Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Paul Thompson was born in Pacific Beach, California and currently holds a psychology degree from Stanford University obtained in 1990. He now spends time there and in San Diego. He is a freelance researcher and has worked in the past as an environmental activist at an environmental-protection firm.
Mr. Thompson has made numerous appearances on Link TV and Free Speech TV. He helps these independent channels raise money.
Part I Part II Part III Part IV
Sunday, July 24, 2016
GUEST: Leonard Eiger
The bus ad
Nuclear weapons and resistance
Upcoming Ground Zero events:
* Numerous activities with the historic peace vessel, the Golden Rule and Veterans for Peace throughout the summer. Our first event with the Golden Rule will be in Poulsbo on June 28. See http://www.
* The annual Interfaith Peace Walk led by Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple takes place from July 24 to August 9.
* Ground Zero Peace Fleet with the Golden Rule in Elliott Bay on August 3.
* From Hiroshima to Hope event at Green Lake on August 6 commemorating the victims of the Hiroshima bombing 71 years ago.
* The Annual Ground Zero Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration on August 7 and 8 at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action with a vigil and nonviolent civil resistance at entrance to Bangor.
* Boats by Bangor on August 9, will be a flotilla of small boats, the Golden Rule and other sail boats in the waters of Hood Canal out past the perimeter of Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
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"There are only three things the guys let you be if you're a girl in the military - a bitch, a ho, or a dyke."
Anonymous Female US Soldier
If there is any institution in the world today that embodies the “ideals” of violence and male supremacy, it’s the US military.
Not only is the US military engaged in murder and mayhem all over the world against civilians and insurgents, it holds its troops in very little regard, and female troops even lower.
Recently, the US Senate passed a bill (included in the war funding bill—sorry, “Defense Authorization Act”) that would require women over the age of 18 to register for “Selective Service.”
This excerpt is from an article in the New York Times (June 4, 2016):
Under the Senate bill passed on Tuesday, women turning 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018, would be forced to register for Selective Service, as men must do now. Failure to register could result in the loss of various forms of federal aid, including Pell grants, a penalty that men already face. Because the policy would not apply to women who turned 18 before 2018, it would not affect current aid arrangements.
I found the word “forced” to be very telling in the above. Liberal feminists and many female politicians are celebrating the move as a step for equality, but in my opinion, no one should be “forced” to be conscripted to be a soldier for the profit and power of the oligarchy.
As of this writing Hillary Rodham Clinton is the presumptive nominee for one wing of the capitalist War Party and not surprisingly, she supports the bill which would force women to register for the draft, but after telling the liberal Huffington Post that she supports a draft, she uses poli-speak weasel words to say:
“I am on record as supporting the all-volunteer military, which I think at this time does serve our country well,”
“All-volunteer” does serve the interests of the ruling-class “well,” because, I am still told all the time, “Your son volunteered to join the Army,” as if this bellicose rationale gives The Empire the perfect right to send troops to violate the sovereignty, peace, and security of other countries and murder those “volunteers.”
Even though the US already has Selective Service for men, I believe that there is little danger of forced conscription because the draft radicalizes young people and their families. The draft radicalizes the young members of the WORKING-class, however. No 1%ers like Clinton’s granddaughter have any chance of going into the military, although their families profit off of the Military Industrial Complex. Resistance to forced conscription was intense during the Vietnam War and there’s nothing the ruling-class fears more than uprisings of the working-class.
Even though there are slim, to no chance that the US will reinstitute forced conscription, I believe from a revolutionary point of view that NO ONE: gay-straight, male-female, should register to be cannon fodder for Uncle Sam—-but note in the excerpt from the NYT, that young people who do not put their name in the draw for Murder, Inc, cannot have access to Pell Grants or other Federal help for astronomically priced college or university. The dichotomy is that education is considered a human right in countries where Empire building and maintenance don’t suck economies dry, but our young people have to but our young people have to balance potential human rights violations as members of Murder, Inc, with an education.
Besides the simple fact the women are being “gifted” with this chance to be “equal” to men in our opportunity to be cannon fodder, women still do not have equal pay or equality under the law here in the land of male supremacy. Women’s suffrage came at a great cost to activists, yet women still do not make up 50% of political offices—yet many of the women who are in office (like HRC) are absorbed by and beholden to the tenants of male supremacy.
One of the best reasons for me as a women revolutionary-activst-mother-grandmother to oppose forced conscription for women is that 1/3 of all females are raped by their fellow soldiers and superiors in the military and if we think it’s hard to get justice for rape in the civilian world, it’s nearly impossible in the US military.
I have heard horrifying tales of women being raped, or sexually assaulted, or harassed and retaliated against if she had the gall to stick up for herself and report the abuse. One of the worst cases I heard of was the case of LaVena Johnson.
LaVena was murdered in Iraq on July 19, 2005.
Her parents were told that their daughter committed suicide and then her character was assassinated by insinuating that she was a “ho” and slept around quite a bit.
Through years of relentless quest for truth, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson discovered the real story that LaVena was (by fellow troops) brutally sexually assaulted, beaten, and then her body was burned to hide the evidence--while key parts of her anatomy were excised and removed postpartum to hide the crime!
It’s my opinion that the US military is a brutal institution and we must use whatever influence we have in our own spheres and to other young people (I have heard as young as 4th grade) to resist registering for Selective Service and recruiting our young people which is against international prohibitions against child soldiers.
Most of the time being “equal” in the Empire means being co-opted into violence and patriarchy and that is certainly not liberation.
Viva Venezuela! Venezuela Continues to Stand Against U.S. Intervention! (GUEST BLOG BY ALISON BODINE)
Venezuela Continues to Stand Against U.S. Intervention!
On June 21, 2016 Afro-Venezuelans from all of Venezuela’s 14 states took to the streets in Caracas to show their support for the government of Venezuela against an economic war and foreign intervention. Two days later, people across Venezuela gathered in the public squares of major cities also against foreign intervention and to defend the sovereignty of Venezuela. On the International Day of Refugees, Colombians living in Venezuela marched in Caracas in support of the Bolivarian Revolution and the government of Venezuela.
These mass demonstrations are only a few examples of the way that the people of Venezuela are demonstrating their support of the Bolivarian Revolution. The people of Venezuela, led by the government of President Nicolas Maduro are mobilizing every day, in streets, classrooms and workplaces of Venezuela to defend the gains of the Bolivarian Revolution against a violent counter-revolutionary opposition that works hand-in-hand with the U.S. government.
However, you would know none of this if you were reading the mainstream news. Instead, you would see the headlines “Venezuela food shortage pushes country to breaking point”, “Rolling blackouts and riots in drought-stricken Venezuela”, “Venezuelans ransack stores, riot in streets as widespread hunger grips South American nation” or “Venezuela is grinding to a halt amid chaos;” all headlines that have been used in the last month for articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post and even Canadian press such as the CBC.
This mainstream media campaign against Venezuela is using lies, deceptions and manipulations to turn Venezuela into a “failed state,” with a people in desperate need of foreign aid and intervention. This is a false and exaggerated narrative that compliments the current policy of the U.S. government and their allies against the sovereignty and self-determination of the people of Venezuela.
U.S. Intervention in Venezuela Continues
Since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution with the election of Comandante Hugo Chavez in 1998, the U.S. government has led a constant attack against the people of Venezuela and their right to choose their own government and the future of their country. This has included financial and political support for a violent and counter-revolutionary opposition in Venezuela, including support for a 2002 coup against President Chavez. Most recently, President Obama and the U.S. government have declared Venezuela as a “threat to U.S. national security” and upheld existing sanctions.
Calls for foreign intervention, including support for a motion against Venezuela in the Organization of American States (OAS) have been echoed by all major political parties in Canada, including the NDP. In a recent statement NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie) said “Canada should be working through the Organization of American States (OAS) to support multilateral diplomatic initiatives. The OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter regarding Venezuela, and Canada, as a member of the OAS, should support his efforts. Multilateral action is the best way to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela.”
So, What About the OAS?
The United States and their allies have also continued to try and impose their will on the people of Venezuela through the apparatus of the Organization of American States (OAS). In May, the OAS member-states (which include the United States and Canada) refused to accept the call of the General Secretary of the OAS to invoke the “Inter-American Democratic Charter” against Venezuela, which could lead to the removal Venezuela from the regional body. Then, in June there was another meeting of the OAS where the General Secretary, Luis Almagro proceeded to read his full report on Venezuela and the reasons they should be banned from the OAS.
The government of Venezuela has denied the legitimacy of the General Secretary to invoke the charter, especially in the light of Almagro’s direct meetings with the opposition in Venezuela as if they were somehow representatives of Venezuela at the OAS. As Delcy Rodriguez, the Foreign Minister of Venezuela has said “"Every day we have evidence of the secretary general's bias in favor of sectors of the opposition who are seeking a coup in Venezuela," she said. “I see now this is ordered by Washington. I know they are on Washington’s payroll to meddle in the domestic affairs of Venezuela.”
Member-states at the OAS meeting expressed their support for dialogue between the government of Venezuela and the opposition as facilitated by UNASUR. As opposed to the OAS, which is based in Washington DC and receives 59% of its funding from the United States, UNASUR is a regional cooperation bloc for and in South America. If the United States and their allies are truly concerned with peace and democracy in Venezuela, they should support the efforts of Venezuela’s neighbors to promote dialogue.
What Are the Media Lies and Deceptions About Venezuela?
At a time when the U.S. government has chosen to mask its intervention in Venezuela under demands for “democracy” and an end to “humanitarian crisis,” mainstream media has also launched a campaign against Venezuela in order to pave the way for further intervention. This campaign is working through all major capitalist media outlets to prove that the people of Venezuela are facing a humanitarian crisis that the government of Venezuela is doing nothing to remedy.
This manipulative campaign has focused especially on food shortages and the long lines of people waiting to buy basic goods in Venezuela. First of all, it must be said, what right does the U.S. government and media have to tell Venezuela about ensuring access to proper nutrition? Within the United States, the richest country in the world, over 15 million children live in households without consistent access to “nutritious food necessary for a healthy life”, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Despite the obvious hypocrisy, the mainstream media and U.S. government officials continue to offer their criticisms, placing the entire fault for lines and shortages on the shoulders of the Venezuelan government. There are, however, many other factors that contribute to the great challenges that the Venezuelan economy is facing, not the least of which has been the dramatic fall in the price of oil, Venezuela’s main export. These factors, with very real consequences to Venezuela’s economy are brushed off in major media in order to make room for more photos of empty grocery store shelves.
The continued practice of the smuggling and re-selling of basic goods in Venezuela for a massive profit is another factor causing shortages. In a rare article about the problem of smuggling in Venezuela, Time Magazine interviewed two sisters in Colombia. As Time reports, “… they meet a local who has purchased about 60 kilos of beef at the Mercal, the state subsidized supermarket, for the equivalent of just $54. By the end of the day that same quantity of meat will be on a market shelf in Cucuta, where it will sell for over $200.” Despite the closure of much of the Venezuela/Colombia border by President Maduro in August of 2015 to crackdown on smuggling, the criminal practice continues to funnel food and basic goods out of government subsidized stores and out the country.
To further demonstrate that the mainstream media has no interest in the truth about Venezuela, take for example a photo that has been re-printed dozens of times in mainstream media over the past few years. In this photo, a woman with a grocery cart is seen walking in front of a row of empty shelves, a supposed example of a severe crisis in Venezuela. Although this photo was reported as being taken in Venezuela, it was later proven to be a photo taken in New York in 2011 prior to Hurricane Sandy.
It has also become common practice in the mainstream media to report that the inflation rate in Venezuela has reached 700%, which is a direct lie. This number is only a prediction by the IMF about where the inflation rate is headed in Venezuela in the next year. Instead, Venezuela’s Central Bank has reported that the inflation rate 141.5 percent.
“Each aggression of the opposition must be responded to with more revolution”
Diosdado Cabello, Venezuelan Parliamentarian and former President of Venezuela’s National Assembly
In Venezuela today, the majority of food production and distribution is still controlled by private companies, a factor that mainstream media chooses to leave out when they discuss shortages. These companies, including the largest, known as Empresa Polar, have been found hoarding food as well as raising prices for basic goods. In order to combat this, the government of Venezuela has implemented emergency economic measures that enable them to introduce more control and regulation in the industry. With the emergency decree in place, there are advances being made to diversify Venezuela’s economy as well as boost production in factories left to waste by private industry in Venezuela.
They have also formed a community-based food distribution system, known as CLAP – Local Committees of Supply and Production. As reported by Telesur at the beginning of June, “the CLAP committees have facilitated the distribution of 33,000 tons of food to some 6.4 million of Venezuelans.” As well, the government is working to establish growth of food production in Venezuela, with new projects such as community gardens and urban farms. In another sector, Venezuela actively working to increase food imports outside of the private sector. This includes a recent trade deal with Trinidad and Tobago for food, bath and laundry soaps and toilet paper.
When the right-wing opposition was elected to a majority in the National Assembly in December of 2015, the first laws that they attempted to pass immediately showed their intentions to roll back the great gains made by the people of Venezuela in the Bolivarian Revolution. Despite these attempts, the people of Venezuela continue to receive the important services delivered by the social programs, known as “Missions” in Venezuela. This includes those for housing, health and dental care, subsidized food and education.
“I will say this now and always, Venezuela does not obey orders from the United States.”
– Nicolas Maduro
In the face of a difficult economic and political situation in Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution has continued to advance, in dramatic contrast to the chaos and desperation described by mainstream media. As the mainstream media mounts a campaign of lies and deceptions to paint Venezuela as a failed-state, the government of Venezuela is working to combat a very-real economic crisis, a violent counter-revolutionary opposition and constant threats of foreign intervention.
Almost 17 years ago the people of Venezuela choose to pursue a different path than that set out by the U.S. government and their allies in Latin America. With the election of the late President Comandante Hugo Chavez, the people of Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution began to build a more equal and just society. Since then, great gains have been made in the fight against poverty, illiteracy and lack of adequate housing, education and healthcare in Venezuela.
Ever since that day, the government of Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution has been under constant threat. As people in Canada and the United States we must echo the demands of the people of Venezuela against foreign intervention and expose the hypocrisy of the U.S. government in their claim to be fighting for “democracy” and “human rights” in Venezuela.
Follow Alison on Twitter: @alisoncolette
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
First, while Obama has bragged about bombing seven nations, this lawsuit deals only with whichever parts of the world ISIS is in. But there is every reason to believe that Obama would make similar arguments for the legality of his other wars.
Second, while Tony Blair may be in hot water for violating the UN Charter's ban on threatening or using war, and while Germans and Japanese were once prosecuted for violating the Kellogg-Briand Pact's ban on waging war, this lawsuit takes no notice of such laws whatsoever, and thus neither does Obama's response. In fact, the "Most Progressive Democratic Party Platform in History" itself violates the UN Charter by threatening war on Iran and, a bit less explicitly, on Syria.
The lawsuit accuses Obama of waging war against ISIS in violation of the War Powers Resolution. Obama's lawyers (or, if you prefer the idiom of "our troops," we can say "our lawyers") try four different arguments for why that isn't so.
Their first argument takes up the bulk of the document. In it they claim that courts must not touch political questions, which must be left to the President and the Congress. This is not an argument against a special tribunal or the World Court or the International Criminal Court -- or for that matter the U.S. Supreme Court -- taking up the matter of violating the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Rather, this argument assumes that the United States government can do what it wants to the rest of the world. At stake is which branches of the U.S. government are permitted any say in how such crimes are committed. But if you can't appeal violations of law in which the other two branches are complicit to the third and judicial branch, then what's it for beyond legalizing bribery?
In the course of making this first argument, Obama's lawyers make several others, including that the U.S. District Court is just too ignorant to deal with war matters.
Our lawyers claim that Obama has "constitutional" authority to wage war, which just isn't so, and is why an appeal to the Constitution would have been even stronger than to the War Powers Resolution.
Then they claim that he has authority under the authorizations for the use of military force passed by Congress in 2001 and 2003, the former authorizing illegal war against those responsible for the crimes of 9/11, the latter authorizing illegal war against Iraq. To make the former fit the case of ISIS, our lawyers claim that even if it's split from al Qaeda, ISIS retains forever its former al Qaedian identity, which is close enough to its having caused 9/11.
U.S. support for al Qaeda in Syria goes unmentioned, but showing up for a cameo is the Khorasan Group. Remember them? They made it into the media in a big way a couple of years ago, despite not really existing. They live on forever in Department of Justice arguments. If you remember the Khorasan Group you may also remember Obama "ending" the war on Iraq. A few voices at that time asked why the authorization for war on Iraq shouldn't end along with the war. This is why. It, too, lives on forever in legalistic justifications for wars.
While Obama and Congress have never allowed a major public debate and vote on whether to wage war on ISIS, our lawyers argue that Congress has squeezed into much larger legislation authorization of and funding for this particular war. However, the same lawyers admit that Congress stated in that legislation that no funds could be used in violation of the War Powers Resolution.
The trouble with this, for both Congress and the President, is that U.S. warmaking in Iraq and Syria does violate the War Powers Resolution. That law (see section 2b) affirms what anyone can read in the Constitution: Congress is in charge. Then in section 2c the War Powers Resolution tries to give presidents powers the Constitution does not. Yet those powers do not encompass what Obama has done. Under section 2c, a president gets to make war if he has "(1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." Obama didn't and doesn't have #1 or #3. He has a shaky claim to #2 only in the same legislation that forbids violating the War Powers Resolution.
Now, what many in Congress and the media and the President and our lawyers want to maintain is that the War Powers Resolution is, in fact, just a requirement for the President to send Congress reports periodically while he wages his wars. The ridiculousness of this is shown, not only by failed efforts in recent years in Congress to amend the resolution to turn it into that, but more so by what the resolution actually says is supposed to happen after a president sends in a report. According to the War Powers Resolution, when a president starts a war, he has 48 hours to send in a report, and then 60 days to cease use of the U.S. military unless Congress has declared or authorized the war.
Our lawyers also argue that unless Congress mandates the end of a war or cuts off the use of funds for a war, and certainly if it appropriates funds for the war, then it has approved of the war. And Congress did appropriate funds for this war in the same legislation in which it brought up the War Powers Resolution. Our lawyers use that fact to argue that, therefore, Congress believed that the war was indeed in compliance with the War Powers Resolution. (But then why bring it up?)
In fact, I think, Congress is just too corrupt and spineless to do anything other than allow wars, and fund wars, and fail to actually authorize wars. Whether that state of affairs would make the wars legal if the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact vanished is anybody's guess. But the arguments Obama's lawyers make suggest that even a responsible law-abiding Congress could not stop him if it wanted to. He has "constitutional" powers, the actual Constitution notwithstanding.
I said the lawyers had four arguments. It takes them until page 34 to get to the second one. It is that the plaintiff in the case lacks standing because he hasn't suffered. Of course, that could be remedied by filing suit on behalf of one of the many people who have suffered, except that an Iraqi or Syrian would almost certainly be denied standing for being Iraqi or Syrian (as even the grandfather of a U.S. boy killed by a U.S. drone was denied standing), and a U.S. soldier with clear suffering would still face a barrage of arguments from this lawyer crew. Why, however, should you have had to personally suffer from a crime to sue for its cessation?
The third argument is "sovereign immunity," an argument in which our lawyers literally claim that "the United States may not be sued without its consent." The Fourth and final argument is that no court is allowed to punish the President in any way even if he were found guilty of something. Shouldn't those arguments have come first? On the bright side, the wars are sure to be spreading democracy.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate
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Hopefully you’ve heard about the partial release of the 28 redacted pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11. There are still many redactions throughout the pages. Here is an excerpt from the pages:
“A CIA report also indicates that Bassnan traveled to Houston in 2002 and met with an individual who was (redacted). The report states that during that trip a member of the Saudi Royal Family provided Bassnan with a significant amount of cash. FBI information indicates that Bassnan is an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Laden, and has been connected to the Eritrean Islamic Jihad and the Blind Shayk;” - pg. 417Here is the entry from www.historycommons.org about this incident which is more descriptive, along with an excerpt from that entry:
“While in Texas, it is believed that Bassnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.”The only article I can find describing someone like that is Prince Bandar:
"How rich is Bandar? A friend of mine used to drive for the prince. I can't mention the name for fear of a fatwa, but I was told that there were often suitcases taken off the prince's airplanes that were literally bulging with cash."
So it SEEMS that Bassnan met with Bandar AFTER 9/11 to get more money in Houston. IF it is indeed Bandar (which I think it is).
In August 2002, both Bassnan and his wife are deported for visa fraud.
On October 21st-22nd 2003, Dieter Snell from the 9/11 Commission went to Saudi Arabia and interviewed Osama Bassnan.
In his Memoranda For The Record (MFR), it says that "the interview failed to yield any new information of note. Instead, in the writer’s opinion, it established beyond cavil the witness’ utter lack of credibility on virtually every material subject."
In the footnote section of the 9/11 Report on page 516, it says "contrary to highly publicized allegations, we have found no evidence that Hazmi or Midhar received money from another Saudi citizen, Osama Bassnan."
Funny how they came to that conclusion considering his "utter lack of credibility on virtually every material subject."
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016
GUEST: GEORGE MALLINCKRODT