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Memorial Day Should Make Us Rethink Platitudes About the US Military

May 31st, 2016 - by admin

Ivan Eland / AntiWar.com – 2016-05-31 00:10:04

Memorial Day Should Make Us Rethink Platitudes About the US Military

Jun 1, 2010

John Fitzgerald (http://johnfitzgeraldforcongress.com) calls for an end to the wars and prosecuting Bush and Cheney for war crimes. With the Lafayette Crosses behind him, John Fitzgerald delivers an emotional address at a Memorial Day Service, choking up at the unnecessary suffering and death, deploring the deceptions that took America to war and the lies that continue to prevent peace, and addressing the deafening silence of our leaders who don’t talk about the true costs of war.

Memorial Day Should Make Us Rethink
Platitudes About the US Military

Ivan Eland / AntiWar.com

(May 30, 2016) — As the nation once again honors American war dead on Memorial Day, instead of spouting the usual nationalistic platitudes that US soldiers fought to keep the country “safe and free,” perhaps we should analyze whether that is really true.

Since the 9/11 attacks, more than double the number of Americans killed in those terrorist attacks have been sent to their deaths in the war on terror (for example, in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), not to mention the US government’s killing of an order of magnitude more people in many Islamic countries using conventional military forces and drone attacks.

Yet during this 15-year period, Americans have been in denial about why Islamist terrorists attack or threaten US targets at home and overseas. US politicians don’t want to discuss the unpleasant reality, because it might anger some voters and threaten their all-important chances for reelection.

The American media — putting on what the public wants to see, hear, and read to get big advertising revenues — overhypes coverage of Islamist groups like ISIS, because sensationalist coverage of diabolical villains doing heinous acts sells, but astutely buries the reasons these groups attack the United States.

American media coverage of Islamist terror groups has focused on their proliferation and their increasing savagery — for example, ISIS’s beheadings of hostages, its brutal methods of rule, and its barbarous destruction of archeological treasures — but never examines the question of how much of a threat many of these groups pose to US targets at home and abroad and why these groups would want to attack a country so far away.

In fact, fundamentalist Islam has been around for centuries, just as radical branches of other religions have been, and most radical Islamist groups have local or regional grievances — for example, ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and now Libya; Boko Haram in Nigeria and surrounding countries; Al Shabab in Somalia; and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the region of West Africa.

Jenifer Cooke, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies was recently quoted in a New York Times article about the US military giving assistance to various governments across Africa to fight such groups.

She made a very telling, if understated comment, “Some of the threats, whether it’s Al Shabab, ISIL [ISIS], Boko Haram, or AQIM, pose a more direct and sophisticated threat to African states, to European allies, and potentially to the United States.”

The last phrase is used as a euphemism by experts on terrorism to acknowledge that the United States is harder (but not impossible) for such groups to attack, because it is more distant across oceans and it doesn’t have as many radicalized sympathizers to shelter prospective “evildoers.”

The fact is that most of these groups would have no reason to attack the United States if it didn’t assist local governments in attacking them or attack them directly. For example, even ISIS didn’t start beheading Western journalists and trying to attack European targets until a US-led coalition, which included European countries, started bombing ISIS in the Middle East.

The US government has used the “Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938 led to a snowballing threat” rationale as the excuse for excessive US military action during and after the Cold War to address any threat, no matter how remote, so that it didn’t multiply into something worse.

This simplistic Munich analogy led to many needless overseas overt and covert interventions; to quagmires, such as the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq; and is now leading to blowback terrorism.

In recent CNN program, “Why Do They Hate Us,” Fareed Zakaria does mention US foreign policy, but then quickly skips on to the question of whether Islam is an inherently violent religion and asks why the Vietnamese (Buddhists) didn’t use terrorism against the United States.

One reason might be that they were not as weak as the Muslims are against US power — terrorism is used by the weak against the strong when no other means are available — and the second might be that the US government has focused most of its post-World War II military interventions on the Middle East rather than Southeast Asia, including attacking or invading at least seven Muslim countries since 9/11.

Most Americans do not focus on the fact that their country has statistically been the most aggressive country in the world after World War II and that some people don’t like the US government meddling in their affairs using armed force. This rage does not excuse heinous behavior or attacking civilians, as al Qaeda, ISIS, and other groups have done, but it does at least explain their behavior.

Since World War II, the US military has been used for imperial policing, not defending the country as the Constitution stipulates. Unfortunately, many of the recent military deaths that we are mourning have been unnecessary and even counterproductive — as new more radical groups are spawned from the ones US intervention helped create in the first place — al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq.

Some would say that not running an activist foreign policy is naive and dangerous. What is naive is that many Americans seem to think that the 9/11 and other terror attacks just arise out of thin air, with no cause except perhaps pure evil in the perpetrators’ hearts.

Terrorists are evil, but the ones that threaten the United States (and the ones that don’t should be left alone) are doing so for reasons that the American people and their politicians and media don’t care to examine — at their own peril.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Memorial Day Lesson — End War

May 31st, 2016 - by admin

Popular Resistance Newsletter – 2016-05-31 00:05:21

Newsletter: Memorial Day Lesson – End War

Memorial Day Lesson — End War
Memorial Day has become a holiday that celebrates war and treats soldiers as heroes, rather than respecting its roots

Popular Resistance Newsletter

(Memorial Day 2016) — The first Memorial Day was celebrated in 1866 on the first anniversary of the end of the Civil War. A Ladies’ Memorial Association in Columbus, Georgia voted to lay flowers on the graves of dead soldiers and urged people in other states to do the same.

Rather than remembering only the Confederate soldiers, they recognized that all dead soldiers had grieving families and so they laid flowers on all of the graves. Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1868.

S. Brian Willson, a veteran and peace activist, goes further than memorializing soldiers and writes that we need to also remember the victims of US wars. He lists the damage done during the Vietnam War to not only Vietnam, but also to Laos and Cambodia, and calls wars “criminal and deceitful aggressions violating international and US law to assure control of geostrategic resources.”

Willson states, “Memorial Day for me requires remembering all of the deaths and devastation of our wars, and it should remind all of us of the need to end the madness.”

Memorial Day has become a holiday that celebrates war and treats soldiers as heroes, rather than respecting its roots as a day to mourn the personal costs of war.

Instead of being a time of reflection on the truth about wars, the US Empire’s war culture is on full display over the Memorial Day weekend perpetuating the myths that being in the military is both patriotic and heroic, when in truth many US wars are unnecessary and violate international law.

It is up to us to examine the hypocrisy of US foreign policy and work toward ending war as a tool of foreign policy.

Hiroshima and the Asia Pivot
This week, President Obama traveled to Hiroshima, where he made a speech about the US bombing in 1945. Obama did not apologize as many in Japan hoped he would. Instead, he made sure to lay the blame on Japan, saying that the war came from their “base instinct for domination or conquest.”

If Obama stepped back and looked at US foreign policy he would see this ‘base instinct’ has been the foundation of US Empire and the root cause of recent wars and military actions.

A protester was surrounded by riot police officers on Friday as President Obama’s motorcade left the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan. Credit: Adam Dean for The New York Times

Obama called for a ‘moral revolution’ regarding the use of weapons such as nuclear bombs, but did not offer any next steps. In fact, just the opposite is being done. The Obama administration has done less than previous presidents to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and, in fact, has committed to spending $1 trillion to ‘upgrade’ nuclear weapons.

Gar Alperovitz, a historian who has focused on the bombing of Japan, writesthat the atomic bombs were unnecessary and did not end the war. It was the Soviet invasion of Manchuria that caused the Japanese to retreat, and the US knew that the bombs were not needed.

In fact, generals such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Curtis LeMay, who were involved in the planning, did not support using atomic bombs. David Swanson describes twelve large myths about World War II, known as the ‘good war’, and explains that the war has not ended in the sense that the US continues to have a military presence in Japan and Germany.

The US military is escalating its activities in the Asia Pacific via the Asia Pivot, in which more than 50% of the US Navy is now focused on surrounding China. The US has pressured Japan to change its military from a pacifist force to an offensive force and is pressuring Japan to build a new military base in Okinawa against the will of the people.

The US pushed a new defense agreement on the Philippines and built a new base in Jeju Island in South Korea, also against the will of the people. And the US is forging stronger military ties with Vietnam. This week, the US made an agreement with Vietnam to buy weapons from the US.

And the US is antagonizing Russia through many means. We’ve covered US intervention and regime change in the Ukraine in order to, among other goals, provoke Russia and gain access to its border. The US is also building an $800 million ‘missile defense’ site in Romania which Russia views as offensive as part of the US surrounding Russia with NATO forces.

Given the obscene levels of poverty in the US, the failing infrastructure and frail economy, spending huge amounts of tax dollars to surround and provoke China and Russia seems ludicrous. The reality is that these efforts are the last gasps of a dying hegemony. The US and its Western allies are losing control of the global economy and resources.

Eric Draitser explains that the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which represent more than three billion people, are under US attack because they are working together to create alternatives to US-dominated global institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

US Intervention in Latin America
The US is also going after Latin American countries that threaten its hegemony. A recent release of Snowden documents by the Intercept reveals that the NSA trained personnel to “delve into ‘economic, social, political, and security issues’ as well as “‘policy options available to the United States to move developments toward U.S. objectives in the region.'” It seems the US is having some success at removing and challenging leftist governments.

The recent removal of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff from office is being exposed for what it was, a coup. Leaked documents show that former senator Romero Juca and former oil executive Sergio Machado viewed the ouster of Rousseff as necessary to stop a corruption investigation against them. The leak caused Juca to step down.

The interim president, Michel Temer, is considered to be a US informant. And Mark Weisbrot, who specializes in Latin American politics, explains that the US’ role in the coup is expected based on previous actions and may be revealed in more detail down the road. The largest social movement in Brazil, known as the MST or landless peasants movement, is planning resistance actions throughout Brazil.

Another US informant, Susana Malcorra of Argentina, has also been effective at furthering US interests in her country and was recently rewarded with a nomination for the next Secretary-General of the United Nations. Argentina recently elected a right-wing government that is very sympathetic to US interests.

This week, the new president, Mauricio Macri, signed a military agreement with the US that includes construction of a new US military base. The new neo-liberal government in Argentina is being protested heavily, as was Obama’s visit to meet with Macri in March.

And finally, there continues to be a crisis situation in Venezuela where the US has worked for decades to gain control. Lisa Sullivan discusses the dire situation in this open letter. The US assisted attempts to oust or undermine President Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro.

After the last election, in which the oligarchs gained more power, the right wing even admitted 17 years of crimes against the government and economy, passing an amnesty law that was found unconstitutional by the supreme court.

A Time for Reckoning
This Memorial Day, let’s honor our military members who have died in a profound way, by working to prevent more wars. People around the world are telling the US to stop its endless wars. This week in Ireland, two people were arrested for protesting US military’s use of their airport. You can join this appeal to world leaders to stop being complicit in US war crimes. Click here.

And instead of repeating the mantra that war is good or patriotic, let’s have an honest discussion about the reasons behind wars and the damage that wars wreak in numerous ways. John Feffer writes about the US drone attack in Pakistan this week, which set some dangerous precedents, and the potential blowback.

Abby Martin of The Empire Files discusses the US military’s experimentation on soldiers over the past one hundred years. And NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that the CIA’s loss of the Torture Report was not an accident.

As S. Brian Wilson concludes: “War is insane, and our country continues to perpetuate its insanity on others. . . We fail our duties as citizens if we remain silent rather than calling our US wars for what they are — criminal and deceitful aggressions violating international and US law to assure control of geostrategic resources, deemed necessary to further our insatiable American Way Of Life (AWOL).”

It is time for all of us to build a people’s movement for a world without war.

Our mailing address is:
402 E. Lake Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21212

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

US Veterans Secretly Poisoned, Lied to and Denied Healthcare as Corporations Profited

May 31st, 2016 - by admin

Abby Martin / The Empire Files: teleSUR & The Guardian & The Agent Orange Record – 2016-05-31 00:03:29

Veterans Used & Betrayed:
100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats

Abby Martin / The Empire Files @ teleSUR

(May 24, 2016) — On Memorial Day, politicians will speak at ceremonies all over the country and repeat their favorite mantra: “Support the troops.” This pledge is hammered into the American psyche at every turn. But there is a hidden, dark history that shows that the politicians are in fact no friend to service members — but their greatest enemy.

An easy way to prove this truth is to look at how they so quickly betray and abandon their soldiers after purposely ruining their lives, and even after using them as literal lab rats.

In this disturbing chapter of The Empire Files, Abby Martin documents decades of experimentation on US troops — from nuclear tests to psychotropic drugs — as well as knowingly exposing them to deadly poisons, from sarin gas to Agent Orange.

Most damning is that the hundreds of thousands of veterans seeking help from the government for the side-effects are always met with lies and denial.

US Veterans Sue CIA for Alleged
Drug and Mind Control Experiments

Plaintiffs seek to force the government to contact all the subjects of the testing

The Guardian

(January 12, 2009) — It was 1968, and Frank Rochelle was 20 years old and fresh out of Army boot camp when he saw notices posted around his base in Virginia asking for volunteers to test uniforms and equipment.

That might be a good break after the harsh weeks of boot camp, he thought, and signed up.

Instead of equipment testing, though, the Onslow county, North Carolina, native found himself in a bizarre, CIA-funded drug testing and mind-control programme, according to a lawsuit that he and five other veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America filed last week. The suit was filed in federal court in San Francisco against the US Department of Defence and the CIA.

The plaintiffs seek to force the government to contact all the subjects of the experiments and give them proper healthcare.

The experiments have been the subject of congressional hearings, and in 2003 the US department of veterans affairs released a pamphlet that said nearly 7,000 soldiers had been involved and more than 250 chemicals used on them, including hallucinogens such as LSD and PCP as well as biological and chemical agents.

Lasting from 1950 to 1975, the experiments took place at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. According to the lawsuit, some of the volunteers were even implanted with electrical devices in an effort to control their behaviour.

Rochelle, 60, who has come back to live in Onslow county, said in an interview that there were about two-dozen volunteers when he was taken to Edgewood. Once there, they were asked to volunteer a second time, for drug testing. They were told that the experiments were harmless and that their health would be carefully monitored, not just during the tests but afterward, too.

The doctors running the experiments, though, couldn’t have known the drugs were safe, because safety was one of the things they were trying to find out, Rochelle said.

“We volunteered, yes, but we were not fully aware of the dangers,” he said. “None of us knew the kind of drugs they gave us, or the after-effects they’d have.”

Rochelle said he was given just one breath of a chemical in aerosol form that kept him drugged for two and a half days, struggling with visions. He said he saw animals coming out of the walls and his freckles moving like bugs under his skin. At one point, he tried to cut the freckles out with a razor.

Not all the men in his group tested drugs. But he said even those who just tested equipment were mistreated.

“Their idea of testing a gas mask was to give you a faulty one and put you in a gas chamber,” he said. “It was just diabolical.”

The tests lasted about two months. Later, Rochelle was sent to Vietnam.

Now he’s rated 60% disabled by the veterans affairs department, he said, and has struggled to keep his civilian job working on US marine bases. He has breathing problems, and his short-term memory is so bad that he once left his son at a gas station.

Among other problems, he said, his doctor diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and said it came from the drug experiment. He has trouble sleeping and still sometimes has visions from the drug, he said.

A big goal of the lawsuit, Rochelle said, is to get the word out to the thousands of soldiers who were tested. Some may have forgotten all about the tests and not know that’s why they now have health problems.

Waiting for an Army to Die
The Agent Orange Record

The backlog of Agent Orange cases needing attention at the Veterans Administration has been placed at half a million. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has declined to find the chemical companies responsible for Agent Orange health problems, in the
US or Vietnam.

Around 2.6 million US military served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1973. An additional 514,000 served in waters off the coast of Vietnam in the Blue Water Navy, while close to 300,000 served elsewhere in Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand).

Shortly after returning home, Vietnam veterans began to suspect that their ill health or the instances of their wives having miscarriages or children born with birth defects may have been related to Agent Orange and the other toxic herbicides they were exposed to in Vietnam.

Veterans began to file claims in 1977 to the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability payments or health care for conditions that they believed were associated with exposure Agent Orange, or more specifically dioxin, but their claims were denied unless they could prove that the condition began when they were in the service or within one year of their discharge.

In 1977, Maude De Victor, a caseworker at the Veterans Affairs office in Chicago, met the widow of a veteran who had died from lung cancer who believed that his cancer was related to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

De Victor began to ask other veterans about whether they remembered being exposed to Agent Orange and asking the Department of Defense, Dow Chemical and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington DC about Agent Orange and what was known about the health impacts.

She collected files on about two-dozen veterans who had illnesses they attributed to Agent Orange before her boss at the VA asked her to stop her investigation. De Victor took her files to Bill Kurtis, an investigative reporter at the CBS affiliate in Chicago, who interviewed researchers about dioxin and veterans who were sick or who had children born with birth defects. After the story “Agent Orange: Vietnam’s Deadly Fog” aired in March 1978, hundreds of veterans began to contact the VA in Chicago.

The documentary raised concerns at the VA, but the key issue was how to respond to the health complaints of the veterans without supporting their case that their illnesses were related to Agent Orange exposure. The VA developed an Agent Orange Policy Group headed by a former researcher at Monsanto and consulted with other industry researchers to determine if there are long-term effects to exposure to Agent Orange.

Though the EPA continued to state that scientific research has found dioxin to be a health hazard, the VA held to the conviction that Agent Orange/dioxin had only short term and reversible affects to human health.

Veterans’ Lawsuit
The first lawsuit filed by a veteran about damage caused by Agent Orange was filed by twenty-eight-year old Paul Reutershan, who believed that his chloracne and his abdominal cancer were related to exposure to Agent Orange.

After his claim to the VA was denied and being unable to sue the VA or the US government, Paul filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Dow Chemical and two other chemical companies that produced Agent Orange in NY State courts. The case received mass media attention, Paul appeared on the Today show in the spring of 1978, stating “I died in Vietnam, but I didn’t even know it.”

Just before he died in December 1978, Paul founded the Agent Orange Victims International (AOVI) and asked its handful of members to continue the fight after his death. AOVI brought on workman’s compensation attorney Victor Yannacone who filed Reutershan’s complaint as a class action lawsuit against six of the chemical companies as defendants, Dow, Monsanto, Hercules, Northwest Industries, Diamond Shamrock and North American Phillips.

The case grew as lawyers around the country added their clients to the suit received huge media attention. The case managed to survive the numerous legal technicalities and infighting among the lawyers representing the veterans.

“About a million and a half of us are already gone.”
– Paul Sutton, former Chairman, Vietnam Veterans of America,
Chicago Tribune, 2009.

Finally, the case ended up at Judge Jack Weinstein’s court at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, who settled one legal question after the other to get the case to trial. Judge Weinstein defined the class as all veterans who served in Vietnam between 1961 and 1972 from the US, Australia and New Zealand who believed that they or their children were harmed by their exposure to Agent Orange.

On the eve of the trial scheduled for May 7, 1984, Judge Weinstein worked out a settlement, stressing that while he felt the case was weak, the chemical companies would be unlikely to find a jury who would not side with the veterans and feel for their children born with birth defects. The companies agreed to the settlement, as long as they did not have to admit liability.

At the time, the settlement for $180 million was the largest in history. It was to be paid out by the companies in proportion to the amount of herbicides they produced and the degree of the dioxin contamination in the respective 2,4,5-T; as a result, Dow got off rather lightly, having the “cleanest” herbicides.

The settlement was invested, growing into a fund of approximately $330 million by the time the distribution and legal technicalities were worked out. The fund mailed out its first checks to veterans in March of 1989.

Those who were rated 100% disabled were eligible to receive a settlement of up to $12,800 paid out over 10 years. For those who had already died of Agent Orange related-illnesses, their survivors were eligible to receive a settlement of $3400. The Fund closed in 1997 after it distributed $197 million in payment to about 52,000 American veterans and their families.

The average payment was $3800. The fund also distributed $74 million to social service programs that helped 239,000 veterans. Australian veterans received approximately $7 million of the settlement and New Zealand veterans about $1 million. Legal fees for the lawyers involved in the case made up almost $50 million of the total fund.

At the same time the lawsuit was underway, efforts were being made to get Congress to act on Vietnam veterans’ concerns.

The Long Wait
Along with efforts in the courts and Congress, veterans have continued to press the VA for attention. The largest integrated medical provider in the country, providing care that is well-regarded and inexpensive, the VA currently faces an overwhelming caseload, including a skyrocketing number of Agent Orange applicants.

It has been a perfect storm, what with an aging cohort of exposed veterans now coming down with Agent Orange-related diseases, scientific progress in identifying more and more conditions as Agent Orange-related, and a faltering economy, depriving many of a private insurance alternative.

But while its new computer system is expected to reduce the backlog of cases, the absence of a field in the system’s records for Vietnam service has already proved a hindrance in resolving the Agent Orange issue, compounding the impact of its long time practice of “waiting for the science.”

The battle over health care for Vietnam veterans with Agent Orange-related illnesses will eventually become moot, for two reasons. The army will die, of course. And health care itself seems, in 2010, to be viewed less as a commodity to be rationed and more of an American right.

Vietnamese Lawsuit and A Second
Attempt in the Courts by US Veterans

For many years, the Vietnamese pursued diplomatic channels to get the US government to accept responsibility for the health and environmental consequences of toxic herbicides used by the US during the war in Vietnam.

However, these negotiations did not get very far. The US continued to insist that more scientific research was needed in order to address this issue, whereas the Vietnamese continued to stress the need for immediate humanitarian assistance for the victims.

As a result, many in Vietnam become frustrated that nothing was being done to assist those whose health had been adversely impacted by Agent Orange, even though the US currently provides compensation for US veterans who became ill from their exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

A small group of Vietnamese doctors, scientists and others who have worked over the past several decades with victims of Agent Orange decided that the time had come to pursue the ‘American’ way to solve this problem, by suing those responsible.

They formed the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange in December 2003, and along with several other individual plaintiffs reached out to American lawyers to file a lawsuit in American courts.

The lawsuit was filed on January 30, 2004 by a team of American lawyers from the National Lawyer’s Guild. Since it was not possible to sue the US government, the suit named as defendants Dow, Monsanto, Hercules, Diamond Shamrock and the other chemical companies, including the subsidiaries of the main companies, that produced the defoliants used in Vietnam from 1961-71.

The suit, using the Alien Tort Claims Act, alleged that the companies that produced the toxic herbicides used in the Vietnam war were in “violation of international law and war crimes, and under the common law for products liability negligent and intentional torts, civil conspiracy, public nuisance and unjust enrichment, seeking many damages for personal injuries, wrongful death and birth defects and seeking injunctive relief for environmental contamination and disgorgement of profits.”

At the same time several US veterans who were not part of the 1984 settlement were also suing the chemical companies. Their case had already gone as far as the Supreme Court but was sent back to Judge Weinstein. The veterans’ case followed the same hearing schedule as the Vietnamese lawsuit.

The first hearing of the Vietnamese lawsuit was held on March 18, 2004 in the US District Court Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. The judge on the case was Judge Jack Weinstein, who also sat on the US Veterans’ Agent Orange lawsuit that settled out of court for $180 million in 1985.

The hearing was held to resolve the issues around the discovery process for the Vietnamese Agent Orange case and for the other US Veterans Agent Orange cases that were also being considered. Judge Weinstein gave the plaintiff 6 months for the discovery process.

The chemical companies submitted motions to dismiss the case on November 3, 2004. In their Memo of Law on Statute of Limitations the defendants claim that the statute of limitations has not been met.

In their Memo of Law on Injunctive Relief, the defendants argued that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiffs’ request that the chemical companies provide resources to remediate the contamination caused by the herbicides is both unfeasible and would infringe on Vietnam’s sovereignty.

The defendants also argue that having the court oversee remediation of the environment in Vietnam would interfere with the ‘fragile relations’ between the US and Vietnam and impact US foreign policy in Vietnam.

The defendants also submitted a Memo of Law to Dismiss on grounds of jurisdiction and the failure of the plaintiffs to state a claim that the defendants violated international laws. They also claimed the case would violate the separations of powers of the state, or the ‘political question’ doctrine and that a finding for the plaintiffs would infringe on the US government’s ability to wage war, if the methods of war were later subject to litigation.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs filed their response to the motions to dismiss on January 18, 2005 and then both sides met for oral arguments in front of Judge Weinstein on February 28, 2005. The US Justice Department was asked to submit an amicus brief about the case in which they argued that the Judiciary was not in a position to rule on the actions of the Executive as it would infringe upon the President’s ability to wage war.

On March 10, 2005 Judge Weinstein dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies that produced the defoliants/herbicides that they knew were tainted with high level of dioxin.

In his 233-page decision, Judge Weinstein ruled that the use of these chemicals during the war, although they were toxic, did not in his opinion fit the definition of “chemical warfare” and therefore did not violate international law.

The court also ruled that the chemical companies as US government contractors had the same immunity as the US government. However, the court did rule in favor of the plaintiffs on some of the issues including ruling that the statute of limitations was not a factor to dismiss the case and that the Federal Courts did have jurisdiction over this case and that that the court was not infringing on the President’s power to wage war.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs filed an appeal of Weinstein’s decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The defendants filed their response to the appeal on February 6, 2006.

They also filed a brief concerning the contractors’ defense which the chemical companies believe absolved them from legal responsibility from the affects of Agent Orange on both US veterans and Vietnamese.

The plaintiffs filed a reply brief to the defendants’ response to the appeal on March 22nd and then submitted an amended reply brief on April 17th. Oral Arguments were heard before three judges of the Court of Appeals on June 18, 2007.

On February 22, 2008, the Federal Court of Appeals in Manhattan, NY denied the Vietnamese plaintiffs appeal to reinstate the lawsuit against the chemical companies that produced the herbicides. The judges ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show that the herbicides used during the Vietnam War violated the ban on the use of poisons in warfare.

The court also denied the appeals filed by several US veterans who were not part of the original 1984 lawsuit on the basis that the chemical companies were not liable for any health effects of Agent Orange because they were government contractors.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs asked the Appeals court en banc (all the judges on the court) to reconsider the dismissal and the expanded panel of judges also agreed with the decision to dismiss.

In October 2008, the lawyers for the Vietnamese plaintiffs filed a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court to ask them to hear the case. The lawyers for the US veterans also filed their own writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court held a conference on February 27, 2009 to consider taking on the case and denied both petitions.

Chief Justice Roberts and Judge John Paul Stevens both recused themselves from the considering the writ. At the same time, the court also refused the writ of certiorari for the suit filed on behalf of US veterans against the chemical companies. The Court did not publically comment on their decision not to hear either case.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Top 12 Reasons The “Good War” Was Bad — Hiroshima In Context

May 30th, 2016 - by admin

David Swanson / The American Herald Tribune – 2016-05-30 23:57:58


(May 25, 2016) — Consider this a friendly reminder to President Obama on his way to Hiroshima. No matter how many years one writes books, does interviews, publishes columns, and speaks at events, it remains virtually impossible to make it out the door of an event in the United States at which you’ve advocated abolishing war without somebody hitting you with the “What-about-the-good-war?” question.

Of course this belief that there was a “good war” — 75 years ago — is what moves the US public to tolerate dumping a trillion dollars a year into preparing in case there’s a “good war” next year, even in the face of so many dozens of wars during the past 70 years on which there’s general consensus that they were not good.

Without rich, well-established myths about World War II, current propaganda about Russia or Syria or Iraq would sound as crazy to most people as it sounds to me. And, of course, the funding generated by the Good War legend leads to more bad wars, rather than preventing them.

I’ve written on this topic at great length in many articles and books, especially War Is a Lie. But perhaps it would be helpful to provide a column-length list of the top reasons that the good war was not good.

1. World War II could not have happened without World War I, without the stupid manner of starting World War I and the even stupider manner of ending World War I which led numerous wise people to predict World War II on the spot, without Wall Street’s funding of Nazi Germany for decades (as preferable to commies), and without the arms race and numerous bad decisions that do not need to be repeated in the future.

2. The US government was not hit with a surprise attack. President Franklin Roosevelt had committed to Churchill to provoking Japan and worked hard to provoke Japan, and knew the attack was coming, and initially drafted a declaration of war against both Germany and Japan on the evening of Pearl Harbor — before which time, FDR had built up bases in the US and multiple oceans, traded weapons to the Brits for bases, started the draft, created a list of every Japanese American person in the country, provided planes, trainers, and pilots to China, imposed harsh sanctions on Japan, and advised the US military that a war with Japan was beginning.

3. The war was not humanitarian and was not even marketed as such until after it was over. There was no poster asking you to help Uncle Sam save the Jews. A ship of Jewish refugees was chased away from Miami by the Coast Guard. The US and other nations would not allow Jewish refugees in, and the majority of the US public supported that position.

Peace groups that questioned Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his foreign secretary about shipping Jews out of Germany to save them were told that Hitler might very well agree to that but it would be too much trouble and require too many ships. The US engaged in no diplomatic or military effort to save the victims in the camps. Anne Frank was denied a US visa.

4. The war was not defensive. FDR lied that he had a map of Nazi plans to carve up South America, that he had a Nazi plan to eliminate religion, that US ships actually assisting British war planes were innocently attacked by Nazis, that Germany was in fact a threat to the United States.

A case can be made that the US needed to enter the war in Europe to defend other nations, which had entered to defend yet other nations, but a case could also be made that the US escalated the targeting of civilians, extended the war, and created more damage than might have been, had it done nothing, attempted diplomacy, or invested in nonviolence.

To claim that a Nazi empire could have grown to someday include an occupation of the United States is wildly far fetched and not borne out by any earlier or later examples of other wars.

5. We now know much more widely and with much more data that nonviolent resistance to occupation and injustice is more likely to succeed, and that success more likely to last, than violent resistance. With this knowledge, we can look back at the stunning successes of nonviolent actions against the Nazis that were not well organized or built on beyond their initial successes.

6. The good war was not for supporting the troops. In fact, lacking intense modern conditioning to prepare soldiers to engage in the unnatural act of murder, some 80 percent of US and other troops in World War II did not fire their weapons at the enemies. That those soldiers were treated better after the war than soldiers in other wars had been, or have been since, was the result of the pressure created by the Bonus Army after the previous war.

That veterans were given free college was not due to the merits of the war or in some way a result of the war. Without the war, everyone could have been given free college for many years. If we provided free college to everyone today, it would take way more than World War II stories to get people into military recruiting stations.

7. Several times the number of people killed in German camps were killed outside of them in the war. The majority of those people were civilians. The scale of the killing, wounding, and destroying made this war the single worst thing humanity has ever done to itself in a short space of time. That it was somehow “opposed” to the far lesser killing in the camps — although, again, it actually wasn’t — can’t justify the cure that was worse than the disease.

8. Escalating the war to include the all-out destruction of civilian cities, culminating in the completely indefensible nuking of cities took this war out of the realm of defensible projects for many who had defended its initiation — and rightly so. Demanding unconditional surrender and seeking to maximize death and suffering did immense damage and left a legacy that has continued.

9. Killing huge numbers of people is supposedly defensible for the “good” side in a war, but not the “bad.” The distinction between the two is never as stark as fantasized.

The United States had an apartheid state for African Americans, camps for Japanese Americans, a tradition of genocide against Native Americans that inspired Nazis, programs of eugenics and human experimentation before, during, and after the war (including giving syphilis to people in Guatemala during the Nuremberg trials).

The US military hired hundreds of top Nazis at the end of the war. They fit right in. The US aimed for a wider world empire, before the war, during it, and ever since.

10. The “good” side of the “good war,” the party that did most of the killing and dying for the winning side, was the communist Soviet Union. That doesn’t make the war a triumph for communism, but it does tarnish the tales of triumph for “democracy.”

11. World War II still hasn’t ended. Ordinary people in the United States didn’t have their incomes taxed until World War II and that’s never stopped. It was supposed to be temporary. The bases have never closed. The troops have never left Germany or Japan. There are over 100,000 US and British bombs still in the ground in Germany, still killing.

12. Going back 75 years to a nuclear-free, colonial, world of completely different structures, laws, and habits to justify what has been the greatest expense of the United States in each of the years since is a bizarre feat of self-deception that isn’t attempted in the justification of any lesser enterprise.

Assume I’ve got numbers 1 through 11 totally wrong, and you’ve still got to explain how the world of the early 1940s justifies dumping into 2017 wars funding that could have fed, clothed, cured, and environmentally protected the earth.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

US-Funded Company Involved in Murder of Honduras Activist Berta Caceres

May 29th, 2016 - by admin

TeleSUR – 2016-05-29 20:49:04


USAID Funded Honduran Company Implicated in Berta Caceres Murder

(May 29, 2016) — The company behind the controversial Agua Zarca hydroelectric project on Lenca land, Desarrollos Energeticos S.A., better known as DESA, signed a contract with USAID partner Fintrac in December 2015, less than three months before Caceres was murdered in her home on March 3.

According to Central America-based freelance journalist Gloria Jimenez, the funds were destined for a USAID agricultural assistance program in Western Honduras.

But Caceres’ Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Movements of Honduras, or COPINH, which has long fought against DESA’s Agua Zarca dam for its threats to the sacred Gualcarque River and lack of consent from local communities, has argued that, despite the corporation’s promises, DESA takes much more than it gives back.

The Fintrac-DESA agreement was signed by Sergio Rodriguez, a DESA employee and suspect arrested in connection with Caceres’ murder along with four others.

In a statement released after the arrests, DESA confirmed that Rodriguez worked for the company as the manager of its social and environmental issues division. DESA did not confirm any relation to suspect Douglas Bustillo, who elsewhere has been identified as the firm’s head of security.

In a recent email to teleSUR, DESA declined an interview, saying it cannot comment on cases under investigation in Honduran courts.

“Additionally, our company operates completely in line with the law and the strictest business values,” the email added.

Caceres’ family members have claimed that DESA and the Honduran government are ultimately responsible for the Indigenous leader’s murder.

In the months leading up to her murder, Caceres denounced dozens of death threats, incidents of harassment, and threats of sexual violence, allegedly at the hands of state and private agents.

Over two years ago, DESA sought charges against Caceres and two fellow COPINH leaders for land usurpation, coercion, and damages and painted the activists as violent “anarchists.” COPINH members and human rights defenders interpret the case as one part of a larger campaign by DESA to criminalize COPINH and eliminate opposition to the Agua Zarca project.

COPINH and Caceres’ family members continue to call for an independent expert investigation into the murder in the name of identifying those who ordered the killing, not just those who pulled the trigger. They also demand the permanent cancellation of Agua Zarca.

An international day of action on June 15 at Honduran embassies around the world is planned to echo COPINH’s demands at the global level.

International human rights defenders have repeatedly called on the United States to stop funding repression in Honduras through backing of controversial corporate projects and government funding for corrupt Honduran security forces.

Berta Caceres’ Nephew Speaks Out About Her Murder

Four Linked to Berta Caceres Death Arrested, 3 Military Among Them

(May 3, 2016) — The prominent activist fiercely fought against multinational and government projects that posed huge threats to Indigenous and campesinos people and their land rights.

Four people, including three linked to the Honduran military, have been arrested by police in the Central American nation in connection with the murder of leading Indigenous and environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The prominent activist, who fought against multinationals and government projects that seriously affected Indigenous and campesinos, was shot in her bed by a group of armed gunmen who raided her home during the night March 3, on the eve of her 45th birthday.

The four detainees have been identified as Douglas Geovanny Bustillo, a retired Air Force lieutenant who headed the DESA hydro-electric company’s private security force, according to a 2013 NGO report, Sergio Rodriguez, also a DESA employee, Mariano Diaz, a high-ranking active military official, and Edilson Duarte, another former military official, the Armed Forces of Honduras confirmed.

The four men are also being accused of the attempted murder of Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who was also at Caceres home the night of the homicide, and who was left for dead with gunshot wounds.

The Honduran government held Castro as a suspect of Caceres assassination, but he was later cleared and allowed to leave the country.

The Honduran Office of the Public Prosecutor reported that 10 coordinated raids were carried out Monday in connection with Caceres’ homicide in the capital Tegucigalpa, as well as in La Ceiba, and Trujillo.

The four suspects are scheduled to appear in court in the following days, the OPP added.

Caceres’ death prompted massive international condemnation and led to huge protests in Honduras, a country that currently has the one of highest murder rates in the world.

After accusing Castro of being linked to her killing, police told the public she could have been murdered in a robbery.

Caceres was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her activist work against the Agua Zarca dam, which DESA was building on Indigenous land.

“If it wasn’t for our struggle and international pressure for justice, my mother’s murder would already be extinct,” Berta’s daughter Laura Caceres, 23, told The Guardian. “We have woken up to this news (of the arrests) but it doesn’t change our demands for an international investigation.”

At least 109 activists were murdered in Honduras between 2010 and 2015.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

15 Found Guilty in Operation Condor Murders, a CIA-backed Conspiracy that Terrorized Latin America

May 29th, 2016 - by admin

J. Patrice McSherry / TeleSURtv & Hugh Bronstein / Reuters – 2016-05-29 20:48:12


Operation Condor:
Cross-Border Disappearance and Death

Operation Condor’s targets were activists,
organizers, and opponents of the dictatorships

J. Patrice McSherry / TeleSURtv

Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet reviews troops as he enters La Moneda Palace in the capital Santiago. Photo: Reuters

(May 27, 2016) — Operation Condor was a covert, multinational “black operations” program organized by six Latin American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, later joined by Ecuador and Peru), with logistical, financial, and intelligence support from Washington.

In the Cold War climate of the 1960s and ’70s, when US leaders and Latin American militaries regarded popular movements and political dissidents as “internal enemies,” any methods were considered legitimate in the “war against subversion.”

In fact, many of these new social movements were indigenous nationalist, leftist, socialist, or radically democratic forces fighting to represent the voiceless and the marginalized.

As leftist and nationalist leaders won elections throughout Latin America in the 1960s and early 1970s, and new revolutionary and progressive movements gained strength, US security strategists feared a communist-inspired threat to US economic and political interests in the hemisphere. Local elites similarly feared that their traditional political dominance and wealth were at risk.

Washington poured enormous resources into the inter-American security system, of which Condor was a top-secret part, to mobilize and unify the militaries in order to prevent leftist leaders from taking power and to control and destroy leftist and popular movements in Latin America. Anticommunism and “preventing another Cuba” were the national security priorities of the US in Latin America.

The reigning national security doctrine incorporated counterinsurgency strategies and concepts such as “hunter-killer” programs and secret, “unconventional” techniques such as subversion, sabotage, and terrorism to defeat foes. Much of counterinsurgency doctrine is classified, but scholars have documented many of its key components.

Michael McClintock, for example, analyzed a classified US Army Special Forces manual of December 1960 Counter-Insurgency Operations, one of the earliest to mention explicitly, in its section “Terror Operations,” the use of counterinsurgent terror as a legitimate tactic. He cites other secret US army special operations handbooks from the 1960s that endorsed “counter-terror,” including assassination and abduction, in certain situations.

One March 1961 article in Military Review stated, “Political warfare, in short, is warfare. . . [that] embraces diverse forms of coercion and violence including strikes and riots, economic sanctions, subsidies for guerrilla or proxy warfare and, when necessary, kidnapping or assassination of enemy elites.” In short, “disappearance” was a key element of counterinsurgency doctrine.

Operation Condor was a multinational system to specifically target exiles who had escaped the wave of military coups and dictatorships in their own countries. Thousands of Argentines, Uruguayans, and Brazilians fled to Chile in the early 1970s when the progressive Unidad Popular government was in power.

After the September 1973 CIA-backed coup against President Salvador Allende, thousands escaped to Argentina. Operation Condor focused on these people — many of whom were under United Nations protection — using covert, cross-border abduction-disappearance, “rendition” to other countries, torture, and extrajudicial execution.

Condor’s targets were activists, organizers, and opponents of the dictatorships, as well as guerrillas or armed insurgents (all of whom were entitled to due process and freedom from torture). Exiles were considered dangerous enemies by the regimes because of their powerful influence in the developing global human rights movement.

The Chilean exiles, for instance — some 200,000 Chileans were forced out of the country in the first years after the coup — were pioneers in organizing solidarity and anti-dictatorship groups worldwide, providing information to the UN and human rights groups, and transmitting through their music and art the hopes and promise of the Unidad Popular.

The bloody hand of Operation Condor

Under a top-secret agreement known as “Phase III” Condor also assassinated, or attempted to assassinate, key political opposition leaders exiled in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Special teams of assassins from member countries were formed to travel worldwide to eliminate “subversive enemies” — political leaders who could organize and lead pro-democracy movements against the military regimes.

One Condor assassination targeted former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, a prominent critic of the Pinochet regime. He and his US colleague Ronni Moffitt were murdered in a 1976 car bombing in Washington, D.C. Other targets included constitutionalist Chilean general Carlos Prats and his wife, Sofia Cuthbert, assassinated in Buenos Aires (1974), and two Uruguayan legislators and opponents of the Uruguayan military regime, Zelmar Michelini and Hector Gutierrez Ruiz, disappeared, tortured, and killed in Buenos Aires (1976).

Washington and its Latin American allies feared elected leftist leaders as much, if not more, than revolutionary guerrillas in the region, as the plots against Presidents Goulart of Brazil and Allende, among others, demonstrated.

In 1973 or early 1974, before the Condor apparatus acquired its code name and formal structure, the counterinsurgents created the prototype of Condor. A February 1974 meeting took place in Buenos Aires to plan deeper collaboration of the police of six South American states.

Between 1973 and 1975 cross-border disappearances and forcible, extralegal transfers of exiles (“renditions”) by multinational Condor squadrons intensified under an unwritten agreement enabling the associated militaries to pursue individuals who had fled to neighboring countries. This was the essence of Condor, as yet unnamed.

Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger in 1976

Chilean colonel Manuel Contreras, head of the fearsome Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), was a key Condor organizer. He called for a founding meeting in Santiago to institutionalize the Condor prototype in 1975.

In 2000, the CIA acknowledged that Contreras had been paid by the CIA between 1974 and 1977, a period when the Condor network was planning and carrying out assassinations in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

In 1974 a Uruguayan abduction-disappearance squadron took up residence in Buenos Aires and worked with its Argentine and Chilean counterparts to “disappear,” torture, interrogate, and illegally transfer exiles.

Selected Uruguayan navy units began to coordinate secret repressive actions with personnel from the notorious Argentine Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) in 1974, and an ESMA delegation traveled to Uruguay that year to train officers in torture techniques in counterinsurgency courses.

In an emblematic case, Uruguayan exile Antonio Viana was kidnapped from his home in Buenos Aires by a joint Argentine-Uruguayan squad, taken to the federal police headquarters, and tortured by Uruguayan officers he recognized.

Viana soon realized that the squad included officers from the Argentine Federal Police and the Uruguayan Organismo Coordinador de Operaciones Antisubversivas (OCOA) and Direccion Nacional de Informacion e Inteligencia (DNII). In the Argentine federal police headquarters, La Superintendencia de Seguridad Federal, Viana was tortured both physically and psychologically.

Viana testified that his torturers and interrogators included Argentine police officers Miguel Angel Iñiguiz and Alberto Villar and Uruguayans Carlos Calcagno, Jose Gavazzo, Hugo Campos Hermida, Jorge Silveira, and Víctor Castiglioni, names that are infamous in Uruguay.

Viana’s case is one of many confirming that Condor was operative long before its official founding meeting in November 1975, thus highlighting the importance of the February 1974 meeting in Buenos Aires. Viana was transported back to Uruguay where he remained “disappeared” for years (he survived).

Documents discovered in Argentina show that the Chilean DINA and Argentine intelligence agencies were working together in 1974 to abduct members of the Chilean Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR) and the so-called OPR-33 of Uruguay in Argentina.

Condor officers in Argentina used an abandoned auto repair shop, Orletti Motors — code-named OT [Operaciones Tacticas] 18 — as a secret torture and detention center for foreign detainees.

Survivors reported seeing Bolivians, Chileans, Uruguayans, as well as two young security guards from the Cuban embassy in Argentina, imprisoned and tortured there. Most were killed.

Recent testimonies, such as that of Brazilian coronel Paulo Malhaes, who appeared before Brazil’s Comision de la Verdad, provided confirmation of joint covert operations by Brazil’s Centro de Informaciones del Ejercito and Argentine Batallon 601 de Inteligencia de Campo de Mayo against Argentines who were in Rio.

Malhaes confessed to following and “disappearing” many Argentines, some who were protected by the UN and others who were members of the Montoneros. Malhaes died of a heart attack in 2014 after three men broke into his house and held him hostage for ten hours, ransacking the place and taking files and weapons.

Condor, “officially” institutionalized in November 1975, filled a crucial function in the inter-American counterinsurgency regime. While the militaries carried out massive repression within their own countries, the transnational Condor system silenced individuals and groups that had escaped the dictatorships to prevent them from organizing politically or influencing public opinion.

The anticommunist mission, of which Condor was a part, ultimately crushed democratic as well as radical movements and individuals. Condor was not solely a Latin American (or Chilean) initiative; nor was it a simple instrument of Washington.

Condor was [a] secret component of the continental counterinsurgency regime. The militaries’ use of “disappearance” was central for carrying out covert counterinsurgency wars, provoking terror, and at the same time providing plausible deniability — the ability to camouflage links to the state and create impunity.

Justice is still pending for many crimes committed under the Condor system.

J. Patrice McSherry is author of Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America (2005) and many other works on Operation Condor.

Argentine Court Finds 15 Guilty
In Operation Condor Conspiracy

Hugh Bronstein / Reuters

BUENOS AIRES (May 28, 2016) — Fifteen ex-military officials were found guilty by an Argentine court on Friday of conspiring to kidnap and assassinate leftist dissidents as part of the Operation Condor program.
The ruling was hailed by rights activists.

Condor was coordinated by dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia to hunt down and kill exiled opponents in the 1970s and ’80s.

Former Argentine dictator Reynaldo Bignone, 88, the highest-ranking figure on trial, was sentenced to 20 years in jail. Fourteen of the remaining 16 defendants got eight to 25 years behind bars. Two were found not guilty.

Some individual crimes committed under Operation Condor had already been the subject of previous trials. Friday’s verdict was the first to focus on participation in the plan itself.

“This ruling, about the coordination of military dictatorships in the Americas to commit atrocities, sets a powerful precedent to ensure that these grave human rights violations do not ever take place again in the region,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch, said in a phone interview.

Friday’s court decision cited the disappearance of 105 people during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship.

“It determines not only that state terrorism in Argentina was an criminal conspiracy but that it was coordinated with other dictatorships,” said Luz Palmas Zaldua, a lawyer with the Center for Legal and Social Studies (Cels), which represented many of the plaintiffs in the case.

“They got together to maximize efforts to persecute political opponents of each of the dictatorships, and to ‘disappear’ or eliminate those who were considered subversive,” she told reporters after the ruling was read out in court.

Operation Condor, named after the broad-winged birds that inhabit the cordillera mountain range on the Chile-Argentine border, was coordinated from a joint information center at the headquarters of Chile’s notorious secret police in Santiago.

In a state visit to Argentina in March, President Barack Obama said the United States was too slow to condemn atrocities by the dictatorship, but he stopped short of apologizing for Washington’s early support for the military junta.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

75 Hospitals Attacked in 2015: US, France, Britain, Rebels Stand Accused

May 29th, 2016 - by admin

Stephanie Nebehay / Reuters and The Huffington Post & teleSUR – 2016-05-29 19:59:55


Nearly 1,000 Killed In Attacks
On Health Workers In Past 2 Years, WHO Says

Over 60 percent of those attacks were deemed intentional

Stephanie Nebehay / Reuters & The Huffington Post

GENEVA (May 26, 2016) — Nearly 1,000 people were killed in attacks on health centers worldwide over the past two years, almost 40 percent of them in Syria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday in its first report on the issue.

The United Nations agency documented 594 attacks resulting in 959 deaths and 1,561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies between January 2014 and December 2015.

Syria, torn by civil war since 2011, had the most attacks on hospitals, ambulances, patients and medical workers, accounting for 352 deaths. The Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, as well as Iraq, Pakistan and Libya, followed.

Some 62 percent of all attacks were deemed intentional and many led to disruption of public health services.

“This is not an isolated issue, it is not limited to war zones, it is not accidental. The majority of these are intentional,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, executive director of WHO’s emergency program, told a news briefing.

“It is getting more and more difficult to deploy people into these places, it is getting more and more difficult to keep them safe when they are there and it is getting more and more difficult to ensure they survive, let alone recover in crises.”

Aylward, speaking later at an event at the WHO’s annual ministerial assembly, said: “It is not stopping, two days ago a suicide bomber blew himself up and took 40 people with him at least in one of the main hospitals in Latakia (Syria).”

The casualty figures include 42 killed and 37 wounded in a US air strike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October.

A US military report last month said the incident did not amount to a war crime but was caused by human error, equipment failure and other factors. MSF has called for an independent inquiry.

“Last year, 75 hospitals managed or supported by MSF were bombed,” Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, told the WHO event.

“From Yemen to Syria, from Central African Republic to Niger, health facilities are looted, burned and bombed. Patients are slaughtered in their beds. Health care workers are abducted, assaulted or killed,” she said.

WHO said 53 percent of the attacks were perpetrated by states, 30 by armed groups and 17 percent remain unknown.

“One of the most important rules of war is that you don’t attack health care facilities, health care providers, the sick, the disabled. So these attacks do represent gross violations of international humanitarian law,” said Rick Brennan, WHO director of emergency risk management and humanitarian response.

“Violations of international humanitarian law, if proven, can be considered war crimes and the perpetrators can be taken to the International Criminal Court,” he said.

Doctors Without Borders Says 75 Hospitals Bombed in 2015;
Leaves Humanitarian Summit


ISTANBUL (May 10, 2016) — Doctors Without Borders on Thursday pulled out of a UN-sponsored World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23-24 saying there was no hope that the meeting would address the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response, particularly in conflict areas or epidemic situations, while claiming 75 of their hospitals were bombed in 2015.

The organization, better known by their French acronym MSF, believes that during the summit will not hold states involved in conflicts accountable or pressure them to abide by humanitarian norms. The medical aid organization says it does not have hope in the “fig leaf” summit.

“We no longer have any hope that the World Humanitarian Summit will address the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response, particularly in conflict areas or epidemic situations,” MSD said in a statement.

“As shocking violations of international humanitarian law and refugee rights continue on a daily basis . . . participants will be pressed to a consensus on nonspecific, good intentions to ‘uphold norms’ and ‘end needs’.”

Sandrine Tiller, an adviser for the organization said that UN organizers of the summit had “let states off the hook” by asking only that they make non-binding commitments, putting them on the same level as less powerful non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies.

“The summit has become a fig-leaf of good intentions, allowing these systematic violations, by states above all, to be ignored,” the MSF explained.

The announcement comes after Doctors Without Borders on Tuesday slammed five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for ties to attacks on hospitals in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

The attack on the Syrian hospital killed at least 50 people according to a statement by the organization. They also claim that 75 hospitals managed or supported by Doctors Without Borders were bombed in 2015.

MSF Accuses US, UK and France of Attacks on 3 Hospitals

(May 3, 2016) — The president of Doctors Without Borders, Joanne Liu, addressed the United Nations on Tuesday:

The United States, the United Kingdom and France are linked to recent attacks against hospitals in Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, the international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders told the United Nations on Tuesday.

During a UN Security Council session, Joanne Liu, the medical aid group’s president, said that although the UN has the mandate to push for peace and security around the globe, at least three of its permanent members have violated their mission on various occasions.

“Four of the Security Council’s five permanent members have been involved with coalitions responsible for the attacks on hospitals,” she said, suggesting Russia was involved as well, an accusation that has not been proven and that only reflects the Western’s insistence on blaming other countries for the very same things they are responsible of through media reports by mainstream media outlets that are biased.

Syria’s government recently denied any responsibility in the attack in Aleppo.

In the case of Afghanistan, the attack on the hospital in Kunduz was carried out by NATO forces that include the US, UK and France.

In Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition — which is strongly backed by the US and other allies — the attacks on the hospital there were carried out with weapons provided by the United States and the United Kingdom. France provided logistical support.

Liu highlighted she believes that the only country in the Security Council not involved in such tragic incidents is China. The most recent attack on a hospital was carried out in Aleppo, Syria, where 50 people were killed. Responsibility for the attack is yet to be proven, although Doctors Without Borders claims the Syrian government and Russia were involved.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

UN Environment Assembly Passes Major Resolution on Conflict and the Environment

May 29th, 2016 - by admin

Doug Weir / Toxic Remnants of War Project – 2016-05-29 19:48:15

Special to Environmentalist Against War

UNEA-2 Passes Most Significant Resolution on Conflict and the Environment since 1992
Doug Weir / Toxic Remnants of War Project

NAIROBI (May 28, 2016) — After five months of negotiations, a resolution from Ukraine on the protection of the environment in areas affected by armed conflict has been approved by consensus at the second meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi.

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Jordan, the DRC, Iraq, South Sudan, Norway and Lebanon, is the most significant UN resolution of its kind since 1992. As the text was submitted to the plenary for final approval, Canada, and the EU and its Member States unexpectedly joined Ukraine as co-sponsors.

Back in 1992, concern over the environmental damage wrought by the 1991 Gulf War had fuelled international concern over the environmental legacy of conflict in a way not seen since the Vietnam War.

This new resolution reflects not only a deeper understanding of the environmental implications of armed conflict throughout the conflict cycle but also growing international interest in finally tackling the weak state of legal protection for the environment and the inadequate systems of environmental response and recovery.

The resolution’s path to UNEA-2 — the new universal membership governing body of the UN Environment Programme — was strewn with objections and political maneuvering. A minority objected to efforts to secure UNEP’s mandate to work on conflicts, while others opposed references on compliance for what is already a weak system of legal protection.

There was also conflict over the framing of the environmental impact from human displacement. At the last minute, a deal was reached over UNEP’s mandate and reservations on numerous paragraphs were removed, with consensus soon found on language around the impacts of human displacement.

What Does the Resolution Call For?
The law features prominently throughout the resolution, the official version of which will be made available shortly. States are urged to comply with the environmental provisions of international humanitarian law and to consider reflecting the ICRC’s 1996 guidelines on environmental conduct in war in their military manuals. The guidelines are modest in their scope and should be viewed as a baseline for military conduct on environmental protection in times of war.

There is a call for legal capacity-building for States and they are also encouraged to implement all international law relevant to the protection of the environment in times of armed conflicts into national legislation. This last point is important as scholars increasingly argue that greater protection could be achieved through looking beyond international humanitarian law alone.

The resolution stresses the need to protect the environment in conflict and for its restoration following conflicts. It also emphasizes the need to raise awareness of wartime environmental damage — to challenge the notion of the environment as the silent victim of conflict. States are also urged to cooperate closely on minimizing and mitigating environmental harm.

UNEP is encouraged to work with a range of stakeholders, including civil society, to continue providing enhanced assistance to countries affected by conflict, and in the post-conflict phase, through post-crisis assessment and recovery. Meanwhile, Member States are called upon to support the development and implementation of programmes and policies aimed at preventing or reducing harm.

A particular mention is made of the need to provide assistance to countries hosting UNESCO natural World Heritage Sites, such as the DRC. To ensure follow-up on the resolution, UNEP’s Executive Director is requested to report back on progress made to UNEA-3 — which will be in 2017 — or no later than UNEA-4 in 2019.

How the Preamble Frames the Topic and UNEP’s Mandate
The resolution’s preamble covers a great deal of ground. In places, seemingly contradictory language seeks to define UNEP’s mandate on conflicts. A number of States were concerned over any expansion of its mandate into conflict identification or prevention, while others argued that the UN General Assembly has requested that all organs of the UN fit conflict prevention into their work, in accordance with their respective mandates. Confused? You’re not alone: the product of a messy compromise during negotiations.

Since January, we have urged States to ensure that the humanitarian consequences of environmental degradation are reflected in the text. Colombia, Jordan and Lebanon were keen to ensure mention of the impacts of displacement, while we also sought to ensure that reference was made to human rights, the protection of vulnerable groups and gender.

The language on environmental human rights was weaker than hoped and comprises a preambular paragraph in a March 2016 resolution from the UNHRC. The language on vulnerable groups is strong but, while gender survived the negotiations, it could have benefited from clarification of what gendered approaches mean in the context of conflict and the environment.

Why the Resolution Is Important
The resolution serves a number of purposes. The breadth of legal frameworks it covers reflects the prevailing discourse on strengthening the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts reasonably well.

The inclusion of key themes such as gender and displacement not only frames wartime environmental damage as a humanitarian issue but will also serve to encourage greater consideration of how these dimensions should be integrated into policy-making and programmes.

The focus on compliance and implementation serves as a reminder that not only is the existing law protecting the environment weak but that it is often poorly implemented and suffers from a lack of case law and precedent. UNEP should be encouraged by the consensus reached on the resolution, as it helps reinforce a mandate that, by its nature, can be politically problematic for what is a relatively small and arms-length UN body.

But the single most important thing, and certainly an observation from the preparatory negotiations and UNEA-2 itself, is that it has provided, and will continue to provide, a vehicle for States, international organisations and civil society to discuss, debate and engage on conflict and the environment.

We have argued that the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals will require a step change in how the international community deals with the environmental dimensions of armed conflict.

This resolution is the start of a long overdue conversation, and its greatest legacy could be that it marks the moment where the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts stepped out of the legal seminars and into a political arena.

The Gaza Resolution
When Morocco and the Arab Group announced the submission of a UNEA-2 resolution calling for an updated UNEP assessment of environmental conditions in the Gaza Strip back in February, history suggested it would prove controversial for some States.

Just how controversial it would become surprised many and led to UNEA-2 ending in a dispute that threatened to overshadow the 25 resolutions it had successfully passed by consensus. Not only did it relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but it would also be the only country or conflict-specific resolution tabled, neither of which are approaches that delegations wish to encourage.

Morocco’s text had been objected to by the US, Canada and Israel, with the EU proposing a series of deletions that would have dramatically shortened it. During UNEA-2, it was clear that no consensus was likely and Morocco withdrew its text. It was quickly replaced by a five paragraph technical resolution sponsored by the G77+China.

In heated negotiations and a string of informal consultations during UNEA-2, it became apparent that Israel’s objections could not be overcome and that the US would rather it be quietly buried. It was clear that it would come to a vote and in doing so it would break with the highly valued consensus model established at UNEA-1.

That it was Israel that demanded a vote late on the final day of UNEA-2 surprised many who had assumed that the G77+China would trigger it. In their intervention, Israel placed the blame for the vote on everyone but themselves and that those supporting the resolution would: “. . . share the shame of turning this important week into a Gaza summit,” and that: “. . . they will be marked in the history of UNEA as the ones who brought a resolution to a vote, turning environmental issues into political issues.”

Talks on Gaza Collapse
In the extraordinary scenes that followed late into the night on Friday, the plenary descended into confusion, dispute and occasional farce. Votes were repeatedly called for on procedural matters (votes to decide whether to take a vote) and on substantive matters (the content of the G77+China’s Gaza resolution).

A procedural vote was eventually taken on whether or not to vote, only for it to emerge that the delegations remaining in the plenary were not quorate under UNEA-2’s Rules of Procedure. The hours dragged on, with the beleaguered secretariat clearly under pressure as interventions from States became increasingly heated.

A final roll call of those present at 3am confirmed that there were enough delegations in the room to legally meet and debate but not enough to vote or take decisions.

As a roll call had not been taken at the beginning of the plenary, Pakistan, Egypt and Syria angrily questioned the legitimacy and legality of the resolutions passed earlier in the night — including the resolution on conflicts — and strongly criticised the secretariat. Interventions from China, the EU and many others demonstrated that the majority of States viewed the resolutions as legal.

With 4am approaching, and after numerous delays and consultations, outgoing UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner made an emotional intervention, promising that the actions of the secretariat would be reviewed but urging States to keep faith with UNEA. He also expressed his frustration at member states that seek to block the legitimate work of UN agencies in relieving human suffering.

It was a depressing end to an otherwise successful week and, as Pakistan pointed out as the session was finally called to a halt, the people of Gaza continue to suffer from the health risks caused by the environmental legacy of its recurrent conflicts. The resolution has been buried for now but the need to relieve that suffering continues unabated.

Few of those involved in the disputed session came out of it well and UNEP has lessons to learn if UNEA is to continue to develop into the global environmental forum the world urgently needs.

As for the much needed UNEP assessment in Gaza, that will require the consent of both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as financial support from the international community — something that seems unlikely to materialise any time soon.

It just remains to thank Ukraine for its initiative and hard work on the resolution and to all the delegations that have supported them during the last five months and contributed constructive language.

We also wish to thank all those who contributed their insights to our briefings and publications prior to UNEA-2, and our event panel in Nairobi, with particular thanks to Amb. Tsymbaliuk of Ukraine and his team and Amb. Pataki of Romania. Thanks also to Norwegian People’s Aid for their financial support for our advocacy work.

Doug Weir manages the Toxic Remnants of War Project and, together with Jessica Dorsey of PAX, represented the TRW Network at UNEA-2.

EAW was curious to know which nuclear states participated in this negotiation (Israel apparently did) and what role they played. Did the US, Russia and China send delegates? If so, did they support or reject the final version?
One member of the NGO community participating in the negotiations provided the following insights:
“Russia [was among] the primary objectors on the Ukraine text, in part because they have never liked UNEP’s conflicts work, but also because it was a Ukrainian resolution.
“The Russian opposition actually triggered far greater support than might have been expected from the US, EU and Canada . . . .
“The UK and France’s views [were] moderated by more progressive states in the EU. China didn’t object at any stage and, together with the G77+, China had supported the work on conflicts earlier in the process. Pakistan was a ‘pain in the arse’ throughout but mainly on human rights and some issues of law. Thankfully, the nuke debate was absent, which is good as it casts a long shadow at times.

Will Women Dodge the Draft?

May 28th, 2016 - by admin

Kelley Vlahos / The American Conservative – 2016-05-28 19:42:19

Will Women Dodge the Draft?

On her 18th birthday on July 4, 2017, will Malia Obama have to register for the draft?

Will Women Dodge the Draft?
Legislation allowing female conscription began as a protest, but the Pentagon now supports it

Kelley Vlahos / The American Conservative

WASHINGTON, DC (May 26, 2016) — It’s been two generations since “your number is up” meant anything but relief at the DMV or a one-way ticket to the pearly gates.

But for any man older than 65, it once meant something entirely different. It was your draft number, whether it be your birthday (Vietnam) or your district number (WWII). The information was pushed into a capsule no bigger than a cyanide pill, which was tossed into a fishbowl filled with hundreds or thousands of other tiny blue orbs.

On “lottery day,” one capsule was plucked from the others. When a man’s number was “up,” he reported to the draft board and, if deemed fit for duty, was thrown into war.

Those were all the able-bodied men in a certain age range. Now imagine young women sitting in front of their televisions, or glued to their mobile devices, waiting to see if their numbers are up.

It seems fantastical, 40 years after the draft was ended and with an all-volunteer force now filling the ranks for war. But the issue of whether to open the Selective Service to women — all men 18-25 are still required to register — is very much a debate on Capitol Hill today.

In fact, such a change could be included in the next major defense budget authorization bill.

Despite the unlikely nature of a draft, it is a salient issue that has split both Democrats and Republicans. It’s shaken their political sensibilities around and settled them down on either side in unlikely alliances. Presidential candidates have even had to address the question in primary debates.

In one corner, there are champions of women in the military, where the ranks have recently opened combat roles to female soldiers. For them, equality is a goal that cannot and should not be deterred by something as unpopular or archaic as the draft. If women want parity in the military, it starts here. It’s symbolic.

On the other side, there are two factions. One thinks women should not be in combat and therefore would overburden a draft board with deferments and disqualifications — a silly, bureaucratic nightmare born out of political correctness.

The other school thinks the draft should be eliminated entirely, and lining up women to serve it, no matter how symbolic, is an anathema. Let the volunteer force — whether it be men or women — fight, if the country must defend itself.

Military historian Andrew Bacevich calls it a “tempest in a canteen cup,” and he is probably right: The draft was eliminated in 1973 for a reason. Despite the fact the Vietnam War was winding down, he writes, it was the conscription of tens of thousands of young men during that conflict that “spurred anti-war sentiment and benefited no one — apart perhaps from Canada, favored destination of many thousands of draft evaders.”

That may be, but how we came to be talking about opening the Selective Service to women today is significant in itself, and probably speaks about heightened tensions involving women in combat more than anything else.

It began when Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), an Iraq War veteran, first proposed an amendment in April opening the draft to women in the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The move came not as a symbol of women’s growing equality in the forces, mind you, but as a “gotcha,” according to Politico. He wanted to underscore the problematic nature of that newly enforced equality.

“In a marathon session to craft a new defense policy bill, the panel backed Rep. Duncan Hunter’s amendment by a 32-30 vote,” reporter Connor O’Brien wrote on April 28. But “by his own admission, however, the California Republican does not actually intend to include women in a draft and voted down his own amendment.”

He opposed opening up all combat units to women and was clearly using the amendment to show that “colleagues have failed to fully account for the implications of the shift.”

“I’ve talked to coffeehouse liberals in San Francisco and conservative families who pray three times a day,” Hunter said during the markup of the NDAA. “And neither of those groups want their daughter to be drafted.”

He is right, of course, but he failed to note that there are also stalwart constituencies for drafting women, including the Pentagon brass. Both Army Chief of Staff Mark A. Milley and Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller have said publicly that if women are in combat, women must be in the draft.

While this may not sound like a rousing endorsement (the Marines, after all, were the last to come around to the changes), their backing has ignited support among the hawks on the Hill.

That includes head hawk Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is typically considered one of the most pro-military (if not pro-war) members of Congress. He offered his own amendment drafting women for the Senate version of the NDAA on May 10.

“As women serve in more roles across the armed forces, I support the recommendation of the Army Chief of State and the Commandant of the Marine Corps that women should register for Selective Service,” McCain said in a statement to Roll Call on May 12. “It is the logical conclusion of the decision to open combat positions to women.”

He is joined by fellow hawk Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who in February said that after hearing from military officials, she too was convinced that “it makes sense that … women would also register for the Selective Service.” Her colleague Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) expressed the same sentiment during a New Hampshire presidential primary debate.

“I have no problem whatsoever with people of either gender serving in combat so long as the minimum requirements necessary to do the job are not compromised,” he said. Having gained access to combat, “I do believe that Selective Service should be opened up for both men and women in case a draft is ever instituted.” (He flip-flopped almost immediately.)

Now, these Republicans may be exhibiting the same kind of cynicism as their colleague Duncan: Everyone knows the draft itself is as unpopular as a skunk at a picnic, and that we will likely never see the likes of it again — so why not support opening the Selective Service to women on the merits of the idea, at least winning points with the millions of women who support it?

Or perhaps it is just a subtler form of the answer military writer Michael Yon gave TAC when we asked him.

“This is a no-brainer. If women wish to try out for Rangers, SEALS, Green Berets, they wish for equality,” said Yon, who served in special forces in the 1980s. “Draft them if needed. Put up or shut up.”

But such condescension isn’t likely to thwart the women who are already expressing an interest in “putting up,” and unlike Duncan, they aren’t bluffing. And they are backed by Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who is usually on the other side of McCain when it comes to military issues.

“The fight for equality and treatment must also include equality in obligation. As we move towards a formalized role for women in combat arms, this is a necessary progression,” said Tyler Gately, a spokesperson for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), which “applauds” the House and Senate for taking up the issue.

“I’m in favor of drafting women. As a female veteran who voluntarily enlisted, I see the importance of civic duty and giving back to our country. Freedom is not free,” says IAVA member De’Cha LeVeau, in an email to TAC. “As women we must step up to the plate, per se. If we are expecting equality; this equality comes with added responsibility.”

Those who have been against women in combat from the beginning — and this fight has been ongoing for decades — have seen enormous changes over the last few years, including special-forces roles opening to both genders. In fact, after passing the grueling trials, three women were the first to earn their US Army Ranger tabs last fall.

But critics insist women do not have the physical capacity to join their male counterparts on the front lines. To achieve parity, the warning goes, women will likely be held to different standards, and this will hurt unit cohesion and readiness.

Many of these critics are also social conservatives who blame feminism and political correctness for the drive to include women in the combat ranks in the first place.

“Political correctness is dangerous, and the idea that we would draft our daughters, to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close contact — I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) charged in February, when he was still on the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, a contingent of military women backed by longtime critic Elaine Donnelly at the Center for Military Readiness, are standing firm against what they are calling Duncan’s folly.

“Military women average two to ten times men’s injuries — this means an even higher turnover where the physical demand and intensity is much, much greater, in combat units during war time,” said Jude Eden, an Iraq War Marine Corps veteran, who cited a nine-month study by the Marines released in September.

“Because of these greater liabilities, drafting women will result in more lives being lost unnecessarily when they’re actually replacing infantrymen in a national emergency,” said Eden, who has written extensively on the subject. “The draft isn’t to collect people for desk jobs to ‘free a man to fight,’ it’s to replace the men dying at the front of the fight.”

But there is also the question over whether not opening the draft to women is even legal. In 1981, several men filed lawsuits alleging that the Military Selective Service Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment because it requires only men, not women, to register.

The Supreme Court upheld the act, but gave women’s exclusion from combat roles as the reason for doing so. The ruling may no longer apply now that all the barriers are down.

The wheels of the justice are already turning on the subject: The National Coalition of Men, which has launched a lawsuit similar to the one filed more than 30 years ago, won a recent victory. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said their challenge against the Selective Service could go forward, mainly because the changes in policy in Washington made it “ripe for adjudication.”

So why not just get rid of Selective Service altogether? There is a bipartisan group of lawmakers trying to do that, too.

“Not only will abolishing the Selective Service save the U.S. taxpayers money, it will remove an undue burden on our nation’s young people,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), said in a statement as he and others introduced a bill to end Selective Service in February. “We need to get rid of this mean-spirited and outdated system and trust that if the need should arise Americans — both male and female — will answer the call to defend our nation.”

After the initial dust up, the House Rules Committee ended up pulling Duncan’s draft amendment from the draft NDAA last week. But the Senate continues to contemplate it as final legislation goes forward, folly or no folly.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance reporter and TAC contributing editor. Follow her on Twitter.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Hillary Clinton, the Militocracy and US-Saudi War Crimes

May 28th, 2016 - by admin

Lee Fang / The Intercept & Sorcha Faal / What Does It Mean – 2016-05-28 19:40:15


Emails Show Hillary Clinton Aides
Celebrating F-15 Sales to Saudi Arabia: “Good News”

Lee Fang / The Intercept

(February 22, 2016) — The shockingly brutal Saudi air campaign in Yemen has been led by American-made F-15 jet fighters.

The indiscriminate bombing of civilians and rescuers from the air has prompted human rights organizations to claim that some Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes. At least 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the United Nationsmostly by airstrikes. The strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers.

The planes, made by Boeing, have been implicated in the bombing of three facilities supported by Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres). The UN Secretary General has decried “intense airstrikes in residential areas and on civilian buildings in Sanaa, including the chamber of commerce, a wedding hall, and a center for the blind,” and has warned that reports of cluster bombs being used in populated areas “may amount to a war crime due to their indiscriminate nature.”

Bombs dropped by fighter jets are pulverizing Yemen’s architectural history, possibly in violation of international humanitarian law.

A few years earlier, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made weapons transfer to the Saudi government a “top priority,” according to her closest military aide.

And now, newly released emails show that her aides kept her well-informed of the approval process for a $29.4 billion sale in 2011 of up to 84 advanced F-15SA fighters, manufactured by Boeing, along with upgrades to the pre-existing Saudi fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft and munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance, and logistics.

The deal was finalized on Christmas Eve 2011. Afterward, Jake Sullivan, then Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and now a senior policy adviser on her presidential campaign, sent her a celebratory email string topped with the chipper message: “FYI — good news.”

The email string was part of a new batch of emails from Clinton’s private server, made public on Friday evening as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

One American official, whose name is redacted in the emails, said he had just received confirmation that Prince Salman, now the king of Saudi Arabia but at the time the senior Saudi liaison approving the weapons deal, had “signed the F-15SA LOA today” and would send scanned documents the following day.
“Not a bad Christmas present,” he added.

Another official, whose name is also redacted, confirmed that a Saudi general who had been working with US officials was “pleased, as are all of us,” and said he would soon contact executives at Boeing.

The congratulatory tone continues through the email chain with other officials, also with redacted names, calling the weapons deal “Great news!”

On December 26, Jeremy Bash, then-chief of staff at the Pentagon, sent the email string, titled “F-15SA Christmas Present,” to Sullivan, who sent it to Clinton with his own note at the top.

David Sirota and Andrew Perez have previously reported for the International Business Times that Clinton’s State Department was heavily involved in approving weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. As weapons transfers were being approved, both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Boeing made donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Post revealed that a Boeing lobbyist helped with fundraising in the early stages of Hillary Clinton’s current presidential campaign.

Jeremy Bash is now managing partner at Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm that provides advice to Clinton on foreign policy while providing paid advice to the military contracting industry.

War Crime File Opened Against Obama-Clinton
For Backing Murderous Saudi Regime

Sorcha Faal / What Does It Mean

[Note: This website often indulges in wild speculation but the information in this dispatch is well-sourced.]

(May 19, 2016) — The Investigative Committee [of the Russian Federation] (SLEDCOM) has filed a grave report with the Security Council (SC) today stating that it has opened a war crimes file against President Barack Obama and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over allegations of their being “complicit partners/co-conspirators” to Saudi Arabia’s mass killing of Christians and the genocidal bombing of civilians in Yemen for the express purpose of financial gain. [Note: Words appearing in quotes are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

According to this report, the specific war crimes (crimes against humanity) against both President Obama and Secretary Clinton being investigated by SLEDCOM are the disappearance of 28 Christian men, women and children who were rounded by Saudi religious police in 2014 (and are believed to have all been buried while still alive) and the mass bombing of Shiite civilians by the Saudis in Yemen that began in March 2015.

The Saudi Arabian regime, this report notes, is an Islamic theocracy [a system of government in which religious experts rule in the name of God or a god] based on an extremist ideology called Wahhabism that in 2013 the European Parliament identified as the main source of global terrorism — and who this year the Saudis have set a record in the beheading of people, have imposed a death sentence for anyone caught smuggling a Christian Bible into their country, and are now saying homosexuals should be executed due to fears that social media is “turning people gay“.

This report continues by stating that these Saudi Arabia’s war crimes already committed, and those to happen in the future, could not have occurred without the full knowledge and complicity of the United States, especially its two leaders, President Obama and Secretary Clinton who “control/controlled” that nations foreign policy apparatus.

Secretary Clinton’s complicity with these war crimes began in 2011, this report says, when her Clinton Foundation accepted $10 million from Saudi Arabia prior to her decision of if the US should sell the Saudis advanced Boeing war planes — and which after the massive donation was made she approved the sale and received for her foundation another $900,000 from Boeing.

In approving the sale of these war planes to Saudi Arabia (which has used them since in its genocidal bombing of Yemen), this report continues, both Secretary Clinton and President Obama violated the United States Leahy Law that forbids the sale of weapons (of any type) to nations that violate human rights with impunity — and which the US State Department itself continues to acknowledge that the Saudis do.

Also to be noted about Secretary Clinton in regards to her being bribed by the Saudis, this report says, were recently released (February 2016) secret emails from her illegal private computer server showing that after her foundation received the $10 million, she labeled the sale of these Boeing war planes to Saudi Arabia as her “top priority” — which after the deal was done was celebrated by her and her top aides too.

Particularly to be noted about President Obama’s protection of the Saudi regime, too, this report continues, is his siding with them against his own citizens who suffered through the 9/11 attacks and its aftermath, that left nearly 6,000 dead (total as of 2014), with his opposition to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that would allow these Americans to (finally) be compensated by Saudi Arabia whose government was complicit in this crime against humanity.

The Saudi regimes involvement in the 9/11 attacks has long been known, this report says, with only the American people not allowed to know the truth of their involvement due to the cover-up of this crime by The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission) who classified 28 pages of their report proving this complicity.

However, this report continues, the over-decade-long “circle of silence” surrounding these 28 pages of the 9-11 Commission report was broken by Commission member John F. Lehman when he admitted that they showed clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers.

With the US Senate having unanimously passed this new JASTA law this past week, this report says, President Obama’s threat to veto it (while the deadline on releasing these 28 pages near) looks unlikely to succeed — and if he is unable to derail this law, the Saudis threat to sell up to $750 billion in US treasury securities to collapse the US economy may, in fact, be carried out.

As the Saudi Arabian international credit rating has already been downgraded and it is contemplating paying it contractors with IOU’s, this report warns, their only economic hope is for President Obama to side with them against his own citizens.

[Whether he will or not], this report concludes, is not known at this time — but should Secretary Clinton be a part of this decision, its outcome is assured as with both her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, having already pocketed $153 million in “payoff speeches”, there is nothing, apparently, they won’t do for money, including selling out the American people like President Obama has done too.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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