Archive | June 2nd, 2014

Jeffrey Blankfort: Are there I$raHell lobby gatekeepers and damage control squads on the Left? ”VIDEO”

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Jeffrey Blankfort: Are there I$raHell lobby gatekeepers and damage control squads on the Left? ”VIDEO”

Alison Weir: Findings from the new book “Against Our Better Judgement” ”VIDEO”

Posted in USAComments Off on Alison Weir: Findings from the new book “Against Our Better Judgement” ”VIDEO”

China Condemns US for “Unscrupulous” Global Cyber-Surveillance

Report out of Beijing catalogs how NSA has targeted government leaders, businesses, and private citizens all over the world
– Jon Queally

Demonstrators hold signs supporting Edward Snowden outside the Consulate of the United States in Hong Kong last year as they urged the U.S. government to pardon the former contractor. (Kin Cheung, Associated Press)A Chinese government agency has called out the National Security Agency and the U.S. government for maintaining what it calls an “unscrupulous” global surveillance regime that goes beyond anti-terror operations and traditional espionage by casting a net over entire populations in order to serve its own hegemonic interests.

Following disclosures made possible by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, China’s Internet Media Research Center conducted its own investigation into the revelations and the extent of U.S. spying both against China and around the world. Released Monday, the report—entitled The United States’ Global Surveillance Record—includes a pointed indictment of the the NSA’s international activities, pushes back against the U.S. government’s defense of its spy policies, and calls for end to widespread abuse.

According to the report’s forward:

As a superpower, the United States takes advantage of its political, economic, military and technological hegemony to unscrupulously monitor other countries, including its allies. The United States’ spying operations have gone far beyond the legal rationale of “anti-terrorism” and have exposed its ugly face of pursuing self-interest in complete disregard of moral integrity. These operations have flagrantly breached International laws, seriously infringed upon the human rights and put global cyber security under threat. They deserve to be rejected and condemned by the whole world. […]

Targets of U.S. surveillance include the Chinese government and Chinese leaders, Chinese companies, scientific research institutes, ordinary netizens, and a large number of cell phone users. China sticks to the path of peaceful development, and sees no justification for being targeted by America’s secret surveillance under the guise of fighting terrorism.

America must explain its surveillance activities, cease spying operations that seriously infringe upon human rights and stop creating tension and hostility in global cyber space.

The report comes amid elevated tensions between Beijing and Washington over cyber-espionage and follows recent accusations from the Obama administration that an army of Chinese hackers, under orders from top officials, have been conducting high-level surveillance against U.S. companies. China denies the charges.

In making its case against the scope of U.S. surveillance, the report highlight these examples of NSA spying  against China and other nations:

  • Collecting nearly 5 billion mobile phone call records across the globe every day
  • Spying over German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone for more than 10 years
  • Plugging into the main communication networks between Yahoo’s and Google’s overseas data centers, and stealing data of hundreds of millions of customers
  • Monitoring mobile phone apps for years and grabbing private data
  • Waging large-scale cyber attacks against China, with both Chinese leaders and the telecom giant Huawei as targets

And the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, citing specific programs directed against China,reports:

Documents revealed by Snowden to Der Spiegel showed that the U.S. has conducted mass cyber-attacks on China, targeting Chinese state leaders and Huawei, the second largest telecom solutions provider in the world, it said.

Attacks were also aimed at the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Chinese banks and telecommunication companies. According to Der Spiegel, the spying operations also covered several former Chinese state leaders, and government departments and banks.

According to a report in Foreign Policy magazine, the United States has stolen a huge amount of important intelligence information from China and other countries via cyber-attacks carried out by the NSA’ s Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which was established in 1997.

Citing an interview with Snowden in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the report said the NSA uses numerous methods to hack Chinese telecommunication companies in order to steal the text messages of their users.

Snowden also told the SCMP that the NSA had hacked the servers of Tsinghua University, China’s most prestigious university. At least 63 computers and servers were attacked in January, 2013. The SCMP report noted that the attack on Tsinghua University, home to one of six main network backbones — the China Education and Research Network — means that data from millions of Chinese citizens may have been stolen.

Posted in USA, ChinaComments Off on China Condemns US for “Unscrupulous” Global Cyber-Surveillance

Armed With US Weapons, Iraqi Gov’t Repeatedly Attacked Hospital


Human Rights Watch report exposes atrocities committed by U.S.-backed Iraqi government in and around Fallujah

– Sarah Lazare

Remnant of a direct-fire rocket-assisted projectile outside Fallujah General Hospital in Anbar Province. (Photo: HRW report)The U.S.-backed Iraqi government has repeatedly struck Fallujah’s main hospital with mortars and other munitions and has barrel-bombed densely populated residential areas in and around the city, according to a new report.

Published Tuesday by Human Rights Watch, the findings exposed atrocities committed in the Iraqi government’s escalated campaign against armed groups in Anbar province and immediately prompted condemnation from peace and justice campaigners.

“As this report shows, the U.S. is brazenly providing Hellfire missiles and other heavy artillery to an Iraqi government that shows very little regard for the lives of people in Fallujah and areas across Iraq,” Ali Issa of the War Resisters League told Common Dreams. “This must end.”

According to interviews with multiple witnesses, including three employees at Fallujah General Hospital, since January the attacks have hit the emergency room, intensive care unit and other sections of the facility. While witnesses were not sure how many patients had been injured as a result, they said at least four Bangladeshi workers and three Iraqi doctors had been hurt.

An anonymous resident of Fallujah described an April 1st attack he witnessed when seeking care for his son at the hospital: “Most of the injured people were women and kids. I saw three children injured in their legs from shrapnel, one with shrapnel in his head and two in his back, and they were injured again [in the mortar strike], along with two women in the reception area. Another girl had already lost her leg in a previous mortar strike and when they took her to the hospital she was injured in her back with shrapnel.”

An Anbar-based security officer with the Iraqi government, also anonymous, “said government forces have targeted the hospital with mortars and artillery on 16 separate occasions,” according to the report. The testimony, combined with photographic and other evidence, strongly suggests intentional targeting of the hospital, HRW concludes.

“All hospitals, whether civilian or military, are specially protected under the laws of war,” the report notes. “They may not be targeted, even if being used to treat enemy fighters.”

The attacks on the hospital are in addition to the bombing of residential neighborhoods in and around Fallujah since early May. The report references “the use of barrel bombs, dropped from helicopters, on populated areas of Fallujah” and “mortar and rocket attacks that have killed civilians, and damaged or destroyed homes, at least two mosques, and one school that were not being used for military purposes.”

“The government has been firing wildly into Fallujah’s residential neighborhoods for more than four months, and ramped up its attacks in May,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch.

The Iraqi government attacks are part of an escalated military campaign that has been backed by U.S. military aid, including surveillance drones, ammunition, and Hellfire missiles.

The report notes that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), one of the armed groups opposing the Iraqi government, is also guilty of atrocities, including the deliberate killing of civilians. In addition, ISIS and the Anbar Military Council are both implicated in summary executions, according to the report.

According to Issa of WRL, “It is the sectarian policies of the Iraqi government—long empowered by the U.S.—that are making Fallujah a breeding ground for murderous al-Qaeda off-shoots like ISIS.”

He added, “Since the occupation in 2003, Iraq’s political elite have fostered a culture of hate as a way to play politics, leaving the vast majority of Iraqis with very little room to build on their grassroots institutions, which have survived against all odds.”

Posted in USA, IraqComments Off on Armed With US Weapons, Iraqi Gov’t Repeatedly Attacked Hospital

What If the Democratic Response to Snowden Is to Expand Surveillance?


I got distracted reading two pieces this morning. This great Andrew O’Hehir piece, on how those attacking Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald ought to consider the lesson of Justice Louis Brandeis’ dissent in Olmstead.

In the famous wiretapping case Olmstead v. United States, argued before the Supreme Court in 1928, Justice Louis Brandeis wrote one of the most influential dissenting opinions in the history of American jurisprudence. Those who are currently engaged in what might be called the Establishment counterattack against Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden,including the eminent liberal journalists Michael Kinsley and George Packer, might benefit from giving it a close reading and a good, long think.

Brandeis’ understanding of the problems posed by a government that could spy on its own citizens without any practical limits was so far-sighted as to seem uncanny. (We’ll get to that.) But it was his conclusion that produced a flight of memorable rhetoric from one of the most eloquent stylists ever to sit on the federal bench. Government and its officers, Brandeis argued, must be held to the same rules and laws that command individual citizens. Once you start making special rules for the rulers and their police – for instance, the near-total impunity and thick scrim of secrecy behind which government espionage has operated for more than 60 years – you undermine the rule of law and the principles of democracy.

“Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher,” Brandeis concluded. “For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution.”

And this more problematic Eben Moglen piece talking about how Snowden revealed a threat to democracy we must now respond to.

So [Snowden] did what it takes great courage to do in the presence of what you believe to be radical injustice. He wasn’t first, he won’t be last, but he sacrificed his life as he knew it to tell us things we needed to know. Snowden committed espionage on behalf of the human race. He knew the price, he knew the reason. But as he said, only the American people could decide, by their response, whether sacrificing his life was worth it.

So our most important effort is to understand the message: to understand its context, purpose, and meaning, and to experience the consequences of having received the communication.

Even once we have understood, it will be difficult to judge Snowden, because there is always much to say on both sides when someone is greatly right too soon.

I raise them in tandem here because both address the threat of spying to something called democracy. And the second piece raises it amid the context of American Empire (he compares the US to the Roman decline into slavery).

I raise them here for two reasons.

First, because neither directly notes that Snowden claimed he leaked the documents to give us a choice, the “chance to determine if it should change itself.”

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”

Snowden, at least, claims to have contemplated the possibility that, given a choice, we won’t change how we’re governed.

And neither O’Hehir nor Moglen contemplates the state we’re currently in, in which what we call democracy is choosing to expand surveillance in response to Snowden’s disclosures.

Admittedly, the response to Snowden is not limited to HR 3361. I have long thought a more effective response might (or might not!) be found in courts — that if, if the legal process does not get pre-empted by legislation. I have long thought the pressure on Internet companies would be one of the most powerful engines of change, not our failed democratic process.

But as far as Congress is concerned, our stunted legislative process has started down the road of expanding surveillance in response to Edward Snowden.

And that’s where I find Moglen useful but also problematic.

He notes that the surveillance before us is not just part of domestic control (indeed, he actually pays less attention to the victims of domestic surveillance than I might have, but his is ultimately a technical argument), but also of Empire.

While I don’t think it’s the primary reason driving the democratic response to Snowden to increase surveillance (I think that also stems from the Deep State’s power and the influence of money on Congress, though many of the surveillance supporters in Congress are also supporting a certain model of US power), I think far too many people act on surveillance out of either explicit or implicit beliefs about the role of US hegemony.

There are some very rational self-interested reasons for Americans to embrace surveillance.

For the average American, there’s the pride that comes from living in the most powerful country in history, all the more so now that that power is under attack, and perhaps the belief that “Us” have a duty to take it to “Them” who currently threaten our power. And while most won’t acknowledge it, even the declining American standard of living still relies on our position atop the world power structure. We get cheap goods because America is the hegemonic power.

To the extent that spying on the rest of the world serves to shore up our hegemonic position then, the average American might well have reason to embrace the spying, because it keeps them in flat screen TVs.

But that privilege is just enjoyed by some in America. Moglen, tellingly, talks a lot about slavery but says nothing about Jim Crow or the other instruments of domestic oppression that have long used authoritarian measures against targeted populations to protect white male power. American history looked at not against the history of a slavery that is past, but rather against the continuity of history in which some people — usually poor and brown and/or female — don’t participate in the American “liberty” and “privacy” Moglen celebrates, our spying on the rest of the world is more of the same, a difference in reach but not in kind. Our war on drugs and war on terror spying domestically is of a piece with our dragnet internationally, if thus far more circumscribed by law (but that law is expanding and that will serve existing structures of power!).

But there’s another reason Americans — those of the Michael Kinsley and George Packer class — might embrace surveillance. That’s the notion that American hegemony is, for all its warts, the least bad power out there. I suspect Kinsley and (to a lesser extent) Packer would go further, saying that American power is affirmatively good for the rest of the world. And so we must use whatever it takes to sustain that power.

It sounds stupid when I say it that way. I’m definitely oversimplifying the thought process involved. Still, it is a good faith claim: that if the US curtails its omnipresent dragnet and China instead becomes the dominant world power (or, just as likely, global order will dissolve into chaos), we’ll all be worse off.

I do think there’s something to this belief, though it suppresses the other alternative — that the US could use this moment to improve the basis from which US exercises its hegemony rather than accept the increasingly coercive exercise of our power — or better yet use the twilight of our hegemony to embrace something more fair (and also something more likely to adequately respond to the global threat of climate change). But I do believe those who claim US hegemony serves the rest of the world believe it fairly uncritically.

One more thing. Those who believe that American power is affirmatively benign power may be inclined to think the old ways of ensuring that power — which includes a docile press — are justified. As much as journalism embraced an adversarial self-image after Watergate, the fundamentally complicit role of journalism really didn’t change for most. Thus, there remains a culture of journalism in which it was justified to tell stories to the American people — and the rest of the world — to sustain American power.

One of those stories, for example, is the narrative of freedom that Moglen embraces.

That is, for those who believe it is worth doing whatever it takes to sustain the purportedly benign American hegemon, it would be consistent to also believe that journalists must also do whatever it takes to sustain purportedly benign system of (white male) power domestically, which we call democracy but which doesn’t actually serve the needs of average Americans.

And for better or worse, those who embrace that power structure, either domestically and/or internationally, expanding surveillance is rational, so long as you ignore the collateral damage.

Posted in USAComments Off on What If the Democratic Response to Snowden Is to Expand Surveillance?

Will White House Official Who Revealed Kabul CIA Station Chief’s Identity to Reporters Be Held Responsible?


While President Barack Obama was on a “surprise” Memorial Day weekend trip to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, something the Obama administration has viciously condemned whenever it has occurred on their watch happened: the name of the CIA officer who is the Kabul station chief was leaked to reporters.

(Photo: DoD/Marvin Lynchard)

As The Washington Post reported, “The officer’s name — identified as ‘chief of station’ in Kabul — was included by US embassy staff on a list of 15 senior American officials who met with President Obama during the Saturday visit.”

The list was emailed to reporters who were traveling with Obama. It was then distributed to more people when it was “included in a ‘pool report,’ or “summary of the event meant to be shared with other news organizations, including foreign media, not taking part in the trip.”

Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Scott Wilson “copied the list from the email provided by White House press officials.” The “pool report” was then shared with over 6,000 people.

Once it was distributed, Wilson realized that the station chief was on the list and asked White House press officials if this was intentional.

Initially, the press office raised no objection, apparently because military officials had provided the list to distribute to news organizations. But senior White House officials realized the mistake and scrambled to issue an updated list without the CIA officer’s name. The mistake, however, already was being noted on Twitter, although without the station chief’s name.

Additionally, Ken Dilanian of the Associated Press noted, “The reporter who distributes the pool report sends it to the White House to be checked for factual accuracy and then forwarded to the thousands of journalists on the email distribution list, so in this case the White House failed on at least two occasions to recognize that the CIA official’s name was being revealed and circulated so broadly.”

At least twice an official failed to properly protect the identity of an undercover officer. Moreover, it was reportedly a military official who put the name of the station chief on the list.

The White House has said this was a mistake and, at the moment, there is not much reason to think otherwise based on what is known and how it exactly happened. However, there is a law called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) that can be used against anyone who intentionally discloses “any information identifying” a covert agent “to any individual not authorized to receive classified information.”

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who is serving a thirty-month jail sentence in a prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, was charged with violating the (IIPA). He pled guilty to committing this offense in October 2012 but only because he faced multiple Espionage Act charges and did not want to be imprisoned for multiple decades.

Kiriakou maintains that “Covert Officer A,” who had a key role in the rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program, retired. He claims if he’d “known the guy was still undercover” he “would never have mentioned him.”

In a court filing prior to pleading guilty, one of his defense attorneys acknowledged that the indictment alleged, “in 2008 and 2009,” Kiriakou communicated with reporter Matthew Cole “in which he disclosed Covert Officer A’s name and the fact that he was a branch chief in a specific CIA office and a team leader on a specific CIA operation.” The government argued this allegedly violated the IIPA as well as the Espionage Act. But his defense argued there was “no allegation in either count that the identity of Covert Officer A was publicly disclosed or otherwise broadly disseminated.”

Comparatively, the person who allowed his name to remain on the list that was distributed to reporters would have known that person was undercover. And, in this instance, the potential risk of grave damage to the covert officer seems to have been much more severe than in Kiriakou’s case.

The name was shared with over 6,000 people on a press list not authorized to receive the name. Kiriakou was only accused of sharing the name with one reporter.

It did not matter in Kiriakou’s case that the public did not know the name he exposed, and it should not matter in this case that the public does not know this station chief’s name. The disclosure can still be criminalized.

Kiriakou’s defense maintained that the IIPA was being applied against Kiriakou in an “unconstitutionally vague.” Kiriakou had not known the government was taking “affirmative measures” to protect the person’s identity so how could he have violated it?

Did the White House officials not immediately realize they were looking at the name of the Kabul CIA station chief on the list when they looked it over and fact checked it? That would certainly be infuriating to the family of Kiriakou if that was the case because it would indicate a complete failure on the part of the Obama administration to keep the identity of an officer in a war zone protected—something far worse than what Kiriakou did.

Obviously, the Obama administration is not going to have this person prosecuted. Officials in positions of power who make these kinds of mistakes are allowed to get away with them. They are even allowed to keep their jobs or continue to move upward in the ranks of government, despite their failure to protect sensitive information.

On June 24, 2011, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was at an awards ceremony at CIA headquarters where he said of the bin Laden raid, “In a sensitive operation like this, one leak – one leak – would have undermined the entire operation.” Those who were part of the raid sat in the front row with name tags and heard him say it was a “tribute” to them that information had been kept secret.

The screenwriter for Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal, who did not have a top secret security clearance, was in the audience. Panetta leaked “classified NSA intelligence and top-secret military information, including the protected identity of the ground commander of the Navy SEAL unit that staged the bin Laden raid.”

Even worse, Michael Vickers, who worked for Panetta, provided Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers the “restricted name of a US Special Operations Command officer who helped plan the May 2, 2011, raid” on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. When an internal investigation was done by the Inspector General, the office deemed the findings to be “politically sensitive” and ensured the content would not be released. Vickers was never fired or prosecuted.

Panetta, Vickers and the White House official(s) who failed to protect a covert officer’s identity all are on the appropriate side of the Obama administration’s agenda. Their leaks were not bad leaks. On the other hand, Kiriakou was speaking out in media about the CIA and how waterboarding of detainees was torture. His disclosure of a name, whether it was a mistake or not, had to be prosecuted to ensure nobody else would get the idea that they could leave the agency and do what Kiriakou was doing.

Posted in USAComments Off on Will White House Official Who Revealed Kabul CIA Station Chief’s Identity to Reporters Be Held Responsible?

From Jeju and Afghanistan, an Asia Peace Pivot

by Hakim

Mi Ryang, standing with Gangjeong Village Association members and Gangjeong’s mayor, outside the Jeju Courts, to refuse paying fines for protests against the U.S. naval base construction. (Courtesy of the author)“Don’t you touch me!” declared Mi Ryang.

South Korean police were clamping down on a villager who was resisting the construction of a Korean/U.S. naval base at her village.  Mi Ryang managed to turn the police away by taking off her blouse and, clad in her bra, walking toward them with her clear warning.  Hands off!  Mi Ryang is fondly referred to as “Gangjeong’s daughter” by villagers who highly regard her as the feisty descendant of legendary women sea divers.  Her mother and grandmother were Haenyo divers who supported their families every day by diving for shellfish.

Since 2007, every day without fail, Mi Ryang has stood up to militarists destroying her land.

In doing so, she confronts giants: the Korean military, Korean police authority, the U.S. military, and huge corporations, such as Samsung, allied with these armed forces.

Mi Ryang and her fellow protesters rely on love and on relationships which help them to continue seeking self-determination, freedom and dignity.

Jeju Island is the first place in the world to receive all three UNESCO natural science designations (Biosphere Reserve in 2002, World Natural Heritage in 2007 and Global Geopark in 2010). The military industrial complex, having no interest in securing the Island’s natural wonders, instead serves the U.S. government’s national interest in countering China’s rising economic influence.

The U.S. doesn’t want to be number two. The consequences of the U.S. government’s blueprint for ‘total spectrum dominance,’ globally, are violent, and frightening.

I recently attended a conference held at Jeju University, where young Korean men told participants about why they chose prison instead of enlisting for the two-year compulsory Korean military service.  “I admire these conscientious objectors for their brave and responsible decisions,” I said, “and I confess that I’m worried.  I fear that Jeju Island will become like Afghanistan, where I have worked as a humanitarian and social enterprise worker for the past 10 years.”

“Jeju Island will be a pawn harboring a U.S. naval base, just as Afghanistan will be a pad for at least nine U.S. military bases when the next Afghan President signs the U.S./Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement.

When the Korean authorities collaborated with the U.S. military in 1947, at least 30,000 Jeju Islanders were massacred.

How many more ordinary people and soldiers will suffer, be utilized or be killed due to U.S. geopolitical interests to pivot against China?

As many as 20% of all tourists to Jeju Island are Chinese nationals. Clearly, ordinary Jeju citizens and ordinary Chinese can get along, just like ordinary Afghans and citizens from the U.S./NATO countries can get along.   But when U.S. military bases are built outside the U.S., the next Osama Bin Ladens will have excuses to plan other September 11th s!

A few nights ago, I spoke with Dr Song, a Korean activist who used to swim every day to Gureombi Rock, a sacred, volcanic rock formation along Gangjeong’s coastline which was destroyed by the naval base construction. At one point, coast guard officials jailed him for trying to reach Gureombi by swimming. Dr. Song just returned from Okinawa, where he met with Japanese who have resisted the U.S. military base in Okinawa for decades.

The Okinawan and Korean activists understand the global challenge we face.  The 99% must link to form a strong, united 99%. By acting together, we can build a better world, instead of burning out as tiny communities of change. The 1% is way too wealthy and well-resourced in an entrenched system to be stopped by any one village or group.

‘We are many, they are few’ applies more effectively when we stand together. Socially and emotionally, we need one another more than ever, as our existence is threatened by human-engineered climate change, nuclear annihilation and gross socioeconomic inequalities.

The governments of South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and even my home country Singapore, have dangerously partnered with the U.S. against China, in Obama’s Asia pivot, dividing human beings by using the threat of armed force, for profit.

The non-violent examples of the people of Gangjeong Village should lead people worldwide  to make friendships, create conversations,   build alternative education systems, promote communally beneficial, sustainable economies , and create peace parks where people can celebrate their art, music, and dancing.  Visit Gangjeong Village and you’ll see how residents have created joyful ways to turn the Asia War Pivot into an Asia Peace Pivot, as you can watch in this video.

Alternatively, people can choose the “helpless bystander” role and become passive spectators as oppressive global militarism and corporate greed destroy us.  People can stand still and watch  destruction of beautiful coral reefs and marine life in Jeju, Australia and other seas; watch livelihoods, like those of Gangjeong and Gaza fishermen, disappear;   and watch, mutely, as fellow human beings like Americans, Afghans, Syrians, Libyans, Egyptians, Palestinians. Israelis, Ukrainians, Nigerians, Malians, Mexicans, indigenous peoples and many others are killed.

Or, we can be Like Mi Ryang. As free and equal human beings we can lay aside our individual concerns and lobbies to unite, cooperatively, making our struggles more attractive and less lonely.  Together, we’re more than capable of persuading the world to seek genuine security and liberation.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers have begun playing their tiny part in promoting non-violence and serving fellow Afghans in Kabul. As they connect the dots of inequality, global warming and wars, they long to build relationships across all borders, under the same blue sky, in order to save themselves, the earth and humanity.

Through their Borderfree effort to build socioeconomic equality, take care of our blue planet, and abolish war, they wear their Borderfree Blue Scarves and say, together with Mi Ryang and the resilient villagers of Gangjeong Village, “Don’t touch me!”

“Don’t touch us!”

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on From Jeju and Afghanistan, an Asia Peace Pivot

Americans Want to End Afghanistan War


Despite polling that Americans think that the Afghanistan War was a mistake and is definitely not worth fighting, the Obama administration is poised to announce its plans to leave 9,800 troops and an unknown amount of contractors in the country after the end of this year.

“Americans are tired of war. It’s time for the longest U.S. war in history to be over. Instead, the Obama Administration wants to leave nearly 10,000 troops and untold contractors in Afghanistan after the end of year costing billions of dollars,” observed Paul Kawika Martin, the political director of Peace Action — a group founded in 1957 and the largest grassroots peace organization in the U.S. His comments came after news reports of an immanent announcement by President Obama.

Experts agree that the long-term cost of the Afghanistan War may reach trillions of dollars and it’s unclear that troops in the country will really help with stability.

It is known that the administration will only finalize the decision about troop presence when a bilateral agreement is reached with the Afghanistan government. Presently, President Karzai refuses to sign but the two candidates embroiled in a runoff election say they will sign when the take office sometime late in the summer.

Republican House leadership block a recent amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would of required congressional approval to leave troops beyond 2014. Congress may still weigh in on this issue with several other bills they have on their docket. It’s possible that Congress would not approve the President’s troop levels if it came to a vote.

“No strong evidence suggests that the cost of blood and treasure of leaving troops and contractors in Afghanistan after this year will make Americans safer or the region more stable,” concluded Martin who traveled to the country in 2010.

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on Americans Want to End Afghanistan War

Dispatches from the Election Observation Team in Syria:

June 2: together in Syria

Here is a list of the participants in the observer team.  We know that there are other teams from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), but we haven’t met them yet.  Half of the team (the first ten listed) arrived in Syria yesterday and the rest will arrive before the end of today.

1.Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Canada

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy. He has also addressed the Middle East and international relations issues on several TV news networks including Al Jazeera, teleSUR, and Russia Today. His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2011 he was awarded the First National Prize of the Mexican Press Club for his work in international investigative journalism.
2. Elias Hazineh, Canada
Elias Hazineh is a Canadian entrepreneur and activist who has dedicated his life to public service and acted as an advocate for new Canadians over many years.  Elias has had a lifelong interest in Middle Eastern issues, and is heavily involved in furthering awareness of political and humanitarian issues in the region through advocacy, fundraising, and volunteerism.  He is passionate about Canadian politics at all levels of government, and has worked tirelessly for over three decades to support candidates as well as to run in elections himself.  Elias uses his vast political and legal knowledge to assist immigrants and refugees in Canada as an immigration consultant, translator, and formerly, as an advisor to federal Members of Parliament on immigration and refugee issues. 
3. Jackson Anthony (TONY) SEED, Canada

Specializing in international relations; Canadian foreign and military policy; media & disinformation; sport commentary
Writes for: Crescent International; Canadian Charger; TML Daily; Dominion / Halifax Media Co-op
Nominated for National Newspaper Award for exposés of anti-worker, anti-immigrant policies of the Unemployment Insurance Commission that were debated in Parliament and led to reforms. Fired nine days later and subsequently blacklisted in the profession through the use of a confidential letter system.

Editor & Publisher, Dossier on Palestine, October 2002

Acclaimed, award-winning book-length special edition, 20,000 copies. 96 pages. 8.25 in x 10.755 in / 20.96 cm x 27.32 cm. 40 full colour pages. 23 maps.
Nationality: American, born in the United States
Address: 785 Winifred Drive, Webster, New York 14580
Phone: (585) 733-4058
Short CV: 

1. Member of the Administrative Committee of United National Antiwar Coalition
2. Founding member of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
3. Traveled twice to Iran in 2007 and 2011 with Fellowship of Reconciliation Peace Delegations. 
4. Spent a month working with small children in Sulemaniya, Iraq in 2009.  
5. Visited Pakistan in the Fall of 2012 with CodePink group to support  Drone strike victims. 
6. Blogger:  Have my own blog, administer the Upstate Coalition blog, write for FOR and occasionally publish in Counterpunch, Countercurrents blogs.
5. Jim W. Dean –  USA

Producer/Host   Heritage TV,   Atlanta

I have been a featured Geo-political commentator and interview guest on Press TV along with Kevin Barrett and Gordon Duff
I am also partnering with the new Russian Geo-political journal  New Eastern Outlook in Moscow, helping them build up international readership like we were able to do with PressTV’s Viewpoints. We have covered Syria, Iran for years, and now Ukraine extensively.
6. Dr. Paul Larudee, USA
a former Ford foundation project supervisor, and Fulbright-Hays lecturer in Lebanon, and a U.S. government advisor to Saudi Arabia.  He has been a faculty 
member at several universities in the San Francisco Bay Area, an organizer with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine and co-founder of the movement to break the Israeli siege of Gaza by sea, and was aboard the boats that succeeded in doing so in 2008 as well as the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which 
was attacked by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010.  He is a co-founder of the Global March to Jerusalem. 
7. Joseph Gerard Iosbaker, USA
I am an activist with the Anti-War Committee – Chicago. Nationally, I’m on the administrative committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition. I was one of the national coordinators of the march of 15,000 people for jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and against war when the NATO summit was held in Chicago, May 2012. Starting in the summer of 2012, I helped to organize numerous protests against the U.S. war of intervention in Syria. These culminated in nationally coordinated actions in August and September 2013, which helped to prevent the Obama administration from launching missile strikes.
8. Jane Pamela Stillwater, USA
I have been a freelance journalist, travel writer and blogger since 2000.  In this capacity, I have traveled many places — including Antarctica, China, southeast Asia, Tibet, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Iraq and Iran (loved Iran!)  I also work part-time as a paralegal and as an actor in various student films.  I am 71 years old, have a masters degree from U.C. Berkeley and am the mother of four children.
9.  Declan Hayes, Ireland
Author, lecturer, commentator, journalist. Lectures in Finance to post-graduates at Southampton University. Led International Peace Pilgrimage to Syria in April 2014. Hosted the visit of Mother Agnes mariam, Fadia Laham, to London and Dublin in November 2013. Has appeared on Arab TV speaking on Syria and has written in Brtish Catohlic papers and done radio programes on Catholic radio about Syria.
10. Scott Michael Williams, USA
I am a National Coordinator with the anti-imperialist youth organization based in the US called FIST – Fight Imperialism, Stand Together ( I am an organizer with International Action Center, including mobilizing for demonstrations against US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and beyond. For several years I was a union organizer of low-wage workers in the USA and I have been active in the student movements as well as the Occupy Wall St movement.
11. Feroze Mithiborwala, India
Founder General secretary of the India Palestine Solidarity Forum
Founder, Asia to Gaza Convoy
General coordinator, Asian Peoples’ Solidarity for Palestine
Central Committee Member, Global March to Jerusalem
National President, Bharat Bachao Andolan
National Advisor, Vidyarthi Bharti
Convenor, Muslim Intellectual Forum
12. Jatinbabu Desai, India
  • Profession: Journalist, Columnist
  • Former President of Bombay Union of Journalists
  • Secretary, Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy
  • Bureau Member, South Asians for Human Rights
  • Actively involved with various movements in India.

13. Dilip Kumar -Banerjee- Indian

Eminent Photo Journalist with more than 30 years of field experience. Has provided photo stories for Times of India, India Today amongst other leading news organizations. Has covered conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Jaffna-Sri Lanka, Gaza-Palestine.
14. Anahita Shireen Mukherji, India
I am an Assistant Editor at The Times of India. I have an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. (2012-13). I won the 2010 Sanskriti Award for journalism for my stories on education. I won the Australia India Council Young Media Fellowship in 2010. I have worked as a journalist with The Times of India in Mumbai and Delhi for over seven years.
15. Mr. Mansor bin Puteh, Malaysia
I am a filmmaker who have produced a documentary called, ‘Writing in the Sand…on how the Jasmine Revolution of the Arab Spring of 2011 could have been avoided!’ which was shot mostly in Yemen, and which had a premiere in the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, Iran in February, 2012. I studied filmmaking at a            university in New York City and am based in Malaysia. I also used to be a reporter with a Malaysian national newspaper.
16. Muhammad Abbas Komeili, Pakistan
Chief of Jafaria Alliance Pakistan
17. Safdar Abbas, Pakistan
Senior News Reporter in Daily Express News Paper ( second Biggest News Paper in pakistan)
18. Nasir Shirazi, Pakistan
Political Secretary of Majlis Wehdat Muslameen Pakistan
19. Khurram Nawaz Khan, Pakistan
Central President of Pakistan Awami Tehreek
20. Salim Ghafouri. Iran
Head of International union of unified ummah, Documentary film maker and producer, Peace activist

21. Roohullah Rezvi
Kashmiri activist

Today the group met with the National Presidential Election Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the election procedures.  We learned a lot, although we expect to learn more during the election itself, as well as the counting and tabulation of votes, as well as the certification of results.

Some of the things we learned are:

  • any citizen may vote anywhere in Syria by showing proof of citizenship, with the exception of convicted criminals
  • after voting, the voter’s thumb is dipped in indelible ink
  • the name of the voter is registered separately from the ballots at the polling station, such that the name cannot be linked to a particular ballot
  • after the polls close and the votes are counted, if the number of ballots exceeds the number of names by more than 2%, ballots are randomly selected and discarded in order to make the number the same
  • if the reverse is the case or if the irregularity is very great, the ballots and lists may be sealed and sequestered for investigation.
  • if the number of irregular or questionable votes is enough to affect the outcome of the election, the result cannot be certified.
  • all candidates in an election are entitled to place their representatives as monitors of all voting procedures at all voting stations until the votes are tabulated and certified

We will undoubtedly learn much more when we go into the field tomorrow.

On a note of encouragement, we were pleased to receive the following message from Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire:

Many thanks to you and the peace friends from Iran and the Observation Teams.You are doing great work.
Sorry could not join you as going to Sarajevo Peace events so we are all with you in spirit. It is great to see the Syrian people exercise their democratic rights like all countries and choose their own President, and under free and fair elections with Observation Teams, and people like yourselves in witness. Whoever they choose must be accepted by the international community.
Thank you all for making this most important contribution to peace making in Syria and in admiration of the great people of Syria and their peace and reconciliation efforts, rejecting outside intervention, militarism, and showing how nonviolence and reconciliation do work.
Peace and love to you all,
Mairead Maguire

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Dispatches from the Election Observation Team in Syria:

Justin Raimondo – Has the I$raHell lobby captured the Right? ”VIDEO”

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Justin Raimondo – Has the I$raHell lobby captured the Right? ”VIDEO”

Shoah’s pages