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The Democratic Party is beyond hope: We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change

By Dave Lindorff

 

         The failure of Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to capture the vacant House seat left in a suburban Atlanta district by the Trump nomination of Republican Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services shows the disastrous state of the Democratic Party.

Focus: Syria - June 21, 2017

 

Note: Some news listed below have not been confirmed.

 

U.S.-backed Syrian forces close in on Raqqa from south, with the aim of encircling the city - Reuters


SDF hundreds of meters from besieging the “Islamic state” in its main stronghold or forcing it to withdraw out of it - SOHR


MAP: Military situation Raqqah: There are 800 meters between east and west fronts to completely surround Raqqa city - Berfo كردي on Twitter


MAP: Reports SDF have captured the new bridge from ISIS in Raqqa [close to encircle it] - ScienceOfDiscontent on Twitter


Islamic State organization continues its fierce fight on the fronts of Al-Raqqah and excludes the option of withdrawing - SOHR


VIDEO (English): Video footage shows ferocious fight in Raqqa with several ISIS fighters killed - Kurd Merd on Twitter

 

VIDEO (French): SDF snipers in Romaniyah targeting an IS position in the Darayeh district with the support of the coalition - CLAUDIA on Twitter

 

Raqqa: ISIS has recaptured parts of al-Bitani District & al-Sinaa District in Eastern Raqqa and parts of Division 17 Army Base today - WorldOnAlert on Twitter

 

Raqqa: YPG suffered heavy losses in Raqqa today. ISIS detonated 2 SVBIEDs and killed or wounded 53+ YPG fighters - WorldOnAlert on Twitter

 

PHOTO: Kurdish YPG forces sent reinforcements to Raqqa fronts, more than 30 tanks - Berfo كردي on Twitter

 

VIDEO: Yazidi fighters from Sinjar left towards Raqqa to support YPG/YPJ fighters that helped the Yezidis escape from ISIS militants - erica on Twitter

 

VIDEO: SDF drone dropping leaflets on Raqqa city informing the local population to distance themselves from ISIS terrorists - Afarin Mamosta on Twitter

 

VIDEO (English subs): Raqqa civilians liberated by SDF: 'Thank God you came, my God protect you and support you' - Sarwan wllatzheri on Twitter

 

VIDEO (Arabic): Hundreds of ppl managed to escape districts held by IS and reach the freed eastern neighborhoods. IS use them as human shield - CLAUDIA on Twitter

 

Syrians fear new Raqqa turmoil once Islamic State is defeated - Reuters

 

Raqqa or Deir Ezzor: Where will Islamic States' last stand be? - Rudaw

 

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Turkey sends ‘huge’ military reinforcements into northern Syria, headed towards areas south of Azaz - Reuters


14+ training camps, all managed by Turkey SOF, exist in N. Aleppo - several thousand recruits graduated in recent months - Charles Lister on Twitter


Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack Kobane - ARA News


VIDEO: Good video showing Turkish army convoy arriving in Azaz in Northern Aleppo - WorldOnAlert on Twitter


VIDEO: Raw cellphone footage of Turkish army T-155 Firtina howitzers and ACV-15 armoured vehicles arriving Azaz in Northern Aleppo - WorldOnAlert on Twitter

 

Erdoğan's top adviser, MP B.Kuzu tells US Sec of State "F.ck you" for Tillerson's statement that Muslim Brotherhood is part of Erdogan govt - ilhan tanir on Twitter

 

Elite Iranian corps likely flew drone that US downed, officials tell VOA - VOA

 

Iran has drone base in Palmyra near U.S. troops in Al Tanf - NBC News

 

New details on US shoot down of Syrian jet - CNNPolitics.com

 

Record number of women killed in US-led air strikes in Syria and Iraq in May, according to British non-profit Airwars - The Independent

 

France's Macron says sees no legitimate successor to Syria's Assad - Reuters

 

Virginia State Senator Richard Black citing American intelligence sources: Syria's Assad will win 90% of votes if election held now - Sputnik

 

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

Focus: Syria - June 19, 2017


U.S. warplane downs Syrian army jet in Raqqa province - Reuters


Statement: Coalition defends partner forces from Syrian fighter jet attack - U.S. Central Command


Coalition says spoke to Russia several times via deconfliction channel amid the incident downing a Syrian Su-22 jet south of Tabqa - Sputnik


Russia sees US shooting down of Syrian jet as ‘act of aggression’, warns US its fighter jets are now potential target in Syria - The Guardian


Statement of the Russian Defence Ministry concerning downing of the Syrian Su-22 near the town of Resafa - Facebook


US changes disposition of coalition aircraft in Syria after Russian threats - ARA News


Statement (Arabic, English summary): Syrian Min. of Defense confirms US downed a jet, says it was targeting IS - Aron Lund on Twitter: “

 

SDF regain control on Ja'adin village SE Tabqa after clashes against Assad forces - Raqqa24 on Twitter


SAA claim captured 5 SDF/YPG members during clashes in Jaidin village south of Raqqa Syria - Islamic World Update on Twitter


Clashes break-out between Syrian Army and US-backed forces in west Raqqa, when it attempted to cross SDF front-lines in order to rescue its fallen pilot - almasdarnews.com


U.S.-backed SDF will retaliate if Syrian govt attacks again: spokesman - Reuters


Syrian government forces liberate Rusafa town in southwest Raqqa - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army opens another front against ISIS, advances from Ithriyah towards Raqqah province: Reports - southfront.org


Syrian Army liberates 14 sites in western Raqqa - almasdarnews.com


Iran launches missiles against ISIS in Deir Ezzor in response to Tehran attacks - Fox News


VIDEO: Iranian missiles hit ISIS targets in Deir Ezzor - southfront.org


Syria, Iraq troops link at border for first time in years - ABC News


Syria, Jordan in talks to reopen border-crossing - almasdarnews.com

 

Fresh Syria talks set for July 10 in Astana, The meeting is set to coincide with a fresh round of UN-sponsored Syria peace talks that will also begin in Geneva the same day - Al Jazeera


Erdogan calls on US, Saudi Arabia to join Syrian peace talks in Astana - almasdarnews.com

 

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Syrian Democratic Forces captured two more districts in Raqqa city (VIDEO, PHOTOS) - southfront.org


Deadly raid by ISIS in Raqqa city leaves two SDF fighters dead - almasdarnews.com


US-backed Kurdish forces recapture key Division 17 base in east Raqqa - almasdarnews.com


US setting up military facility in Tabqah town in Syrian province of Raqqah - southfront.org


VIDEOS: ISIS releases more videos of their battle against the SDF in Raqqah city - almasdarnews.co


Analysis: Future of post-ISIS Raqqa remains unclear, without a financial backer the city may have to rely on the Syrian state to restore services - Syria Deeply


Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army further attacks YPG in Eastern Aleppo countryside (VIDEOS) - southfront.org


Interesting claim that Turkish artillery was working along side Ahrar and AQ sneak attack on YPG in Afrin - Gissur Simonarson on Twitter


US-led coalition closely monitoring Turkish training of Syrian militia - VOA


ISIS attacks pro-U.S. militants in southeast Syria near Al-Tanf border crossing, executes eight - almasdarnews.com


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

Untrump the World — It Won’t Self-Impeach

Remarks at United National Antiwar Coalition in Richmond, Virginia, June 17, 2017

Did you hear about Trump calling up the mayor of Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay and telling him that, contrary to all appearances, his island is not sinking? I want to focus on one element of this story, namely that the guy believed what he was told, rather than what he saw.

Did you hear about Secretary of War Mattis telling Congress that for the 16th year in a row he would produce a plan for “winning” a war on Afghanistan? Congress either believed it or has been paid to act as if it believes it. Congress members Jones and Garamendi have a bill to defund this endless act of mass-murder. We need a movement that can nonviolently shut down Congressional offices until they do so.

We do have marches in various cities this weekend to ban nuclear bombs, and negotiations underway at the UN to create a treaty that does that. Once most countries on earth have banned nuclear bombs, the US will explain that, as with successful bans on guns, banning weapons is just not physically possible. Your eyes must be fooling you. A large percentage of that small percentage of people in this country who hear about the matter at all will believe what they are told.

Even more will believe what they are not told. Many who care about resisting climate change, completely ignore the growing danger of nuclear apocalypse, because they don’t hear about it — some people even going so far as to wantonly demand greater hostility between the US and Russian governments. What could go wrong?

We need radical reforms in our education system that go beyond ending standardized tests, shrinking classrooms, and training and paying teachers. We need courses taught in every school in the subjects of social change, nonviolent action, and refining practical techniques for the successful recognition of bullshit.

Focus: Syria - June 14, 2017


Exclusive: U.S. expands presence in Syrian southeastern desert setting up a second base, rebels say - Reuters


Officials: US deploys long-range artillery system to the al-Tanf base in southern Syria - CNNPolitics.com


Syrian rebel commander: 150 US troops at al-Tanf base - al-monitor.com


Photos and videos show US joint patrols with rebels in southern Syria (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) - FDD's Long War Journal


Mattis: Pro-Syrian government forces outside Al-Tanf deconfliction zone now - Sputnik


Tillerson agrees that Trump has no authorization from Congress to target Assad, Iranian proxies in Syria - Sputnik


Iraq says Syrian army delegation in Baghdad to discuss borders security - Reuters


Syrian Army sets up several bases near Iraqi border (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO: Iraqi Badr Organization and Iranian RGC commander Qassem Soleimani on the Iraq-Syria border - YouTube


ISIL completely collapses east of Palmyra, According to the Syrian Ministry of Defense the entire Arak Triangle has been liberated - almasdarnews.com

 

Badia victory important step to break terrorists siege in Deir Ezzor: Syrian army commander - Mehr News Agency


Syrian Army, Russian Air Force spoil ISIS plans to overrun Deir Ezzor city - almasdarnews.com


Republican Guard reinforcements arrive in Palmyra to aid Deir Ezzor liberation offensive - almasdarnews.com


Iranian-Backed Up Militia Arrive To Deir Ezzor - Qasion News


VIDEO: Russian Il-76 airdrops humanitarian aid over Deir ez-Zor – YemenExtra

 

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ISIS battles to keep US-backed Syria force from Raqqa Old City, making heavy use of mines, snipers and car bombs - AFP


‘Most violent’ battles in Raqqa city to date as UN warns of civilian toll (MAP) - Syria Direct


ISIS drones are attacking U.S. troops and disrupting airstrikes in Raqqa, officials say - The Washington Post


Artillery shelling by Daesh on SDF locations westrn side of Raqqa and many fighters of SDF wounded - Raqqa24 on Twitter


ISIS publishes its first video depicting the battle for Raqqa city (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


Many dead as Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and Kurdish fighters clash in Aleppo province, while Raqqa battle rages on - alaraby.co.uk


Revenge for Sinjar: Syrian Kurds free Islamic State slaves - Reuters


'Staggering' loss of civilian life from US-led airstrikes in Raqqa, says UN - The Guardian


In battle for Raqqa, civilians face deadly choice between US-led airstrikes or ISIS minefields - CBC Radio


A family was killed by anti-Daesh coalition raid bombed a boat they were using it to escape S of Raqqa - Raqqa24 on Twitter


Many civilians wounded due artillery shelling of SDF near of Hamida school - Raqqa24 on Twitter


HRW concerned about phosphorus use by U.S. coalition in Raqqa - Reuters


US Army has more than doubled size of team that investigates reports of civilian casualties in strikes by US coalition in Iraq & Syria - Mete Sohtaoğlu on Twitter

 

WFP Delivers food to displaced families in Syria’s Raqqa and Deir Ezzor - ReliefWeb


Syrian army advances west of Raqqa: Hezbollah military media unit - Reuters


VIDEO: The Hezbollah media wing in Syria showing the government forces advance against ISIS in the province of Raqqah - southfront.org


Syrian Army kicks off Raqqa offensive in a big way, key oil field liberated - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO: First combat footage of Syrian Army clashing with ISIS in west Raqqa - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army, Kurdish forces fight each other over control of abandoned ISIS villages in Raqqa province - almasdarnews.com


Russia and U.S. military forces are now battling ISIS in Raqqa, but not as allies - newsweek.com


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

Talk Nation Radio: Lisa Ling on Killer Drones

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-lisa-ling-on-killer-drones


Focus: Syria - June 12, 2017


Syrian troops advance to a second location on the Iraq border, battle rebels in Daraa - The Washington Post


Syrian forces cut off rebel base in advance to Iraq border - FT.com


Syrian army and allies fortifying positions at Iraqi border (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


Iran's General Soleimani and his militia are stationed on the Syrian-Iraqi border - Al Arabiya English


PHOTOS: Iran’s General Soleimani inspects Iraq-Syria border - AhlulBayt News Agency


VIDEO: Iraqi resistance factions in Iraq & Syria meet on the border celebrating - YouTube


VIDEO ARCHIVE: Iraqi government confirms cooperation with Syria, Iran and Russia to secure Syrian-Iraqi border - southfront.org


The trouble with Tanf: Tactics driving strategy in Syria - warontherocks.com


Why are we attacking the Syrians who are fighting ISIS? - The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity


Sources: Syrian Army wins back 100km of borderline with Jordan - AhlulBayt News Agency


Syrian Army repels ISIS who sent reinforcements to Deir Ezzor - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO: Footage of Syrian Army troops advancing towards Deir Ezzor - almasdarnews.com


Russian choppers propel the Syrian Army, Hezbollah in east Palmyra - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO: Syrian troops, backed up by attack helicopters, advancing northwest of Palmyra - southfront.org


VIDEO (English subs): Dad of the the boy whose photo was used in a propaganda war against Assad turns out to be pro-Syrian government - southfront.org

 

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US-backed Kurdish fighters advance along Euphrates in west Raqqa - Rudaw


U.S.-backed Syrian fighters reach Old City walls in Islamic State-held Raqqa - US News


Syrian Democratic Forces capture university building in Raqqa amidst ongoing clashes with ISIS - ARA News


At least 440,000 civilians need humanitarian support in Raqqa: Report - ARA News


Over 40,000 children at risk in Raqqa as fighting intensifies between SDF and ISIS: UNICEF warns - ARA News


VIDEO: Footage of heavy clashes with Daesh in al-Sinaa district, East Raqqa City - YouTube


VIDEO: US-backed forces recapture sugar factory north of Raqqah - southfront.org


ISIS accuses US-led coalition of using white phosphorus ammunition, witnesses saying the city was hit for the second consecutive night with incendiary bombs - Jerusalem Post


Coalition confirms use of white phosphorus in fight against ISIS, says it "takes all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of incidental injury to non-combatants" - ARA News


VIDEO: Airstrikes hitting Raqqa throughout the last week show white phosphorus munitions - YouTube


An editorial (Arabic) by IS's Naba on the Raqqa battle: "We either eradicate the infidels or we die trying, no third option.” - H Hassan حسن حسن on Twitter


From 'caliph' to fugitive: IS leader Baghdadi's new life on the run - Business Insider


ISIS administered by 12-member committee instead of Baghdadi - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English


Just 24 hours after Turkey sent troops to protect Qatar, Saudi officials announced their public support for the Kurds in Syria - Leith Abou Fadel on Twitter


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

National Illusions and Global Realities

For as long as they have existed, nations have clung to the illusion that their military strength guarantees their security.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that the military power that one nation considers vital to its security fosters other nations’ sense of insecurity.  In this climate of suspicion, an arms race ensues, often culminating in military conflict.  Also, sometimes the very military strength that a nation intended for protection ends up emboldening it to engage in reckless, aggressive behavior, leading to war. 

Focus: UK Elections and Jeremy Corbyn - June 6, 2017


POLL (Survation): Labour one point behind Tory party in latest survey with two days to go, but other polls give wider leads for Conservatives - Independent


POLL: Conservative lead over Labour has dropped 16 points in a month – What’s going on? - Survation


POLL (Survation): Full results - Survation


POLL: Labour may have won enough support in North West to give them bigger lead over Conservatives - The Bolton News


POLL: Jeremy Corbyn is the most searched political leader online in the UK - creativepool.com


POLL: Majority of British voters agree with Corbyn's claim UK foreign policy increases risk of terrorism - The Independent


Jeremy Corbyn attracts bigger crowds than Labour did in 1997, Approximately ten thousand come to see the Labour leader speak in Gateshead - The Independent


PHOTOS: Jeremy Corbyn held a campaign rally in Gateshead and the crowd was absolutely enormous - Mirror Online


VIDEO: Jeremy Corbyn full speech in Gateshead - YouTube


Jeremy Corbyn addresses six simultaneous rallies across the UK via satellite - The Economic Voice


Jeremy Corbyn calls for 'difficult conversations' with Saudi Arabia and Gulf states over extremism funding - The Independent


'You can't protect the public on the cheap': Jeremy Corbyn slams Theresa May's police cuts in first speech after London Bridge attack - Mirror Online


Tories unleash 'attack dog' Boris Johnson on Jeremy Corbyn - Sky News


From zero to hero: how Jeremy Corbyn resuscitated UK Labour against all odds – Political Critique


Jeremy Corbyn: Socialist opposition leader gives U.K. establishment a run for its money - NBC News


Exclusive: Special Branch monitored Jeremy Corbyn for 20 years amid fears he was 'undermining democracy' - telegraph.co.uk


Tommy Sheppard: Back SNP not Scottish Labour to support Corbyn - The Scotsman


Why many British Jews are still voting for Corbyn's Labour - Haaretz.com


Labour centrists have a problem: Jeremy Corbyn is doing too well, reluctantly admit the party leader has had a good election campaign - buzzfeed.com


Labour Manifesto for general elections 2017 - labour.org.uk


What Labour and the Tories are promising on personal taxation - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk


Stephen Hawking announces he is voting Labour: 'The Tories would be a disaster' - The Independent


How celebrities will be voting in the General Election on Thursday - Yahoo News


Actor and comedian Steve Coogan backs Jeremy Corbyn as he prepares to speak at Labour rally - HuffPost UK


Actor and comedian Russel Brand op-ed : Jeremy Corbyn won't be perfect, but he has the qualities I want in a strong and stable leader - HuffPost UK


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

Brad Pitt Does Stanley McChrystal: When Netflix’ War Movie Stops Being Funny

The new movie, War Machine, on Netflix starring Brad Pitt begins as a hilarious and satisfying mockery of General Stanley McChrystal, circa 2009, as well as of militarism in general. Hilarious because of the deadpan sincere idiocy. Satisfying at least to those of us who have been screaming “What are you idiots doing?” for the past fifteen-and-a-half years.

Should we be glad that a Hollywood movie can still be made mocking the murderous malevolence of true believers in militarism, or should we be disturbed that theaters won’t show such movies and they have to end up on Netflix? Should we be glad that a war satire set in Afghanistan didn’t have to wait decades for a different war, in the manner of Mash, or should we be disturbed that most viewers will not know a current war is being mocked because they either believe the war on Afghanistan has ended or they simply can’t keep up with the proliferation of wars?

A Portrait of the CIA in Prison

John Kiriakou’s Doing Time Like a Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison paints a disturbing portrait of a U.S. prison in which Kiriakou spent time as retribution for having admitted that the CIA used torture. His ongoing whistleblowing on the state of U.S. prisons, as well as on the ways in which the U.S. government has gone after him, is as valuable as his opposition to CIA torture.

The prison as described in the book is largely unaccountable to the rule of law. Prisoners in need of medical attention are simply allowed to die, or hastened along toward death by sadistic or incompetent malpractice. Education for prisoners is nonexistent. Rehabilitation efforts are nonexistent. Slave labor is universal. Those who leave, leave having acquired additional skills and attitudes of criminals. This prison system serves not to protect, not to rehabilitate, not to compensate or make restitution, and not to reduce crime.

Kiriakou also paints what I find a disturbing portrait of himself. In his view, prison requires vicious and manipulative behavior to survive. Perhaps it does. And perhaps it is an act of significantly brave honesty for Kiriakou to show himself to us degraded by such behavior. Perhaps it is all the more so to the extent that he depicts himself enjoying it. Yet he describes his prison-survival techniques as having come straight out of his CIA work, which he engaged in for years and about which he claims unmitigated pride. In addition, Kiriakou describes his approach to writing and publishing as self-serving and manipulative, and repeatedly urges us to never trust anyone, all of which leaves one wondering.

Kiriakou is proud of having volunteered to fight in the War on Terror. His view of foreign policy, as his view of prison conduct, seems to condone killing, but not torturing. His prison skills include threatening various people with murder, but never torture. That neither murder nor torture is legal or moral, and that neither “works” on its own terms, is a blind spot in U.S. culture, not something unique to John Kiriakou.

Kiriakou claims that threatening to kill one fellow prisoner scared him into ceasing to slander Kiriakou, except for on one occasion when Kiriakou was present and the other prisoner unaware of it. But it could be the man was scared into slandering Kiriakou only when he wasn’t around, which was exactly what he’d been doing to begin with.

Anyway, it’s hard to find morality in the killing / torturing distinction. Maybe that’s the point. All is gray. Kiriakou writes that in his CIA work he didn’t mind “bending some rules,” just not the one on torture. And his prison conduct continually echoes the behavior of the government he is trying to reform.

When Kiriakou asked Senator John Kerry, for whom he had worked, to ask President Obama to commute his sentence, Kerry’s reply was “Do not ever attempt to contact me again.” When a fellow prisoner revealed to Kiriakou that he was a pedophile, Kiriakou’s reply was “Don’t ever try to speak to me again. Never. Understand?”

When the CIA proposed to in-source and escalate the use of torture, Cofer Black described what happened as “the gloves came off.” When Kiriakou wanted to escalate his attacks on a fellow prisoner, he says “it was time to take the gloves off.”

Kiriakou describes Middle Eastern countries he “served” in as “dumps.” He describes prisoners as “the scum of society,” “filthy pig,” “white trash,” “filthy midget rat,” and similar dehumanizing terms. But when Kiriakou explains why his CIA background came in so handy in prison, he refers to conflict among CIA employees, not between the CIA and foreign “enemies”:

Corbynize This Trumped Up World

Making Jeremy Corbyn the Prime Minister of the U.K. would do more for the world and everyone in it than either of the two available outcomes of any recent U.S. election could have done. Here in the U.S. I always protest that I am not against elections, I think we should have one some day. Well, now we have one — only it’s across the pond.

Corbyn’s record is no secret, and you don’t need me to tell you, but I have met him and spoken at events with him, and can assure you he’s legitimate. He’s been a dedicated leader of the peace movement right through his career. He had the decency last week to point out yet again that invading and bombing countries and overthrowing governments produces terrorism; it doesn’t somehow reduce it or eliminate it or “fight” it.

Britain is the key co-conspirator in U.S. wars. One real-life Love Actually refusal to bow before Emperor Donald, and the facade of super-hero law enforcement will begin to crumble, revealing a rogue serial killer standing naked in his golden hotel suite.

The world needs an actual popular elected response to U.S. aggression against the world’s poor and the earth’s climate. A ho-hum housebroken Frenchman who’s not a fascist isn’t the same thing. Corbyn supports successful Scandinavian socialism, demilitarization, environmental action, and aid to those in need. He works within the government and is held back by his party. But he doesn’t lie. He doesn’t sell out. He makes the case for wise and popular policies as powerfully as he’s able.

Want people to believe representative government is compatible with capitalism? Want well-behaved voters the world over to imagine that the corporate media can actually be overcome? Stop grasping at Congressional candidate gun-nuts who happen to be Democrats. Stop telling vicious lies about Russia in an attempt to travel back in time and cause a corporate militarist hack to win the White House. We actually have an election between an actually good candidate and one of the usual monstrosities we’ve become so used to.

Contact every young person you can who can vote in this election. Contact every possible organization and entertainer who might help spread the word. Get every Hollywood star who ever tried to rock the vote but didn’t have anyone to promote who people actually wanted to vote for to notice this golden opportunity. Telling young Brits to get out and vote for Jeremy will do more to spread democracy than destroying Syria, starving a million children in Yemen, or occupying Afghanistan for another 50 years.

Young people, sadly, have seen through our scams. They’ve heard us cry wolf too many times. Yet if you ask them who they would have voted for, they tell you the better candidate. Now here’s an actually great candidate, and their televisions are telling them that they are powerless to do anything. And they refuse to see through that scam. You have to help them see through it! You have to find somebody hip enough to help them! Young British people are our last hope, and it’s your job to encourage them.

We could have a world in which a leading wealthy “democracy” has a government that responds to majority opinion. We could have a world in which London says to Washington: “You want another war, we won’t help you pretend it’s legal. In fact, we’re drafting a brief for the prosecution and will see you in court.” The people of the United States need that fig leaf torn away, need the pretense that mass murder is legal and necessary ended in our own minds. The peace, prosperity, sustainability, and friendship awaiting us is too much for us to even imagine. What might help us do it, what might make us believe that “hope” and “change” and other concepts we’ve almost come to despise could actually be possible would be making Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.

War Monuments Are Killing Us

Remarks at Lincoln Memorial, May 30, 2017

Washington, D.C., and much of the rest of the United States, is full of war monuments, with many more under construction and being planned. Most of them glorify wars. Many of them were erected during later wars and sought to improve the images of past wars for present purposes. Almost none of them teach any lessons from mistakes made. The very best of them mourn the loss of a tiny fraction -- the U.S. fraction -- of the wars' victims.

But if you search this and other U.S. cities, you'll have a harder time finding memorials for North American genocide or slavery or the people slaughtered in the Philippines or Laos or Cambodia or Vietnam or Iraq. You won't find a lot of monuments around here to the Bonus Army or the Poor People's Campaign. Where is the history of the struggles of sharecroppers or factory workers or suffragettes or environmentalists? Where are our writers and artists? Why is there not a statue of Mark Twain right here laughing his ass off at us? Where is the Three-Mile Island memorial warning us away from nuclear energy? Where are the monuments to each Soviet or U.S. person, such as Vasili Arkhipov, who held off nuclear apocalypse? Where is the great blowback memorial mourning the governments overthrown and the arming and training of fanatical killers?

While many nations erect memorials to what they do not wish to repeat as well as to what they wish to emulate, the United States focuses overwhelmingly on wars and overwhelmingly on glorifying them. And the very existence of Veterans For Peace jams that narrative and forces some people to think.

Well over 99.9% of our history is not memorialized in marble. And when we ask that it be, we're generally laughed at. Yet if you propose to remove a monument to a Confederate general in a southern U.S. city, do you know what the most common response is? They accuse you of being against history, of wishing to erase the past. This comes out of an understanding of the past as consisting entirely of wars.

In New Orleans, they've just taken down their Confederate war monuments, which had been erected to advance white supremacy. In my town of Charlottesville, Virginia, the city has voted to take down a Robert E. Lee statue. But we've run up against a Virginia law that forbids taking down any war monument. There is no law, as far as I know, anywhere on earth that forbids taking down any peace monument. Almost as hard as finding such a law would be finding any peace monuments around here to consider taking down. I don't count the building of our friends nearby here at the U.S. Institute of Peace, which if defunded this year will have lived out its entire existence without ever having opposed a U.S. war.

But why shouldn't we have peace monuments? If Russia and the United States were engaged in jointly memorializing the ending of the Cold War in Washington and Moscow, would that not help hold off the new Cold War? If we were building a monument to the prevention, over the last several years, of a U.S. attack on Iran, would a future such attack be more likely or less likely? If there were a monument to the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Outlawry movement on the Mall, wouldn't some tourists learn of its existence and what it outlawed? Would the Geneva Conventions be dismissed as quaint if the war planners saw the Geneva Conventions Monument out their window?

Beyond the lack of monuments for peace agreements and disarmament successes, where are the monuments to the rest of human life beyond war? In a sane society, the war memorials would be one small example of many types of public memorials, and where they existed they would mourn, not glorify, and mourn all victims, not a small fraction deemed worthy of our sorrow.

The Swords to Plowshares Memorial Bell Tower is an example of what we should be doing as a society. Veterans For Peace is an example of what we should be doing as a society. Admit our mistakes. Value all lives. Improve our practices. Honor courage when it is combined with morality. And recognize veterans by creating no more veterans going forward.

How Business "Partnerships" Flopped at America's Largest University

The State University of New York (SUNY)―the largest university in the United States, with nearly 600,000 students located in 64 publicly-funded higher education institutions―has served an important educational function for the people of New York and of the United States.  But its recent “partnerships” with private businesses have been far less productive.

We’re Dealing With a New Type of War Lie

When the U.S. public was told that Spain had blown up the Maine, or Vietnam had returned fire, or Iraq had stockpiled weapons, or Libya was planning a massacre, the claims were straightforward and disprovable. Before people began referring to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, somebody had to lie that it had happened, and there had to be an understanding of what had supposedly happened. No investigation into whether anything had happened could have taken as its starting point the certainty that a Vietnamese attack or attacks had happened. And no investigation into whether a Vietnamese attack had happened could have focused its efforts on unrelated matters, such as whether anyone in Vietnam had ever done business with any relatives or colleagues of Robert McNamara.

All of this is otherwise with the idea that the Russian government determined the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. U.S. corporate media reports often claim that Russia did decide the election or tried to do that or wanted to try to do that. But they also often admit to not knowing whether any such thing is the case. There is no established account, with or without evidence to support it, of exactly what Russia supposedly did. And yet there are countless articles casually referring, as if to established fact to the . . .

“Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election” (Yahoo).
“Russian attempts to disrupt the election” (New York Times).
“Russian … interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election” (ABC).
“Russian influence over the 2016 presidential election” (The Intercept).
“a multi-pronged investigation to uncover the full extent of Russia’s election-meddling” (Time).
“Russian interference in the US election” (CNN).
“Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election” (American Constitution Society).
“Russian hacking in US Election” (Business Standard).”

“Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking” we’re told by the New York Times, but what is “election hacking”? Its definition seems to vary widely. And what evidence is there of Russia having done it?

The “Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections” even exists as a factual event in Wikipedia, not as an allegation or a theory. But the factual nature of it is not so much asserted as brushed aside.

Former CIA director John Brennan, in the same Congressional testimony in which he took the principled stand “I don’t do evidence,” testified that “the fact that the Russians tried to influence resources and authority and power, and the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist and try to act to prevent further instances of that.” He provided no evidence.

Activists have even planned “demonstrations to call for urgent investigations into Russian interference in the US election.” They declare that “every day we learn more about the role Russian state-led hacking and information warfare played in the 2016 election.” (March for Truth.)

Belief that Russia helped put Trump in the White House is steadily rising in the U.S. public. Anything commonly referred to as fact will gain credibility. People will assume that at some point someone actually established that it was a fact.

Keeping the story in the news without evidence are articles about polling, about the opinions of celebrities, and about all kinds of tangentially related scandals, their investigations, and obstruction thereof. Most of the substance of most of the articles that lead off with reference to the “Russian influence on the election” is about White House officials having some sort of connections to the Russian government, or Russian businesses, or just Russians. It’s as if an investigation of Iraqi WMD claims focused on Blackwater murders or whether Scooter Libby had taken lessons in Arabic, or whether the photo of Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands was taken by an Iraqi.

A general trend away from empirical evidence has been extensively noted and discussed. There is no more public evidence that Seth Rich leaked Democratic emails than there is that the Russian government stole them. Yet both claims have passionate believers. Still, the claims about Russia are unique in their wide proliferation, broad acceptance, and status as something to be constantly referred to as though already established, constantly augmented by other Russia-related stories that add nothing to the central claim. This phenomenon, in my view, is as dangerous as any lies and fabrications coming out of the racist right.

U.S. Human Rights Groups Recommend Bombing Victims Move Underground, Develop Militias

The International Committee of the Red Cross and InterAction (a coalition of U.S. human rights groups) have published a report on how to protect civilians when waging war on cities. They seek to catalog the “humanitarian challenges specific to urban warfare.”

While I would not (one wishes it were needless to say) prefer that they strive to maximize the human destruction possible in urban warfare, I want to note that any report seeking to address the humanitarian challenges specific to slavery or rape or child abuse or the slaughter of kittens (rather than humans) would be dismissed with outrage. Nowhere do these human rights advocates hint at the possibility of ceasing to bomb cities. Nowhere do they recognize the illegality of all recent U.S. bombings of cities under the U.N. Charter or, for that matter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Instead, the authors treat the practice of bombing cities as inevitable and natural, and attribute the growth of urban warfare to the migration of people from rural to urban areas.

What should be done? While the authors discuss various types of massive slaughter and destruction as “intended or not,” they also suggest that the key reform to be sought is better intentions and more careful planning. The “development” types should work better with the “humanitarians,” provide more “flexible” funding for the human rights groups, and do “proportionality analysis,” we’re told.

The word “proportionality” appears in every Just War theory and in thousands of mainstream news reports, yet nobody, including these authors, has ever devised a test whereby one can determine whether a war or a particular bombing was “proportional” or not. If I say killing 14 children in order to kill a particular man was disproportional, what’s to stop someone else arguing that this particular man needed to be killed to an extent that would have justified killing anywhere up to 16.37 children? Of course, I can point out that most wars kill mostly civilians, so that launching them is an act that guarantees great injustice, but I can’t stop someone else claiming that “proportionally” killing 500,000 children is “worth it” in the context of some just cause (as then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once claimed).

The most serious recommendation that these authors make is that no more large bombs, only small bombs, be dropped on cities, with the large bombs saved for rural areas. It’s worth noting that the U.S. government is developing “more usable” nuclear bombs and tends to ignore such restrictions, that small bombs like large bombs still commit mass-murder while endangering us and costing a fortune and poisoning the environment, that a number of small bombs adds up to a large bomb, and that large bombs in rural areas do all of the same destructive things even if hitting fewer people and less centralized infrastructure.

The most disturbing recommendations in this report include creating safe exit routes (even while claiming people should have the right not to leave), moving schools and hospitals underground, avoiding ground floor windows, and taking up arms and developing local militias.

This report is the product of a human rights industry feeding off its total acceptance of war and violence. When you can bring yourself to the point of making these recommendations to the people your government is bombing, but you cannot ever bring yourself to the point of even hinting at the possibility that your government should stop bombing people all over the world, you’ve become an Orwellian ministry of human rights, not an actual movement to expand the well-being of humans.

Talk Nation Radio: Francis Boyle on How to Impeach Trump

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-francis-boyle-on-how-to-impeach-trump


Francis Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Professor Boyle has served as counsel to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the Provisional Government of the Palestinian Authority. He has represented the Blackfoot Nation, the Nation of Hawaii, and the Lakota Nation. He drafted the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. And he has been a strong advocate over the years for the proper use of the power of impeachment.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Music by Duke Ellington.

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LEAKED: Text of Trump’s Peaceful Islam Speech

By Donald Trump
Translated into English by David Swanson

I am very honored to have been invited here to tell you about Islam. King Salman invited me, and I said you know I really need to go to Israel first because I have a connection to any chosen people. I was chosen by the majority of Americans last November, of electoral Americans. They love me. But King Salman — great guy, really great guy, and such beautiful houses — King Salman told me what he wanted me to talk about, and then I had to say yes. I had to. There was no question.

King Salman — and you know people in the United States are thinking of giving me that same title, King, they’re thinking about it, I won’t say they’re going to do it, but they really really want to — King Salman said to me, “Donald,” he said, “do you remember when I closed that nude beach in France so that we could have a little party, just a simple private party? Do you remember,” he said, “how the French were upset and claimed I was against nude beaches?”

Why You Should Visit Russia

Just back from a week in Moscow, I feel obliged to point out a few things about it.

  • Most people there still love Americans.
  • Many people there speak English.
  • Learning basic Russian is not that hard.
  • Moscow is the biggest city in Europe (and far bigger than any in the United States).
  • Moscow has the charm, culture, architecture, history, activities, events, parks, museums, and entertainment to match any other city in Europe.
  • It’s warm there now with flowers everywhere.
  • Moscow is safer than U.S. cities. You can walk around alone at night with no worries.
  • The Metro goes everywhere. A train comes every 2 minutes. The trains have free Wi-Fi. So do the parks.
  • You can rent bicycles at lots of different spots and return them to any other.
  • You can fly direct from New York to Moscow, and if you fly on the Russian airline Aeroflot you’ll get a nostalgic reminder of what it’s like to have airplane seats large enough to hold a human being.
  • Everybody says that St. Petersburg and various other cities are even more beautiful than Moscow.
  • Right now the sun is up from 4:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Moscow, and until 9:30 p.m. in St. Petersburg. The longest day of the year in St. Petersburg is 18-and-a-half hours.

Americans seem not to know about Russia. While four-and-a-half million Americans visit Italy in a year, and two-and-a-half million go to Germany as tourists, only 86 thousand go to Russia. More tourists go to Russia from several other countries than go there from the U.S.

Speaking Events

2017

 

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

 

September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.

 

October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference



Find more events here.

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