Wednesday, October 24, 2012

As an Australian, I suppose I am meant to feel elated and proud that Australia has won a non-permanent seat on the United Nation's Security Council. 
Sorry, but for various reasons, I do not. 

The Australian Government, whether Liberal or Labour, is a puppet of the warmongers and exploiters.  It does not have an independent foreign policy, serving the best interests of the people of Australia or the world. The Australian vote in the UN will be just another vote for imperialist wars and exploitation to benefit the obscenely rich and powerful. 

Australia's record and performance on the world stage is a disgrace. I cannot imagine it bringing anything positive by being on the UN Security Council.  

This article by fellow Australian John Pilger, an award-winning investigative journalist and film maker, might help to explain why, sadly, I feel this way about the government of the country of my birth.         Bruce McPhie.


www.johnpilger.com 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  
The Mail on Sunday today reveals shocking new evidence of the full horrific impact of US drone attacks in Pakistan.
 
A damning dossier assembled from exhaustive research into  the strikes’ targets sets out in heartbreaking detail the deaths of teachers, students and Pakistani policemen. . .


The dossier has been assembled by human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who works for Pakistan’s Foundation for Fundamental Rights and the British human rights charity Reprieve.

Filed in two separate court cases, it is set to trigger a formal murder investigation by police into the roles of two US officials said to have ordered the strikes. 

They are Jonathan Banks, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Islamabad station, and John A. Rizzo, the CIA’s former chief lawyer. Mr Akbar and his staff have already gathered further testimony which has yet to be filed. . . 


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Western Policy on Syria is Failing on a Monumental Scale

By Peter Hain

The only way forward for Syria is to broker a political settlement, in consultation with Russia and Iran.
 



My comment on this article:

"Western policy on Syria is failing on a monumental scale"

Really? Is it?

Western policy on Syria is certainly criminal and callous, and I hope it fails. Those western powers and their various puppets supporting the so-called "rebels" (in fact, foreign terrorists and mercenaries) all should be dragged to the International Criminal Court.

However, is Western policy really "failing". . .or is it doing exactly what it set out to do?: using "chaos theory" to destroy targeted governments, and "divide and conquer" the rich resources of this vital part of the world?

The foreign-supported attacks in Syria are now spilling over into Lebanon.  Is this a "failure" of Western policy, or is it part of the Western plan?

Let's not forget this from a Glenn Greenwald article ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2... ):-

Gen. Wesley Clark: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

Clark said the aim of this plot was this: “They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.”

The neocon end as Clark reported them — regime change in those seven countries — seems as vibrant as ever. It’s just striking to listen to Clark describe those 7 countries in which the neocons plotted to have regime change back in 2001, and then compare that to what the U.S. Government did and continues to do since then with regard to those precise countries. . .


And let's not forget this from "Libya All About Oil, Or Central Banking?", Asia Times, April 13, 2011 ( http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD14Ak02... ):-

Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran:
What do these seven countries have in common?


In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers' central bank in Switzerland. . .


No, it seems Western policy is not "failing" - in terms of their real agenda to serve imperialist and Zionist interests. But hopefully it will fail, if only enough people wake up to what is really going on in the world. 

(Bruce)

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Video

“We will keep after Bush and Blair for sure for crimes against peace, war crimes and torture in general,” -- Francis Boyle, a professor of international law.


October 21, 2012 "Press TV -- 

A prominent international lawyer says former US President George W. Bush, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair stand guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes and torture.


In November 2011, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, in which Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois, led the prosecution team, convicted Bush and Blair of crimes against peace and humanity, and genocide over their roles in the Iraq war.

On May 11, 2012, the tribunal also found Bush, former US Vice President Dick Cheney and former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld guilty of the crime of torture.

“We will keep after Bush and Blair for sure for crimes against peace, war crimes and torture in general,” Boyle told Press TV in a recent interview.

“We got them both convicted of a Nuremberg crime against peace,” he added while referring to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

According to Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances are crimes “punishable” under international law.

In September, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Blair and Bush should be taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over their roles in the Iraq war.
“We are making efforts now to do this,” Boyle stated, adding, “We tried to get Bush in Switzerland, but his lawyers advised him not to go to Switzerland. I tried three times to get Bush in Canada, but unfortunately the Canadian government protected Bush.”
“The wheels of justice might turn slowly, but they do turn.”

Boyle also criticized the ICC for its failure to bring to justice US, UK and Israeli criminals.

“So far, they are just going after black thugs from Africa and not dealing with this wholesale mass murderers and criminals from the United States, Britain and Israel,” he said.

Boyle condemned the Israeli regime for “inflicting outright genocide on the Palestinians in Gaza,” adding that there will be hearings in November in Malaysia on the issue of Palestine. 




Saturday, October 20, 2012


By Michael Parenti

October 19, 2012 "Information Clearing House" -   

Those who own the wealth of nations take care to downplay the immensity of their holdings while emphasizing the supposedly benign features of the socio-economic order over which they preside. 

With its regiments of lawmakers and opinion-makers, the ruling hierarchs produce a never-ending cavalcade of symbols, images, and narratives to disguise and legitimate the system of exploitative social relations existing between the 1% and the 99%.

The Nobel Peace Prize would seem to play an incidental role in all this. 

Given the avalanche of system-sustaining class propaganda and ideological scenarios dished out to us, the Nobel Peace Prize remains just a prize. But a most prestigious one it is, enjoying a celebrated status in its anointment of already notable personages.

In October 2012, in all apparent seriousness, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (appointed by the Norwegian Parliament) bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize upon the European Union (EU). 

Let me say that again: the European Union with its 28 member states and 500 million inhabitants was awarded for having "contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe." (Norway itself is not a member of the EU. The Norwegians had the good sense to vote against joining.)

Alfred Nobel's will (1895) explicitly states that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." 

The EU is not a person and has not worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies or promotion of any kind of peace agenda. 

If the EU award looked a bit awkward, the BBC and other mainstream news media came to the rescue, referring to the "six decades of peace" and "sixty years without war" that the EU supposedly has achieved. The following day, somebody at the BBC did the numbers and started proclaiming that the EU had brought "seventy years of peace on the European continent." 

What could these wise pundits possibly be thinking? Originally called the European Economic Community and formed in 1958, the European Union was established under its current name in 1993, about twenty years ago.

The Nobel Committee, the EU recipients, and the western media all overlooked the 1999 full-scale air war launched on the European continent against Yugoslavia, a socialist democracy that for the most part had offered a good life to people of various Slavic nationalities---as many of them still testify today.

The EU did not oppose that aggression. In fact, a number of EU member states, including Germany and France, joined in the 1999 war on European soil led largely by the United States. 

For 78 days, U.S. and other NATO forces bombed Yugoslavian factories, utilities, power stations, rail systems, bridges, hotels, apartment buildings, schools and hospitals, killing thousands of civilians, all in the name of a humanitarian rescue operation, all fueled by unsubstantiated stories of Serbian "genocide." All this warfare took place on European soil.

Yugoslavia was shattered, along with its uniquely designed participatory democracy with its self-management and social ownership system. In its place emerged a cluster of right-wing mini-republics wherein everything has been privatized and deregulated, and poverty has replaced amplitude. Meanwhile rich western corporations are doing quite well in what was once Yugoslavia.

Europe aside, EU member states have sent troops to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and additional locales in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, usually under the tutorship of the U.S. war machine. 

But what was I to expect? 

For years I ironically asserted that the best way to win a Nobel Peace Prize was to wage war or support those who wage war instead of peace. An overstatement perhaps, but take a look.

Let's start back in 1931 with an improbable Nobel winner: Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University. 

During World War I, Butler explicitly forbade all faculty from criticizing the Allied war against the Central Powers. He equated anti-war sentiments with sedition and treason. He also claimed that "an educated proletariat is a constant source of disturbance and danger to any nation." 

In the 1920s Butler became an outspoken supporter of Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Some years later he became an admirer of a heavily militarized Nazi Germany. In 1933, two years after receiving the Nobel prize, Butler invited the German ambassador to the U.S. to speak at Columbia in defense of Hitler. He rejected student appeals to cancel the invitation, claiming it would violate academic freedom.

Jump ahead to 1973, the year one of the most notorious of war criminals, Henry Kissinger, received the Nobel Peace Prize. 

For the better part of a decade, Kissinger served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and as U.S. Secretary of State, presiding over the seemingly endless blood-letting in Indochina and ruthless U.S. interventions in Central America and elsewhere. 

From carpet bombing to death squads, Kissinger was there beating down on those who dared resist U.S. power. In his writings and pronouncements Kissinger continually talked about maintaining U.S. military and political influence throughout the world. If anyone fails to fit Alfred Nobel's description of a prize winner, it would be Henry Kissinger.

In 1975 we come to Nobel winner Andrei Sakharov, a darling of the U.S. press, a Soviet dissident who regularly sang praises to corporate capitalism. 

Sakharov lambasted the U.S. peace movement for its opposition to the Vietnam War. He accused the Soviets of being the sole culprits behind the arms race and he supported every U.S. armed intervention abroad as a defense of democracy. 

Hailed in the west as a "human rights advocate," Sakharov never had an unkind word for the horrific human rights violations perpetrated by the fascist regimes of faithful U.S. client states, including Pinochet's Chile and Suharto's Indonesia, and he aimed snide remarks at the "peaceniks" who did. He regularly attacked those in the West who opposed U.S. repressive military interventions abroad.

Let us not overlook Mother Teresa. All the western world's media hailed that crabby lady as a self-sacrificing saint. In fact she was a mean spirited reactionary who gladly welcomed the destruction of liberation theology and other progressive developments in the world. Her "hospitals" and "clinics" were little more than warehouses for the dying and for those who suffered from curable diseases that went untreated---eventually leading to death. 

She waged campaigns against birth control, divorce, and abortion. She readily hobnobbed with the rich and reactionary but she was so heavily hyped as a heavenly heroine that the folks in Oslo just had to give her the big medal in 1979.

Then there was the Dalai Lama who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.  

For years the Dalai Lama was on the payroll of the CIA, an agency that has perpetrated killings against rebellious workers, peasants, students, and others in countries around the world. His eldest brother played an active role in a CIA-front group. Another brother established an intelligence operation with the CIA, which included a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet to foment insurgency. 

The Dalai Lama was no pacifist. He supported the U.S./NATO military intervention into Afghanistan, also the 78 days' bombing of Yugoslavia and the destruction of that country. As for the years of carnage and destruction wrought by U.S. forces in Iraq, the Dalai Lama was undecided: "it's too early to say, right or wrong," said he in 2005.

Regarding the violence that members of his sect perpetrated against a rival sect, he concluded that "if the goal is good then the method, even if apparently of the violent kind, is permissible." Spoken like a true Nobel recipient.

In 2009, in a fit of self parody, the folks in Oslo gave the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama while he produced record military budgets and presided over three or four wars and a number of other attack operations, followed a couple of years later by additional wars in Yemen, West Pakistan, Libya, and Syria (with Iran pending). 

Nobel winner Obama also [allegedly!] proudly hunted down and murdered Osama Bin Laden, having accused him---without a shred of evidence---of masterminding the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

You could see that Obama was somewhat surprised---and maybe even embarrassed---by the award. Here was this young drone commander trying to show what a tough-guy warrior he was, saluting the flag-draped coffins one day and attacking other places and peoples the next---acts of violence in support of the New World Order, certainly every bit worthy of a Nobel peace medal.

There are probably other Nobel war hawks and reactionaries to inspect. I don't pretend to be informed about every prize winner. And there are a few worthy recipients who come to mind, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Linus Pauling, Nelson Mandela, and Dag Hammarskjöld.

Let us return to the opening point: does the European Union actually qualify for the prize?  Vancouver artist Jennifer Brouse gave me the last (and best) word: 

"A Nobel Prize for the EU? That seems like a rather convenient and resounding endorsement for current cutthroat austerity measures. First, corporations are people, then money is free speech, now an organization of nation states designed to thwart national sovereignty on behalf of ruling class interests receives a prize for peace.

On the other hand, if the EU is a person then it should be prosecuted for imposing policies leading directly to the violent repression of peaceful protests, and to the misery and death of its suffering citizens."

In sum, the Nobel Peace Prize often has nothing to do with peace and too much to do with war. It frequently sees "peace" through the eyes of the western plutocracy. For that reason alone, we should not join in the applause.


Michael Parenti is the author of The Face of Imperialism and Contrary Notions. For further information visit his website: www.michaelparenti.org



The New York Times has finally reported what many watching the Syria insurgency have noticed all along: US-facilitated weapons shipments are ending up in the hands of radical jihadists. 

Of course while getting those facts right, the NYT, blinded as it is by ideology, gets the conclusion wrong. 


The Times has for some time been pushing the line that the US must act fast militarily in Syria lest the mythical "people's uprising" be hikacked by radicals. In short, they have been — surprise — distorting facts to propagandize for war. The NYT line is that US "inaction" on Syria is leading to the radicalization of the rebels. Earlier this month the Times reported/opined that:
"Many Saudi and Qatari officials now fear that the fighting in Syria is awakening deep sectarian animosities and, barring such intervention, could turn into an uncontrollable popular jihad with consequences far more threatening to Arab governments than the Afghan war of the 1980s."
Now we get the news from the Times that:
"'The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,' said one American official familiar with the outlines of those findings, commenting on an operation that in American eyes has increasingly gone awry."
Then the Times pushes its propagandistic conclusion to color the facts according to its own ideology:
"That conclusion, of which President Obama and other senior officials are aware from classified assessments...casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose of helping a democratic-minded opposition topple an oppressive government, or is instead sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the United States." (emphasis added)
Ah yes, the fault is all with the "minimal and indirect" intervention of the US in the conflict. Surely a Libya-type operation would already be reaping US foreign policy the same kinds of rewards we are getting in Libya!

So what is the truth? The truth is hard to swallow for the propagandizing media and the propagandized public: Assad was telling the truth when he told Barbara Walters in an interview earlier this year:
“Not everybody in the street was fighting for freedom. You have different components, you have extremists, religious extremists...like-minded people of Al Qaeda... [F]rom the very first few weeks we had those terrorists they are getting more and more aggressive, they have been killing. We have 1,000– over 1,100 soldiers and policeman killed, who killed them? peaceful demonstrators? This is not logical.”
Of course no one wanted to listen to him because he, like Saddam, Milosevic, Gaddafi, etc before him, had been branded a "madman" in the media. Who could listen to a madman? Who could possibly negotiate with a madman? They only understand one thing, force. We have all heard this interventionist neo-con garbage for decades but for some reason it still seems to work.

Likewise, Mother Agnes Miriam of the Cross, a Melkite Greek Catholic nun, was telling the truth earlier this summer when she told the Irish Times that the rebels were targeting Christians in Syria. She continued:
“The West and Gulf states must not give finance to armed insurrectionists who are sectarian terrorists, most of whom are from al-Qaeda, according to a report presented to the German parliament. ... They bring terror, destruction, fear and nobody protects the civilians. [There were] very few Syrians among the rebels. ...Mercenaries should go home.”
The reason that the weapons being funneled to the Syrian rebels are ending up in the hands of radical Islamists is because the rebels are radical Islamists. 
 
The founder of Doctors Without Borders noticed it after working with the wounded in Syria. German intelligence noticed it after an investigation suggested that up to 95 percent of the Syrian rebels are not Syrian.

It is a myth that the initial peaceful protests only turned violent reluctantly after they were met with force by the regime. In fact we see plans early on to turn events in Syria toward regime change. 

We saw it early in the 1996 US neo-conservative "Clean Break" study for then-Prime Minister Netanyahu, which urged him to "contain, destabilize, and roll-back" Syria and other countries in the region. 

We saw it more recently in numerous influential think tank studies like that of Brookings' Saban Center's oft-cited report early this year tellingly titled, "Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change." Like the authors of the "Clean Break" paper, the Saban Center is heavily neo-conservative and pro-Likud.

In conclusion, here is the really bad news: As the US Syria policy falls apart, there is increasing danger that the built up tension in the region — particularly the disastrous decision of the Turkish government to support the rebels in Syria — is leading to a wider conflict that threatens to spin out of control. 

Turkey and Armenia are at each others throats, Armenia and Azerbaijan are preparing for war, Iraq warily watches chaos on its borders, Russia is installing its next-generation S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in its southern military region near Turkey, and so on. 

Backed into a corner by a failed policy, the US as usual is doubling down on a bad bet, feeding Turkey bogus intelligence about chimeral arms shipments aboard Syrian passenger planes carrying Russian passengers, etc. Rebel mortars lobbed into Turkey give a desperate Erdogan government the pretext it needs to establish a buffer zone in Syria and hope for NATO reinforcements, which are not coming. 

French observer Thierry Meyssan writes that "Turkey [is] on the verge of a nervous breakdown" after NATO "packs it in" on Syria.


 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tell Me Lies:
European Satellites Ordered To Drop Iranian Channels In Disregard of Free Speech


By Danny Schechter

. . .Despite the fact that western media is available in Iran, and western journalists frequently report, or as many Iranians believe, ‘distort’ the news from there, the West now wants to seal off more than Iranian oil. . .   



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A brief history of Iran and America's relations, and the facts that have led to this political gridlock. Continue


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U.S. Had Foreknowledge of Japan's Attack on Pearl Harbor.
Let It Happen to Justify American Entry Into WWII


By WashingtonsBlog

Military Officers and Code Breakers Speak Out … On Camera. Continue


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The Week the World Stood Still
The Cuban Missile Crisis and Ownership of the World


By Noam Chomsky

There is more reason than ever to attend to the warning of Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, almost 60 years ago, that we must face a choice that is “stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?” Continue


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The Real Blame for Deaths in Libya

By Ray McGovern

. . .Only a few members of the House and Senate seem to care very much when presidents act like kings and send off troops drawn largely by a poverty draft to wars not authorized (or simply rubber-stamped) by Congress. . .  Continue

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Hypocrisy And The Shooting of Malala Yousafzai

By Shaik Zakeer Hussain

. . .What I am really concerned about is the hypocritical stance taken by some of the voices who are standing up for Malala today. . . Continue

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American Intelligence officials are acknowledging that the bulk of the weapons flowing into Syria for the US-backed war to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad are going into the hands of Al Qaeda and like-minded Islamist militias.

 



Monday, October 15, 2012

News from Project RENEW Vietnam:


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We’re pleased to share with your our third quarterly newsletter with updates about the continuing successes of Project RENEW in helping to make Quang Tri Province safe from unexploded ordnance. 

Project RENEW
103 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street
Dong Ha City, Quang Tri Province
Vietnam


Kids look at the history of the war and learn how to be safe from wartime ordnance

Finding a shady spot, Tran Thanh Son and his friend quickly set up an easel, paper, and colors to begin their drawing. Their eyes sparkled with eagerness and confidence as they discussed the topic and the colors to choose for their painting.  In another corner of the garden of the Mine Action Visitor Center (MAVC), other schoolmates were clustered in groups of five, starting their paintings as well. 

 

 

Silent sentries on constant alert protect their neighbors from wartime ordnance

On a rainy day in early September 2012, Nguyen Quoc Ve stopped RENEW's Community Support Team (CST) as they were moving through his neighborhood. The 15-year-old boy in Tan Quang Village, Cam Tuyen Commune, had noticed the team while he was tending his family's water buffalo, and he was anxious to report a wartime bomb he had seen the day before. Ve was particularly aware of the danger from this ordnance because his father had lost both hands and one eye in an accident years ago. Once Ve explained the situation to the team, they didn't hesitate, slogging through the rain to the exact location where Ve and his father pointed to the unexploded ordnance lying by the roadside. 

 

Strong-willed mother finds her way out of poverty with support from Mushrooms-with-a-Mission 

For years, Ms. Doan Thi Muon, a single parent of three children in Cam Lo District, has been collecting and trading junk to earn enough money to feed her family. The 50-year-old single mother lost her job as a kindergarten teacher after she gave birth to her third child in 2000. Having not enough land for farming, her only choice was to start trading all kinds of assorted junk for income – kitchen utensils, pieces of fabric, electrical wiring, aluminum cans. For twelve years she has had to bike ten kilometers a day, making the rounds house to house to collect scrap under scorching heat and biting cold. Her health has suffered. She has been diagnosed with spondylitis and hernias. She worries that someday she may be too sick to continue working as scrap collector.

 
Vietnamese farmer, cluster bomb survivor, returns to Oslo 

Pham Quy Thi, a Quang Tri farmer, proud father of three children, and an amputee who lost his arm in a cluster bomb accident, had a busy week in September when he traveled to Oslo, Norway to attend the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (3MSP) as a Ban Advocate.

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Some of the important news and views that we SHOULD learn about from the mainstream media . . . 
but probably won't!



The Horrors of WMD

By RT

. . . Between 2007 and 2010 in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with birth defects. Also, over 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage. . .    Continue



In Case You Missed It
Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre
Video



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Why Europe Did Not Deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

By David Swanson

. . . Was Nobel asking so much really when he asked that a prize go to whoever did the best work toward abolishing war? . . .   
Continue



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The REAL Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan   (It Was Not To End the War Or Save Lives)

By Washington's Blog

. . . I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives. . .   
Continue



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None Dare Call It Murder 
Obama’s Drone Dilemma

By Eric Posner

. . . The U.N. Charter permits countries to use military force abroad only with the approval of the U.N. Security Council, in self-defense, or with the permission of the country in which military force is to be used. .  .  
Continue



Drone Wars Protester Sentenced to Federal Prison

By David Swanson

Brian Terrell’s statement at sentencing, Free Speech and Letting Murder Off the Hook, Justice Denied in Missouri.      Continue



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By S. Brian Willson
. . . The illegality and immorality of these wars, conducted with no accountability or plausible justification, breed a corruption at the top political levels of society that permeates into every aspect of society. . .    Continue