Apr 07 2017

Americans at War

Donald  Trump moved ahead last night to bomb Syrian government facilities in retribution for an unproven claim, and event not yet investigated, with no grounded information, no warning and no discussion.    He has taken his place on the tip of the spear of the war machine.    But make no mistake, Mr. Trump pulled the trigger but he didn’t aim the gun.

Hillary Clinton ran on a bigger version of this same scenario.   The war machine has been geared up on invading Syria for years.  It is so frustrating to watch the proxies muck around.   And please be aware that, whatever you may read, the Russians and Chinese are taking this action very seriously.   However, unlike our own government, they don’t act without intelligence, consideration and a plan.

If you think this is about a chemical gas attack, then please read Ray McGovern’s prescient article, The Sarin ‘False Flag’ Lesson, from last December.   Apparently, we didn’t get it.

So what can we do?

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Mar 23 2017

Harvard Library Joins Censorship Movement

Censorship is coming to the internet.  First PropOrNot and the Washington Post; now Harvard Library have come out with censorship lists.     Who will come out against open discussion and truth telling on the internet next?    Google is going to censor it’s listings to exclude, or at least flag ‘fake news’.   Chrome is going to enforce a requirement for websites to have SSL Security Certificates, which are quite expensive.   What next?

Before the Obama Presidency, there were radio channels devoted to left/Democrat pundits.   Ed Shultz and Tom Hartman were on the air daily.   Now they are relegated to the Russian News Channel, RT.com while Rachel Maddow joined MSNBC where she currently spouts hyperbolic anti-Russian propaganda to undermine the Trump Presidency.   (I don’t like Mr. Trump either, buts lets keep or reason).     The radio stations that supported them are gone.   You might say, “Well, the age of talk radio is ending.”   No.   Absolutely not!   Not if you are a conservative Democrat or Republican.   Not if you are a war mongering, racist or anti-racist, LGTBQ or anti LGTBQ spokesperson.

 

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Mar 15 2017

A Fact Finding Mission to Yemen

Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, one of the dead, had previously survived a US strike on his wedding party. Photo via Reprieve

In February, President Trump gave the go-ahead to a Special Ops Mission in Yemen that was originally planned on Obama’s watch.    Numerous civilians were killed including 9 children, one of whom was Anwar Awlaki’s 8 year old daughter.   The event was widely, but not deeply covered in the U.S. MSM.   The focus was on blaming Donald Trump.   The Bureau of Investigative Journalism ran The Full Details of Botched US Raid in Yemen within a couple of days, naming the victims and providing information about them.  Since then, The Intercept ran an even more personalized article with interviews of the local people.   They must have someone inside Yemen.   Meanwhile, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that the number of drone strikes in Yemen has exploded since President Trump came into office.   Apparently the new President is also thinking of waiving a Congressional block on selling certain types of weapons to Saudis for use in Yemen.   It is difficult to imagine appropriate use of any weapon against the defenseless population of Yemen, but even so, Mr. Trump has once again iced the cake of mindless international intervention and destruction.

On one of the list serves I frequent, someone asked the question, who will go to Yemen and tell us their story.   I’ve actually been thinking about this.   Yes.   It seems crazy, but it would be something to go there and show some compassion for the people and bring back their stories.   Of course, The Intercept is already doing that.   But, I was mulling the difference between going to Syria to talk with people and going to Yemen.

I wrote:

I wish I could go to Yemen to document what it is happening there.

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Mar 15 2017

Telling the Wrong Story

This week, U.S. Mainstream Media across the spectrum ran a story that Trump is going to shift more of the drone operations to CIA control.   Seems like an odd choice given that he has a noticeably bad relationship with the CIA, but I guess that could mean is his decision is just a cynical manipulation.   This was at one time a point of contention.   Who is responsible for the drone program?    Under a great deal of political/popular pressure,  Obama promised to take the CIA out of the loop – basically to give the appearance of doing something.  But I doubt if he could have done more then shift the balance a little.   Now, perhaps Trump has done something to shift it back.   But, as David Swanson pointed out,  the Air Force was flying the ‘CIA’ drones and they continue to fly them now.   Trump is continuing the policy that was in place before there was a public outcry that caused Obama to take a step back.   But it isn’t a new idea or practice and which brutal agency controls the drones is irrelevant to the victims.

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Mar 15 2017

Democracy in Syracuse!

 

I had decided to keep a weekly journal.   It seemed doable, but of course fate intervened.   I lost 2 weeks attending a trial in Syracuse, NY.   Well, one week attending and  the next week processing.    Four Hancock protesters were being tried for a civil resistance action at the Air National Guard Base 2 years ago.   the Jury heard their unique arguments and acquitted them.     Here’s the piece I wrote.   You can find the original at ‘Hancock and Beyond‘.

Jury Acquitted Big Books Protesters!

Drawings by Dan Burgevin

A six person jury acquitted Hancock Big Books Protesters 2 years after demonstration resulted in arrests.  The trial of Hancock protesters, Ed Kinane of Syracuse, James Ricks and Daniel Burns of Ithaca and Brian Hynes of Brooklyn, began on February 28th with jury selection, and ended after 11 pm on March 2nd with all defendants acquitted.    They were tried before Judge David Gideon on charges of trespass and 2 counts of disorderly conduct, all violations, and on misdemeanor charges of Obstructing Governmental Administration (OGA).

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Feb 22 2017

Journal, February 21-23, 2017

My friend Sarah Ahmed, an Iraqi dentist from Baghdad who is deeply engaged in helping the people of her country,  was interviewed for a an article on World Watch Monitor. She said “Cleaning up towns freed from ISIS erases their crimes.” .     She suggested that the damage done to people’s lives and communities be documented …

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Feb 21 2017

Journal February 20, 2017

Vitaly Churkin died at the UN this morning.    Listened to the obituaries for a while.   He was a man who knew diplomacy.    Susan Rice and Samantha Power sent their messages off condolence.   Power said she was ‘devastated’.   Imagine!   This is the same shrew who refused to attend the emergency meeting of the Security Council that …

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Jan 20 2017

Grand Mufti of Syria

I was very moved by Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, Grand Mufti of Syria when I met him last summer in Damascus.   Like Bashar Assad, the Mufti has been misrepresented and demonized in the Western press.   Though a very different personality than the Syrian President, the Mufti, like the President, represents what is good and strong in Syrian society.

The Grand Mufti of any country is the highest Sunni official who is endowed to interpret Islamic law for his people. Many Muslim countries have a Grand Mufti. So, like most other Sunni majority countries, Syria has a Grand Mufti.   According to my research, the  Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun studied in a relatively conservative tradition of Islamic Law, but my sense of him was that he is a man who is open to the spirit as well as the letter of the law, whose faith and understanding have grown through the experiences of life,   If Mr. Assad is the head of a Syrian state fighting for survival, Grand Mufti Hassoun is the heart of a great people who will not be divided by terrorism and threats, by isolation from an arrogant Western led global economy, or the by lure false prophets who offer an Allah limited to the imaginations of impoverished humanity.

 

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Jan 14 2017

Trump in Context

I find my self focusing (obsessively at times) on the fact that much of what Trump has promised has already been enacted by Obama and the Clintons.

Even Thom Hartman was saying the other night that Trump now says he’s just going to build a fence on the Mexican border and since there is already a fence on the Mexican border, it will just be filling in extensions.   So, he’ll just be (in Hartman’s words) adding a few more stretches of barbed wire.   Hartman framed this is a bad thing on Trump’s part because he backed down from a campaign promise.  But it seems to me that he, like pretty much every President faces realities when he comes to office that didn’t affect campaign rhetoric, and he is openly acknowledging the status quo which is an open invitation to us who want to reject it.

Same thing about not allowing Syrian immigrants into the country without special vetting.   That bill passed with nearly unanimous Democratic support more than a year ago.   I remember I was mad that my supposedly very liberal Democratic Congresswoman supported it unequivocally.  Only a couple thousand Syrian refugees have been allowed to migrate to the US over the entire course of the horrific war the US and allies are fueling, funding and even fighting in their country.

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Jan 09 2017

After Aleppo

Since the liberation of Aleppo, there have been a broad swathe of terrorist attacks across Syria.   A truck bomb was detonated at a checkpoint in Latakia killing numerous women and children.   The water supply to Damascus has been shut down by Al Nusra Front militants since around Christmas.   There was a massive attack against the …

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