Saturday, August 02, 2014

I Hate The War

We cover hearings here.  If I attend an Iraq hearing or a veterans affairs hearing, there's a good chance it will be covered here.

Ideally, it will be covered at length.

But it usually gets covered (others, such as a recent one on autism, get covered by me in the community newsletters).

An e-mailer identifying as a "concerned emailer" wants me to know that I have been promoting the Republican party in my snapshot coverage of hearings.

I've done this, it turns out, by quoting them.

Apparently, you cover a hearing by ignoring the people you don't like.

Spencer Ackerman did that.

It was cute.  He wasn't at the 2008 hearing, I was, he wasn't.  But he was working for something -- was he even at Wired at that point? -- and he pimped Barack hard.  It was an Iraq hearing and if you wanted to cover it in terms of Barack you really should have noted princess couldn't keep his ass in the hearing  -- witnesses were then US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and then Gen David Petraeus.  And princess couldn't stick to the time limit.

He asked for a minute more and proceeded to take seven.  (We noted all of this in real time.)

To ensure princess got special treatment, the Committee Chair made excuses for Barack.  Senator Bill Nelson waived the princess ahead.

But Spencer didn't cover that.

He just pretended Barack was brave and asked important questions.

He wasn't.

He didn't.

And there was a bit of bravery in the hearing.

It came from Hillary Clinton.

She was still vying for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

So Spencer, who supported the chosen one Barack, didn't cover her.

He erased her.

He lied and claimed the feed went out.

Now I was there.  I wasn't watching it on CSpan the way Spencer did.

But I did ask if the feed went out and was told it didn't.

Also, this isn't the House, this was the Senate.

In the House, five minutes is the time each Rep is limited to in a round of questioning.

I guess CNN could lose the feed for five minutes.  It didn't, but it could.

In the Senate, a senator can use up to 15 minutes each round of questioning.

All these years later, does Spencer really want to stand by his claim that the feed went out for Hillary's turn at questioning?  For a whole 15 minutes?

I cover based on what I find to be important.

That may be new information.  That may be an interesting line of questioning.  That may be an important personal story a witness shares (especially during a veterans affairs committee when a veteran or a spouse or parent of a veteran is testifying).

I am not now and never again will be interested in covering a certain bad wig addicted Congress woman from Florida whose last name is Brown.

She has nothing of value to say, she has no ethics and I'm tired of putting her words into some form of English.  A member of Congress should not repeatedly struggle with the concept of subject and verb agreement -- nor should they create their own words daily because they forgot to learn how to pronounce words.
I do try to include women -- non-foolish ones -- in the snapshots and think we do a better job of that than the MSM.

We tend to include more Republican women than Democratic women if we're covering the House Veterans Affairs Committee but, again, I don't care for Corinne Brown who believes she's on the Committee to cover for the White House, not to help veterans.  If her statements insulting veterans -- during any of the scandals since 2009 -- were all compiled and distributed in her district, she would not win re-election.

When a Republican woman cried during a House VA hearing, we included that.  I thought that was a 'reportable' moment and real news.  I made sure to include that I've teared up and flat out cried at some VA hearings and I did that because I wanted to be clear the point wasn't, "She's crying!"  The point was that a member of Congress offered some heart felt words on a topic that clearly hit home with her (as she made clear sharing what her own father had gone through).

When, in 2008, a Republican male Rep stormed out of a House VA hearing -- and slammed the door behind him! -- after calling a witness a liar (the witness was a journalist), I debated whether or not to include that.

It was news.

But whereas the heart felt identification a member had was news, a tantrum really wasn't and tantrums tend to get a lot of attention -- a lot of attention.

A very important hearing in 2011, Senate hearing, was reduced to John McCain attacked Leon Panetta. There was so much to that hearing and the media ignored it to run with that trivia.

McCain gets covered often.

That's mainly because he gets distorted very often.  I'm not a McCain fan.  I don't like John.  (I do like Cindy, as I've noted before, I know her via charity work and I like Cindy McCain.)

But I can hold McCain accountable for what he's actually done.  I don't have to invent lies about the man to hold him accountable or call him out.  He's been distorted and lied about and I'm not part of the pack, I'm not part of the circle jerk.

I ripped him to shreds over a hearing on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  I feel he deserved it.

But even there, we used his own words to bury him.

During that period, we were also regularly covering Senator Roland Burris.  I'm very proud of that (and we supported Burris when he was named to fill the seat, US House Rep Bobby Rush was among those defending Burris and I've known Bobby for decades so we were on board with Burris from the start).  When Burris' time in the Senate is evaluated by history, I think he'll come off very well.  He acted as a strong advocate for veterans and for service members and he tolerated no bigotry.

And his refusal of bigotry was done in a classy manner. I don't possess that grace.  Someone starts spouting homophobia, I'm going to lash out at them.  Burris was able to correct them in a manner that was much mature than anything I'm capable of.

And let's be really clear that Burris suffered real racism.

I don't mean in his life but as a person who achieved when there were so many roadblocks, he had to deal with racism constantly.

But I'm talking about as a Senator in the year 2009, he had to deal with racism.  And a lot of it was from the left.

I think Burris handled his brief time in the Senate with grace and I always knew something of value would be offered from him during any hearing he was part of.

Burris was a personal favorite and that may have been obvious in the coverage he got here.  That said, I love Bill Nelson, the Sanchez sisters (Linda and Loretta), Susan Davis and Maxine Waters (among others) and they don't get half the coverage they should.  But they're also not under attack the way Burris was.

Other than that, a medical doctor who serves in the Congress and speaks, in a hearing, to medical issues will get noted because they offer an expertise and an honesty that, for example, VA officials with medical degrees do not share.  If a member of Congress shares a story about a constituent, we will try to include that as frequently as possible.  It's good to know a member of Congress listened, it's even better to know that, weeks later, they still remember the encounter.

Sometimes we'll note a joke if one's told.  But it has to be appropriate and it's often surprising how inappropriate jokes can be in Congress.  I'm not implying dirty jokes or foul words.  I'm saying that there are times when, due to the nature of the topic being discussed, you really shouldn't be trying to get a giggle.

I try to avoid the most obvious point of any hearing's first 15 to 20 minutes.


If reporters -- beyond AP and military reporters -- are present, they tend to vanish after the opening statement's and the Chair's first questions.  So they run with that.  I try to avoid that as an emphasis and grab from elsewhere in the hearing.

I will ask myself -- before finishing a snapshot or before saying it's okay to post it -- did I forget a woman who did something worth noting in the hearing?

But I'm not really worried about party i.d. and don't generally offer it in the snapshots.

There are three rising stars in the GOP and we noted them at key moments here.  They're rising stars because of those key moments, where they basically turned a hearing upside down (in a good way).  And if Democrats were offering key moments like that, we'd gladly be noting them.  In fact, I think Beto O'Roarke had a strong year in Congress this year and we noted him a few times.  But he was the exception in a lot of ways.

For example, I'm embarrassed for Gerry Connolly.  He used to have a very strong ethical foundation.  He presented himself that way in hearing after hearing.  Then came the Democrats taking back the White House and it appears Gerry was just pretending, just grandstanding.

I miss the Gerry who cared about ethics and wasn't playing partisan games.  It is shocking to watch Gerry, of all people, suddenly defend things that cannot be defended.

And with that, sometimes I note it in the coverage, sometimes I don't.

It just depends on what else there is to cover.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

The e-mail address for this site is

Drone Protester Aquitted by Jury

This is from David Swanson's War Is A Crime:

Drone Protester Aquitted by Jury

ACQUITTED! Vietnam Vet Drone Resister 

Syracuse July 31, 2014   After two hours of deliberation,Vietnam Veteran and Buffalonian Russell Brown,  was acquitted tonight by a six person jury in DeWitt Town Court, East Syracuse. He was facing charges of Obstruction of Governmental Administration (OGA), a misdemeanor carrying up to a year incarceration and up to $1000 fine, as well as Disorderly Conduct charge, a violation.   Mr. Brown who went before the court Pro Se (he served as his own counsel) was assisted by Buffalo Attorneys Daire Irwin and Paul Fallon.  

Mr. Brown was arrested during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base on April 28, 2013. In a roadway across from the Airbase, he lay down to symbolize the death of drone victims.  There are biweekly demonstrations at Hancock Airbase.  Several times a year there are larger demonstrations and nationally coordinated events.  On six occasions there have been arrests, leading to six trials since 2011. Mr. Brown's trial is the second acquittal. There are twenty activists are facing prosecution, working with Upstate Drone Action.

During testimony, Russell told what he did leading up to the "Global April Days of Action" gathering in Syracuse. This included his writing a poem that links the drone attacks conducted at Hancock with the missions he conducted in Vietnam.  A marine from 1965 - 1967, he told of the war he experienced. His participation in senseless killing and brutality in Vietnam informed his understanding of the Drone War Program at the 174th Attack Wing.  Russell now finds allegiance with the victims of the drone attacks.
Laying on the street with "blood" spattered clothes lifted a weight of guilt from Russel.  Transforming guilt to regret makes possible a voice: poet, marcher in a 'legal' protest, drone victim laying in the street were deemed protected speech.  The message was closely attended by the jury.  Brian Hynes said, "They saw the human power of the message and the public value of the method used to deliver it. Drones kill senselessly and illegally and traumatize our airmen."

Russell said that the wars of the last decade brought back his experiences in Vietnam. “Lying in that road was the most peaceful moment I've experienced since I left Vietnam,” he said. "I was silent then in the face of those atrocities and I can't be silent anymore."

The jury was smiling as they returned to give the verdict. Later one juror asked a supporter to "Thank Russell for us!  My brother was in the Vietnam War and lost his leg. We know what the vets went through."  The juror also acknowledged the PTSD drone pilots experience.  Another juror said, "We did what was needed to be done.  It was fair and just".


Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, is a domestic hub for drone assassinations, support and operation, particularly in Afghanistan. The Niagara Falls Air Base is also embarking on a mission to operate weaponized drones.  The Hancock emerged following arrests at Creech Airforce Base in Nevada, and the Gandhian Wave of protest there has spearheaded national and international movements against the use of drones for assassination in countries we are not at war with and wars of occupation.

The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, supported by local organizations such as the WNY Peace Center, works nonviolently to stop the scourge of assassination and community terror perpetrated by weaponized drones.  The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones is in coalition with the global movement to end the drone assassinations and to stop US imperialism and militarization.

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.  
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Iraq snapshot

Friday, August 1, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Ahmed Chalabi becomes the focus of rumors, Iraqi Christians continue to be persecuted, and much more.

Iraqi Christians continue to be targeted.  Bishop Suriel, the Bishop of Melbourne - Coptic Orthodox Church, Tweeted:

Mosul, the cradle of Christianity in Iraq since the first centuries, is now purged of its entire Christian population. The ruthless and purposeful savagery of the attacks by the fundamentalist Muslim terrorist organization The Islamic State (IS) formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is truly inconceivable. Yet, most world leaders remain silent in the face of the murder of innocent children and horrific beheadings of civilians. We question why the media has not highlighted the unprecedented systematic eradication of the city’s entire Christian population. We also question why the Australian government have yet to comment and condemn this gross deprivation of human rights.

There is only silence.

Silence, that sends a resounding message of indifference to the murders of innocent lives at the hands of extremist Muslim groups. Silence, which attributes lesser value to the lives of Christians in the Middle East. Silence, that surrenders to the power of radicalism and the inhumane brutality of groups such as IS.

The silence has included the White House which waited until yesterday to have an official meet with representatives of Iraqi Christians.

We've been noting the White House needed to get active for some time.

Now it's becoming an issue with US House Rep Trent Franks releasing the following statement.

For those who are not helped by streaming video, here's the transcript of what's being said.

US House Rep Trent Franks:  Mr. President, last month, 55 colleagues of mine and myself sent you and Secretary Kerry a letter asking that you actively prioritize security and humanitarian support for the Christian community in Iraq.  We specifically warned you of the dangers and brutality of the terrorist group ISIS who are now rampaging across Iraq and terrorizing the vulnerable Christian population.  In the letter, we specifically pointed out that "parts of Syria and Iraq that have previously fallen under the rule of ISIS have witnessed summary executions, beheadings and even crucifixions."  And that "absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness an annihilation of a faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries."  Tragically, Mr. President, you simply ignored us again -- as you've done so many times before.  And now ISIS, the group you once likened to a junior varsity basketball team, is beheading its way across Iraq and has declared that there will be "nothing for the Christians but the sword" if they do not convert.  Mr. President, last week, ISIS torched an 1800-year-old church in Mosul and deliberately and insidiously destroyed the historic tomb of Jonah.  Last Sunday, for the first time in 1600 years, there was no mass in Mosul.  The head of Iraq's Christian community said, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians."  And now images of ISIS' beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and mass execution are all over the internet and social media.  Just yesterday, I met with a group of NGOs based in Iraq who told me that ISIS recently beheaded 6 Christians and then proceeded to play soccer with their decapitated heads.  Mr. President, ISIS's targeting of Christians has been systematic and horrifying and Iraq's Christians in the area are now nearly extinct.  It can rightly be called "targeted religious cleansing."  And, sir, it is a crime against humanity.  And yet, Mr. President, we have not heard a single word from you -- even as a literal Christian genocide is taking place at this very moment, you have not uttered even one syllable about what your administration is doing or planning to do to relieve or protect these persecuted Christians in Iraq.  So now speaking with you and pleading with you directly, sir, I once again repeat the words we wrote in our letter to you a month ago: "We urge you and your administration to urgently and actively engage with the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to prioritize additional security support for these particularly vulnerable populations and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to those effected communities.  Absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness the annihilation of ancient faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries.  Mr. President, if you continue to ignore this Christian genocide in Iraq, history will record that it was you who idly stood on the sidelines and knowingly let it happen.

We have repeatedly noted the perception issue.

Maybe we should have spelled it out for the hard headed ones in denial?

Barack can't lose religious support in the US and have any chance of accomplishing anything in his second term.

He's had a religious problem throughout his national career.

He claimed Jeremiah Wright as an inspiration.  Then when Wright's sermons got a little bit of examination, Barack began to walk away and he (and Michelle) flat out attacked Wright on national television in response to Wright's remarks that Barack was just a typical politician.

Prior to Wright, Barack appears to have had no real encounters with a church.

Certainly, after becoming President, he failed to attend a church regularly.

Some of Barack's supporters state and write publicly that Barack doesn't really believe in God.

If that's true, there's nothing wrong with that.  Unless, of course, you go around insisting you do believe and you are a Christian.

Barack already has one religious problem -- what's going on in Gaza and how to respond without antagonizing certain elements of the US electorate.  He has another emerging religious problem that no one wants to talk about or acknowledge.

Barack is the deporter in chief.  That is registering in Catholic communities -- both due to the fact that a large number of Latinos and Latinas deported are Catholic and also because the Catholic faith has always had a strong activist wing. Barack is taking a hit there.

And now he's unable to decry the persecution of Christians.

He has stated he is a Christian, he has stated he was baptized and much more.

His failure to provide leadership on this issue hurts him.

Christians who care deeply about this issue, for example,  are left to wonder if Barack lied about his own faith?  Or if he just doesn't care about what happens to Iraqi Christians?

That's the thing about silence -- if you create it or foster it, others will rush in to fill the silence with something, anything.

And not everyone's been silent in the US.  Members of Congress have spoken out.  In fact, Tuesday, US House Rep Anna Eshoo's office issued the following.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the House and Senate passed her bipartisan legislation to create a special envoy at the State Department to focus on the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia. Co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the bill now awaits the President’s signature.

“Today the world is bearing witness to the persecution and eradication of religious minorities in some of the most imperiled regions on earth,” said Eshoo. “Christians in the Middle East and South Central Asia are being tortured, killed and live in fear simply because of their religion. The stories are countless, and the response has been meager.”

“With enactment of this legislation, America is appropriately stepping up its response and will be more capable in providing aid to religious minorities. A special envoy at the State Department will focus on the freedom and survival of religious minorities. Time is running out and this critical problem deserves to be treated as a high priority,” Eshoo concluded.

While some emphasize the silence, others play the numbers in their own coverage.  Gwynee Dyer (London Free Press) explains, "There were still about 60,000 Christians in Mosul when the United States and its sidekicks invaded Iraq 11 years ago. By last year, it was down to 30,000. Only two months after the arrival of the ISIS extremists, there are none. Most have fled to Kurdistan with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They are not going back, and if they can they will leave the Middle East entirely."  All Christians have not left Mosul.

We've noted that a number have had no choice but to remain and are in hiding.

I've also a missed a point of the hiding in plain sight.  My apologies for that.  Voice of the Martyrs explains, "There is another group of Christians in northern Iraq too: those that were born into Muslim families but have consciously made the choice to reject Islam and follow Jesus. It is important to understand that these believers do NOT have a choice to pay a tax and save their lives. These converts are, in the eyes of IS, apostates. If IS fighters learned of their faith, they would give these believers two choices: return to Islam or be killed."

Yael Rein (San Diego Jewish World) notes, "The United Nations Security Council condemned the persecution of minorities in Iraq."

Peter Jesserer-Smith (National Catholic Register) explains:

For the past two months, the Register has brought you the stories of the Iraqi Christians’ desperate condition at the hands of the militants of the Islamic State. They are a sea of refugees robbed of everything, begging the world to let them survive. They haven’t just lost their property and homes — they have been robbed of their identity, their culture, and their history.  

He goes on to note the August 6th Global Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and that's a good time for us to note Aid to the Church in Need's announcement on the Global Day of Prayer for Peace:

Aug. 6, 2014--Feast of the Transfiguration
“Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.” Inspired by these words of Pope Francis (June 27, 2014), the international pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, united with His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, appeals to all persons of good will to join in a Global Day of Prayer for Peace to be held on August 6, 2014—the Feast of the Transfiguration.Chaldean Cross

The feast of Transfiguration marks the moment when Jesus, on Mount Tabor, appears to three of his disciples in a state of glory, shortly before His ultimate trial on Calvary. This feast holds out a sign of hope for humanity: it is a source of courage when obstacles appear impossible to surmount; a sign that light is stronger than darkness; and testimony that death can turn into life.

Meant to be observed in churches and homes across the country, this Global Day of Prayer in the midst of so much suffering in Iraq—particularly for the ancient Christian community of Mosul—tells the world at large that US Christians have not forgotten and abandoned their suffering brothers and sisters.

Patriarch Sako has personally composed the Prayer for Peace:

The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.

Glory be to you forever.

The Patriarch also said: “Let us unite our voices and hearts before the Lord of peace. May the light of Tabor fill the hearts of all suffering people with consolation and hope. May the message of Tabor, through our prayers, inspire the leaders of Iraq to sacrifice personal interests for the common good and welfare.”

Please click here and join ACN's candle vigil for Iraq.

Meanwhile, Professor Margaret Blunden takes issue with the Financial Times of London's editorial "Christians at the mercy of jihadis" feeling that  they have slighted the Kurdish Regional Government -- "a refuge for some 10,000 Iraqi Christian families escaping violence."  On that topic, All Iraq News notes KRG President Massoud Barzani declared today that the Kurdistan Region was the host to over 1.2 million refugees. 

And, no, that's not the biggest rumor.  Friday's biggest rumor was that Ahmed Chalabi would be Iraq's next prime minister.  True or false, it's all over Arabic social media.  What is known is that Nouri's being called out by.  Raheem Salmam (Reuters) reports

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his security officials are to blame for the rise of Sunni Muslim insurgents who have seized parts of Iraq, the country's foreign minister said.
The comments by Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, are likely to worsen relations between Maliki's Shi'ite Muslim-led government and the Kurds, complicating efforts to form a power-sharing government capable of countering Islamic State militants.

Baghdad, 1 August 2014 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of at least 1,737 Iraqis were killed and another 1,978 were injured in acts of terrorism and violence in July*.
The number of civilians killed was 1,186 (including 106 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 1,511 (including 177 civilian police).  A further 551 members of the Iraqi Security Forces, including Peshmerga and SWAT, were killed and 467 were injured (not including casualties from Anbar operation).
"I am concerned about the rising number of casualties in Iraq, particularly among the civilian population.  Children and women are most vulnerable.  All sides should ensure that civilians are protected and that international humanitarian law is respected”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov said.
“Despite the continuing fighting, politicians have shown that they can work together in choosing the new President and the new Speaker of the Council of Representative.  It is time that they move forward on the creation of a new government that can address the root causes of violence in Iraq and ensure equitable development for all communities”, Mr. Mladenov added.
Anbar excluded, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,035 civilian casualties (415 killed, 620 injured), followed by Salahadin (305 killed, 289 injured), Ninewa (209 killed, 270 injured), Kirkuk (68 killed, 127 injured), Babil (77 killed, 72 injured) and Diyala (71 killed, 66 injured).
*CAVEATS: Data do not take into account casualties of the current IA operation in Anbar, for which we report at the bottom the figures received by our sources.
UNAMI recorded a minimum 400 security incidents in different parts of Iraq.  Among these incidents, are included 62 incidents by air attack caused a minimum of 823 casualties killed and injured.  30 incidents caused by vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) and suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED), which caused a minimum of 535 casualties killed and injured.  78 incidents using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused a minimum of 322 civilian casualties killed and injured.  67 incidents with small arms fire (SAF) caused a minimum of 141 casualties killed and injured.
Operations in Anbar
Due to official holidays of Eid-ul-Fitr, UNAMI was not able to obtain casualty figures from Ramadi and other areas of Anbar.  UNAMI was only able to obtain the figures for Fallujah from the General Hospital of Fallujah; the total civilian casualties in Fallujah up to 30 July inclusive were 132 killed and 421 injured.  UNAMI will publish the figures for Ramadi as soon as they are available. 
Kurdish Region stands out for the relative calm it offers to Assyrian, Arab and Kurdish Christians.

It's an undercount.  Margaret Griffis ( notes, " has determined that at least 5,698 people were killed and 2,018 more were wounded during the month of July."

It would be great if UNAMI would track the number of civilians killed by Nouri each month but they can't even include Anbar Province in their count.

Nouri's War Crimes continue.  NINA notes a man and a woman were killed by Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja -- fourteen more people ("including four children") were left injured.  He's been bombing homes in Falluja since the start of the year.  Now he's begun expanding his targets.  NINA notes a Mosul aerial bombing left 4 women and 1 child dead and seven people were left injured in Kirkuk from Nouri's targeting civilians.

NINA notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing left one police member injured, 2 more Kirkuk bombs left three people injured, the Operations Command of the Island and the Desert declared that they killed 53 suspects in Haditha, . . .  Margaret Griffis ( counts 266 dead today with another and 18 injured.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Green Party of Michigan opposes millions being stolen from general fund to line Big Business' pockets

The Green Party of Michigan notes the following:

Ecological Wisdom      *  Social Justice
Grassroots Democracy  *  Non-Violence

Green Party of Michigan

**  News Release  **
**  ------------  **
    August 1, 2014

For More Information, Contact:
Fred Vitale, GPMI Chair
    (313) 580-4905

Paul Homeniuk, GPMI Nominee for Governor
Paul Homeniuk for Governor Putting People First
    (517) 337-2297

Michigan Greens Oppose Proposal 1 on Primary Ballot
Urge Citizens to Vote NO on Legislative Package That Shifts
Authority from Local to State, Taxes from Businesses to Consumers

    The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) urges voters
at next Tuesday's primary election to say NO to the
shift of taxes and authority contained in statewide
Proposal 1.

    Formally Proposal 14-1, the nine-bill package
adopted by the Legislature would end the personal
property tax assessed by local governments on
business equipment based on its remaining value
and useful life.

    To make up part (but not all) of the personal-
property tax revenue many local governments depend
on and would lose, the state would share some of
what it collects in the use tax charged to consumers
who buy goods by mail or on line from outside Michigan.

    The shift would be administered by a new "local"
government agency which actually covers the whole
state.  In addition, the five members appointed to
the new Local Community Stabilization Authority board
would have greater control over people’s rights to
decide how their communities should progress.

    Paul Homeniuk, GPMI's candidate for governor,
has put out his own statement opposing Proposal 1
as "sleight of hand" by the Legislature.  It is
posted on his campaign Website at

    Paul notes that the Legislature's own analysis
shows a loss of $107 million in general-fund revenue
in 2016 from Proposal 1.  "In 2017, the loss will be
$350 million, and at least $500 million per year by
FY 2025.  This means less money for roads, for schools,
and for revenue sharing with local governments.

    "When you throw in that the actual formula for
reimbursing local authorities for lost personal
property taxes does not guarantee actual losses,
only an estimate based on year-old figures, this
bit of legal acrobatics is nothing more than
stealing from the people of Michigan to give
yet another tax break to big corporate donors."

    As further evidence of this, Paul points out
that Proposal 1 "allows the Michigan Strategic
Fund, controlled by Michigan Economic Development
Corporation (MEDC), to lower or grant exemptions
for businesses if they claim they will invest
$25 million in new equipment in Michigan.

    "But as with most MEDC programs, little or
no verification or documentation is required."

    Paul adds that the Legislature also "slipped
control of the METRO Act/Right of way into the
hands of the unelected five-person board of the
Local Community Stabilization Authority.  This
unelected authority could tell local communities
which permits they have to approve or deny for
a wide range of telecommunications expansion."

    John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI's Platform
Committee chair and the party's nominee for
Attorney General, observes that even people
who don't buy anything online or by mail may
be presumed to owe use tax -- and pay it --
on their state income-tax returns.

    For more information about the Green Party
of Michigan, its candidates, its platform, and
its values, visit:

You can also “like” the Green Party of Michigan US
Facebook page and follow GPMI's Twitter feed

#    #    #

created/distributed using donated labor

Green Party of Michigan
PO Box 504
Warren, MI  48090-0504

    GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental
issues in Michigan politics.  Greens are organized
in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Each
state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its
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Psst, White House

If the White House knew how to play the 3-dimensional chess their groupies believe they can play, they'd be all over this.

Next Wednesday, there's going to be an action in Iraq that, you can be sure, will be noted by Iraqi Christianss who are refugees in other countries and those who were granted citizenship in other countries.

Aid to the Church in Need is one of the sponsors of the Global Day of Prayer for Peace -- The Feast of the Transfiguration.

An envoy/representative sent to a gathering in the US would make a real difference in how the White House is being seen on this issue currently.

Thursday, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes met with leaders of the Chaldean and Assyrian Community.  As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, that's one step, it's nothing all by itself.

If the White House sends an envoy/rep to an American observance of the day, it needs to be someone more noted than Ben Rhodes.  Great if Ben could go, show that there is commitment there.  But it requires someone with more stature -- John Kerry is the obvious choice, after him Joe Biden.  Even smarter would be for Barack to appoint former US President Jimmy Carter to some sort of envoy post or task force on this issue.

Thursday's meet-up was a step.

Here's Aid to the Church in Need's announcement on the Global Day of Prayer for Peace:

Aug. 6, 2014--Feast of the Transfiguration
“Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.” Inspired by these words of Pope Francis (June 27, 2014), the international pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, united with His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, appeals to all persons of good will to join in a Global Day of Prayer for Peace to be held on August 6, 2014—the Feast of the Transfiguration.Chaldean Cross

The feast of Transfiguration marks the moment when Jesus, on Mount Tabor, appears to three of his disciples in a state of glory, shortly before His ultimate trial on Calvary. This feast holds out a sign of hope for humanity: it is a source of courage when obstacles appear impossible to surmount; a sign that light is stronger than darkness; and testimony that death can turn into life.

Meant to be observed in churches and homes across the country, this Global Day of Prayer in the midst of so much suffering in Iraq—particularly for the ancient Christian community of Mosul—tells the world at large that US Christians have not forgotten and abandoned their suffering brothers and sisters.

Patriarch Sako has personally composed the Prayer for Peace:

The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.

Glory be to you forever.

The Patriarch also said: “Let us unite our voices and hearts before the Lord of peace. May the light of Tabor fill the hearts of all suffering people with consolation and hope. May the message of Tabor, through our prayers, inspire the leaders of Iraq to sacrifice personal interests for the common good and welfare.”

Please click here and join ACN's candle vigil for Iraq.

The e-mail address for this site is

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, July 31, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, confirmation of CIA law breaking emerges, the White House meets with people concerned about the fate of Iraqi Christians, and much more.

In the United States, more abuses of power as the CIA's tactics and lies get called out.  Senator Mark Udall's office issued the following today:

Following a classified briefing on an inspector general report detailing the CIA's unauthorized intrusion into U.S. Senate staffers' computers, Mark Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement calling for CIA Director John Brennan's resignation:
"After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan. The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. This grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers. These offenses, along with other errors in judgment by some at the CIA, demonstrate a tremendous failure of leadership, and there must be consequences.
"The CIA needs to acknowledge its wrongdoing and correct the public record in a timely, forthright manner — and that simply hasn't occurred under John Brennan's leadership. Such an acknowledgment is necessary, whether we're talking about spying on Senate computers or about correcting misleading and inaccurate information about the CIA's detention and interrogation program. An internal CIA accountability board review isn't enough."

While Mark Udall came out strongly for the Constitution he took an oath to uphold, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee seemed far less concerned about the abuse and law breaking and far more interested in trumpeting "I was right!"  This is the press release Senator Dianne Feinstein's office issued:

Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement:

“I was briefed Tuesday by CIA Inspector General David Buckley on the results of an IG investigation. The investigation confirmed what I said on the Senate floor in March—CIA personnel inappropriately searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers in violation of an agreement we had reached, and I believe in violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

“Director Brennan apologized for these actions and submitted the IG report to an accountability board. These are positive first steps. This IG report corrects the record and it is my understanding that a declassified report will be made available to the public shortly.”


Thursday, July 31, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued the following statement after the Central Intelligence Agency issued a statement confirming the agency’s search of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence computer files:

“The CIA Inspector General has confirmed what Senators have been saying all along: The CIA conducted an unauthorized search of Senate files, and attempted to have Senate staff prosecuted for doing their jobs,” Wyden said. “Director Brennan’s claims to the contrary were simply not true.

“What’s needed now is a public apology from Director Brennan to staff and the committee, a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine Congressional oversight of CIA activities.”

Audio of Senator Wyden's statement here

What needs to happen now is criminal charges.

This is not a joke.  It also goes beyond just separation of powers.  It goes to what the CIA's purpose is supposed to be.  If this doesn't result in prosecution on the part of the Justice Dept then the CIA is not bound by the laws the way every other person in the United States is.  If this doesn't result in prosecution, Attorney General Eric Holder's footnote in history will note he was nothing but a glorified court jester in the Court of St. Barack.

In Iraq, the targeting of Christians continue.  Gerald Butt (UK Church Times) reports:

The most senior Christian cleric in Iraq, the Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon and Archbishop of Baghdad, the Most Revd Louis Raphael Sako, has written to the secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, asking him to put pressure on the international community to provide more assistance to Christians and other minorities in Iraq who have been targeted by Islamic militants. "The instability in Iraq threatens the entire region," the Patriarch writes. "The instability in the region is worrisome because of the increasing attacks mounted on Christians and minorities."

The Iraqi Christian community, Patriarch Sako continues, has suffered a "disproportionate share of hardship caused by sectarian conflicts, terrorist attacks, migration, and now even ethnic cleansing: the militants want to wipe out the Christian community."

As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, the White House has done next to nothing on this issue.  Today?

The White House issued the following:

Office of the Press Secretary
Washington, D.C.
July 31, 2014

Readout of Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin Rhodes’ Meeting with Iraqi Chaldean and Assyrian Community Leaders
Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes today met with Iraqi Chaldean and Assyrian community leaders to discuss the security situation in Iraq and its effect on Christian and other minority populations. Mr. Rhodes appreciated hearing the vital perspectives of these important communities regarding the difficulties facing Iraq’s Christians. He condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) ongoing attacks on the Christian and minority communities in northern Iraq and the group’s systematic destruction of religious sites. He emphasized that the United States continues to urge Iraq’s leaders to form an inclusive government that can address the rights and legitimate concerns of all of Iraq’s diverse communities, including Iraq’s Christians – only then can Iraq successfully and sustainably confront the security and humanitarian challenges all of its citizens face in the common fight against ISIL. He noted that we encourage government officials in Baghdad and Erbil to take all possible measures to assist Iraq’s vulnerable populations, and agreed that this issue demands the continued attention of the international community. The United States remains committed to helping all of Iraq’s diverse communities, including Christians, Sabean-Mandaeans, Shabak, and Yezidis.

 This is the sort of thing the White House needs to be doing.  

We'll note it, gladly.  But one meeting isn't going to rectify anything.  And it wasn't even as personal as a White House beer summit, was it?

That can be seen as a first step; however, it cannot be seen as the full journey.  Should that happen, Barack will fall even further in the polls. The latest AP-GfK poll finds many trouble spots for Barack, including, "38 per cent find the situation in Iraq of pressing importance; 57 per cent disapprove of Obama's handling of it."

The targeting in Iraq is not just of Christians, others are being targeted as Nawzat Shamdeen (Niqash) points out:

Local journalist Amir Qassim believes the most recent announcement by the UNSC is about pressure brought to bear on it by aid organizations and non-governmental organizations. “Many of these organizations have Christian backgrounds so they sympathize with the Christians of Mosul,” he explains. “And they pressure their own often-Christian governments to do something within the United Nations. But they shouldn’t focus on one sector of Iraqi society at the expense of others.”
Qassim believes there are other reasons that diverse minorities don’t get as much attention as the province’s Christians. The local and federal authorities have often ignored these minorities, he says. And local aid organizations have also been unable to assist them, especially if the members of the minority groups remain inside Mosul.
“The civil society organizations that are still active are busy working with internally displaced people inside various camps,” he maintains. “It’s hard for them to help those inside Mosul, or to know what is going with them there.”
Five years after a story was published by NIQASH about the fact that minorities were fleeing Mosul, nothing much has changed. And there are similar arguments to what is being heard today: That the international community neglects other minorities in Iraq and focuses mainly on the country’s Christians.

At today's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Marie Harf, the topic of Iraq was briefly touched on.

QUESTION: Marie, I just have one question about Kurdistan, and I’m sorry I must go because I have an emergency situation. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

MS. HARF: Okay. Okay.

QUESTION: So on July 28th, Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that all Kurdish oil exports need to go through the central government. You’ve repeated that as well. Yet on July 30 – like yesterday – Brett McGurk, the Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of Iraq policy tweeted that questions about Iraq’s oil exports must be resolved, quote-unquote, “in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution.” And that quote again: “There is no U.S. ban on the transfer or sale of oil originating from any part of Iraq.”

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: I’m now thoroughly confused really. What is the U.S. policy vis-a-vis oil from Kurdistan and Iraq? On the one hand, Jen Psaki says it has to go through the central government.

MS. HARF: There’s no – there’s no disconnect here.

QUESTION: On the other hand, Brett McGurk says there is no U.S. ban on oil from any part of Iraq to be sold.

MS. HARF: Right. Those two things aren’t inconsistent here. So our policy on this issue has been clear and consistent. Iraq’s energy resources belong to all of the Iraqi people. These questions should be resolved in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution. There is no U.S. ban on the transfer or sale of oil originating from any part of Iraq. As in many cases involving legal disputes, however, the U.S. recommends the parties make their own decisions with advice of counsel. We’ve told them there could be legal consequences. And I would emphasize that the – particularly the situation we’ve seen recently demonstrates why it’s really incumbent on Baghdad and Erbil to come together and find a negotiated resolution to this issue so you don’t see more legal issues like have arisen.

QUESTION: So are you saying that there is no U.S. ban on oil from Kurdistan --

MS. HARF: From any part of Iraq.

QUESTION: From any part of Kurdistan. For example, Kurdistan.

MS. HARF: There is no U.S. ban on the transfer or sale of oil originating from any part of Iraq. I don’t know how much clearer I can be.

QUESTION: Okay, but there should – but on the other hand, there must be approval of the central
government for any oil export or sale. That’s what you are saying, right?

MS. HARF: As we have said, these – this issue – Iraq’s oil belongs to all of the people of Iraq.


MS. HARF: Which is why these decisions need to be made in a manner consistent with Iraq’s constitution and why Baghdad and Erbil need to come to a decision on how they’re going to work this out.

QUESTION: But just – my question was, should Kurdistan get the approval from the central government before exporting it or not? Must – are, like --

MS. HARF: So Erbil and Baghdad need to find a resolution to this situation, period.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. HARF: There is no ban.

QUESTION: If the oil has been taken out by the Kurds to help them towards independence and stuff like that, and they sell it to the U.S. or to people in the U.S., is that not illegal?

MS. HARF: Well, illegal under U.S. law?

QUESTION: Well, you’re taking – I mean, the money’s being – the oil is being sold then illegally, because it’s not, as he said, not going through the central government.

MS. HARF: Right. We --

QUESTION: It’s going through --

MS. HARF: This isn’t a legal issue. This is a policy issue. We have told different parties in Iraq that if they attempt to do things like we’ve seen recently, there could be legal ramifications, that we believe the oil of Iraq belongs to all of the people of Iraq.

Oh, how Marie loves to split hairs.  The Kurdistan Regional Government issued the following statement:

Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – The KRG Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami, commented today on the Iraqi federal government’s petition to a US court to seize crude oil produced in the Kurdistan Region.
“The KRG’s lawyers sent a letter to a court in Texas to explain the misrepresentations of the Iraqi federal government. The Iraqi federal government has petitioned a Texas court for an order to seize crude oil legally produced, exported, and sold by the KRG in accordance with the Iraqi constitution and law. The letter indicates the possibility of massive counterclaims against the federal government,” said Minister Hawrami.
“The federal government of Iraq is trying to achieve in foreign courts and in the Iraqi supreme court what is denied to the federal government by the Iraqi constitution. The federal government cannot win, because our crude is legally produced, shipped, exported, and sold in accordance with the rights of the Kurdistan Region as set forth in the Iraqi constitution,” continued Minister Hawrami. “Our claims for unpaid compensation, which must be paid as provided in the Iraqi constitution and the law, will also be before any foreign court in which the federal government is seeking to attack us,” Minister Hawrami continued.

  Click here to view the letter sent to the federal court in Texas.

The latest court verdict in Iraq backed up the Kurds.  The US courts have no business in this issue. But the US government had no business invading Iraq and that was of no big concern either.

While the US government tries to control Iraqi oil, they have little interest in protecting the Iraqi citizens.  UNAMI notes the increase in violence and how it's preventing the delivery of aid and care:

ERBIL, 31 July 2014 – The United Nations has expressed concern over rising levels of violence and instability across Iraq and its impact on the lives of everyday citizens.
“Immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access is now needed,” Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG), and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, said. “We urgently need to deliver lifesaving assistance and restore basic services to conflict-affected communities, as well as new and existing IDPs and refugees, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or affiliation.”
More than 500,000 people have been displaced since June, bringing the total this year to 1.4 million, including more than 230,000 Syrian refugees. Between January and June this year, 5,500 people have been killed and 12,000 injured. Almost 900 people have been killed in July alone.
Many of the newly displaced have fled to Kurdish-controlled areas or the south, while others remain trapped in active conflict zones and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
In many cases, basic services have been targeted, including health facilities, water supplies and power grids, creating additional, unnecessary suffering to the civilian population.
“Civilians must be guaranteed that they can leave areas affected by the violence in dignity and safety with their right to access humanitarian assistance respected,” Ms. Badcock said.
“The UN and humanitarian partners are ready to assist, but to do so all parties to the conflict must agree to stop the hostilities and guarantee the safe and unimpeded access of humanitarian staff and goods to communities in need,” she said.

The violence never ends in Iraq.  And when the killer is Nouri al-Maliki, they just look away.

Targeting civilian populations in a war zone is a crime in and of itself.  Using collective punishment is a legally defined War Crime recognized by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Spain . . . The list is endless.

Collective punishment is a War Crime and it's what Nouri's done and is doing.

For example, NINA reports, "A medical source said to the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / Nina / Golan, Alshohadaa, Jubail, al-Sinaii neighborhoods subjected to indiscriminate bombing, causing the death of four civilians and wounding eleven others including women and children."  NINA also notes Nouri's "warplanes bombed the village of Deira of Hawija" leaving 1 civilian dead and seven more inured.  And NINA quotes a hospital worker explaining, "Iraqi warplanes bombed the village of Deira of Hawija, west of Kirkuk, which led to kill one civilian and wounding seven others, in addition to material damage to a number of homes "

How many civilians will Nouri be allowed to kill? 

At what point is verbal outrage going to be expressed?

If he doesn't kill you from the air, Nouri hopes to kill you on the streets.  Human Rights Watch notes:

Government-backed militias have been kidnapping and killing Sunni civilians throughout Iraq’s Baghdad, Diyala, and Hilla provinces over the past five months. The killings and abductions mark a serious escalation in sectarian violence at a time when the armed conflict between government forces and Sunni insurgents is intensifying.
Human Rights Watch documented the killings of 61 Sunni men between June 1 and July 9, 2014, and the killing of at least 48 Sunni men in March and April in villages and towns around Baghdad, an area known as the “Baghdad Belt.” Witnesses and medical and government sources said that militias were responsible in each case. In many cases, witnesses identified the militia as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq (League of the Righteous), commonly referred to as Asa’ib
“The government seems to think that if people blame militias for killings it can wash its hands of the matter,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “In fact, the government needs to rein in these militias and call a halt to killing people just because of their sect.”
As the government has lost control over large portions of the country in the wake of an offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS, now renamed the Islamic State) and allied Sunni insurgents, Prime Minister al-Maliki has been forming new security forces made up of militias and is taking little or no action as they kill people, Human Rights Watch found. The government should hold those responsible for these killings to account.
In March, media reports said that Prime Minister al-Maliki had met with senior security advisers and told them that he would form a new security force consisting of three militias to police Baghdad – Asa’ib, Kita’ib Hezbollah, and the Badr Brigades, which is run by Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri. A government official who provides national security advice to the prime minister’s office told Human Rights Watch in June that while Asa’ib fighters “take orders” from the militia’s military leader, Qais al-Khalazy, “ultimately they’re loyal to Maliki, who gives Qais orders.”
In four of the killings documented by Human Rights Watch in Baghdad, in June and July, witnesses said that men in civilian clothing driving military vehicles without license plates kidnapped the victims, who were all Sunni males ranging in age from their early 20s to late 50s, from the Sha`ab, Baya`a, Za`afraniyya, and Ghazaliyya neighborhoods. In each instance, their bodies were found a few hours or days later with bullet wounds to their heads. In another instance in June, two men in civilian clothing, with their faces loosely covered, drove up to a well-known café in the Sha`ab neighborhood and shot the two Sunni owners in the head in front of café customers and in view of a military checkpoint 10 meters away, a witness told Human Rights Watch.

Lastly, the following community sites updated:

  • Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming!

    This is from David Swanson's War Is A Crime website:

    Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming!

    We are at a crossroads, faced with a climate crisis that threatens to end our world as we know it.
    The signs of climate change are all around us.  They include—increasingly severe weather everywhere (floods, heat waves, droughts, cyclones and wildfires), as well as melting polar ice and glaciers, rising acidic oceans, and thawing of Siberian permafrost, which threatens release of huge, devastating, methane gas emissions.

    If we pursue business as usual we face a world of food shortages caused by drought,  increasing disease and deaths, and displacement from vast areas of flooded and uninhabitable terrain. We must do all in our power to stop greenhouse gas emissions, counteract the effects, and prevent the increase of global warming.

    Stop the War on Mother EarthBut the developing climate emergency does not exist in isolation. And we must understand and confront the social and economic context that produced and accompanies it: war and unlimited military expenditures, corporate globalization, vast social inequality and racism.
    • The US military is the single greatest institutional producer of greenhouse gases in the world.
    • Wars by their very nature destroy the environment and burn and release massive amounts of greenhouse gases. Recent military mobilizations are pouring huge amounts of new carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
    • The vast expenditures now consumed by military machines are the very resources needed for a crash program to rapidly create a renewable energy infrastructure and put millions of people to work in green jobs.
    • Wars and military buildup are in large part dedicated to controlling the fossil fuel energy sources on which our present model of global economic development and endless growth depend. Resort to armed conflict is increasing as fossil fuels become more expensive and difficult to extract, transport and produce.
    • Nuclear weapons, like climate change, threaten to destroy the world. There are nine nuclear-armed nations and 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world. With ten wars and 34 limited conflicts now occurring, the chance of any one of them escalating to nuclear war and its unthinkable human and environmental impact is an ever-present specter.  The nuclear powers are bound, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to disarm all nuclear weapons everywhere, but after 44 years, they have not begun comprehensive negotiations.  In the words of President Kennedy, we must “end these weapons of mass destruction, before they end us.”
    • Corporate dominance and extreme social inequality are intrinsic to our expansionist global economic model.
    • The UN Millennium Development Goals in conjunction with other forces have helped lift the poorest billion of humanity out of extreme poverty. The damage now coming as a result of climate change threatens to erase that progress.
    • The people most affected by climate change are those with the fewest resources to deal with it.  With increasing environmental destruction, droughts, floods, and famine, there will be massive displacement of impoverished and desperate people leading to forced migration and regional hostilities.  Within the U.S., the people most affected include those in prison or nursing homes and others who lack resources to leave their homes or institutions in storms like Katrina and Sandy.
    • Two examples of long-term-drought-induced Climate Wars are the tragedies in Somalia and Syria. In the latter case, a five-year drought was one of the contributors to an ongoing civil war.  Somalia has been at war for twenty years, and that conflict has also embroiled neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
    • Rather than taking emergency measures to address climate change and the needs of those impacted now, our military is preparing to control these displacements to protect “US interests”.

    We who have opposed the toxic, polluting, life- and earth-destroying wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the existential threat of nuclear weapons are in total support of the People’s Climate March and its vision of a world without fossil fuels and the fires of war. We will march, we will demand divestment and fight denial, we will battle the pollution of Big Money, and we will join in demanding that the Obama administration step forward to achieve a 2015 global treaty to phase out greenhouse gas emissions.

    We call on all who want to preserve our planet to form a Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming Contingent on September 21.  We organize under the following principles:

    • We can’t effectively address climate change without ending war and militarism;
    • We can’t end war without ending the fossil fuel energy system;
    • We can’t address social injustice unless we stop using war to safeguard an economic infrastructure (based on fossil fuels) that produces and requires vast social inequality.
    • We can’t end war unless we address the systemic inequality and corporate domination that requires it.
    • We must insist that the transition to a sustainable economy and green jobs not be accomplished at the expense of those now employed in the fossil fuel and military sectors and the communities in which they work and live.  Energy and armament corporations should bear the lion’s share of the social cost to make that transition a just one.

    We call on our government

    • To undertake an emergency program to make all our cities energy efficient and to create a new energy grid based on renewable energy sources.
    • To end federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industries—coal, gas, oil and industrial biomass
    • THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS GATHER IN LONDON'S HYDE PARK TO DEMONSTRATEAGAINST POSSIBLE MILITARY STRIKE ON IRAQ.To end the 2005 “Cheney exemption” to the Clean Water Act for gas hydraulic fracking, which threatens clean water supplies to our people in some 23 states. Strictly enforce the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts of 1970, in all energy production.
    • To stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including the Keystone pipeline project, and to rapidly end fracking projects and the awarding of any new offshore drilling contracts.
    • To build a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy future and end subsidies for nuclear power. Nuclear power is not a green alternative energy, results in large amounts of radioactive nuclear waste, and contributes to the global proliferation of nuclear weapons.
    • To implement a financial transaction tax to fund the new solar, wind, hydro, and efficiency programs we need globally and to help clean up the toxic mess of fossil and nuclear destruction.
    • To join with all nuclear powers to abide by their treaty commitments and to move quickly toward mutual abolition of all nuclear weapons as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
    • To re-direct military spending to the creation of millions of green jobs and to research and develop a rapid but just transition from fossil fuels to non-polluting energy sources.
    • To stop the military protection of fossil fuel interests in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
    • To bring all our troops home now from Afghanistan and Iraq, reject military attacks in Iraq, Syria and Iran, and use the billions saved to invest in energy efficient mass transit, schools, affordable housing and sustainable union-standard jobs.
    • To redefine the mission of U.S. military forces as defense of the United States instead of achieving “Full Spectrum Dominance” in the service of global corporations, the fossil fuel industry, and the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against, thereby also allowing closure of most of our 1,000 or more foreign military bases.
    • To stop blocking the proposals for effective international action on climate change being put forward by the Group of 77 and other developing countries, starting at the UN on September 23, 2014.  All countries must do something, but the countries which are most responsible for carbon emissions have the larger responsibility to commit resources, resulting in an 85% cut in greenhouse gases by 2050.   The wealthier developed countries should provide $100 billion to an international fund for green industrial development in less developed countries.

    We can’t afford the greenhouse gas emissions arising from the way we live and from war and preparation for war. And we can’t afford the climate of mistrust and non-cooperation that military threats and intervention foster.

    To successfully avert worst-case climate disaster we will need international agreements and cooperation on a scale not seen in the past; we need new approaches in order to demilitarize US foreign policy and humanize domestic policy.

    We believe that most Americans will welcome these positive changes. Working together, peace, climate and social justice activists can help make this happen.

    We see September 21st as the coming together of the peace, climate and social justice movements and the beginning of a groundswell of public involvement in the creation of a more peaceful, sustainable and just world.

    (organizations for identification only)

    David Swanson wants you to declare peace at  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.  

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