Author Archives: DavidSwanson

Where Would Jesus Live?

If Jesus lived in Galilee in recent decades he would live in a world alive with Palestinian traditions clinging to a long-rooted history but struggling through the aftermath of the never-ended ethnic-cleansing operation that spiked in 1948. Hatim Kanaaneh has … Continue reading

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Our Chance to Aid and Encourage Whistleblowers

We would know much less about what our governments do were it not for those who are part of our governments until something becomes too horrible for their moral threshold, and who see a means available to inform the public. … Continue reading

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Is Al Jazeera Trying to Be CNN or Fox?

Some weeks back I got a call from Al Jazeera wanting me to be on a show, but insisting that I couldn’t do it from a local studio via satellite or from my computer via Skype. No, I would have … Continue reading

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China Lobby Pre-WWII, Israel Lobby Pre-WWIII

By David Swanson The history of catastrophically murderous and stupid warfare that the United States can memorialize on Memorial Day dates back to Day 1 and earlier, begins with the genocide of the native inhabitants of the land, the invasions … Continue reading

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The 16 Core Progressive Policies, Really?

Salvatore Babones’ proposals in Sixteen for ’16: A Progressive Agenda for a Better America are not bad, assuming a progressive agenda can limit itself to one nation. But these sorts of proposals tend to be — and this one is … Continue reading

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On the U.S. Killing of Two Children in Syria

The U.S. military admitted on Thursday to killing two girls in Syria. If a target of U.S. aggression can be alleged to have killed children, especially with the wrong kind of weapon, that is used as grounds for war. War … Continue reading

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If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive “temporary” measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations! What if … Continue reading

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Being Pro-Voice

The abortion debates is the last place I would have looked for inspiration in methods of handling the major political and social problems of the world. Politically I’ve always thought of abortion — the topic of abortion, that is — … Continue reading

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War Speaks Every Language But Never Knows What to Say to Frogs

Alice Walker explains this line, “Though war speaks every language it never knows what to say to frogs” in the opening of her beautiful book, Why War Is Never a Good Idea, illustrated by Stefano Vitale, thus: War speaks every … Continue reading

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What’s Baddawi?

On October 29, 1948, the Israeli terrorist group Irgun ethnically cleansed the village of Safsaf in Palestine, lining some 70 men up, shooting them, dumping them in a ditch, and raping three girls. Among the survivors who fled to Lebanon … Continue reading

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Top 10 Activist Errors

The number one error, engaged in by the majority of people, is failing to be an activist. The world’s going to hell, countless situations can be easily improved, lives can be saved, and most people just sit there and do … Continue reading

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Populist Except for Pentagon

Katrina vanden Heuvel says there’s an emerging populist agenda. Of course populist agendas tend to emerge in times of demobilization for election distraction — that is to say, in moments when huge political party and NGO resources are being dumped … Continue reading

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In Convicting Jeff Sterling, CIA Revealed More Than It Accused Him of Revealing

Some Americans have heard of New York Times reporter and book author James Risen and his refusal to expose a source. But, because most reports on that matter scrupulously avoided the subject of what it was Risen had reported, relatively … Continue reading

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The No More War Movement

Remarks at UNAC Conference, May 8, 2015. This week I read an article by someone I have a lot of respect for and who I know to mean well, and who wrote about being a part of something called “the … Continue reading

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Fast Track the Good Stuff

The U.S. Senate has been very concerned not to let peace with Iran slip into place too easily, even while a new war in Iraq and Syria proceeds without the formal pretense of Congress “authorizing” or rejecting it. Both houses … Continue reading

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Watching Shadows of Liberty

A powerful new film on what’s wrong with the U.S. media is now being screened around the country. It’s called Shadows of Liberty and you can set up a screening of it as part of an upcoming international week of … Continue reading

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Invest in Activism, Not Bernie Sanders

Yes, Bernie Sanders would be a far superior president to Hillary Clinton. That requires a bit of elaboration. Something I just scraped off my shoe would be a far superior president to Hillary Clinton, but Sanders would actually be good … Continue reading

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Grand Canyon Sized Outrage Over Plans for Grand Canyon

“What a horrible idea! Leave this magnificent place as nature made it!” — Mikell Werder “NO! NO! NO! Leave our natural wonder ALONE!” — cathy blaivas RootsAction.org has posted a lot of petitions, but most have not gathered 30,000 signatures … Continue reading

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A Preview of Coming Wars: Do Black Lives Matter in Africa?

Reading Nick Turse’s new book, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, raises the question of whether black lives in Africa matter to the U.S. military any more than black lives in the United States matter to … Continue reading

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A Better Way to Read the First Amendment

Madison’s Music: On Reading the First Amendment, a new book by Burt Neuborne, at first appears an unlikely work to serve much purpose today. Who wants to celebrate slave owner James Madison’s view of freedom as embodied in a long … Continue reading

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Understanding the Suffering War Brings

Remarks at Houston Peace and Justice Center Conference on April 25, 2015. I hope to be brief enough to leave lots of time for questions after I talk. I know that most of you are probably exceptions to what I’m … Continue reading

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Gradual Injustice

Chris Woods’ excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from … Continue reading

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The Decline and Fall of the United States

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To … Continue reading

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And the Slow Parade of Fears

Remarks at Physicians for Social Responsibility annual event in Baltimore, Md., April 18, 2015. Video. It is an honor to be asked to speak to a group of people doing as much strategic and principled good as you, not to … Continue reading

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Getting the Cure Right for a Sick Democracy

Here’s what I think we need: No private election spending. Free media air time on our air waves for candidates qualified by signature gathering. Public financing, ballot access, and debate access for candidates qualified by signature gathering. No gerrymandering. Hand-counted … Continue reading

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I Just Asked Erik Prince To Stop Bribing Politicians

“It’s bad enough to be creating more profit incentive for war,” I told former head of Blackwater Erik Prince, “but you recycle part of the profits as bribes for more war in the form of so-called campaign contributions. You yourself … Continue reading

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Drone Victims Take Germany to Court for Abetting U.S. Murders

Andreas Schüller is an attorney on the staff of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. He is the lead attorney on a suit being brought by ECCHR and Reprieve against the German government on behalf of three Yemeni … Continue reading

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Oh Hell, Hillary

I just did a radio show in South Africa on the topic of Hillary Clinton. Perhaps they won’t air it since I told them it was a non-story about something long since underway being “launched,” but a story the U.S. … Continue reading

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Peace: More Normal and Wonderful Than We Think

Remarks at Michigan Pax Christi annual state conference, April 11, 2015. Video. How might we get to a world that doesn’t plan and produce wars but lives at peace economically, environmentally, culturally, and legally? How might we switch to systems … Continue reading

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War: It’s Human Nature only if Collective Suicide is Natural

Remarks at Michigan Pax Christi annual state conference, April 11, 2015. Video. Thank you for having me here. I know a lot of people have been involved in planning this event. Thank you! I’m going to try this morning to … Continue reading

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Locals Protest, Sabotage U.S. Navy Base Construction in Desert in Sicily

There’s a popular movement in Sicily called No MUOS. MUOS means Mobile User Objective System. It’s a satellite communications system created by the U.S. Navy. The primary contractor and profiteer building the satellite equipment at the U.S. Navy base in … Continue reading

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Lower Drinking Age, Raise Killing Age

The United States sends people to kill and die in war that it doesn’t trust with a beer. It trains police in war skills to assault young people it suspects of going near beer. Here’s an idea: Drink At 18, … Continue reading

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Canada, Do Not Follow U.S. Into Permawar

By David Swanson and Robert Fantina Oh Canada, to thine own self be true, not to thine heavily militarized neighbor. Robin Williams called you a nice apartment over a meth lab for a reason, and now you’re bringing the drugs … Continue reading

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Television Commercial in California Asks Drone Pilots to Stop Killing

This may be a first: a television ad campaign in a U.S. state capitol appealing to someone to stop murdering human beings who have, in most cases, already been born. A new 15-second television ad, a variation on one that’s … Continue reading

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Stop Smoking the Democrack

By Cindy Sheehan and David Swanson The U.S. government is toying with a war with nuclear Russia while already waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, having done severe damage to Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Military spending is climbing ever … Continue reading

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Can Anne Hathaway Help End the Mindset That Creates Wars?

“If others have their will Ann hath a way. By cock, she was to blame. She put the comether on him, sweet and twentysix. The greyeyed goddess who bends over the boy Adonis, stooping to conquer, as prologue to the … Continue reading

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Top 10 Reasons Bill Maher Is Not “Our Best Weapon Against ISIS”

10. This sort of argument for debunking Islam in the media as the best way to “defeat” ISIS/ISIL misses the fact that ISIS recruits from the United States make up almost certainly much less than 1% of recruits, so that … Continue reading

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The Russian Military Asked Me to Publish Its Propaganda

On Friday, March 20th, I spoke at the University of the District of Columbia Law School in Washington, D.C., as part of a series of teach-ins about peace organized by SpringRising.org. While there, a young man in a suit with … Continue reading

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Opposing War With a Smile

Remarks at teach-in at Spring Rising event March 20, 2015, UDC Law School. Note: Rally at White House is noon, March 21. More times than I can count, after I’ve given a speech about war and peace without tears in … Continue reading

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Blood on the Corner at UVA

I’m just back from a rally in front of the Charlottesville Police Department at which I heard a black UVA student say that black friends were going to think twice about trying to attend UVA after what happened tonight. Unless … Continue reading

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50,000th War in a Row Violates the Laws of War

I think we must be due some kind of prize. This is the 50,000th war in a row to have violated the “laws of war.” The documentation comes from Human Rights Watch which reports that last August 31st U.S. and … Continue reading

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Gallup: U.S. Population Highly Militaristic

In early 2014 there were unusual news stories about Gallup’s end-of-2013 polling because after polling in 65 countries with the question “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” the overwhelming winner had … Continue reading

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The Washington Post Will Kill Us All

“War with Iran is probably our best option.” This is an actual headline from the Washington Post. Yes it’s an op-ed, but don’t fantasize that it’s part of some sort of balanced wide-ranging array of varied opinions. The Washington Post … Continue reading

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Which Party Do You View Iran Through?

Most people in the United States have little contact with Iran or its culture. Iran comes up as a scary threat in the speeches of demagogues. A range of debate is offered between obliterate it and pressure it into compliance … Continue reading

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A Global Security System: An Alternative to War

World Beyond War has just published a short book titled A Global Security System: An Alternative to War. This act constitutes an intervention into the debate over whether to create a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force. In … Continue reading

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Putin Wants to Eat Your Children

If U.S. television and politicians started saying that Saudi Arabia should be bombed because it kills and tortures innocent people, within a week many millions of Americans would demand just that. And because those voices do say that about ISIS, … Continue reading

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How Did Syria Get Here?

Wars may be how Americans learn geography, but do they always learn the history of how the geography was shaped by wars? I’ve just read Syria: A History of the Last Hundred Years by John McHugo. It’s very heavy on … Continue reading

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TV ad airing in Las Vegas asks drone pilots to refuse to fly

This advertisement does a number of things in 15 seconds that U.S. television has not done before. It presents a moral case against drone murders (the U.S. government’s terminology, and strictly accurate). It opposes drone murders as illegal. It shows … Continue reading

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Admit that torture does not work

To: Keifer Sutherland and Kathryn Bigelow Admit awareness of the fact that torture does not work in real life. Sign the petition. Why is this important? The popularity and acceptability of torture have soared in the United States and around … Continue reading

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ISIS Derangement Syndrome

Here’s Time Magazine‘s David von Drehle: “The greatest threat that ISIS poses — even to the poor souls living under ISIS rule — is the unintended damage that might follow from the effort to eradicate the group. . . . … Continue reading

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Skipping The Speech for All the Wrong Reasons

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to hear that Congress members will skip Netanyahu’s speech no matter what reason they offer. Here are some of them: It’s too close to Netanyahu’s election. (That doesn’t persuade me. If we had fair, … Continue reading

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Actually Qualified Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Source: http://www.nobelwill.org/index.html?tab=7 The Norwegian Nobel Committee ignores the testament of Nobel. They claim that the “champions of peace” Nobel described in his will no longer exist. To end this charade we have seen no alternative to lifting the curtain of … Continue reading

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Did Berkeley Just Save Us From Drones or Target Us With Drones?

Cities and states across the United States have been taking various actions against drones, while the federal government rolls ahead with project fill the skies. Robert L. Meola has been working for years now to get Berkeley to catch up … Continue reading

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Not a Bug Splat, Not Chattel

U.S. drone “pilots” refer to people they burn to death in places like Pakistan as “bug splat” because they look like bugs being squished to death on the pilots’ video monitors and because it’s easier to murder bugs than humans. … Continue reading

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No Weapons to Ukraine

No Weapons to Ukraine An Open Letter to the U.S. Senate Reject S. 452, “A bill to provide lethal weapons to the Government of Ukraine.” Sign here: http://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-weapons-to-ukraine Why is this important? The United States is the leading provider of … Continue reading

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U.S. Army Claims to Be Full of Liars

“Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession” is the title of a new paper by Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras of the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. Its thesis: the U.S. Army is full of liars who habitually lie … Continue reading

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Not Very Funny

By David Swanson Remarks prepared for event with comedian Lee Camp, Charlottesville, Va., February 21, 2015, event postponed by snow storm. When it’s rescheduled I’ll say something completely unrelated. This is the serious part of tonight’s event, except that Lee … Continue reading

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Cuba: Land of Opportunity

What can I be sure of after only one week in Havana? Very little. There are exceptions to every pattern, and sometimes more exceptions than patterns. But a few claims, I think, are possible: 1. The sea and this island … Continue reading

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Cuba Through the Looking Glass

Today in Havana, Mariela Castro Espin, director of the national center for sexual education and daughter of the president of Cuba, gave us a truly enlightened talk and question-and-answer session on LGBT rights, sex education, pornography (and why young people … Continue reading

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Cuba Is Our Family

Cuba and the Estados Unidos have been family for so long that relationships have been reversed, forgotten, turned inside out, and repeated. In the 19th century, the Cuban community in the United States and their supporters there were the base … Continue reading

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Cuba Is Good for Your Health

“It’s behind us,” Fernando Gonzales of the Cuban Five said with a smile when I told him just a few moments ago that I was sorry for the U.S. government having locked him in a cage for 15 years. It … Continue reading

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Cuba Uncensored

This evening, February 9, 2015, a handful of visitors from the land to the north asked an assistant (or “instructional” which I take to be a step below “assistant”) professor of philosophy about his studies and his teaching experiences here … Continue reading

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Cuba Is Hot

We arrived in Havana tonight, February 8, 2015, or year 56 of the revolution, 150 of us filling an entire airplane, a group of U.S. peace and justice activists organized by CODEPINK. The place is hot and beautiful despite the … Continue reading

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The Key That Is the Saudi Kingdom

Was the United States compelled to attack Afghanistan and Iraq by the events of September 11, 2001? A key to answering that rather enormous question may lie in the secrets that the U.S. government is keeping about Saudi Arabia. Some … Continue reading

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Addiction Is Not Addictive

Whether someone becomes addicted to drugs has much more to do with their childhood and their quality of life than with the drug they use or with anything in their genes. This is one of the more startling of the … Continue reading

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It’s the Blind Partisanship

Why did the peace movement grow large around 2003-2006 and shrink around 2008-2010? Military spending, troop levels abroad, and number of wars engaged in can explain the growth but not the shrinkage. Those factors hardly changed between the high point … Continue reading

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Born at War

Foreword to America’s Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying (available in Kindle version free this week.) One of the ways in which we commonly handicap our own struggles to reform the bad practices of the U.S. government is by imagining those … Continue reading

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When Veterans Try to End Wars

Nan Levinson’s new book is called War Is Not a Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built, but it left me wishing there were a “Where Are They Now” chapter, because it ends around 2008. The book … Continue reading

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Exporting Sherman’s March

Sherman statue anchors one southern corner of Central Park (with Columbus on a stick anchoring the other): Matthew Carr’s new book, Sherman’s Ghosts: Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War, is presented as “an antimilitarist military history” — that … Continue reading

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Pentagon Silent on Current Use of DU in Iraq

Back in October, I reported that, “A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, … Continue reading

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CIA Tried to Give Iraq Nuclear Plans, Just Like Iran

If you’ve followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen’s book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a … Continue reading

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Students Save Palestine

In proposing that Congress Members boycott or walk out on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress, expected to push for sanctions if not war on Iran, activists are drawing on actions engaged in by college students in recent … Continue reading

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When Shock and Awe Turns 12

Shock and Awe is having a troubled adolescence. The U.S. government is killing children with flying robot death planes, keeping troops in 175 countries, actively using “special” forces in 150 countries, asking us to ignore what it’s done to Libya … Continue reading

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“We murdered some folks” in Guantanamo

Murder at Camp Delta is a new book by Joseph Hickman, a former guard at Guantanamo. It’s neither fiction nor speculation. When President Obama says “We tortured some folks,” Hickman provides at least three cases — in addition to many … Continue reading

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Distrust But Verify

What the U.S. government does openly is many times worse than anything it can be doing secretly, and yet the secrets fascinate us. If you compare polling on majority views on most political topics with actual U.S. policy, there’s little … Continue reading

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Militarism in the Air We Breathe

If there is a group of Americans to whom Iraqis struggling with the health effects of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and all the various poisons of war can relate, it might be the mostly black and largely poor … Continue reading

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Beyond Vietghanistan

By Martin Luther Obama Jr., as dictated to David Swanson Text of “Beyond Vietghanistan: A Time To Break Treaties” By Rev. Martin Luther Obama Jr. – January 19, 2015 Speech delivered at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at … Continue reading

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Nuclear Madness and Resistance

The Jeffrey Sterling trial is a bit disheartening for anyone who’d rather humanity paid a bit of attention to avoiding nuclear apocalypse, even though Sterling exposed the CIA’s crime to Congress, and Sterling or someone else (at least 90 people … Continue reading

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Study Finds People Assume War Is Only Last Resort

A scholarly study has found that the U.S. public believes that whenever the U.S. government proposes a war, it has already exhausted all other possibilities. When a sample group was asked if they supported a particular war, and a second … Continue reading

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CIA on Trial in Virginia for Planting Nuke Evidence in Iran

Since Tuesday and continuing for the coming three weeks, an amazing trial is happening in U.S. District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, Va. The trial is open to the public, and among the upcoming witnesses is Condoleezza Rice, … Continue reading

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If Paris Killers Had Western Media on Their Side

Some killings are reported on in a slightly different manner from how the Charlie Hebdo killings have been. Rewriting a drone killing as a gun killing (changing just a few words) would produce something like this: Freedom Fighters Gun Strike … Continue reading

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Do Americans Hate Children?

Yes, I know you love your children, as I love mine. That’s not in doubt. But do you love mine and I yours? Because collectively there seems to be a problem. Ferguson may have awakened a few people to some … Continue reading

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Presidents Are Gods

A former Governor of Virginia is expected to be sentenced to a long stay in prison. The same fate has befallen governors in states across the United States, including in nearby Maryland, Tennessee, and West Virginia. A former governor of … Continue reading

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The Atlantic Can’t Figure Out Why U.S. Loses Wars

The cover of the January-February 2015 The Atlantic asks “Why Do The Best Soldiers in the World Keep Losing?” which leads to this article, which fails to answer the question. The main focus of the article is the by now … Continue reading

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War Is So 2014

By Joan Brunwasser, OpEdNews President Obama has been credited with “ending” and “drawing down” this war [in Afghanistan] not only while expanding it to triple the size but also for a longer period of time than various other major wars … Continue reading

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Renaming Afghan War, Renaming Murder

The U.S.-led NATO war on Afghanistan has lasted so long they’ve decided to rename it, declare the old war over, and announce a brand new war they’re just sure you’re going to love. The war thus far has lasted as … Continue reading

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Resolved: To Stop Imagining that Anything’s Been Resolved

Things that humans are probably stuck with: eating, drinking, breathing, sex, love, friendship, anger, fear, joy, death, hope and change. Things that some humans used to commonly claim humanity was permanently and inevitably stuck with (but have stopped thinking about … Continue reading

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No More Khirbet Khizehs

“Fields that would never be harvested, plantations that would never be irrigated, paths that would become desolate. A sense of destruction and worthlessness. An image of thistles and brambles everywhere, a desolate tawniness, a braying wilderness. And already from those … Continue reading

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Putin Shot Down a Plane! Putin Shot Down a … What? Never Mind

Search for “Malaysian Airlines Flight 17″ on the New York Times website and you’ll find a page promoting three articles from July, two hyping the idea that Russia did it and one just focused on the horror of it. Below … Continue reading

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The Case Against Re-Banning Torture Yet Again

Senator Ron Wyden has a petition up at MoveOn.org that reads “Right now, torture is banned because of President Obama’s executive order. It’s time for Congress to pass a law banning torture, by all agencies, so that a future president … Continue reading

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We’re Not Exceptional, We’re Isolated

This weekend I participated in an interesting exercise. A group of activists staged a debate in which some of us argued that peace and environmental and economic justice are possible, while another group argued against us. The latter group professed … Continue reading

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Torture “Architect” Mistaken in Claim Nobody’s Punished for Drone Murders

A psychologist who played a key role in a U.S. torture program said on a video yesterday that torture was excusable because blowing up families with a drone is worse (and nobody’s punished for that). Well, of course the existence … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Warren Could Use Some Elizabeth Peacen

Why people want to become fans of a senator rather than pushing senators to serve the public is beyond me. Why people want to distract and drain away two years of activism, with the planet in such peril, fantasizing about … Continue reading

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Plutocrats for Peace: The Nobel-Carnegie Model

“Dear Fredrik, Last Friday I went to an event organized by the Carnegie Corporation on the anniversary of the end of WWI. I was struck by how similar Andrew Carnegie’s ideas, as well as his philanthropy, were to Alfred Nobel’s. … Continue reading

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Rand Paul Declares a Non-War War

Senator Rand Paul wants Congress to Declare war on ISIS. Some, like Bruce Fein, are willing to ignore the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact, and write as if a war would be legal if Congress would just declare … Continue reading

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Silver Linings in Rolling Stone Rape Fiasco

Rolling Stone alleged a gang rape at UVA and now doubts its own report. I have no knowledge of the matter. Maybe the victim was completely honest. Maybe she was largely honest but too drunk, or just too traumatized, to … Continue reading

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Golden Age of Pearl Harbor

As we read Ulysses on Bloomsday every June 16th (or we should if we don’t) I think that every December 7th should not only commemorate the Great Law of 1682 that banned war in Pennsylvania but also mark Pearl Harbor, … Continue reading

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Israel’s Secret

Here in Virginia, U.S.A., I’m aware that the native people were murdered, driven out, and moved westward. But my personal connection to that crime is weak, and frankly I’m too busy trying to rein in my government’s current abuses to … Continue reading

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There Goes Virginia’s Climate

A snowstorm is the ideal time to write about climate disruption, as it allows us to immediately set-aside the cartoonish claim that if any spot on earth isn’t warmer than it was yesterday then all is well. The following things … Continue reading

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Mark Udall and the Unspeakable

President Obama, who is just now un-ending again the ending of the endless war on Afghanistan, has never made a secret of taking direction from the military, CIA, and NSA. He’s escalated wars that generals had publicly insisted he escalate. … Continue reading

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