Saturday, August 06, 2022

Moqtada harbors a desire to supplant Sistani and then some

Saturday was the day breasty Moqtad al-Sadr's goons were supposed to have left the Parliament -- per his orders.   The press, it forgets to tell you that, because reporting is really the last thing on the mind of those who call themselves protesters.  Wednesday, big boobed Moqtada told his followers to begin leaving the Parliament and to all be out by Saturday.

Didn't happen.  

Because he really can't control them -- especially not the ones stupid enough to risk danger on his behalf.  These are ones that will take a bullet to the head while bellowing "MOOOO!"  

Shayan Talabany (FOREIGN POLICY) offers:

In recent months, Iraqi populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has gone from the forefront of efforts to formulate a government in Iraq to leading the country toward what he calls a “revolution.” Sadr’s supporters are now protesting in and occupying Iraq’s parliamentary building and the International (Green) Zone of Baghdad, catapulting Iraq’s government formation process into chaos.

After the success of his Sairoon (“Moving Forward”) alliance bloc in October 2021’s parliamentary elections, Sadr appeared to shake up Iraqi politics by forming a government that excluded his Iranian-backed opponents from power. As the leader of the bloc with the largest number of seats, Sadr rejected the formula for consensus-based power-sharing governments that has been the norm since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

Instead, Sadr formed a tripartite “Save the Homeland” alliance with the largest Kurdish party, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), as well as parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi’s Sovereignty Alliance, a Sunni political bloc—thereby cementing a majority in Iraq’s parliament. The alliance was then tasked with forming Iraq’s government.

Didn't happen, Moqtada couldn't pull it off.  So what now?  Talabany argues that Moqtada's attempting to become the equivalent of the Ayatollah Khomeeini:

Like Sadr, Khomeini’s politics have long been analyzed and interpreted. The multiplicity of Iranian identities as well as ideas that Khomeini evoked included a populist assortment of Shiite Islamism, Marxism, and popular anti-colonial, anti-Western, and anti-Israel rhetoric at the time—all of which were instrumental to his pre-1979 appeal and later ability to hijack Iran’s 1979 revolution.

Sadr’s rhetoric has similarly evolved over the years. He encapsulated anti-U.S. sentiment following the 2003 invasion and has maintained staunch anti-imperialism and anti-Israel rhetoric throughout the past two decades, but he also adapted his ideology and focus to change with the times, morphing from explicit Shiite sectarianism in the years following the U.S. invasion to Iraqi nationalism in more recent years. His anti-Iran rhetoric has simultaneously grown alongside increasing anti-Iran sentiment within the country, and when Iraqis took to the streets to denounce Turkish missile strikes on a tourist resort on July 20, Sadr called on his supporters to take to the streets and fight against Turkey.

Sadrists and their affiliates have long held key positions in Iraq’s post-2003 governments, but by refusing to ever hold a direct role in government, Sadr has been able to maintain that he is not accountable for the government’s discrepancies and faults. Instead, he has tried to cultivate a “man of the people” image. Sadr uses his unpredictability to maintain his outsider position because appearing to remain outside of Iraq’s political system is part of his larger goal.

That would make sense.  Moqtada's always loathed Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and his hold over Iraq.  

Meanwhile, neocon Michael Rubin weeps at 1945:

The gap between Washington’s perspective of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and reality grows daily. Many in the State Department remember Kadhimi as the human rights scholar who chronicled late dictator Saddam Hussein’s abuses or as the journalist who covered Iraqi politics for Al-Monitor, often from a liberal perspective.  Those in the Central Intelligence Agency still see Kadhimi as the competent bureaucrat who took the helm of the Iraqi Intelligence Service at the height of the fight against the Islamic State and worked closely with the United States (and Iran) to end its self-declared emirate.

The American foreign policy establishment breathed a collective sigh of relief when Kadhimi emerged as interim prime minister from the scrum that followed the eruption of nationwide protests and the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Kadhimi had a limited mandate: Oversee electoral reform and act as caretaker until new elections. Iraqis hoped he might also seize the moment. Almost half of Iraq’s population was born after 2003. They were no longer willing to give Iraq’s self-dealing political power brokers the benefit of the doubt. They wanted fundamental reform and someone willing to call out corruption. Kadhimi’s weakness—that he had not arisen from a political party and so had no party machine to back him—could also have been his strength. He could argue that Iraq’s political class must take his bitter medicine or face a revolution that would bring them all down.

In the end, Kadhimi has disappointed. His skin is thin. Iraqis from across the political spectrum note corruption is worse now than under Abdul-Mahdi, though they disagree about Kadhimi’s complicity. Kadhimi’s administration has also been Iraq’s worst for press freedom. Tehran has grown increasingly comfortable with Kadhimi as the Iranian regime realizes his ambition will lead him to give them anything they need without the scrutiny that Maliki or Abdul-Mahdi would bring. Economically, he brags of achievements but does not produce the data to support them. High oil prices will not last forever.

Poor little Michael Rubin, crying in the rain.

Someday when my crying's done
I'm gonna wear a smile and walk in the sun
I may be a fool but till then darling
You'll never see me complain
I'll do my crying in the rain
I'll do my crying in the rain
I'll do my crying in the rain
-- "Crying In The Rain," written by Howard Greenfield and Carole King, first performed by The Everly Brothers, first appears on a Carole album with 1983's SPEEDING TIME.

Yes, Mustafa was the choice of the CIA.  Has been every time.  And yet he was incompetent.  And yet he was corruptible.  Could that be part of the reason he was the CIA choice?  Wake up to reality, Rudin, they chose Nouri al-Maliki because he was so paranoid.  They rated that as an asset -- something that would allow Nouri to be controlled -- "like a puppet."  Stop thinking, you infantile, wet-brained fool, that a thumbs up from certain elements of the US government means that the person is a 'good guy.'

What an idiot, what a fool.  

But he was more honest -- above -- about Mustafa than members of the press have been -- Rubin is not a reporter, he's more of a scholar.  Maybe that required him to offer more honesty than any of the western rags have been inclined to serve up?

Let's note Cindy Sheehan:

I have had this blog for 13 years now and there are almost 2k posts and 400 podcasts.   

This service has become very unwieldly to use with the functionality becoming archaic and as a google product, it has begun to "unpublish" some posts that it deems inappropriate.
However, I will leave it up for eternity because it does have valuable archives and historical relevance, but I won't be updating it.

Marcia had an unpublish on three posts.  Didn't tell her which three.  Cindy says she's moving to SUBSTACK and hopefully that will be a good fit.

But . . . 

a cautionary note, she won't be leaving it up for eternity.

When you stop posting new posts with Blogger/Blogspot, over time, your posts go away.  Then someone else comes along and uses the site.  They may sell porn -- as usually happens -- but the site will continue.  There are too many links online to CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX  for a vulture to leave it alone.  Someone will show up in six months or so posting at her site.  They may, as many do when they take over an existing site, not identify themselves as someone other than Cindy.  So you may see dildoes or who knows what hawked at CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX.  But that is what happens.  

You leave the site it does not stay up for all of eternity.  The posts disappear, the site then becomes available and someone else will be squatting on the site Cindy created.  

There are protests in the KRG and we'll note them next time -- I'm honestly more interested in seeing how they are handled, the government response, in terms of compare and contrast with the pats on the head that Moqtada's goon squad has received.

The following sites updated:


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Spiral Down - acoustic (Cowboy Junkies)


"Spiral Down" is my favorite song by The Cowboy Junkies -- it first appears on their album AT THE END OF PATHS TAKEN.  The version above is from their live, 2009 album ACOUSTIC JUNK.

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National Security Has Nothing To Do With Nuclear Weapons

 National Security Has Nothing To Do With Nuclear Weapons

The author holds up a sign behind Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko

By Yurii Sheliazhenko, World BEYOND War, August 5, 2022

(Presentations by Dr. Yurii Sheliazhenko, executive secretary of Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, at the International Peace and Planet Network conference in New York and at the 2022 World Conference against A and H Bombs in Hiroshima.)

“Thank God Ukraine learned a lesson of Chernobyl and got rid of Soviet nukes in the 1990s.”

Dear friends, I am glad to join this important peacebuilding dialog from Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

I live in Kyiv all my life, 41 years. Russian shelling of my city this year was the worst experience. In the terrible days when air raid sirens howled like mad dogs and my home shook on trembling land, in moments of shiver after distant explosions and swishing missiles in the sky I thought: thank God it is not a nuclear war, my city will not be destroyed in seconds and my people will not be turned into dust. Thank God Ukraine learned a lesson of Chernobyl and got rid of Soviet nukes in 1990s, because if we kept them, we could have new Hiroshimas and Nagasakis in Europe, in Ukraine. Mere fact that other side has nuclear weapons can’t deter militant nationalists from waging their irrational wars, as we see in the case of India and Pakistan. And great powers are relentless.

We know from declassified 1945 memorandum on atomic bomb production of war department in Washington that United States planned to drop A-bombs on tens of Soviet cities; in particular, 6 atomic bombs were assigned for total destruction of Kyiv.

Who knows whether Russia have similar plans today. You could expect anything after Putin’s order to increase the readiness of Russian nuclear forces, condemned in the resolution of United Nations General Assembly of 2nd March “Aggression against Ukraine”.

But I know for sure that President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy was not right when in his infamous speech at Munich Security Conference he suggested that nuclear capability is better security guarantee than international agreements and even dared to place in doubt non-proliferation commitments of Ukraine. It was provoking and unwise speech five days before full-scale Russian invasion, and it poured oil on the fire of escalating conflict along with lethal increase in ceasefire violations in Donbas, concentration of Russia’s and NATO’s armed forces around Ukraine and threatening nuclear exercises on both sides.

I am very disappointed that leader of my country seriously believes, or was led to believe in warheads more than in words. He is former showman, he should know from his own experience it is better to speak with people instead of killing them. When atmosphere is hardening, good joke could help to establish trust, sense of humor helped Gorbachev and Bush to sign Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty which resulted in scrapping four of five nuclear warheads on the planet: in 1980s there were 65 000 of them, now we have only 13 000. This significant progress shows that international agreements matter, they are effective when you honestly implement them, when you build trust.

Unfortunately, most of countries are investing in diplomacy much less public funds than in war, tens times less, which is a shame and also a good explanation why United Nations system, key institutions of nonviolent global governance designed to liberate humankind from the scourge of war, is so underfunded and disempowered.

Look what a great job UN does with so little resources, for example, to ensure food security of Global South by negotiating grain and fertilizers export with Russia and Ukraine amidst the war, and despite Russia undermined the agreement shelling Odessa port and Ukrainian partisans are burning the grain fields to prevent Russia from stealing grain, both sides are pitifully belligerent, this agreement shows that diplomacy is more effective than violence and it is always better to talk instead of killing.

Trying to explain why so-called “defense” gets 12 times more money than diplomacy, U.S. ambassador and decorated officer Charles Ray wrote that, I quote, “military operations will always be more expensive than diplomatic activities — that’s just the nature of the beast,” end of quote. He didn’t even consider the possibility of replacing some military operations with peacebuilding efforts, in other words, to behave more like a good person rather than a beast!

From the end of the cold war till today total annual military expenditure of the world rose almost twice, from one trillion to two trillion dollars; and since we invested so obscenely lot into war, we should not be wondered that we get what we paid for, we get the war of all against all, tens of current wars throughout the world.

Because of these blasphemously gigantic investments into war people gathered now in this All Souls Church in the country which spends more then others on national security, because national security scares the nation, with a prayer: dear God, please save us from nuclear apocalypse! Dear God, please save our souls from our own stupidity!

But ask yourself, how we ended here? Why we have no optimism about Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference which begins the 1st August, and we know, that instead of promised disarmament the conference is going to be turned into shameless blame game seeking deceptive justifications for new nuclear arms race?

Why the military-industrial-media-think-tank-partisan gangsters on both sides expect us to be scared by fictional enemy images, to worship cheap bloodthirsty heroism of warmongers, to deprive our families of food, housing, healthcare, education and green environment, to risk extinction of humans by climate change or nuclear war, to sacrifice our welfare for making more warheads which will be scrapped after a several decades?

Nuclear arsenals don’t guarantee any security, if they guarantee anything it is only existential threat to all life on our planet, and current nuclear arms race is clear contempt to common security of all people on Earth as well as common sense. It is not about security, it is about unfair power and profits. Are we small kids to believe in these fairy tales of Russian propaganda about hegemonic Western empire of lies and in fairy tales of Western propaganda about few crazy dictators alone disrupting world order?

I refuse to have enemies. I refuse to believe in Russian nuclear threat or in nuclear threat of NATO, because not the enemy is the problem, whole system of perpetual war is the problem.

We should not modernize nuclear arsenals, this hopeless archaic nightmare. We should modernize instead our economies and political systems to get rid of nukes – along with all armies and militarized borders, walls and barbed wire and propaganda of international hatred that divides us, because I will not feel safe before all warheads will be trashed and all professional killers learn more peaceful professions.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a step in right direction, but we see that owners of doomsday machines are refusing to recognize the ban of nukes as new norm of international law. Consider their shameless explanations. Russian officials say that national security is more important that humanitarian considerations. What do they think nation is, if not humans? Perhaps, a virus colony?! And in United States officials says that nuclear ban doesn’t allow Uncle Sam to lead global alliance of democracies. Maybe they should think twice how comfortable people of the world feel under a leadership of demigod old goatee salesman of several private tyrannies, corporations of arms industry, mounting the atomic bomb instead of white horse and falling, in halo of glory, into the abyss of planetary suicide.

When Russia and China mirror American hubris, at the same time trying to show much more reasonable self-restraint than Uncle Sam, it should make American exceptionalists think what a bad example they pose to the world and stop to pretend that their violent militarism have anything to do with democracy. Genuine democracy is not a formal election of sheriff every several years, it is everyday dialogue, decision-making and peaceful work on creation of common good without hurting anyone.

Genuine democracy is not compatible with militarism and can’t be driven by violence. There is no democracy where delusional power of nuclear weapons is valued more than human lives.

It is clear that war machine went out of democratic control when we started to stockpile nukes to scare others to death instead of build trust and wellbeing.

People lost the power because most of them have no idea what is behind these things in which they were taught to trust: sovereignty, security, nation, law and order, and so on. But all of it have concrete political and economic sense; this sense could be distorted by greed for power and money and could be refined from such distortions. Reality of interdependence of all societies make experts and decision-makers to make such refinements, admitting that we have one world market and all its intertwined markets can’t be alienated and divided into the two rival markets of East and West, like current unrealistic economic warfare attempts. We have this one world market, and it needs, and it supplies world governance. No delusions of militant radioactive sovereignty could change this reality.

Markets are more resilient to manipulations by systemic violence than populations in whole because markets are full of skilled organizers, it would be great to have some of them join peace movement and help people-loving people to self-organize. We need practical knowledge and effective self-organization to build nonviolent world. We should organize and fund peace movement better than militarism organized and financed.

Militarists use ignorance and disorganization of the people to subordinate governments to their ambitions, to present war falsely as inevitable, necessary, just, and beneficial, you could read rebuttal of all these myths at the website

Militarists are corrupting leaders and professionals, making them bolts and nuts of war machine. Militarists poison our education and media advertising war and nuclear weapons, and I am sure that Soviet militarism inherited by Russia and Ukraine in forms of military patriotic upbringing and compulsory military service is the main cause of current war. When Ukrainian pacifists call to abolish conscription and prohibit it by the international law, or at least fully guarantee human right to conscientious objection to military service, which is violated all the time in Ukrane, – objectors are sentenced to three and more years of prison, men are not allowed to travel abroad – such path of liberation from militarism is necessary to abolish the war before the war abolish us.

Abolition of nuclear weapons is a big change urgently needed, and we need big peace movement to achieve this goal. Civil society should actively advocate nuclear ban, protest against nuclear arms race, support measures of Vienna Action Plan adopted in June at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Nuclear Ban Treaty.

We need to advocate universal ceasefire in all tens of current wars throughout the world, including the war in Ukraine.

We need serious and comprehensive peace talks to achieve reconciliation not only between Russia and Ukraine but also between the East and West.

We need powerful advocacy of peace in civil society and serious public dialog to ensure big changes for nonviolent society, more just and peaceful planetary social contract based on abolition of nuclear weapons and full respect for the sacred value of human life.

Omnipresent human rights movements and peace movements done a great job together in 1980s-1990s successfully pressing governments for peace talks and nuclear disarmament, and now when the war machine went out of democratic control almost everywhere, when it tortures common sense and tramples human rights with disgusting and nonsensical apologetics of nuclear war, with helpless complicity of political leaders, it is on us peace-loving people of the world lies a great responsibility to stop this madness.

We should stop the war machine. We should act now, telling the truth loudly, shifting blame from deceptive enemy images to the political and economic system of nuclear militarism, educating people for basics of peace, nonviolent action and nuclear disarmament, developing peace economy and peace media, upholding our right to refuse to kill, resisting wars, not enemies, with wide variety of well-known peaceful methods, stopping all wars and building peace.

In the words of Martin Luther King, we can achieve justice without violence.

Now it is time for new solidarity of civilian humankind and collective action in the name of life and hope for future generations.

Let’s abolish nukes! Let’s stop the war in Ukraine and all ongoing wars! And let’s build peace on Earth together!


“While the nuclear warheads threaten to kill all life on our planet, nobody could feel safe.”

Dear friends, greetings from Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

Some people could say that I live in wrong place to advocate abolition of atomic and hydrogen bombs. In the world of reckless arms race you can frequently hear that line of argument: Ukraine got rid of nukes and was attacked, therefore, giving up the nuclear weapons was a mistake. I don’t think so, because ownership of nuclear weapons causes high risk to be engaged in nuclear war.

When Russia invaded to Ukraine, their missiles flied with horrible roar near my house and exploded in a distance of several kilometers; I am still alive during conventional war, being more lucky than thousands of compatriots; but I doubt I could survive atomic bombing of my city. As you know, it burns human flesh into dust in a moment at ground zero and makes a large area around uninhabitable for a century.

Mere fact of having nuclear weapons does not prevent war, as we see on example of India and Pakistan. That’s why a goal of general and complete nuclear disarmament is universally recognized norm of international law under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and that’s why abolition of Ukrainian nuclear arsenal, third of largest in the world after Russia and United States, was globally celebrated in 1994 as a historical contribution to the world peace and security.

Great nuclear powers too after the end of the Cold War have done their homework for nuclear disarmament. In the 1980s the total stockpile of nukes threatening our planet with Armageddon was five times bigger than now.

Cynical nihilists may call international treaties mere pieces of paper, but Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START I, was palpably effective and resulted in the removal of about 80% of all strategic nuclear weapons in the world.

It was a miracle, like the humankind has removed a rock of uranium from its neck and changed its mind about throwing itself into the abyss.

But now we see that our hopes for historical change were premature. New arms race began when Russia perceived as a threat the NATO expansion and deployment of U.S. missile defense systems in Europe, responding with production of hypersonic missiles able to penetrate the missile defense. The world again moved towards catastrophe accelerated by despicable and irresponsible greed for power and wealth among elites.

In rival radioactive empires, politicians gave in to temptation of cheap glory of superheroes mounting nuclear warheads, and military production complexes with their pocket lobbyists, think-tanks and media sailed the ocean of inflated money.

During thirty years after the end of Cold War the global conflict between the East and West escalated from economic to military fight for spheres of influence between the United States and Russia. My country was torn apart in this great power struggle. Both great powers have strategies allowing to use tactical nuclear weapons, if they proceed with it, millions of people could die.

Even conventional war between Russia and Ukraine already took more than 50 000 lives, more than 8000 of them civilians, and when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently revealed inconvenient truth about war crimes on both sides, the belligerents in chorus protested against such lack of respect to their supposedly heroic crusades. Amnesty International is bullied all the time by both sides of Ukraine-Russia conflict for exposing human rights violations. It is pure and simple truth: war violates human rights. We should remember that and stand with victims of militarism, peace-loving civilians hurt by war, not with belligerent human rights violators. In the name of humanity, all belligerents should comply with international humanitarian law and the UN Charter taking maximum efforts for peaceful resolution of their disputes. Ukrainian right to self-defense in face of Russian aggression does not lift the obligation to seek a peaceful way out of bloodshed, and there are nonviolent alternatives to military self-defense which should be considered seriously.

It is a fact that any war violates human rights, for that reason peaceful resolution of international disputes is prescribed by the United Nations Charter. Any nuclear war would be, of course, catastrophically criminal violation of human rights.

Nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction doctrine represent the utter absurdity of militarism wrongly justifying the war as a supposedly legitimate instrument of conflict management even if such an instrument is intended to turn whole cities into graveyards, as the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows, which is obvious war crime.

While the nuclear warheads threaten to kill all life on our planet, nobody could feel safe, therefore, common security of humankind demands complete removal of this threat to our survival. All sane people in the world should support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force in 2021, but instead we hear from the Nuclear Five states that they refuse to recognize the new norm of international law.

Russian officials say that national security is more important than humanitarian concerns, and U.S. officials basically say that prohibition of nuclear weapons obstructs their enterprise of gathering all free-market nations under U.S. nuclear umbrella, in exchange for great profits of U.S. corporations on these free markets, of course.

I believe it is obvious that such sort of arguments is immoral and nonsensical. No nation, alliance or corporation could benefit from self-destruction of humankind in nuclear war, but irresponsible politicians and merchants of death could easily benefit from deceptive nuclear blackmail if the people allow to intimidate them and turn into slaves of the war machine.

We should not succumb to the tyranny of nukes, it would be disgrace for humanity and disrespect for sufferings of Hibakusha.

Human life is universally valued higher than power and profits, the goal of full disarmament is envisaged by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, so the law and morality is on our side of nuclear abolitionism, as well as realist thinking, because intensive post-Cold-War nuclear disarmament shows that nuclear zero is possible.

Peoples of the world are committed to nuclear disarmament, and Ukraine too committed to nuclear disarmament in the 1990 declaration of sovereignty, when the memory of Chernobyl was a fresh pain, so, our leaders should respect these commitments instead of undermining them, and if the leaders could not deliver, civil society should raise millions of voices and took the streets to save our lives from provocations of nuclear war.

But make no mistake, we could not get rid of nukes and wars without big changes in our societies. It is impossible to hoard nukes without eventually exploding them, and it is impossible to hoard armies and weapons without bloodshed.

We used to tolerate violent governance and militarized borders that divide us, but one day we must change this attitude, in other case the war system will remain and will always threaten to cause nuclear war. We need to advocate universal ceasefire in all tens of current wars throughout the world, including the war in Ukraine. We need serious and comprehensive peace talks to achieve reconciliation not only between Russia and Ukraine but also between the East and West.

We should protest against investments into the extinction of humankind these insane amounts of public funds desperately needed to reinvigorate declining welfare and deal with climate change.

We should stop the war machine. We should act now, telling the truth loudly, shifting blame from deceptive enemy images to the political and economic system of nuclear militarism, educating people for basics of peace and nonviolent action, upholding our right to refuse to kill, resisting wars with wide variety of well-known peaceful methods, stopping all wars and building peace.

Now it is time for new solidarity of civilian humankind and collective action in the name of life and hope for future generations.

Let’s abolish nukes and build peace on Earth together!


“We must invest in diplomacy and peacebuilding ten times more resources and efforts than we invest in war”

Dear friends, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the situation in Ukraine and advocate peace by peaceful means.

Our government prohibited all men in age from 18 to 60 to leave Ukraine. It is enforcement of harsh military mobilization policies, many people call it serfdom, but President Zelenskyy denies to cancel it despite many petitions. So, my apologies for inability to join you in person.

I would also like to thank the Russian panelists for their courage and call for peace. Antiwar activists are harassed by warmongers in Russia as well as in Ukraine, but it is our duty to uphold human right to peace. Now, when the Doomsday Clock indicates only a hundred seconds to midnight, more than ever we need strong peace movements in every corner of the world raising popular voices for sanity, for disarmament, for peaceful resolution of international disputes, for a more just and nonviolent society and economy.

Discussing the current crisis in and around Ukraine, I will argue that this crisis illustrates systemic problem with a global radioactive militarist economy and we should not allow warmongering propaganda on all sides to advocate violent competition for power and profits between few stockholders, so-called great powers or rather their oligarchic elites, in cruel game with non-changing rules dangerous and harmful to the vast majority of the people on Earth, so the people should resist the war system, not the fictional enemy images created by the propaganda of war. We are not small kids to believe in these fairy tales of Russian and Chinese propaganda about a hegemonic Western empire of lies and in fairy tales of Western propaganda about a few crazy dictators alone disrupting world order. We know from scientific conflictology that deceptive image of enemy is a product of ill imagination, which replaces real people with their sins and virtues with demonized creatures supposedly unable to negotiate in good faith or peacefully coexist, these false enemy images distort our collective perception of reality because of lack of rational self-control over pain and anger and makes us irresponsible, more and more willing to destroy ourselves and innocent bystanders to do maximum harm to these fictional enemies. So we should get rid of any images of enemies to behave responsibly and ensure responsible behavior of others, as well as accountability for misbehavior, without inflicting unnecessary harm to anyone. We need to build more fair, open and inclusive societies and economies without enemies, without armies and without nuclear weapons. Of course, it would mean that great power politics should give up its doomsday machines and step aside facing a massive demand of peace-loving people and markets of the world for big historical changes, universal transition to nonviolent governance and management.

My country was torn apart in the great power struggle between Russia and United States, when society was divided to pro-Western and pro-Russian camps during Orange Revolution in 2004 and ten years later, when United States supported Revolution of Dignity and Russia instigated Russian Spring, both were violent seizures of power by militant Ukrainian and Russian nationalists with foreign backing in Center and Western Ukraine, on the one side, and in Donbas and Crimea, on another side. Donbass war started in 2014, took near 15 000 of lives; Minsk II accords approved by UN Security Council in 2015 were not led to reconciliation because of all-or-nothing militarist policies and permanent ceasefire violations on both sides during eight years.

Threatening military maneuvers and drills with nuclear component by Russian and NATO forces in 2021-2022 as well as Ukrainian threat to reconsider non-proliferation commitment because of Russian aggression preceded lethal intensification of ceasefire violations on both sides of the frontline in Donbas reported by OSCE and subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine with internationally condemned announcement of decision to increase the readiness of Russian nuclear forces. What was left without proper international condemnation, however, is serious plans in near-NATO circles to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine engaging in war with Russia and even using tactical warheads. We see that both great powers are inclined to nuclear brinkmanship dangerously lowering the threshold for nuclear weapons use.

I speak to you from Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. At the end of World War Two, in September 1945, Pentagon’s memorandum on atomic bombs production suggested that United States should drop A-bombs on tens of Soviet cities. U.S. army assigned 6 atomic bombs for turning Kyiv into ruins and mass graveyard, six bombs of such sort that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Kyiv was lucky because these bombs were never exploded, though I am sure military contractors produced the bombs and got their profits. It is not wide-known fact, but my city lives a long time under a threat of nuclear strike. This memorandum I refer to was top secret for many decades before the United States declassified it.

I don’t know what secret plans of nuclear war Russia has, let’s hope these plans will be never enacted, but President Putin in 2008 promised to target Ukraine with nuclear weapons if the United States stationed missile defenses in Ukraine, and this year in the first days of Russian invasion he ordered Russian nuclear forces to move to the heightened alert status explaining it is necessary to prevent NATO intervention on Ukrainian side. NATO wisely refused to intervene, at least for now, but our President Zelenskyy continued to ask the alliance to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, also he speculated that Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons in his war against Ukraine.

President Joe Biden said that any use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be completely unacceptable and entail severe consequences; according to The New York Times, Biden’s administration has formed a tiger team of national security officials to plan U.S. response in that case.

Apart from these threats to wage nuclear war in my country, we have a dangerous situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant turned by Russian occupiers into a military base and recklessly attacked by Ukrainian killer drones.

According to the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, at the public opinion poll, asked about dangers of war to the environment, more than half of Ukrainian respondents expressed concerns about the possibility of radiation contamination because of shelling of nuclear power plants.

From the first weeks of invasion Russian army undermined security of Ukrainian nuclear power plants, and there was a time when some people in Kyiv were sitting in their homes with all windows closed reluctant to walk by the street into shelter during Russian bombing because it was known that Russian military vehicles in Chernobyl disaster zone near the city raised radioactive dust and slightly increased a level of radiation, though authorities assured level of radiation in Kyiv is normal. These horrible days thousands of people were killed by conventional weapons, our everyday life here under Russian shelling was a deadly lottery, and after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv region the same massacres are continuing in Eastern Ukrainian cities.

In a case of nuclear war, millions could be killed. And scenarios of attrition warfare for indefinite time publicly announced on both sides of Russia-Ukraine conflict increase the risk of nuclear war, at least because Russian nuclear forces will presumably remain on alert.

Now we see that great powers turned the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference into a shameless blame game seeking deceptive justifications for the new nuclear arms race, and also they refused to recognize the new norm of international law established by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. They say that nuclear weapons are needed for national security. I wonder what sort of “security” could threaten to kill all life on the planet for the sake of so-called sovereignty, in other words, arbitrary power of government over particular territory, this outdated concept which we inherited from dark ages when tyrants divided all lands into feudal kingdoms to oppress and prey on enslaved populations.

True democracy is not compatible with militarism and violently governed sovereignties, bloodshed for so-called sacred land which different people and their leaders supposedly can’t share interdependently because of some dumb old superstitions. Are these territories more precious than human lives? What is a nation, fellow humans which should be spared from burning into dust, or maybe a colony of viruses able to survive horror of atomic bombing? If a nation is essentially fellow humans, national security has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, because such “security” scares us, because no sane person in the world could feel safe until a last nuke will be scrapped. It is inconvenient truth for arms industry, but we should trust common sense, not these advertisers of so-called nuclear deterrence who shamelessly exploit conflict in Ukraine to convince governments to align with aggressive great powers foreign policy and hide under their nuclear umbrellas, to spend more on weapons and warheads instead of dealing with social and environmental injustice, food and energy crisis.

In my view, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a tragic mistake when in his infamous speech at Munich Security Conference he suggested that nuclear capability is a better security guarantee than international agreements and even dared to place in doubt non-proliferation commitments of Ukraine. It was a provocative and unwise speech five days before full-scale Russian invasion, and it poured oil on the fire of escalating conflict.

But he said these wrong things not because he is evil or dumb person, and also I doubt that Russian President Putin with all his nuclear saber-rattling is such evil and crazy person as Western media portrays him. Both the presidents are products of an archaic culture of war which is common in Ukraine and Russia. Both our countries preserved the Soviet system of military patriotic upbringing and conscription which, in my strong belief, should be prohibited by the international law to limit undemocratic powers of governments to mobilize populations for wars against popular will and to turn populations into obedient soldiers rather than free citizens.

This archaic culture of war is gradually replaced everywhere with progressive culture of peace. World is changed a lot since the second world war. For example, you can’t imagine Stalin and Hitler being asked all the time by journalists and activists when they will end the war or being forced by the international community to form negotiation teams for peace talks and to limit their warfare to feed African countries, but Putin and Zelenskyy are in such a position. And this emerging culture of peace is a hope for better future of humankind, as well as a hope for peaceful resolution of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which is needed according to UN Charter, resolution of General Assembly and presidential statement of Security Council, but yet not pursued by warmongering leaders of Russia and Ukraine who bet on achieving their goals on the battlefield, not at the negotiation table. Peace movements should change it, demanding reconciliation and disarmament from helpless national leaders corrupted by the war industry.

Peace-loving people in all countries on all continents should support each other, all peace-loving people on Earth suffering from militarism and war everywhere, in all tens of current wars on the planet. When militarists are saying to you “Stand with Ukraine!” or “Stand with Russia!”, it is bad advice. We should stand with peace-loving people, real victims of war, not with warmongering governments who continue the war because the archaic war economy incentivises them. We need big nonviolent changes and a new worldwide social contract for peace and nuclear disarmament, and we need peace education as well as peace media to disseminate practical knowledge about nonviolent way of life and existential dangers of radioactive militarism. Economy of peace should be better organized and financed than the economy of war. We must invest in diplomacy and peacebuilding ten times more resources and efforts than we invest in war.

Peace movement should focus on advocacy of human rights to peace and conscientious objection to military service, saying loudly that any kind of war, offensive or defensive, violates human rights and should be stopped.

Archaic ideas of victory and surrender will not bring us peace. Instead, we need immediate ceasefire, good-faith and inclusive multi-track peace talks and public peacebuilding dialogues to achieve reconciliation between the East and West as well as between Russia and Ukraine. And most of all we should recognize as our goal and concretize in serious realistic plans our further transition to future nonviolent society.

It is hard work, but we must do it to prevent nuclear war. And make no mistake, you can’t avoid nuclear war between great powers without telling them that nobody sane should dare to be such a great power that could kill all life on the planet, and also you can’t eliminate nukes without getting rid of conventional weapons.

Abolition of war and the build-up of future nonviolent society should be a common effort of all people of Earth. Nobody can be happy in isolated, armed to the teeth radioactive empire at the cost of death and suffering of others.

So, let’s abolish nukes, stop all wars, and build perpetual peace together!



David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk World Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and U.S. Peace Prize Recipient.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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The Inspirational Artists Influencing Social Movements


Bioneers Pulse – updates from the Bioneers Community
Pieces from the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence (AIR) Program at Bioneers 2022.


Social, political, and environmental movements succeed when supporters feel deeply connected to the cause. Facts and statistics are certainly important, but a compelling story can spark an emotional reaction that motivates organizers on a more impassioned level. The arts have the ability to illustrate what facts cannot, making them an essential factor in nearly all successful movements.

This week, we’re sharing some of our favorite art featured at this year’s Bioneers Conference, including installations, participatory art, and performances. We’ll also share a great conversation we had with inspirational artivist David Solnit. 

JUST A REMINDER! We’ve released videos of all Bioneers keynote presentations and performances. You can watch them all here. Don’t forget to share your favorites with your community.

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Art at Bioneers 2022

Art and artists featured at the 2022 Bioneers Conference. Clockwise from top left: 

  • Ana Teresa Fernández’s work explores the politics of intersectionality through time-based actions and social gestures. This piece, titled On the Horizon, is intended to instigate curiosity and agency around climate change through an immersive and alluring temporary installation. 
  • For Michael Campbell, from an early age, handcrafted objects and the divine were connected. “I’m interested in our perception of the eternal, the divine and the otherworldly through objects that bring about an alternate mythological narrative spoken through the voice of nature.”
  • In response to this year’s site for Bioneers Conference, Fog Fire Collective participated in a series of physical dialogues with the surrounding land and water with the aim of reminding conference guests of the ecological communities that surround the Palace of Fine Arts. Inspired by the history of the nearby “Washer Woman's Lagoon,” the collective inverts the gesture of “washing” by scrubbing mud, algae and soil found within these ecologies into 40- foot lengths of muslin that are then hung from the venue’s ceiling recalling both the verticality of the structure’s pillars and surrounding redwoods. 
  • A piece by the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence (AIR) Program: The mission of the Artist in Residence Program is to empower all communities to conserve natural resources by providing professional Bay Area artists and university students with access to materials at the public dump, a workspace, stipend, and ongoing opportunities to exhibit work in public spaces.
  • A piece by Veronica Ramirez: “I remember the moment when it became a calling to make earth altars and where it would lead me was unknown, I just knew in that moment, I wanted to continue exploring this tremendously potent medicine that found its way to my path. An elder once shared with me that sacralizing our spaces with sacred art is so very fundamental to our revolution. I deeply feel this to be true and believe it’s true for our evolution as well.”

Performance by Jason Nious and Antwan Davis of Molodi

Molodi is far more than an extraordinary performance troupe: it’s a community of energetic leaders, educators, and seasoned entertainers. Molodi pushes the boundaries of stepping through its unique blend of “extreme body percussion,” gumboots, beatbox, poetry, hip hop dance, immersive storytelling, awakened consciousness, educational outreach and robust personalities that brings to life a high-energy percussive experience.

Watch here.

Artivism: David Solnit on Using Art to Influence Movements

“Movements always use the arts, but I think there has been a kind of an emergent intelligence. A lot of people within the movements have started to realize that we need the language of art because the core conflict in our society is between dueling narratives, and if your opponents, the corporations and/or governments you’re combatting, hire top public relations firms and ad agencies and are able to be more powerful storytellers than you, they can keep wrecking the planet. And that requires a shift, because secular rationalist activist types are used to making their case with facts, data and information but that alone doesn’t work. You have to explain that data and information through narratives that resonate in actual people’s lives, and that’s what the arts can do, if you use them right.”

Artist and activist David Solnit discusses his work with Bioneers’ Teo Grossman.

Read here.

More Artivism from

Relational Mindfulness and the Deep Feminine: An Embodied Immersion for Women

A workshop with Deborah Eden Tull and Bioneers’ Nina Simons

Consciously or not, most among us have been conditioned to adapt to a world that has biased us toward the masculine. But in truth, the vital energies of the feminine and masculine - the yin and yang, receptive and active - naturally co-exist in dynamic balance together. When they dance in wholeness, the result is thriving health.

Join Bioneers’ Nina Simons for a restorative retreat that explores more compassionate, wise, respectful, and embodied ways of being that can transform how you experience your life, family, work, and the larger world.

Register now.

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