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His 'Crime' is Patriotism, not Betrayal Like Hale's Philip Nolan, Snowden has Become a 'Man Without a Country'

By  Dave Lindorff

 

In Edward Everett Hale's short story "The Man Without a Country," US Army Lt. Philip Nolan, following a court-martial, is exiled from his country, his citizenship snatched away, leaving him doomed to sail the seven seas confined to a Navy vessel, unable to make any country his home. His crime: being seduced by a treacherous leader to betray the US of A, the country of his birth.

Snowden’s Gambit: Expose NSA Domestic Spying Operation, Hold Global Spying Program in Reserve

By Dave Lindorff


It’s a pretty sad spectacle watching the US Congress toading up to the National Security Agency. With the exception of a few stalwarts like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and to a lesser extent Ron Wyden (D-OR), most of the talk in the halls of Congress is about how to keep the army of Washington private contractors from accessing too many of the government’s secrets (which need to be protected by government employees!), and about whether to try NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden for treason. 

Asia-Pacific Working Group - Weekly Asia-Pacific Articles

By Joseph Gerson

Friends,

                The combination of the Moana Nui Teach-In in Berkeley – 45 amazing speakers from across Asia, the Pacific and the U.S. – and an AFSC Asia-Pacific planning committee have delayed our sending out our weekly articles. So, quite a few follow.

                Here you’ll find articles about the Obama-Xi summit, which apparently focused more on managing rather than resolving a number of tensions: cyber intrusions, territorial disputes in the South China Seas and over the Senkaku/Dioayu Islands and the competition for influence in Myanmar, but diplomacy between the world’s dominant and rising power is fundamentally important.

Teargas in ResIstanbul

Solidarity Statement with the People of Turkey from WRL's Facing Tear Gas Campaign

Over the past several days, Turkey has seen some of its largest mass mobilizations in years. Protesters are pouring into Taksim Square, Gezi Park, and other public spaces throughout the country in the thousands to reject neoliberalism and government-backed urban gentrification. As they brave vomit-inducing tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, and live ammunition, it is clear that the people of Turkey are demanding much more than simply the conservation of Istanbul’s precious remaining green space. Rather, what we are witnessing in Turkey is a broad movement of people from various classes, ages, religious sects, and political backgrounds calling for real democracy. It is also imperative to contextualize this recent uprising as a continuation of many struggles that Turkish citizens have undertaken for years around economic justice, rights of minorities (including the Kurdish people), and resistance to mandatory military service.

Since 2010, the uprisings in the Arab world catalyzed a chain reaction of revolutionary change across the globe that shook dictatorships and repressive governments at their core. Turkey is no exception to this, and as members of the Facing Tear Gas Campaign, we are moved and inspired by this growing new movement.

However, we have also borne witness to immense amounts of military and police attacks on nonviolent protestors, including the use of tear gas and related chemical weapons as tools of war on protest, free speech, and democratic movements. In Istanbul, there is evidence of tear gas coming from at least two U.S. companies— Defense Technology (Casper, WY) and Nonlethal Technologies (Homer, PA)— and one Brazilian company, Condor Non-Lethal Technologies (Rio de Janeiro). Together, these companies manufacture the tear gas used to hurt people and repress popular movements in Egypt, Bahrain, Palestine, the United States, Greece, Canada, and now Turkey. Additionally, there are reports of Turkish law enforcement directly shooting civilians with tear gas canisters, which can cause injury or death.

If you are in Turkey (or know people who are), please contribute your experience toward our collective effort to end the use of tear gas. Please save and photograph any gas canisters or incidents of their use, and let our campaign know. This is the best way to expose the companies providing chemical weapons to the Turkish military and police. Share your story on our Facing Tear Gas Tumblr, follow us on Twitter @resistwar, tweet using the hashtags #teargas or #chemicalgas, or email us at facingteargas@warresisters.org. For more information about the companies involved, the movements who face their tear gas, and our campaign, visit facingteargas.org

The Facing Tear Gas Campaign salutes the peoples of Turkey and the world in solidarity with this growing movement. As the protests grow across various cities across Turkey, including at the capital Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Diyarbakir and beyond, the slogan “Taksim is everywhere, resistance is everywhere” resonates across the globe. Indeed, Taksim reminds us that another world is on its way, one free of weapons, militarism, and state violence, and toward a truly dignified freedom.

Why I Went to Jeju

(Dud Hendrick is a Vietnam veteran who was commissioned an officer after graduating from the US Naval Academy.  He just returned from three weeks on Jeju Island, South Korea.  He went representing Maine Veterans for Peace.  Dud lives in Deer Isle, Maine.)

Because what is happening is reflective of America's world-view. 

At the end of my talk [in Seoul, South Korea] on the eve of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, a young woman introduced herself as Le Hoang Ngan, a Vietnamese student who was studying in Seoul.  She had heard me speak of my experiences in Vietnam and specifically of Agent Orange, so asked if I thought America would ever make restitution for what it had done.  Having just last year visited with Agent Orange victims and their families in the city of Cao Lanh, Vietnam, and having seen dozens of grotesquely damaged children in a Ho Chi Minh City orphanage, and having heard the demands of several prominent Vietnamese Agent Orange victim advocates, I knew I had a lot of emotion invested in the subject.  I could not maintain my composure as I struggled to formulate a hopeful but honest response.  My answer devolved into a broadside.  I submitted that no matter how hideous the crime U.S. assumption of accountability was unlikely lest it be made to answer for all the other outstanding war crimes on the U.S. warrant since WWII.  Hope, I said, can only be found in us activists who see what has been done, conclude that "this cannot stand", and work to bring the truth to others until there are millions of us and the dreamed of 'paradigm shift' we talk about so often is embraced by the critical mass.

End the Korean War Now

The Ghosts of Jeju

Veterans For Peace: Time to Finally End Korean War

Veterans For Peace has just released this statement:

As a major U.S. peace organization of veterans, including members who served in the Korean War, Veterans For Peace (VFP) is deeply concerned about the increasing risk of another open conflict on the Korean Peninsula at this time.

CNN reported on Thursday that, "Developments in and around North Korea are so worrisome that they appear to have frightened Dick Cheney."  Bellicose rhetoric and maneuvers are indeed extremely worrisome, but it is important that we understand where the hostility is originating if we are going to be able to counter it.

North Korea has withdrawn from the armistice agreement that supposedly ended war over half a century ago.  North Korea is threatening military action.  Yet, North Korea spends some 0.8% of what the United States spends on war preparation.  The United States has the ability to obliterate North Korea.  The United States is not just threatening war on North Korea, but practicing it by dropping inert bombs on Korean soil.  And, of course, North Korea has not forgotten the United States' primary role in destroying its cities and killing millions of its people over a half century ago.

The United States this year, for the first time, has been using B-2 bombers and F-22 stealth jets in Korean air space in clear violation of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, which prohibits "introduction into Korea of reinforcing military personnel…(and) combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, and ammunition." (Paragraph 13C & D)  North Korea's declaration that it, too, will abandon the armistice was not the first move in this dance of death.

That Korean War has never fully ended, not in terms of the elimination of hostilities, and not in terms of the withdrawal of foreign troops.  The United States has maintained operational control over the South Korean Army all of these years, an army of 650,000 troops today.

Last year President Barack Obama allowed South Korea to maintain cruise missiles with greater range than before, missiles now capable of hitting anywhere in the North.  Obama is also providing South Korea with drones for the purpose of spying on or attacking the North.  The Obama administration is, at the same time, promoting the construction of new and larger military bases around the region and in South Korea, including on Jeju Island -- the strategic purpose of which appears to be purely to "contain" (that is, provoke) China.  U.S. military "exercises" in the region are predictably provoking threats from the North to attack the U.S. bases from which its bombers are taking off.

Although U.S. officials have been accusing DPRK (North Korea) of "provocative acts," a careful review of events shows that the United States bears greater responsibility in provoking and threatening DPRK with new sanctions, military build-ups, and major war drills under the name "Key Resolve/Foal Eagle."

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, according to the only American to talk to him, basketball player Dennis Rodman, said, "Tell President Obama to call me.  Because if we can talk, we can work this out."  Our Nobel Peace Laureate president responded by sending over stealth bombers to simulate nuclear bombing attacks.

This year's joint war game for U.S. and ROK (South Korean) troops is far more threatening in its scope, intensity, and length, than other recent exercises.  More than 10,000 U.S. and 200,000 ROK troops are taking part in the war drill for 2 months.  The United States is, for the first time, using multiple strategic assets, including B-52s, B-2 stealth bombers, and the nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne, to practice nuclear attacks on North Korea.  

This is in the context of a major U.S. military build-up in the region, a build-up being accelerated, using North Korean bellicosity as justification.  The United States has increased its troop strength in South Korea from 28,500 to 37,000; beefed up its so-called missile defense system around Korea and Japan; sent Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to South Korea last fall; and moved 12 F-22 Raptors and 300 staff to Okinawaon January 14, 2013.

And this new militarization is in a historical context that is probably better understood by Koreans than by most Americans.  The U.S. decision in August 1945 to artificially divide an ancient homogenous Korea into two, upon the surrender of the Japanese; the subsequent U.S.-directed reign of terror in South Korea, 1945-1948; the U.S. sponsorship of a separate regime in South Korea in 1948; and then, consequently, the open Korean War, 1950-1953, which included U.S. carpet bombing of the country, killing at least 20% of the population, surely must rank as one of the cruelest tragedies of the Twentieth Century. This is virtually unknown history in the West, and today's issues relating to Korea cannot be understood without knowing about this diabolical assault on the Korean nation's rights to integrity, independence and self-determination.

To de-escalate the current danger of war on the Korean Peninsula, VFP urges the following steps:

1) The U.S., ROK and DPRK governments should immediately stop the current war drills in and around Korea, along with all military threats or cyber attacks against each other;

2) The U.S. should withdraw immediately all new U.S. troops and weapons brought into Korea in recent years; and remove all nuclear land- and sea-based missiles and weapons from Korea (and neighboring Japan, if any), and from the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and Sea of Japan.

3) The U.S. Secretary of State or a high-level special U.S. envoy should visit ROK, DPRK, and China to initiate a four-party talk to end the Korean War officially, and finally, with a peace treaty this year.

4) The U.S. public should reject and denounce fear-mongering about North Korea.

North Korea spends about 0.8% what the United States does and 29% of what South Korea does on its military.  North Korea is not a serious threat to the United States. 

But the United States is recklessly helping to provoke a new war on the Korean peninsula that could prove as horrific as the last one, or worse. 

The United Nations is playing a biased role similar to its role in the past, pressuring North Korea, but not the United States or South Korea, on human rights abuses.  There have been 9,000 missile launches since World War II.  North Koreahas had 4.  There have been 2,000 nuclear bomb tests.  North Koreahas had 3.  How many countries have been sanctioned by the United Nations over this? Only one: North Korea. 

The United States has no business being in Korea.  The United States has ignored the North's calls for a peace treaty since 1974.  It is time, at long last, to stop posturing for war and begin talking about peace.

Veterans For Peace also supports the Statement Opposing U.S.-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Key Resolve, Foal Eagle, as drafted by the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific.  See:
http://warisacrime.org/content/statement-opposing-us-south-korea-joint-military-exercises-key-resolve-foal-eagle

Veterans For Peace is a national organization, founded in 1985 with approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries.  It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

##

Scientology for Agent Orange Victims

The phrase "adding insult to injury" is no doubt being redefined in several online dictionaries this week following news of a U.S. effort to sneak one of our dumber religions (and that's saying something) into the minds of Vietnamese suffering from Agent Orange.

If you're not familiar with Agent Orange, here's a short summary from Veterans For Peace:

"Three million Vietnamese suffer the effects of chemical defoliants used by the United States during the Vietnam War.  In order to deny food and protection to those deemed to be 'the enemy,' the U.S. defoliated the forests of Vietnam with the deadly chemicals Agent Orange, White, Blue, Pink, Green and Purple. Agent Orange, which was contaminated with trace amounts of TCDD dioxin -- the most toxic chemical known to science -- has disabled and sickened soldiers, civilians and several generations of their offspring on two continents.  Millions of Vietnamese are still affected by this deadly poison and tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers. It has caused birth defects in hundreds of thousands of second and third generation children in Vietnam and the U.S."

And here's the latest news from the Associated Press:

"THAI BINH, Vietnam (AP) -- North Vietnamese army veteran Nguyen Anh Quoc grimaces as he forces down the last of the 35 vitamins he takes each morning. After decades of suffering from illnesses he believes were caused by exposure to Agent Orange, he is putting his faith in a regime advocated by the Church of Scientology.

"'I have to take them,' the 62-year-old said at a treatment center established with the help of a Scientology-funded group. 'They will clean up my body.'

"The center, a converted mushroom farm in northern Vietnam, owes as much to Scientology's desire to expand around the world, away from scandal in the United States, as it does to pressure in Vietnam to try to help aging veterans still suffering from the effects of war.

"Many medical experts regard the treatment -- a 25-day vitamin and sauna regime -- as junk medicine or even dangerous. But for now at least, it has found fertile ground here.

"The Vietnamese advocacy group overseeing the program in Thai Binh province wants to offer it to all 20,000 people suffering from ailments blamed on dioxins in Agent Orange. U.S. airplanes sprayed up to 12 million gallons of the defoliant over the country during the Vietnam War to strip away vegetation used as cover by Vietnamese soldiers.

"The advocacy group, which has the implicit support of the government, has almost completed a two-story accommodation block for patients and is raising funds for a much larger complex, with 15 more saunas than the five it currently has.

"'I have seen so many desperate families that their tears have dried up,' said Nguyen Duc Hanh, the head of local branch of the Vietnam Association of Agent Orange Victims in Thai Binh. 'I don't know what the scientists say about its effectiveness, but the patients say it improves their health. They should be able to experience it before they die.'

"Scientologists believe the regime, which includes massive consumption of vitamins, four-hour sauna sessions and morning runs, can 'sweat out' toxins stored in body fat. There are no peer-reviewed studies to back this claim. . . .

". . . In 1991, Scientology offered 'rundown' treatments in Russia to people suffering symptoms related to radiation exposure following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The church still refers to the mission in its online literature, claiming numerous successes, but Russia banned it from performing medical treatment in the country in 1996.

"Last year, a French court upheld fraud charges and fined the church $791,000 for its efforts to persuade people to take the 'rundown.'"

I know: let's sell it to the Vietnamese!  It's not as if we've done them enough harm yet!

Who Did You Rape in the War, Daddy?

A Question for Veterans that Needs Answering 
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch

On August 31, 1969, a rape was committed in Vietnam.  Maybe numerous rapes were committed there that day, but this was a rare one involving American GIs that actually made its way into the military justice system. 

And that wasn’t the only thing that set it apart.

War is obscene.  I mean that in every sense of the word.  Some veterans will tell you that you can’t know war if you haven’t served in one, if you haven’t seen combat.  These are often the same guys who won’t tell you the truths that they know about war and who never think to blame themselves in any way for our collective ignorance. 

Fukushima is already harming our children

By Harvey Wasserman

Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima.  They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.  

Two years after Fukushima exploded, three still-smoldering reactors remind us that the nuclear power industry repeatedly told the world this could never happen.     

And 72 years after the nuclear weapons industry began creating them,  untold quantities of deadly wastes still leak at Hanford and at commercial reactor sites around the world, with no solution in sight.   

Radiation can be slow to cause cancer, taking decades to kill.

Statement Opposing U.S.-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Key Resolve Foal Eagle

Stop War Games, Start Peace Talks

The Korean War, known in the United States as “The Forgotten War,” has never ended.  Every year, the United States stages a series of massive joint war games with its ally, South Korea (ROK).  These coordinated exercises are both virtual and real.  Among other things, they practice live fire drills and simulate the invasion of North Korea—including first-strike options.

Talk Nation Radio: Nick Turse: Kill Everything That Moves

Nick Turse discusses his new book, Kill Everything That Moves, and new evidence of the crimes that constituted the war on Vietnam.

Total run time: 29:00

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

 

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Bruce Cumings on “Operational Control” of the South Korean Military

Bruce pictureMost Americans are unaware of the role the U.S. Military has played in Korea since World War II. But, ever since then, the U.S. Military has had “operational control” of the Korean army that continues to this day.

Bruce Cumings, a historian and leading expert on Korea and East Asian American relations explains how and why the U.S. controls a standing army of 650,000. He will also explain why the recent change in U.S. policy of allowing S. Korea to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to reach all of N. Korea, and the sale of drones to S. Korea is causing a rise in tensions between the two Koreas.

At a time when N. Korea is defying the international community and the U.S. for launching rockets and detonating a third nuclear test, the danger of the U.S. being dragged into another conflict with the North because of “operational control” has increased exponentially.

One interesting insight that Bruce offered was that Obama’s “pivot to Asia” isn’t really a pivot to Asia, as it is a pivot out of Afghanistan and the Middle East because the U.S. presence in the Pacific has not changed since the end of WWII. He says, all Obama has done is “”shift”" more resources to places in the South Pacific and East Asia.

Enjoy this informative 10 minute excerpt from the two hour interview with Bruce Cumings.

U.S. Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific Statement in Response to Third DPRK Nuclear Explosive Test

1.We come from diverse backgrounds and hold a range of analyses (or perspectives) approaching the proposed North Korean nuclear weapons test and the further militarization of Asia and the Pacific.

I am hurting too: The hurt of militarized authoritarianism in Singapore, Afghanistan and the world

By Dr Hakim ( Dr Teck Young, Wee )

It’s hard for me, an ordinary citizen of Singapore, a medical doctor engaged in social enterprise work in Afghanistan and a human being wishing for a better world, to write this from Kabul.

But people are dying.

And children and women are feeling hopeless.

 “What’s the point in telling you our stories?” asked Freba, one of the seamstresses working with the Afghan Peace Volunteers to set up a tailoring co-operative for Afghan women. “Does anyone hear? Does anyone believe us?”

Silently within, I answered Freba with shame,” You’re right. No one is listening.”

So, I write this in protest against my government’s presence in the humanitarian and war tragedy of Afghanistan, as a way to lend my voice to Freba and all my Afghan friends.

I do so in dissent, against the global security of imprisoned minds.

I thought, “If no one listens as humans should, we should at least speak like free men and women.”

Jeju Protester Given 18 Month Jail Sentence

By

002 Prof. YangProf. Yang Yoon-Mo was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for protesting against the construction of the naval base in Gangjeong Village! The crime?  Obstruction of business and jeopardizing the construction of the so called ‘joint civilian-military use base’!

Not only do the ROK government and the ROK Navy continue the lies and deception, but the courts do their part to beat back those who protest the military expansion of the U.S. in Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Yang has risked everything to stop the construction. This is Prof. Yang’s fourth prison sentence. He previously went on a hunger strike for 70 days. Professor Yang left a 30 year career as a prominent South Korean film critic to protest against the base on a full-time basis. During my stay, I had the privilege of meeting him and filming his daily protests at the gates. Professor Yang will be given a prominent role in my documentary.

http://www.indiegogo.com/savejeju

The video clip of Prof. Yang resisting the police is by Korean filmmaker Cho, Sung-bong.

Here’s a brief video of Professor Yang.

Look Not Unto the Morrow

Robert Fantina, the author of a tragically nonfictional survey of the lives of soldiers in all past U.S. wars, has now published a devastatingly fictional account of the war that the Vietnamese call the American War.

I say devastatingly fictional, because Fantina condenses and concentrates into one small book and the lives of a very few characters the lead-up to, the experience of, and the aftermath of a U.S. soldier's participation in that war.  The extreme horror and tragedy recounted (leavened by much human goodness) would require the watering down of thousands of additional pages of extraneous information were it nonfiction, and yet it is all based in typical experiences endured, overcome, or surrendered to by many thousands of Americans.

The plot is not predictable, the lessons not pedantic, but the story of Look Not Unto the Morrow is a story that grabs you more firmly by the throat because of the knowledge of how many people have lived it.

Here we meet a young man who only figures out what war is once he's in it, and a young woman who loves him and who only begins to give a damn about the world and the people in it when her lover goes to war.  I find myself, as I read this, desperately hoping that someone young will read it too and get themselves together faster, before it's too late. 

Then I realize that when I grew up believing war was a sick barbaric atavism, I was growing up after the peace movement of the 1960s had happened.  Perhaps people had learned.  Perhaps that learning had reached me.  I also had the option of going to college.  I also was not drafted.  The accounts of veterans at the Winter Soldier event during the war on Iraq, just like those during the war on Vietnam, are tales of disillusionment.  These are young men, and now women too, who believed the hype, believed some good purpose could be served by mass murder, headed off to participate, and then began to have grave doubts.

The accounts of some veterans are, in fact, very mixed and complicated.  Some believe a soldier should tell the truth about a horrible genocidal crime and also continue to take part in it if so ordered.  Some believe our current wars should be denounced and actively resisted, but that a good war might start next month or next year. 

A young man recently published a column in the Washington Post headlined "I killed people in Afghanistan. Was I right or wrong?"  I interviewed him and will air the interview on my radio show.  He told me that he had opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, supported the ongoing occupation once begun, and supported the war on Afghanistan.  I asked what he would do if another invasion were launched that he was opposed to.  He replied that he would go and fight in it.  He would go and kill people in it. 

Beneath all the differences between our era and the 1960s/1970s that come through in Fantina's novel, there is much that is the same.  Combining Fantina's novel with Nick Turse's new nonfictional account of the extended atrocity and marathon "war crime" that was the assault on Vietnam (all war is a crime, not certain bits of it) should give one a serious understanding of what was, is, and must not continue to be the fundamental error of our ways. 

I've read more autobiographical accounts of our current wars than fiction, so please send me your recommendations for the latter, as well as for accounts from Vietnamese and Iraqi and Afghan (etc.) points of view.  Autobiographies have their own advantages.  I used to wish Ralph Waldo Emerson's prediction might come true and novels might be displaced by memoirs. 

I say I used to wish that, because a good writer can invent truths, can show us what's happening inside the heads of multiple characters, can personalize public affairs with the power of mythology.  To see what I'm talking about, read Look Not Unto the Morrow.

Jeju in the Crosshairs

Peace Movement Drones On and On: Wisdom from the USS Kitty Hawk

By Mike Ferner

During the Vietnam war, there was a vibrant, courageous resistance movement within the military itself.  Young men and some women did anything they could to end the killing.  They demonstrated, sabotaged military equipment, and fragged their officers.  They also published dozens of underground newspapers, one of which was put out by the crew of the carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, cheekily called Kitty Litter

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