Submitted by tnjp on August 5, 2012 - 12:28pm.

The Obama administration has torpedoed the arms trade treaty

Though nothing in the UN treaty would impact on its domestic gun laws, the US is the world's largest weapons exporter
Amy Goodman
guardian.co.uk, Friday 3 August 2012 04.00 EDT

What is more heavily regulated, global trade of bananas or battleships? In late June, activists gathered in New York's Times Square to make the absurd point that, unbelievably, "there are more rules governing your ability to trade a banana from one country to the next than governing your ability to trade an AK-47 or a military helicopter". So said Amnesty International USA's Suzanne Nossel at the protest, just before the start of the UN conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which ran from 2 July to 27 July. Thanks to a last-minute declaration by the United States that it "needed more time" to review the short, 11-page treaty text, the conference ended last week in failure.

There isn't much that could be considered controversial in the treaty. Signatory governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate "the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes" or other violations of international humanitarian law. Exports of arms are banned if they will facilitate "gender-based violence or violence against children" or be used for "transnational organised crime". Why does the US need more time than the more than 90 other countries that had sufficient time to read and approve the text? The answer lies in the power of the gun lobby, the arms industry and the apparent inability of Barack Obama to do the right thing, especially if it contradicts a cold, political calculation.

Submitted by tnjp on July 29, 2012 - 5:39pm.

a speech at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland...
Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours | TomDispatch
Destroying the Commons
How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta
By Noam Chomsky

Down the road only a few generations, the millennium of Magna Carta, one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights, will arrive. Whether it will be celebrated, mourned, or ignored is not at all clear.

That should be a matter of serious immediate concern. What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that event. It is not an attractive prospect if present tendencies persist -- not least, because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

The first scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone. It was not an easy task. There was no good text available. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats” -- a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished...

Submitted by Tom Baxter on July 4, 2011 - 4:01pm.

Happy Fourth Of July!!!!!

I’ve always been a history buff, even before I went to Vietnam.

Reading history was one of the reasons, I went from a supporter of the war, even so far as to become a US Army NCO to a dissident speaking out and even a criminal committing civil disobedience in opposition.

Some reasons that are overlooked in US War of Independence revolve around ‘The Proclamation Line of 1763’ and the unwillingness of the colonists to pay taxes for current and past wars against the First Nations.

When the colonists refused to pay current and past wars, the Brits made ‘The Proclamation Line of 1763,’ which was the limit of colonial expansion West. This was based on the simple proven theory that if you didn’t invade another’s land, they won’t attack you. This displeased two sets of colonists, the rugged frontiersman looking to steal land to own and more importantly the land speculators, the Banksters of the day. The main problem in turning a claim to cash was ethnically cleansing the natives. One of the most notable of the speculators was George Washington, who had been trading in First Nations land for decades. He made and lost several fortunes trading and finally gave up...

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2011 - 4:10pm.

Well, there goes year eight of war and occupation in Iraq, welcome to YEAR NINE!

We, the few, the proud, the PEACEMAKERS commemorated the passing with a Free Bradley Manning solidarity demo and anti-war vigil in front of the old Capital in Tallahassee.

Obligatory group shot -

The Peace Hounds made another appearance. These dogs have protested for peace hundreds of times during the past ten years. How 'bout you?...

There was also a rare sighting of long lost peacemaker and friend Ed

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2011 - 11:36am.

Eight Years of War: What WikiLeaks Has Revealed on the US Occupation of Iraq
By Kevin Gosztola
March 19, 2011 at 09:24:02

This date, March 19, 2011, marks the beginning of the ninth year of the US war in Iraq. The war, which began in 2003 with a bombing campaign of "shock and awe," has for years been more of an occupation than a war. Despite the fact that many believe the war is over (especially Americans), the US still has 47,000 troops in Iraq and, despite a 2011 withdrawal date, will likely continue to have tens of thousands of soldiers based in Iraq for years to come.

The past year has seen the world learn a great deal about the US war and occupation of Iraq. With the WikiLeaks release of US State Cables, the Iraq War Logs, and a "Collateral Murder" video showing US soldiers firing on journalists and innocent civilians from an Apache helicopter, the criminal nature of the war and occupation has become more evident. To mark the end of eight years of US troops in Iraq and the beginning of a ninth year, it is worth noting the many revelations on Iraq that have become known thanks to WikiLeaks.

On October 22, 2010, 390,000 field reports, which became known as the Iraq War Logs, showed the regular use of abuse, brutality and torture used on Iraqis by Iraqi Police and Iraqi Security Forces. The logs revealed, despite US claims, a tracking of civilian deaths had been going on, and, in fact, 66,000 civilian deaths (15,000 which were previously unknown) had occurred.

Submitted by tnjp on November 30, 2010 - 5:19pm.

This would be funny, if it were just a joke... lifted from rense.com

What the TSA Patdown Searches Are Really About
by Robert Freeman

You can hardly watch a TV news show, listen to a radio broadcast, pick up a newspaper, or read the Internet without hearing about the aggressive Transportation Security Agency patdown searches at airports.

The TSA and all relevant officials tell us that they're really for our own protection. But are they? In truth, the searches have virtually nothing to do with increased airport security.

Several years ago, my four year-old daughter was pulled aside in one such screening because she happened to be the Nth person in the line to go through security. Though she was traveling with me, her mother, and sister, she was subjected to 40 minutes of terrifying interrogations and inspections of all her personal effects, though not a bodily patdown.

The startling part of it was the mindlessness of it all. The guards were simply being good Nazis. Today, it is no longer mindless. It is part of a sustained campaign to condition the American public to being humiliated by government officials in the name of national security.

Physical humiliation of the subject is the first act that an interrogator performs on a victim. You can see this in the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The prisoners were made to perform all manner of humiliating acts: wear women's underwear on their heads; masturbate in front of female guards; pile onto one another naked; submit to rape by their guards; etc...

Submitted by tnjp on November 21, 2010 - 9:51pm.


26 People Arrested and Held in County Jail on Multiple Charges
Thousands Converge at the gates of Fort Benning for 20th Anniversary of November Vigil to Close the SOA

Nonviolent civil disobedience action followed by indiscriminate arrests and targeting of journalists. Among those arrested by Columbus police were three journalists, including unrelated bystanders.

SOA Watch urgently needs donations to establish a Legal Defense Fund for those who were unjustly imprisoned...

Submitted by tnjp on November 20, 2010 - 3:22pm.

Pentagon blows up thousands of homes in Afghanistan

Repeating the horrors of the Vietnam War
By Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition National Coordinator

Borrowing a page from its infamous “pacification” effort in South Vietnam, where peasant villages were napalmed and burned to the ground to “save them from the communists,” the Obama-ordered surge in Afghanistan has been secretly blowing up thousands of homes and leveling portions of the Afghan countryside.

As tens of thousands of U.S. troops have surged into southern Afghanistan, villagers have fled. Then the Petraeus-led occupation forces have determined which homes will be destroyed.

“In Arghandab District, for instance, every one of the 40 homes in the village of Khosrow was flattened by a salvo of 25 missiles, according to the district governor, Shah Muhammed Ahmadi, who estimated that 120 to 130 houses had been demolished in his district,” reported the New York Times, Nov. 16, 2010.

The Pentagon asserts that they must destroy the homes because some of them may have explosive devices inside.

The Pentagon’s murderous rampage and terror campaign 40 years ago against South Vietnamese villages, in areas that were considered sympathetic to the resistance forces, used much of the same kind of explanation. In fact, the New York Times in a throw back to Vietnam quotes the Arghandab District Governor, who is working with the occupation forces: “We had to destroy them to make them safe.”...

Submitted by tnjp on November 20, 2010 - 1:54pm.

Suncoast Sierra Club's Gulf Truth Forum Did Not Speak Truth--Scientists on Their Panel Have Studies Funded by BP
November 19, 2010
By Anita Stewart
This event was held on November 16, 2010 at the Fish and Wildlife Center in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida from 6 until 830PM.

EVENT NOTICE:

First statement on the invitation to this event is this:
"What do scientists say about how the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster affected the fish, wildlife and people in the Gulf of Mexico?"

People? The Human Impact in relation to the Catastrophe and Crime Scene in the Gulf was never mentioned in this forum. Not ONCE!..

Submitted by tnjp on November 19, 2010 - 3:46pm.



SOA Watch: Close the School of the Americas
** Friday, Nov.19

More and more people are arriving in Columbus for this weekend's vigil and rally at the gates of Fort Benning. Together, we will speak out for justice and call for an end to oppressive U.S. foreign policy. We will close the School of the Americas...

Submitted by tnjp on November 13, 2010 - 5:02pm.

To find out more and take action, visit Interfaith Worker Justice's 2010 National Day of Action Against Wage Theft page...

Revelations of Extreme 'Slave-Like' Working Conditions and Billions in Wage Theft Drive Nationwide Protests
By Art Levine, In These Times
November 13, 2010

Activists in more than 30 cities, organized by Interfaith Worker Justice and backed by labor groups, are staging a National Day of Action Against Wage Theft on November 18. "As the crisis for working families in the economy has deepened, so too has the crisis of wage theft," says Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) Executive Director Kim Bobo, perhaps the country's leading reformer addressing the ongoing scandal.

As much as $19 billion is stolen from American workers annually in unpaid overtime and minimum wage violations and, in some cases, through the human trafficking of legal immigrant workers. The latest case to come to light involves alleged horrendous conditions for immigrant workers reportedly hoodwinked in Mexico by a food services contractor for the New York State Fair and kept in near-slavery conditions of $2 an hour.

Indeed, the scandal surfaced when some of these legal guest workers showed up several weeks ago at a Syracuse area clinic, severely dehydrated and malnourished after allegedly being kept in virtual imprisonment in a trailer at the fair and at other locations; they were reportedly being denied thousands of dollars in legal wages owed them while working about 100 hours a week at fairs for months, according to legal filings and Danny Postel, communications coordinator for Interfaith Worker Justice.

"It's one of the most shocking cases of wage theft," Postel says...

Submitted by tnjp on November 12, 2010 - 2:57pm.


George W. Bush: Torturer-in-Chief
David Cole
November 10, 2010
In an uncoerced confession in his new memoir, Decision Points, former President George W. Bush proudly admits that he personally signed off on the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in 2003. Former Vice President Dick Cheney made the same admission in a televised interview shortly before he left office. In one sense, this is nothing new. It had long been reported that the CIA's use of what the Bush administration euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques" had been approved at the highest levels of the administration. But now both Bush and Cheney have publicly admitted to specifically signing off on the CIA's torture tactics. Their direct personal admissions now seal the case against them.

What case, you might ask? There is in fact no criminal or civil case against the former president or vice president for these actions. And both men no doubt felt comfortable admitting they had authorized what the world recognizes as torture because they believe they are politically immune from being held accountable. Even before the midterm elections, Barack Obama had insisted that he wanted only to look forward, not backward. With a strengthened Republican Party after the elections, it is even less likely that Bush or Cheney will be held accountable by the Obama administration. On November 9 the Justice Department announced that no criminal charges would be brought against the CIA agents who destroyed videotapes of the torture interrogations; that part of the cover-up, it seems, has succeeded...

Submitted by tnjp on November 10, 2010 - 4:36pm.

No charges for CIA tape destruction: Justice Dept
By Jeremy Pelofsky
Tue Nov 9, 2010 5:16pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No CIA personnel will face criminal charges for destroying videotapes of harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

While the decision will spare the CIA and the Obama administration the potential backlash and embarrassment that a trial could have generated, another federal probe continues into possible abuse of detainees by CIA personnel.

The videotapes probe was launched in January 2008 by then-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey after revelations that the CIA in 2005 had destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes of the interrogations of terrorism suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Zubaydah was one of three terrorism suspects who was subjected to waterboarding, a procedure in which the person experiences simulated drowning. It was believed that the tapes included footage of the waterboarding...

Submitted by tnjp on November 8, 2010 - 1:44pm.

Justice Dept. Renews Enforcement of Subpoenas for Antiwar Activists Targeted in FBI Raids

We get an update on the fallout from the FBI raids in late September that targeted antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury were served on thirteen people but later withdrawn when the activists asserted their right to remain silent. But this week, the US Department of Justice said it intends to enforce the subpoenas for some of them and require them to appear before a grand jury. We speak to former president of the National Lawyers Guild, Bruce Nestor. [includes rush transcript]

http://www.stopfbi.net

Submitted by tnjp on November 2, 2010 - 2:09pm.


War Crimes of General Stanley McChrystal - #24 of the top 25 Censored news stories of 2011

Sources:

Seymour Hersh, "Secret US Forces Carried Out Assassinations in a Dozen Countries, Including in Latin America," Democracy Now!, March 31, 2009

Seymour Hersh, "You Can't Authorise Murder," interview with Abbas Al Lawati, Gulf News, May 12, 2009

PressTV, "McChrystal Was Cheney's Chief Assassin," May 16, 2009

A little more than a year before he was fired on June 23, 2010, for making potentially insubordinate remarks in a Rolling Stone profile, General Stanley McChrystal was appointed by President Barack Obama as commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan. He had been formerly in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Most of what General McChrystal has done over a thirty-three-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the JSOC, a special black operations commando unit of the Navy Seals and Delta Force so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claims that the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and that Congress had no oversight of it whatsoever. The JSOC team would go into countries, without talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, find people on a to-be-killed list, execute them, and leave. There was an ongoing list of targeted people, cleared by Vice President Cheney's office, who had committed acts of war or were suspected of planning operations of war against the United States. Hersh asserts that there have been assassinations in a dozen countries in the Middle East and Latin America. "There's an executive order, signed by President Ford, in the '70s, forbidding such action. It's not only contrary-it's illegal, it's immoral, it's counterproductive," he added...