‘Spilling American blood’ to whip up the public and trap the President

It can happen anytime and anywhere. It can be civilians or military. Americans are poor in reflective capacity and quick to ‘support America’, whatever that means. The worsening narcissism, functional illiteracy, societal disconnection and dis-cohesion, and lack of moral grounding converge with extreme levels of U.S. militarism. Are Americans capable of sanity?

From David Swanson

Has Van Jones Lost His Mind, Or Are Sane People Missing the Point?

March 1, 2017

A rational and moral person might think of the recent U.S. raid in Yemen this way. Here’s one small incident out of a war consisting primarily of a massive bombing campaign that has slaughtered innocents by the thousands and is threatening to lead to the starvation of hundreds of thousands. In this one incident some 30 people were murdered, some 10 of them women and children, one of them the 8-year-old sister of a 16-year-old American boy whom President Obama had earlier murdered just after having murdered his father. There wasn’t some Very Important Thing accomplished, such as learning the cell phone number of someone suspiciously Muslim or whatever, that an immoral hack could try to claim justified this incident. This was mass murder.

In the course of this mass murder, one American taking part in it was killed.

The first paragraph above is of virtually no interest to the U.S. media. The second paragraph above is of intense and passionate interest. But there is a very different point that this interest misses. Much of the media coverage suggests that the One American being killed was a very negative thing for Donald Trump. I’d suggest that it was a very negative thing for the man killed and his family and loved ones, but not necessarily a bad thing for Donald Trump or Lockheed Martin. Here’s why.

When Van Jones appeared to lose his mind and declare Trump some sort of deity because of his Very Solemn treatment of the death of the One Person Who Mattered, Van Jones was following a long tradition of treatment of the sacred sacrificing of lives to the God of War, the feeding of troops to the Holy Flag. Only lives that matter can be used in this ritual. Only lives that have been lost and that mattered can be used to justify hurling more lives after them. President Polk knew this when he got U.S. troops killed in Mexico. So did those war propagandists who remembered the Maine.The mast of the Maine still stands at the Naval Academy in Annapolis as a monument to the fundamental rite of lying about dead people who mattered, in order to remove all constraints on behavior.

As Richard Barnet explains, in the context of Vietnam:

The sacrifice of American lives is a crucial step in the ritual of commitment. Thus William P. Bundy stressed in working papers the importance of spilling American blood not only to whip up the public to support a war that could touch their emotions in no other way, but also to trap the President.[i]

Who was William P. Bundy? He was in the CIA and became an advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He was exactly the kind of bureaucrat who succeeds in Washington, D.C. In fact he was considered a dove by the standards of those in power, people like his brother McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to Kennedy and Johnson, or William Bundys father-in-law Dean Acheson, Secretary of State for Truman. The war makers do what they do, because only aggressive war makers advance through the ranks and keep their jobs as high-level advisors in our government. While resisting militarism is a good way to derail your career, no one seems to have ever heard of a D.C. bureaucrat or CNN news reader being sidelined for excessive warmongering. Pro-war counsel may be rejected, but is always considered respectable and important — even proposals to murder Americans directly, like Operation Northwoods or Dick Cheney’s scheme for Iran.

How can being responsible for getting People Who Matter killed trap a president into killing lots more of them?

This is not about logic. You have to stop thinking, and start observing the behavior of Van Jones’ audience. When People Who Matter have been killed, it becomes important to kill more of the Enemy even — or perhaps necessarily — through means that also kill many more of the People Who Matter. The flag’s appetite has awakened.

This is not the only way in which the U.S. media is treating this Death That Matters. Some commentators are even suggesting that it was a life lost in vain. Not in mass murder, but in vain. We should be aware, however, that the insanity Van Jones is tapping into is a powerful current with a long record of horror and destruction behind it.

http://davidswanson.org/node/5462


[i] Stavins et alia, Washington Plans an Aggressive War, p. 206.

Trump in 2012: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. ” Petition to President Trump — End U.S. war in Afghanistan

From David Swanson.org

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is well into its 16th year. In 2014 President Obama declared it over, but it will remain a political, financial, security, legal, and moral problem unless you actually end it.

The U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That’s 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

During each of the past 15 years, our government in Washington has informed us that success was imminent. During each of the past 15 years, Afghanistan has continued its descent into poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and instability. The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops would send a signal to the world, and to the people of Afghanistan, that the time has come to try a different approach, something other than more troops and weaponry.

The ambassador from the U.S.-brokered and funded Afghan Unity government has reportedly told you that maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is “as urgent as it was on Sept. 11, 2001.” There’s no reason to believe he won’t tell you that for the next four years, even though John Kerry tells us “Afghanistan now has a well-trained armed force …meeting the challenge posed by the Taliban and other terrorists groups.” But involvement need not take its current form.

The United States is spending $4 million an hour on planes, drones, bombs, guns, and over-priced contractors in a country that needs food and agricultural equipment, much of which could be provided by U.S. businesses. Thus far, the United States has spent an outrageous $783 billion with virtually nothing to show for it except the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers , and the death, injury and displacement of millions of Afghans. The Afghanistan War has been and will continue to be, as long as it lasts, a steady source of scandalous stories of fraud and waste. Even as an investment in the U.S. economy this war has been a bust.

But the war has had a substantial impact on our security: it has endangered us. Before Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up a car in Times Square, he had tried to join the war against the United States in Afghanistan. In numerous other incidents, terrorists targeting the United States have stated their motives as including revenge for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, along with other U.S. wars in the region. There is no reason to imagine this will change.

In addition, Afghanistan is the one nation where the United States is engaged in major warfare with a country that is a member of the International Criminal Court. That body has now announced that it is investigating possible prosecutions for U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, we have been treated to an almost routine repetition of scandals: hunting children from helicopters, blowing up hospitals with drones, urinating on corpses — all fueling anti-U.S. propaganda, all brutalizing and shaming the United States.

Ordering young American men and women into a kill-or-die mission that was accomplished 15 years ago is a lot to ask. Expecting them to believe in that mission is too much. That fact may help explain this one: the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is suicide. The second highest killer of American military is green on blue, or the Afghan youth who the U.S. is training are turning their weapons on their trainers! You yourself recognized this, saying: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghans we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.”

The withdrawal of U.S. troops would also be good for the Afghan people, as the presence of foreign soldiers has been an obstacle to peace talks. The Afghans themselves have to determine their future, and will only be able to do so once there is an end to foreign intervention.

We urge you to turn the page on this catastrophic military intervention. Bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. Cease U.S. airstrikes and instead, for a fraction of the cost, help the Afghans with food, shelter, and agricultural equipment.

ADD YOUR NAME.

SIGNED BY:Elliott Adams, Veterans For PeaceDeborah K. Andresen, Tackling Torture at the TopRita Archibald, Nonviolence TrainerJudy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the WarsMedea Benjamin, Code PinkFred BiallyBarry Binks, Veterans for Peace Ch. 87, Occupy BealeToby Blome’, Code PinkAlison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and OccupationLeah Bolger, World Beyond WarJohn Calder, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Kathleen Christison, Author, Veterans for PeaceRamsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney GeneralHelena Cobban, Just World BooksDavid Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential NomineeJeff Cohen, RootsAction.orgGerry Condon,Veterans for Peace National Board of DirectorsMary Crosby, Roman Catholic Women PriestsJames Eilers, Code Pink AuxiliaryMichael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the WarMelissa Crosby, Black Lives MatterNicolas J S Davies, authorMary Dean, World Beyond WarThomas Dickinson, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJennifer DiZio, UC BerkeleyMaria Eitz, Roman Catholic Women PriestsDaniel Ellsberg, whistleblowerJodie Evans, Code PinkJoseph J. Fahey, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of PeaceRobert Fantina, World Beyond WarBill Fletcher Jr., BlackCommentator.comMargaret Flowers, Popular ResistanceGlen Ford, Black Agenda ReportBruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in SpaceJohan Galtung, Founder Trancend InterntionalLindsey German, Stop the War Coalition UKThe Rev. Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Multifaith Voices for Peace & JusticeMichael Goldstein, The 99 PercentKevin Gosztola, Shadowproof.comWill Griffin, The Peace ReportPatty Guerrero, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against  Military Madness, Pax-SalonBishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of DetroitAmith Gupta, student, NYU School of LawBill Habedank, Veterans For Peace Ch. 115Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Past-President Interfaith Council of Contra Costa CountyDavid Hartsough, PeaceworkersJan Hartsough, San Francisco Friends MeetingHayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare WitnessDud Hendrick, Veterans for PeaceAdam Hochschild, authorMatthew Hoh, former director of Afghanistan Study GroupMartha Hubert, Code Pink San FranciscoAaron Hughes, Iraq Veterans Against the WarTony Jenkins, World Beyond WarSonja Johnson, Women Against Military MadnessKathy Kelly, Voices For Creative NonviolenceGary W. King, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJohn Kiriakou, former Central Intelligence agency officerDennis Kucinich, former Member of United States CongressPeter Kuznick, Professor of History, American UniversityBarry Ladendorf, Veterans For Peace President Board of DirectorsPaul Leuenberger, Veterans for PeaceDave Lindorff, This Can’t Be HappeningDave Logsdon, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Richard Lord, Charlottesville Center for Peace and JusticeDouglas Mackey, Global Days of ListeningJody Mackey, New Traditions Fair TradeMike Madden, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace LaureateBen Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic RevolutionStephen Matchett, AVP Trainer, San Francisco Friends MeetingSherri Maurin, Campaign Nonviolence, Associate Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Ken Mayers, Veterans for PeaceRay McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for SanityCynthia McKinney, former member of United States CongressStephen McNeil, American Friends Service CommitteeMichael T. McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive DirectorTom Morman, Nonviolence Coalition San JoseNick Mottern, Knowdrones.comElizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NICMichael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence Founder and PresidentCarroll Nast, Veterans for Peace Ch. 122Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace CouncilCathe Norman, Veterans for Peace AssociateTom Norman, Veterans for Peace Ch. 60Todd E. Pierce, JA, MAJ, USA (Ret.)Gareth Porter, journalist, authorPancho Francisco Ramos-Stierle, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmJohn C. Reiger, Veterans For PeaceDenny Riley, Veterans For Peace Chapter 69Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and legal counselMike Rufo, MusicianJudith Sandoval, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Bill Schwab, Americans for JusticeJulie Searle, EducatorMichael Shaughnessy, educatorCindy Sheehan, peace activistEva Sivill, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmAlice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace FoundationGar Smith, Environmentalists Against WarDavid Solnit, Global Organizer, Writer, PuppeteerNorman Solomon, RootsAction.orgMelvin Starks, Unitarian Universalist ChurchJill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidateDavid Swanson, World Beyond WarShelley Tannenbaum, Quaker Earthcare WitnessBrian Terrell, Voices for Creative NonviolenceTiffany Tool, Nonviolent PeaceforceChip Tucker, Charlottesville Friends MeetingLouie J. Vitale, OFM, Pace e Bene, Nevada Desert ExperienceZohreh Whitaker, Veterans for Peace, Peace ActionPhil Wilayto, the Virginia DefenderAnn Wright, retired U.S. Army colonelKevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

(organizations above for identification)

ALSO SIGNED BY:

Creating a Culture of PeaceMobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver CanadaPopular ResistanceVeterans For PeaceVoices for Creative NonviolenceWorld Beyond War

http://davidswanson.org/node/5428

100’s of U.S. tanks, heavy equipment flow into Europe to ‘counter Russian aggression’; not enough Americans are protesting

From RT

January 6, 2017

100’s of US tanks, heavy equipment flow into Europe to counter ‘Russian aggression’
Thousands of US and German troops, along with tanks and equipment, are being sent to Poland and countries bordering Russia, purportedly in “defense against Russian aggression,” author and journalist David Swanson told RT.

Europe is preparing to counter a perceived ‘Russian military threat.’ NATO countries in the East of the continent are awaiting the arrival of thousands of American soldiers as a part of a US-led battle group. The troops will be stationed along the Russian border from Estonia to Bulgaria.

However, ships carrying the first batch of troops were greeted in a German port by signs reading “Army Go Home.”

Scores of protesters marched through Bremerhaven, urging an end to the Alliance’s saber rattling…

In an interview with RT aired January 9, author and journalist David Swanson said

“…members of the Department of so-called Defense in Washington DC are almost openly talking to the media about profit being the motive for stirring up hostility with Russia. But this sending of thousands of troops – US and German – to Poland and countries on Russia’s border along with tanks and equipment – this is being done in the name of “defense against Russian aggression.” So unless you’re [the Pentagon] able to pretend there has been Russian aggression, you’re  not  going to be able to continue this; all this aggression has to be ‘defensive’. If Russia says otherwise, then what Russia is saying must be fake news.”

…you have serious protests in Germany by those who want peace [and are] against sending Germans or Americans from Germany eastward, as they should. There are not enough of us in the US similarly protesting.”
Hundreds of American tanks, trucks and other military equipment have arrived at the German port of Bremerhaven to be transferred to Eastern Europe as part of NATO’s buildup near Russia’s borders.

The Resolve cargo ship arrived on Wednesday, while two more vessels – Freedom and Endurance – are expected in Germany on Sunday, Deutsche Welle reported. The unloading of the ships began on Friday, with the heavy equipment to be transported to Poland via rail and road.

The US plans to deliverer a total of 87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 Paladin artillery vehicles and 136 Bradley fighting vehicles to Eastern Europe, according to Reuters.  Four thousand American troops will reportedly be spread across Poland, the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania where they’ll remain on rotation basis.

Polish and US troops are scheduled to hold joint “massing” drills in Poland later this month, which NATO says is aimed at reassuring its European allies in the face of what it calls aggressive Russian behavior.

The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, with 50 Black Hawk helicopters, 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters are also scheduled for deployment in Eastern Europe.

“The best way to maintain the peace is through preparation,” US Major General Timothy McGuire explained, adding that the deployment is about “just showing the strength and cohesion of the alliance and the US commitment to maintain the peace on the continent.” 

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will host troops from Germany, Canada and the UK, with each nation sending up to 1,000 servicemen.

NATO calls it military buildup near Russia’s borders a defensive measure, claiming it is justified after Moscow’s reunion with Crimea in 2014 and its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Russia views the military bloc’s actions aggressive and said the massive military is undermining the security balance on the European continent.

READ MORE: ‘No one in Russia plans to attack NATO’ – US envoy to alliance

In November 2016, the Pentagon shipped more than 600 containers of ammunition for Army and Air Force units in Europe, according military.com, marking the largest single shipment of US ammunition in more than two decades, the website reported.

Moscow has responded by stationing its most modern weaponry and armaments on its western borders, including the enclave region of Kaliningrad, and staging large-scale military drills on its own territory.

READ MORE: Russia not on Trump’s list of Pentagon priorities: Leaked memo worries establishment

Washington opted to speed up the deployment of its troops to Eastern Europe after Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election.

Trump, who is to be inaugurated on January 20, has been calling for improved relations with Russia and has voiced skepticism towards NATO, saying European powers would have to contribute a bigger part of the budget if they wanted to continue relying on US protection.

https://www.rt.com/news/372869-us-tanks-germany-nato/

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/373048-nato-us-europe-russia/

David Swanson: Michael Moore owes me $4.99

From David Swanson.org

October 28, 2016

Michael Moore has made some terrific movies in the past, and Where to Invade Next may be the best of them, but I expected Trumpland to be (1) about Trump, (2) funny, (3) honest, (4) at least relatively free of jokes glorifying mass murder. I was wrong on all counts and would like my $4.99 back, Michael.

Moore’s new movie is a film of him doing a stand-up comedy show about how wonderfully awesome Hillary Clinton is — except that he mentions Trump a bit at the beginning and he’s dead serious about Clinton being wonderfully awesome.

This film is a text book illustration of why rational arguments for lesser evilist voting do not work. Lesser evilists become self-delusionists. They identify with their lesser evil candidate and delude themselves into adoring the person. Moore is not pushing the “Elect her and then hold her accountable” stuff. He says we have a responsibility to “support her” and “get behind her,” and that if after two years — yes, TWO YEARS — she hasn’t lived up to a platform he’s fantasized for her, well then, never fear, because he, Michael Moore, will run a joke presidential campaign against her for the next two years (this from a guy who backed restricting the length of election campaigns in one of his better works).

Moore maintains that virtually all criticism of Hillary Clinton is nonsense. What do we think, he asks, that she asks how many millions of dollars you’ve put into the Clinton Foundation and then she agrees to bomb Yemen for you? Bwahahaha! Pretty funny. Except that Saudi Arabia put over $10 million into the Clinton Foundation, and while she was Secretary of State Boeing put in another $900,000, upon which Hillary Clinton reportedly made it her mission to get the planes sold to Saudi Arabia, despite legal restrictions — the planes now dropping U.S.-made bombs on Yemen with U.S. guidance, U.S. refueling mid-air, U.S. protection at the United Nations, and U.S. cover in the form of pop-culture distraction and deception from entertainers like Michael Moore.

Standing before a giant Air Force missile and enormous photos of Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore claims that substantive criticism of Clinton can consist of only two things, which he dismisses in a flash: her vote for a war on Iraq and her coziness with Wall Street. He says nothing more about what that “coziness” consists of, and he claims that she’s more or less apologized and learned her lesson on Iraq.

What? It wasn’t one vote. It was numerous votes to start the war, fund it, and escalate it. It was the lies to get it going and keep it going. It’s all the other wars before and since.

  • She says President Obama was wrong not to launch missile strikes on Syria in 2013.
  • She pushed hard for the overthrow of Qadaffi in 2011.
  • She supported the coup government in Honduras in 2009.
  • She has backed escalation and prolongation of war in Afghanistan.
  • She skillfully promoted the White House justification for the war on Iraq.
  • She does not hesitate to back the use of drones for targeted killing.
  • She has consistently backed the military initiatives of Israel.
  • She was not ashamed to laugh at the killing of Qadaffi.
  • She has not hesitated to warn that she could obliterate Iran.
  • She is eager to antagonize Russia.
  • She helped facilitate a military coup in Ukraine.
  • She has the financial support of the arms makers and many of their foreign customers.
  • She waived restrictions at the State Department on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar, all states wise enough to donate to the Clinton Foundation.
  • She supported President Bill Clinton’s wars and the power of the president to make war without Congress.
  • She has advocated for arming fighters in Syria and for a “No Fly” zone.
  • She supported a surge in Iraq even before President Bush did.

That’s just her war problem. What about her banking problem, prison problem, fracking problem, corporate trade problem, corporate healthcare problem, climate change problem, labor problem, Social Security problem, etc.?

Moore parts company from substantive critique in order to lament unproven rightwing claims that Hillary Clinton has murdered various people. “I hope she did,” screams Moore. “That’s who I want as Commander in Chief!” Hee hee hee.

Then Moore shamelessly pushes the myth that Hillary tried to create single-payer, or at least “universal” healthcare (whatever that is) in the 1990s. In fact, as I heard Paul Wellstone tell it, single-payer easily won the support of Clinton’s focus group, but she buried it for her corporate pals and produced the phonebook-size monstrosity that was dead on arrival but reborn in another form years later as Obamacare. She killed single-payer then, has not supported it since, and does not propose it now. (Well, she does admit in private that it’s the only thing that works, as her husband essentially blurts out in public.) But Moore claims that because we didn’t create “universal” healthcare in the 1990s we all have the blood of millions on our hands, millions whom Hillary would have saved had we let her.

Moore openly fantasizes: what would it be like if Hillary Clinton is secretly progressive? Remember that Moore and many others did the exact same thing with Obama eight years ago. To prove Clinton’s progressiveness Moore plays an audio clip of her giving a speech at age 22 in which she does not hint at any position on any issue whatsoever.

Mostly, however, Moore informs us that Hillary Clinton is female. He anticipates “that glorious moment when the other gender has a chance to run this world and kick some righteous ass.” Now tell me please, dear world, if your ass is kicked by killers working for a female president will you feel better about it? How do you like Moore’s inclusive comments throughout his performance: “We’re all Americans, right?”

Moore’s fantasy is that Clinton will dash off a giant pile of executive orders, just writing Congress out of the government — executive orders doing things like releasing all nonviolent drug offenders from prison immediately (something the real Hillary Clinton would oppose in every way she could).

But when he runs for president, Moore says, he’ll give everybody free drugs.

I’ll tell you the Clinton ad I’d like to see. She’s standing over a stove holding an egg. “This is your brain,” she says solemnly, cracking it into the pan with a sizzle. “This is your brain on partisanship.”

http://davidswanson.org/node/5326

Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s platform more viable than Sanders’

Jill Stein offers a new vision and a real change from Democrat/Republican foreign and domestic policy. Her website is http://www.jill2016.com.

30 January 2016

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

I asked Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein about her platform this week and came away believing it had a better chance of winning than Bernie Sanders’. I know that platforms don’t run, people do, and they do so within a two-party dominated system. But this already crazy presidential election could turn into a crazier five-way race. And, even if it doesn’t, or if it does but still nobody ever learns that Jill Stein exists, there is nonetheless much for us and for the other candidates to learn from her platform.

If you think free college is popular, you should see what young people think of free college and erasing all existing student debt.

If single-payer healthcare with raised taxes (but net savings, if you make it to that fine print) excites voters, how do you think they’d respond to single-payer healthcare with no raised taxes?

If fewer wars and asking Saudi Arabia to do more of the funding and fighting sounds promising, what would you say to no more wars, a 50 percent cut in the $1 trillion/year military spending, no more weapons sales to Saudi Arabia which is doing more than enough killing, thank you, no more free weapons for Israel either, and investment of some of the savings in a massive green energy jobs campaign producing a sustainable energy policy and a full-employment economy?

Senator Bernie Sanders’ domestic proposals have got millions excited, but the (unfair and misleading) criticism that he’ll raise taxes may be a tragic flaw, and it’s one he opens himself up to by refusing to say that he’ll cut the military. Stein would cut at least half of the single biggest item in the discretionary budget, an item that takes up at least half of that budget: military spending. She’d cut fossil fuel subsidies, as well, and expect savings to come from healthcare, including as a result of cutting pollution and improving food quality. But the big immediate item is the military. Cutting it is popular with voters, but not with Democratic or Republican presidential candidates. Sanders will be labeled the Tax Man by the corporate media, while Jill Stein will have to be attacked in a different way if she gets mentioned.

“Cutting the military budget is something that we can do right now,” Stein told me, “but we want to be clear that we are putting an end to wars for oil – period. And that is part of our core policy of a Green New Deal which creates an emergency program, establishing twenty million living wage jobs, full-time jobs, to green the economy, our energy, food, and transportation systems, building critical infrastructure, restoring ecosystems, etc. This is an emergency program that will get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. So this is a war-time-level mobilization in order to completely detoxify our energy system, and that means both nuclear and fossil fuel. In doing that, we deprive the empire of this major justification for wars and bases all around the world. So we want to be clear that that emphasis is gone, and goading the American public into war so as to feed our fossil fuel energy system – that ends and makes all the more essential and possible the major cutting of the military budget.”

Which 50 percent of the military would Stein cut? Two places she named that she would start with (there would have to be much more) are foreign bases (she’d close them) and the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Would she unilaterally scrap U.S. nukes? I asked.

“We don’t even need to do it unilaterally,” Stein said, “because the Russians have been begging to revive the process of nuclear disarmament, which the U.S., in its wisdom, undercut. … The Russians have been persistently trying to restore those nuclear talks for the purpose of disarmament. And that would be step one – is to make major reductions between the U.S. and Russia and then to convene a world forum to put an end to nuclear weapons altogether.”

The “war on terror,” Stein pointed out, has only created more terror, while costing each U.S. household $75,000. “That’s not going to make people terribly enthusiastic for it, particularly when you point out that all this has done is create failed states, worse terrorist threat, whether you look at the Taliban, the globalization of al-Qaeda, the creation of ISIS. This has been an utter, unmitigated disaster, and the massive refugee crisis which is threatening to tear apart the European Union. This is absolutely unsustainable by any count.”

To change U.S. foreign policy, Stein proposed financial reforms unheard of in any presidential debate thus far. She suggested that military and other government contractors should face “pay to play protections” preventing them from “buying their way into policy.” Stein explained: “If you establish that anyone who contributes, who provides campaign contributions, or who lobbies is not eligible for contracting with the government, the minute you break that umbilical cord, then the industry loses its power to corral Congress and dictate foreign policy.” Stein said such protections could also block U.S. government facilitation of weapons sales to foreign buyers.

“War profiteering should not be allowed,” Stein explained, “in the same way that energy profiteering is not compatible with our survival.” Ultimately, the big profits, Stein said, are in healthcare: “We spend a trillion dollars plus on the military industrial complex every year, but we spend three trillion and counting every year on the sick care system, which doesn’t make us well. It just enables us to tread water while we cope with these disastrous health impacts of the war economy and the fossil fuel economy.”

Stein did not hesitate to highlight differences when I asked her about Bernie Sanders. She cited his “support, for example, for the F-35 weapons system which has been an incredible boondoggle.” While Sanders would keep killing with drones and “fighting terrorism,” Stein calls “fighting terrorism” an oxymoron and points to counterproductive results: “Terrorism is a response to drones that sneak up on you in the night and to night raids and this is where we recruit and we enable ISIS and al-Qaeda to continue expanding … something Bernie hasn’t quite gotten straight by saying the solution here is to turn the Saudis loose; the Saudi’s need to ‘get their hands dirty’.”

“We can actually begin to rein in the Saudis with a weapons embargo and by impounding their bank accounts,” Stein said. The same goes for Israel, she added, stressing the need to respect the law. Should the United States join the International Criminal Court, I asked. “Oh, my god, of course!” was Stein’s reply. “And the treaty on land mines?” “Of course! My god. Yes. … There are all sorts of treaties that are ready to move forward. In fact the Soviets and the Chinese have been prime movers in expansion of treaties to prohibit weapons in space and to establish the rule of law in cyberspace.”

So, what would President Jill Stein do about ISIS? She answered that question with no hesitation: “Number 1: we don’t stop ISIS by doing more of what created ISIS. This is like the elephant in the room that none of the other presidential candidates are willing to acknowledge, even Rand Paul, I might say, surprisingly. So we don’t bomb ISIS and try to shoot ISIS out. We’ve got to stop ISIS in its tracks by ending the funding of ISIS and by ending the arming of ISIS. How do we do that? We do that with a weapons embargo. And so the U.S. can unilaterally move forward on that, but we need to sit down and talk with the Russians as well, and Putin tried to do this.

“You know, Putin, our arch enemy Putin, was actually trying to create a peace process in Syria. … We need to begin talking with Russia and with other countries. We need to build on our relative détente with Iran to engage them, and we need to bring our allies into the process. Right now, the peace process, as I understand it, is held up by, guess who — Saudi Arabia, who wants to bring in known terrorist groups as the representatives of the opposition. The Saudis should not be defining the way forward here … Our ally Turkey needs to understand that their membership in NATO or their position with the U.S. and other allies around the world should not be taken for granted, and that they cannot be in the business either of funding ISIS and related groups through the purchase of their oil [or of] shipping weapons. They also need to close down their border to the movement of the militias.”

Stein was sounding an awful lot like the leader of the Labour Party in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, and I asked her about him. “I have already met with Jeremy Corbyn,” she said, “when I was in Paris for the climate talks, … and we had a surprising amount of time to talk and we agreed completely on collaborating on this ‘peace offensive,’ which is the name we have given to our solution to the problem of ISIS. Peace is not passive. We need an active, interventionist program based on peace which means to stop the flow or arms and money, etc. So, we’ve already agreed that we see eye-to-eye on foreign policy.”

But Corbyn is in office with a shot at becoming prime minister. With the U.S. public completely sold on the hopelessness of third-party bids, at least by non-multi-billionaires, what is Stein’s plan for actually becoming president?

“First of all,” she says, “there are 43 million young people and not-so-young people who are trapped in debt, in student debt. My campaign is the only campaign that will be on the ballot that will abolish student debt. We did it for the bankers who plunged us into this economic crisis that persists in spite of what they say. And they did that by way of their waste, fraud, and abuse. Yet we bailed them out to the tune of $16 trillion and counting.

“So, isn’t it about time we bail out the victims of that waste, fraud, and abuse — the young people of this country whose leadership and whose civic engagement is essential for blazing the trail to our future? It has always required a fresh generation to re-envision, you know, what our future looks like. So, we need to bail out the young people, for their benefit and for ours. That can be done through another quantitative easing which is relatively simple, does not cost us, essentially expands the money supply in a way that works as a stimulus to the economy, unlike the bailout that they provided to Wall Street which has only created a stimulus for more reckless gambling – waste, fraud, and abuse. … I have yet to find a young person in debt who doesn’t become a missionary for our campaign the minute they learn that we will cancel their debt. … The 43 million young people – that is a plurality of the vote. In a three-way race, that’s enough to win the vote.”

Stein also pointed to 25 million Latinos who, she said, “have learned that the Democrats are the party of deportation, of night raids, and of detention, of refugees who are fleeing a crisis in their home countries that we created. How? Through NAFTA, though illegal coups and CIA-sponsored regime changes, and through the drug wars. … If people want to fix the immigration problem, the answer is, ‘Stop causing it.'”

But will Stein be in the debates for the general election? “In my experience,” she told me, “all you have to do is have a real conversation, have an open mic, a true presidential debate that actually allows presidential candidates to debate who have broad enough support that they are on the ballot for a majority of Americans and could numerically win the election. We are challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates in court and we will be challenging them soon with a direct action campaign, so stay tuned, because the American public deserves to know about the issues. The American public deserves the right to vote. And they have a right to know who they can vote for and what they are voting about.”

Here’s audio of the interview that produced this report.

http://davidswanson.org/node/5038

Book review: Ukraine — Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated

Ukraine and the Apocalyptic Risk of Propagandized Ignorance
By David Swanson
June 16, 2015
davidswanson.org

I’m not sure if there’s been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I’m confident there’s not been a more important one. With some 17,000 nuclear bombs in the world, the United States and Russia have about 16,000 of them. The United States is aggressively flirting with World War III, the people of the United States have not the foggiest notion of how or why, and authors Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong explain it all quite clearly. Go ahead and tell me there’s nothing you’re now spending your time on that’s less important than this.

This book may very well be the best written one I’ve read this year. It puts all the relevant facts — those I knew and many I didn’t — together concisely and with perfect organization. It does it with an informed worldview. It leaves me nothing to complain about at all, which is almost unheard of in my book reviews. I find it refreshing to encounter writers so well-informed who also grasp the significance of their information.

Nearly half the book is used to set the context for recent events in Ukraine. It’s useful to understand the end of the cold war, the irrational hatred of Russia that pervades elite U.S. thinking, and the patterns of behavior that are replaying themselves now at higher volume. Stirring up fanatical fighters in Afghanistan and Chechnya and Georgia, and targeting Ukraine for similar use: this is a context CNN won’t provide. The partnership of the neocons (in arming and provoking violence in Libya) with the humanitarian warriors (in riding to the rescue for regime change): this is a precedent and a model that NPR won’t mention. The U.S. promise not to expand NATO, the U.S. expansion of NATO to 12 new countries right up to the border of Russia, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and pursuit of “missile defense” — this is background that Fox News would never deem significant. U.S. support for the rule of criminal oligarchs willing to sell off Russian resources, and Russian resistance to those schemes — such accounts are almost incomprehensible if you’ve consumed too much U.S. “news,” but are explained and documented well by Baldwin and Heartsong.

This book includes excellent background on the use and abuse of Gene Sharp and the color revolutions instigated by the U.S. government. A silver lining may be found, I think, in the value of nonviolent action recognized by all involved — whether for good or ill. The same lesson can be found (for good this time) in the civilian resistance to Ukrainian troops in the spring of 2014, and the refusal of (some) troops to attack civilians.

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, and Ukraine II in 2013-2014 are recounted well, including detailed chronology. It’s truly remarkable how much has been publicly reported that remains buried. Western leaders met repeatedly in 2012 and 2013 to plot the fate of Ukraine. Neo-Nazis from Ukraine were sent to Poland to train for a coup. NGOs operating out of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev organized trainings for coup participants. On November 24, 2013, three days after Ukraine refused an IMF deal, including refusing to sever ties to Russia, protesters in Kiev began to clash with police. The protesters used violence, destroying buildings and monuments, and tossing Molotov cocktails, but President Obama warned the Ukrainian government not to respond with force. (Contrast that with the treatment of the Occupy movement, or the shooting on Capitol Hill of the woman who made an unacceptable U-turn in her car with her baby.)

U.S.-funded groups organized a Ukrainian opposition, funded a new TV channel, and promoted regime change. The U.S. State Department spent some $5 billion. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State who handpicked the new leaders, openly brought cookies to protesters. When those protesters violently overthrew the government in February 2014, the United States immediately declared the coup government legitimate. That new government banned major political parties, and attacked, tortured, and murdered their members. The new government included neo-Nazis and would soon include officials imported from the United States. The new government banned the Russian language — the first language of many Ukrainian citizens. Russian war memorials were destroyed. Russian-speaking populations were attacked and murdered.

Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine, had its own parliament, had been part of Russia from 1783 until 1954, had publicly voted for close ties to Russia in 1991, 1994, and 2008, and its parliament had voted to rejoin Russia in 2008. On March 16, 2014, 82% of Crimeans took part in a referendum, and 96% of them voted to rejoin Russia. This nonviolent, bloodless, democratic, and legal action, in no violation of a Ukrainian constitution that had been shredded by a violent coup, was immediately denounced in the West as a Russian “invasion” of Crimea.

Novorossiyans, too, sought independence and were attacked by the new Ukrainian military the day after John Brennan visited Kiev and ordered that crime. I know that the Fairfax County Police who have kept me and my friends away from John Brennan’s house in Virginia have had no clue what hell he was unleashing on helpless people thousands of miles away. But that ignorance is at least as disturbing as informed malice would be. Civilians were attacked by jets and helicopters for months in the worst killing in Europe since World War II. Russian President Putin repeatedly pressed for peace, a ceasefire, negotiations. A ceasefire finally came on September 5, 2014.

Remarkably, contrary to what we’ve all been told, Russia didn’t invade Ukraine any of the numerous times we were told that it had just done so. We’ve graduated from mythical weapons of mass destruction, through mythical threats to Libyan civilians, and false accusation of chemical weapons use in Syria, to false accusations of launching invasions that were never launched. The “evidence” of the invasion(s) was carefully left devoid of location or any verifiable detail, but has all been decidedly debunked anyway.

The downing of the MH17 airplane was blamed on Russia with no evidence. The U.S. has information on what happened but won’t release it. Russia released what it had, and the evidence, in agreement with eye-witnesses on the ground, and in agreement with an air-traffic controller at the time, is that the plane was shot down by one or more other planes. “Evidence” that Russia shot the plane down with a missile has been exposed as sloppy forgeries. The vapor trail that a missile would have left was reported by not a single witness.

Baldwin and Heartsong close with the case that U.S. actions have backfired, that in fact whether the people of the United States have any idea what is going on or not, the power brokers in Washington have Second Amendmented themselves in the foot. Sanctions against Russia have made Putin as popular at home as George W. Bush was after he’d managed to exist as president while planes were flown into the World Trade Center. The same sanctions have strengthened Russia by turning it toward its own production and toward alliances with non-Western nations. Ukraine has suffered, and Europe suffers from a cut-off of Russian gas, while Russia makes deals with Turkey, Iran, and China. Evicting a Russian base from Crimea seems more hopeless now than before this madness began. Russia is leading the way as more nations abandon the U.S. dollar. Retaliatory sanctions from Russia are hurting the West. Far from isolated, Russia is working with the BRICS nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and other alliances. Far from impoverished, Russia is buying up gold while the U.S. sinks into debt and is increasingly viewed by the world as a rogue player, and resented by Europe for depriving Europe of Russian trade.

This story begins in the irrationality of collective trauma coming out of the holocaust of World War II and of blind hatred for Russia. It must end with the same irrationality. If U.S. desperation leads to war with Russia in Ukraine or elsewhere along the Russian border where NATO is engaging in various war games and exercises, there may be no more human stories ever told or heard.

 

How to support the whistleblowers June 1-7

By David Swanson
Posted on War is a Crime, May 26, 2015

Excerpt:

What’s needed is a global movement that tells whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers that we’ve got their backs, that we will spread awareness far and wide of what they have risked their necks to reveal, that we will celebrate and honor their courage, and that we will do everything in our power to defend them against government retribution and misguided public condemnation.

So, here’s the plan. During the week of June 1-7, all over the world, we stand up for truth by joining in the events and using the resources created at StandUpForTruth.org. The organizations and individuals behind this plan include ExposeFacts, Freedom of the Press Foundation, International Modern Media Institute, Networkers SouthNorth, RootsAction.org, and Daniel Ellsberg.

People around the world are being invited, individually or as a group, to participate in any of a series of public webcasts / phone calls with whistleblowers and their supporters. (Click the names for full biographies.)

  •  June 2 — Former State Dept. official Matthew Hoh and author and RootsAction campaigner David Swanson will be on a webcast / phone call at 9 pm ET (Eastern Time, GMT -5).
  • June 3 — Journalist, activist, and lawyer Trevor Timm and investigative journalist Tim Shorrock will answer your questions at 9 pm ET.
  • June 4 — Director of media for the Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseini and author and law professor Marjorie Cohn will speak at 9 pm ET.
  • June 5 — NSA whistleblower William Binney and NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe will take your questions and tell their stories at 8 pm ET.
  • June 5 — Media critic and RootsAction cofounder Jeff Cohen and author and communications professor Robert McChesney will be up at 9 pm ET for the second call of the night’s doubleheader.
  • June 6 — Journalist Kevin Gosztola and EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo will be on the final webcast at 5 pm ET.

The webcasts will each last 60 minutes. To listen and type in questions, just point your web browser to http://cast.teletownhall.us/web_client/?id=roots_action_organd turn up your volume. Everyone is encouraged to use the webcast and to type in questions there. If you can’t use a web browser, you can phone in. Just call 1-844-472-8237 (toll-free in U.S.) You can also ask these whistleblowers and truth tellers questions beforehand or during the webcasts by tweeting them to @Roots_Action — You can even start asking questions right now.

You can also catch Bill Binney and Marcy Wheeler live in Chicago on June 2nd, and Binney in Minneapolis/St. Paul on June 3rd, or be part of this amazing artistic creation in Los Angeles on June 6th.

Also check out the events planned for Europe with Thomas Drake, Dan Ellsberg, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, and Norman Solomon. They will deliver this petition in Berlin. If you sign it now your name and comment will be part of the presentation.

StandUpForTruth is encouraging everyone to plan your own events, during the first week of June or any other time. Here are some resources, some ideas for what to do:

Here are some ways to get started. Like this FaceBook page. Then add your photo to it holding a piece of paper reading “Stand Up For Truth.” Or retweet this tweet. It all helps to spread the word, which seems like the least we can do.

http://warisacrime.org/content/our-chance-aid-and-encourage-whistleblowers