"If he wants to close Guantánamo, he can," the freed (if you conflate forced migration with liberty) prisoner sends a message to the American people. "He can now. Now. He can give order, close Guantánamo. He can close Guantánamo. But he coward. He can't take this decision, because he scared. But Guantánamo supposed to close, should be closed, Guantánamo, because Guantánamo, that's not good for the United States. Never."
"Riyadh has signed a contract with Chinese firm Chengdu for an unspecified number of Pterodactyl drones," writes reporter David Axe. "Now the Saudis have killer drones, too.
"As far as killer drones go, the Pterodactyl probably isn't terribly sophisticated--its sensors are certainly less capable than U.S.-made models--and that can mean the difference between life and death for innocent people caught in the crossfire as flying robots hunt militants on the ground."
But greater accuracy doesn't mitigate the universally damning murder by drone of anyone, civilians or designated terrorists. Government-sponsored assassinations are never justified.
As Snowden supporters campaign for his exoneration, we should acknowledge that he did nothing wrong. Whistle-blowing is not a crime.
"Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists--for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," commented Snowden in an interview with the Guardian.
Former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, has ended her hunger strike and will get gender affirming surgery, reports Alex Emmons at The Intercept.
Among the files the whistleblower leaked was a gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
Chase Strangio, Manning's lawyer with the ACLU, issued the following statement:
"This is a monumental day for Chelsea, who can now enjoy some peace knowing that critically needed medical care is forthcoming. This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea as it is for so many transgender people -- in and out of prison -- who are systemically denied treatment solely because they are transgender. Thankfully the government has recognized its constitutional obligation to provide Chelsea with the medical care that she needs and we hope that they will act without delay to ensure that her suffering does not needlessly continue."
Manning still faces a hearing on September 20 concerning charges related to her suicide attempt.
"Our grief is not a call for war," messaged a grouping of artists drawn together by the events of September 11th, 2001. Once again, it's time for those who share this same sensibility -- all of us who want a better world -- to cry out in protest: All this has not been done in our names! We rededicate ourselves to resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it. The U.S. must end these wars now!
9/11 Memorial Museum director Alice Greenwald bemoans the intractable disposition of Islamic fundamentalists to terrorist acts, but argues that something we have full control over is how the U.S. responds to those threats. Hold her to task. If you live in the Bay Area, join us in a PEACE walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Millions of teenagers in this country have now suffered 15 years of aggressive solicitation for indentured service to American triumphalism. "A child born on September 11, 2001, is now only a couple of years away from being able to sign on as a pilot in the air wars that began just after her birth," notes Tom Engelhardt. "There are reasonable odds that her child, born several years from now, might be entering junior high school when those conflicts officially become America's Thirty Years' War."
This Sunday, rebuke displays of allegiance to an illegitimate system appended to 9/11 memorials. All life is sacred, and American lives are not more valuable than others.
It's no secret that government leaders conspire to advance U.S. hegemony in the Middle East with their illicit 'war on terror' response to the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. That horrific event advanced the criminal program of your government, sacrificing liberty to a false promise of security:
Wars of aggression, unjust occupations, and the use of drones, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians around the world;
Mass surveillance on whole populations, with intent to chill protest and dissent;
Indefinite detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other sites including torturing hunger strikers with force-feeding;
Incarceration of over 2.4 million people in the United States, mainly Black and Latino, a program with genocidal impact against these groups; and
Torture, intimidation and prosecution of whistleblowers while covering up for those responsible for crimes against humanity.
9/11 marks 15 years since the attack on the World Trade Center became justification for U.S. wars of aggression on people in at least 7 countries. None of which attacked the United States. Yet as many as 2 million people have been killed, and many millions displaced by U.S. military interventions, occupations, bombings and targeted killing.
It is on us, the millions of people living in this country, acting together with people around the world, to stand up, tell the truth, and say no to these crimes. We draw inspiration from and stand with Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, the hunger strikers at Guantanamo and domestic U.S. prisons, and other courageous resisters who have illuminated the truth about what this government does.
The wars for empire continue and are at the heart of the flood of refugees risking their lives to escape war zones of the Middle East and Africa. Many students are returning to school with increased consciousness of the injustices of empire and the U.S. military in particular - see wearenotyoursoldiers.org.
Tomorrow's PEACE vigil sponsored by codepink4peace.org, sfbaycantwait.net and occupysf.net. Join us most Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30pm, McKesson (BART) Plaza, Montgomery & Market Street, San Francisco.
"In the last few years, the Black Lives Matter movement has again made police shootings an urgent political issue," says Wayne State professor John Patrick Leary. "Protesters have taken to the streets demanding accountability for cops and justice for their victims. And police have responded in an idiom of banalities and prevarications, often aided by the press...
Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem Friday night because the 49ers quarterback refused to "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppressed black people and people of color," reports NFL Media's Steve Wyche.
"It would be selfish on my part to look the other way," added Kaepernick. "There are bodies in the street and people [police officers] getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick joins other athletes, like NBA's Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, in raising awareness to issues affecting minorities in the U.S.
I can't get this photo out of my mind, or the fact that U.S. presidential contenders promise more of the same.
How can anyone sponsor this horror with a vote for Clinton or Trump? It's not OK with me; I suspect not with you. Shame on pretenders to moral righteousness over who's the "less evil" candidate. This is what American intervention looks like. It ain't pretty, it ain't acceptable, and it must be condemned.
"There can be no doubt that Donald Trump is a contemptible and dangerous character. But these facts don't make business as usual -- that is, the realities we currently face -- any less contemptible," writes Jake Johnson, Words of Dissent...
"Chelsea Manning is still in prison, along with Jeffrey Sterling and other whistleblowers; drones are still killing and maiming innocents; Palestinians are still suffering under an illegal and brutal occupation; immigrants are still being detained in private detention facilities; black and Latino communities are still being exploited and brutalized; corporate America still has a tight grip on the political process; climate change is still wreaking havoc; inequality is still soaring."
"This is what your country is. This is what your country always has been. Donald Trump doesn't make America ugly; Donald Trump reveals its ugliness to people who are too comfortable to want to hear it," summarizes Fredrik deBoer.
"If you dress somebody up like they're at war, if you give them training as if they are at war, well then you can expect that they're going to act like killers on the battlefield," says Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford. "And that is the way they act."
The world's first aerial bomb was dropped on Libya November 1, 1911 during the war between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. A photo exhibit at the Italian war history Museum in Rovereto documents the use of air weapons in the first half of 20th Century, "from the conquest [of] Libya to the first and rudimentary bomb drops in the first line and over towns during the First World War, from bombardments of Ethiopian villages to those of Spanish towns during the Civil War 1936-1939, from the destruction of European cities during the Second World War to the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima on 6th August 1945."
The long nuclear peace that followed recognition of the enormity of the U.S. government's decision to use nuclear weapons -- the "nuclear taboo" against repetition of that crime by the nine states in possession of those weapons -- is threatened by the introduction of a new type of bomb. Business Insider's Jeremy Bender writes that it may just be the most alarming U.S. weapon yet: "The concern over the B61-12... is that such an accurate and usable nuclear weapon [relatively low yield, producing less nuclear fallout and less "collateral damage"] could encourage military thinkers to start imagining a wider variety of situations in which the use of nuclear weapons would be acceptable."
The use of mini-nukes against countries in the Middle East has been on the Pentagon's drawing board for almost 20 years -- the (Bill) Clinton administration considered use of the B61-11 "bunker buster" on Libya in 1996. The flippant attitude of today's presidential contenders towards nuclear deployment gives us great pause on this, the 71st anniversary of Hiroshima.
Dr. Helen Caldicott will speak, admission free, on
Nuclear Weapons: Can They Be Abolished?
Saturday, August 13 at 2 pm
San Francisco Main Public Library
100 Larkin Street
Though obligated to disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the U.S. is devising new nuclear weapons for a trillion dollars while the Pentagon plans ways to use them. What to do? Hear the foremost authority on atomic perils, an Australian physician & author whose mobilizing of doctors of the world culminated in the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
Books by Dr. Caldicott will be offered for sale.
In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the U.S. fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years. -- The Guardian
Professor John McMurtry says that the U.S. government is a gigantic mass-murdering machine which earns profit through waging wars, and is never held accountable over its unspeakable war crimes and crimes against humanity. He also believes that the U.S. has become a police state, which treats its citizens in the most derogatory manner. -- Global Research
War crimes are being carried out in our name, and we refuse complicity. "There is not going to be some savior from the Democratic Party," we declared in the original call to stop the crimes of U.S. government. The whole idea of putting our hopes and energies into "leaders" who compete to oversee the most brutal empire in history is proving every day to be a disaster. The system of capitalist imperialism they promote is hardly "broken," as some suggest, but serves the interest of America's ruling class well.
"Get yourself out on the street to protest, or send money to get others there!" urges World Can't Wait steering member Samantha Goldman. "While the Republican Party representatives advocate to lynch/kill/lock up Hillary -- way outside the normal base of discourse -- the government is bombing nations, killing civilians with impunity. All of this shows how illegitimate the set up is."
The recent U.S. airstrike on Syria killing up to 95 civilians mistaken for ISIL fighters is a good example of the rampant lawlessness attending U.S. foreign policy. The Syrian National Coalition has called for a suspension of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State pending investigation of civilian deaths from strikes around the northern city of Manbij. The airstrikes drew immediate "outrage and grief" on social media.
The Republican National Convention is finally over. It's been a long ordeal for viewers who witnessed the meanness of spirit Donald Trump provoked from profoundly disgruntled attendees toward scapegoats for their distress -- Blacks, Muslims, Latinos, "uppity women," and just about anyone who doesn't subscribe to a white suprematist worldview.
In last night's acceptance speech, Trump promised an isolationist platform for the United States, including and especially a wall at the border with Mexico, a preposterous plan ridiculed brilliantly with a Shout Out "Build the Wall Around Trump." Immigration rights activists and other demonstrators joined the Ruckus Society to unfurl "hundreds of feet of canvas, stretching more than a city block in downtown Cleveland... to send a message to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump that they won't stand for xenophobic rhetoric or policies," reported chicagoist.com.
Revolution Club member Joey Johnson burned an American flag outside the entrance to the RNC convention hall Wednesday. At least 17 were arrested. (Donations for legal support may be made online.) An anonymous donor comments "let's get these people out of jail so they can take their message to the DNC." We welcome the discussion around U.S. imperialism and free speech inspired by this protest action.
Flag burning is a political statement -- with Joey's 1989 victory in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson, even the system itself recognizes that! Watch yesterday's action in this YouTube, to hear Joey speak just before the flag was lit, condemning this flag as a symbol of countless crimes against peoples over history, time, and the global history of the U.S. empire since its birth.... and answering the "America First" message of the fascist Trump.
Code Pink protester Medea Benjamin interrupted Trump's speech last night, holding a sign that says "Build Bridges, Not Walls." Benjamin described the moment to cosmopolitan.com:
"I had actually gotten a copy and read the speech beforehand, and so I knew at what point I wanted to stand up, and that's when Donald Trump said, "I am your voice." And that's when I got up and said, "You're not my voice. You're the voice of hatred."
"We're not doing this because we are pro-Hillary," added the protester. "In fact, we have a lot of criticisms against Hillary Clinton, because of her role in taking us to wars and voting for the Iraq War and pushing for the war in Libya that's been so disastrous."
Next week: Protest the Democrats' War Party. Everyone who cares about the future is invited. Be a part of bringing the anti-war message when the War Party meets in Philadelphia. Join with World Can't Wait and cosponsors Brandywine Peace Community, CodePink, KnowDrones and the Philadelphia Area Anti-Drone Network. Endorsed by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Catholic Peace Fellowship/Philadelphia Chapter, Green Party of Philadelphia, Manhattan Green Party, NYC Metro Raging Grannies, NY Granny Peace Brigade, Peace Center of Delaware County, Veterans for Peace Chapters 31 & 34 and Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (Greater Philadelphia Branch). Special thanks to American Friends Service Committee.
The system that capitalizes on the misery of millions to "make America great again" for the ruling class seeks approbation for its crimes in the voting booth, with what journalist John Pilger calls "the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin." We choose to take to the streets to say NO to endless wars for Empire, spread the word, and donate to enable others to travel and produce the banners, display materials and fliers that will help propagate the message that the Crimes Of Our Government Must Stop!
The presidential contest is closely watched by an international community suffering U.S. "interest." Neither candidate seeking the position of Commander in Chief will stop the war on terror or end the culture of violence it has given rise to. The change we need is not on the ballot.
Whether Donald Trump's politics of hatred and exclusion and authoritarianism will capture endorsement by the Republican National Committee will be decided this week. The nomination of pro-life governor Mike Pence for Vice President on Friday brings fresh urgency to protection of civil liberties, and in particular women's reproductive autonomy. How Trump's selected running mate affects the overall party platform, and foreign policy in particular, is speculative but of great concern to anyone who cares about humanity.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has a solid history of allegiance to the 'Endless War Doctrine' that propels U.S. foreign policy. What you see is what you'll get. It isn't pretty:
"Former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the only candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination who supported the invasion of Iraq," observes University of San Francisco professor Stephen Zunes, as he lists the five lamest excuses Clinton supporters make to justify her October 2002 vote for the authorization of military force.
Photo: An Iraqi searches for body parts at the site of a powerful car bomb, Baghdad, May 2007.
Clinton now says her Iraq war vote was a "mistake" that Bernie Sanders says she shouldn't apologize for.
"Somewhere around 220,000 Afghans have died since the 2001 U.S. invasion, and millions of other are refugees" counts Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Conn Hallinan. Clinton's alliance with then secretary of defense Robert Gates was instrumental in the crucial decision to escalate the Afghan war in 2009, and then to slow drawdown the following year.
Clinton is more inclined toward aggressive foreign policy than Obama, believing that "American exceptionalism gives the U.S. the right to intervene in other countries."
One of Clinton's last actions as Secretary of State was to call for the arming of Syrian rebels fighting Assad, a plan backed by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA director David Petraeus, and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Activist and author Zach Cartwright finds Clinton responsible for the fall of Iraq and Syria and the rise of ISIS, using weapons funded by the U.S. government.
Photo: Kurdish gunsmith holds American-made M16A4, previously owned by Iraqi Army and converted to M4 carbine type rifle by ISIS.
As pundits speculate on terror-ful scenarios of a Trump victory, and strategists historicize a peaceful legacy for the longest-war president, apologists for American triumphalism fabricate justification for the imperial ambitions of a war criminal.
"It is not unusual for a president to want to be his own secretary of state, but rarely has a secretary so badly wanted to be her own president," wrote University of San Francisco professor Stephen Zunes in 2013. "Hillary Clinton [left] her position as Secretary of State with a legacy of supporting autocratic regimes and occupation armies, opposing enforcement of international humanitarian law, undermining arms control and defending military solutions to complex political problems.
"She was appointed to her position following eight years in the U.S. Senate, during which she became an outspoken supporter of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, lied about Iraq's military capabilities to frighten the public into supporting the illegal war, unleashed repeated attacks against the United Nations, opposed restrictions on land mines and cluster bombs, defended war crimes by allied right-wing governments and largely embraced Bush's unilateralist agenda."
But it is perhaps Hillary's unyielding support for the Israeli Occupation that best elicits favor from imperial parties to western ascendancy.
"It is one thing to hold one's nose and vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser evil," writes Robert Scheer, editor in chief of Truthdig. "It is quite another to suddenly absolve the Clintons and other top Democrats who have, as Sanders repeatedly pointed out during his campaign, contributed so much to the national crisis."
Decline to vote for either war party.
Warning: Be careful what you wish for -- it just might bite you in the ass. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for 'endless, stupid war'.
Bernie supporters might want to revisit the foreign policy of their hero. His endorsement of Hillary pretty much guarantees a revival of Cold War aggression against Russia, and other nations challenging U.S. hegemony across the globe.
Sanders' announcement today marks the senator's decision to join the political establishment rather than shun it.
"There are a lot of unhappy campers out there," said Green Party's Jill Stein... "A revolution that goes back under Hillary Clinton's wing is not a revolution." Not that Bernie's promises were ever all that.
World Can't Wait invites convention goers to demand an end to endless war.
Photo: Bernie Sanders as Ghirlandaio's "Old Man with his Grandson" with a scene from the Syrian civil war in the window c/o John Seed
The killing of five police officers in Dallas doesn't excuse the racist violence suffered by people of color on a regular basis. "We need protest more than ever to push back against the ideological onslaught that seeks to silence those who demand justice for Philando Castile and Alton Sterling -- in order to amplify talk about the 'brave' cops who supposedly 'put their lives on the line'," writes Nicole Colson, Socialist Worker.
"In the era of the 'war on terror', the violence of the U.S. empire has often come home. But the victims are usually the families of former soldiers -- and especially the veterans themselves who find themselves at the breaking point."
The suspect sniper blown to bits by remote-control in Dallas Thursday was trained by the U.S. military. The novel use of a killer robot elicits immediate comparisons to targeted drone strikes overseas, notes CBS News.
We can only begin to imagine the horror Afghan citizens confront every day.
Photo: Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department robots, Maryland