Building A Mass Movement To Stop Mass Killing

Dennis K. at Code Pink/Shutterstock

By Medea Benjamin for AlterNet – The $600 billion annual cost of the US military budget eats up 54% of all federal discretionary funds. It’s no wonder we don’t have money to address the crisis of global warming, build effective public transportation systems, institute a Medicare-for-All health system, or provide the free college education that all our youth deserve. You would think it would be easy to form a united front with activists from different movements who want to redirect our tax dollars. Students fighting for free education should understand that stopping just one weapons system, the expensive and unnecessary Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, would fund the education of all college students for the next two decades. Nurses fighting for universal health care should understand that if we cut the bloated military budget, we’d have plenty of money for a national health- care system like the Europeans have. Environmentalists paddling their kayaks to block oil-digging ships should understand that if we dramatically cut our military spending, we’d have hun- dreds of billions of dollars to propel us into the era of green, sustainable energy. Unions should recognize that the military is one of the worst creators of jobs in relation to money spent. It was easier to connect with other movements when the peace movement was strong while trying to stop George W. Bush’s Iraq war.

Missile Defense Will Protect You From North Korea, Say USA Today’s Missile Defense-Funded Sources

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By Jim Naureckas for FAIR – “US Missile Defense Plans to Zap North Korean Threats” was the headline of a USA Today story (7/17/17)—or “US Racing to Quash N. Korean Nuke Threat,” in the print edition. Strikingly, the piece contains no sources at all substantiating the “N. Korean nuke threat”: “North Korea’s rapid march to develop a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of striking the United States” is simply asserted in the lead, and later on the claim that “North Korea may be only a year or so away” from having missiles that “can hit anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead” is backed up only by “according to US estimates.” On the “US missile defense plans,” USA Today does have sources—mostly sources with a direct financial connection to the US missile defense program. There’s Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS), who tells USA Today‘s Oren Dorell that “Missile defense buys you time and opens windows.” There’s also “retired Lt. Gen. Henry ‘Trey’ Obering III, a former head of the Missile Defense Agency who is now executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton”; later it’s clarified that Obering “heads the directed energy team at Booz Allen Hamilton”—in other words, his business is to sell to the Pentagon the kind of “smaller, more powerful and lighter” laser-based weapons that he tells USA Today are necessary to protect the United States from the North Korean threat.

U.S. Citizens Take Action Against U.S. Nuclear Bombs In Europe

by Bonnie Urfer

By Ralph Hutchison for The Nuclear Resister – A delegation of eleven U.S. citizens joined with activists from China, Russia, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, Belgium and Britain at a peace encampment at the German airbase in Büchel, Germany, where U.S. B61 bombs are deployed. On Sunday, July 16, following the celebration of a Christian liturgy, Dutch and U.S. citizens removed the fence blocking the main entrance to the airbase and proceeded on site, the Dutch delegation carrying bread for a “Bread Not Bombs” action and the U.S. delegation carrying the text of the Nuclear Ban Treaty passed on July 7 at the United Nations in New York City. More than thirty activists entered the site without incident, passing through the security gate that was accidentally left unlocked and unstaffed. The Dutch delegation placed loaves of bread on the wings of jet fighters; the U.S. delegation lowered the U.S. flag from the flagpole, requested a meeting with the base commander, and read the text of the U.N. Treaty to soldiers at the base. After forty-five minutes, guards ran to seal the gates and police were summoned. Eventually, all activists were expelled from the facility without being charged. On Monday, July 17, activists woke to find themselves prisoners in the peace camp as those attempting to approach the base with banners were rebuffed by police. More than a dozen police vans ringed the roundabout at the gate.

US Expands Military Footprint In Syria To EIGHT Bases

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By Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire – With very little fanfare from the western media, the US is quietly creating a hostile military footprint inside Syria. By establishing a chain of airbases, military outposts and missile bases inside Syria, the US is illegally, stealth-occupying a sovereign nation. The number of US military installations in Syria has increased to eight bases according to recent reports, and possibly nine according to one other military analyst. We should also not forget the malevolent presence of Israel in the criminally annexed southern Syrian territory of the Golan Heights. This could just as easily be included in the list of US military outposts inside Syria. Two regional intelligence sources disclosed mid-June that the US military moved a new truck-mounted, long-range rocket launcher from Jordan to a US base in al-Tanf in Southeastern Homs, near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, stepping up its presence in the area. The sources said the (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems – HIMARS) had moved into the desert garrison, which saw a buildup in recent weeks as tensions escalate after the US-led coalition struck positions of the Syrian forces to prevent them advancing toward the al-Tanf base.

What Does War Generate?

10-year-old Afghan Street Kid Mubasir smiles despite his difficulties.

By Kathy Kelly for Counter Punch – At an April, 2017 Symposium on Peace in Nashville, TN, Martha Hennessy spoke about central tenets of Maryhouse, a home of hospitality in New York City, where Martha often lives and works. Every day, the community there tries to abide by the counsels of Dorothy Day, Martha’s grandmother, who co-founded houses of hospitality and a vibrant movement in the 1930s. During her talk, she held up a postcard-sized copy of one of the movement’s defining images, Rita Corbin’s celebrated woodcut listing “The Works of Mercy” and “The Works of War.” She read to us. “The Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry; Give drink to the thirsty; Clothe the naked; Visit the imprisoned; Care for the sick; Bury the dead.” And then she read: “The Works of War: Destroy crops and land; Seize food supplies; Destroy homes; Scatter families; Contaminate water; Imprison dissenters; Inflict wounds, burns; Kill the living.” The following week, General James Mattis was asked to estimate the death toll from the U.S. first use in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of the MOAB, or Massive Ordinance Air Burst bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. arsenals.

US Global Empire: Special Ops Deployed In 137 Countries

A man sits in front of a mural in Caracas, Venezuela | Photo: Reuters

By Nick Turse for Tom Dispatch - And for a time, coca production in that country The tabs on their shoulders read “Special Forces,” “Ranger,” “Airborne.” And soon their guidon — the “colors” of Company B, 3rd Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group — would be adorned with the “Bandera de Guerra,” a Colombian combat decoration. “Today we commemorate sixteen years of a permanent fight against drugs in a ceremony where all Colombians can recognize the special counternarcotic brigade’s hard work against drug trafficking,” said Army Colonel Walther Jimenez, the commander of the Colombian military’s Special Anti-Drug Brigade, last December. America’s most elite troops, the Special Operations forces (SOF), have worked with that Colombian unit since its creation in December 2000. Since 2014, four teams of Special Forces soldiers have intensely monitored the brigade. Now, they were being honored for it. Part of a $10 billion counter-narcotics and counterterrorism program, conceived in the 1990s, special ops efforts in Colombia are a muchballyhooed American success story.

​U.S. Conference Of Mayors Opposes Military-Heavy Trump Budget

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Staff of World Beyond War – “We are very excited that the entire US Conference of Mayors, from major metropoles such as New York City and Los Angeles to small rural townships, understand that the resources being sucked up by the Pentagon to wage endless wars overseas should be used to address our crumbling infrastructure, the climate crisis and poverty at home and abroad. Congress and the Trump administration should listen to these mayors, as they reflect the needs and hopes of their constituents, not the greed of corporate donors,” said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK. “The Peace Council applauds the resolve of major city mayors to dramatically cut the U.S. military budget and to take the funds saved to provide money for jobs, education, housing, transportation, seniors, youth, rebuild our roads, bridges, public transportation much more,” said Henry Lowendorf of the US Peace Council. “

Yemen To Probe Alleged Interrogation Abuses By United Arab Emirates, U.S.

John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is among senators calling for investigations into the reports. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

By Ahmed Al-Haj for Associated Press – SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s internationally-recognized government on Saturday ordered the creation of a committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations, following reports that U.S. military interrogators worked with forces from the United Arab Emirates who are accused of torturing detainees in Yemen. A copy of the order issued by Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghr was obtained by The Associated Press. It said the investigation would focus on areas liberated by government forces from Shiite rebels known as the Houthis and their allies. The six-member committee will be chaired by Justice Minister Jamal Mohamed Omar and include representatives from the Human Rights Ministry, security agencies and the prosecution. It will immediately start work and have 15 days to conclude its investigation and report back to bin Daghr. The reports of the abuses were revealed in an AP investigation published Thursday. The investigation detailed a network of secret prisons across southern Yemen where hundreds are detained in the hunt for al-Qaida militants. American defense officials said U.S. forces have interrogated some detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in, or knowledge of, human rights abuses.

US Begins Military Exercises Off Venezuelan Coast

From telesurtv.net

By Staff of Tele Sur – In April, Kurt Tidd, US Southern Command chief submitted a report to the senate warning that Venezuela could be a “destabilizing” element for the region. The United States Southern Command began military exercises Tuesday with 18 other nations and about 2,500 soldiers on the island of Barbados, 670 miles from Venezuela’s coast. The military organization reported that the so-called “Tradewinds 2017″ is a “multinational exercise of security and response to maritime disasters in the Caribbean,” with the participation of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana , Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as military personnel from the US, Canada, France, Mexico and the United Kingdom. According to the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command Kurt W. Tidd these military maneuvers ensure the security of the region. However, the military force has been accused of intervening and threatening governments in the region, such as Venezuela. In April, Tidd submitted a report to the U.S. Senate warning that Venezuela could be a “destabilizing” element for the region.

U.S. Military World’s Largest Polluter – Hundreds Of Bases Gravely Contaminated

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By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News – MINNEAPOLIS– Last week, mainstream media outlets gave minimal attention to the news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach had spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact – that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation’s and the world’s, largest polluter. Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others. In 2014, the former head of the Pentagon’s environmental program told Newsweek that her office has to contend with 39,000 contaminated areas spread across 19 million acres just in the U.S. alone. U.S. military bases, both domestic and foreign, consistently rank among some of the most polluted places in the world, as perchlorate and other components of jet and rocket fuel contaminate sources of drinking water, aquifers, and soil.

US Aircraft Carrier Deployed In Direct Threat To North Korea

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By Peter Symonds for Information Clearing House and WSWS – Just days after launching its criminal cruise missile attack on Syria, the Trump administration has provocatively authorised the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, together with its full strike group of guided missile destroyers and a cruiser, to waters off the Korean Peninsula. The move is a direct military threat to North Korea, which was at the top of the agenda in talks last weekend between the US and Chinese presidents. An unnamed US official told the Financial Times that the deployment was designed to be a “show of force.” The carrier strike group had taken part in joint US-South Korean war games but was heading south for port calls in Australia before being ordered to turn north from Singapore.

55 Bi-Partisans In DC Urge Trump Come To Congress Before Military Action

Netanyahu speaking at the U.S. Congress, March 3, 2015. Photo by Amos Ben Gershon

By Staff of 2nd District of Wisconsin – Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Justin Amash (R-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 50 other Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump calling on him to come to Congress before escalating military action in Yemen. The Trump Administration is currently weighing options for direct military involvement in Yemen’s two-year-old civil war, where a coalition of military forces led by Saudi Arabia has fought against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Saudi coalition has conducted indiscriminate bombings and imposed a crippling blockade…

Stop U.S. From Making Syria War Even Worse

A Syrian girl (2nd L) and an Iranian girl hold signs outside the Rayburn House office building across from the US Capitol in Washington during a demonstration against US intervention in Syria on September 7, 2013. (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

By Diane Randall for FCNL – This week’s abhorrent chemical weapons attack was an act of unspeakable violence against civilians, and we are heartbroken over the deaths of Syrians, including many children. The Trump administration’s escalation is not the solution, and will only cause more killing and suffering for Syrian civilians. The U.S. should fully support the ongoing investigation of the chemical weapons attack and work with the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice. In all decisions about the U.S. course of action, policymakers must recognize that years of direct U.S. military intervention, support of extremist armed groups, and weapons shipments to anti-government rebels in Syria have only added fuel to the fire and put Syrian civilians in greater danger.

Here’s How Much It Costs To Replace 59 Tomahawk Missiles Trump Fired On Syria

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By Claudia Assis for Maeket Watch – Raytheon referred questions around costs to the U.S. Navy’s unmanned aviation and strike weapons program, which did not immediately return a request for comment. The missiles used on Thursday likely cost the U.S. military around $1 million, but the latest versions of the missile that would replace those could be more costly, depending on size of the order and other factors, said Loren Thompson, a consultant and chief operating officer of nonprofit Lexington Institute. President Donald Trump indicated the possibility of a policy shift on Syria during a press conference on Wednesday, after a chemical attack left dozens of Syrian citizens dead. Where may Mr. Trump be heading? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

US Has 200K Troops Active In 177 Countries

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By Jeff Desjardins for Visual Capitalist – There was no shortage of cuts proposed in Trump’s budget for 2018, which was released earlier this week. However, one of the few departments that did not receive a haircut was the Department of Defense. If the proposed budget ultimately passes in Congress, the DoD would be allocated an extra $54 billion in federal funding – a 10% increase that would be one of the largest one-year defense budget increases in American History. To put the proposed increase in context, the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. Meanwhile, the additional $54 billion is about the size of the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget. With over half of all U.S. discretionary spending being put towards the military each year, the U.S. is able to have extensive operations both at home and abroad. Our chart for this week breaks down military personnel based on the latest numbers released by the DoD on February 27, 2017. In total, excluding civilian support staff, there are about 2.1 million troops.