If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it’s wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it’s wrong for America to draft us and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.
With little fanfare, Afghanistan War drags into 13th yearOctober 7, 2013
Monday marks 12 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, and for a conflict that’s been seemingly forgotten by most Americans who’ve grown weary of war, it seems fitting that the anniversary should be overshadowed by a domestic story: the federal government shutdown.
More than a decade since the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001, there are still 54,000 American troops in Afghanistan. That is more, by far, than at any time during the first seven years of the war, yet these days, they garner scant news coverage. Most recently, Syria’s civil war and the use of chemical weapons as well as the federal government shutdown have buried Afghanistan news, even as Americans continue to die — four were killed were killed within a week in so-called insider attacks just at the end of September.
“There is a bloody war happening, and no one is talking about it,” said Ahmad Majidyar, an Afghanistan expert at the American Enterprise Institute and a frequent adviser to the U.S. Army.
The U.S. role is diminishing and casualties among members of the U.S.-led international coalition are down as the Afghan security forces take over more of the fighting. But Americans are still fighting — and dying.
With nearly three months left in 2013, at least 106 U.S. troops had died in Afghanistan as of Oct. 1, according to independent website iCasualties.org — more than during any of the first six years of the war. The military is whittling forces down to approximately 34,000 by February and the number of coalition bases has gone from a high of 800 to about 100 now. But combat troops will be there for another 15 months, so we are likely still a long way from the last U.S. casualty in Afghanistan.
Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. sent in a small force heavily reliant on special forces able to quickly knock out the Taliban, who had sheltered the al-Qaida terrorists responsible for the attacks. But Osama Bin Laden escaped, along with many other al-Qaida leaders, and it would be nearly 10 years before the U.S. tracked him down, hiding in a safe house in neighboring Pakistan.
After several years of relative calm following then-President George W. Bush’s declaration of victory in Afghanistan in 2004 — a time when international troops were supporting nation-building efforts, and U.S. and world attention was focused on the continuing war in Iraq — the Taliban regrouped. They mounted a violent and effective guerrilla campaign that eventually pushed President Barack Obama to increase troop levels, sending a “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to the country in 2009.
Despite the surge, though, the Taliban remain entrenched, inflicting heavy casualties on Afghan forces — who have largely taken over security responsibilities from coalition forces — with little more than a year to go before all international troops are scheduled to leave.
Afghanistan is a topic seldom mentioned by the White House, and with public support for the military mission there having crumbled in the past few years, it’s easy to see why.
“President Obama talks about Afghanistan strategy maybe only once in a year,” Majidyar said. “When he does talk about it, he talks about the end of the war and talks only of positive things.”
A White House spokesman declined to discuss whether Obama is avoiding public discussion of Afghanistan, instead issuing a statement about negotiations over a bilateral security agreement to keep American troops in Afghanistan past the end of 2014.
Media interest in the war has been waning for years, driven by Obama’s silence on the issue since the end of his troop surge, said A. Trevor Thrall, a professor at George Mason University and the author of War in the Media Age, which explores the intersection of the military, media and public opinion in conflicts since the Vietnam War. Thrall said it isn’t the first time a president has tried to bury news about Afghanistan.
“Bush stopped talking about Afghanistan almost immediately after he shifted focus to Iraq,” he said. “Afghanistan was truly a forgotten war (when) Obama took over and it became it again after the surge was over. The result is the public really has no idea what’s going on there.”
In 2010, during the surge, it was hard for a reporter to find a cot at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan, with journalists from around the world packed tightly into a tent that served as a media center, even battling over access to electrical outlets. Now, it’s rare that embedded reporters even need to share a room at a major base.
The new challenge is getting approval to embed with troops at all, as the U.S.-led coalition has made it much more difficult, largely cutting off access to international troops on the battlefield at a crucial moment when NATO is handing more responsibility to Afghan forces.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, the former top military commander in Iraq, said the lack of public awareness worries him because international engagement is key to sustaining gains made in Afghanistan.
“If we continue on this [current military] path, I think Afghanistan can become a success story, and I worry that’s not being talked about at all,” he said.
Afghanistan was considered the “good war” with the just cause, the one everyone could get behind. With its clear links to the 9/11 attacks, as opposed to Iraq’s, based as it was later learned on faulty intelligence, the war in Afghanistan was much more popular at first, Majidyar said. Because of this, though, it also never generated the attention — or the outrage — of the Iraq war, which led to worldwide protests and heated debates of a kind never seen in relation to Afghanistan.
But now, many see Afghanistan as the foreign policy guest that has long overstayed its welcome.
America and its Western allies have gone from war fatigue to numbness.
There’s a “sense of exhaustion” among long-time Afghan hands in aid organizations and foreign service positions, who are often “tired and, in some cases, deeply fed up” with the situation in Afghanistan, said Graeme Smith, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst in Afghanistan and author of “The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan.”
Public ambivalence about Afghanistan stems in part from the failures of the past few years, which, despite the surge of foreign troops, saw a sharp rise in casualties; violence remained above the pre-surge levels after the additional forces left, Smith said.
“The short attention span of the West is such that if the problem hasn’t been solved by now, maybe they figure it’s unsolvable, which is too bad because I think what Afghanistan needs right now is continued engagement,” Smith said. “In a lot of ways, a lot of Afghanistan’s future depends on whether Western nations feel guilty enough about the mess they made to stay involved.”
Smith, who, as a reporter with the Toronto Globe and Mail was the only Western reporter living in the violent southern city of Kandahar, said the relative calm seen today in that city, the Taliban’s spiritual homeland, shows the stakes of continued international involvement and the fragile state of military gains.
Source

With little fanfare, Afghanistan War drags into 13th year
October 7, 2013

Monday marks 12 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, and for a conflict that’s been seemingly forgotten by most Americans who’ve grown weary of war, it seems fitting that the anniversary should be overshadowed by a domestic story: the federal government shutdown.

More than a decade since the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001, there are still 54,000 American troops in Afghanistan. That is more, by far, than at any time during the first seven years of the war, yet these days, they garner scant news coverage. Most recently, Syria’s civil war and the use of chemical weapons as well as the federal government shutdown have buried Afghanistan news, even as Americans continue to die — four were killed were killed within a week in so-called insider attacks just at the end of September.

“There is a bloody war happening, and no one is talking about it,” said Ahmad Majidyar, an Afghanistan expert at the American Enterprise Institute and a frequent adviser to the U.S. Army.

The U.S. role is diminishing and casualties among members of the U.S.-led international coalition are down as the Afghan security forces take over more of the fighting. But Americans are still fighting — and dying.

With nearly three months left in 2013, at least 106 U.S. troops had died in Afghanistan as of Oct. 1, according to independent website iCasualties.org — more than during any of the first six years of the war. The military is whittling forces down to approximately 34,000 by February and the number of coalition bases has gone from a high of 800 to about 100 now. But combat troops will be there for another 15 months, so we are likely still a long way from the last U.S. casualty in Afghanistan.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. sent in a small force heavily reliant on special forces able to quickly knock out the Taliban, who had sheltered the al-Qaida terrorists responsible for the attacks. But Osama Bin Laden escaped, along with many other al-Qaida leaders, and it would be nearly 10 years before the U.S. tracked him down, hiding in a safe house in neighboring Pakistan.

After several years of relative calm following then-President George W. Bush’s declaration of victory in Afghanistan in 2004 — a time when international troops were supporting nation-building efforts, and U.S. and world attention was focused on the continuing war in Iraq — the Taliban regrouped. They mounted a violent and effective guerrilla campaign that eventually pushed President Barack Obama to increase troop levels, sending a “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to the country in 2009.

Despite the surge, though, the Taliban remain entrenched, inflicting heavy casualties on Afghan forces — who have largely taken over security responsibilities from coalition forces — with little more than a year to go before all international troops are scheduled to leave.

Afghanistan is a topic seldom mentioned by the White House, and with public support for the military mission there having crumbled in the past few years, it’s easy to see why.

“President Obama talks about Afghanistan strategy maybe only once in a year,” Majidyar said. “When he does talk about it, he talks about the end of the war and talks only of positive things.”

A White House spokesman declined to discuss whether Obama is avoiding public discussion of Afghanistan, instead issuing a statement about negotiations over a bilateral security agreement to keep American troops in Afghanistan past the end of 2014.

Media interest in the war has been waning for years, driven by Obama’s silence on the issue since the end of his troop surge, said A. Trevor Thrall, a professor at George Mason University and the author of War in the Media Age, which explores the intersection of the military, media and public opinion in conflicts since the Vietnam War. Thrall said it isn’t the first time a president has tried to bury news about Afghanistan.

“Bush stopped talking about Afghanistan almost immediately after he shifted focus to Iraq,” he said. “Afghanistan was truly a forgotten war (when) Obama took over and it became it again after the surge was over. The result is the public really has no idea what’s going on there.”

In 2010, during the surge, it was hard for a reporter to find a cot at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan, with journalists from around the world packed tightly into a tent that served as a media center, even battling over access to electrical outlets. Now, it’s rare that embedded reporters even need to share a room at a major base.

The new challenge is getting approval to embed with troops at all, as the U.S.-led coalition has made it much more difficult, largely cutting off access to international troops on the battlefield at a crucial moment when NATO is handing more responsibility to Afghan forces.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, the former top military commander in Iraq, said the lack of public awareness worries him because international engagement is key to sustaining gains made in Afghanistan.

“If we continue on this [current military] path, I think Afghanistan can become a success story, and I worry that’s not being talked about at all,” he said.

Afghanistan was considered the “good war” with the just cause, the one everyone could get behind. With its clear links to the 9/11 attacks, as opposed to Iraq’s, based as it was later learned on faulty intelligence, the war in Afghanistan was much more popular at first, Majidyar said. Because of this, though, it also never generated the attention — or the outrage — of the Iraq war, which led to worldwide protests and heated debates of a kind never seen in relation to Afghanistan.

But now, many see Afghanistan as the foreign policy guest that has long overstayed its welcome.

America and its Western allies have gone from war fatigue to numbness.

There’s a “sense of exhaustion” among long-time Afghan hands in aid organizations and foreign service positions, who are often “tired and, in some cases, deeply fed up” with the situation in Afghanistan, said Graeme Smith, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst in Afghanistan and author of “The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan.”

Public ambivalence about Afghanistan stems in part from the failures of the past few years, which, despite the surge of foreign troops, saw a sharp rise in casualties; violence remained above the pre-surge levels after the additional forces left, Smith said.

“The short attention span of the West is such that if the problem hasn’t been solved by now, maybe they figure it’s unsolvable, which is too bad because I think what Afghanistan needs right now is continued engagement,” Smith said. “In a lot of ways, a lot of Afghanistan’s future depends on whether Western nations feel guilty enough about the mess they made to stay involved.”

Smith, who, as a reporter with the Toronto Globe and Mail was the only Western reporter living in the violent southern city of Kandahar, said the relative calm seen today in that city, the Taliban’s spiritual homeland, shows the stakes of continued international involvement and the fragile state of military gains.

Source

Killing civilians to protect civilians in SyriaAugust 29, 2013
The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong. “What we are talking about here is a potential response … to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.For the United States to threaten to and/or launch a military strike as a reprisal is a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter. The Charter requires countries to settle their international disputes peacefully. Article 2(4) makes it illegal for any country to either use force or threaten to use force against another country. Article 2(7) prohibits intervention in an internal or domestic dispute in another country. The only time military force is lawful under the Charter is when the Security Council approves it, or under Article 51, which allows a country to defend itself if attacked. “The use of chemical weapons within Syria is not an armed attack on the United States,” according to Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell.The United States and the international community have failed to take constructive steps to promote peace-making efforts, which could have brought the crisis in Syria to an end. The big powers instead have waged a proxy war to give their “side” a stronger hand in future negotiations, evaluating the situation only in terms of geopolitical concerns. The result has been to once again demonstrate that military solutions to political and economic problems are no solution at all. In the meantime, the fans of enmity between religious factions have been inflamed to such a degree that the demonization of each by the other has created fertile ground for slaughter and excuses for not negotiating with anyone with “blood on their hands.”Despite U.S. claims of “little doubt that Assad used these weapons,” there is significant doubt among the international community about which side employed chemical weapons. Many view the so-called rebels as trying to create a situation to provoke U.S. intervention against Assad. Indeed, in May, Carla del Ponte, former international prosecutor and current UN commissioner on Syria, concluded that opposition forces used sarin gas against civilians.The use of any type of chemical weapon by any party would constitute a war crime. Chemical weapons that kill and maim people are illegal and their use violates the laws of war. The illegality of chemical and poisoned weapons was first established by the Hague regulations of 1899 and Hague Convention of 1907. It was reiterated in the Geneva Convention of 1925 and the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court specifically states that employing “poison or poisoned weapons” and “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices” are war crimes, under Article 8. The prohibition on the use of these weapons is an international norm regardless of whether any convention has been ratified. As these weapons do not distinguish between military combatants and civilians, they violate the principle of distinction and the ban on weapons which cause unnecessary suffering and death contained in the Hague Convention. Under the Nuremberg Principles, violations of the laws of war are war crimes.The self-righteousness of the United States about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad is hypocritical. The United States used napalm and employed massive amounts of chemical weapons in the form of Agent Orange in Vietnam, which continues to affect countless people over many generations. Recently declassified CIA documents reveal U.S. complicity in Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, according to Foreign Policy: “In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.”In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States used cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and white phosphorous gas. Cluster bomb cannisters contain tiny bomblets, which can spread over a vast area. Unexploded cluster bombs are frequently picked up by children and explode, resulting in serious injury or death. Depleted uranium (DU) weapons spread high levels of radiation over vast areas of land. In Iraq, there has been a sharp increase in Leukemia and birth defects, probably due to DU. White phosphorous gas melts the skin and burns to the bone. The Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of War (Geneva IV) classifies “willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health” as a grave breach, which constitutes a war crime.The use of chemical weapons, regardless of the purpose, is atrocious, no matter the feigned justification. A government’s use of such weapons against its own people is particularly reprehensible. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the purported attack by Assad’s forces “defies any code of morality” and should “shock the conscience of the world.” He went on to say that “there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”  Yet the U.S. militarily occupied over 75% of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for 60 years, during which time the Navy routinely practiced with, and used, Agent Orange, depleted uranium, napalm and other toxic chemicals and metals such as TNT and mercury. This occurred within a couple of miles of a civilian population that included thousands of U.S. citizens. The people of Vieques have lived under the colonial rule of the United States now for 115 years and suffer from terminal health conditions such as elevated rates of cancer, hypertension, respiratory and skin illnesses and kidney failure. While Secretary Kerry calls for accountability by the Assad government, the U.S. Navy has yet to admit, much less seek atonement, for decades of bombing and biochemical warfare on Vieques.The U.S. government’s moral outrage at the use of these weapons falls flat as it refuses to take responsibility for its own violations.President Barack Obama admitted, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it …” The Obama administration is studying the 1999 “NATO air war in Kosovo as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations,” the New York Times reported. But NATO’s Kosovo bombing also violated the UN Charter as the Security Council never approved it, and it was not carried out in self-defense. The UN Charter does not permit the use of military force for “humanitarian interventions.” Humanitarian concerns do not constitute self-defense. In fact, humanitarian concerns should spur the international community to seek peace and end the suffering, not increase military attacks, which could endanger peace in the entire region.Moreover, as Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies and David Wildman of Human Rights & Racial Justice for the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church wrote, “Does anyone really believe that a military strike on an alleged chemical weapons factory would help the Syrian people, would save any lives, would help bring an end to this horrific civil war”?Military strikes will likely result in the escalation of Syria’s civil war. “Let’s be clear,” Bennis and Wildman note. “Any U.S. military attack, cruise missiles or anything else, will not be to protect civilians – it will mean taking sides once again in a bloody, complicated civil war.” Anthony Cordesman, military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, asks, “Can you do damage with cruise missiles? Yes. Can you stop them from having chemical weapons capability? I would think the answer would be no.”The United States and its allies must refrain from military intervention in Syria and take affirmative steps to promote a durable ceasefire and a political solution consistent with international law. If the U.S. government were truly interested in fomenting peace and promoting accountability, it should apologize to and compensate the victims of its own use of chemical weapons around the world.
Source
Say NO to another US war: Hands off Syria protest today in Times Square at 6 p.m. Look out for photos on our Instagram @thepeoplesrecord

Killing civilians to protect civilians in Syria
August 29, 2013

The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong. “What we are talking about here is a potential response … to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.

For the United States to threaten to and/or launch a military strike as a reprisal is a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter. The Charter requires countries to settle their international disputes peacefully. Article 2(4) makes it illegal for any country to either use force or threaten to use force against another country. Article 2(7) prohibits intervention in an internal or domestic dispute in another country. The only time military force is lawful under the Charter is when the Security Council approves it, or under Article 51, which allows a country to defend itself if attacked. “The use of chemical weapons within Syria is not an armed attack on the United States,” according to Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell.

The United States and the international community have failed to take constructive steps to promote peace-making efforts, which could have brought the crisis in Syria to an end. The big powers instead have waged a proxy war to give their “side” a stronger hand in future negotiations, evaluating the situation only in terms of geopolitical concerns. The result has been to once again demonstrate that military solutions to political and economic problems are no solution at all. In the meantime, the fans of enmity between religious factions have been inflamed to such a degree that the demonization of each by the other has created fertile ground for slaughter and excuses for not negotiating with anyone with “blood on their hands.”

Despite U.S. claims of “little doubt that Assad used these weapons,” there is significant doubt among the international community about which side employed chemical weapons. Many view the so-called rebels as trying to create a situation to provoke U.S. intervention against Assad. Indeed, in May, Carla del Ponte, former international prosecutor and current UN commissioner on Syria, concluded that opposition forces used sarin gas against civilians.

The use of any type of chemical weapon by any party would constitute a war crime. Chemical weapons that kill and maim people are illegal and their use violates the laws of war. The illegality of chemical and poisoned weapons was first established by the Hague regulations of 1899 and Hague Convention of 1907. It was reiterated in the Geneva Convention of 1925 and the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court specifically states that employing “poison or poisoned weapons” and “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices” are war crimes, under Article 8. The prohibition on the use of these weapons is an international norm regardless of whether any convention has been ratified. As these weapons do not distinguish between military combatants and civilians, they violate the principle of distinction and the ban on weapons which cause unnecessary suffering and death contained in the Hague Convention. Under the Nuremberg Principles, violations of the laws of war are war crimes.

The self-righteousness of the United States about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad is hypocritical. The United States used napalm and employed massive amounts of chemical weapons in the form of Agent Orange in Vietnam, which continues to affect countless people over many generations. Recently declassified CIA documents reveal U.S. complicity in Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, according to Foreign Policy: “In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.”

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States used cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and white phosphorous gas. Cluster bomb cannisters contain tiny bomblets, which can spread over a vast area. Unexploded cluster bombs are frequently picked up by children and explode, resulting in serious injury or death. Depleted uranium (DU) weapons spread high levels of radiation over vast areas of land. In Iraq, there has been a sharp increase in Leukemia and birth defects, probably due to DU. White phosphorous gas melts the skin and burns to the bone. The Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of War (Geneva IV) classifies “willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health” as a grave breach, which constitutes a war crime.

The use of chemical weapons, regardless of the purpose, is atrocious, no matter the feigned justification. A government’s use of such weapons against its own people is particularly reprehensible. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the purported attack by Assad’s forces “defies any code of morality” and should “shock the conscience of the world.” He went on to say that “there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”  

Yet the U.S. militarily occupied over 75% of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for 60 years, during which time the Navy routinely practiced with, and used, Agent Orange, depleted uranium, napalm and other toxic chemicals and metals such as TNT and mercury. This occurred within a couple of miles of a civilian population that included thousands of U.S. citizens. The people of Vieques have lived under the colonial rule of the United States now for 115 years and suffer from terminal health conditions such as elevated rates of cancer, hypertension, respiratory and skin illnesses and kidney failure. While Secretary Kerry calls for accountability by the Assad government, the U.S. Navy has yet to admit, much less seek atonement, for decades of bombing and biochemical warfare on Vieques.

The U.S. government’s moral outrage at the use of these weapons falls flat as it refuses to take responsibility for its own violations.

President Barack Obama admitted, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it …” The Obama administration is studying the 1999 “NATO air war in Kosovo as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations,” the New York Times reported. But NATO’s Kosovo bombing also violated the UN Charter as the Security Council never approved it, and it was not carried out in self-defense. The UN Charter does not permit the use of military force for “humanitarian interventions.” Humanitarian concerns do not constitute self-defense. In fact, humanitarian concerns should spur the international community to seek peace and end the suffering, not increase military attacks, which could endanger peace in the entire region.

Moreover, as Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies and David Wildman of Human Rights & Racial Justice for the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church wrote, “Does anyone really believe that a military strike on an alleged chemical weapons factory would help the Syrian people, would save any lives, would help bring an end to this horrific civil war”?

Military strikes will likely result in the escalation of Syria’s civil war. “Let’s be clear,” Bennis and Wildman note. “Any U.S. military attack, cruise missiles or anything else, will not be to protect civilians – it will mean taking sides once again in a bloody, complicated civil war.” Anthony Cordesman, military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, asks, “Can you do damage with cruise missiles? Yes. Can you stop them from having chemical weapons capability? I would think the answer would be no.”

The United States and its allies must refrain from military intervention in Syria and take affirmative steps to promote a durable ceasefire and a political solution consistent with international law. If the U.S. government were truly interested in fomenting peace and promoting accountability, it should apologize to and compensate the victims of its own use of chemical weapons around the world.

Source

Say NO to another US war: Hands off Syria protest today in Times Square at 6 p.m. Look out for photos on our Instagram @thepeoplesrecord

Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt on the massacre in Cairo: Down with military rule! Down with el-Sisi, leader of the counterrevolution!August 15, 2013
The bloody dispersal of the sit-ins in al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya is nothing but a massacre, prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.
The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime, which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of June 30.
Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Morsi to power.
But we have to put the events of today in their context, which is the use of the military to smash up workers’ strikes. We also see the appointment of new provincial governors, largely drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime, the police and generals. Then there are the policies of General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi’s government. It has adopted a road map clearly hostile to the goals and demands of the Egyptian Revolution, which are for freedom, dignity and social justice.
This is the context for the brutal massacre that the army and police are committing. It is a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution. It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.
However, the reaction by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in attacking Christians and their churches is a sectarian crime which only serves the forces of counter-revolution. The filthy attempt to create a civil war, in which Egyptian Christians will fall victims to the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, is one in which Mubarak’s state and el-Sisi are complicit. They have never for a single day defended the Copts and their churches.
We stand firmly against el-Sisi’s massacres and against his ugly attempt to abort the Egyptian Revolution. For today’s massacre is the first step on the road toward counter-revolution. We stand with the same firmness against all assaults on Egypt’s Christians and against the sectarian campaign, which only serves the interests of el-Sisi and his bloody project.
Many of those who described themselves as liberals and leftists have betrayed the Egyptian Revolution, led by those who took part in el-Sisi’s government. They have sold the blood of the martyrs to whitewash the military and the counter-revolution. These people have blood on their hands.
We, the Revolutionary Socialists, will never deviate for an instant from the path of the Egyptian Revolution. We will never compromise on the rights of the revolutionary martyrs and their pure blood—those who fell confronting Mubarak, those who fell confronting the Military Council, those who fell confronting Morsi’s regime and those who fall now confronting el-Sisi and his dogs.
Down with military rule! No to the return of the old regime! 
No to the return of the Brotherhood!
 All power and wealth to the people!
Revolutionary SocialistsAugust 14, 2013
Source

Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt on the massacre in Cairo: Down with military rule! Down with el-Sisi, leader of the counterrevolution!
August 15, 2013

The bloody dispersal of the sit-ins in al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya is nothing but a massacre, prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.

The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime, which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of June 30.

Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Morsi to power.

But we have to put the events of today in their context, which is the use of the military to smash up workers’ strikes. We also see the appointment of new provincial governors, largely drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime, the police and generals. Then there are the policies of General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi’s government. It has adopted a road map clearly hostile to the goals and demands of the Egyptian Revolution, which are for freedom, dignity and social justice.

This is the context for the brutal massacre that the army and police are committing. It is a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution. It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.

However, the reaction by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in attacking Christians and their churches is a sectarian crime which only serves the forces of counter-revolution. The filthy attempt to create a civil war, in which Egyptian Christians will fall victims to the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, is one in which Mubarak’s state and el-Sisi are complicit. They have never for a single day defended the Copts and their churches.

We stand firmly against el-Sisi’s massacres and against his ugly attempt to abort the Egyptian Revolution. For today’s massacre is the first step on the road toward counter-revolution. We stand with the same firmness against all assaults on Egypt’s Christians and against the sectarian campaign, which only serves the interests of el-Sisi and his bloody project.

Many of those who described themselves as liberals and leftists have betrayed the Egyptian Revolution, led by those who took part in el-Sisi’s government. They have sold the blood of the martyrs to whitewash the military and the counter-revolution. These people have blood on their hands.

We, the Revolutionary Socialists, will never deviate for an instant from the path of the Egyptian Revolution. We will never compromise on the rights of the revolutionary martyrs and their pure blood—those who fell confronting Mubarak, those who fell confronting the Military Council, those who fell confronting Morsi’s regime and those who fall now confronting el-Sisi and his dogs.

Down with military rule! No to the return of the old regime! 
No to the return of the Brotherhood!
 All power and wealth to the people!

Revolutionary Socialists
August 14, 2013

Source

US air force engineer sentenced to 15 months after making assault allegation
July 18, 2013

A flight engineer, who accused the US air force of prosecuting him in retaliation for reporting a sexual assault, was dismissed from the military and sentenced to 15 months in prison on Tuesday.

Lieutenant Adam Cohen, 29, of the 18th air force, pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators, criminal offences akin to federal wiretapping, sexual harassment, and “conduct unbecoming an officer” including sexual misconduct that occurred before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law that forced gay and lesbian members of the military to keep their sexuality secret

Questions were raised about the prosecution by senators, advocates groups and the special victims counsel the air force employed to help him when he reported an allegation of sexual assault.

During the investigation into that allegation, the air force says, new information emerged which led to Cohen himself being prosecuted. Major John Bellflower, Cohen’s special victims counsel, said on Wednesday: “None of this would have happened had not Lt Cohen come forward with an allegation of sexual assault. It is because of this we are where we are today and because of that he is behind bars.”

Cohen’s 15-month sentence was considerably lower than the maximum he could have faced. Each of five charges against him, the majority of which had several sub-charges, carried a maximum potential sentence of between two and 35 years.

A dozen related charges, or parts of charges, were dropped by the government as a result of a pre-trial agreement.

Cohen told the Guardian days before his trial that he had decided to plead guilty because he did not want to face his alleged attacker in court. He also said that he expected a guilty plea would cap his potential sentence at 15 months.

After his court martial on Tuesday, Cohen was held at a military facility at McConnell air base, in Wichita, Kansas. He is expected to be transferred to a military prison.

Lt Col Linell Letendre, a legal expert for the air force, told the Guardian: “Lt Cohen pled guilty to 15 different specifications of criminal wrongdoing.”

That plea was accepted by the military judge. “The very thing he complained of, he pled guilty to and was found guilty of,” Letendre said.

Source

Egypt’s interim leader Adly Mansour unilaterally thrust into power by U.S. backed Egyptian armyJuly 3, 2013
Egypt’s new interim president Adly Mansour had been head of the Supreme Constitutional Court for just two days when the army named him leader of the Arab world’s most populous state.
Ironically, he was named by Morsi himself to Egypt’s top judicial post, which, following the army’s suspension of the constitution, catapulted him into political power.
The 67-year-old father of three, who won a scholarship to France’s Ecole Nationale de l’Administration, was a long-serving judge under former President Hosni Mubarak. But he served in the state-sponsored religious courts which deliver fatwas, or edicts, on observance, as well as in the civil and criminal courts.
Mansour helped draft the supervision law for the presidential elections that brought Morsi to power in 2012, which included setting a legal timeframe for electoral campaigning.
He was deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court from 1992. Unlike the principal leaders of the opposition - among them Nobel peace laureate Mohamed El Baradei and former Arab League chief Amr Mussa. 
The judge could probably have walked through one of the huge opposition protests that swept the country on Sunday prompting the military’s dramatic intervention without being recognised. 
His photograph was never among those brandished by the million of demonstrators mobilised by the grassroots opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip on power during Morsi’s tumultuous 12 months in power.
Source

Egypt’s interim leader Adly Mansour unilaterally thrust into power by U.S. backed Egyptian army
July 3, 2013

Egypt’s new interim president Adly Mansour had been head of the Supreme Constitutional Court for just two days when the army named him leader of the Arab world’s most populous state.

Ironically, he was named by Morsi himself to Egypt’s top judicial post, which, following the army’s suspension of the constitution, catapulted him into political power.

The 67-year-old father of three, who won a scholarship to France’s Ecole Nationale de l’Administration, was a long-serving judge under former President Hosni Mubarak. But he served in the state-sponsored religious courts which deliver fatwas, or edicts, on observance, as well as in the civil and criminal courts.

Mansour helped draft the supervision law for the presidential elections that brought Morsi to power in 2012, which included setting a legal timeframe for electoral campaigning.

He was deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court from 1992. Unlike the principal leaders of the opposition - among them Nobel peace laureate Mohamed El Baradei and former Arab League chief Amr Mussa. 

The judge could probably have walked through one of the huge opposition protests that swept the country on Sunday prompting the military’s dramatic intervention without being recognised. 

His photograph was never among those brandished by the million of demonstrators mobilised by the grassroots opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip on power during Morsi’s tumultuous 12 months in power.

Source

U.S. Military ‘Power Grab’ Goes Into Effect: Pentagon Unilaterally Grants Itself Authority Over ‘Civil Disturbances’May 14, 2013
The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.
The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled“Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
Click here to read the new rule
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:

Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.

Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, calls the rule, “a wanton power grab by the military,” and says, “It’s quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.”
A defense official who declined to be named takes a different view of the rule, claiming, “The authorization has been around over 100 years; it’s not a new authority. It’s been there but it hasn’t been exercised. This is a carryover of domestic policy.” Moreover, he insists the Pentagon doesn’t “want to get involved in civilian law enforcement. It’s one of those red lines that the military hasn’t signed up for.” Nevertheless, he says, “every person in the military swears an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States to defend that Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”
One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”
As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”
“These phrases don’t have any legal meaning,” says Afran. “It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”
Afran also expresses apprehension over the government’s authority “to engage temporarily in activities necessary to quell large-scale disturbances.”
“Governments never like to give up power when they get it,” says Afran. “They still think after twelve years they can get intelligence out of people in Guantanamo. Temporary is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why in statutes we have definitions. All of these statutes have one thing in common and that is that they have no definitions. How long is temporary? There’s none here. The definitions are absurdly broad.”
The U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs except where provided under Article IV of the Constitution in cases of domestic violence that threaten the government of a state or the application of federal law. This provision was further clarified both by the Insurrection Act of 1807 and a post-Reconstruction law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA). The Insurrection Act specifies the circumstances under which the president may convene the armed forces to suppress an insurrection against any state or the federal government. Furthermore, where an individual state is concerned, consent of the governor must be obtained prior to the deployment of troops. The PCA—passed in response to federal troops that enforced local laws and oversaw elections during Reconstruction—made unauthorized employment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act.
Together, these laws limit executive authority over domestic military action. Yet Monday’s official regulatory changes issued unilaterally by the Department of Defense is a game-changer.
Source
Submitted by: http://dashielsheen.tumblr.com/

U.S. Military ‘Power Grab’ Goes Into Effect: Pentagon Unilaterally Grants Itself Authority Over ‘Civil Disturbances’
May 14, 2013

The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.

The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled“Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

Click here to read the new rule

The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:

Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.

Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, calls the rule, “a wanton power grab by the military,” and says, “It’s quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.”

A defense official who declined to be named takes a different view of the rule, claiming, “The authorization has been around over 100 years; it’s not a new authority. It’s been there but it hasn’t been exercised. This is a carryover of domestic policy.” Moreover, he insists the Pentagon doesn’t “want to get involved in civilian law enforcement. It’s one of those red lines that the military hasn’t signed up for.” Nevertheless, he says, “every person in the military swears an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States to defend that Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”

As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”

“These phrases don’t have any legal meaning,” says Afran. “It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”

Afran also expresses apprehension over the government’s authority “to engage temporarily in activities necessary to quell large-scale disturbances.”

“Governments never like to give up power when they get it,” says Afran. “They still think after twelve years they can get intelligence out of people in Guantanamo. Temporary is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why in statutes we have definitions. All of these statutes have one thing in common and that is that they have no definitions. How long is temporary? There’s none here. The definitions are absurdly broad.”

The U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs except where provided under Article IV of the Constitution in cases of domestic violence that threaten the government of a state or the application of federal law. This provision was further clarified both by the Insurrection Act of 1807 and a post-Reconstruction law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA). The Insurrection Act specifies the circumstances under which the president may convene the armed forces to suppress an insurrection against any state or the federal government. Furthermore, where an individual state is concerned, consent of the governor must be obtained prior to the deployment of troops. The PCA—passed in response to federal troops that enforced local laws and oversaw elections during Reconstruction—made unauthorized employment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act.

Together, these laws limit executive authority over domestic military action. Yet Monday’s official regulatory changes issued unilaterally by the Department of Defense is a game-changer.

Source

Submitted by: http://dashielsheen.tumblr.com/

kermittumbles asked:

Recently you reblogged a petition calling for DADT to be repealed for transgendered folks. But I wonder if that's consistent with your position, given that all DADT really does is make room for more people in the Imperialist US Military Industrial Complex. While I personally demand equal rights for all people in all areas, I'd rather DADT be a reason for queer and transgender folks to reconsider their enrollment. I feel the last thing any oppressed group should do is participate in oppression.

I appreciate that perspective. I personally find military service abhorrent & disgusting - a decision that I can barely understand when it is driven by economic factors and really can’t understand otherwise.

Having said that, I also don’t think there should be laws that arbitrarily rob oppressed people of their decision making capacity. Like, ‘everyone else in society has the option to make this terrible decision EXCEPT YOU, transgender & intersex people, we’re protecting you from the ability to make that decision.’

I see what you’re saying though. And I feel genuinely conflicted. Maybe someone out there in the Tumblr universe has a response that could definitively sway me one way or another?

 - Robert

Israel & Mexico swap notes on abusing rights
May 22, 2013

Earlier this month, Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca, Mexico’s newly-appointed secretary of public security in Chiapas, announced that discussions had taken place between his office and the Israeli defense ministry. The two countries talked about security coordination at the level of police, prisons and effective use of technology (“Israeli military will train Chiapas police,” Excelsior, 8 May [Spanish]).

Chiapas is home to the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a mostly indigenous Maya liberation movement that has enjoyed global grassroots support since it rose up against the Mexican government in 1994. The Zapatistas took back large tracts of land on which they have since built subsistence cooperatives, autonomous schools, collectivized clinics and other democratic community structures.

In the twenty years since the uprising, the Mexican government has not ceased its counterinsurgency programs in Chiapas. When Llaven Abarca was announced as security head in December, human rights organizations voiced concerns that the violence would escalate, pointing to his history of arbitrary detentions, use of public force, criminal preventive detentions, death threats and torture (“Concern about the appointment of Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca as Secretary of Public Security in Chiapas,” Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba) Center for Human Rights,14 December 2012 [PDF, Spanish]).

Aptly, his recent contacts with Israeli personnel were “aimed at sharing experiences,” Abarca has claimed. This may be the first time the Mexican government has gone public about military coordination with Israelis in Chiapas. Yet the agreement is only the latest in Israel’s longer history of military exports to the region, an industry spawned from experiences in the conquest and pacification of Palestine.

Weapons sales escalate

The first Zionist militias (Bar Giora and HaShomer) were formed to advance the settlement of Palestinian land. Another Zionist militia, the Haganah — the precursor to the Israeli army and the successor of HaShomer — began importing and producing arms in 1920.

Israeli firms began exporting weapons in the 1950s to Latin America, including to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic under the Somoza and Trujillo dictatorships. Massive government investment in the arms industry followed the 1967 War and the ensuing French arms embargo. Israeli arms, police, military training and equipment have now been sent to at least 140 countries, including to Guatemala in the 1980s under Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator recently convicted of genocide against the Maya.

Mexico began receiving Israeli weaponry in 1973 with the sale of five Arava planes fromIsrael Aerospace Industries. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, infrequent exports continued to the country in the form of small arms, mortars and electronic fences. Sales escalated in the early 2000s, according to research that we have undertaken.

In 2003, Mexico bought helicopters formerly belonging to the Israeli army and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Gabriel missiles. Another Israeli security firm, Magal Security Systems, received one of several contracts for surveillance systems “to protect sensitive installations in Mexico” that same year, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In 2004, Israel Shipyards sold missile boats, and later both Aeronautics Defense Systems and Elbit Systems won contracts from the federal police and armed forces for drones for border and domestic surveillance (“UAV maker Aeronautics to supply Mexican police,”Globes, 15 February 2009). Verint Systems, a technology firm founded by former Israeli army personnel, has won several US-sponsored contracts since 2006 for the mass wiretapping of Mexican telecommunications, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Trained by Israel

According to declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents [PDF] obtained via a freedom of information request, Israeli personnel were discreetly sent into Chiapas in response to the 1994 Zapatista uprising for the purpose of “providing training to Mexican military and police forces.”

The Mexican government also made use of the Arava aircraft to deploy its Airborne Special Forces Group (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, or GAFE). GAFE commandos were themselves trained by Israel and the US. Several would later desert the GAFE and go on to create “Los Zetas,” currently Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug cartel (“Los Zetas and Mexico’s Transnational Drug War,” World Politics Review, 25 December 2009).

Mexico was surprised by the Zapatistas, who rose up the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. The Mexican government found itself needing to respond to the dictates of foreign investors, as a famously-leaked Chase-Manhattan Bank memo revealed: “While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy.”

Full article

TW: Sexual assault - This is Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski. He is the head of the US Air Force’s anti-sexual assault unit.
He was arrested & charged with sexual battery on Sunday after he drunkenly grabbed a woman’s breasts & buttocks in a parking lot near the Pentagon. 
Pentagon officials were preparing to release its annual report on sexual assault in the military as this incident happened. The number of sexual assaults - reported & not reported - are estimated at about 19,000 each year. 
Read more on this scumbag here. 
+ if you haven’t already, watch The Invisible War, a documentary on sexual assault in the military. It’s on Netflix.

TW: Sexual assault - This is Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski. He is the head of the US Air Force’s anti-sexual assault unit.

He was arrested & charged with sexual battery on Sunday after he drunkenly grabbed a woman’s breasts & buttocks in a parking lot near the Pentagon. 

Pentagon officials were preparing to release its annual report on sexual assault in the military as this incident happened. The number of sexual assaults - reported & not reported - are estimated at about 19,000 each year. 

Read more on this scumbag here. 

+ if you haven’t already, watch The Invisible War, a documentary on sexual assault in the military. It’s on Netflix.

Iraq War costs US more than $2 trillionMarch 14, 2013
The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.
The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.
The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.
It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars and lives from the resulting wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion, based on actual expenditures from the U.S. Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans.
That estimate climbed to nearly $4 trillion in the update.
The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.
Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.
The interest on expenses for the Iraq war could amount to about $4 trillion during that period, the report said.
The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion.
FEW GAINS
The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women’s rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said.
Former President George W. Bush’s administration cited its belief that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s government held weapons of mass destruction to justify the decision to go to war. U.S. and allied forces later found that such stockpiles did not exist.
Supporters of the war argued that intelligence available at the time concluded Iraq held the banned weapons and noted that even some countries that opposed the invasion agreed with the assessment.
"Action needed to be taken," said Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war and today a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think-tank.
Bucci, who was unconnected to the Watson study, agreed with its observation that the forecasts for the cost and duration of the war proved to be a tiny fraction of the real costs.
"If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in," Bucci said. "Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short."
Bucci said the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war.
"It was really in Iraq that ‘al Qaeda central’ died," Bucci said. "They got waxed."
Source

Iraq War costs US more than $2 trillion
March 14, 2013

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars and lives from the resulting wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion, based on actual expenditures from the U.S. Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans.

That estimate climbed to nearly $4 trillion in the update.

The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.

Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.

The interest on expenses for the Iraq war could amount to about $4 trillion during that period, the report said.

The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion.

FEW GAINS

The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women’s rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said.

Former President George W. Bush’s administration cited its belief that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s government held weapons of mass destruction to justify the decision to go to war. U.S. and allied forces later found that such stockpiles did not exist.

Supporters of the war argued that intelligence available at the time concluded Iraq held the banned weapons and noted that even some countries that opposed the invasion agreed with the assessment.

"Action needed to be taken," said Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war and today a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think-tank.

Bucci, who was unconnected to the Watson study, agreed with its observation that the forecasts for the cost and duration of the war proved to be a tiny fraction of the real costs.

"If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in," Bucci said. "Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short."

Bucci said the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war.

"It was really in Iraq that ‘al Qaeda central’ died," Bucci said. "They got waxed."

Source

IDF targets Palestinians,  journalists, human rights supporters, peaceful protesters and anyone who stands in the way of colonialism in the West Bank
March 7, 2013

Several international journalists have suffered from teargas and brutal treatment as IDF have launched teargas bombs at the media crews outside Ofer Prison, West Bank. In recent weeks protests outside the facility have left scores of injured, as Israeli Defense Forces continue to subject all who stand in their way to human rights violations.

The RT crew, together with other international teams were documenting nonviolent protests near Ofer prison, which has been the site of numerous clashes with Israeli authorities in recent months, leading to hundreds of injuries. A recent Palestinian prisoner’s death has instigated an escalation in already-bitter relations.

On Thursday the activists had been peacefully demonstrating against the death of a young Palestinian man, who sustained injuries during clashes in the village of Abud, north of Jerusalem, and had unfurled banners and were waving flags.

“The rally was not numerous. No one was going to throw stones or initiate clashes,” RT’s correspondent Yafa Staiti said.

IDF forces asked both the journalists and protesters to retreat 60 meters, and without waiting, as the journalists began to stand back, Israeli elements started to fire the teargas at both them and the protesters.

The RT crew says that after their withdrawal, the forces proceeded to fire teargas at the car carrying them off, as injuring innocents seems to be a priority of IDF.

“There was no necessity to use teargas. As a result our cameraman and dozens of other people, among those there have been correspondents of Maan and Sky News, as well as others sitting in TV crews’ cars, suffered from suffocation after teargas grenades exploded,” Staiti added.

On Wednesday, 15 civilians were also wounded when police attempted to shoot as many Palestinians & allies of human rights as they could with rubber bullets. Local press also reported the use of teargas against the media and anyone who dared to document the human rights atrocities that Israel commits. Among those injured included the head of Palestinian Prisoners Society, Qaddura Fares.

RT’s correspondent said they suppose “A day of Palestinian rage” may take place Friday “as well as [a] mass march during [the] funeral of that young man after Friday’s prayer.”

“It can end, as it often happens, with clashes between demonstrators and IDF.”

Over 2,000 Palestinians are currently being detained in Israeli jails and several are on a long-term hunger strike and becoming increasingly weak.

Many Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are in ‘administrative detention,’ which is a practice whereby a suspect can be held indefinitely without charge or the chance to face trial.

Source