By Chelsea Manning for The Guardian. To those who have kept me alive for the past six years: minutes after President Obama announced the commutation of my sentence, the prison quickly moved me out of general population and into the restrictive housing unit where I am now held. I know that we are now physically separated, but we will never be apart and we are not alone. Recently, one of you asked me “Will you remember me?” I will remember you. How could I possibly forget? You taught me lessons I would have never learned otherwise. When I was afraid, you taught me how to keep going. When I was lost, you showed me the way. When I was numb, you taught me how to feel. When I was angry, you taught me how to chill out. When I was hateful, you taught me how to be compassionate. When I was distant, you taught me how to be close. When I was selfish, you taught me how to share.
By Mike Whitney for CounterPunch. The Flynn fiasco is not about national security advisor Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. It’s much deeper than that. It’s about Russia. It’s about Putin. It’s about the explosive rise of China and the world’s biggest free trade zone that will eventually stretch from Lisbon to Vladivostok. It’s about the one country in the world that is obstructing Washington’s plan for global domination. (Russia) And, it’s about the future; which country will be the key player in the world’s most prosperous and populous region, Asia. That’s what’s at stake, and that’s what the Flynn controversy is really all about. Many readers are familiar with the expression “pivot to Asia”, but do they know what it means?
By Anuradha Mittal for the Oakland Institute. Oakland, CA—The Return of Erik Prince: Trump’s Knight in America’s New Crusade? a new brief from the Oakland Institute, exposes the comeback of the founder of Blackwater, the notorious private security company. An ardent detractor of Obama/Clinton foreign policy during the presidential campaign, Prince is now set with access to unique assets, to be a key player in Trump’s foreign policy. Using information not seen before, the brief describes Prince’s post Blackwater maneuvers – acquiring logistics capacity in Africa, the Mediterranean Region, and Asia, and networking with high-level individuals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch a private equity fund, Frontier Resource Group (FRG).
By Willis Jacobson for the Santa Maria Times. An operational test launch of an Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III missile is scheduled to take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base between 11:03 p.m. Tuesday and 5:03 a.m. Wednesday. The purpose of launching the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command. Col. Chris Moss, the 30th Space Wing commander, is the launch decision authority. “Team Vandenberg is poised to provide safe launch operations in support of Air Force Global Strike Command’s important demonstration of our nation’s secure and effective combat-ready ICBM force,” he said.
By Lawrence Repeta for the Japan Times. There, a 64-year-old antiwar activist has been held in detention on trivial charges for more than 70 days. Over the past two years of peaceful protests against U.S. military base expansion in northern Okinawa, Hiroji Yamashiro emerged as the face of Okinawan resistance, the man with a megaphone in hand who urged crowds of protesters to speak out. Arrested on Oct. 17 and denied visits by anyone other than his attorneys since then, he has been silenced.
By Staff for Zoom in Korea. When these current conflicts are put into the context of US history with Korea the actions of the United States are even more threatening. The first US effort to attack Korea was in the late 1800s and throughout the last century the US has been in conflict with the people of Korea. They refused to let them create their own democracy and instead installed a dictator after World War II and has continued to control the selection of Korean leaders since the Korean War. The US has refused to enter into a final peace treaty with North Korea since the end of the Korean War and has opposed any movements toward reunification between the north and south. The US has escalated its mock attacks on North Korea, especially under President Obama and has continued to point missiles and advanced weaponry at North Korea. The people of the United States need to realize that the US military has been the aggressor in Korea and the media and government have been misleading us on the role our government is playing in destabilizing the region.
By Joy First for National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We have a madman in the White House. Yet, unlikely acts of resistance are popping up all over the country from the large “Resist” banner hanging from a construction crane near the White House, to the National Park Rangers in the Badlands creating an alternative Twitter account, to mother’s groups who are putting aside talk of their children while they write letters to Congress, to the 60 programmers and scientists who were gathered at the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles, harvesting important government data before Trump has a chance to disappear it. There is so much going on and so many ways we can get involved. This is the time we have been waiting for to see real change in the world. What kind of world will we leave for our children and grandchildren? The only way we will bring change is to keep the hope and rise up, rise up together and resist. The time has come and we will prevail in our struggle for peace and justice for all.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Chelsea Manning’s sentence has been commuted. She had been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction. She served longer than any other whistleblower. Now, under the terms of Obama’s commutation announced today, Manning will be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year. If she had served the full term of her sentence she would not have been released until 2045. I was a member of the Chelsea Manning Support Network from soon after her arrest and tens of thousands of people donated to legal defense and the campaign to release her as well as protested on her behalf. Tens of thousands urged President Obama to pardon her or commute her sentence. When we learned last week that Manning had made the short list to receive clemency from the president, it still felt like an unlikely outcome. But today, President Obama gave us the best news he could in his final days with the release of Manning. Manning is not only a historically important whistleblower, she has also become a leader of the trans movement as she went public on her sexual identification and fought for her medical and personal rights while incarcerated by the military. She has inspired many with her courage, bravery and actions.
By Micah Zenko for Reader Supported News. As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenants of the Obama doctrine. In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries.
By Dr. Wee Teck Young Hakim) and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers for Our Journey to Smile. During particularly stressful moments in 2016, I had felt that the year was one long, hard Afghan night. A few evenings ago, my eyes had smarted from the dense irritant pollutants that enshroud Kabul streets and invade breaths and dreams in winter. Mansoor, determined to do well in his college entrance exams next year, laughed sarcastically at the burnt air which smelled of soot and survival scraps, holding his hand to his mouth and nose as a mask, saying, “Of course our lives are shortened by this smoke.” At least, someone had told me, T.V. ‘commercials’ warn us, “Stay in, or else…” I dashed back to my room, already coughing reflexively, feeling like the human masses have been cornered into prisons within prisons, elaborately presided over by an Afghan President, his CEO and the U.S./NATO/UN corporate machine, watched by an unquestioning, approving world.
By Jonathan Marshall for Consortium News. “My bottom line is that the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War,” declares former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry. A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953. A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953. If a new Trump administration wants to peacefully reset relations with Russia, there’s no better way to start than by canceling the deployment of costly new ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. One such system went live in Romania this May; another is slated to go live in Poland in 2018. Few U.S. actions have riled President Putin as much as this threat to erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Only last month, at a meeting in Sochi with Russian military leaders to discuss advanced new weapons technology, Putin vowed, “We will continue to do all we need to ensure the strategic balance of forces.”
By Staff for Upstate Drone Action. On Friday, December 23, four activists were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base. Many throughout the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace from Palestine. Upstate Drone Action members engaged in civil resistance by setting up a nativity scene at the main entrance of Hancock Reaper Drone Base. Angels and carolers played a supporting role from across the street. The base is located on East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt, E. Syracuse New York. Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. Hancock is also the national Reaper maintenance training center.
The emergence of vertical authority structures, the rule of kings and nobles, ripped people from historical patterns of living in small tribal groups. Along with forced stratification, the separation of people from their intimate connections with the earth produced deep insecurity, fear, and trauma to the psyche. Ecopyschologists suggest that such fragmentation led to an ecological unconscious. Thus, humans desperately need to re-discover and nourish examples of disobedience to political authority systems which have created 14,600 wars since the advent of civilization some 5,500 years ago. Over the past 3,500 years there have been nearly 8,500 treaties signed in efforts to end warfare, to no avail because the vertical structures of power have remained intact which demand obedience in their efforts to expand territory, power or resource base. The future of the species, and lives of most other species, are at stake, as we wait for humans to come to our right mind, both individually and collectively. The 1914 Christmas Truce of one hundred years ago was an extraordinary example of how wars can only continue if soldiers agree to fight. It needs to be honored and celebrated, even if it was only a flash of a moment in time. It represents the potential of human disobedience to insane policies.