When Peace Is A Commodity: Trump In The Middle East

by Mark Taylor | CC BY 2.0

By Robert Fisk for Counter Punch – In Riyadh, Trump couldn’t mention where most of the the 9/11 hijackers came from or whose Sunni cult-faith was the inspiration for Isis – nor which country chopped off heads with Isis-like relish. (Answer: Saudi Arabia). And when he arrived in Israel on Monday, Trump was faced with a new censorship protocol: don’t mention who was occupying whose property in the West Bank or which country was outrageously and continuously stealing land – legally owned by Arabs – for Jews and Jews only. (Answer: Israel). So bingo, in the biggest Middle East alliance ever created in history, the Saudis and the other Sunni Arab dictators and America’s crackpot President and Israel’s cynical Prime Minister have all agreed on the identity of the devil country they can all curse with one voice, inspirer of “world terror”, instigator of Middle East instability, the greatest threat to world peace: Shia Iran. So within a few minutes of landing at Tel Aviv airport – part of whose runways actually lies on land legally owned by Palestinian Arabs 60 years ago – the Trump speechwriters (for Trump surely cannot write this stuff) were churning out once more their hatred of Iran, of Iran’s “terror”, of Iran’s plots, of Iran’s continuing desire to make a nuclear bomb.

The Basques In Spain: Positive Peace?

A peace mural is painted near the road leading to Planadas, Colombia, where a peasant uprising in 1964 led to the birth of the FARC. | Photo: AFP

By Johan Galtung for TRANSCEND Media Service – Spain is in a process that will take some time, from “España: Una, Grande, Libre” to “España: Una Comunidad de naciones“—“Spain: One, Great, Free” to “Spain: A community of nations.” Could also be great and free, but not One; not Castillan, but also Catalan, Basque, Gallego, Andalucian, and the islands, Baleares, Canarias. ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna)–world famous for killing the successor to Franco, Carrero Blanco, in 1971 possibly shortening the dictatorship by a generation–disarmed, handing over its means of violence, on 8 Apr 2017. ETA is dissolved. Negative peace, by eliminating one violent party. There was much violence, doing bad things to each other. No more. Then what? Maybe doing good things to each other? Positive peace is about that. Military power eliminated, we are left with economic, political and cultural power. Positive peace means equity: economic, political and cultural cooperation for mutual and equal benefit. Economically, concretely that means more enterprises, companies, businesses with Basques cooperating with Castillans, and others.

Military Veterans March on D.C. May 30, Memorial Day

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By Nick Motten for Veterans for Peace. WASHINGTON D.C. – In response to President Trump’s “outrageous” $54 billion defense-spending increase, military veterans are being called to the nation’s capital May 30/Memorial Day to demand “Peace at Home and Peace Abroad.” And they’re using television commercials in D.C. to spread the call for peace. “Wherever you are, your presence is respectfully and urgently requested in Washington, DC, on May 30 at the Lincoln Memorial. At this historic site—95 years after its inauguration on May 30, 1922—at 11 a.m., nationally and internationally known speakers and musicians will convey our adamant determination to achieve Peace at Home and Peace Abroad,” is the message of Veterans for Peace and other vet groups.

Media For Justice And Peace

A new report indicates the passage of the USA Freedom Act did not prevent the U.S. National Security Agency from collecting 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls in 2016.

By Sue Ann Martinson for Rise Up Times – Lately the term the “elite” is being used by many media commentators and in numerous articles that appear online and in print. Who are the “elite”? What are their roles in American culture and government? And why should we care? Perhaps the term should be ruling elite, that is, the current ruling elite. Amy Goodman got it right when she subtitled Democracy Now! The Exception to the Rulers. A ruling elite is a direct contradiction to democracy and could be any group that is in a ruling position who feel superior to the hoi polloi they think are not capable of ruling themselves and who use the position of power for their own gain. Today references to the “elite” generally target a specific group, the financial elite. This group crosses traditional party lines, with Democrats and Republicans equally implicated, and includes a large majority of members of Congress in both dominant political parties. As Henry Giroux observed before the 2016 presidential election, “One consequence [of the election] will be that millions one way or another will once again bear the burden of a society that hates democracy and punishes all but the financial elite.”

A Public Plan For Peace

A peace mural is painted near the road leading to Planadas, Colombia, where a peasant uprising in 1964 led to the birth of the FARC. | Photo: AFP

By Robert C. Koehler for Common Wonders – The American will to wage war — endless war, pointless war, total war — is, I fear, impervious to public opinion and even political action. It remains alive deep in the underground bunker of American militarism, protected from sanity. This goes beyond the staying power of our loser generals, who have ever freer rein in the Trump administration to expand the war games of the 21st century. There is a quiet determination among those who serve the god of war — or so it seems — to engage in, and presumably win, a nuclear war. This, at any rate, is the conclusion one could draw from an essay that ran last month in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, by Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie and Theodore A. Postol, who point out how the U.S. military has circumvented the global nuclear disarmament movement by increasing the accuracy — and thus the “kill power” — of the missiles it still holds onto, in the process intensifying the threat the United States poses to Russia (as the beloved Cold War returns) and minimizing the security of, oh Lord, mutually assured destruction. “Under the veil of an otherwise-legitimate warhead life-extension program,” they write, “the U.S. military has quietly engaged in a vast expansion of the killing power of the most numerous warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal

What I Said At The Peace Hub Of The Climate March

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By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy – Most countries on earth have the U.S. military in them. Most countries on earth burn less fossil fuel than does the U.S. military. And that’s without even calculating how much worse for the climate jet fuel is than other fossil fuels. And it’s without even considering the fossil fuel consumption of the world’s leading weapons makers, or the pollution caused by the use of those weapons all over the world. The U.S. is the top weapons dealer to the world, and has weapons on multiple sides of most wars. The U.S. military created 69% of super fund environmental disaster sites and is the third leading polluter of U.S. waterways. When the British first developed an obsession with the Middle East, passed along to the United States, the desire was to fuel the British Navy. What came first? The wars or the oil? It was the wars. Wars and the preparations for more wars consume a huge amount of oil.

Newsletter: The State Of The Union And Movement

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The United States is a failing empire: the domestic economy has fallen to a level equivalent to a developing nation for most of us while the stock markets, especially for weapons-makers, are at record levels. It has taken decades for the US to get here. Long-term mis-leadership created the environment where a “Make America Great Again” presidential candidate, whose fame came from being a reality-TV star and someone who put his name in giant gold letters on every business he ran, could con his way into office in large part because he is not a politician. Trump’s election woke a lot of people up and sparked new levels of activism. As we reach the one-hundredth day of this new administration, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of the union and of the movements for peace and justice.

Urgent: Stop The United States From Attacking North Korea

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The United States has been escalating conflict with North Korea recently. Of concern is that President Trump announced today that he plans to meet with all 100 senators on Wednesday, April 26, without their staffers, at the White House. We must send a strong message to the senators that we will not tolerate a US attack on North Korea. The time to do that is now. Use the Capitol Switchboard at 202 224 3121 to call your senators today and tell them that we want peace with North Korea. Negotiate with President Kim Jong-un. Stop US military exercises on the North Korean border. Join us at the White House on Wednesday at 2 pm. See this Facebook page for details. If you can’t come to DC, then hold an action locally.

While US Threatens War, Work Of Peace Continues In Afghanistan

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By Kathy Kelly for The Progressive. Three former United Nations officials with many decades of experience as diplomats recently wrote a blunt appraisal of the U.S. role in undermining peace efforts and promoting wars. The authors call out President Donald Trump for “embracing a toxic form of messianic nationalism,” with exclusionary policies “illustrative of a regressive and Islamophobic outlook.” The massive bomb Trump dropped on Afghanistan in April was more bad news. Yet in Kabul, the work of peace continues. Afghan Peace Volunteers have been welcoming delegates from my group, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, from the United States and England, one or two at a time, over the past several months. On a visit last month, I was able to travel by bus to a small village where relatives were celebrating the marriage of Abid and Zahro.

Justice Action At Hancock Drone Base, Syracuse

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By Ray McGovern. Syracuse: On Good Friday, April 14, 2017, nine nonviolent civil resisters of Upstate Drone Action were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base witnessing against extrajudicial drone killings perpetrated from the base. Three people hung on large drone crosses representing victims of US drone strikes in seven majority Muslim countries. Eleven others held smaller drone crosses headed by the phrase, DRONES CRUCIFY, each followed by one of these: Children, Families, Love, Peace, Community, the US Constitution, UN Charter, Rule of Law, US Treaties, Due Process, or Diplomacy.

The ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ Won’t Lead To Peace

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By Medea Benjamin. “I’m really very good at war. I love war, in a certain way,” bragged candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa. This is the same Donald Trump who avoided the Vietnam draft by claiming a bone spur in his foot, a medical problem that never kept him off the tennis courts or golf courses, and miraculously healed on its own. But with the escalation of US military involvement in Syria, the record number of drone attacks in Yemen, more US troops being sent to the Middle East and, now, the dropping of a massive bomb in Afghanistan, it looks like Trump may indeed love war. Or at least, love “playing” war. In Syria, Trump went for 59 Tomahawk missiles. Now, in Afghanistan, he has opted for a “super weapon”, the second largest of the US military’s non-nuclear bombs. This 21,600-pound explosive, never before used in combat, was used to blast a bunch of tunnels and caves in an Afghan province near the border of Pakistan.

Five Anti-War Protesters Released After Posting $157,000 Bail

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By Fightback News. Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville community quickly rallied to the defense of their beloved community leaders and activists. On April 8, over 200 people, including leaders in the labor movement, Black community, and progressive groups assembled to demand that all the charges against the Jacksonville 5 be dropped. Supporters chanted “Drop the charges” and the mother of Connell Crooms gave a tearful testament to Connell’s character. Community leaders called for a full independent investigation into the police misconduct on April 7, and an investigation into the police spying program on progressive activists in Jacksonville. Just weeks earlier, Jacksonville’s Florida Times Union reported that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) had been spying on protesters, amongst them, Dave Schneider, Connell Crooms and Christina Kittle.

50 Years Later We Still Must Reject US Wars

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By Ajamu Baraka for AjamuBaraka.com. In his speech at Riverside Church, King not only criticized U.S. actions in Vietnam but identified the cultural pathologies at the center of U.S. society. “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” he said. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 50 years later, what rational person can honestly argue against the position that the U.S. is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet?

Peace Conference: Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad

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By Staff for UNAC. A National Conference: “Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad: Building a Movement Against War, Injustice & Repression!” – Hosted by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC – unacpeace.org). Join activists from the many domestic and international struggles as we build unity against the Trump Regime and the underlying system responsible for imperialist wars, poverty, racism, sexism, the oppression of LGBTQ people, attacks on Muslims and undocumented immigrants, environmental destruction and all forms of injustice. A conference website will be up and running soon. Meanwhile, hold the dates and plan to join us June 16-18 in Richmond, Virginia!

Night After Day In Afghanistan

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By Dr. Hakim for the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Dr. Hakim runs the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Here is the most recent message that they sent about the important work they are doing to survive, heal and build community: I’m so often caught up in the daily concerns of work and the wars raging across Afghanistan and many parts of the world that I forget how remarkable it is that at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Kabul, 19 small teams with more than 70 active Afghan Peace Volunteers are putting nonviolence into microscopic but concrete practice. There’s also the pulsating energy from 100 eager street kids ready to change themselves. All these ‘small people’ with ‘big souls’ touch me. They move my days and nights.