Saturday, May 20, 2017

Trump of Arabia

Trump in Saudi Arabia

by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Qumsiyeh.org


May 20, 2017

President Trump is in Saudi Arabia where he will instruct his puppets then go to apartheid Israel where get further instructions from his masters.

He will do a token visit to Bethlehem Tuesday and desecrate the city of  the Prince of Peace with his entourage of racist Zionists. I wish I was there to join demonstrations against this symbol of hypocrisy (I am still in Europe).

Everyone now knows that the US government, Israel, and the Saudi regime are and have been the biggest perpetrators of terrorism and genocide in the world. This is to serve one interest and one interest only: Money.

Just to emphasize this, the US arms industry (owned largely by Zionists) will get 110 billion deal (bribe) from the Saudis. Kushner is very happy as are all the rich profiteers around Donald Trump. The neoconservatives  in Washington may have some differences among themselves (hence the frenzy by the establishment media around Russia-Trump connections). But make no mistake about it, it is a difference as between rival gangsters. Meanwhile the price of getting the rich richer grows in human lives. Thousands of civiians are killed in places like Yemen, Gaza, and Syria.

There is a sick collusion of fascists ruling Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, and the USA. Sometimes, it almost seems surrealistic. For example the way Erdogan's body guards broke through the barricades and attacked peaceful demonstrators in Washington DC while he looked on was bizarre, (where is the US justice system from all of this?).  But the empire is facing resistance and failing. There is a retreat of US/Israel created ISIS in Iraq and Syria and Saudi puppet forces (mercenaries) are bogged down Vietnam style  in Yemen. Iraq, Syria, Iran, and its supporters like Russia and China are withstanding years of assault.


Trump's mission to wage war on Iran for Israel will not work any better than Bush's war on Iraq for Israel. Times are changing though the imperialist mentality still persists.


In 1916, the two great powers at the time Britain and France drew the Sykes/Picot agreement carving up the Arab world (divide and conquer). In 1917 they pledged their support for Zionism in the form of the Balfour  and Jules Cambon declarations partly as quid pro quo to get the Zionists to drag the US into WWI. The US shortly joined not just the bloody war but the support of Zionism. These powers then held the San Remo conference in 1920 that focused on furthering the divide and conquer strategy followed immediately by appointing the first Jewish Zionist (Herbert Samuels) to rule and ethnically cleanse Palestine.

In the intervening 100 years, nearly 200 million died needlessly (not counting one child dying every six seconds of hunger today) to profit the elites which have been called by various names but can be summed up as a military-industrial-banking complex (increasingly changing from WASP dominated to Zionist dominated).

Alas history ignored is history repeated.....

I continue on a very productive week in Luxembourg and then Belgium. Much networking and solidarity and discussion of those issues that impact life for every human being (including Europeans). Many people are awakened and many offer to help and support for the sake of justice and human rights. We even had a demonstration in Luxembourg for the prisoners on hunger strike; well attended, even with the heavy rain.

For the activities of the group that hosted me in Luxembourg, videos and pictures, see https://www.facebook.com/CPJPO

Palestine Museum of Natural History Acknowledges Generous Contribution of the Government of Canada
https://bethlehem.edu/6-news/2017/2017-05-11-pmnh-government-of-canada

Come out to Palestine, you Black and Tans: British politicians who waged war in Ireland used the same tactics and forces in Palestine - and a Dubliner was in charge during the Naqba
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/come-out-to-palestine-you-black-and-tans-1.3089140

A private settler organization is planning “the most extensive expulsion scheme in recent years,” in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem is warning. The settler group, Ateret Cohanim claims to own about an acre of land in the densely populated neighborhood near the al-Aqsa mosque. The group has filed eviction claims against the 81 Palestinian families who live there.
http://www.btselem.org/batenalhawa/english/

This critical investigative report explains how Zionists worked diligently and meticulously in one area to conflate Jewishness with Zionism. Basically they wanted and got many western governments to make criticism of Israeli apartheid be included in definitions of antisemitism
https://israelpalestinenews.org/iak-investigation-international-campaign-is-criminalizing-criticism-of-israel-as-antisemitism/

Joel Kovel discusses role of Israel in US politics and society and laments this trend that is so destructive and why he is not going to his Yale 60th reunion [this is something I sympathize with having worked at Yales as professor in the medical school for five years and was also unfairly removed].
http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/going-ones-reunion/

Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org
Join me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/mazin.qumsiyeh.9

HumanRights newsletter
http://lists.qumsiyeh.org/listinfo/humanrights

What the Health!?

What the Health

by What the Health


28 Feb 2017

What the Health is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick.





Friday, May 19, 2017

Skeletons of 2016: Still Waiting Exhumation

Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State

by Mike Whitney  - CounterPunch


May 19, 2017

Why is it a “conspiracy theory” to think that a disgruntled Democratic National Committee staffer gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails, but not a conspiracy theory to think the emails were provided by Russia? Why?

Which is the more likely scenario: A frustrated employee leaked damaging emails to embarrass his bosses, or a foreign government hacked DNC computers for some still-unknown reason?

That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?


Former-DNC employee, Seth Rich, not only had access to the emails, but also a motive. He was pissed about the way the Clinton crowd was “sandbagging” Bernie Sanders. In contrast, there’s neither evidence nor motive connecting Russia to the emails. On top of that, WikiLeaks founder, Julien Assange (a man of impeccable integrity) has repeatedly denied that Russia gave him the emails which suggests the government investigation is completely misdirected. The logical course of action, would be to pursue the leads that are most likely to bear fruit, not those that originate from one’s own political bias. But, of course, logic has nothing to do with the current investigation, it’s all about politics and geopolitics.

We don’t know who killed Seth Rich and we’re not going to speculate on the matter here. But we find it very strange that neither the media nor the FBI have pursued leads in the case that challenge the prevailing narrative on the Russia hacking issue. Why is that? Why is the media so eager to blame Russia when Rich looks like the much more probable suspect?

And why have the mainstream news organizations put so much energy into discrediting the latest Fox News report, when– for the last 10 months– they’ve showed absolutely zero interest in Rich’s death at all?

According to Fox News:

“The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.

A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich’s computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time….

Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective and Fox News contributor investigating the case on behalf of the Rich family, made the WikiLeaks claim, which was corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News….

“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.” (“Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link”, Fox News)

Okay, so where’s the computer? Who’s got Rich’s computer? Let’s do the forensic work and get on with it.


But the Washington Post and the other bogus news organizations aren’t interested in such matters because it doesn’t fit with their political agenda. They’d rather take pot-shots at Fox for running an article that doesn’t square with their goofy Russia hacking story. This is a statement on the abysmal condition of journalism today. Headline news has become the province of perception mandarins who use the venue to shape information to their own malign specifications, and any facts that conflict with their dubious storyline, are savagely attacked and discredited. Journalists are no longer investigators that keep the public informed, but paid assassins who liquidate views that veer from the party-line.

WikiLeaks never divulges the names of the people who provide them with information. Even so, Assange has not only shown an active interest in the Seth Rich case, but also offered a $20,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of Rich’s murder. Why? And why did he post a link to the Fox News article on his Twitter account on Tuesday?

I don’t know, but if I worked for the FBI or the Washington Post, I’d sure as hell be beating the bushes to find out. And not just because it might help in Rich’s murder investigation, but also, because it could shed light on the Russia fiasco which is being used to lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings. So any information that challenges the government version of events, could actually change the course of history.

Have you ever heard of Craig Murray? 

 

Murray should be the government’s star witness in the DNC hacking scandal, instead, no one even knows who he is.

But if we trust what Murray has to say, then we can see that the Russia hacking story is baloney. The emails were “leaked” by insiders not “hacked” by a foreign government. Here’s the scoop from Robert Parry at Consortium News:

“Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, has suggested that the DNC leak came from a “disgruntled” Democrat upset with the DNC’s sandbagging of the Sanders campaign and that the Podesta leak came from the U.S. intelligence community….He (Murray) appears to have undertaken a mission for WikiLeaks to contact one of the sources (or a representative) during a Sept. 25 visit to Washington where he says he met with a person in a wooded area of American University. ….

Though Murray has declined to say exactly what the meeting in the woods was about, he may have been passing along messages about ways to protect the source from possible retaliation, maybe even an extraction plan if the source was in some legal or physical danger…Murray also suggested that the DNC leak and the Podesta leak came from two different sources, neither of them the Russian government.

“The Podesta emails and the DNC emails are, of course, two separate things and we shouldn’t conclude that they both have the same source,” Murray said. “In both cases we’re talking of a leak, not a hack, in that the person who was responsible for getting that information out had legal access to that information…

Scott Horton then asked, “Is it fair to say that you’re saying that the Podesta leak came from inside the intelligence services, NSA [the electronic spying National Security Agency] or another agency?”

“I think what I said was certainly compatible with that kind of interpretation, yeah,” Murray responded. “In both cases they are leaks by Americans.” (“A Spy Coup in America?”, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

With all the hullabaloo surrounding the Russia hacking case, you’d think that Murray’s eyewitness account would be headline news, but not in Homeland Amerika where the truth is kept as far from the front page as humanly possible.

Bottom line: The government has a reliable witness (Murray) who can positively identify the person who hacked the DNC emails and, so far, they’ve showed no interest in his testimony at all. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit weird?

Did you know that after a 10 month-long investigation, there’s still no hard evidence that Russia hacked the 2016 elections? In fact, when the Intelligence agencies were pressed on the matter, they promised to release a report that would provide iron-clad proof of Russian meddling. On January 6, 2017, theDirector of National Intelligence, James Clapper, released that report. It was called The Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). Unfortunately, the report fell far-short of the public’s expectations. Instead of a smoking gun, Clapper produced a tedious 25-page compilation of speculation, hearsay, innuendo and gobbledygook. Here’s how veteran journalist Robert Parry summed it up:

“The report contained no direct evidence that Russia delivered hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to WikiLeaks….The DNI report…as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses”….suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.” (“US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’”, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

Repeat: “the report contained no direct evidence”, no “actual proof”, and a heckuva a lot of “guessing”. That’s some “smoking gun”, eh?

If this ‘thin gruel’ sounds like insufficient grounds for removing a sitting president and his administration, that’s because it is. But the situation is even worse than it looks, mainly because the information in the assessment is not reliable. The ICA was corrupted by higher-ups in the Intel food-chain who selected particular analysts who could be trusted to produce a document that served their broader political agenda. Think I’m kidding? Take a look at this excerpt from an article at Fox News:

“On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Intelligence Community issued an “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) that found Russia deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump’s candidacy… (but) there are compelling reasons to believe this ICA was actually a politicized analysis that violated normal rules for crafting intelligence assessments…… to ensure this one reached the bottom line conclusion that the Obama administration was looking for. …

….Director of National Intelligence James Clapper explained in his testimony that two dozen or so “seasoned experts” were “handpicked” from the contributing agencies” and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” … While Clapper claimed these analysts were given “complete independence” to reach their findings, he added that their conclusions “were thoroughly vetted and then approved by the directors of the three agencies and me.”

This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures. Hand-picking a handful of analysts from just three intelligence agencies to write such a controversial assessment went against standing rules to vet such analyses throughout the Intelligence Community within its existing structure. The idea of using hand-picked intelligence analysts selected through some unknown process to write an assessment on such a politically sensitive topic carries a strong stench of politicization….

A major problem with this process is that it gave John Brennan, CIA’s hyper-partisan former director, enormous influence over the drafting of the ICA. Given Brennan’s scathing criticism of Mr. Trump before and after the election, he should have had no role whatsoever in the drafting of this assessment. Instead, Brennan probably selected the CIA analysts who worked on the ICA and reviewed and approved their conclusions….

The unusual way that the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment was drafted raises major questions as to whether it was rigged by the Obama administration to produce conclusions that would discredit the election outcome and Mr. Trump’s presidency.” (“More indications Intel assessment of Russian interference in election was rigged”, Fox News)

Repeat: “A politicized analysis that violated normal rules for crafting intelligence assessments.” That says it all, doesn’t it?

Let’s take a minute and review the main points in the article:

  • 1–Was the Intelligence Community Assessment the summary work of all 17 US Intelligence Agencies?

No, it was not. “In his May 8 testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, Clapper confirmed …(that) the ICA reflected the views of only three intelligence agencies — CIA, NSA and FBI – not all 17.”

  • 2–Did any of the analysts challenge the findings in the ICA?

No, the document failed to acknowledge any dissenting views, which suggests that the analysts were screened in order to create consensus.

  • 3– Were particular analysts chosen to produce the ICA?

Yes, they were “handpicked from the contributing agencies” and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.)

  • 4– Was their collaborative work released to the public in its original form?

No, their conclusions “were thoroughly vetted and then approved by the directors of the three agencies and me.” (Clapper) This of course suggests that the document was political in nature and crafted to deliver a particular message.

  • 5–Were Clapper’s methods “normal” by Intelligence agency standards?

Definitely not. “This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures.”

  • 6–Are Clapper and Brennan partisans who have expressed their opposition to Trump many times in the past calling into question their ability to be objective in executing their duties as heads of their respective agencies?

Absolutely. Check out this clip from Monday’s Arkansas online:

“I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” said James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.
“I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.” When he was asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper said, “Exactly.” (Clapper calls Trump democracy assailant”, Arkansasonline)

Brennan has made numerous similar statements. (Note: It is particularly jarring that Clapper– who oversaw the implementation of the modern surveillance police state– feels free to talk about “the assault on our institutions.”)

7–Does the ICA prove that anyone on the Trump campaign colluded with Russia or that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections?

No, it doesn’t. What it shows is that –even while Clapper and Brennan may have been trying to produce an assessment that would ‘kill two birds with one stone’, (incriminate Russia and smear Trump at the same time) the ICA achieved neither. So far, there’s no proof of anything. Now take a look at this list I found in an article at The American Thinker:

“12 prominent public statements by those on both sides of the aisle who reviewed the evidence or been briefed on it confirmed there was no evidence of Russia trying to help Trump in the election or colluding with him:

The New York Times (Nov 1, 2016);
House Speaker Paul Ryan (Feb, 26, 2017);
Former DNI James Clapper , March 5, 2017);
Devin Nunes Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, March 20, 2017);
James Comey, March 20, 2017;
Rep. Chris Stewart, House Intelligence Committee, March 20, 2017;
Rep. Adam Schiff, House Intelligence committee, April 2, 2017);
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Committee, May 3, 2017);
Sen. Joe Manchin Senate Intelligence Committee, May 8, 2017;
James Clapper (again) (May 8, 2017);
Rep. Maxine Waters, May 9, 2017);
President Donald Trump,(May 9, 2017).
Senator Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, indicated that his briefing confirmed Dianne Feinstein’s view that the President was not under investigation for colluding with the Russians.”(“Russian Hacking and Collusion: Put the Cards on the Table”, American Thinker)

Keep in mind, this is a list of the people who actually “reviewed the evidence”, and even they are not convinced. It just goes to show that the media blitz is not based on any compelling proof, but on the determination of behind-the-scenes elites who want to destroy their political rivals. Isn’t that what’s really going on?

How does former FBI Director James Comey fit into all this?


First of all, we need to set the record straight on Comey so readers don’t get the impression that he’s the devoted civil servant and all-around stand-up guy he’s made out to be in the media. Here’s a short clip from an article by Human Rights First that will help to put things into perspective:

“Five former FBI agents…raised concerns about his (Comey’s) support for a legal memorandum justifying torture and his defense of holding an American citizen indefinitely without charge. They note that Comey concurred with a May 10, 2005, Office of Legal Counsel opinion that authorized torture. While the agents credited Comey for opposing torture tactics in combination and on policy grounds, they note that Comey still approved the legal basis for use of specific torture tactics.

“These techniques include cramped confinement, wall-standing, water dousing, extended sleep deprivation, and waterboarding, all of which constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in contravention of domestic and international law,” the letter states.

Those signing the letter to the committee also objected to Comey’s defense of detaining Americans without charge or trial and observed,

“Further, Mr. Comey vigorously defended the Bush administration’s decision to hold Jose Padilla, a United States citizen apprehended on U.S. soil, indefinitely without charge or trial for years in a military brig in Charleston, South Carolina.” (“FBI Agents Urge Senate Judiciary Committee to Question Comey on Torture, Indefinite Detention”, Human Rights First)

Get the picture?


Comey is a vicious political opportunist who doesn’t mind breaking a few legs if it’ll advance his career plans. I wouldn’t trust the man as far as I could throw him. Which isn’t far.

American Thinker’s Clarice Feldman explains why Comey launched his counter-intel investigation in July 2016 but failed to notify Congress until March 2017, a full eight months later. Here’s what she said:

“There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from congress. Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political purposes — wittingly, or unwittingly.” (“Russian Hacking and Collusion: Put the Cards on the Table”, American Thinker)

Are we suggesting that the heads of the so called Intelligence Community are at war with the Trump Administration and paving the way for impeachment proceedings?

Yep, we sure are. The Russia hacking fiasco is a regime change operation no different than the CIA’s 50-or-so other oustings in the last 70 years. The only difference is that this operation is on the home field which is why everyone is so flustered. These things are only suppose to happen in those “other” countries.

Does this analysis make me a Donald Trump supporter?


Never. The idea is ridiculous. Trump might be the worst US president of all time, in fact, he probably is. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other nefarious forces at work behind the smokescreen of democratic government. There are. In fact, this whole flap suggests that there’s an alternate power-structure that operates completely off the public’s radar and has the elected-government in its death-grip. This largely invisible group of elites controls the likes of Brennan, Clapper and Comey. And, apparently, they have enough influence to challenge and maybe even remove an elected president from office. (We’ll see.)

And what’s more surprising, is that the Democrats have aligned themselves with these deep state puppetmasters. They’ve cast their lot with the sinister stewards of the national security state and hopped on the impeachment bandwagon. But is that a wise choice for the Dems?

Author Michael J. Glennon doesn’t think so. Here’s what he says in the May edition of Harper’s Magazine:

“Those who would counter the illiberalism of Trump with the illiberalism of unfettered bureaucrats would do well to contemplate the precedent their victory would set. …

American history is not silent about the proclivities of unchecked security forces, a short list of which includes the Palmer Raids, the FBI’s blackmailing of civil rights leaders, Army surveillance of the antiwar movement, the NSA’s watch lists, and the CIA’s waterboarding. …. Who would trust the authors of past episodes of repression as a reliable safeguard against future repression?” (“Security Breach– Trump’s tussle with the bureaucratic state”, Michael J. Glennon, Harper’s Magazine)

“Who?”


The Democrats, that’s who.

 
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

More articles by:Mike Whitney

9/11 Deep Sixer: Robert Mueller, Deep State Investigator

Special Counsel Investigating Trump Campaign Has Deep Ties to the Deep State 

by TRNN


May 17, 2017

On Wednesday afternoon, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller to be a special counsel to investigate the Russia affair, (those, not his words, those are mine) to look into the whole issue of alleged Russia interference in the American elections, and that would also, one would think, include a look into what happened with James Comey, and James Comey's firing, and his memo and such. 

So just who is Robert Mueller? 

Former FBI agent and 9/11 whistleblower Coleen Rowley says former FBI head Robert Mueller, now appointed to investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, participated in covering up the pre 9/11 role of the U.S. intelligence agencies and the Bush Administration, helped create the post 9/11 national security/surveillance state, and helped facilitate the pre-Iraq war propaganda machine.




Coleen Rowley is a former FBI agent and whistleblower. Rowley jointly held the TIME "Person of the Year" award in 2002 with two other women credited as whistleblowers.

An Antarctic Quickening: Can Winter Save Runaway Melt?

Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip

by Robert Hunziker - CounterPunch 


May 19, 2017

As NY Times journalists fly to Antarctica with scientists to examine cascading ice sheets, it’s worth looking into their level of curiosity because that’s not a normal occurrence. After all, who can possibly be interested in ice sheets a couple of miles thick where it’s cold and icy 9,000 miles away?

Here’s why the high level of interest: Antarctica is equivalent to 200’ of seawater rise, and it appears to be coming apart at the seams in some very vulnerable areas.

The NY journalists, after all, are from a city that will be under water in the worse case scenario, and telltale signs of big trouble are already way too evident, certainly evident enough to move NY journalists off their butts to travel 9,000 miles to visit the massive ice sheet.

It’s Global Warming at work!


Upfront, the conclusion to this article: When it comes to Global Warming, the USA has the wrong people in the White House and Congress, which may be the understatement of the decade… rather of the century, assuming we all make it that far, which is looking more and more doubtful.

The NY Times’ article Miles of Ice Collapsing into the Sea d/d May 18, 2017 actually shows the ice flow, which is extremely intriguing: written by Justin Gillis with maps and graphics by Derek Watkins and Jeremy White and photographs by Jonathan Corum and video by Evan Grothjan and Graham Roberts and additional production by Larry Buchanan and Rumsey Taylor. Add an email address at the foot of the NY Times article to receive their in-depth journalism about climate change around the world. It’s a wonderful fulfilling experience.

As stated by the journalists, they traveled to Antarctica to see how the vast ice sheet might affect the world. Without hesitation, the answer to their query is as follows: It will change life horribly forevermore.

Daydreaming… If only America took the lead against CO2 emissions at Kyoto Protocol (1997) and insisted upon conversion to renewables, similar to how Congress authorized 100% solar power on the International Space Station (yr. 2000) for our astronauts (but no such effort for the country at large), as well as taking other remedial steps like whitening commercial rooftops, and consciously cutting back CO2 emissions at utility power sources, etc., the world might not be in such a dangerous pickle today. As it happens, too many US politicians reject the science, deniers of climate change. They are many, too many.

Hopefully, it is not too late at this late date because climate change/global warming is on a virtual rip-snorting stretch turbocharged and bloody dangerous beyond anyone’s imagination! It’s happening so fast that it’s ahead of science by miles and miles.

Here’s living proof as witnessed by NY Times journalists:

“The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration,” Ibid.

According to the scientists on the trip, here’s the danger: If greenhouses gases (GHG) like CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels, like oil and coal, continue at today’s high levels, parts of Antarctica could break up rapidly with a resultant 6’ of sea level rise by the end of this century, which is double the maximum increase projected by the international panel only four years ago.

But wait, there is more: Those forecasts of four years ago are described “as crude” even by the researchers who created them.

“We could be decades too fast, or decades too slow,’ said one of them, Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst,” Ibid.

What if they are decades too slow or too fast?


Whichever, the bad case means all hell is going to break lose any time now within decades, or roughly, 2025-to-2075 as a guess. Whoops, that seems to put present day generations smack dab in line of fire, or rather in way too much water overflowing city levees.

“Remote as Antarctica may seem, every person in the world… is contributing to the emissions that put the frozen continent at risk. If those emissions continue unchecked and the world is allowed to heat up enough, scientists have no doubt that large parts of Antarctica will melt into the sea,” Ibid.

“No doubt that large parts of Antarctica will melt into the sea” is the curse of global warming, and it does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that it results in the end of civilization, as we know it.

Based upon not only the Ross Ice Shelf that the journalists visited, but also Pine Island Glacier, which scientists have already determined is irreversibly cascading, it really appears the worst case may be under way now. It’s only too obvious that’s why the NY journalists traveled there in the first place. After all, they didn’t travel 9,000 miles to see stable ice!

Congratulations climate denial politicians in America, like Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Senator Sullivan (R-AK), Rep Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48) who claims: “Just so you’ll know, global warming is a total fraud…” Blah, blah, blah, the list goes on and on endlessly, mostly Republicans.

Send them on a field trip to Alaska to inspect this:

Disastrous breaking news out of Alaska: The following is a synopsis (quotation) of a horrifying scientific release d/d May 11, 2017:

“The study, based on aircraft measurements of carbon dioxide and methane and tower measurements from Barrow, Alaska, found that from 2012 through 2014, the state emitted the equivalent of 220 million tons of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere from biological sources (the figure excludes fossil fuel burning and wildfires). That’s an amount comparable to all the emissions from the US commercial sector in a single year.”

“The chief reason for the greater CO2 release was that as Alaska has warmed up, emissions from once frozen tundra in winter are increasing – presumably because the ground is not refreezing as quickly. Now what? Sit in a circle and hold hands, or get to work to find what (if any) options we’ve got?”

That’s Global Warming!


That is horrific news. It now appears that nature is cooperating in a positive feedback loop (which is extremely negative, as it is nature operating hands-free on auto pilot) in harmony with humans, overflowing the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases. That’s a perfect script for an end of the world apocalypse film project.

And, it is happening right now!


Not tomorrow or in another decade. It’s happening now, as of today. And, how about Siberia, which is much more vast and riddled with wildly out of control methane (CH4) release, the deadly twin sister to CO2?

“Russian scientists recently discovered 7,000 earthen knobs erupting from the Siberian Arctic, each the size of a small hill. It was as though the permafrost had broken out into giant grass-covered mounds. What’s more, an unknown number of these bubbles could contain methane and explode, forming craters, the Siberian Times reported…
It’s definitely related to warming, Romanovsky said. If these solid chunks warm up and decompose — and the Arctic region is heating up at a rate double the rest of the planet” (Ben Guarino, Russian Scientists Find 7,000 Siberian Hills Possibly Filled with Explosive Gas, The Washington Post, March 27, 2017.

Global warming is up to its dirty work in Siberia, where enough methane is stored in permafrost over millennia to toss the world into a massive self-feeding global warming super cycle that literally scorches world agriculture to a standstill. What then?

Maybe Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) would be willing to take a field trip, since it’s also happening in his state of Alaska, to give a personal assessment to the American people and to the US Senate. Here’s his quote about global warming:

“With 7 billion humans on earth, there is likely some impact on nature. The last few years clearly show, though, that there is no concrete scientific consensus on the extent to which humans contribute to climate change.”

Oops, he’s the wrong guy. 


Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com
More articles by:Robert Hunziker

Love and Porn: Revolt v. Passivity

Love vs Pornography, Revolution vs Passivity

by Andre Vltchek - Global Research


May 19, 2017

You say that you want facts – facts and more facts, before you can commit; before you finally decide to become part of something: a political party, a movement or another human being.

You already have plenty of them: an avalanche, a tsunami of facts. “In fact”, your life is overflowing with facts.

Most of them are brought directly to your living room or bedroom, or to your office; they shine from the liquid crystals of your computer monitors, and from increasingly flat and sleek television screens.

There is really no need to travel, is there? There is no need to “get dirty”. Without leaving your chair or couch, you can even get some basic science of Newton, Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci. You can experience, second-hand of course, but in the safety and comfort of your home, the most extreme misery of Haitian or Jamaican slums. You can be shown a battleground, you can see the most exotic and most ‘forbidden’ women being made love to by someone else, and you can get inside royal palaces.

It is all there, at your fingertips: formulas and definitions, music and porn, history and even some poetry, if poetry is what you are really searching for.

There is no reason to step outside. Of course many people have to go out, at least from Monday to Friday, to attend to their typically monotonous jobs. From time to time they have to buy some groceries, although groceries can be ordered online or using the phone, and some jobs these days do not even require the personal presence of employees.
*

While individualism (egoism) is what increasingly defines most of the cultures in the West, true individuality (uniqueness) has almost vanished.

Although the internet is overflowing with information, data and “facts”, although there are now hundreds of channels available from the menus of television cable providers, the living room – computer or living room – television set combinations are producing increasingly monotonous results: people are more and more phlegmatic, their way of thinking is uniformed, and they are not willing to take almost any risks: intellectually, emotionally or physically.

Passivity is being constantly rationalized, defended. On the surface, reasons given to justify lack of commitment are logical, ‘sensible’, and sometimes even righteous.

Passivity has become ‘calm’, and so have despair, desolation and gloom.

Instead of encouraging violent rebellious outbursts of anguish as something natural,positive and even essential (should one not be fighting with all his or her might against all the forces which are making life pointless and useless?), almost everything that is defined by society as “negative emotions” gets subdued and controlled by medication and therapy. This way, medical “science” becomes a culprit, murders many healthy reactions, and in the end, kills life itself.

It is rarely pronounced, but it is essential to realize: A person who feels violently sick because he or she is surrounded by a thoroughly unhealthy, even insane environment (political system, family, work, sets of constantly repeated lies) is actually reacting in a vigorous and healthy way. It is like when the body is fighting against severe infection. Only in this case, the battle is mental.

People are expected to be “normal”, while standards defining “normalcy” have roots in mental illnesses from which entire society is clearly suffering. Not only immigrants; now everyone is obliged to “conform”. What does it really mean, to conform? Is it: to become atomized, apathetic and therefore alone and vulnerable? Life then flows slowly, calmly, coldly and emotionlessly. A person grows up, matures, ages and dies. Society slowly deteriorates. Planet Earth is getting gradually ruined.

Surrounded by uniformed and perpetual misery, passivity and amnesia, one is not aware of his or her suffering. The screen in front of people shines late into the night. Everything is reduced to short barks and uniformed symbols pre-programmed into mobile phones.

Something has gone missing. There seems to be an urgent lack of something very essential, a gaping deficit. In such an environment, love cannot thrive, and revolution can never take place. In sterility and surrounded by emotional emptiness, human beings can live a little bit longer, but can such an existence be really called life?
*

Reality is “authentic” only if experienced holistically and first-hand. This is the conclusion at which I arrived, after witnessing hundreds of conflicts all over the world, but also after observing so many glorious moments, so many great human achievements, in virtually all corners of the globe.

A computer monitor only offers extremely filtered, even “censored” images of reality (no matter how high-definition it might be), as well as some basic sound. Even our imperfect and limited human senses are capable of capturing, registering and processing incomparably much more than that.

When relying exclusively on processed and filtered reality (images and sound), a great part of our mind gets dormant, it begins to deteriorate (even degenerate), and eventually the process becomes irreversible.

It is as if you only had use of your right hand for almost your entire life, no legs and no left hand: the situation would most definitely lead to the weakening of muscles and to fatal physical deformities. The same happens with the human mind, with the brain, if it is prevented from performing all of its natural functions on a regular basis.

I insist that “knowledge” and “understanding of reality” has to consist of a“complete approach”, in which, at least most of our senses, are involved. Practically: to ‘truly comprehend’ requires “being there”.
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Let me give you one example, just one, although there are of course thousands of paradigms that I could provide:

You can sit all your life in Berlin, London or Boston, and watch news on your television screen, you can mull over countless “facts” provided by your best friends (internet and smart phone) but you would never, ever come close to understanding what has been happening during the last two decades in Latin America, or what is happening in Syria right now.

To understand, you’d have to roll up your sleeves, stop vegetating and begin living. You’d have to experience, with all your senses,what the dampness coming from the walls in tropical slums some fifteen or twenty years ago felt like, you’d have to observe from miserable and over-populated hills those obnoxiously expensive condominiums on the horizon, you’d have to smell bad breath of young women who couldn’t afford dental care while the country was awash with petrodollars.

You’d have to see young people dance, on Friday nights, so desperately and hopelessly. One evening you’d have to walk down some narrow alley, alone, and see two men with guns walking straight towards you.

You’d have to smell the cheap perfume of a woman approaching you at two in the morning in a dive frequented by local journalists, grabbing you by the shoulders, beginning to sob, confessing that now she is a prostitute, but just one year ago she was an elementary school teacher and wanted to live in a little house with a neat and colorful garden. You’d have to know how stale the air used to be in rooms stuffed with bodies in some godforsaken public hospital where poor people were dying from cancer. You’d have to see and feel and smell more, much more, in order to understand why those of us who were there then, are still where we are now, fully determined and loyal, working and living for the Revolution.

Ernesto Che Guevara had to leave his provincial bubble of family, which consisted of doctors enjoying their upper middle-class life; he had to hit the road. In a way, he never returned.

Che had to see and smell and feel, in order to get engaged, to take sides, to become committed; he had to understand what misery is, what leprosy is, what hunger and despair are, but also, he had to face all that tremendous glory of his continent, of South America.

It all goes hand in hand: in order to fight, to commit, to risk your life, you have to love, or at least you have to know how to love. In order to love, first you have to be alive! During his endless motorcycle journey through the continent, what Che experienced was not necessarily something “factual”, or even “rational.”

What Venezuelan revolutionaries based their actions on a few decades later was mainly deeply emotional. Their feelings eventually got rationalized, leading to the pledge to liberate the continent. The next step was to take several determined actions. Facts were employed, too, but they were harvested strictly for the Cause, for the Revolution. It was not, and it was never meant to be, the other way around.

Revolution is a highly emotional event, and so is love, so is life. There is no life and there is no love without rebellion, without “private revolution”, without commitment. To live and to love requires courage and personal freedom, but it also requires full dedication and loyalty, self-sacrifice and determination.

During the Revolution, as well as when one is in love, all senses are involved. One is fighting for humanity. One is fighting for happiness of his or her other half. No matter what obstacles are blocking the way, no matter how hard the journey is, while loving or struggling, but especially while loving and struggling, a person is fully alive. Then and only then, his or her life gains meaning.

Revolution can be totally stripped of religion; it could be, and it often is, completely secular. But it always relies, significantly, on three brilliant Muses, three sisters, that are never far away from anything great that is moving our human race forward. Their names are Faith, Love and Hope.

Faith can be never based on facts. Love can be never based on facts. Hope is not based on facts.

The three sisters cannot be ‘studied’, and not much can be learned about them from the internet.

They could never be fully understood with logic. All three of them simply represent Life.

Life that is increasingly absent from societies that are controlling the world; societies which are more and more limiting the natural range of human senses, while herding men and women into dark and narrow prefabricated tunnels that lead only into perverse meaninglessness.

Such societies have already managed to create a new horrible religion, a new breed of extreme fanaticism, based on cold, emotionless, and nonsensical “rationalism”, on dehumanized “science”, and on a preselected medley of “facts”. Such societies have already choked to death both poetry and the human ability to dream. They have ended up raping the world, inseminating it with passivity and depression, forcing humanity to reject faith, love, and hope, to spit at commitments, at loyalty, at courage, at constructive and positive actions, at Life itself.
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“Fact-based” virtual analyses of the world lead mostly to dark pessimism and negativism. It is not only because the prolonged staring at computer and television screens is depressing and unhealthy, but also since such analyses are to a great extent, “unreal” and deceiving.

The analogy to ‘“facts”-based virtual experience’ versus ‘beneficial human knowledge’ would be: ‘pornography’ versus ‘love’.

To a poet, to a revolutionary, to a dreamer, to a humanist, such knowledge that consists exclusively of ‘hard facts’ (spiced with countless formulas and test results) would appear as cold, absurd and as empty as ‘hard porn’.

Love is not just the physical friction of two sexual organs, but also of great tenderness, compassion, honesty, and the disappearance of all fears accumulated throughout one’s entire life. It is genuine liberation and great adventure, a “private revolution”, a process through which the entire world, in fact the entire universe is re-discovered and re-defined, thoroughly and from the beginning, by two people, together.

True and big loves, like those loves that people used to experience and then write about in the past, (but so rarely now), were never easy, as people are not some simple beings, and two of them can hardly ever “perfectly match”. There were almost always some big dramas and temporary breakouts, then passionate reunions; there were misunderstandings and even severe pain. It always required great determination and willpower for two strong individuals to remain together, to survive as a couple, as one unit.

It is always easier to give up, to leave, as is done these days.

It is all down to those “facts” stripped of passion, depth and courage, isn’t it?

Take a woman you think you fell in love with, and look at the facts – analyze her. Go ahead – try. Do it the way everything is done these days: coldly and rationally. Is she “good for you”? Is living with her going to “improve your life”? Aren’t her buttocks too wide or legs bit too short? Isn’t she a bit“complicated”, in fact, “isn’t she too complicated?” And, “doesn’t she come with too much baggage?” Isn’t being with her going to “jeopardize your career?” “Is it going to strain the relationship with your family?”

Such thoughts would have been considered grotesque in the past. But they are acceptable, even normal, now. And the conclusions are usually predictable: “if it is not easy, leave! Just go…”

Do you remember the greatest novel written by Hemingway: “For Whom The Bell Tolls”?

A man, a middle-class American teacher goes to Spain. He volunteers; he wants to fight on the side of socialism, on the side of Republican Spain, against fascism. His name is Robert Jordan. He meets a girl; her name is Maria. Maria’s head was shaved, before she was brutally raped by fascist troops. From the beginning, it appears to be an absolutely impossible love, but to hell with it: it is love, and both Robert Jordan and Maria know it, they feel it, and they don’t even attempt to be rational about it.

Against all odds, suddenly but fully, two people from two faraway countries do give their lives to each other, and then they make love, and ‘the earth moves’, as it moves only once in a lifetime.

And Maria dies, and Robert Jordan does not leave; he stays by the side of the road, in a futile but heroic gesture, waiting for a fascist column to approach, so he could do what he pledged to do, to her and to himself: to fight and most likely to die in this foreign land, to die honestly, for Maria’s country.

Well, this is how people used to write, and this is how they use to live… and this is how they used to love.

This is what used to be normal, and what used to be admired and treasured.

And this is still how I write and live and love, and I don’t give a damn whether it is in vogue or not. I know when I write well, no matter what others say. I know when I fight bravely and honestly, even if, at the end, I lose. One knows these things, as one perhaps also knows when he or she lives like a coward, or when he or she betrays. I also know when ‘the earth moves’, and if it does, even if the other one does something insane and ‘unforgivable’, no matter what I declare, I will stay.

In today’s world, Maria and women like Maria would be seen as very ‘bad match’. An injured, traumatized woman with ‘terrible baggage’ carried on her shoulders. No ‘sane man’ would take her hand. No one would embrace her; no one would fight and die for her. (Although somewhere deep inside I know: I would… I am… even now.)

Pornography,or some secret encounter with a bimbo in a love hotel, would be much ‘safer’, much ‘simpler’ for today’s ‘sensible’ Western men.

That is why, I’m convinced, in such an environment, with such a state of mind, no true revolution is possible anymore!
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Every great love is confusing and often painful. True revolutions are never tidy, never easy, and never faultless. It is because both human love and human passion for progress and change consists of a set of complex emotions and instincts, sometimes clashing, often co-existing somehow inharmoniously, but always creating great whirlpool of passions, which actually makes life worth living.

By definition, love can never be ‘sterile’, and the same can be said about true revolution. True love and true revolution are always raw, full of fluids, of boiling blood, of tears. They consist of hope, of pain, but also of great joy.

Pornography is totally sterile, and sterile is that self-righteous universe of detachment, of cold ‘impartial’ observation of the world, as well as electronically transmitted “facts”. Sterile is also the refusal to get ‘engaged’, to get ‘dirty’, to get involved, and to take sides. Sterile is not to fight and not to be ready to die for one’s ideals.

Sterile is when one is desiring absolute purity:

“I cannot get involved, because I’m not ready to fully support this ideal, this ideology, this revolution.”

When I hear this, I immediately imagine those bodies of women, created by fashion and advertisement agencies: “perfect”, smooth, slim, and tall… but absolutely lacking life and individuality.

I’m not attracted to such bodies, and I’m not attracted to ‘perfect’, tidy and ‘inoffensive’, ‘harmless’ ideologies. I’d never want to be with a woman whom I wouldn’t want to murder, at least once. I’d never fight for perfection, only for human beings, and those are never thoroughly (and luckily) faultless.

During a revolution and also when one loves and is loved madly, one can easily burn to ashes, but that’s life and it is better to go this way, than vanishing from influenza, old age or in a car accident.

One can also fall, disappear, while searching for true knowledge, because knowledge is often hidden in the most peculiar, dangerous and unsavory places. You have to come close, damn close, if you want to truly comprehend.

Sometimes, if you come too close, you die. But that is life, too. That’s how it is and that’s how it should be. Without tremendous effort, without true courage, stamina, passion, without taking risks, life is never worth living.
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Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Andre Vltchek,
Global Research, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How Canada's Municipalities "Partnered" In Ukraine Coup

Canadian Taxpayers' Money As Backdrop to Far-Right Violence in Ukraine

by Julia Rozenblat - New Cold War


May 18, 2017

The state is an apparatus of violence and coercion. So Vladimir Lenin claimed, and this is one of his theses rarely questioned by critics, even the strongest of them.

If, in the course of some processes, one state is demolished or its territory is seized by a neighbouring state, another state necessarily emerges in its place. Sometimes, though too rarely, an entirely new state could emerge promoting higher social values. This was the case throughout the twentieth century. But in today’s world, in particular in the case of Ukraine, the impossible has become possible. Ukraine has introduced a new type of state, with a power base among independent groups of militarized “patriots” and who the government relies upon for much of its repressive apparatus.

After some months of confrontation in late 2013, early 2014, the old police system was demolished in the capital city Kyiv. Several months later, the new ‘Maidan’ government’s so-called Anti Terrorist Operation was launched in eastern Ukraine. According to the ‘ATO’, the army was effectively placed under the control of extra-legal patriots and far-right radicals. The national police did not disappear as an institution, but it was fractured and demoralized.

The new political leadership of Ukraine, born in very violent clashes with existing law enforcement agencies on Maidan Square in Kyiv, has organized loyalty screening for police officers and fired some 30 per cent of police staff. Right-wing extremists, including those who fired upon and even killed police during the Maidan protests, became a part of the screening commissions selecting and deselecting police officers. One result is that officers now feel less protected while doing their job because in case of conflict with far-right activists, often backed up by right-wing media, officers ccannot presume to receive fair judgment of their actions.

However, the weakening and fracturing of a police apparatus of violence and coercion does not at all mean that there is less violence in Maidan Ukraine. In many cases, ultra-nationalist mobs occupy the role formerly played by law enforcement. Mob participants are ‘anonymous’ amidst large crowds and therefore feel impunity from international tribunals that might otherwise act to curb right-wing violence.

It is this extra-legal element that has created a parallel government in Ukraine, complete with its own power bodies and even courts. A lynch court is still a court, and as Mao Tze-Tung once famously said, “Political power grows from the barrel of a gun.” The ‘parallel government’ of extremists and murderers in Ukraine does not mean the absence of power nor the absence of external puppet masters supporting it.

Any significant government initiatives in today’s Ukraine are blocked by the extreme-right if the initiatives contradict its goals. Take, for example, the Minsk-2 ceasefire and peace agreement of February 2015. Ukrainian authorities cannot outright abandon Minsk-2 because of foreign political pressure. That’s because Western governments need to maintain a fa├žade of concern for the violence in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, Kyiv cannot fulfill the agreement because of the pressure on it from the extremist minority inside the country.

The West and its feigned concerns are a long way away, while the neo-Nazis are here. The nationalistic mob is ready to seize the streets, state institutions, commercial firms and other targets in support of blockades against the autonomous republics of Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk), Crimea, and Russian banks operating in Ukraine. Rallies in support of social rights or opposed to war are almost impossible to stage safely in today’s Ukraine. Surprise! The same radicals are always ready to stop this kind of protest activity.

I won’t tell you how such problems are usually solved in a civilized society – you might know it better than me. I’d rather tell you how it works out in Ukraine.

If the city head or some other elected official is found to be in contact with the ‘wrong’ parties and interests, any of his or her decisions (including truly insignificant ones) can become a pretext for violent actions. The mob may demand the resignation of an ‘undesired’ government official when he or she acts contrary to its perceived interests. This happened recently in the central Ukrainian city of Poltava. There, the far-right recently seized the building of the regional administration demanding the resignation of the elected mayor. The reason was the proposed construction of a district of small shops in the center of the city.

Some ultra-nationalists dislike the project. The reasons vary, but for some, the material interests of some sponsors were at variance with ideas championed by the nationalistic mob. The development is not something crucial that would change the city’s appearance, such as a large, infrastructure project or the construction of a skyscraper in the middle of an historic district.

In this case, the issue was as small as kiosks [small shops] that local authorities planned to build to make urban living more convenient. But the local neo-Nazis decided to use situation as an opportunity to demonstrate their street power and perhaps extort some quick cash from political and business competitors of the investors in the kiosks project.

So, the neo-Nazis showed up on April 10 armed with knives, bats and pepper spray to attack and dismantle the project. Employees of the security company assigned to protect the project were declared ‘mercenaries’ and the nationalist campaign has inevitably demanded of the resignations of some elected officials.


 
Far-right blockade of the city council building of Poltava,
Ukraine in April 2017 (photo by RIA Novosti)


Local government buildings were blocked and occupied for about a week, until the anti-kiosk mission succeeded. The mayor of Poltava called the seizure of the buildings acts of “terrorism”.

The violent actions by the extremists were termed “manifestations of civil society activism”. Other, recent occupations of regional administration buildings have been similarly described. The administration building in Ternopil oblast (region) was recently occupied in support of a blockade of coal imports from the Lugansk People’s Republic. In Rivne oblast, an administration building was recently blockaded in support of illegal mining of amber (used in making jewelry).

From where do the “civil activists” come who have led Ukraine to civil war and who continue to destabilize it from within? The answer is quite simple: their emergence and development has been generously financed from within and abroad. The funding comes from private foundations as well as Western programs for the development of “democracy society”.

Year by year, from the earliest stages of Ukrainian independence in 1991 up to the recent days, most international programs for the development of democratic institutions actually assisted and encouraged far-right radicals along with their nationalistic, Russophobic and anti-communist ideology and sentiments.

Enormous amounts of money from private Western foundations and Western taxpayers have inflated a system wherein far-right spokespeople pose and are welcomed as “experts” in almost any social issue that can be named – from modern art to human rights activism, from sports to economics.

All this recalls the anti-utopia doctrine of George Orwell in his classic book 1984. The ruining of industrial cooperation by Ukraine with Russia during the past three years – with absolutely no economic benefit to the country – is being called “Western-style democracy” and “the only democratic option for Ukraine”. Any initiative that would make Russian–the mother tongue of nearly half of all Ukrainian citizens–the second national language of the country is considered equivalent to “state treason”.

Of particular note is a technical assistance project funded by the government of Canada and implemented by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities called ‘Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance Project‘ (PLEDDG). It has been working in the Poltava region for the past six years in the towns of Mirgorod, Kremenchug and Gorishnie Plavni.

According to the information posted on the official website of PLEDDG, the program “aims to strengthen Ukraine’s municipal sector by increasing capacities of Ukrainian cities to advance local democracy and economic development.”

“More broadly, we support the empowerment of people and local governments to enrich the positive outcomes of open government and economic growth,” the project initiators claim.

The term “empowerment of people” can be understood in a Ukrainian context as the seizure of public buildings by radical, ultra-nationalist groups interested only in their narrow view of society and ’empowered’ to impose their will as they see fit. It seems it is precisely towards such ‘development’ that the money of Canadian taxpayers is directed.

Of course, the spending by Canadian foundations is primarily the business of Canadians themselves. However, when these foundations work for the destabilization of Ukraine, this becomes a problem for Ukrainians too.


Blockade of the city council of Poltava

By RIA Novosti Ukraine, April 10, 2017 (translation from Russian by New Cold War.org)

The mayor of Poltava, Alexander Mamai, has stated that he would not convene an extraordinary session of the city council and he has promised to apply to the police regarding the blocking of the Poltava City Council building.
 “Officially, I appeal to the police and the prosecutor’s office of the region, to the Security Service of the region, to the head of the Poltava Regional State Administration: help the city head restore the work of the city authorities,” he told reporters in Poltava.
He added that the city council was being blocked by “out-of-town people, including young people.”
“There was a seizure of the administrative building. Thirty people were responsible, among them 18-year-old children, I will not negotiate with them.”

“The last session of the City Council was held on March 24. According to the law, I must convene the next meeting of the council not later than June 24. I repeat that I will raise the issue of a moratorium on kiosks in Poltava at a regular session, this issue will be unanimously adopted, and there is also the decision of the businessman Viktor Stepanenko to stop construction work on the street arches on newspaper row. A conciliation council will form an agenda with the representatives of all factions,”the mayor said.

The employees of the Poltava City Council could not get to work in the morning due to the blocking of the administrative building and decided to take a break from work and organize a cleaning day for the Suprunovsky overpass, according to the publication 0532.ua.

Earlier, it was reported that in the center of Poltava, protests, including the use of knives, against the construction of street arches occurred. There were clashes between activists and representatives of a private security company, as a result of which several people were injured. Five criminal proceedings were started and 12 people were detained.

Looking Back on BC's Pre-Election Period

Weaver would be crazy to make pact with Christy; NDP should have nailed Libs on economy, LNG

by Rafe Mair - The Common Sense Canadian


May 11, 2017

It’s May 10, 2017 as I write this, an appropriate date to examine the election, being the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of France and the Low Countries in 1940 and day Churchill came to the rescue. Like then, much information during the campaign was questionable, and virtually all mainstream media suppositions made by a lamentable herd of trained seals unable to report intelligibly or intelligently.

The stage was set by 16 years of kissing the backside of the provincial government, the print media distinguishing itself by managing to avoid the number one story of the times – their own newspapers’ deal with the oil industry ensuring that the latter always looked good in the newspapers and governments that wanted good press would be kind to the fossil fuel industry.

How annoying it was to hear the Global gabbers pontificate that when one party, with 100 votes cast, had 46% and the other 44%, thus the former had a “two point lead” – a piddling, meaningless statement. They used the same method with 5000 votes cast where that 2% was a substantial and perhaps final margin. In baseball, it’s percentages of hits per at bat; in politics it’s the number of hits that count. One might have expected the political pundits might have picked that up somewhere along the way.
Clark’s true economic record should have been downfall

There can be no doubt that all three parties lost one way or another. The Clark Liberals, with enough money to launch a small country, couldn’t buy a majority. The NDP, with the manifest sins of the Liberals to work with, couldn’t get a majority. The Green party with an electorate in the mood for environmental reform, managed three seats, all on friendly Vancouver Island.

That the Liberals sort of won had far less to do with their good record than the gentleness of Mr. Horgan on issues he wasn’t comfortable with, like money. That analysis runs contrary to what the media has said which is strong, if not irrefutable evidence that I’m bang on.




Courtesy of Norm Farrell/In-sights


If I may be so bold – and this is my blog after all – I warned Horgan a couple of years ago that he was letting the Liberals off the hook in the very area they claimed a monopoly on wisdom, handling our money. Their constant fallback position was that the NDP always wantonly run up public debt and drive away business. This allegation doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny, so why did it prevail in the election?

The answer is that the issue has the NDP spooked. It’s been repeated so often they believe it themselves!

The list of Liberal fiscal shortcomings is lengthy but I would have thought that doubling the provincial debt in 16 years and essentially bankrupting BC Hydro in the bargain would have been enough. Liberal construction overruns alone make Glen Clark’s “fast ferry fiasco” look picayune by comparison; add Site C, the issue that dare not speak its name, and it’s a wonderment that the Liberals got any votes at all. In short, what the Liberals got was that which Mr. Horgan could have got had he campaigned on issues and not spent time showing what a sweet guy he really is, despite nasty Liberal rumours about a nasty disposition.

NDP dropped the ball on LNG


Harken back for a moment to the LNG issue, which is where Horgan went politically bonkers. In politics, you simply do not take an issue completely out of play in order to look like a candidate for political sainthood. LNG was an immense and highly embarrassing failure for Clark so why did Mr. Horgan not beat up the Liberals on that point?

“Why”, he said, “we can’t be against everything”. Any politician with the faintest idea of what he was doing would have said “we’re in favour of development of our natural resources consistent with sound environmental practices and evidence that each development is in the best interests of the public of British Columbia”.

If he had done that he could have won my riding for one. Moreover, it would’ve left it open to him to raise hell about massive expenses of the Liberal government in chasing this ever-disappearing will-o-the wisp, guaranteed by Christy, no less, which would make us rich and relieve us forever from all debt. He could then have shown Christy Clark to be a legitimate object of ridicule – and ridicule is one thing a politician cannot survive. Horgan and his party couldn’t employ this massive weapon because, of course, he could hardly attack Clark’s bumptious bullshit about something he and his party supported!

How the Greens lost too


The Greens lost in a rather different sense of the word. They were in a province which has become more alive environmentally in the last 10 years than anywhere else in Canada. Not only was there the LNG plant in Squamish but the huge issue of Kinder Morgan and related undertakings. And in this atmosphere they took three seats, all on Vancouver Island, the Green “stronghold”, and none even close to where many of the environmental desecrations are planned.

I have no doubt that had the Greens been able to whisk Elizabeth May away from Ottawa, they would not only have done better, they would have been serious contenders throughout the province.
The elephant in the room

When all’s said and done, the Liberals “won” because there were so many minor issues to divert attention from massive Liberal mismanagement, a diversion not achieved by Liberal cleverness but NDP cowardice, arising from their willingness to believe that their dealings with fiscal matters would be laughed at by voters conditioned to believe implicitly in NDP fiscal incompetence.

In addition, there was the lazy excuse that the public simply doesn’t understand big figures and colossal losses.

That may be partly so – but only partly. Had Mr. Horgan hammered at the absolute falsehood that the Liberals had actually balanced the budget, had he translated the tragedy of BC Hydro into huge rate increases, and had he expressed the doubling of the provincial debt in terms of higher taxes and diminished social services, spiced with that extraordinary YouTube presentation of Christy congratulating her parents for leaving their children no debt and promising the same fiscal rectitude for BC, then I have no doubt the public would have understood fully.

With the exception of independent papers, the media was appalling at presenting issues with coherent analysis. To think that the Campbell energy policy which ruined so many rivers and set BC Hydro on a path to bankruptcy went unmentioned in the mainstream media from its launch in 2003 until now, speaks volumes for the decline of that once-honourable profession.

Where do we go from here?


As to what will happen now, I have no more idea than anyone else except that I can say what should not happen. The Green party would be mad to unite with the Liberals, just as a suitable way for them to reward Dr. Weaver with a cabinet post for his all his political kindness to them. It’s to the left not right Greens must look if they are going to gather public support.

The Green party have a glorious opportunity to expand both in terms of numbers and appeal to thinking British Colombia if they avoid the future machinations of the BC Liberal party. It would make a great deal more sense if they were to support, short of a coalition, a minority NDP government, should that prove numerically possible.

I close with this observation – you might consider that any one of the three leaders was successful but that’s only because you’re comparing them to two losers. In their respective fields, they each failed by substantial underachievement, least so Weaver, who now must demonstrate that the Green Party can successfully move onto the Mainland and to other regions and his next move will tell.

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

More articles by Rafe Mair

Say Hello 2 Heaven - Temple of the Dog's Chris Cornell

Temple of the Dog – Say Hello 2 Heaven (RIP Chris Cornell)

by CounterPunch


May 18, 2017



Visualizing Unemployment in America

This Animated Map Shows U.S. Unemployment Over Time (1990-2016)

 via Visual Capitalist


May 18, 2017

When we are talking about the unemployment rate as a barometer for the health of the economy, it’s most commonly the national figure that gets referenced.




U.S. Unemployment Over Time (1990-2016)


Historically, on a national level, an unemployment rate in the 4-6% range is generally considered “good”, while higher rates that fall within the 8-10% range are “bad”. Higher rates are usually only seen during times of recessions or crisis, when people around the country are struggling to find work.

But, as you’ll see in today’s animated map, unemployment rates at the regional level are a very different thing. Today’s map, which comes to us from FlowingData, shows the disparity of unemployment rates in the U.S. based on county estimates, and how they have their own ebbs and flows.
The Impact of a Crisis

The most noticeable element of the animation is the “spread” of unemployment as a crisis hits.

For reference, here’s the map during 1999 – which is around when income peaked for most Americans.

Rats in a Cage: Endless War, Endless Pain

Whistleblowers, Moral Injury, and Endless War: Was Chelsea Manning Motivated By Moral Injury?

by Peter Van Buren - TomDispatch

 
May 18, 2017   

My guilt will never go away,” former Marine Matthew Hoh explained to me. “There is a significant portion of me that doesn't believe it should be allowed to go away, that this pain is fair.”

If America accepts the idea of fighting endless wars, it will have to accept something else as well: that the costs of war are similarly endless. 
 
I’m thinking about the trillions of dollars, the million or more “enemy” dead (a striking percentage of them civilians), the tens of thousands of American combat casualties, those 20 veteran suicides each day, and the diminished lives of those who survive all of that. 
 
There’s that pain, carried by an unknown number of women and men, that won’t disappear, ever, and that goes by the label “moral injury.”
Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, The Human Price of Trump's Wars
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Daniel Ellsberg calls it “a book for our times.” CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin says that it’s a “stunningly written tale,” a “haunting WWII novel that reveals the darkest secrets about war and the warriors.” CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou suggests that author and former State Department official Peter Van Buren is “a master of fiction” who has crafted a novel all too “relevant to our own current political and military struggles.” All three of them are referring to Hooper’s War, TomDispatch regular Van Buren’s wrenching new what-if novel about the end of World War II in the Pacific. You’ll learn more about what’s at its heart by reading his post today. In the meantime, I have this offer for you: Van Buren will send any reader who contributes at least $100 ($125 if you live outside the United States) to this website a signed, personalized copy of his new book. (You can read more about it here.) Check out our donation page today for the details by clicking here. It’s a great way to get a memorable book and support this website. Tom]

“The wandering scribe of war crimes” is how TomDispatch regular Ann Jones once described me. Indeed, for more than a decade, across three continents, I’ve been intermittently interviewing witnesses and victims, perpetrators and survivors of almost unspeakable atrocities. I can’t count the number of massacre survivors and rape victims and tortured women and mutilated men I’ve spoken with, sometimes decades -- but sometimes just days -- after they were brutalized. In almost every case, what occurred in only a matter of minutes irreparably altered their lives.

I’ve also spent countless hours talking with another class of atrocity survivors: witnesses who did little else but watch and perpetrators who beat, tortured, or killed innocents in the service of one government or another. In almost every case, what occurred in just a matter of minutes irreparably altered their lives, too.

Sometimes, it seemed as if the survivors coped with the trauma far better than the perpetrators. I remember an American veteran of the Vietnam War I once interviewed. He had a million stories, all of them punctuated with a big, bold laugh. Jovial is the word I often use to describe him. We talked for hours, but I finally got down to business and he quickly grew quiet. Then, jovial he was not. I asked him about a massacre I had good reason to believe he had seen, maybe even taken part in. He told me he couldn’t recall it, but that he didn’t doubt it happened. (It wasn’t the first time I’d heard such a response.) While he had endless war stories, when it came to the darkest corner of the conflict, he said, his memories had been reduced to one episode.

As was standard operating procedure, his unit burned villages as a matter of course. In one of these “villes,” a woman ran up to him, bitter and enraged, no doubt complaining that her home and all her possessions were going up in flames. After shoving her away several times, he drew up the butt of his rifle and slammed it straight into the center of her face. It was an explosion of blood, he told me, followed by shrieks and sobs. Mr. Jovial walked away laughing.

That’s it, all he could remember, he assured me. He recalled it because he couldn’t forget it. At the time, the act was meaningless to him. Decades later, he relived it every day -- her shattered nose, the blood, the screams. He asked himself over and over again: How could I have done that? How could I have walked away laughing? I suggested that he was incredibly young and poorly trained and scared and immersed in a culture of violence, but none of these answers satisfied him. It was clear enough that he was never going to solve that riddle, just as he was never going to forget that woman and what he did to her.

Today, TomDispatch regular and former State Department whistleblower Peter Van Buren takes on these same issues, plumbing the depths of “moral injury” -- what, that is, can happen to soldiers when the values they’re taught as civilians are shattered on the shoals of war. Van Buren learned something of this firsthand in Iraq and grapples with it in his new World War II novel, Hooper’s War. “Van Buren doesn’t provide simple answers, and readers are left with the understanding that decisions made in battle can be both right and wrong at the same time,” says Kirkus Reviews of this “complex” alternate history. Given America’s penchant for ceaseless conflict, his book, like his piece today, raises questions that remain tragically relevant. Ever relevant, you might say. Nick Turse

Whistleblowers, Moral Injury, and Endless War: 

Was Chelsea Manning Motivated By Moral Injury?

by Peter Van Buren


The Lasting Pain of War


When I started Hooper’s War, a novel about the end of World War II in the Pacific, I had in mind just that pain. I was thinking -- couldn’t stop thinking, in fact -- about what really happens to people in war, combatants and civilians alike. The need to tell that story grew in large part out of my own experiences in Iraq, where I spent a year embedded with a combat unit as a U.S. State Department employee, and where I witnessed, among so many other horrors, two soldier suicides.

The new book began one day when Facebook retrieved photos of Iraqi children I had posted years ago, with a cheery “See Your Memories” caption on them. Oh yes, I remembered. Then, on the news, I began seeing places in Iraq familiar to me, but this time being overrun by Islamic State militants or later being re-retaken with the help of another generation of young Americans. And I kept running into people who’d been involved in my war and were all too ready to share too many drinks and tell me too much about what I was already up all too many nights thinking about.

As these experiences morphed first into nightmares and then into the basis for research, I found myself speaking with more veterans of more wars who continued to suffer in ways they had a hard time describing, but which they wrestled with everyday. I realized that I understood them, even as they seemed to be trying to put their feelings into words for the first time. Many of them described how they had entered the battle zones convinced that "we're the good guys," and then had to live with the depth of guilt and shame that followed when that sense didn’t survive the test of events.

Sometimes they were remarkably articulate, sometimes anything but. It seemed not to matter which war we were talking about -- or whether I was reading a handwritten diary from the Korean War, an oral history of the Pacific War, or an old bestseller about a conflict ironically labeled "the Good War." The story always seemed to be the same: decisions made in seconds that lasted lifetimes, including the uncomfortable balancing of morality and expediency in situations in which a soldier might believe horrific acts like torture could save lives or had to accept civilian casualties in pursuit of military objectives. In war, you were always living in a world in which no action seemed ideal and yet avoiding acting was often inconceivable.

PTSD and Moral Injury


Matthew Hoh, that former Marine, now a veterans advocate, introduced me to the phrase “moral injury,” though the term is usually attributed to clinical psychiatrist Jonathan Shay. He coined it in 1991 while working for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

We are, of course, beings with a complex sense of right and wrong, which can be messed with in disastrous ways. There are boundaries inside us that can’t be crossed without a great price being paid. Though the term moral injury is fairly new, especially outside military circles, the idea is as old as war. When people sent into conflict find their sense of right and wrong tested, when they violate deeply held convictions by doing something (such as killing a civilian in error) or failing to do something (such as not reporting a war crime), they suffer an injury to their core being.

Examples of this phenomenon are relatively commonplace in popular culture. Think of scenes from Tim O’Brien’s iconic Vietnam War book, The Things They Carried, William Manchester’s World War II odyssey, Goodbye Darkness, William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice, or films like William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives and Oliver Stone's Platoon.

You can find similar examples as far back as the Iliad and as recently as late last night. Lisa Ling, for instance, was a former Air Force technical sergeant who worked in America’s armed drone program before turning whistleblower. She was perhaps typical when she told the makers of the documentary film National Bird that, in helping carry out drone strikes which killed people across the globe by remote control, “I lost part of my humanity.”

Once upon a time, society expressed skepticism or worse toward such formulations, calling those who emerged visibly suffering from the acts of war “cowards” or dismissing them as fakes and frauds. Yet today post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a widely acknowledged condition that can be identified by MRI tests.

PTSD and moral injury often occur together. “I think having both PTSD and moral injury are the normal things for us,” Ling says of those in the drone program. Moral injury, however, takes place at the intersection of psychology and spirituality, and so is, in a sense, all in someone's head. When experiencing moral injury, a person wields guilt and/or shame as a self-inflicted penalty for a choice made. PTSD is more physical, more fear-based, and often a more direct response to an event or events witnessed in war.

Think of it this way: PTSD is more likely to result from seeing something terrible, moral injury from doing something terrible.

Civilians, Too


Moral injury doesn’t just affect soldiers, but civilians, too. Noncombatants are not just victims or targets, but often complex participants in war. This reality led me, as my book developed, to interview now-elderly Japanese who had experienced World War II as children. They described the horrific choices they faced, even at a young age. In a wartime landscape of hunger, survival often depended on small, grim acts that would never be forgotten.

Sometimes, I sensed in talking to them, as in interviewing former soldiers, that the psychic injuries of wartime don’t end until the sufferers do. Moral injury turns out to be a debt that often can never be repaid.

Those survivors of the end of the war in Japan who got the food necessary to live had to pay a price for knowing what happened to those who didn’t. In a landscape ravaged by war, just because something wasn’t your fault doesn’t mean it won’t be your responsibility. An act as simple as which of her children a mother offered a disappearing supply of water to first could mean the difference between life and death. And though, in truth, it might have been impossible in such circumstances and at such an age to know that you were responsible for the death of your sister or brother, 70 years later you might still be thinking about it with an almost unbearable sense of guilt.

And here’s a small footnote: Did you know that it’s possible to sit quietly on a Tokyo park bench in 2017, perfectly aware of whose distant relatives and countrymen dropped the bombs that took away the water that forced that mother to make that decision, and still shamefully continue taking notes, saying nothing as you witness someone else’s breakdown?

The Trip Back


What help can there be for something so human?

There are, of course, the bad answers, all too often including opioids and alcohol. But sufferers soon learn that such substances just send the pain off to ambush you at another moment, and yet, as many told me, you may still look forward to the morning’s first throat-burning shot of something strong. Drinking and drugs have a way, however temporarily, of wiping out hours of pain that may stretch all the way back to the 1940s. You drink in the dark places, even after you understand that in the darkness you can see too much.

Tragically, suicide is never far from moral injury. The soul isn't that big a place.

One former soldier told me he’s never forgiven his neighbor for talking him out of going into the garage with his rifle. Another said the question wasn't why he might commit suicide, but why he hadn't. Someone I met knows vets who have a “designated driver,” a keeper not of the car keys but of their guns during emotional rough patches.

The Department of Veterans Affairs counts a stunning average of 20 veteran suicides a day in America. About 65% of those are individuals 50 years old or older with little or no exposure to the country’s twenty-first-century conflicts. No one tracks the suicide rate for civilians who survive war, but it’s hard to imagine that it isn’t high as well. The cause of all those self-inflicted deaths can’t, of course, be traced to any one thing, but the pain that grows out of moral injury is patient.

For such sufferers, however, progress is being made, even if the trip back is as complex as the individual. The Department of Veterans Affairs now acknowledges moral injury and its effects, and in 2014 Syracuse University created the Moral Injury Project to bring together vets, doctors, and chaplains to work on how to deal with it. In the meantime, psychologists are developing diagnostic assessment tools for what some call “soul repair.”

One effective path back seems to be through helping patients sort out just what happened to them and, when it comes to remembered transgressions, what part of those may be their own responsibility (though not necessarily their own fault). What doesn't work, according to Matthew Hoh, is trying to convince veterans who view themselves as damaged that, in the present American manner, they are really heroes.

Others suffering moral injury may try to deal with it by seeking forgiveness.

Lisa Ling, for example, traveled to Afghanistan, with a desire to truly grasp her role in a drone program that regularly killed its victims from thousands of miles away. To her surprise, during an encounter with the relatives of some civilian victims of such drone strikes, they forgave her. “I didn’t ask for forgiveness,” Ling told me, referring to what she had done in the drone program, “because what I did was unforgivable.”

Killing by remote control requires many hands. Ling worked on databases and IT networking. Analysts studied the information in those databases to recommend humans to target. Sensor operators manipulated lasers to pinpoint where a drone pilot would eventually slam his missile home for the kill.

“Like all of us,” she added, “I spent time on the mission floor, or at briefings where I saw and heard devastating things, or blatant lies, but to actually connect my individual work to single events wasn’t possible due to the diffusion of responsibility. For sensor operators, it is more like stepping on ants. For analysts, they get to know people over time. As watchers and listeners they describe an intimacy that comes with predictably knowing their family patterns. Kissing the kids, taking children to school, and then seeing these same people die.”

Moral Injury and Whistleblowers


Another way back is for the sufferer to try to rebalance the internal scales a little by making amends of some sort. In the case of moral injury, this can often mean drawing a line between who one was then and who one might be now. Think of it as an attempt to re-inscribe those internal borders that were transgressed so long ago.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, the connections between moral injury and whistleblowing, like those between moral injury and suicide, appear to run deep.

For example, Iraq War whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s decision to leak video of civilian deaths caused by members of the U.S. military may have been her version of amends, driven by guilt over silently witnessing war crimes. Among the acts she saw, for instance, was a raid on a printing facility that had been billed as an al-Qaeda location but wasn’t. The U.S. military had, in fact, been tricked into shutting down the work of political opponents of Iraq’s then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Until Manning finally tells her story, this remains speculative, but I was at the same forward operating base in Iraq as she was and know what happened and how it affected me, as well as the others around us.

Whistleblowers (and I was one of them) talk of conscience, of a realization that we were part of something that was wrong. Jonathan Shay suggests that the failure of moral agency does not have to rest with the individual alone. It can involve witnessing a betrayal of “what’s right” by a person in legitimate authority.

That part of moral injury could help explain one of the most significant whistleblowers of our time. In talking about his reasons for blowing the whistle, Edward Snowden invoked questions of right and wrong when it came to the actions of senior American government officials. It would be a worthy question to put to Snowden: How much guilt and shame -- the hallmarks of moral injury -- do you retain from having been part of the surveillance state, and how much was your whistleblowing driven by trying to rid yourself of it?

After all, for those suffering from moral injury, the goal is always the same: to somehow reclaim the good parts of oneself and to accept -- but not be eternally defined by -- what one did or didn’t do.

I know, because for me, this is so much more than fiction.

My War at Home


"You mean that Vietnam helicopter thing?" A well-meaning family doctor asked me this when I got back from Iraq in 2010, referring to the way some vets react to the sound of a helicopter, sending them “back to the jungle.” No, no, far more than that, I responded, and told him a little about my sorry role in administering reconstruction projects in Iraq and how it left me more interested in vodka than my family. That was my own personal taste of moral injury, of a deeply felt failure to accomplish any of the good I'd hoped to do, let down by senior leaders I once believed in. It’s why I tell the story in Hooper’s War in reverse order, opening with a broken Nate Hooper in his late eighties finally finding a form of redemption for the events of a few weeks at war when he was 18. By moving toward an innocent boy as far away in rural Ohio as one can be from war, I felt I was working through my own experience of the damage war causes deep inside the self.

In tallying the costs of war, what’s the price of a quick death versus a slow one? A soldier who leaves his brains on the wall in the den two decades after his war ended or one whose body remains untouched but who left his mind 10,000 miles away?

The price of endless war is beyond calculation. As our wars continue to morph and roll on, the costs -- financial, emotional, and in blood -- only pile up as the men and women who have been welcomed home as if it were all over continue to be torn apart. The nasty conclusion on the scales of moral injury: that our endless conflicts may indeed have left our society, one that just can’t stop itself from making war, among the casualties.

Peter Van Buren, a TomDispatch regular and former State Department official, blew the whistle on waste and mismanagement during the “reconstruction” of Iraq in his book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His newest book, Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, has just been published. He writes about current events at his blog, We Meant Well.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Peter Van Buren