Saturday, July 30, 2016

Despite U.S. Policy, Fidel Castro Turns 90! by Cindy Sheehan

Dear Fidel,

I hope you excuse the familiarity of calling you by your given name, but even though I never met you I do feel like you are my friend, because you are a friend of all the people. I would never dream of being so familiar with politicians here in the US because they are NOT my friends, nor are they friends of humanity.

I also hope you forgive me my former ignorance about you and the Cuban Revolution. I was born in 1957 at the height of the Cold War and, as you know, the propaganda reviling you was hard to escape. 

However, since my son Casey was killed in another U.S. war for Empire and domination, I have learned much, the hard way. One thing I did learn, was that the government of the USA lies, always--even when telling the truth would make more sense and would be easier.

Learning the truth about yourself and Cuba, though, was not one of those hard lessons. It has been my pleasure to visit your beautiful country many times and I have always been treated with love, kindness, and respect. Through my trips and my affiliation with the Free the Cuban 5 movement, I have come to deeply admire your courageous and dignified life and what you have inspired in others.

I feel like I owe you and the people of Cuba so much since you have collectively withstood the rogue nation of the US for so many decades and have come through so beautifully. Under your dedicated and grace-filled leadership, Cuba has been able to fulfill the precepts of human rights while here in the US most people suffer under the delusion that things like education, peace, and health care are privileges for the wealthy and not basic human rights for all.

Your example of fighting for the people of Cuba against a brutal dictatorship inspire me while the capitulation of US politician Bernie Sanders to the same brutal paradigm disgusted me. When Sanders enthusiastically endorsed the Queen of the Counter-Revolution, I was even more convinced that his political "revolution" was a farce and that if you had failed against Batista and his supporters in the US, you would never have collaborated or capitulated--you would have remained in the fight until your last breath--as you have and will continue to do.

The US government is terrified by the threat of the good example that you and Cuba represent and has tried (as you know) to murder you hundreds of times. Thank goodness the CIA failed in their multiple attempts as you celebrate your 90th birthday on 13 August 2016.

Leftists and revolutionaries everywhere should be celebrating the success of your people's revolution and the success of your survival against such immense odds. I know I take much inspiration from your example and feel incredible gratitude that you and I occupied our Mother Earth at the same time in history.

I send greetings from many of my colleagues and comrades who are also dedicated to the same principles that you are. I hope you know that even though you are still reviled and lied about here in the US, there are many of us who do appreciate you and love you.

I am able to, with much enthusiasm and sincerity, proclaim to you on this day:

¡Viva Fidel
¡Viva la revolucion cubana

With undying respect and comradely love,

Cindy Sheehan
US Peace and Social Justice Activist

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

We Were Lied To About 9/11 - 4 Part Interview With Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson is the author of The Terror Timeline, a compilation of over 5,000 reports and articles concerning the September 11, 2001 attacks. The book was based on research conducted by himself and other contributors to the History Commons website. Thompson's research in the field has garnered over 100 radio interviews, along with TV interviews on Fox News and Air America and interviews in print, such as for Buzz Magazine. Articles about himself, his research and its reception by the 9/11 Truth Movement have appeared in The Village Voice and Esquire Magazine's "Genius Issue,” and recognition as "an authority on terrorism", even though, "He never studied, trained", as noted by Esquire. In 2005, Thompson was asked to speak at a congressional briefing on the 9/11 Commission’s final report, he addressed what he defined as failures by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

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

Remember When Nukes Were a Problem? (They Still Are) (SOAPBOX PODCAST 7/24/16)

JULY 24, 2016

GUEST: Leonard Eiger
TOPIC: No Nukes!


BIO: Leonard Eiger coordinates media and outreach for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action ( Since retiring from a career as an occupational & environmental health professional, Leonard has devoted much of his time to the abolition of nuclear weapons. He initiated the NO To NEW TRIDENT ( campaign to stop production of the Navy's new fleet of ballistic missile submarines and maintains a blog, The Nuclear Abolitionist (, to educate and engage people to work for a nuclear weapons-free world. 


Controversial bus ad gets green light for Seattle streets

Contacts: Leonard Eiger (425) 445-2190
                Glen Milner (206) 365-7865
                Rodney Brunelle (425) 485-7030
                Hans Kristensen, (Federation of American Scientists and expert source cited in bus ad) (202) 454-4695 See cited source material here and here.

July 18, 2016 / Seattle, Washington - On June 23, and continuing for eight weeks, 14 Seattle Metro downtown buses are displaying the following paid advertisement: 20 MILES WEST OF SEATTLE IS THE LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF DEPLOYED NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE US. Included in the advertisement is a map showing the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, home port for 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident nuclear powered submarines.
The statement in the ad refers to the combined number of nuclear warheads deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor and nuclear warheads stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC). More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed 20 miles west of Seattle at the Bangor submarine base. 

King County Metro was initially hesitant to run the ad, and questioned the accuracy of the statement of fact regarding the number of nuclear weapons at Bangor. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, provided corroboration of the statement. Kristensen provides the public and government agencies with analysis and background information about the status of nuclear forces worldwide and the geopolitical implications of nuclear weapons.

The bus ads are an effort by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, a grass roots organization in Poulsbo, Washington, to reawaken public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Ground Zero member, Rodney Brunelle, said of the bus ad campaign, “We hope to generate a measure of citizen interest, and to begin a public discussion of nuclear weapons in the Puget Sound region. In this election year the danger of nuclear weapons ought to be a topic of discussion.”

On March 11, 2016, the 10th bi-annual Nuclear Deterrent Symposium was held in Silverdale to discuss the future of U.S. strategic forces. Rear Adm. Charles Richard criticized opposition to the Navy’s $100 billion plan for 12 new replacement SSBN submarines, proclaiming, “It's a matter of priorities.” The new SSBNs would replace the submarines at Bangor. Rear Adm. Richards noted that the USS Ohio arrived at Bangor in 1982 to much protest, and stated, "We have taken that [nuclear weapons] out of the national psyche."

The issues
* The U.S. is currently spending more on nuclear weapons programs than during the height of the Cold War.
* The U.S. currently plans to spend an estimated $1 trillion dollars over 30 years for rebuilding the nation’s nuclear facilities and modernizing nuclear weapons.
* The New York Times reported that the U. S., Russia and China are aggressively pursuing a new generation of smaller and less destructive nuclear weapons. The buildups threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race and unsettle the balance of power among nations.
* The U.S. Navy states that SSBN submarines on patrol provide the U.S. with its “most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.” However, SSBNs in port and nuclear warheads stored at SWFPAC are likely a first target in a nuclear war. The latest Google imagery shows three SSBN submarines on the Hood Canal waterfront.
* An accident involving nuclear weapons occurred on November 2003 when a ladder penetrated a nuclear nosecone during a routine missile offloading at the Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. All missile-handling operations at SWFPAC were stopped for nine weeks until Bangor could be recertified for handling nuclear weapons. Three top commanders were fired but the public was never informed until information was leaked to the media in March 2004.
* Public responses from governmental officials to the 2003 missile accident were generally in the form of surprise and disappointment.
* Due to ongoing modernization and maintenance programs for warheads at Bangor, nuclear warheads are routinely shipped in unmarked trucks between the Department of Energy Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas and the Bangor base. Unlike the Navy at Bangor, the DOE actively promotes emergency preparedness.
* Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility are involved in an environmental lawsuit against the Navy’s second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. As a result of the lawsuit, plaintiffs discovered that while the Navy insisted the second wharf posed no new safety risk at the base, the federal agency responsible for explosives siting refused to grant approval. The case was filed in federal court in June 2012 and is currently pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
* On December 14, 2015, the Navy filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the release of emergency response plans that might benefit the public in the case of a nuclear accident at Bangor. The lawsuit is still pending.

The bus ad
The bus ads measure 30 inches tall and 144 inches in length and are posted on the sides of 14 Metro buses in downtown Seattle. An interactive map of the bus routes may be viewed at The blue lines show routes that are scheduled for buses with the ads and the black lines show routes of buses that may carry the ads.

Nuclear weapons and resistance
In the 1970s and 1980s, thousands demonstrated against nuclear weapons at the Bangor base and hundreds were arrested. Seattle Archbishop Hunthausen had proclaimed the Bangor submarine base the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound” and in 1982 began to withhold half of his federal taxes in protest of “our nation's continuing involvement in the race for nuclear arms supremacy.''
One Trident SSBN submarine at Bangor is estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force. One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington.  The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action offers the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

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

* 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.

Please check our website at for updates.
Bus photo (see attached) by Mira Leslie taken on June 21 at 2nd and Madison in downtown Seattle.
BIO: Leonard Eiger coordinates media and outreach for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action ( Since retiring from a career as an occupational & environmental health professional, Leonard has devoted much of his time to the abolition of nuclear weapons. He initiated the NO To NEW TRIDENT ( campaign to stop production of the Navy's new fleet of ballistic missile submarines and maintains a blog, The Nuclear Abolitionist (, to educate and engage people to work for a nuclear weapons-free world. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Equality DOES NOT EQUAL Liberation by Cindy Sheehan


 "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)

Viva Venezuela!
Venezuela Continues to Stand Against U.S. Intervention!

By Alison Bodine

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

The King of Drones Kills 200 Civilians by Anthony Freda

I know. A manufactured, non-scandal about a speech is much more important.
(According to the discredited mainstream propaganda channels)

Monday, July 18, 2016

What Makes Obama Think His Wars Are Legal? By David Swanson

What Makes Obama Think His Wars Are Legal?
President Barack Obama's lawyers, working on our dime, have just laid out a 46-page explanation of why current wars are legal. They've done so in response to a lawsuit, which has limited the argument in some significant ways.

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 and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Remember the Chilcot Report? (Soapbox Podcast 7/17/16)


July 17, 2016

David and Cindy: "Impeach Bush and Cheney"




There certainly has been a lot of drama recently, so things like an inconvenient report reinforcing the crimes of Iraq tend to be shoved aside.

Join The Soapbox as Cindy chats with David Swanson about the report and implications!



To Prosecute Blair for War You Do Not Need the ICC




Sunday, July 10, 2016

Getting Away With Murder (SOAPBOX PODCAST JULY 10, 2016)

JULY 10, 2016


Cindy chats with author and activist George Mallinckrodt who
wrote the book Getting Away with Murder
about the brutal murder of Darren Rainey by prison guards
while he was being detained in prison in Florida.

George was a psychotherapist and whistle-blower in the mental health ward where this abuse (and many others) occurred.


THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS HAS BANNED THIS BOOK! The FDC doesn't want the truth to come out: It is the most corrupt, brutal agency in all of Florida.
America is experiencing a mental health crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Fifty years ago, shocking conditions and abuses in psychiatric facilities resulted in nationwide closures with no viable plan to provide care for former and future patients. For the severely mentally ill, ever diminishing funding for mental health has resulted in a de facto return to the Middle Ages. In a justice system that criminalizes mental illness, people who desperately need mental health services are instead routinely rounded up and thrown into prisons for no more than a manifestation of their psychiatric conditions.
Having worked as a psychotherapist for nearly three years in a Florida state prison psychiatric unit, George Mallinckrodt experienced firsthand the ultimate consequences of failed national and state mental health policies. With high hopes, 20 years of counseling experience, and a determination to make a difference, he dove headlong into the miasma of prison counseling.
Join Mallinckrodt on the front lines in an eye-opening odyssey peppered with patients suffering a range of mental illness from paranoid schizophrenia to garden variety depression. George provided counseling to men who committed every crime imaginable—even grave robbery. 


Mentally ill in solitary: 'We're not addressing the problem, we’re making it worse'



Friday, July 8, 2016

Why I Care so Much About Unbridled Police Brutality by Cindy Sheehan

Why I Care so Much About Unbridled Police Brutality
 by Cindy Sheehan

Since my son Casey was murdered (by the US Empire and its cohorts, like Great Britain) in Iraq on April 04, 2004 and I have become a resister to aforementioned Empire, I have been arrested over 20 times (I lost count).

To be sure, some of those arrests were fairly benign---popped in front of the White House, or CIA, then out in a couple of hours with a citation. However, I have been treated very poorly and even the "easy" arrests always have some component of dehumanization and the threat of brutality. Once I was arrested in DC and the cop told me that he really agreed with me. I always opine why then don't they arrest the criminals in Congress and the White House, and then I challenged him with this question: "You would kill me if you were ordered to, though, wouldn't you?" His answer, "I guess I would have to."

Not only have I been mistreated when I have been arrested, I never think I have done anything illegal. I believe that every time I have been detained, I have only been exercising my Constitutional rights to free speech, peaceable assemblage and the right to petition the government for redress of wrongs, among other things. The way the Constitution was written, Congress can't make any laws abridging those rights, and that makes every single time I have been arrested, just one word: "bullshit."

Being dragged in NYC
Anyway, one of the most egregious uses of force was once in NYC where I and three other women were sitting-in in front of the US mission to the UN demanding a meeting with then US representative to said body: John Bolton. We had been told ahead of time that someone there would accept a petition we were delivering with tens of thousands of signatures demanding that the US end hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan (this was when Bush was still president and people still cared). It was International Working Women's Day and I and my three comrades were treated that night to a complimentary iron-bar suite in the infamous Tombs with about twenty other women. Before we were plopped down in the Tombs, an NYC cop dragged me by my arm for about 15-20 feet along the hard concrete giving me a dislocated shoulder and a concussion. (I was, however, able to kick up and land a glancing blow to his crotchal area while he dragged me).

I can't tell you how many times I have spent the night in jail in freezing cold cells: One time for almost three days. That arrest was in front of the White House and not only did I freeze for three days, but we got no food or water---only a cup of punch a couple of times a day. At the end of that detainment, my feet were shackled together and my wrists were shackled to my waist for eight hours in a holding cell while we were awaiting arraignment.

I have been left in tight handcuffs behind my back for hours upon hours. Once one of my wrists was shackled to a wall for four hours, then I was taken for a ride in a cop car in Washington, DC in the middle of January in the middle of the night with no coat, or heat. The cops had big, thick jackets on and I was berated by the driver (a veteran) for "shitting on" Casey's "memory."

Sacramento County Jail is a filthy pit with human waste floating in the garbage AND they tried to force us all to get TB tests after I was shoved hard against the wall for my mugshot. That night, jailers kept walking by my cell going, "so, that's the one" and then they beat up a tiny Afghan woman right in front of me. 

One late December day in 2006, my sister and I and three others were arrested in Crawford, TX. That's the one and only time I was strip-searched which is a deeply humiliating and degrading experience. Dede and I spent the night shivering on the hard, cold cell floor and were grateful we had people working on the outside to spring us.

I could go on and on, but I want to say a few words about the other women (besides activists) I have been detained with. Every single woman I met was there because of economic hardship or when they got tired of being beaten up by their partners and retaliated. No matter how uncomfortable I ever felt in jail, I knew that I would always be getting out soon, or soonish. My heart breaks for all of my sisters who see only a life of continuing abuse from the system with all of its violence and force. 

I always think, if this is how badly they treat a white woman (now grandmother) who is the mother of a so-called war hero, then I cannot even imagine the horrific treatment of people of color. Oh, wait I can, I see it on Youtube every day. 

I see unprovoked and brutal cop killings of young black men and
then I see those cops exonerated by the same system that hires them, trains them, and pays them. The system is always pronouncing itself "not-guilty" but if the roles are reversed, there is swift and oftentimes brutal (in)justice dealt out.

I have met mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends of those brutally murdered by cops and I know what it's like to have someone you care so much about murdered by a system that never holds its own accountable. It's not only tragic, it's infuriating. We have to mourn our loved ones AND fight the system that killed them?

Creeping fascism is winding its slimy way around this country and its happening even faster under the mismanagement of a black president and attorney general.

What can we do as a people under fire?

Remember, whatever happens here in America, is multiplied hundreds or thousands of times in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Yemen, etc, and the racist wars abroad are magnified versions of the racist war here at home and those lives matter, too. We cannot allow a Democrat to get away with these multiple murders, just like cops should not. 

Remember that being a police officer is actually one of the safest occupations out there; their lives are not under constant threat and they can lose the siege mentality. If a cop murders someone, don't automatically believe that the slain person deserved it. Chances are very great that they did not. The absolutely insane thing is, many of these brutal slayings are actually on video, and the cops still skate free!

This year alone, 609 people have been killed by cops here in the US as of this writing---that's more than three per day and it looks like about 34 cops have been killed by "perps" in the same time frame. That's a wide and unconscionable disparity. 

Gone are the days of Officer Friendly and here are the days of Officer Brutality and his/her merry band of enablers. 

Face it, it's an epidemic.