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Author Topic: War Provocations and Peace Actions  (Read 3505 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #255 on: October 22, 2018, 01:39:32 pm »
Assassins for Hire: US Citizens, Israelis, and Palestinians Kill for Money   in Yemen  >:(

October 22, 2018

The US-based mercenary company Spear Group, headed by an Israeli and hired by a Palestinian on behalf of the UAE, conducts extra-judicial killings in Yemen. Antony Loewenstein discusses the details


https://therealnews.com/stories/assassins-for-hire-us-citizens-israelis-and-palestinians-kill-for-money-in-yemen

Quote
Proverbs 11 King James Version (KJV)

17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #257 on: December 03, 2018, 09:19:17 pm »
Bernie Sanders: End U.S. Arms Sales to Saudis and Support for its Yemen War

December 3, 2018

Sen. Sanders joins Paul Jay to discuss his Senate resolution to end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen


Story Transcript

PAUL JAY: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. We’re in Burlington 👍, Vermont at the Sanders Institute Gathering. And joining me now is someone who needs no introduction. Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for joining us.

BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you, Paul, and thank you for the great work The Real News is doing. I appreciate it.

PAUL JAY: Thank you. Right now you’re very focused on your resolution on Yemen. Something verging on genocide going on, the Saudis’ intervention there. Talk about the resolution, and what you hope to achieve.

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, it’s not just me. We’re working with a conservative Republican, Mike Lee of Utah. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has also played a very great, good role.

What we have managed to do, what we did last week, is for the first time use the War Powers Act to move forward to stop a horrible, horrible war. And that war is the Saudi-led intervention in the Yemen civil war. Yemen has always been a poor country. But since the Saudi-led intervention and the bombing and the destruction of that country, what we have seen in the last three years is 85,000 children already starve to death. And what the United Nations tell us, the United Nations is telling us, is that millions more are facing starvation. There are 10,000 outbreaks of cholera, 10,000 new cases of cholera, every single week. So you have a country which is really being destroyed by the Saudi-led intervention in that country. And if we are successful, we will end U.S. involvement in that war. What we then do is move toward demanding peace in that area, and the humanitarian aid that Yemen desperately needs.

PAUL JAY: The U.S.-Saudi alliance, if that’s the word one could call it, is an underpinning of a whole strategy the United States has had since World War II in the region, allying with, essentially, a fascistic dictatorship that gave us al-Qaeda, gave us the Taliban, gave us the Islamic radicalization of Pakistan, on and on–including, perhaps, 9/11, because there’s–including senators who think the Saudis were directly involved in 9/11. If you’re president, what do you do with the relationship with–

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I’m a United States senator. So I … Look, I have been doing my best to make just those points, and to say why are we deeply allied–and you know, and Trump has taken it to a new level. There is an outrage all over the country and in Congress that in the most cold-blooded way imaginable, enticing a dissident to walk into a consulate, a Saudi consulate in Turkey, killing him and then dismembering them. This is, presumably, our wonderful ally. And Trump can’t even acknowledge the reality of what the CIA has told them.

But it’s not just Jamal Khashoggi. What it is is a despotic regime run by one family, where women are treated not as second-class citizens, third-class citizens. It’s a regime that does not tolerate dissent, where there is no democracy. And it is now a regime under Mohammed bin Salman which has a very aggressive military posture which took them into Yemen. And what I fear very much, to pick up on your point, is that if we continue to back them, what you’re going to see is that the United States gets sucked into a neverending war in the Middle East.

Look, we can be very critical of Iran, and we should be. But our job is to try to bring peace to that region, not get sucked into. Their wars. So I think we have got to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

PAUL JAY: Lindsey Graham seems to have given up on MBS and wants to dump him. But Lindsey Graham-

BERNIE SANDERS: That was yesterday.

PAUL JAY: But Graham doesn’t want to break the basic relationship.

BERNIE SANDERS: I don’t want to–look. That’s media stuff. You … look. As you indicated, this is a despotic regime, all right, which is responsible for enormous destruction in the very impoverished country of Yemen. We have got to fundamentally rethink our relationship with that regime, and try to play a level-handed role in what is a very volatile region, obviously, of the world. And do what we can to bring peace to that region.

PAUL JAY: Stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

BERNIE SANDERS: Yeah, absolutely. This should not be–look. These, this should … You know, when you talk about American values, that has nothing to do with what is existing in Saudi Arabia right now.

PAUL JAY: All right. Thanks for joining us, Senator.

BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you.

PAUL JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/bernie-sanders-end-u-s-arms-sales-to-saudis-and-support-for-its-yemen-war
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #258 on: December 09, 2018, 02:02:10 pm »

WORLD NEWSDECEMBER 9, 2018 / 9:13 AM

China says U.S. should withdraw arrest warrant for Huawei executive

SNIPPET:

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

The executive is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told U.S. ambassador Terry Branstad that the United States had made an “unreasonable demand” on Canada to detain Meng while she was passing through Vancouver, China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The actions of the U.S. seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty,”
Le told Branstad, comments similar to those he made to Canada’s ambassador the night before.

China strongly urges the United States to pay attention to China’s solemn and just position and withdraw the arrest warrant on Meng, Le added.

“China will respond further depending on U.S. actions,” he said, without elaborating.


Le also told the Canadian ambassador on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Meng.

The United States has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei shipped U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.

Companies are barred from using the U.S. financial system to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.

Read more:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-huawei/china-says-u-s-should-withdraw-arrest-warrant-for-huawei-executive-idUSKBN1O80GL


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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #259 on: December 11, 2018, 02:23:30 pm »
US & Canada Violate International Law with the Arrest of Chinese Huawei Exec

December 10, 2018

Col. Larry Wilkerson explains that it’s not the Chinese Huawei executive that violated law when circumventing US sanctions, but it is the US that violates them by imposing sanctions that were never agreed to on an international level

Story Transcript

GREG WILPERT: It’s The Real News Network, and I’m Greg Wilpert.

This past weekend, China issued a strong condemnation of Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Meng was arrested last December 1, and is now awaiting a bail hearing in Canada. The Chinese government warned Canada last Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer, calling the case extremely nasty. Meng Wanzhou faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions. She’s also the daughter of the founder of Huawei. If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

The news of Meng’s arrest caused turmoil in stock markets around the world for the past week because of the uncertainty it throws on US-China negotiations to stop a trade war. Joining me now to analyze this latest development in US-China relations is Colonel Larry Wilkerson. He’s the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and currently teaches at the College of William and Mary. Thanks for joining us again, Larry.

LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.

GREG WILPERT: Meng Wanzhou was arrested on the same day that US President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping were meeting at the G20 summit in Argentina talking about how to resolve the trade war between the two countries. Apparently Trump did not know about the impending arrest of Ms Meng. What do you make of this? How is it possible that a key Chinese citizen would be arrested without the President’s knowledge, and throw a wrench into very delicate trade negotiations?

LARRY WILKERSON: Well, of course the administration’s response–I would have probably written this response, too, if I were caught out in such an incompetent and unprofessional act, and that’s what it was–but their response was simply that the legal is separate from the political, from the diplomatic. And this was a legal affair, and therefore doesn’t impinge on diplomacy, nor does diplomacy impinge on it. That’s, of course, a farcical answer. In any number of other areas where legal affairs and diplomacy intrude on one another the administration has taken fairly strong positions one way or the other. So that’s their explanation.

But to go to the heart of the matter, I suspect that this is just a tempest in a teapot with regard to the ultimate trade negotiations going on. China has to make its pro forma protestations, and we have to make our pro forma comments on why we did it, and why it’s separate from diplomacy, and the trade negotiations, and so forth and so on. Those are two dimensions of it. A third dimension is that this company is probably guilty of a lot worse than breaking sanctions with Iran–and I’ll come back to that. In terms of stealing things from the United States or from others in the West, in terms of technology transfer and other things that impinge on US security and our allies’ security, this company is probably one of the principal agents in the world. So I personally have no problem with someone finally taking some action to make it public that they are doing so, and get it out of the top secret codeword areas where people have to deal with it. I suspect strongly that NSA intercepts of perhaps her telephone calls may have led them to where they are.

But let me say this about the specific charge, supposedly, that they have, that she was talking about, or that she was condoning, or whatever, busting of Iran sanctions. I assume that what they mean, and I see no real specificity here, is that she was challenging the US sanctions on Iran. What, I might ask, gives us the arrogance of power to say that we can dictate in unilateral sanctions what somebody does with another country in terms of trade? Now, if they are specifying that she was breaking UN Security Council agreed sanctions of which China had been a signatory, or at least an abstainer in the vote thereon, then I can understand why there might be some anger and some legality, even, attached to censuring her, or even bringing her here and putting her on trial or whatever, if the evidence is really straightforward and damning and it was a UN-approved sanction.

Although that’s very difficult to argue, too, since we break those sanctions all the time, also. Case in point, when Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement with Iran, he broke the law. He broke international law and he broke domestic law. Custom and precedent has come to show that executive agreements are just right next to treaty law. And you’d have to counsel a whole bunch of people, get them all together and try to figure out exactly how this would boil out, but our Constitution gives treaty law the power of domestic law. And I wouldn’t vouchsafe an argument that an executive agreement was the same as treaty unless it was affected by, oh yes, the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union. That sort of approaches treaty law.

So in my view–and I’m not a legal scholar, but I’ve talked with a number of them–in my view, Donald Trump violated international law and even domestic law when he violated the nuclear agreement with Iran, which is precisely what he did. So as I said, this has a lot of complex dimensions. But most of those dimensions reflect badly on the United States rather than on the case specifically being talked about, although I don’t know all the details of that case yet.

GREG WILPERT: I actually want to turn to the point that you alluded to just a moment ago, about Huawei the company being involved in kind of, in basically other kinds of violations. And I’ve heard this before, that they might have been involved in spying; that they use their technology to provide information to the Chinese government. But if this is the case, wouldn’t be the more sensible approach to just, say, tell US agencies and US companies just not to do business with Huawei? How can that possibly justify an arrest of a Chinese executive?

LARRY WILKERSON: Well let me take two parts to that question; the first part being your implication that we should deal with them straightforwardly, and deal with American companies straightforwardly. Anecdote, here. General Electric. We’re at the National Defense University, and we are talking about–we being representatives of the CIA, the DIA, Singapore, Japan, Korea. Number of other countries. We are talking about this very subject. And with the Vice President for Government Affairs, as I recall, of General Electric. We are lightly and softly chastising him for having shared intellectual material with China, apparently, that allowed China to steal a march on us with regard to–need to be careful here. Let’s just say with regard to stealth technology. The response of that GE official was that he had a fiduciary responsibility. Our response to that was are you kidding me? Your responsibility to your shareholders is more than your responsibility to the United States of America and its security? Got pretty testy after that.

All to illustrate the fact that companies like Wal-Mart, and ExxonMobil, and General Electric, and IBM, and others, of course in the past have dealt with unsavory characters like the Nazis, for example, in the case of IBM. But today it’s a regular routine for these transnational corporations. For example, when I was at the State Department, some of our most formidable opponents in legal actions at the World Trade Organization were our own companies. That is to say, companies with their masthead in the United States like Wal-Mart, like ExxonMobil, taking positions in the WTO against their own country. So these companies really have no national allegiance. In many cases, their allegiance is to their shareholders and to their overwhelming and almost insidiously perverse profits. So that’s the first answer. You can’t count on American, so-called quote-unquote “American” companies, to do what they should be doing.

The second answer is some of this stuff is very dangerous. When it comes to submarine technology, especially ballistic missile submarines, when it comes to technology like that wrapped around the F-35 fighter aircraft, when it comes to technology associated with artificial intelligence and robotics and other more sophisticated areas of technology, this is getting very serious. It becomes a battle behind the scenes, if you will, that equates to economic warfare. And I think there is a dimension to that right now between the United States and China that I would actually label economic warfare. It of course is happening with other countries, too, like Russia. To a certain extent we’re waging economic warfare, one-sided economic warfare, against Iran. And this is a dangerous area for the states of the world to get into, too. But we’re doing it, and companies like Huawei, and people like this CFO and others are–and American corporate leaders, too, are complicit in this war. And they’re in it for one reason, I think. Money. Greed.

GREG WILPERT: So another aspect of this whole incident is that Canada’s participation–that is, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said that he didn’t know about the impending arrest, either, and implied that it was carried out by local authorities in Vancouver, where she was arrested. But just looking at what does this mean for Canada-China relations? I mean, is Canada bending over backwards now to do the Trump administration’s bidding? What do you think?

LARRY WILKERSON: That’s a good question. And having been there for four years at the very top of this business, looking at demarches being sent around the world, and so forth; looking at Beijing, looking at Tel-Aviv, looking at Tokyo, looking at, for that matter, Ottawa, and dealing with all these things, I would have to say that 90 percent of the time or better the governments do know what’s going on. That is to say, the leadership knows what’s going on. John Bolton, of course, when I heard him, said that the President didn’t know this was going on. In Trump’s case I don’t doubt that that’s not probably true, because he doesn’t seem to have much attention for detail. But that Bolton didn’t tell him was an indictment of John Bolton, not the president. So I don’t know, but I would suspect strongly that all of the leaders involved here, except maybe for Xi Jinping, knew that this was coming down the pike, and had agreed that they were not going to stop it from coming down the pike for various and sundry reasons, and you’ve just suggested one of them for Canada.

I was involved in some of the Joint Board activities with Canada when we were dealing with the Red River, dealing with the Columbia River, and other things. And I have to say that our northern neighbor knows which side of its bread is buttered, and who butters it. And at the end of the day, Canada may stand up and seem to be bold in the face of the giant to its South’s wishes. But it rarely really is. It knows its economic future and present is pretty much dominated by the United States, and it knows that if it doesn’t follow what the United States wants it to do in most cases, it will be punished. And it does not wish to be punished the way we punish people these days.

GREG WILPERT: Now, Meng’s arrest was ostensibly, as we mentioned earlier, for subverting US sanctions against Iran. Would you say that this arrest is a sign of things to come in terms of how the US is going to deal with companies that in some way circumvent US sanctions against Iran? Or is this a very specific incident that has more to do with the complicated state of US-China relations at the moment?

LARRY WILKERSON: Both. But the one part of it that truly worries me–I’m not that concerned about US-China relations. They will survive. Trade relations will survive. I’m not altogether opposed to what President Trump very artfully, imperfectly, and even incompetently is trying to do, and that is to balance the trade relationship a little bit better. I think there are a lot better ways to do it. But I do appreciate that unlike President Obama and previous presidents, he has at least taken some action, and some forceful action. At the same time, as I say, I don’t think US-China relations are going to be majorly disturbed by this. I am very concerned about the way we wield the sanctions acts in the world. I don’t know how many countries we have under sanctions right now, but it’s probably half the world in one way or another; individual states, or parts of states, or whatever. And there is a very powerful movement aborning in the world to de-dollarize the world because of those sanctions and the arrogance with which we implement them.

Our congress is majorly guilty in this business. They think the best weapon to throw at everybody is sanction that person, sanction that state, sanction them, put more sanctions on them, and so forth. Well, there’s a lot of people out there. We’ve got about 330 million in this country. Now there’s about seven-plus billion in the world. And in polls, about two and a half to three billion of those people say that the number one threat to the security of their state, of their country, of their children’s future is the United States of America. Part of the reason for that is our arrogance, and the way we do this business with sanctions and war. And we’re creating a lot of enemies in the world. We’re creating a lot of rancor. A lot of people really don’t want to see us succeed in the future. This is not a way to be doing business in the world. And Donald Trump, unknowingly, unwittingly, probably, because he thinks he’s doing great things, is augmenting and accelerating that disgust and hatred for the United States in the world.

Now, listen to what I just said. That Statue of Liberty sits out there and raises her lamp and says send me your teeming hordes, you know. We have been that image at least for most of my life. If not a perfect image, certainly an image that many of us try to live up to. Now the image of us is the same image you see in, for example, the movies about the Empire and the Jedi knights and Darth Vader, and so forth. Dick Cheney gets called Darth Vader all the time, and he laughs. He smiles at it. He actually likes that sobriquet. That’s what we’re becoming to the world. We are the Empire. We’re the Battlestar out in space that will shoot them at any moment, sanction them at any moment. Lots of people in the world despise us, fear us, and hate us; 400 million of them in Southwest Asia basically think we are the biggest threat to their future, and wish dearly that we’d get out of their area and leave them alone. This is not a way to preserve this empire. This is not a way to preserve our power. This is not a way to deal with the world. And yet it seems to be the only way we know.

GREG WILPERT: OK. We’re going to have to leave it there for now. I was speaking to Colonel Larry Wilkerson. Thanks again, Larry, for having joined us today.

LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network. If you like Real News Network stories such as this one, please keep in mind that we have started our winter fundraiser and need your help to reach our goal of raising $400,000. Every dollar that you donate will be matched. And unlike practically all other news outlets we do not accept support from governments or corporations, and depend on our viewers. Please do what you can today.

https://therealnews.com/stories/us-canada-violate-international-law-with-the-arrest-of-chinese-huawei-exec
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #260 on: December 12, 2018, 05:58:15 pm »


December 12, 2018


Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has drafted a Green New Deal that fails to acknowledge the existence of the U.S. military as an environmentally destructive force, and the U.S. military budget (over 60% of discretionary spending) as a potential source of revenue.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE FOLLOWING PETITION, which World BEYOND War, RootsAction.org, and CODE PINK will deliver to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez in January.
We propose the following edits that would allow us to join in supporting your Green New Deal.

1. Change this:

The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B). The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.

to this:

The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that much of the 60% of discretionary spending now going into the environmentally destructive project of militarism can be moved to environmental protection, and that innovative public and other financing . . . .   


2. Change this:

The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed in order to achieve the following goals, in each case in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:

-- 100% of national power generation from renewable sources;
-- building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
-- upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
-- decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries;
-- decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure;
-- funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases;
-- making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely carbon neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

by adding this:

-- a major transition away from the environmental destruction of war and war-preparations, including the closure of most of the U.S. military bases abroad and within the United States and the thorough cleanup of the land and water in those locations.


CLICK HERE TO ADD YOUR NAME AND COMMENTS TO THE PETITION.

Background:
> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Green New Deal
> World BEYOND War: War Destroys the Environment
> World BEYOND War: We Need $2 Trillion a Year for Other Things


World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the very institution of war. Our success is driven by a people-powered movement –
support our work for a culture of peace.
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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #261 on: December 13, 2018, 04:16:22 pm »
Thu, 12/13/2018 - 15:36

In Stinging Rebuke To Trump 🦀, Senate Votes To End Support For Saudi War

SNIPPETS:

Quote
“I hope … we send a loud and powerful message by passing this resolution. That we’re going to bring peace to that country and that the United States Congress is going to reassert its constitutional authority to make the body that makes war not the president,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) , one of the sponsors of the resolution, told reporters.


Quote
However, beyond sending a symbolic message, the vote is largely moot as on Wednesday, as part of the Farm Bill passage , the House 🐉🦕🦖 voted to block members from forcing a war powers vote this year. 🤬 Still, the Senate vote Thursday underscored the depth of frustration with Saudi Arabia on Capitol Hill, as well as the escalating gap between the White House and Congress on the relationship between the U.S. and the kingdom. 👍

Read more:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-13/stinging-rebuke-trump-senate-votes-end-support-saudi-war


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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #262 on: December 23, 2018, 01:51:35 pm »
Gideon Levy has No Sympathy for Colonists 🦍 as a Group

December 21, 2018

Gideon Levy: all colonists and all Israelis share responsibility for the occupation and apartheid system in Palestine. There is sympathy for individuals, but there is no symmetry: the power is on the Israeli side


Story Transcript

SHIR HEVER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Shir Hever in Heidelberg, Germany.

Gideon Levy is one of Israel’s most renowned journalists, and also one of the most controversial. In 2014, after publishing a Haaretz newspaper criticizing Israeli pilots for bombarding civilian neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip, he was assigned bodyguards because of numerous death threats which he received. And this week, Gideon Levy has once again caused an uproar in Israel when he published in Haaretz a piece with the title I Feel No Sympathy For the Settlers. Levy argued that Israeli colonists in the West Bank are instrumentalizing Palestinian resistance, and used every murdered colonist as an excuse to expand land appropriation from Palestinians. Indeed, on Sunday, the Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett did just that.

NAFTALI BENNETT: We are raising today a bill to regulate the colonization, which we call the law of fabric of life, because the residents of Judea and Samaria are not second-rate citizens. As in the dawn of Zionism, whenever there is terror, we have to build. We will achieve peace with the neighbors. How? When they will despair of the hope to get out of this country. And how? When we build more settlements, more schools, more kindergartens.

SHIR HEVER: [Serious] responses to Levy’s article were [not late] to follow, including calls on the Haaretz newspaper to fire him. We are joined by Gideon Levy now, so we can discuss this article. Gideon Levy is a prominent Israeli journalist, and author of the weekly column The Twilight Zone in the Israeli paper Haaretz. He’s also an editorial board member of Haaretz. Thank you very much, Gideon, for joining us.

GIDEON LEVY: Thank you, Shir. It’s my pleasure.

SHIR HEVER: Honestly, when I read your article, I also felt uneasy. There are extreme right and violent organizations which promote the colonization of Palestine, but not everyone born in an Israeli illegal colony should have their lives forfeit because of the crime of the state of Israel. Did you not write this article in order to cause a provocation?

GIDEON LEVY: No, not at all. And I wouldn’t write it if the settlers themselves and their leadership wouldn’t behave in such a cynical way. You know, hours after the attack on this pregnant woman, hours after it, immediately they took some caravans, and with their leadership–not just, you know, young people from the margins, but with their leadership, the official leadership, and brought it to what’s called an illegal outpost, which was already evacuated, declaring that this is their answer for the terroristic attack. If they are using pain and tragedy, human tragedy, and bloodshed in such a cynical way for their real estate ambitions and interests, I have the right to tell them if this is your behavior, I have no sympathy to you.

SHIR HEVER: I think my problem is when you say ‘they,’ as if all of the colonists in the West Bank are one unit. The attack on this pregnant woman that you were talking about, she has actually survived, but her baby did not. And the baby never had a political opinion, and never made a choice. And certainly the baby is not at fault of building these caravans. In a way, aren’t you actually helping the colonies with this kind of argument, as if all of the colonists are just one unit, and murdering a colonist is a political act which can justify in their own eyes the land appropriation and dispossessing of Palestinians?

GIDEON LEVY: Well, first of all, if you take it to this resolution, then, needless to say, no baby in the world deserves to be killed. I mean, that’s not a question at all. If they have political views, even if they’re responsible or not, nobody should be a victim of murders, of killings. And for sure no innocent babies, helpless babies. This goes without saying.

But yes, we can generalize the settlers–like, by the way, I think we can generalize the Israelis. Because as we, all of us, I think, all of us Israelis carry responsibility for the occupation project, whole apartheid system, because we all are part of this machinery even if we individually oppose it. But finally, we are part of it. I always say, I’m a settler. I’m part of this project, even though I dedicated my life to fight against it. But I’m still part of it. I cannot break away from the responsibility.

Because the settlers, it’s much more than this. It’s not only about political views. It’s not only about talking. It’s about their existence there. Once you go and live in an occupied territory, which contradicts international law, once you do it, once you continue to do it, you define yourself politically, morally, and legally. And you take a very terrible road by sitting there. So yes, all of them violate international law. All of them. And all of them should be [viewed] to criticism.

SHIR HEVER: Well, let’s take this idea of generalization perhaps even further. The Israeli government made several statements in the last few days that they believe that confiscating more land every time there is a Palestinian attack will deter Palestinians from resisting the occupation. But what would happen if this logic would be universally accepted as a kind of medieval justice system? But then, also, whenever a Palestinian is killed by Israeli forces, Palestinians would receive some of their land back. What would you say to this kind of double sympathy logic, as opposed to the no sympathy in your article?

GIDEON LEVY: You portray a theoretical picture of equality, and there is no equality between Israel and Palestine, as you know. So this cannot happen, not only because it’s far fetched on both sides, because nothing is equal and there is no symmetry. Wherever you touch it. There Is no symmetry about anything, by the way.

Now, getting back to what you say, the fact that Israel and the settlers are claiming that this is the Zionistic response to terrorism, mainly the [revanche] for terrorism will be new settlements. This has some political aspects, because the first time the settlers admit that their project is a punishment, and not–has nothing to do with the security of Israel. Has nothing to do with your political or religious belief.

Finally, it’s a way to punish the Palestinians and take revanche over them. OK, that’s quite a progressive step, because once we realize that it’s all about paining more the Palestinians, taking revanche more, antagonizing more, so it’s much easier to oppose this project.

SHIR HEVER: Well, that’s a very good point to end our conversation. Thank you very much, Gideon, for joining us.

GIDEON LEVY: Thank you, Shir.

SHIR HEVER: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/gideon-levy-has-no-sympathy-for-colonists-as-a-group
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #263 on: January 09, 2019, 06:31:47 pm »
Longtime Reporter Leaves NBC Calling Media a “Trump Circus

BY Amy Goodman & Juan González, Democracy Now!

PUBLISHED January 9, 2019

“Prisoners of Donald Trump.” That’s how longtime NBC reporter and analyst William Arkin described the mainstream media in a scathing letter last week announcing he would be leaving the network, accusing the media of warmongering while ignoring the “creeping fascism of homeland security.” He issued the blistering critique after a 30-year relationship with NBC, calling for “Trump-free” media days and a reckoning about how the network encourages a state of perpetual warfare. We speak with Arkin, whose award-winning reporting has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post. He is the author of many books, including Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State

Transcript

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: “Prisoners of Donald Trump.” That’s how longtime NBC reporter and analyst William Arkin described the mainstream media in a scathing letter last week announcing he would be leaving the network, accusing the media of warmongering while ignoring the, quote, “creeping fascism of homeland security.” Arkin issued the blistering critique after a 30-year relationship with NBC, calling for Trump-free media days and a reckoning about how the network encourages a state of perpetual warfare.

In the memo, he writes, quote, “I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders. I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting.”

He continues, quote, “Of course [Trump] is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war.”

AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined by William Arkin, longtime NBCreporter and analyst. His award-winning reporting has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post. He’s the author of many books, including Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

WILLIAM ARKIN: Thanks, Amy, for having me on.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you left NBC with this explosive memo, that not only indicts NBC, your network, says basically NBC, they might not like this, but doesn’t stand out among the crowd of corporate networks in dealing with this issue of perpetual war.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Everything I said in this letter, which was a goodbye letter to my colleagues at NBC, applies to all of the mainstream networks, applies to CNN and Fox, as well. So, I’m not really singling out NBC. I was just most familiar with it.

And my decision not to renew my contract was really one of thinking to myself that I wanted to stand back and think more about what we needed to do in order to change our national security policy. We’ve been at war now for 18 years. I don’t think anybody could argue that there’s a country in the Middle East that’s safer today than it was in 2001. The generals and the national security leadership that runs the country, and now also is the commentators and the analysts who populate the news media, really are not people who we can look to as saying, “Wow! They won a war. They avoided a war. They achieved some magnificent objective.” In fact, they are the custodians and the architects of perpetual warfare. And it seemed to me like there needed to be both a different voice and a solution. And I want to step back myself and think about how we can end this era of perpetual war and how we can build some real security, both in the United States and abroad.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’m wondering, in terms of your concerns about the coverage of President Trump and of the Trump era and your concern about the fixation—and it really is an obsession, almost—of all of the networks with covering him on not just a daily, but an hourly, minute-by-minute basis.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, let me just say, I’m here at Democracy Now!, and I shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds me, but you started your broadcast today making fun of the president and his remarks last night about the border. It’s almost impossible to avoid.

Donald Trump runs a circus. Every day, he gets up, he unzips his pants, and we go, “Oh, my god! What is he doing?” And then the next day he repeats, and we repeat.

So, I think that, to some degree, he sucks the oxygen out of the debate. He changes the discourse. And we haven’t figured out yet in the news media, every part of the news media, how to get beyond that. So, I’m not arguing only about the mainstream. I think everyone is stuck in the Donald Trump circus.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, I have to take issue with you saying “making fun,” because “fun” is the one word I wouldn’t use. But, yes, we did focus on what he had to say. The more the networks broadcast directly what he has to say, this is the information that gets out to the American people, and it is so critical to take on each point. In that case, for example, that immigrants commit more crimes than natural-born Americans, which isn’t true. And it’s absolutely critical, each time those comments are made, to counter them.

But let’s get to the issue of who populates the network TV shows, which is validating an issue you have criticized for so long and investigated for so long: the national security state.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, you know, I’ve been associated with television for 30 years. I’ve been a journalist for about the same period of time, but it’s not my background. My background was in Army intelligence, and then, thereafter, I wrote books about the military. And I was called upon to be a journalist because there was a desire on the part of the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and NBC to have experts helping people to understand an incredibly complex issue—national security.

In those days, when I started, we used to have civilian experts on the air, people who weren’t former government officials, people who weren’t retired generals, people who might be university professors or activists who worked in nongovernmental organizations or experts who were associated with think tanks. Something happened post-9/11, something happened in this intervening years, in which those people virtually disappeared from the airwaves, and we don’t see as many anymore.

And, in fact, we increasingly see journalists who are the commentators on what’s going on. Now, that’s a tricky position, because journalists are supposed to be unbiased, but also, at the same time, they’re supposed to be explaining to the public what’s going on with inside information.

But the end result of it is that we become shallower and shallower in our coverage, particularly in an area like national security. We’ve just become so shallow that we’re not really able even to see the truth, which is that we’re at war right now in nine countries around the world where we’re bombing, and we hardly report any of it on a day-to-day basis.

So, to me, the crisis is that we condone perpetual war by virtue of our lack of reporting and investigation, and then, second, we fill the airwaves or we fill the newspapers with stories about the immediate and don’t give an adequate amount of space to deeper investigations or what I would say would be net assessment investigations of what really is going on.


I mean, whether we should or shouldn’t withdraw troops from Syria, whether we should or shouldn’t withdraw troops from Afghanistan, whether we should or we shouldn’t improve our relations with Russia, whether we should or we shouldn’t pursue denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula—all of these questions deserve a high degree of investigation and reporting, beyond the question of whether or not Donald Trump is a buffoon. And we just don’t do it. We’re just not doing it.

And so, to me, I’m not necessarily interested in prescribing the why. I’m interested in changing the culture so that we can, in fact, better inform ourselves about national security, so that the citizenry can play a more powerful role in influencing our national security policy.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to expand on that. Back in the ’70s, the old socialist economists Baran and Sweezy used to talk about the huge percentage of the American population that owed its livelihood directly to the defense industry. Right? And one of the things in your Top Secret America exposés is that the Cold War ended, and the threats, supposedly, in terms of state threats, receded to the United States, but yet, obviously, the military maintains its huge spread across the world. And more importantly, through homeland security, the militarization internally of the country, as you point out, has gotten to the point where people don’t even know how extensive the homeland security apparatus is of this country and the number of people that have top-secret clearance.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Yes.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, it seems to me that the number of people working for this apparatus has actually grown, despite the fact that the threats, the existential threats, to the United States have receded.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, there’s no question that the national security establishment has grown and has become far more powerful than it ever was. But here’s the change. We’ve shifted from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. And consequently, we’ve also shifted from the dominance of the military-industrial complex, if you will, to a much more insidious and much more difficult-to-diagnose information complex. So, the advent of contractors, the advent of a professional military, which means that the military itself touches fewer and fewer lives in America, all of those work together to make the national security state more and more embedded within our society, but yet, at the same time, more difficult to get to, more difficult to understand.

So, most people would be surprised to learn, for instance, that Amazon is one of the largest defense contractors, that they’re building the cloud and they’re building the data centers which support the intelligence community and support the military. And there are other civilian companies, that we associate with being civilians, who are also terrific beneficiaries of the military’s largesse.

So, to me, to diagnose properly where we stand today, the point of the Top Secret America investigation was to show the wild growth of all areas of national security and this new invention of homeland security, if you will, but at the same time to point out that it wasn’t something that was necessarily segregated from our society, it was more and more embedded within our society, and that that made it more and more difficult to analyze properly and to do something about.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you talked about the people who populate the networks as pundits, and you’ve been a fierce critic of the national security state, or at least understanding who it is who is explaining things to us. Reading from Politico, “Former CIA Director John Brennan … the latest superspook,” they said, “to be reborn as a TV newsie. He just cashed in at NBC News as a ‘senior national security and intelligence analyst’ and served his first expert views … on Meet the Press. The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN, which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity. Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV’s grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert Mueller; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush.” And it goes on and on and on.

These are now the pundits. And so, when you have a situation like President Trump announcing he will immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and halve the troops that are in Afghanistan, you have this massive attack on him that’s actually led by the permanent national security state under the guise of pundits on television.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, I think that you’ve—I mean, what you said stands for itself, Amy. But I would add to it that I think the real crisis is that when we have a panel discussion on television, in the mainstream press, and even in the mainstream newspapers, we don’t populate that panel with people who are in opposition. We have a single war party in the United States, and it’s the only one that is given voice. And so, really, the crisis is not so much that there are experienced government officials speaking out; the problem is that there aren’t critics who are sitting next to them saying that “You’re full of it.” And so, to me, we need to balance that.

And I think that probably because of the phenomenon of Donald Trump—let’s just be honest about it—really what we see on TV now is former Obama administration officials masquerading as analysts who are nonpartisan, when in fact they are partisan. And indeed we see fewer retired generals and fewer retired admirals, who sometimes are useful in terms of explaining the profession of arms and the conduct of military operations, in favor of these political figures who have a partisan view.

I just don’t think the American public gets well served by the fact that there isn’t a broad range of opinions on those panels. I want to see peaceniks. I want to see academics. I want to see historians. I want them to as much have a voice, in terms of understanding what’s going on, as I do see a former Obama administration official.

AMY GOODMAN: We have break, but we’re going to come back to this conversation and talk, among other issues, about one of your statements—”don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?’’—and much more. We’re speaking to William Arkin, a longtime NBC reporter and analyst who just left the network, penning a letter critiquing the network for supporting perpetual warfare, his criticism, talking about the creeping fascism of homeland security. Stay with us.

Yes, I’ll Chip In

Video of interview at link below:

https://truthout.org/video/longtime-reporter-leaves-nbc-media-is-trump-circus-encourages-perpetual-war/

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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #264 on: January 09, 2019, 08:58:00 pm »
JAN 09, 2019

By Nick Turse / TomDispatch

The Mystery Military Bases the Pentagon 🦍 Doesn't Want You to Know About

SNIPPET:

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015 and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”

Such off-the-books bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense Department’s many mystery bases.

“Undocumented bases are immune to oversight by the public and often even Congress,” Vine explains. “Bases are a physical manifestation of U.S. foreign and military policy, so off-the-books bases mean the military and executive branch are deciding such policy without public debate, frequently spending hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and potentially getting the U.S. involved in wars and conflicts about which most of the country knows nothing.”

Where Are They?

The Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition notes that the United Statespossesses up to 95% of the world’s foreign military bases, while countries like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have perhaps 10-20 foreign outposts each. China has just one.

The Department of Defense even boasts that its “locations” include 164 countries. Put another way, it has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84% of the nations on this planet — or at least the DoD briefly claimed this. After TomDispatch inquired about the number on a new webpage designed to tell the Pentagon’s “story” to the general public, it was quickly changed. “We appreciate your diligence in getting to the bottom of this,” said Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Thanks to your observations, we have updated defense.gov to say ‘more than 160.’”

The progressive changes made to the Defense Department’s “Our Story” webpage as a result of questions from TomDispatch.

What the Pentagon still doesn’t say is how it defines a “location.” The number 164 does roughly track with the Department of Defense’s current manpower statistics, which show personnel deployments of varying sizes in 166 “overseas” locales — including some nations with token numbers of U.S. military personnel and others, like Iraq and Syria, where the size of the force was obviously far larger, even if unlisted at the time of the assessment. (The Pentagon recently claimed that there were 5,200 troops in Iraq and at least 2,000 troops in Syria although that number should now markedly shrink.) The Defense Department’s “overseas” tally, however, also lists troops in U.S. territories like American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Dozens of soldiers, according to the Pentagon, are also deployed to the country of “Akrotiri” (which is actually a village on the island of Santorini in Greece) and thousands more are based in “unknown” locations.

In the latest report, the number of those “unknown” troops exceeds 44,000.

Official Defense Department manpower statistics show U.S. forces deployed to the nation of “Akrotiri.”

The annual cost of deploying U.S. military personnel overseas, as well as maintaining and running those foreign bases, tops out at an estimated $150 billion annually, according to the Overseas Bases Realignment and Closure Coalition. The price tag for the outposts alone adds up to about one-third of that total. “U.S. bases abroad cost upwards of $50 billion per year to build and maintain, which is money that could be used to address pressing needs at home in education, health care, housing, and infrastructure,” Vine points out.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the Pentagon is also somewhat fuzzy about just where its troops are stationed. The new Defense Department website, for instance, offered a count of “4,800+ defense sites” around the world. After TomDispatch inquired about this total and how it related to the official count of 4,775 sites listed in the BSR, the website was changed to read “approximately 4,800 Defense Sites.”

“Thank you for pointing out the discrepancy. As we transition to the new site, we are working on updating information,” wrote Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Please refer to the Base Structure Report which has the latest numbers.”

In the most literal sense, the Base Structure Report does indeed have the latest numbers — but their accuracy is another matter. “The number of bases listed in the BSR has long born little relation to the actual number of U.S. bases outside the United States,” says Vine. “Many, many well-known and secretive bases have long been left off the list.”

One prime example is the constellation of outposts that the U.S. has built across Africa. The official BSR inventory lists only a handful of sites there — on Ascension Island as well as in Djibouti, Egypt, and Kenya. In reality, though, there are many more outposts in many more African countries.

A recent investigation by the Intercept, based on documents obtained from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) via the Freedom of Information Act, revealed a network of 34 bases heavily clustered in the north and west of that continent as well as in the Horn of Africa. AFRICOM’s “strategic posture” consists of larger “enduring” outposts, including two forward operating sites (FOSes), 12 cooperative security locations (CSLs), and 20 more austere sites known as contingency locations (CLs).

The Pentagon’s official inventory does include the two FOSes: Ascension Island and the crown jewel of Washington’s African bases, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, which expanded from 88 acres in the early 2000s to nearly 600 acres today. The Base Structure Report is, however, missing a CSL in that same country, Chabelley Airfield, a lower-profile outpost located about 10 kilometers away that has served as a drone hub for operations in Africa and the Middle East.

The official Pentagon tally also mentions a site that goes by the confusing moniker of “NSA Bahrain-Kenya.” AFRICOM had previously described it as a collection of warehouses built in the 1980s at the airport and seaport of Mombasa, Kenya, but it now appears on that command’s 2018 list as a CSL. Missing, however, is another Kenyan base, Camp Simba, mentioned in a 2013 internal Pentagon study of secret drone operations in Somalia and Yemen. At least two manned surveillance aircraft were based there at the time. Simba, a longtime Navy-run facility, is currently operated by the Air Force’s 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, part of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Personnel from that same air wing can be found at yet another outpost that doesn’t appear in the Base Structure Report, this one on the opposite side of the continent. The BSR states that it doesn’t list specific information on “non-U.S. locations” not at least 10 acres in size or worth at least $10 million. However, the base in question — Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger — already has a $100 million construction price tag, a sum soon to be eclipsed by the cost of operating the facility: about $30 million a year. By 2024, when the present 10-year agreement for use of the base ends, its construction and operating costs will have reached about $280 million.

Also missing from the BSR are outposts in nearby Cameroon, including a longtime base in Douala, a drone airfield in the remote town of Garoua, and a facility known as Salak. That site, according to a 2017 investigation by the Intercept, the research firm Forensic Architecture, and Amnesty International, has been used by U.S. personnel and private contractors for drone surveillance and training missions and by allied Cameroonian forces for illegal imprisonment and torture.

According to Vine, keeping America’s African bases secret is advantageous to Washington. It protects allies on that continent from possible domestic opposition to the presence of American troops, he points out, while helping to ensure that there will be no domestic debate in the U.S. over such spending and the military commitments involved. “It’s important for U.S. citizens to know where their troops are based in Africa and elsewhere around the world,” he told TomDispatch, “because that troop presence costs the U.S. billions of dollars every year and because the U.S. is involved, or potentially involved, in wars and conflicts that could spiral out of control.”

Those Missing Bases

Africa is hardly the only place where the Pentagon’s official list doesn’t match up well with reality. For close to two decades, the Base Structure Report has ignored bases of all sorts in America’s active war zones. At the height of the American occupation of Iraq, for instance, the United States had 505 bases there, ranging from small outposts to mega-sized facilities. None appeared on the Pentagon’s official rolls.

In Afghanistan, the numbers were even higher. As TomDispatch reported in 2012, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had about 550 bases in that country. If you had added ISAF checkpoints — small baselets used to secure roads and villages — to the count of mega-bases, forward operating bases, combat outposts, and patrol bases, the number reached an astounding 750. And counting all foreign military installations of every type — including logistical, administrative, and support facilities — hiked ISAF Joint Command’s official count to 1,500 sites. America’s significant share of them was, however, also mysteriously absent from the Defense Department’s official tally.

There are now far fewer such facilities in Afghanistan — and the numbers may drop further in the months ahead as troop levels decrease. But the existence of Camp Morehead, Forward Operating Base Fenty, Tarin Kowt Airfield, Camp Dahlke West, and Bost Airfield, as well as Camp Shorab, a small installation occupying what was once the site of much larger twin bases known as Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, is indisputable. Yet none of them has ever appeared in the Base Structure Report.

Similarly, while there are no longer 500-plus U.S. bases in Iraq, in recent years, as American troops returned to that country, some garrisons have either been reconstituted or built from scratch. These include the Besmaya Range Complex, Firebase Sakheem, Firebase Um Jorais, and Al Asad Air Base, as well as Qayyarah Airfield West — a base 40 miles south of Mosul that’s better known as “Q-West.” Again, you won’t find any of them listed in the Pentagon’s official count.

These days, it’s even difficult to obtain accurate manpower numbers for the military personnel in America’s war zones, let alone the number of bases in each of them. As Vine explains, “The military keeps the figures secret to some extent to hide the base presence from its adversaries. Because it is probably not hard to spot these bases in places like Syria and Iraq, however, the secrecy is mostly to prevent domestic debate about the money, danger, and death involved, as well as to avoid diplomatic tensions and international inquiries.”

If stifling domestic debate through information control is the Pentagon’s aim, it’s been doing a fine job for years of deflecting questions about its global posture, or what the late TomDispatch regular Chalmers Johnson called America’s “empire of bases.”

In mid-October, TomDispatch asked Heather Babb, another Pentagon spokesperson, for details about the outposts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria that were absent from the Base Structure Report, as well as about those missing African bases. Among the other questions put to Babb: Could the Pentagon offer a simple count — if not a list — of all its outposts? Did it have a true count of overseas facilities, even if it hadn’t been released to the public — a list, that is, which actually did what the Base Structure Report only purports to do? October and November passed without answers.

In December, in response to follow-up requests for information, Babb responded in a fashion firmly in line with the Pentagon’s well-worn policy of keeping American taxpayers in the dark about the bases they pay for — no matter the theoretical difficulty of denying the existence of outposts that stretch from Agadez in Niger to Mosul in Iraq. “I have nothing to add,” she explained, “to the information and criteria that is included in the report.”

President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria means that the 2019 Base Structure Report will likely be the most accurate in years. For the first time since 2015, the Pentagon’s inventory of outposts will no longer be missing the al-Tanf garrison (or then again, maybe it will). But that still potentially leaves hundreds of off-the-books bases absent from the official rolls. Consider it one outpost down and who knows how many to go.

Nick Turse / TomDispatch

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-mystery-military-bases-the-pentagon-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about/
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #265 on: January 13, 2019, 03:41:25 pm »
Cheney’s Lies Left Middle East in Flames 🔥 - Film Review of “Vice” with Wilkerson and Jay (2/2)


TheRealNews ✨

Published on Jan 12, 2019

Larry Wilkerson tells the story of Powell’s fateful speech to the UN that prepared the way for the invasion; he’s asked why he and Powell didn’t quit - Col. Lawrence Wilkerson joins TRNN’s Paul Jay

https://therealnews.com/series/vice-movie-review

Visit https://therealnews.com for more stories and help support our work by donating at https://therealnews.com/donate.
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #266 on: January 14, 2019, 12:31:46 pm »

Bolton, a Seriously Deranged Madman, Sought Options to Strike Iran

by Mish

John Bolton 🦍, Trump’s national security adviser, had asked for military options to strike Iran, rattling the Pentagon.

The Wall Street Journal reports White House Sought Options to Strike Iran.

President Trump’s National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former U.S. officials said.

The request, which hasn’t been previously reported, came after militants fired three mortars into Baghdad’s sprawling diplomatic quarter, home to the U.S. Embassy, on a warm night in early September. The shells—launched by a group aligned with Iran—landed in an open lot and harmed no one.

But they triggered unusual alarm in Washington, where Mr. Trump’s national security team led by John Bolton 😈 conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response, including what many saw as the unusual request for options to strike Iran.

Quote
“It definitely rattled people,” a former senior U.S. administration official said of the request. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

The Pentagon complied with the National Security Council’s request to develop options for striking Iran, the officials said. But it isn’t clear if the proposals were provided to the White House, whether Mr. Trump knew of the request or whether serious plans for a U.S. strike against Iran took shape at that time.

Mr. Bolton’s request reflects the administration’s more confrontational approach toward Tehran, one that he has pushed since taking up the post last April.

As a think-tank scholar and Fox News commentator, Mr. Bolton repeatedly urged the U.S. to attack Iran, including in a 2015 New York Times op-ed titled, “To stop Iran’s bomb, bomb Iran.”

Bolton Seriously Deranged

Bolton has learned nothing from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or Syria. As a seriously deranged madman in precisely the wrong place, he a dangerous threat to US and global security.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

https://moneymaven.io/mishtalk/economics/bolton-a-seriously-deranged-madman-sought-options-to-strike-iran-9Zx1-pW9AEWSfuffdZekIA/
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #267 on: January 25, 2019, 04:54:22 pm »

War "Game" computer figures out that Nuclear War =


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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #268 on: January 31, 2019, 07:54:58 pm »
Will Trump Start a War to Stay President?


Thom Hartmann Program
Published on Jan 30, 2019

Is Donald Trump planning to start a war so he can win the 2020 election on the same "War time President" slogan George W Bush used in 2004? 

2:00 in to this clip, a caller questions whether Trump has his sights set on a military conflict in Venezuela and the evidence looks frightening.

What do you think? 

Does Trump need a war to be re-elected in 2020?

► More on the Venezuelan Crisis: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5gNz_FycX94d5RVcwvoGrNe4Xiv04m7a

SUPPORT THE PROGRAM
► Join us on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/thomhartmann where you can also watch a re-run of the three hour program at any time
 
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► Subscribe today: http://www.thomhartmann.com/podcast
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AGelbert

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Re: War Provocations and Peace Actions
« Reply #269 on: January 31, 2019, 10:39:11 pm »
Many Countries at UN Oppose Trump Interference in Venezuela

January 29, 2019

Larry Wilkerson joins Paul Jay as they discuss the special meeting of the Security Council that took place on January 26, where many small countries stood up against American pressure and refused to recognize Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela, and defended the UN principle of non-interference


https://therealnews.com/stories/many-countries-at-un-oppose-trump-interference-in-venezuela
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