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April 4, 2003
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EAW's Breaking News archive

WMD's Redux? NBC Cites Douma Hoax; Perpetuates 'Official Story'
(The Independent & Sputnik News & Muraselon.com)

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the US media failed to challenge the Bush Administration's rationale for the attack -- Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was not until long after Baghdad was pummeled and Saddam Hussein was toppled that Americans learned that the threat of "weapons of mass destruction" was a lie. It was not the first time Washington had relied on false claims to launch an unprovoked war on a foreign nation. With the latest attack on Syria, it appears we still have not learned our lesson.

Cluster Bombs Are Back -- and America and Russia Can't Get Enough
(Michael Peck /The National Interest)

Cluster weapons -- those mini-bombs that have maimed and killed many civilians -- are back. Russia has just unveiled a "stealth cluster bomb" and the Trump administration has scrapped plans to eliminate cluster weapons by 2019 -- despite 103 nations signing an international treaty to ban such weapons. So far, 120 nations have joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions and 103 have actually ratified it. Unfortunately, the two biggest arms exporters in the world -- America and Russia -- have yet to join.

We Should Be Sceptical of Those Who Claim to Know the Events in Syria
(Patrick Cockburn / The Independent & The Unz Review)

Commentary and Analysis: "The story of the Abu Ghraib baby milk factory is worth retelling because it underlines -- in the wake of the US, British and French air strikes on alleged Syrian BW sites on 14 April -- the need for permanent scepticism towards claims by governments that they know what is happening on the ground in Syria or anywhere else."

The Skripal Case: Another Dodgy British Dossier
(Gareth Porter / Consortium News)

The British government shared a dossier containing sensitive intelligence to convince allies and EU member states to support its accusation of Russian culpability in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in England on March 4. But like the infamous 2003 "dodgy dossier" prepared at the direction of PM Tony Blair to justify British involvement in the US invasion of Iraq, the dossier on the Salisbury poisoning turns out to have been based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence.

As Korea Talks Progress, Mainstream Media Try to Derail Peace
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com)

Months of diplomatic progress with North Korea has really picked up in recent weeks. South Korea's President Moon and Kim Jong-un have set a summit on ending the Korean War, 68 years after it started. Denuclearization remains a top priority for the US. North Korea has long expressed a willingness to make such a deal -- so long as they don't have to fear a US attack. This was generally assumed to involve removing the 30,000 US troops and weapons positioned along the South Korean side of the border.

Combating Militarism on Earth Day
(Steve Fake / Just World Educational)

On April 19, as a prelude to Earth Day, Just World Educational hosted a live Facebook discussion on its Earth Day Appeal, "To Save the Earth, Curb Militarism!" The Live discussion featured Jackie Cabasso, Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation and National Co-convener of United for Peace and Justice, and Gar Smith, the director of Environmentalists Against War, a member of the coordinating council at World Beyond War, and editor of The War and Environment Reader.

(Excerpted from The War and Environment Reader, edited by Gar Smith (Just World Books, 2017))

The economic impact of violence in 2015 hit $13.6 trillion -- 13.3 percent of global GDP, equal to the combined economies of Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. In countries with high levels of "positive peace" -- i.e., attitudes and institutions promoting peaceful societies -- internal resistance movements were less likely to become violent and were more likely to win concessions from the state. The following list highlights initiatives designed to lead the world toward the goal of "positive peace."

On Earth Day: "Why We Oppose War and Militarism"
(Environmentalists Against War)

On February 20, 2003, Environmentalists Against War (a global coalition of antiwar organizations) held a press conference at the San Francisco office of the Sierra Club to announce its opposition to the George W. Bush administration’s imminent attack on Iraq. A joint statement -- signed by more than 100 environmental, antiwar, and social-justice organizations from around the world -- enumerated 11 reasons to reject war and militarism.

For Earth Day: Protecting Nature from War
(The United Nations Environment Programme)

"The environment continues to be the silent victim of armed conflicts worldwide. The toll of warfare today reaches far beyond human suffering, displacement, and damage to homes and infrastructure. Modern conflicts also cause extensive destruction and degradation of the environment. Environmental damage, which often extends beyond the borders of conflict-affected countries, can threaten the lives and livelihoods of people well after peace agreements are signed."

ACTION ALERT: Stop the Corker-Kaine Bill: Don't Give Trump a Blank Check for Endless War
(MoveOn.org & David Swanson / David Swanson.org & The American Civil Liberties Union)

According to the US Constitution, only Congress can declare war. But Senators Bob Corker and Tim Kaine's new Authorization for the Use of Military Force would throw the doors wide open for Donald Trump to declare more unilateral wars. Wherever he wants. On whomever he wants. We can block this horrifically dangerous piece of legislation. The resolution hasn't reached the Senate floor yet but we've got to act fast. The ACLU also recognizes the proposed war declaration resolution illegal under the UN Charter.

Native Americans on US-Mexico Border Block Trump's Troops
(Jorge Rivas / Splinter News & The Tohono O'odham Nation)

There's at least 75 miles of the US-Mexico border where National Guard troops can't go, no matter what President Donald Trump says. The Tohono O'odham Nation says its people have inhabited what is now southern and central Arizona and northern Mexico since "time immemorial -- in other words, way before any borders were put in place.

Making America Hate Again: A Rise in People Invoking Trump's Racist Taunts
(Will Carless / REVEAL)

Nearly every metric of intolerance in the US has surged over the past 18 months, from reported anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to violent hate crimes based on skin color, nationality or sexual orientation. This renaissance of hate features something new: xenophobic, racist and homophobic attacks punctuated with Donald Trump's name. REVEAL examines more than 150 reports of Trump-themed taunts and attacks stretching across 39 states over the past year and a half.

UN Still Won't Let Chemical Weapons Inspectors Visit Douma
(AntiWar.com & RT News & Sputnik News & TASS & The Daily Star)

Two weeks after tan alleged chemical attack in Douma, chemical inspectors are still waiting for UN permission to enter Douma. In the meantime, there still is no public proof that the April 7 strike took place and -- following on-the-ground reports by Robert Fisk -- growing doubt that it actually happened. Residents within Douma have also expressed doubts about the strike. Speculation is growing that the delays are designed to prevent discovery that the chemical attack never took place.

Arming the World: Inside Trump's 'Buy American' Drive to Expand Weapons Exports
(Matt Spetalnick and Mike Stone / Reurers & William D. Hartung / The Nation)

For 25 of the past 26 years, the US has been the leading arms dealer on the planet. Its major weapons-producers -- including Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin -- regularly pour the latest in high-tech arms and munitions into the world's most explosive regions. In January, acting on behalf of Boeing, Donald Trump personally helped close a massive arms deal, calling from the White House to press a Gulf monarch in Kuwait to agree to a $10 billion fighter jet deal that had been stalled for more than a year.

Trump's Arms Policy: Presidential Pimping for Pentagon's Profiteers
(Democracy Now!)

A new investigative report reveals how the Trump administration plans to make the US an even larger weapons exporter by loosening restrictions on the sale of equipment ranging from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery. The new initiative will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals, and will call on Cabinet officials to help close deals between foreign governments and US defense contractors.

Pentagon Report Warns: Climate Change Is Destroying Critical Military Facilities
(Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics / Department of Defense)

The Pentagon's "Climate-Related Risk to DoD Infrastructure Initial Vulnerability Assessment Survey" provides stunning evidence of the impact climate change is wreaking on America's military assets. Buildings and coastal bases in the US and around the world have been damaged by massive and repeated flooding, extreme winds have toppled critical electric lines, hurricanes have destroyed piers and pipelines, airfield runways are crumbling into the sea, and wildfires have devastated inland air force bases.

Looking at Trump's Syria Attack through a Different Lens
(David Swanson / David Swanson.org & World Beyond War & The American Civil Liberties Union)

Commentary: Imagine some foreign nation sent 100 missiles into Washington D.C. Imagine that for weeks or months prior to this attack, the foreign nation's government and public debated whether to do it. There is no crime larger than war. There is no way to legalize it. The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans it, and the United Nations Charter bans it with narrow exceptions that have not remotely been met by any of the US wars of the past 17 years. A small crime cannot justify a larger one.

We Have No Word for 'Wall': Native Americans on US-Mexico Border Block Trump's Troops
(Jorge Rivas / Splinter News & The Tohono O'odham Nation)

There's at least 75 miles of the US-Mexico border where National Guard troops can't go, no matter what President Donald Trump says. The Tohono O'odham Nation says its people have inhabited what is now southern and central Arizona and northern Mexico since "time immemorial -- in other words, way before any borders were put in place.

An Appeal for Earth Day, 2018: To Save the Earth, Curb Militarism!
(CODEPINK, Environmentalists Against War, Just World Educational, Traprock Center for Peace & Justice, and World Beyond War)

CODEPINK, Environmentalists Against War, Just World Educational, Traprock Center for Peace & Justice, and World Beyond War, invite citizens and organizations in the US and around the world to express support for the statement that follows. We are hoping to gather as many individual signatures and organizational endorsements as possible between now and Earth Day, April 22.

Syria and the Myth of Ethical Wars
(David Swanson and Scott Ritter / Talk Nation Radio & Scott Ritter / The American Conservative)

The bottom line is that the US is threatening to go to war in Syria over allegations of chemical weapons usage without having any factual evidence. Moreover, this rush to judgment on Syrian guilt is being done in a highly politicized environment, coming on the heels of an FBI raid on the offices of the president's personal attorney. In such times, a president is often attracted by the prospect of "looking presidential" -- by ordering a military attack -- to distract attention from personal problems.

Rising Seas Threaten Half of US Bases: Pentagon Warned of Climate Change 52 Years Ago
(Sammy Roth / USA TODAY & Dana Nuccitelli / The Guardian)

Military leaders are sounding another alarm about the dangers of climate change, saying in a new report that half of US military sites have already been affected by floods, wildfires, droughts and other weather extremes that are exacerbated by rising global temperatures. It's not like the Pentagon wasn't warned: In 1965, US president Lyndon Johnson's science advisory committee sent him a report predicting climate change that was being triggered by "Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuels -- the Invisible Pollutant."

Former Marine Officer Says Troop Suicides Are from Guilt, Not PTSD
(Matthew Hoh & RootsAction Education Fund)

In the following video clip from a recent RootsAction Education Fund event, US veteran and whistleblower Matthew Hoh shatters the popular myth that post-traumatic stress disorder is behind the high suicide rates for US veterans.How notes that PTSD has the lowest connection to suicide of any mental health problem, according to the US Veterans Administration. The more likely cause is the moral trauma of killing another human being.

Robert Fisk Reports from Douma: Scant Evidence of Alleged Syria Gas Attack
(AntiWar.com & Robert Fisk / The Independent)

"I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened," a doctor in Douma told British reporter Robert FkisL "People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a 'White Helmet', shouted 'Gas!' and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia -- not gas poisoning."

A Murderous Immoral Criminal Action Depicted as "Law Enforcement"
(David Swanson / World BEYOND War & Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway / Just Security)

Commentary: "The use by the United States in recent wars of white phosphorous, napalm, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and other notorious weapons is no more grounds for some foreign self-appointed global savior to bomb Washington, than any events in Syria are grounds for Trump's latest flaunting of his apparent impunity." There is no apparent domestic or international legal authority for the strikes. A number of legal theories have been floated in recent days. We address them each briefly here.

World War II Bomb Forces Evacuation of 26,000 Residents in Germany
(Deutsche Welle )

More than 26,000 people were forced to flee their homes as bomb disposal experts worked to dismantle a massive WWII British bomb in the small German city of Paderborn. The 1.8-ton bomb was discovered in a garden just 80 centimeters below the surface. In some German towns, a average of a half-dozen WWII bombs are still being unearthed -- every year.

Two Tales of Extremism: Inside Antifa and Neo-Nazi 'Tyrone' Exposed as US Marine
(Fault Lines / Al Jazeera English & Paul Abowd / Al Jazeera)

"We have very dark, sinister, totalitarian forces that are snuffing out the last vestiges of American democracy. And we better revolt, we better respond." A loosely-knit anti-fascist movement known as Antifa has gained new popularity and scrutiny in the US exists to visit violence on rightwing extremists. At the same time, it has been revealed that a notorious agitator known as Neo-Nazi 'Tyrone' was, in fact, a white-supremacist active-duty US Marine named Michael Joseph Chesny whose speciality was explosives.

New Laws Are Needed to Prevent Illegal Wars of Aggression
(David Swanson / David Swanson.org & World Beyond War & The American Civil Liberties Union)

The ACLU has called Trump's attack on Syria "illegal." A violation of constitutional law barring hostile use of force without congressional authorization "and international law forbidding unilateral use of force except in self-defense." In Britain and the US, people are calling for restraints on the willful resort to military violence. How about reviving the Ludlow Amendment? This proposal -- requiring a vote by the public before any branch of government could launch a war -- was blocked by President Franklin Roosevelt.

US Says No Missiles Intercepted: But Videos and Reports from Damascus Suggest Otherwise
(The Military Times & AntiWar.com & The News & The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)

"A perfectly executed strike," Trump tweeted after the Pentagon boasted all of its 105 missiles hit their Syrian targets. But reports from Russian and Syria media suggest 65-71 of the Tomahawk cruise missiles were destroyed by Syria's anti-missile defenses. Amateur videos from Damascus appear to show a number of incoming US missiles intercepted in mid-air. At nearly $2 million-per-missile, Congress might want to investigate how effective these General Dynamics/Raytheon missiles really were.

ACTION ALERT: A Call to Reform US Foreign Policy by Respecting the Constitution and Law
(The Action Network & Ray McGovern / Consotrium News & AntiWar.com)

As was the case 15 years ago when the US and UK launched a war of aggression against Iraq, the pretext was so-called "weapons of mass destruction." We need a new foreign policy. With that in mind: Be it resolved that henceforth the US shall reject the role of "policeman of the world" and cease all military and covert intervention in the affairs of foreign countries. US military force shall only be used when absolutely necessary to protect US sovereignty, territory, and vital interests, narrowly defined.

For Third Week in a Row, Israeli Forces Fire Live Ammunition at Unarmed Protesters in Gaza, Injuring Hundreds

Over half of the 2 million people who live in Gaza are refugees. Gaza has often been called the largest open-air prison because of the decade-long blockade imposed by Israel and enforced both by Israel and Egypt. Despite international condemnation, including warnings by the UN Human Rights Council against the use of lethal force against civilians, who pose no immediate threat to life, Israeli authorities and politicians have praised the army's actions and vowed to continue repressing protesters to "protect" their border.

Trump Attacks Syria without Proof: UN Security Council Rebuffs Russia
(Joe Lauria / Consortium News& teleSUR)

Donald Trump ordered airstrikes on Syria as a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was about to arrive on Saturday to determine whether a chemical weapons attack had even occurred. Meanwhile, Russia's UN Security Council proposal to resolve Friday's military strikes orchestrated by the United States, Britain and France against Syria has been rejected by all but three of the 15-member council.

Who Is the Real Culprit Behind the Chemical Attacks in Syria?
(Muhammad Sahimi / AntiWar.com & Ian Wilkie / Newsweek)

A review of credible reports by objective experts and journalists reveals that, prior to 2014, when Syria gave up its arsenal of chemical weapons, it was more likely that anti-Assad terrorist groups used chemical weapons in the war. Rebel forces have repeatedly been identified as the agents behind chemical attacks. And, in February, Secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted that the US still has "no evidence" that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people in 2017.

Criticism of Illegal US Attack on Syria Comes from Britain, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia

After questioning the joint US, UK and French airstrikes against Syria, British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said his country needs a war powers act to limit government's control over military interventions. Several Latin American governments, including those in Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela -- as well as regional leaders and presidents -- condemned the the US, France and Britain for ignoring "the most elementary principles and norms of International Law."

ACTION ALERT: Don't Give Trump a Blank Check to Wage Worldwide War
(The American Civil Liberties Union & Jon Queally / Common Dreams)

If you're concerned about President Trump's reckless threats and unlawful firing of missiles in Syria, just imagine what he would do if Congress hands him a license to go to war wherever he wants and against anyone he thinks is an enemy, anywhere in the world. That's exactly what Senator Bob Corker wants to do. A new Authorization for Use of Military Force would grant Trump an unconstitutional blank check for worldwide war.

Without Waiting for an Investigation, Allies Struck Syria before UN Gas Attack Report
(Matthew Lee / Associated Press & RT News)

The United States, Britain and France opted to strike Syria for its apparent use of chemical weapons without waiting for a report from UN inspectors because they were convinced that the Assad government had used chlorine and sarin nerve gas against a rebel-held Damascus suburb, American officials said Saturday.

Russia Has "Irrefutable Evidence" UK Staged Syrian Chemical Attack
(Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge)

As the blame game over the alleged chemical attack in Syria escalates ahead of what is expected to be an imminent, if contained, air strike campaign by the US, UK and/or France against Syria, on Friday morning, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow had "irrefutable evidence" that the attack was a hoax, staged with the help of a foreign secret service.

A Round-up of US Attack Reports: Russia Claims 70% of US Missiles Were Intercepted
(The Washington Post & Sputnik News & Al-Masdar News & TASS & RT News & The Daily Star)

Russia's Defense Ministry said Washington's missiles did little damage. Of 103 US cruise missiles fired, Russia claims 71 were shot down by Syria's Soviet-made air-defense systems. The intercepted missiles included all 12 of those targeting the Al-Dumayr military airfield. The Defense Ministry claims it has "plenty of evidence" that the alleged April 7 chlorine attack was a provocation staged by pro-Western forces. Syria is asking the UN Security Council to denounce Washington's "naked aggression."

ACTION ALERT: All Out Against War on Sunday, April 15
(Spring Action Against War / UNAC & Win Without War & MoveOn.org)

Trump just bombed Syria. He's got ultra-hawk Bolton egging him on. Demand Congress stop a catastrophic Trump/Bolton war. This strike will only create more destruction, chaos, misery, and death in Syria. The only way to end the terrible war in Syria and bring justice to the victims of war crimes -- is to end the war in Syria. Trump's attack was not authorized by Congress, which means it was 100% unconstitutional. Tell Congress: Hold Trump accountable to the Constitution and halt any further illegal wars.

US, UK, France Attack Syria's Civilian Capital in Violation of International Law
(Al Jazeera )

Donald Trump has ordered US military air attacks against targets in Syria, in collaboration with the UK and France. The pre-dawn attacks early on Saturday come in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend. Syrian state TV said air defenses responded to the attack by shooting down several missiles and called the "tripartite aggression . . . a flagrant violation of international law."

Trump's Attack on Syria: A Murderous Immoral Criminal Action
(David Swanson / World Beyond War & Prof. Michael Clarke / BBC World News)

As the US and UK governments continue to discuss their potential response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma in Syria, what could military intervention achieve? The critical military virtue of surprise has long since disappeared. Syrian forces have had more than two days to move their aircraft and other military assets. Why take all the risks of escalation with Russia and the prospects of unintended consequences that normally follow? What strategic purpose can be served by this?

Russia Tells UN Security Council It Has 'Clear Evidence' Alleged Gas Attack Was a Staged 'Provocation'
(Al Jazeera )

The UN Security Council has held an emergency meeting called by Russia to discuss what it describes as a threat to international peace from potential US military action in Syria. Russia's UN ambassador to the UN said during Friday's session that its specialists found no traces of "toxic substance use" in Douma, a town near Syria's capital Damascus, after a suspected chemical attack hit the area. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Russia had "clear evidence" that the incident was staged.

The US Now Has 8 Military Bases, 2 Airfields and 7,500 Ground Forces Inside Syria
(Jack Detsch / Al-Monitor & BBC World News & Agnes Helou / Defense News)

A military bases race is underway between Russia and the US as each nation seeks to expand its presence in Syria and counter asymmetric threats. For the first time, it has been revealed that 5,508 US-paid contractors are currently working inside Syria helping 2,000 US soldiers build military outposts throughout the country. Unlike Russian troops and contractors, the Americans were never invited into the country.

ACTION ALERT: National Day of Action Against War April 14-15
(The United National Antiwar Coalition)

Trump has tweeted, "Russia get ready," promising a missile attack on Syria. Russia says it will shoot down any missiles -- and target their source. US and Russian ships have moved into the waters off Syria. The world is in grave danger. People around the world are looking to see what we in the US will do. We need to show our unwavering opposition to US war in the streets -- now more than ever. Our Spring Actions against the wars at home and abroad will take place this coming weekend. Please join us.

Trump v. Syria: Taking the World to the Brink
(Rick Sterling / Consortium News)

Not content with the destruction of Iraq and Libya based on false claims, Western hawks are now pressing for a direct US attack on Syria. But why is violence being threatened before there is a serious, independent investigation of the chemical incident? If the accusations against Syria are true, why not let it be investigated, especially now that the area was liberated on Monday and safe access can be provided?

A Mediastorm of Unproven Accusations Threatens to Trigger WWIII
(Phil Giraldi / The Unz Review & Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War & Tucker Carlson / Fox News & Ron Paul / The Liberty Report)

Donald Trump turns out to be a pretty good liar, even if he frequently has no idea what he's talking about. But, when it comes to lying about poison plots, the prize has to go to the British. From dodgy allegations of Novichok poisoning in the UK to unconfirmed accusations of chemical attacks in Syria, due process and due diligence has been replaced by partisan warhawks frantically trying to stampede the public by waving false flags.

ACTION ALERT: Trump Has No Authority to Broaden War in Syria
(Max Greenwood / The Hill & Roots Action)

Sen. Bernie Sanders has reminded the country that DonaldTrump "has no legal authority" to deepen US military involvement in Syria, and that it is ultimately up to Congress to make that decision. Defend the Constitution: Block Trump's reckless march toward war. Email your House Member and Senators: Demand that Congress immediately cutting off funds for expanding Trump's reckless actions. Alleged Syrian crimes should be investigated and prosecuted, not used as excuses for larger crimes.

Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in US Foreign Policy -- Part 1
(A. Trevor Thrall and Caroline Dorminey / The Cato Institute)

US arms sales policy is out of control. Since 2002, the US has sold more than $197 billion worth of major conventional weapons and military support to 167 countries. In a study of arms sales from 1950 to 1995, major-power arms sales to existing allies provided no deterrent effect. Worse, recipients of US arms that were not treaty allies were significantly more likely to become targets.

Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in US Foreign Policy -- Part 2
(A. Trevor Thrall and Caroline Dorminey / The Cato Institute)

Though arms sales are of marginal value to national security and the pursuit of national interests, their negative consequences are often severe. Arms sales can spawn unwanted outcomes on three levels: blowback against the US and entanglement in conflicts; regional consequences in the buyer's neighborhood, such as the dispersion of weapons and increased instability; and consequences for the buyer itself, such as increased levels of corruption, human rights abuses, and civil conflict.

Russia, Trump's Critics, Trump's Alt-Right Backers, All Calling Alleged Syrian Gas Attack a Staged "False Flag" Event
(Prison Planet & Newsweek & Haaretz )

Russia's EU ambassador has called a chemical attack in Syria a "staged event." Trump's Alt-right supporters have called it a false flag operation -- designed to keep US troops in Syria. Chemical weapons experts Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, Gareth Porter and Theodore Postol all question the "official" US narrative that Assad employed deadly gas. Even Defense Secretary James Mattis now admits the US had "no evidence" Assad used chemical weapons in 2017. But Trump still attacked Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles.

Mattis Now Admits US Had 'No Evidence' Assad Used Chemical Weapons in 2017
(Ian Wilkie / Newsweek)

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has admitted the US has "no evidence" that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people. This assertion flies in the face of the White House Memorandum that was rapidly written and released to justify the US Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria in 2017. Trump blamed Assad of direct responsibility for Sarin attacks and hinted Russia was complicit. Now Trump threatens another attack without proper evidence.

Questions Arise after Red Crescent Says No Evidence of Chemical Attack in Syria's Douma
(AntiWar.com & RT News)

Questions surrounding a reported chemical weapons attack have begun to arise after the Syrian Red Crescent issued a statement dismissing the allegations of a weekend attack in the city of Douma. The statement insisted their medical personnel in the city had found no evidence any such attack took place. Russian medics who also examined patients in Douma also reported that none showed signs of chemical poisoning. Meanwhile the White Helmets have claimed scores killed and over 500 wounded by exposure.

Calls for Investigations after Conflicting Stories Arise around Alleged Syrian Gas Attack
(The Syrian Arab News Agency & Reuters & South China Morning Post)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an international and impartial investigation in the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma city emphasizing that the seriousness of the new allegations requires "thorough investigation using impartial, independent, and professional expertise." Meanwhile, in the UN Security Council, the US and Russia vetoed competing drafts calling for an investigation into whether the alleged chemical weapons attack actually occurred and, if so, who was responsible.

China Warns against Military Action in Syria As Threat of US Strikes Puts Everyone on High Alert
(Associated Press & Agence France-Presse & Reuters & South China Morning Post)

With Saturday's suspected poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma and Monday's air strike by US ally Israel on a base where several Iranians were killed have escalated tensions in the already volatile Middle East. Beijing has called for calm in Syria as government forces and their Russian allies remain on alert amid fears of a US strike after an alleged chemical weapons attack. The danger is that further unwarranted military escalation could lead to a wider war between the US and Russia.

Nicaragua Reminds the US of its Debts
(Chuck Kauffman / NicaNotes)

Passage by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee of the NICA Act brought a rebuff by the Sandinista government of President Daniel Ortega and a reminder of the US's own unpaid debt to Nicaragua. The US owes Nicaragua an estimated $17 billion -- plus 31 years of interest -- for its illegal Contra War to overthrow the Sandinista government in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan and continued under George H. W. Bush. Read the Nicaraguan government's response to the congressional committee's action.

Wars 'R' Us: Rethinking Weapons Exports
(Kristin Christman / Times-Union)

How do we treat opponents? In strong democracies, we engage them in cooperative dialogue. In weaker democracies, we exclude and overpower them. If we're undemocratic, we might kill them. So why has the United States, democracy's alleged leader, become the world's largest weapons exporter?

War and Gender: It's Mostly Men Who Are Violent Extremists
(Michael Kimmel / Guardian UK)

According to an ever-growing number of young men in Europe, the United States and across the Muslim world, we are at the beginning of a war. And no one knows how it will end. The fact is that virtually all of those mobilizing on all sides of this growing clash are young men -- whether right-wing extremists, anti-immigrant zealots, anti-Muslim skinheads and neo-Nazis or young Muslims readying for jihad.

Economic Sanctions and Blockades: Tools of Regime Change
(Chuck Kaufman / NicaNotes @ Alliance for Global Justice)

The US Office of Foreign Asset Control (the agency that enforces the US economic blockade of Cuba) has informed the Nicaragua business and banking communities that sanctions against Venezuela and the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, will now apply to Albanisa in Nicaragua as well. Let's be clear about one thing: unilateral sanctions are illegal under international law so Trump's sanctions against Venezuela -- and those of President Obama before him -- are illegal, just as is the US embargo of Cuba.

Selling Our Vets to the Highest Bidder: What Do the Koch Brothers Want?
(Senator Bernie Sanders)

Commentary: "I believe the major issue not being discussed by the corporate media is the power of the Koch brothers and the movement in this country toward oligarchy -- a nation where our economic and political life is increasingly controlled by a handful of billionaires. Seen any good programs about that lately on CBS, NBC, ABC or anywhere else? I haven't."

Climate Change Has Become A Major Threat to Global Wildlife
(Chelsea Harvey / E&E News & Scientific American & Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services / Science Daily)

Biodiversity -- the essential variety of life forms on Earth -- continues to decline in every region of the world, significantly reducing nature's capacity to contribute to people's well-being. This alarming trend endangers economies, livelihoods, food security and the quality of life of people everywhere, according to four landmark science reports written by more than 550 leading experts, from over 100 countries.

The Chemical Attack in Syria: No Doubt It's a War Crime: But Is It Also a
(Al Jazeera & Associated Press & RT News)

A chemical attack in Douma produced symptoms of a chlorine attack. Russia's military has rejected claims that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons in an attack on the rebel-held town. A Russian general said "a number of Western countries" are trying to prevent the resumption of an operation to remove Army of Islam fighters from Douma and "to this end they are using the West's pet theme of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces."

Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012-2018
(The Arms Control Association)

In July 2012, Syria acknowledged that it possesses chemical weapons, including mustard gas, blister agents, and nerve agents such as sarin and VX. On October 31, 2013, however, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that Syria had destroyed or rendered inoperable, all of its declared facilities for mixing and producing chemical weapons. Below is a timeline of significant events related to Syria's chemical weapons program from July 2012 to the present.

ACTION ALERT: Should the Army Subsidize High-school Soldiering?
(The Economist & Ilana Novick / AlterNet)

When 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was arrested for a mass-shooting at his former school, he was wearing a polo shirt emblazoned with the JROTC crest. In 2016, Cruz's unit received $10,827 from the NRA. Pat Elder is the director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, a group that fights militarism in education. Recently, Elder taught his usual GED class at Great Hills High School in Maryland and woke the next morning to the news that his building had been the site of the latest US school shooting.

Nearly 200 Environmental Activists Were Murdered in 2017. In 2018, the Killing Continues
(The Guardian UK & Global Witness)

Over the past year, in collaboration with Global Witness, the Guardian has attempt to record the deaths of all these people, whether they be wildlife rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or indigenous land rights activists in Brazil. At this current rate, chances are that four environmental defenders will be killed this week somewhere on the planet.

Israeli Forces Kill More Gaza Protesters at April 6 Demonstrations
(AntiWar.com & The New York Times & Al Jazeera)

A week after Gaza's Land Day protests, tens of thousands of demonstrators showed up at the Gaza border for the "day of tires," where protesters burned tires near the border fence. As with the previous week, Israeli forces positioned and the border opened fire on protesters, killing several.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Weapons Investors: "Stop Gun Violence"
(Sen. Elizabeth Warren / CREDO Action & The Brady Campaign & The Nation)

Big Wall Street investors have been profiting off of gun violence in America for far too long. Nine major Wall Street institutions, including heavy hitters like the massive wealth management fund BlackRock, are massive shareholders in the most prominent weapons makers. "Stop profiting from the gun violence epidemic and instead use your power as major shareholders in Smith & Wesson; Sturm, Ruger & Company; and Vista Outdoors to pressure these companies to take concrete steps against gun violence."

Why the Google Protest of War Work Is Wonderful
(David Swanson /David Swanson.org)

Commentary: "The fact that 3,100 Google employees signed a letter opposing Google doing work for the US military is wonderful for what it reveals. It does not reveal that any significant number of people exist who can name every current US war or who want them ended or who believe that war should be banned or who know that it long since has been or who recognize the normalization of militarism as the gravest danger the world faces. But it sure is an amazing and stunning step in that direction."

Russia Warns Against US Military Exercises Aimed at North Korea
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Julian Ryall / Deutsche Welle )

Russia's Foreign Ministry has called on the United States to immediately halt all military activity on the Korean Peninsula. Russia officials say the spring joint operations (always a source of tension on the peninsula) are "not helping" in ongoing efforts to try to reduce military tensions in the region. North Korea has remained unusually silent as US-South Korea military drills begin. Does the North's softer tone indicate it is ready to enter negotiations over its nuclear weapons?

An Intelligence Insider Sends a Warning about John Bolton
(Ray McGovern / Consortium News)

There is less than a week left to batten down the hatches before Bolton makes US foreign policy worse that it already is. Bolton fits seamlessly into a group of take-no-prisoners zealots once widely known in Washington circles as "the crazies," and now more commonly referred to as "neocons." During his time in the GWB administration, Bolton ran circles around -- and bullied -- secretary of state Colin Powell and many others. Bear in mind, Bolton still says the attack on Iraq was a good idea.

A US Soldier Reconsiders His Service: "Are We Who We Thought We Were?"
(Maj. Danny Sjursen / AntiWar.com & TruthDig.com)

Commentary: We, the soldiers and the American citizenry, were told to kick ass, take vengeance, and, in the process, to bring democracy, gender equality, and basic modernity to Kabul and Kandahar. In reality, counter-terror quickly morphed into armed nation-building. The US military backed venal warlords and an increasing illegitimate, corrupt central government run by the Karzai-clique and a slew of drug lords.

The Space Race the Pentagon Doesn't Want
(Mark Thompson / Center for Defense Information)

The Pentagon and its allies on Capitol Hill are intent on pumping money into space weapons to keep an American edge up there. Unfortunately, it's a quest as fruitless as preserving the US nuclear monopoly following World War II. (That lasted four years). Nonetheless, Donald Trump impetuously re-launched the notion of Space Wars back into orbit March 13 when he suggested the creation of a Space Force armed with "space-based lasers."

Why Is the Pentagon Using Taxpayer Money to Train Young Americans to Shoot Deadly Weapons of War?
(Greta Zarro / Common Dreams)

The culture of war is pervasive in our society, through military-funded Hollywood films and video games, the militarization of the police, and JROTC and ROTC programs in our schools. Perhaps what's key above all, however, is that JROTC, and US militarism as a whole, is embedded in our sociocultural framework as Americans. So much so that to question it is to cast doubt on one's patriotic allegiance to this nation.

New Zealand General Resigns Following Journalists' Claims of War Crime Cover-up in Afghanistan
(Martyn Bradbury / The Daily Blog & New Zealand Herald)

Commentary: Our New Zealand media have a sorry history of being played like propaganda sock puppets by the NZDF. Now that we have full and undisputed evidence that the NZDF lied again where is the wall-to-wall media focus demanding accountability? In 2017, NZ troops killed and wounded 21 Afghan civilians -- mainly women and children -- burned down their village, and lied to cover up the crime. A new book, "Hit and Run," reveals the NZ troops operated out of a CIA compound called "Camp Kiwi."

Russia Demands an Independent Investigation of UK Chemical Poisoning Attack
(Agence France-Presse & The Guardian)

Russia has attempted to discredit Britain's reputation at the UN after a series of blunders by the British Foreign Office led to accusations that the UK overstated its case that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Scribal. Although the carefully crafted international alliance backing the UK has survived Russian pressure, ministers were forced to backtrack from the foreign secretary's claim that the UK's chemical weapons watchdogs had proof Russia was behind the attack. They didn't.

Google Workers and Scholars Refuse to Work on Pentagon's War Projects
(Google Employees / The New York Times & Julia Conley / Common Dreams & Researchers for Peace)

Commentary: In a public letter to Google's CEO, the firms workers declared: "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war. Therefore we ask that ... Google draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology." Meantime, more than 50 artificial intelligence experts from nearly 30 countries have announced a boycott of a South Korean university whose new defense partnership could lead to the development of "killer robots."

Australia Is Making a Killing Off Killing by Selling to Saudis
(The Juice Media & Michael Brull / The New Matilda)

As the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen spirals out of control -- in part a consequence of Australia's support for a Saudi-led siege on the country -- it is worth cataloguing the government's lies about why it won't disclose military exports to Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, the "Australian" Government has just released an ad that explains its plan to become one of world's top exporters of arms -- and it's surprisingly honest and informative.

Make Peace Great Again! Rally Against NATO in July
(No to NATO.org)

As the world becomes more dangerous by the day, the need for action for peace has never been more vital. With militarism on the rise, the need for a global people's alternative -- of justice, sustainability and peace -- has never been more urgent.

ACTION ALERT: Trump Rolls Back Wilderness Protections
(Rhea Suh / Natural Resources Defense Council)

The Trump administration is fast-tracking a sham planning process for our illegally redrawn national monuments. Speak up now to stop this latest attack on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Lawmakers Are Trying to Criminalize Pipeline Protesters for "Conspiracy"
(Justine Calma / Grist & Steve Hardy / The Advocate & Nikhil Swaminathan / Grist)

Efforts to prosecute environmental activists with felony or eco-terrorism charges have intensified since Standing Rock. Those tensions are coming to a head in Louisiana and Minnesota, where newly introduced bills seek to make it a felony to plan to trespass, damage, or disrupt pipeline operations -- even if the individuals didn't physically participate or go through with the action.

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
(Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit. The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Trump Orders Military to Guard the Border and Taxpayers Will Pay for It
(Bill Colvin and Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press & Daniella Diaz and Veronica Stracqualursi / CNN)

Frustrated by his failure to deliver on a major campaign promise, Trump has declared he wants to use the military to secure the US-Mexico border until his border wall is built. But federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the US, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Trump has privately floated the idea of funding construction of a border wall with Mexico through the US military budget but Sen. Dick Durbin says Trump has no legal authority to do that, either.

ACTION ALERT: ICE Accused of Humanitarian Crimes Targeting Detainees
(Isra Ibrahim / MPower Change & Josh Marcus / The Intercept)

Emboldened by an openly bigoted White House, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been ramping up their abusive behavior targeting Black and brown communities. One of the most egregious cases involves 92 Somali migrants on a botched deportation flight -- who endured barbaric treatment at the hands of ICE agents, including being beaten and shackled for 40 hours.

ACTON ALERT: No Dow Chemical Shills at EPA; Remove Scott Pruitt from EPA
(CREDO Action & Bess Levin / The Atlantic & Alexander C. Kaufman / The Huffington Post)

Once again, Donald Trump's contempt for the environment is on full display with his recent nomination of Peter Wright, a lawyer for Dow Chemical and a former Monsanto employee, to head up the EPA office that oversees chemical spills at Superfund sites. Dow Chemical is eager to profit from sales of a toxic chemical "originally derived from a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany." Meanwhile, Trump's EPA chief Scott Pruitt faces mounting pressure to resign amid ballooning scandals.

Washington: Selling Arms as if There Were No Tomorrow
(Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch & William D. Hartung / TomDispatch)

Commentary: The US been the world's top arms exporting nation over the past 100 years. In 2017 it sold one and a half times as much weaponry as its closest rival, Russia. Barack Obama made more arms offers in his two terms in office than any US president since World War II, including an astounding $115 billion in weapons deals with Saudi Arabia. Trump's arms sales are meant to promote pork-barrel politics, while pumping up the profits of US weapons manufacturers. As for human rights or human lives, who cares?

The Candlelight Revolution Offers Hope for Peace
(Joseph Essertier / World Beyond War)

Commentary: Not only Koreans who live in Japan but also many Japanese -- far more than one would think after watching a few hours of TV programs about North Korea -- are yearning for an end to the Korean War. Peace is popular! Our global candlelight solidarity action in Nagoya demonstrated that.

Still No Conclusive Proof in Russian Poison Case: Why the Rush to Judgment?
(David Morrison / Open Democracy)

There is no conclusive evidence that the nerve agent used in the attempted assassinations of Sergei and Yulia Skripal originated in Russia. One could for forgiven for thinking that those who ordered the killing may have been opponents of President Putin. In fact, Russia destroyed its nerve agents under an international treaty. The US is now the only state party to the Convention that still hasn't fulfilled that requirement. Among the few countries that still possess the Novichok poison: Britain, Israel and the US.

Trump Friendly Media Giant Set to Control 75% of US New Broadcasts
(The New York Times & PBS Newshour & John Oliver & Courage Campaign)

The country's largest local broadcast group is under fire for requiring local news anchors in dozens of markets to read an identical promo ad script, criticizing "false news" and "fake stories." Sinclair Broadcast Group,which owns or operates 193 US television stations, is seeking to buy Tribune Media, a $3.9 billion deal that's being held up by regulators over antitrust concerns. Sinclair creates singular, politicized content that local stations are then forced to air in lieu of local coverage.

Palestinians Hold Day of Mourning After 773 'Shot With Live Ammunition'
(Hazem Balousha and Oliver Holmes / The Guardian & The Associated Press)

Gaza hospitals, running low on blood owing to the huge number of wounded, were reeling after one of Gaza's bloodiest days after Israeli soldiers shot 773 people with live ammunition, according to the ministry of health. Tens of thousands of people, including women and children, had planned to camp several hundred meters from the frontier for a peaceful, six-week protest. But groups of mostly young men approached the frontier and started throwing stones and burning tyres. Soldiers responded by opening fire.

By Design or Default, the Democrats Are a Pro-War Party
(Daniel Wirls / San Francisco Chronicle)

By completing the $1.3 trillion spending bill for 2018, the Republican Congress and the president took the first big step in implementing their highest priority: a huge increase in the Pentagon budget. The US has embarked -- with hardly a pause after 16 years of costly and counterproductive wars -- on another binge of military spending. This victory for the military-industrial complex would not have been possible without the compliance and support of the Democratic Party.

ACTION ALERT: A Petition to Hold Trump to His Promise to Order US Troops Out of Syria
(David Swanson / David Swanson.org & World Beyond War)

Commentary: We demand that you actually follow through on getting the US military out of Syria, including the skies above Syria. We insist that, for a small fraction of the cost of continuing the war making, the United States instead provide massive humanitarian aid and assistance.

ACTION ALERT: A Call to Congress: Divest from Guns and War
(CODEPINK & Sen. Elizabeth Warren / CREDO Action & The Brady Campaign & The Nation)

As we enter the Spring season, we need to tell Congress it's time for them to do their part and commit to "No Money for Weapons Manufacturers and the NRA." Congress is home for Spring break, so grab your gear and show up at a town hall or public hearing in your community.

Israeli Snipers Murder 17 Protesters at Gaza Border during Massive Land Day Demonstration
(Juan Cole / Informed Comment & Ma'an News Agency)

Commentary: The Israeli army indiscriminately opened fire on the protesters with live ammunition, killing at least 17 and wounding dozens (perhaps hundreds). Hundreds were also sickened by military-grade tear gas. There is no reason to think that the Israeli troops were in danger or received deadly fire themselves. There was rock throwing toward the fence that imprisons the Palestinians. This was more like a US police shooting of an innocent, unarmed victim.

The Bolton Appointment: How Scared Should We Be?
(Daniel Lazare / Consortium News)

Donald Trump's appointment of war hawk John Bolton is a cause for concern, Daniel Lazare writes, but what is perhaps an even bigger concern is that both major US political parties are dominated by war hawks.

Burlington Vermont Votes to Block F-35 Fighter Jets
(The Burlington Peace and Justice Center)

Burlington's City Council voted 9-3 to block USAF plans to base F-35 fighter jets at Burlington's International Airport. The vote came three weeks after the voters approved a citizen initiative to cancel the planned F-35 basing. Noise from the F-35 can damage hearing, children's cognitive abilities, and trigger heart attacks in adults. Nearly 3,000 local homes would become unlivable do to the increased noise. Meanwhile, the F-35 drains $1.4 trillion from health care, education, affordable housing, and infrastructure.

Murder and Racial Bias: How the NYT Offers Excuses for White Killers
(CREDO Action & Dana Liebelson / The Huffington Post & The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence & Timothy Johnson / Media Matters)

White extremist violence has been on the rise since Donald Trump took office, and his racist administration is refusing to do anything about it. By humanizing white killers, The New York Times is using its platform and credibility to reinforce the racism that is both driving this crisis and sweeping it under the rug. This needs to stop now. Tell the Times to "stop humanizing violent white extremists, defaming Black people murdered by police and perpetuating anti-Muslim bias."

Revealing the Pentagon's Unaddressed Burn Pit Perils
(Perry Chiaramonte / Fox News Investigative Unit Exclusive)

Fox News has discovered pits as large as football fields existed next to a number of military bases during the Iraq War; makeshift junkyards, many ignited by jet fuel, left to smolder 24 hours a day. More than 130,000 vets have reported exposure; Will Carr reports from Los Angeles.

From Venezuela to Ghana, a Call for Activists to Confront and Reject US Warmongering
(Ajamu Baraka / Black Alliance for Peace & Seth Kwame Awuku, Esq. / MyJoyOnline)

Commentary: We need an independent movement to address both the economic needs of poor and working people and the escalating attacks on the Black community, immigrants, women, unions, the LGBTQ community, refugees, Muslims, the physically and mentally challenged, youth, students, the elderly, Mother Earth -- all of us.

Palestinian Reality Tour Stuns Americans: Palestine Signs Nuclear Abolition Pact
(Phillip Weiss / Mondoweiss & The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons)

On a March night in Brooklyn, two activists from the International Solidarity Movement described their work in Palestine to 70 people crowded into the Commons Cafe. Their tour will continue to many other venues across Canada and the US. The plain-speaking tour is noteworthy because it conveys, in the most unrhetorical manner, some small portion of the immense trauma that Palestinians are experiencing. Yet, despite its troubles, Palestine recently became the 6th state to ratify the UN Atomic Weapons Ban.

'Hostiles' and Hollywood's Untold Story
(Jada Thacker / Consortium News)

Commentary: A movie poster for the recent Western "Hostiles," depicts a Frontier widow, a hardboiled Indian fighter, and an Indian chief. It is a perfect example of a genre that consistently ignores the essential themes of the American Frontier. Every American today who rages at corrupt and incompetent government, who counts out their pennies for rent or mortgage, or who despairs of the growth-driven, mechanized rape of the landscape can thank the American Frontier experience for their trouble.

The Bolton Appointment: How Scared Should We Be?
(Daniel Lazare / Consortium News)

Donald Trump's appointment of war hawk John Bolton is a cause for concern, Daniel Lazare writes, but what is perhaps an even bigger concern is that both major US political parties are dominated by war hawks.

The Bolton Appointment: How Scared Should We Be?
(Daniel Lazare / Consortium News)

Donald Trump's appointment of war hawk John Bolton is a cause for concern, Daniel Lazare writes, but what is perhaps an even bigger concern is that both major US political parties are dominated by war hawks.

[view all breaking news items] 




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