By Conn M. Hallinan for Dispatches from the Edge. What has made today’s world more dangerous, however, is not just advances in the destructive power of nuclear weapons, but a series of actions by the last three U.S. administrations. First was the decision by President Bill Clinton to abrogate a 1990 agreement with the Soviet Union not to push NATO further east after the reunification of Germany or to recruit former members of the defunct Warsaw Pact. NATO has also reneged on a 1997 pledge not to install “permanent” and “significant” military forces in former Warsaw Pact countries. This month NATO decided to deploy four battalions on, or near, the Russian border, arguing that since the units will be rotated they are not “permanent” and are not large enough to be “significant.” It is a linguistic slight of hand that does not amuse Moscow. Second was the 1999 U.S.-NATO intervention in the Yugoslav civil war and the forcible dismemberment of Serbia. It is somewhat ironic that Russia is currently accused of using force to “redraw borders in Europe” by annexing the Crimea, which is exactly what NATO did to create Kosovo. The U.S. subsequently built Camp Bond Steel, Washington’s largest base in the Balkans. Third was President George W, Bush’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the decision by the Obama administration to deploy anti-missile systems in Romania and Poland, as well as Japan and South Korea.
By Medea Benjamin and Alice Slater for the Hill. Donald Trump angered the D.C. establishment when he said that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, may be obsolete and the U.S. should reassess its spending on the alliance. Hillary Clinton has used Trump’s comments as another example that he is a dangerous, loose cannon. But Trump has brought up an issue worth exploring and this month, when NATO will hold its Annual Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 8-9, is an excellent opportunity to do so. Indeed, activists are planning to show up on in Warsaw during the Summit and in New York City there will be a demonstration on July 9 in Times Square. The time has come to spread the word about the dangerous mischief NATO is causing on Russia’s border. With the recent breakup of the old paradigm after the UK just left the European Union, there may be a new opening for change. It has been reported that Germany and France have been talking about ending the sanctions on Russia imposed after the Ukraine events and are now recommending a less aggressive posture for NATO. America too, could do its share to make good on the UN promise to “end the scourge of war” by ratcheting down the hostilities towards Russia and working for the abolition of NATO. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump supporter to recognize that it is time to rethink NATO.
By Raymond Bonner for Pro Publica. In 2009, Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers interviewed their client and prepared a handwritten, first-person account of the torture their client suffered at the hands of the U.S. government. The document, quoted above, recounts the terrifying experience of a man repeatedly waterboarded in the mistaken belief that he was al-Qaida’s No. 3 official. It was filed in federal court as part of his lawsuit seeking release from Guantanamo, and like nearly all the documents in the case, was sealed at the government’s request. Now, seven years later, Zubaydah’s statement, which he signed under oath, has been released, and it provides the most detailed, personal description yet made public of his “enhanced interrogation” at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Thailand.
By Ann Wright for OpED News. I’ve just ended two weeks visiting cities in four regions of Russia. The one question that was asked over and over was, “Why does America hate us? Why do you demonize us?” Most would add a caveat — “I like American people and I think YOU like us individually but why does the American government hate our government?” This article is a composite of the comments and questions that were asked to our 20-person delegation and to me as an individual. I do not attempt to defend the views but offer them as an insight into the thinking of many of the persons we came into contact with in meetings and on the streets. None of the questions, comments or views tell the full story, but I hope they give a feel for the desire of the ordinary Russian that her country and its citizens are respected as a sovereign nation with a long history and that it is not demonized as an outlaw state or an “evil” nation. Russia has its flaws and room for improvement in many areas, just as every nation does, including for sure, the United States.
By David Swanson, The Democratic Party’s draft platform takes a government that spends over half of discretionary spending on militarism, as much as the rest of the world combined, with troops in most countries and seven wars underway, and says: Keep it going, only more so! The Platform begins with support-the-troops propaganda, demanding military spending for the sake of the people recruited into the military, many of them of course for lack of the free college that the Democrats have left out of their platform. “Support Our Troops and Keep Faith with Our Veterans,” is the opening headline on foreign policy. The words under that headline have nothing to do with what it suggests. Wouldn’t a platform be the place in which to take a position on continuing or ending the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen? The Platform simply accepts wars, makes a nod to being aware of their existence, and moves along. The Democrats speak not of aid or diplomacy or disarmament, but of the need to “Confront Global Threats.” The failed, counterproductive war on terrorism would roll on
By Ed Pilkington for The Guardian. When Michael Haas, a former senior airman with the US air force, looks back on the missions he flew over Afghanistan and other conflict zones in a six-year career operating military drones, one of the things he remembers most vividly is the colorful language airmen would use to describe their targets. A team of three would be sitting, he recalls, in a ground control station in Creech air force base outside Las Vegas, staring at computer screens on to which images would be beamed back from high-powered sensors on Predator drones thousands of miles away. The aim of the missions was to track, and when the conditions were deemed right, kill suspected insurgents. That’s not how they put it, though. They would talk about “cutting the grass before it grows out of control”, or “pulling the weeds before they overrun the lawn”.
By Jan and David Hartsough for World Beyond War. We have recently returned from a two week citizen’s diplomacy peace delegation to six cities in Russia under the auspices of the Center for Citizen Initiatives. Our trip included visits with journalists, political leaders, teachers and students, doctors and medical clinics, veterans of past wars, representatives of small businesses and nongovernmental organizations, youth camps, and home visits. Since David’s earlier visits to Russia over the past fifty-five years, much has changed. He was struck by how much new building and construction has taken place, and the “westernization” of clothing, styles, advertising, automobiles and traffic, as well as global corporations and private companies and stores. Some of our reflections include:
By Robert J. Burrowes. Australia – Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing a strategy to end it. The good news about this commitment was that it was made when I was nearly 14 so, it seemed, anything was possible. Now I am not so sure. Here is my report on 50 years of concerted effort to understand and end human violence. In 1966 one of my immediate preoccupations was war. The US genocidal war on Vietnam was raging and, as a sycophantic ally of the United States, Australia had been drawn into it some years previously. Trying to understand what this war was really about was challenging, particularly given the limited (mainstream) sources of information available to me at the time.
By Dr. June Terpstra for 21st Century Wire. “This article is an update of the article I wrote in 2008 titled “Hollow Women of the Hegemon”. It is about the hollow women, the stuffed women, who help the hollow men who are devoted to profit, power, plunder and pollution. The word, hegemon, is used to identify the class, state or group with the most power that is responsible for the dissemination of dominant power group’s ideas, systems and practices that most benefit those in power and those who rule for them. Since WWII the US government and it’s corporate elites reached the top position in the world. Their ascendency was the result of being the most violent and aggressive military with the most weapons of mass destruction and hence The Hegemonic force in the world. The most fundamental mission that the US Hegemon faces is how to maintain power.
By Colombia Support Network. We celebrate the agreement between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government to end 52 years of armed conflict through a verifiable agreement for a bilateral ceasefire. We fervently hope that the serious issues facing Colombia can now be addressed through dialogue and negotiation, without any party seeking to enforce its concepts through a call to arms. The transitional justice system, while complicated and sure to be very costly, holds great promise for a lasting peace with social justice, as long as a strong commitment by the government and civilian society supports the application of the procedures decided upon. The presence of the international community in support of the agreement to end the armed conflict and to submit the final agreement for approval by the Colombian people gives assurance that a very substantial effort will be made to carry through the points of the agreement.
By Kathy Kelly for Counterpunch. Yalta – In the historic port city of Yalta, located on the Crimean Peninsula, we visited the site where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, in February of 1945, concluded negotiations ending World War II. These leaders and their top advisors were also present at the creation of the United Nations and other instruments of international negotiation and non-military cooperation. Tragically, the creation of the “Cold War” was underway soon after. Reviving tensions between the United States and Russia make it seem as though the Cold War might not have ended. We also met with groups of young adults, teachers, and veterans of foreign wars. At each meeting, participants readily agreed that new peace agreements are needed.
By Kathy Kelly for AntiWar.com. Since 1983, Sharon Tennison has worked to develop ordinary citizens’ capacities to avert international crises, focusing on relations between the U.S. and Russia. Now, amid a rising crisis in relations between the US and Russia, she has organized a delegation which assembled in Moscow yesterday for a two week visit. I joined the group yesterday, and happened to finish reading Sharon Tennison’s book, The Power of Impossible Ideas, when I landed in Moscow. An entry in her book, dated November 9, 1989, describes the excitement over the Berlin Wall coming down and notes that “Prior to the Wall’s removal, President George H.W. Bush assured Secretary General Gorbachev that if he would support bringing down the Wall separating East and West Berlin, NATO would not move ‘a finger’s width’ closer to Russia than East Germany’s border.
By David Hartsough. The US and Russian governments are pursuing dangerous policies of nuclear brinkmanship. Many people believe we are closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuba missile crisis in 1962. Thirty-one thousand troops from the US and NATO countries are engaged in military maneuvers on the Russian border in Poland – together with tanks, military planes and missiles. The US has just activated an anti-ballistic missile site in Romania which the Russians see as part of an American first strike policy. Now the US can fire missiles with nuclear weapons at Russia, and then the anti-ballistic missiles could shoot down Russian missiles shot toward the west in response, the assumption being only the Russians would suffer from nuclear war.. A former NATO general has said he believes there will be nuclear war in Europe within a year.
By Beth Brogan for Bangor Daily News. BATH, Maine — A group of 12 protesters, several of them members of the organization Veterans for Peace, were arrested Saturday morning outside Bath Iron Works as thousands gathered in the shipyard for the christening of the future USS Michael Monsoor. The protesters blocked traffic on Washington Street, outside the shipyard’s south gate near the intersection of Spring Street, shortly before 9:30 a.m., while people stood in line to enter the event and the future crew of the destroyer marched into the yard, according to protester Bruce Gagnon of Bath. “We just shut the whole street down,” Gagnon, 63, told the Bangor Daily News. “Our goal was to interrupt the celebration of endless war and corporate profit.