By William Edstrom in CounterPunch – The United States (US) government often cites $18 trillion as the amount of money that they owe, but their actual debts are higher. Much higher. The government in the USA owes $13.2 trillion in US Treasury Bonds, $5 trillion in money borrowed by the US Federal government from Federal government trust funds like the Social Security trust fund, $0.7 trillion for state bonds issued by the 50 states, $3.7 trillion for the municipal bond market (US towns, cities and counties), $1.97 trillion still owing by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, mostly for bad mortgages in years gone by, $6.23 trillion owed by US government authorities other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, $1.04 trillion in loans taken out by the US Federal government (e.g. government credit card balances, short term loans) and $0.63 trillion in loans owed by government authorities (e.g. their government credit card balances, short term loans).
By David Swanson in World Beyond War – By the latest count, the nuclear agreement with Iran has enough support in the U.S. Senate to survive. This, even more than stopping the missile strikes on Syria in 2013, may be as close as we come to public recognition of the prevention of a war (something that happens quite a bit but generally goes unrecognized and for which there are no national holidays). Here, for what they’re worth, are 10 teachings for this teachable moment. There is never an urgent need for war. Wars are often begun with great urgency, not because there’s no other option, but because delay might allow another option to emerge.
By World Beyond War – If you’ve never heard of the U.S. Institute of Peace, please keep reading. It works everyday with your money in a fancy new building next to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It just doesn’t work for peace. If you know the USIP’s record and consider it a lost cause, please keep reading. This institute can be made to do some good. A number of us will be meeting with USIP in late September and bringing along this petition. Please click here to sign it. The petition to USIP reads: “We urge you to oppose U.S. militarism and begin working for an end to U.S. war-making by providing to Congress and the public information on the disastrous results of recent U.S. wars and the superior results of nonviolence and diplomacy. We ask that you recommend to the President of the United States the removal from your board of Stephen Hadley, Eric Edelman, and Frederick M. Padilla, and their replacement by three seasoned peace activists, along with a recommendation to maintain at least three seasoned peace activists on your board at all times — right now there are none.”
By Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian – An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants. In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”. Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.
By DC IndyMedia – On the 30th of August, Code Pink stages a picnic for peace with Iran and the nuclear deal that Obama has signed but some in Congress are attempting to block. US Park Police and park rangers interfered, demanding that food be served only on the curb, that not even cushions be set on the stone chairs at the chess tables, and that a woman in a chair with health issues either leave or not use the chair, Also, a very interesting dialog resulted with an Iranian resistance group that showed up to protest executions in their country. Code Pink allowed them onstage to speak and agreed with them that capitol punishment is unacceptable anywhere. The situation at Code Pink’s picnic was in stark contrast to what happeneed after the coup in Egypt where supporters and opponents of the coup both showed up in Lafayette Park at once and ended up duking it out on Penn Ave in front of the White House as horse cops tried to keep them apart.
By Staff at AlJazeera. Tokyo, Japan – Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied outside Japan’s parliament to oppose legislation that could see troops in the officially pacifist nation engage in combat for the first time since World War II. In one of the summer’s biggest protests ahead of the new laws anticipated passage next month, protesters on Sunday chanted “No to war legislation!” ”Scrap the bills now!” and “Abe, quit!” Organisers said about 120,000 people took part in the rally in the government district of Tokyo, filling the street outside the front gate of the parliament, or Diet. Similar demonstrations were held across nation. The law would expand Japan’s military role under a reinterpretation of the country’s war-renouncing constitution.
By Nina Lakhani in Independent – Mexico’s drug trade is synonymous with violence, corruption and cartel bosses battling for territory. But it could have been so different, it’s claimed in a new book, had the US not issued an ultimatum 75 years ago which ignited the war on drugs – leading to death and destruction on both sides of the border. Documents in the book reveal that Mexico legalised drugs in 1940, after doctors convinced the then president, Lazaro Cardenas, that prohibition was damaging public health. Doctors believed that the best way to tackle drug-related ills was to treat addicts rather than lock-up smugglers and producers. Mexico launched a diplomatic campaign to halt the global trend towards prohibition by addressing the League of Nations about the health benefits of legalisation.
By Ariha Setalvad in The Verge – Police in North Dakota are now authorized to use drones armed with tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets, and other “non-lethal” weapons, following the passage of Bill 1328. Sponsored by Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), the bill was originally intended to limit the police’s surveillance powers, and banned all weapons on law enforcement drones. Then a policy lobby group was allowed to amend the bill, though, at which point it only banned lethal weapons, writes The Daily Beast. Putting aside the fact that these weapons are not non-lethal, making it so these weapons can be controlled remotely likely isn’t going to help curb police abuse.
By Kathy Kelly in Information Clearing House – Walking through small cities and towns in Wisconsin, participants distributed leaflets and held teach-ins encouraging people to demand accountability from local police, and an end to the “Shadow Drone” program operated by the U.S. Air National Guard out of Wisconsin’s own Volk Field. Our friend Maya Evans traveled the furthest to join the walk: she coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence in the UK. Alice Gerard, from Grand Isle, NY, is our most consistent long-distance traveler, on her sixth antiwar walk with VCNV. Brian Terrell noted what mothers speaking to Code Pink, as part of the Mothers Against Police Brutality campaign, had also noted: that surprisingly many of the officers charged with killing their children were veterans of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
By Bruce Gagnon, Organizing Notes – As we were preparing to leave Gangjeong village we looked into the sky as a formation of Navy Blue Angel war planes came screaming over the village. For the next 15 or so minutes they went back and forth directly over Gangjeong doing various stunts. One of the stunts brought the planes very low in an ear splitting maneuver. The Navy was sending a message to Gangjeong village. The message was loud and clear. “We own you now. Your village will become a war base. There is nothing you can do. We will project power against China from Jeju Island. You’d better get used to the idea.” This is the way the US military empire thinks and the way they treat people who stand in their way. Just before we went on the air for the radio interview we learned that the Navy is planning to demand that Gangjeong villagers pay $20 million (USD) in fines for disruption of construction operations on the base now nearing completion.
By Jon Letman in Al Jazeera – Demonstrators, many old enough to have survived the bloody Battle of Okinawa as children, sing buoyant but defiant protest songs while holding placards reading “No new base” and “Give us back peace, give us back land.” One sign, directed at the U.S. Marines reads, “We respect you but not your job.” Polls consistently show Okinawans and, increasingly, mainland Japanese are opposed to replacing Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, a sprawling military base in the south of the island, with a new facility in the rural Henoko district of Nago in northern Okinawa. Referred to as Henoko, the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) is planned to have multiple helipads, 5,900-foot dual runways, an ordnance depot, a fuel depot and an 892-foot pier capable of docking amphibious assault ships.
By World Beyond War – We must uphold the Iran nuclear agreement, but upholding it while pretending that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, or is threatening anyone, will not create a stable and lasting foundation for peace. Upholding an agreement with both proponents and opponents threatening war as an alternative is perilous as well as immoral, illegal, and — given the outcome of similar recent wars based on similar recent propaganda — insane. Please spread the above message on Facebook here, Twitter here, Instagram here,Tumblr here, and Google+ here. Please post your thoughts as comments below this page, where World Beyond War leaders will be engaging in discussion with you re the facts of the matter, the politics at work, and what can be done. Read our statement: World Beyond War Supports Iran Deal In the U.S. sign these petitions: one, two, and join these events. More events all over the world, and tools for creating your own are here.
By Billy Briggs in Mint Press News – Thousands of activists are expected to gather at the United Kingdom’s largest international arms fair in London next month. Attended by hundreds of arms companies with exhibits representing over 1,500 arms firms, the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition brings representatives from the world’s most oppressive regimes together in one place to sell military weapons, including those from Israel, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. DSEI is a bi-annual event held at ExCel Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands, one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world with 32,000 visitors expected including 150 delegations from over 60 countries.
By Daniel Angster in Media Matters – Nuclear Deal Lifts U.S. Economic Sanctions On Iran In Exchange For Guarantee Of Verifiable Peaceful Nuclear Program. President Obama and the leaders of world powers England, France, Russia, China, and Germany reached a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran that “lifts economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for guarantees that its nuclear energy program remains peaceful.” The New York Times reported that the agreement includes a “snapback mechanism to renew United Nations sanctions” in the event that Iran is perceived as violating the deal that “allows the full raft of penalties to resume automatically”: The agreement lifts economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for guarantees that its nuclear energy program remains peaceful.