By Syria Solidarity Movement for Dissident Voice. The Syria Solidarity Movement unequivocally condemns and denounces the vicious US bombing attack on the Syrian army defending Deir ez-Zour. We find the US explanation of “unintended” targets, and especially the belligerent performance of Ambassador Samantha Power at the United Nations Security Council, to be false, disingenuous and counterproductive. The only credible explanation is that the US attack on Deir ez-Zour was intentional. The US has never seriously tried to fight ISIS other than to defend Kurdish fighters, with rare and largely ineffectual attacks against ISIS fighters in their strongholds, and none during the ISIS campaign against Palmyra, when they were very vulnerable by air. We believe that the US intention is to dismember the sovereign Syrian state, and that the Syrian army base at Deir ez-Zour constitutes an obstacle to this plan, and is therefore a US target. We are doubtful that the US intends to honor its agreement with Russia, and implicitly with Syria. US strategists are seeking to weaken and threaten Russia and not to form cooperative and mutually beneficial agreements.
By Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss. Last week I published a lengthy interview with Guantanamo defense lawyer Major Todd Pierce (Retired), titled “Everything that we have done since 9/11 is wrong.” It told his story, from his childhood on a Minnesota farm to military service as a reservist in the Gulf War and the Iraq War. What follows is part 2, in which Pierce, who enters the New School this fall, relates his beliefs about American society today: that our wars in the Middle East have been fostered by propaganda and falsehood, including claims about radical Islam, and that the elites have fallen in line in a way that they did not do during Vietnam, and these developments threaten our democracy. We talked in Roseville, Minnesota, at the end of July.
By W. J. Astore for Bracing Views. On this 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, we should ask ourselves what those attacks inaugurated. In a word, calamity. The wildly successful actions of Al Qaeda, combined with the wild overreactions of the Bush/Cheney administration, marked the 21st century as one that will likely become known to future historians as calamitous. In thinking about the 9/11 attacks, as an Air Force officer, what struck me then, and still does now, is the psychological blow. We Americans like to think we invented flight (not just that the Wright Brothers succeeded in the first powered flight that was both sustained and controlled). We like to think that airpower is uniquely American. We take great pride that many airliners are still “Made in the USA,” unlike most other manufactured goods nowadays.
By Marjorie Cohn for Truthout. Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, first filed her lawsuit against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz in September 2013. Alleging that the Iraq War constituted an illegal crime of aggression, Saleh filed the suit on behalf of herself and other Iraqis in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The district court dismissed Saleh’s lawsuit in December 2014, saying the defendants acted within the scope of their employment when they planned and carried out the Iraq War. Saleh then appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In her appeal, Saleh is arguing that the Bush officials were acting from personally held convictions that the US should invade Iraq, regardless of any legitimate policy reasons, and that theyknowingly lied to the public when they fraudulently tied Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
By John Atcheson for Common Dreams. One of the most remarkable things about Sanders’ campaign was how it electrified the young, reinvigorated progressives, and forced Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to lurch desperately to the left. Of course, once she got the nomination, she wasted no time in tacking back to the right of center and doing what Democrats have always done – assuming that progressives would fall in line because there was nowhere else to go. But the level of support Sanders got from those under 45 was unprecedented. If that support can be consolidated and mobilized, the future belongs to progressives, and more importantly, the ideals of progressivism. Which makes getting Our Revolution right, all the more important. Unfortunately, the launch failed to ignite the same passion and commitment that Sanders’ campaign did.
By Dmitry Orlov. A whiff of World War III hangs in the air. In the US, Cold War 2.0 is on, and the anti-Russian rhetoric emanating from the Clinton campaign, echoed by the mass media, hearkens back to McCarthyism and the red scare. In response, many people are starting to think that Armageddon might be nigh—an all-out nuclear exchange, followed by nuclear winter and human extinction. It seems that many people in the US like to think that way. Goodness gracious! But, you know, this is hardly unreasonable of them. The US is spiraling down into financial, economic and political collapse, losing its standing in the world and turning into a continent-sized ghetto full of drug abuse, violence and decaying infrastructure, its population vice-ridden, poisoned with genetically modified food, morbidly obese, exploited by predatory police departments and city halls, plus a wide assortment of rackets, from medicine to education to real estate… That we know.
By Joshua Eaton for the Intercept. In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade. At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker. Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.
By Tom Dispatch and Ann Jones. Today, citizens of the United States directly bear the burden of more than 150 years of warfare. As of May 2016, the VA was still paying benefits to one dependent of a Civil War (1861-1865) veteran, 88 dependents of Spanish-American War (1898-1902) veterans, nine dependents of veterans of the military campaign along the Mexican border early in the twentieth century, thousands of dependents of World War I (1917-1918) veterans, hundreds of thousands of World War II (1941-1945) veterans and dependents, hundreds of thousands of Korean War (1950-1953) veterans and dependents, around 1.8 million Vietnam War-era (1964-1975) veterans and dependents, and millions of veterans and dependents of the Gulf War (1990-1991) and of the ongoing War on Terror campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere (2001 to the present).
By Scot J. Paltrow for Reuters. The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced. The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up. As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”
By the United National Antiwar Committee. (August 7, 2016) The recent bombing of Libya is a continuation of the seven months long campaign of bombing carried out five years ago. At that time the U.S. and its NATO allies succeeded in destroying that country’s government and assassinating President Gaddafi. Prior to that attack, Libya was the most prosperous country in Africa, with the highest standard of living and health care, education and other social benefits for its people. Today it is a failed state, a wasteland that is bleeding refugees to Europe, Tunisia and other countries seeking to escape the horror that the U.S. and NATO have created. The most recent bombing, ostensibly to combat ISIS, will not bring security to the people of Libya, but will continue the destruction of that country and cause more civilian casualties and refugees.
By Nafeez Ahmed for the Guardian. A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.” Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.” Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”
By Lauren McCauley and Jon Queally for Common Dreams. Citing the disastrous bombing campaign in 2011 that pushed the nation into political chaos and bloody violence, anti-war groups are calling for an immediate end to a new wave of airstrikes on Libya approved by U.S. President Barack Obama. “The world needs a peace movement now more than ever, as Obama continues to drop bombs all over the Middle East and we prepare for the next US president.” —CodePinkIn an online petition sent out Tuesday, the U.S.-based peace group CODEPINK declared: In the last seven years, Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Obama has bombed seven countries. Tell President Obama it’s time to stop endless bombing across the Middle East! We, the undersigned, call on President Obama to end the bombing campaign in Libya and across the Middle East. We agree with Congresswoman Barbara Lee when she said that “there is no military solution to this crisis” with [the Islamic State or ISIS]. We ask that the administration instead take steps to form a comprehensive regional approach that addresses political, economic, humanitarian and diplomatic challenges that allow [ISIS] to commit violence.
By Maki Sunagawa and Daniel Broudy for Foreign Policy in Focus. The film is also set in Okinawa, as you know. Part of the theme is to show the resistance to power and war by a people who live along a fence line of American bases in their homeland. The film’s title has a certain foreboding about it because it’s meant as a warning. Documentaries such as this have a responsibility to alert people, if necessary to warn, and to show the resistance to rapacious plans. The film will show that the resistance in Okinawa is remarkable, effective, and little known in the wider world. Okinawa has 32 US military installations. Nearly a quarter of the land is occupied by US bases. The sky is often crowded with military aircraft; the sheer arrogance of an occupier is a daily physical presence. Okinawa is about the size of Long Island. Imagine a bristling Chinese base right next to New York. I went on to film in Jeju Island, off the southern tip of Korea where something very similar has happened. People on Jeju tried to stop the building of an important and provocative base about 400 miles from Shanghai. The South Korean navy will keep it ready for the US. It’s really a US base where Aegis Class destroyers will dock along with nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers—right next to China. Like Okinawa, Jeju has a history of invasion and suffering, and resistance.
By John Chuckman for Information Clearinghouse. The fundamental problem in America’s government is an elaborate political structure much resembling democracy but with actual rule by a powerful establishment and a set of special interests – all supported by a monstrous security apparatus and a huge, lumbering military, which wouldn’t even know what to do with itself in peace. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any apparent solution to this horrible political reality, and, while once it affected primarily Americans themselves, today it affects the planet. There is an intense new element that has been added to America’s governing establishment: the drive of the neocons for American supremacy everywhere, for complete global dominance…
By Martha Baskin for Counterpunch. The ad pierces your consciousness and catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of Seattle’s King County Metro it hurls you momentarily back in time, to a time when nuclear weapons were an imminent threat to our survival. Or did the era never end? The ad — sponsored by local Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action — reads: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.” Behind this text is a map, depicting the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap, located on the eastern shore of Hood Canal, one of the four main basins in Washington state’s Puget Sound. The base is home port for eight of the US Navy’s 14 Trident ballistic missile submarines as well as an underground nuclear weapons storage complex. Together they’re believed to store more than 1,300 nuclear warheads.