
Coordination Roman Public Water
“We must use all available options,
which have been given to us,
to end the global suffering.”
The future is always present. The caterpillar contains the information of the butterfly. Behind the global violence, the dream of a new Earth develops.
With this perspective we are able to look into the insanity of our epoch, which has reached its climax. Every day uncountable human beings, animals and biotopes die in order to maintain a system from which ever fewer people profit. Big parts of the Earth are systematically destabilized. Many of the current wars serve – exactly as in the establishment of world spanning “free trade zones” – the extension of capitalist power in the direction of a totalitarian world order. Humanity is heading toward a global catastrophe.
We are facing the decision: Planetary collapse or comprehensive system change?
What we now need is engaged women and men to join powers for the development of concrete perspectives and corresponding strategies for their distribution. It is no longer possible to bear witness to the worldwide atrocities without working on a convincing alternative.
We invite activists, decision-makers, journalists, investors, musicians, artists and researchers from all over the world to the Summer University in Tamera. We especially invite all participants of the worldwide Terra Nova School to meet here, connect with each other and strengthen themselves. We invite you to co-create a global alliance for a future without war.
The ten-day Summer University is an intense community experience and a space for strategic planning and creative work. In a variety of different groups, we want to develop answers to the following questions:
Instead of paying a regular “event fee” we invite you to participate in our current spiritual experiment of redirecting money into models for the future. Our suggestion is that each participant tries to acquire a minimum amount of 1000€ in addition to the 20€ day rate. Please take a moment to read this, and join in.
Just as Greenpeace has to be financed by donations, building functioning peace models needs broad financial support. For this purpose we currently launch a big action. We invite sponsors and people from the financial world to no longer invest money in an outdated economic system, but in the implementation of a profound future perspective – in the development of Tamera and the Healing Biotopes Project. There are many people in this world today who do not know where they can put their money and are searching for meaningful ways to invest in a decent future perspective. We ask all of you to participate in this big fundraising experiment.
We want our International Summer University to become a planetary meeting place for peace workers and to use the event, in the spirit of this money campaign, for a common spiritual experiment. With your contribution you will cover operating costs of Tamera and help to support three of our operations & projects that currently require financial support. For more details on how the 1000€ will be used, please check the Summer University event description on the Tamera website: www.tamera.org.
By participating in this experiment all together, we build a common power field of success. We invite you to become active in seducing money flows in the process.
Share the event on Facebook.
Institute for Global Peace Work (IGP)
Tamera Peace Research Center
Monte do Cerro, P-7630-303 Colos, Portugal
Phone: +351-283 635 484, Fax: - 374
From June 6 to 9, the peace movement from around the world will gather in Sarajevo. See http://PeaceEventSarajevo2014.eu We speak with one of the planners of this event, Reiner Braun.
Reiner Braun is based in Berlin, Germany. He is the Executive Director of Scientists for Peace and Sustainability and the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility. Since 2004 Reiner Braun has been working for various projects related to the Einstein year at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and for the Max Planck Society. Since 2006 he has been the Executive Director of the German branch and since 2012 of the full International Association Of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. He is project manager of the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (or Federation of German Scientists), the German Pugwash group. And since Septmber 2013 he has been Co-president of the International Peace Bureau and one of the speakers of the German peace mouvement.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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Most taxpayers know that evading tax is a crime, but how many of us know
that paying tax can also be a crime? Chris Coverdale, a tax resister, explains.
It is a salutary fact that every time a resident or visitor to Britain purchases a cup of coffee or buys a drink in a pub we make a small but significant contribution to war and the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. Every time we pay tax we take part in the world’s worst crimes - genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against peace.
Under the domestic and international laws of war citizens are forbidden from taking part in a war on the side of the aggressor and are legally bound to disobey the orders of any Government that takes part in illegal war or supports acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. This duty to refuse to obey unlawful Government orders includes orders to pay tax [Income tax, Council tax, VAT etc]. If a government uses the funds raised by taxation to wage illegal war or to commit genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, then a taxpayer’s normal duty to pay tax is reversed and becomes a duty to refuse to pay tax.
“ The very essence of the Charter is that individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State. He who violates the laws of war cannot obtain immunity while acting in pursuance of the authority of the State, if the State in authorising action moves outside its competence under international law…”
Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal 1946
War is never lawful; it was outlawed in 1928 by the Treaty for the Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact). This treaty, which formed the legal basis for the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials and the prosecution of Germany’s leaders, is still in force. The only occasion when the use of armed force is lawful occurs when a State is under attack and it acts in self-defence to repel the attackers. On all other occasions the use of armed force is illegal.
“War between nations was renounced by the signatories of the Kellogg-Briand Treaty. This means that it has become throughout practically the entire world an illegal thing. Hereafter, when nations engage in armed conflict, either one or both of them must be termed violators of this general treaty law.... We denounce them as law breakers."
HenryStimson, USA Secretary of State 1932
Wilful killing during war is a crime. If a person is killed as a consequence of an aggressive military action then the death is unlawful and everyone involved in the commission of the crime commits an offence and can be charged with a war crime, a crime against humanity, genocide, a crime against peace, murder or complicity in these crimes.
WHEN WAR IS ILLEGAL, PAYING TAX IS A WAR CRIME
In international law each of the wars fought since 2001 against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is illegal. Not only do they violate the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the UN Charter, but by killing civilians, the leaders and taxpayers of every State involved in these wars committed murder, crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Under the common law doctrine of ‘joint enterprise’, Article 25 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court or Terrorism legislation every citizen of a NATO State who has paid tax since 2001 is technically an accessory to the crimes committed by their Government, and is criminally liable for arrest, prosecution and punishment for complicity in war crimes.
The fact, that taxpayers and tax collectors can be arrested, tried and punished as war criminals alongside the civil, political and military leaders responsible for waging a war may come as an unwelcome shock to those who are not familiar with the laws of war. But it should be no surprise to anyone who has experienced or considered the horrific consequences of war. Waging a war, in which tens of thousands of totally innocent men women and children are injured and killed, is the world’s most evil act; so supporting a war, by paying tax and providing the funds to buy the weapons and pay the troops, ranks alongside it as a monstrous crime.
Taxpayers who have unwittingly supported illegal wars will be relieved to know that the legislation provides them with a get-out clause. Article 25.3(f) of the Rome Statute states:
… a person who abandons the effort to commit the crime or otherwise prevents the completion of the crime shall not be liable for punishment under this Statute for the attempt to commit that crime if that person completely and voluntarily gave up the criminal purpose.
As long as taxpayers end their participation in the crimes immediately and refuse to pay tax to their government or its agents until the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Pakistan have ended, they will not be punished. To avoid the possibility of being tried and punished as an accessory to war crimes, sign a Declarationwithdrawing your consent to taxation until all unlawful military actions have ended and the UK Government is abiding by its treaty commitments and the laws of war. Remember, if you continue to pay tax whilst HM Forces and our allies in NATO are attacking and killing innocent civilians – a war crime, you are liable in law for arrest and prosecution as an accessory to war crimes.
We all have a choice. We can withhold tax and force our Governments to end their illegal wars or we can continue to pay our taxes and prolong the carnage. It’s our choice and our decision.
“War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal 1946
Treaty for the Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact), UN Charter, Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, Nuremburg Principles, Genocide Convention, Geneva Conventions, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Terrorism Act.
Article 25.3(f) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
S. 51 and 52 of The International Criminal Court Act 2001 or S.1, 2, and 3 The International Criminal Court [Scotland] Act 2001
By Dave Lindorff
I was shocked to find myself in almost perfect agreement today with a recent column by the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer.
Usually Krauthammer has me groaning, but yesterday his column nailed it.
- Fought to protect corporate America’s $50,000,000.00 investment in Cuba during the Spanish-American War;
- Died on foreign shores during World War I in what President Woodrow Wilson, who involved the U.S. in that war, later said “…in its inception, was a commercial and industrial war;”
- Sacrificed so much in World War II while U.S. companies, with U.S. government approval, continually supplied the Axis powers with goods that U.S. citizens had to ration, including materials used to help kill Allied soldiers;
- Suffered and died in Korea, to safeguard and ensure the expansion of U.S. trade throughout the region;
- Endured the hell of the Vietnam War to satisfy the egos of three presidents, and help ensure their elections and re-elections;
- Fought in the heat of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti deserts to protect Western oil sources;
Lay down your arms in Ukraine!
Stop NATO !
The peace movement in Germany shares with many people the concern for peace in Europe. Nothing is good in Ukraine. The situation is stretched to breaking point, further escalation is to be feared. It is 5 minutes before midnight.
The transitional government is significantly influenced by representatives of the neo-fascist party "Svoboda" and the right-wing militant group "Right Sector“. Their goal is to fight the people in eastern Ukraine, opposing by military force those in the East who demand greater autonomy and self-determination. The recently convened "Round Table" is a sham, because the representatives of the “breakaway” regions are excluded.
The sabre-rattling in the West is completely inadequate to the seriousness of the situation. The ones seeing Russia as the big troublemaker and aggressor, have understood very little of the conditions in and around Ukraine. The authorship of international tensions in Eastern Europe lies in the policies of the EU and NATO, who have pushed their borders towards both Russia and Ukraine. They now want to gag Ukraine economically with a contract of association and bring it into a military posture against Russia. What was once conceived as a "common European home", degenerates into a Western-dominated Europe in which Russia is assigned the role of at best a servants' chamber. Common security is different!
What Ukraine and the region need are an immediate cease-fire and the beginning of a negotiation process with all parties involved. The peace movement demands:
Do everything to achieve a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine.
From EU and the federal government of Germany, we demand a policy of de-escalation in the Ukraine and to reduce tensions with Russia;
No economic sanctions ! Withdrawal of the " Association Agreement " !
To the media in our country, we demand a proper reporting and to tone down the rhetoric.
No tolerance of, and no cooperation with, fascist forces in Ukraine!
Stop the eastward expansion of NATO! Ukraine must remain non-aligned.
No arms exports into the region !
Create trust : for example, by convening a European Security Conference and the strict respect of the prohibition of force enshrined in international law.
Common security rather than confrontation!
Demonstrations, rallies and other actions will be held on Saturday, May 31 throughout Germany, at 11:55 am with the common signal to Ukraine : LAY DOWN YOUR WEAPONS !
Federal Friedensratschlag: http://www.ag-
No justice at the US DOJ: AG Holder’s Big News about Prosecuting Chinese Spying and a Crooked Swiss Bank are a Joke
By Dave Lindorff
The Justice Department is really pumping out the pointless prosecutions these days.
By T., a teacher from Odessa -- submitted by Bruce Gagnon
I have lived in Odessa since my early childhood and adore this sunny south city with its hospitable and witty people. Odessa is a multinational city which is reflected in the names of its streets: French and Italian Boulevards, Greek and Bulgarian Streets, Moldavian district, etc. Odessa was built according to a decree issued by the Russian empress Catherine the Great over 200 years ago as a Russian port city on the Black Sea. And it was constructed by French and Italian architects and engineers invited by Catherine. That is why it is said to resemble Paris …
During the Soviet period Odessa was a part of the Ukrainian SSR – one of the 15 republics comprising the USSR at the time, though it was Russian, both by its population and the language it spoke. But it was not of principal importance for the numerous nations and nationalities living there, as all of them had equal rights and comprised one and the same Soviet people. When I studied at school there were Russians, Ukrainians, Jews and Bulgarians in my class, and it didn’t matter – we were the citizens of one and the same country.
After the USSR collapsed, the Ukrainian Republic became Ukraine and started building its own independent state seeking to prove its self-sufficiency and ability to become a powerful and prosperous state. But it failed. Instead the state succeeded in splitting and embroiling the two people inhabiting it – Ukrainians and Russians. Being a teacher I can definitely state that in 23 years of independence there appeared a generation of young people brought up in a Russophobic spirit. It was made possible due to the anti-Russian policy of the state which tried to shift the discontent of its citizens from itself onto its external neighbour-state – Russia (the so-called “younger-brother syndrome”). But to make hatred to one’s fraternal people a country’s national idea is, to my mind, absurd and a crime against its own people.
Ukraine could be called “an artificial state”. If one takes interest in its history, it will turn out that the state has existed in its present form not so long ago, and consists of heterogeneous parts. One of the major reasons of the present crisis in Ukraine is that the neo-nazi and Russophobic ideology of one of these parts, Galicia, is imposed upon the entire Ukraine. The slogans of the Kiev “Maidan” like “Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to heroes!”, “Nation is above all!”, “Death to enemies!” are the slogan of the nationalists and Bandera-followers from the west of Ukraine. Their enemies are Russians, and their heroes are Bandera, Shukhevich and the like, who were fascists’ henchmen during the last war, and who became notorious for their flagrant atrocities against peaceful population in the west of Ukraine.
And for Odessa, which heroically fought with [against Hitler] the fascist invaders, for Crimea (which “returned back home to Russia”), as well as for the whole southern and eastern Ukraine, such an ideology is unacceptable and arouses rebuff. There are lots of ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking people here who are traditionally strongly attached by Russia. So in many cities, Odessa inclusive, people started participating in peaceful protest marches demanding, in particular, a referendum as to the future state structure arrangement.
They do not want to be second-rate people, they want to stay on the land where they belong, to speak their native tongue, and to live in peace with their Russian neighbours-brothers, as well as with the whole world. But the Western-backed (US first and foremost) unelected fascist regime in Kiev does not want to take into account their inalienable right to their culture and national identity, so confrontation and repressions started. The propaganda of the Ukrainian media is stirring up the information war, the journalists trying to tell the truth have to leave the country. The Russian TV channels are cut off. A parliamentary deputy, Oleg Tsaryov, the only presidential candidate who tried to inform the government and the world public about the opinion of the people living in the south-east, is now subject to criminal prosecution and is being relieved from inviolability of a deputy.
On the Internet there has recently been promulgated the telephone talk between Tsaryov and the second-richest Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoysky (the latter is said to stay behind and pay for organizing the flagrant provocation and massacre in Odessa, as well as for organizing punitive squads for fighting the people’s volunteer corps in the eastern regions of Ukraine), in which Kolomoysky was threatening Tsaryov and his family.(ref) As a result, millions of people in the south-east do not feel themselves protected, fear about their future and seek protection and salvation from their brothers-Slavs living in Russia. That’s why the slogans “Russia!”, “No to junta”, “No to fascism!” and “Putin!” were sounding during their peaceful protest marches. These thousands of people are neither "separatists", nor "terrorists" as they are often called by the pro-Kiev media, they are just peaceful citizens wishing to be heard.
Now the split in Ukraine has turned into a real war against its own people, with a great number of victims. The horrible massacre and the succeeding burning of dozens of people in Odessa is, to my mind, a peak in the fratricidal war. I am neither a politician, an expert, nor an investigator, so I am not to judge exactly what forces are behind these events. But having read lots of information and opinions on the Internet I understand that it is definitely a provocation in the dirty game of big politicians and oligarchs in their struggle for redivision of the world, power and money. Now only children do not understand that the West does not want to see the truth about the events in Ukraine because the stakes in this game are geopolitical. The fight is for hegemony in the world between Russia and the USA, and Ukraine just happens to be the battlefield between these two “great powers”. It is quite natural that Russia does not want to have NATO “at its door”, and a US naval base deployed in Odessa. Neither do the Russians living here.
Whether the crime in Odessa will be investigated or not, is a big question. I personally am not at all sure of it. But it is impossible to put up with the fact that 48 Odessites (and, by the grapevine, much more) have been burned alive, as in Byelorussian village of Khatyn. We have been seeing their charred bodies while sleeping and have cried our eyes out imagining their sufferings. There has never been such a horrible crime against humanity in Odessa since the war of 1941-1945. My parents were fighting then against Hitler invaders, my father was awarded to many orders and medals, my mother had two medals too – one “For the Defense of Stalingrad”, and another one “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War”. So I cannot accept the fact that neo-nazism and fascism as represented by the current junta (and there is no other name for this unlawful and criminal government) is established in Ukraine. After the Odessa Khatyn there will never be a single and united Ukraine. Fascism/nazism is a terrible evil, and if it is not immediately stopped, it will keep growing and sprawling like cancer.
I was so glad when, thanks to Olga, I got an opportunity to contact you: now we have some hope to bring the truth about Odessa and Ukraine to the people all over the world. I would be happy if my letter could at least a little helpful for you in your noble and important activity, that of struggle for peace.
The international criminal court's decision to investigate allegations of war crimes places the UK in the company of countries such as the Central African Republic, Colombia and Afghanistan.
Allegations that British troops were responsible for a series of war crimes following the invasion of Iraq are to be examined by the international criminal court (ICC) at the Hague, officials have announced.
The court is to conduct a preliminary examination of around 60 alleged cases of unlawful killing and claims that more than 170 Iraqis were mistreated while in British military custody.
British defence officials are confident that the ICC will not move to the next stage and announce a formal investigation, largely because the UK has the capacity to investigate the allegations itself.
However, the announcement is a blow to the prestige of the armed forces, as the UK is the only western state that has faced a preliminary investigation at the ICC. The court's decision places the UK in the company of countries such as the Central African Republic, Colombia and Afghanistan.
In a statement, the ICC said: "The new information received by the office alleges the responsibility of officials of the United Kingdom for war crimes involving systematic detainee abuse in Iraq from 2003 until 2008.
"The re-opened preliminary examination will analyse, in particular, alleged crimes attributed to the armed forces of the United Kingdom deployed in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.
Responding to the decision, the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, said the government rejected any allegation that there was systematic abuse carried out by the British armed forces in Iraq.
"British troops are some of the best in the world and we expect them to operate to the highest standards, in line with both domestic and international law," he said. "In my experience the vast majority of our armed forces meet those expectations."
Grieve added that although the allegations are already being "comprehensively investigated" in the UK "the UK government has been, and remains a strong supporter of the ICC and I will provide the office of the prosecutor with whatever is necessary to demonstrate that British justice is following its proper course".
The investigation also means that the British police team responsible for investigating the allegations, as well as the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA), which is responsible for bringing courts martial cases, and Grieve, who must make the final decision on war crimes prosecutions in the UK, can all expect to face a degree of scrutiny from The Hague.
Coming just days before a European election in which the UK Independence party (Ukip) is widely expected to perform well – in part because of its scepticism about European institutions such as the ICC – the court's decision is also likely to trigger considerable political turmoil.
The decision by the ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, was made after a complaint was lodged in January by Berlin-based human rights NGO the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, and Birmingham law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), which represented the family of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi hotel receptionist tortured to death by British troops in 2003, and which has since represented scores of other men and women who were detained and allegedly mistreated.
The process of a preliminary examination can take several years.
The newly-appointed head of the SPA, Andrew Cayley QC – who has 20 years experience of prosecuting at war crimes tribunals in Cambodia and at The Hague – said he was confident that the ICC would eventually conclude that the UK should continue to investigate the allegations.
Cayley said the SPA "will not flinch" from bringing prosecutions, if the evidence justifies it. He added that he did not anticipate any civilians – officials or ministers – facing prosecution.
Any war crime committed by British servicemen or servicewomen is an offence under English law by virtue of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.
The ICC has already seen evidence suggesting that British troops did commit war crimes in Iraq, concluding after receiving a previous complaint in 2006: "There was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed, namely wilful killing and inhuman treatment." At that point, the court concluded that it should take no action, as there were fewer than 20 allegations.
Many more cases have emerged in recent years. Currently, the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), the body set up by the Ministry of Defence to investigate complaints arising from the five-year British military occupation of the south-east of the country, is examining 52 complaints of unlawful killing involving 63 deaths and 93 allegations of mistreatment involving 179 people. The alleged unlawful killings include a number of deaths in custody and the complaints of mistreatment range from relatively minor abuse to torture.
PIL withdrew allegations of unlawful killings arising out of one incident, a firefight in May 2004 known as the battle of Danny Boy, although an inquiry continues to examine allegations that a number of insurgents taken prisoner at that time were mistreated.
The ICC will examine separate allegations, mostly from former detainees held in Iraq.
Following the death of Baha Mousa, one soldier, corporal Donald Payne, admitted being guilty of inhumane treatment of detainees and was jailed for one year. He became the first and only British soldier to admit a war crime.
Six other soldiers were acquitted. The judge found that Mousa and several other men had been subjected to a series of assaults over 36 hours, but a number of charges had been dropped because of "a more or less obvious closing of ranks".
The MoD admitted to the Guardian four years ago that at least seven further Iraqi civilians had died in UK military custody. Since then, nobody has been charged or prosecuted.
Source: The Guardian
"5. (C) Ukraine and Georgia's NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia's influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests. Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face."
Right-wing sets fire at House of Labor, Odessa
UNAC, along with other groups and antiwar leaders has called for actions against US intervention in Ukraine. The call is below with an initial list of organizations and antiwar leaders who support the call.
Please add your group and your actions to the list by clicking on the links below.
Call for Emergency Antiwar Actions – May 9 to May 26
US/NATO war moves in Eastern Europe, the Black Sea, and the Baltic Sea – the borders of Russia – are a danger to the whole world. Positioning destroyers and missiles, scheduling war games, and imposing sanctions (an act of war) risk wider war.
We are deeply disturbed by the expansion of the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance and U.S. recognition and speedy grant of billions in loans to a right-wing coup government in Ukraine, which overthrew the elected government. This illegal government has used fascist violence against all forms of peoples’ resistance in Ukraine.
By more than 2 to 1, the population in the U.S. is against another war and opposed to US military moves or aid to the coup government in Ukraine (4-28-14 Pew/USA Today poll).
We must make our voices heard.
The time to act is now!
We need jobs, health care and social services, not another war.
We urge nationally coordinated antiwar actions across the U.S. and internationally - protests, vigils, teach-ins, antiwar resolutions and visits to offices of elected officials.
From May 9 to May 26 let us act together, in unity, as a powerful voice against the threat of another war.
Ukraine National Actions May. 9-26 endorsements (list in formation):
National and International groups:
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
International Action Center
U.S. Peace Council
Veterans For Peace
Alliance for Global Justice,
Black Agenda Report
International League for Peoples Struggles,
Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamel
May 1 Worker & Immigrant Rights Coalition,
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Colectivo Honduras USA Resistencia,
Pakistan USA Freedom Forum,
Fight Imperialism Stand Together - FIST,
People's Power Assembly
People's Organization for Progress
The Move Organization
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamel
Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
Suren Moodliar, Massachusetts Global Action & Green shadow Cabinet
Bishop Filipe Teixeira – OFSJC – CCA
Steve Gillis – Vice Pres. USW local 8751 Boston school Bus Union
Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace (Albany)
Chicago Anti-War Committee
MN Anti-War Committee,
Women Against Military Madness - WAMM,
Minnesota Peace Action Coalition,
Jersey City Peace Movement,
Philly Against War
Peace Action – Manhattan
Michigan Emergency Coalition Against War & Injustice (MECAWI)
Chelsea Coalition on Housing
Women’s fightback Network – Boston
Rochester Against War
US Friends of The Soviet People (Minnesota Chapter)
Veterans for Peace (Twin Cities chapter 27)
Massachusetts Global Action
Northhampton committee to Stop Wars
Recent revelations over German complicity in US drone strikes will tomorrow cast a shadow over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s talks with President Barack Obama in Washington.
Investigative journalists in Germany recently revealed Ramstein, a US base in the country, to be a major data centre for the secretive strikes, which have killed thousands of civilians in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan. Legal charity Reprieve this week revealed that a strike in Yemen over the Easter weekend killed four builders on their way to work, leaving at least 20 children fatherless.
The Ramstein findings contradict claims made by both leaders at their last meeting in June 2013, when Obama dismissed reports that US bases in Germany had been used for drone attacks. He told journalists: “We do not use Germany as a launching point for unmanned drones […] as part of our counterterrorism activities. […] I know that there have been some reports here in Germany that that might be the case. That is not.” During the same visit, Merkel spoke of Ramstein as filling “a very important function”, saying “our work is based […] on shared values.”
Recent questions in the German parliament have increased pressure on Merkel to reveal the true extent of Germany’s involvement in the strikes, but there is little evidence that the government plans to challenge the Obama administration over them.
Kat Craig, Legal Director at Reprieve, said: “One year on from Chancellor Merkel’s assertions about shared US-German ‘values’, the extent of Washington’s use of German soil to perpetrate illegal killings is clear. Despite Obama’s promises to the German people last year, the number of civilian deaths from these secretive drone strikes is higher than ever, and the response of the German government has been to ignore the issue. It is high time that Merkel raised concerns with Obama about the launching of illegal drone strikes from Germany – concerns that are echoing loudly throughout her country. ”
Taking the low road to war: Washington and the Corporate Media are in Full Propaganda Mode on Ukraine
By Dave Lindorff
The lies, propaganda and rank hypocrisy emanating from Washington, and echoed by the US corporate media regarding events in Ukraine are stunning and would be laughable, but for the fact that they appear to be aimed at conditioning the US public for increasing confrontation with Russia – confrontation which could easily tip over the edge into direct military conflict, with consequences that are too dreadful to contemplate.
By David Morrison
The resolution passed by the Rada (the Ukranian Parliament) which is supposed to have impeached and removed President Yanukovych doesn’t even mention impeachment.
The Ukranian constitution allows the Rada to appoint the Prime Minister as an Acting President, in the event of the presidency becoming vacant. The Rada appointed Olexander Turchynov Acting President even though he wasn’t Prime Minister.
An Acting President has much less power than an elected president, but Turchynov has acted as if he has the powers of an elected president.
The British Government has seriously misled both Houses of Parliament about the removal of Ukraine’s elected President from power on 22 February 2014, giving the impression that it was carried out in accordance with the Ukranian constitution in response to popular pressure, when it wasn’t. But of the 1400 or so Parliamentarians, only one has queried the matter – and the answer he received contained an outright lie.
Portugal as a Model for a New Socialism?
by Leila Dregger
Preliminary note of the author:
In this text the words socialism and communism are used synonymously. I see their differentiation and the rift, which has been stretched between their representatives, as no longer appropriate today. This article is directed toward all those interested in justice, solidarity and freedom.
April 25th, 2014, national holiday, the "Liberation Day" recalling the 25th of April 1945 when some of the main Italian cities reached the freedom from the Nazi-Fascists thanks to the long battle of the Partisans and Allied Forces.
This Friday, the 25th of April, approx 27000 of Vicenza's residents will have to leave their homes within 08:30 a.m. for the defusing of the "Old Lady", a British bomb containing 4000 pounds of explosives.
One of the thousands of bombs dropped on Vicenza between the 17th and the 18th November 1944.
“Old Lady” is probably the heaviest and most powerful of those bombs.
In those days, the 18th in particular, when many civilians were also brought to patch the holes caused by the bombing of the day before, some hundred people lost their lives.
Many were injured and died during the following days.
Many children got killed and mutilated in the weeks after, playing in the fields where many cluster bombs were still active.
A good amount of bombs ended deep underground. Some were found years later during farming works.
A reasonable quantity, over 130, have been found in these last few months during the land reclamation of a portion of the former small airport now named "Parco della Pace" (Peace Park) adjacent to the new (and second) US military base in Vicenza.
It's a big field that for 70 years stored these bombs as seeds unable (fortunately) to sprout.
I really think that this fact, the big "Old Lady" and the other 130 and more bombs found so far, should offer the occasion to think about the long lasting damages of war.
After 70 years these bombs are still dangerous to the point that people must be evacuated in a radius of 2500 meters this coming Friday.
The military experts working on the bombs declared that the "Old Lady", with its 1500 kilos of "Minol II" equivalent to approx 1800 kilos of TNT, is one of the most dangerous ever found in Italy.
In case of explosion, after 70 years, more people would be added to the victim list of WW II!
How many other bombs and mines are sleeping under a few inches of soil around the World ?
How many people die every year or loose legs or arms because of bombs and mines even years after the official ending of a war ?
In almost every continent there are still wars and fights.
During these 70 years we didn't learn much.
Not here in Italy, as well not in many other parts of the World.
Having a foreign military base next to the "park of the bombs" is a clear proof.
These foreign soldiers are deployed "promoting democracy" supported by aircrafts and drones utilizing those "intelligent/smart" bombs we all have known for causing the death of many civilians in villages, markets, hospitals and schools.
It's a very sad aspect of this modern world.
Considering our “bomb day”, leaving home this Friday morning, I would like to imagine that probably the "Old Lady" and these other 130 and more “sleeping” bombs found are the real "intelligent" bombs.
I imagine that while falling down from the aircrafts, seeing the massive destruction below, a real hell on earth, these bombs in some way said “enough is enough” and chose to refuse to do their job.
They deserted and went to hide under soft ground instead of blowing up causing further destruction.
May be they are trying to teach us something ?
Until now this “Old Lady” has been really capable to learn from human errors and horrors.
Via Marosticana 299/Z, 36100 Vicenza, Italy
UNESCO Heritage City
The management of the Nobel Peace Prize has become a case for the Norwegian police, following a request for criminal investigation from 16 prominent Scandinavians, parliamentarians, lawyers, authors and peace activists, 10 Swedes and 6 Norwegians, to the authority on economic crime, the ØKOKRIM. The move is based on the research of Norwegian lawyer Fredrik S. Heffermehl who in his books has called for respect for Alfred Nobel and the peace plan he wished to support. -- In his last years Nobel joined the peace movement and wished to support financially its idea of co-operation on disarmament to replace military force and forces. The Norwegian Parliament appoints the five-member selection committee that must step down and be replaced by people who favor the idea of the prize,” says Heffermehl. He claims that his demands through 6 years, and even an order in March 2012 from the Swedish Foundations Authority have not led the awarders to show any interest in Nobel and what he really wanted. This is unlawful and criminal, and the requested police investigation comes as a last resort to secure justice for “the champions of peace” Nobel specified in his will.
The letter of accusation points in particular to Thorbjørn Jagland, the chair of the Nobel Committee and the incumbent Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and to Geir Lundestad, the powerful secretary of the committee. “The laws must be respected also by politicians, it is particularly worrisome that the Nobel awarders act as if they were above the law and seem to feel confident that society will not enforce the law against them,” says Sweden´s Tomas Magnusson, a former president of the International Peace Bureau. “Ignoring dissent and mowing down dissidents is a dangerous path to embark on. If we allow such norms to become political standard, how much democracy do we then have?”
The 16 persons signing the request for criminal investigations are:
Anna-Lisa Björneberg, Sweden, chair of Fredsam (Gothenburg),
Nils Christie, Norway, professor, University of Oslo
Erik Dammann, Norway, founder “Future in our hands,” Oslo
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Norway, professor, University of Oslo
Ståle Eskeland, Norway, professor of criminal law, University of Oslo
Erni Friholt, Sweden, Peace movement of Orust
Ola Friholt, Sweden, Peace movement of Orust
Gunnar Garbo, Norway, ex MP, leader of Venstre, the Liberal Party
Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Norway, lawyer and author on the Nobel Peace Prize
Lars-Gunnar Liljestrand, Sweden, Chair of the Association of FiB lawyers
Tomas Magnusson, Sweden, ex President, International Peace Bureau
Birger Schlaug, Sweden, author, ex MP
Sören Sommelius, Sweden, author and culture journalist
Maj-Britt Theorin, Sweden, ex President, International Peace Bureau
Gunnar Westberg, Sweden, Professor, ex Co-President IPPNW (Nobel peace prize 1985)
Jan Öberg,TFF, Sweden, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.
On Friday, April 18, President Obama voiced his righteous indignation over anti-Semitic fliers pasted on synagogue walls in the pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. The fliers, calling on all Jews to register or face expulsion, had appeared the day before and were instantly denounced by Donetsk leaders as a gross provocation and a forgery.
The next day, however, Obama “expressed his disgust quite bluntly”. At least, that is what his hawkish national security advisor, Susan Rice, told the public. “I think we all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening, and they have no place in the 21st century,” she declared.
Cross-Posted from Occupy.com
Sorry for the headline if it got you hoping for a quick 1-step guide on how to bomb a country without breaking a sweat. I didn't actually mean that I could teach a dummy to wage a war. I meant that only dummies want to wage wars.
Check out a recent Washington Post report.
Now there I go misleading you again. While it's true that the editors of the Washington Post are often dummies and often want wars to be waged, that's not what I mean right now. I think members of the U.S. government and its obedient media constitute an important but tiny exception to the rule this report points to.
The facts as reported on April 7th are these:
- 13% of us in the United States want our government to use force in Ukraine;
- 16% of us can accurately identify Ukraine's location on a map;
- the median error by Americans placing Ukraine on a map is 1,800 miles;
- some Americans, based on where they identified Ukraine on a map, believe that Ukraine is in the United States, some say it's in Canada, some Africa, some Australia, some Greenland, some Argentina, Brazil, China, or India;
- only a small number believe Ukraine is in an ocean.
And here's the interesting bit:
"[T]he further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants' general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force, the greater the threat they saw Russia as posing to U.S. interests, and the more they thought that using force would advance U.S. national security interests."
I take this to mean that some people believe that attacking Alaska or the continental United States (where they believe Ukraine to be located) will advance "U.S. national security interests." This suggests one of two things: either they believe the United States would be better off bombed (and perhaps suicidal tendencies account for some of the staggering stupidity reported by the Washington Post) or they believe the United States is located in Asia or Africa or somewhere other than where they've indicated that Ukraine is on the map.
I also take this report to mean the following: ignorant jackasses are the only statistically significant group that wants more wars. Virtually nobody in the United States wants a U.S. war in Iran or Syria or Ukraine. Nobody. Except for serious hardcore idiots. We're talking about people who can't place Ukraine in the correct landmass, but who believe the United States should go to war there.
People informed enough to find Ukraine on a map are also informed enough to oppose wars. People who can't find Ukraine on a map but possess an ounce of humility or a drop of decency also oppose war. You don't have to be smart to oppose wars. But you have to be an unfathomably ignorant jackass to favor them. Or -- back to that exception -- you could work for the government.
Why, I wonder, don't pollsters always poll and report sufficiently to tell us whether an opinion correlates with being informed on an issue? I recall a poll (by Rasmussen), tragic or humorous depending on your mood, that found 25% of Americans wanting their government to always spend at least three times as much on its military as any other nation spends, while 64% said their government spends the right amount on the military now or should spend more. This only gets tragic or humorous if you are aware that the United States already spends much more than three times what any other nation spends on its military. In other words, large numbers of people want military spending increased only because they don't know how high it is already.
But what I want to know is: Do the individuals who have the facts most wrong want the biggest spending increases?
And I wonder: do pollsters want us to know how much opinions follow facts? If opinions follow factual beliefs, after all, it might make sense to replace some of the bickering of pundits on our televisions with educational information, and to stop thinking of ourselves as divided by ideology or temperament when what we're divided by is largely the possession of facts and the lack thereof.
By Alfredo Lopez
"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."
By Alfredo Lopez
"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."
Rick Rozoff is the manager of Stop NATO at http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com He discusses the Ukrainian crisis and the state of NATO at age 65.
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So the United States wants to buy hemp from the Ukraine. I suppose we should be happy. Anytime the U.S. government gives a country money that is not earmarked for weapons, we probably shouldn't too closely examine the unelected neo-liberals and neo-Nazis handling the cash. Nobody pays attention to the Saudi government or the oil, wars, and terrorism it provides in exchange for U.S. largesse.
Of course if the hemp buy is part of a larger package deal that impoverishes the Ukraine for the benefit of Western plutocrats, gets NATO's nose under the door, threatens Russia, and encourages the NED to hire the companies that name paint colors in hopes of finding unique names for all the revolutions it's going to plan next, we may want to oppose the whole package.
But isn't the precedent of connecting U.S. foreign policy in any way to a substance that benefits, rather than destroys, the environment of potentially great value? While buying hemp abroad might be a move against permitting the production of hemp at home, won't it just further fuel the argument that it's insane to make U.S. companies import a raw material that they could much more cheaply grow (while creating jobs, restoring soil, slowing climate change, and garnering some 478 other benefits of hemp)?
Or is insanity just not that big a concern? Jon Walker has a book out called After Legalization. And there's a book called Hemp Bound by Doug Fine. These guys are convinced that marijuana and hemp are both about to be legalized in the United States. One of their arguments is that doing so has majority support -- and support, they stress, from across the political spectrum (Fine can't quote anybody without emphasizing that the person is NOT A HIPPIE). "Since when do 80% of Americans agree on anything, as they do that the drug war is a failure?" asks Fine.
Well, let me count the ways. I've been referring for years to this fine collection of polls: http://YesMagazine.org/purpleagenda In fact, 80% in the U.S. believe their government is broken, and I suspect they do so in part because so often their government ignores the will of 80% of the country, be it on ceasing to threaten Iran, investing more in green energy or education, or holding bankers to the rule of law. Eighty percent and more usually support restoring money to the minimum wage, as it continues to plummet. Ninety percent want higher fuel efficiency standards. Eighty percent would ban weapons in space, enforce laws against torture, strengthen the United Nations, reduce the power and influence of big corporations, restore voting rights for ex-felons, create a justice system that does rehabilitation, allow immigrants to apply for citizenship, etc., etc. Never mind the countless sane and important policies supported by 75% or 68% or 52% -- which damn well ought to be enough once in a while but almost never is.
Walker says the difference is that pot doesn't have any enemies. Fine writes as if he expects no enemies either. And yet, Fine refers repeatedly to the great damage hemp will do to oil companies and even to the war machine. Now, I don't know to what extent there's truth behind the supposition that major corporate interests favored the banning of marijuana and hemp, as they had favored the banning of alcohol (they certainly benefitted from its being banned and remaining banned), but we know the oil companies killed public transit and the electric car and the Gulf of Mexico. These are not lightweights when it comes to amoral short-term struggles. And you can add to them the petrochemical, plastics, timber, alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical drug companies, as well as the herbicide companies (hemp doesn't require any), the agribusinesses currently subsidized, and -- last but not least -- the urine testing, property seizure, police and prison industries -- including the prison guard unions. Oh and let's not neglect the State Department that wants to buy hemp from abroad as carrots for austerity schemes, and the foreign nations from whom the hemp is bought. Who in their right mind would put sanity up against that whole crowd? I'm not even counting people too ignorant to distinguish hemp from marijuana, or who think marijuana kills you, or whom Jesus told pot comes from the devil.
Of course, I hope we will legalize hemp immediately (I mean nationally, I'm aware of the steps many states are taking). It's just going to require a great deal of effort, I'm afraid.
Then there's another worry. Will marijuana and hemp be legalized but monopolized, corporatized, and Wal-Martized? Walker says pot won't be because nobody would buy it. Fine says the same of hemp, and that the U.S. should ban GMO hemp from the start, as Canada has done -- as if banning GMO anything in the U.S. were as easy as passing a billion-dollar subsidy for a space weapon that threatens Iran, weakens the U.N., makes us dumber, and damages the atmosphere. For hemp to sell, Fine writes, it has to keep a positive image that includes "a quest for world peace" -- which I take to mean more quoting Nobel laureates on packaging than funding the peace movement. But who's going to know it's GMO if labeling on such points is banned?
Legalization is entirely doable, and the pressures in its favor are indeed likely to grow, but it's going to require huge public pressure. Where books like Walker's and Fine's are most helpful is informing that little snippet of the public that reads books of the incredible benefits to be gained. Hemp is apparently the healthiest food on earth, both for feeding people and for feeding farm animals whom people eat or from which people eat the eggs or drink the milk. The same crop of hemp can, if all goes well, produce material stronger than steel or softer than cotton. And the same crop can, in theory, produce a third thing at the same time, from yet another part of the plant: fuel. You can build your tractor out of hemp, fuel it with hemp, and use it to harvest hemp -- hemp that is busy restoring your soil, preventing erosion, and surviving the drought and climate change. You can do this while eating and drinking hemp and wearing clothes made of hemp and washed with hemp in your house also made of hemp and lime -- a house that sucks carbon out of the atmosphere. (The list of products and benefits is endless. One that Fine cites is body armor, although how that fits into the quest for world peace is not clear.)
I'm not a fan of devoting acres needed for food production to fuel production, but a crop that produces both fuel and food (and building materials) -- if it really can do all that at once -- might alter the calculation. Biofuel aside, hemp has more than enough benefits to start investing in it right now, if sanity were on the table. Take the U.S. troops stationed in 175 countries and reduce that total by 5 countries per year. Instead, buy those countries' hemp AND invest billions in our own (hire the former troops to grow it). It's win-win-win, except for whichever profiteers have their interests in the wrong place. Watch out for them.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
In light of ongoing geopolitical tensions in Russia, Ukraine and hotly contested Crimea, three (yes, three!) U.S. Congressional Committees held hearings this week on the U.S. using its newfangled oil and gas bounty as a blunt tool to fend off Russian dominance of the global gas market.
U.S. Sen Mary Landrieu at the U.S. Sen. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Photo Credit: U.S. Sen. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Though 14 combined witnesses testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power and U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, not a single environmental voice received an invitation. Climate change and environmental concerns were only voiced by two witnesses.
Using the ongoing regional tumult as a rationale to discuss exports of U.S. oil and gas obtained mainly via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), the lack of discussion on climate change doesn't mean the issue isn't important to national security types.
Indeed, the Pentagon's recently published Quadrennial Defense Review coins climate change a "threat force multiplier" that could lead to resource scarcity and resource wars. Though directly related to rampant resource extraction and global oil and gas marketing, with fracking's accompanying climate change and ecological impacts, "threat force multiplication" impacts of climate change went undiscussed.
With another LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal approved by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Coos Bay, Ore., to non-Free Trade Agreement countries on March 24 (the seventh so far, with two dozen still pending), the heat is on to export U.S. fracked oil and gas to the global market.
So, why wasn't the LNG climate trump card discussed in a loud and clear way? Well, just consider the source: ten of the witnesses had ties in one way or another to the oil and gas industry.