Bernie Sanders on US wars based on lies


This 21 June 2019 video is called Bernie [Sanders] Brings Up History Of Pro-War Lies On MSNBC.

Thursday night’s confused and profoundly dangerous events surrounding the Trump administration’s ordering and then cancelling US air strikes against Iran have exposed how close the world is to a catastrophic new war that could ultimately threaten the entire planet: here.

On Thursday evening, the United States military was ten minutes away from launching a series of air and missile strikes on Iran that risked sparking a massive new war leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people: here.

Flame-rumped tanager parent feeds juvenile


This video from Panama says about itself:

Flame-rumped Tanager Feeds Young On Feeder – June 21, 2019

A fledged juvenile Flame-rumped Tanager begs for food from an adult on the feeder and is fed some banana. Sometimes referred to, equally appropriately, as Yellow-rumped Tanager, this species occurs from western Panama south through Colombia to western Ecuador. They breed from February through May in Panama.

Hippo grieves about her dead youngster, video


This 21 June 2019 video, recorded in Botswana, says about itself:

Hippos Grieving: First Confirmed Video | Nat Geo Wild

For 11 hours the distressed female tried to keep the carcass [of her youngster] afloat while chasing away Nile crocodiles.

Scientology sexual abuse scandal


This 20 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Former Scientology member sues church, claims child abuse and human trafficking

The Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige are the targets of a lawsuit by a former member of the church, who alleges child abuse, human trafficking and intimidation. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles. In court documents, the defendant was called Jane Doe to protect her identity.

According to the lawsuit, Doe was born to Scientologist parents in 1979 and lived from ages 6-12 at the spiritual headquarters of the church in Clearwater. She claims she was forced to work from 8 a.m. to midnight and only instructed on Scientologist teachings. Doe claimed at age 10, she was subjected to a ritual called “bullbaiting”, where she says she had to sit in a chair while obscene things were shouted at her. According to the lawsuit, she was expected to show no reaction; if she did, she claims the practice would start over.

The lawsuit says when she was 15, Doe was lured to Los Angeles with promises of fair pay and a simple job. Instead, she claims she was forced to work long hours for little pay. She became a member of the Sea Org, which the suit describes as a military-like “sub-organization for Scientology’s most dedicated members”. The suit claims members sign a “billion-year contract” dedicating their lives to the church and work an average of 100 hours a week for $46.

Doe said she started working as Miscavige’s steward seven days a week and became close to his wife, Shelly. Miscavige, though, had a falling out with his wife in 2005, Doe said. That led to Doe being sent to “the hole,” a pair of double-wide mobile homes where those accused of ethics violations were kept under strict surveillance, the lawsuit alleges. She claims she was kept there for three months, then sentenced to three months of hard labor. Doe claims she witnessed a crying Shelly Miscavige being dragged into a car. Shelly Miscavige has not been seen or heard publicly since, according to the lawsuit.

Doe said she tried to escape the church in 2016 but came back because of her family connections. She finally left for good in 2017 and now works with actress Leah Remini, who has become an outspoken critic of Scientology. Doe’s story became part of an episode of Remini’s TV series “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”, which told the story of defected church members. The suit claims the church set up a hate website — leahreminiaftermath.com — that targeted Doe and the others featured on the show. The website contains what the suit calls “false, defamatory and inflammatory information about Jane Doe, all under the (Church of Scientology) copyright.” The suit claimed similar articles and videos about Doe appeared on the official website of Freedom Magazine, a Scientology-run publication.

The lawsuit seeks damages for multiple complaints, including false imprisonment; kidnapping; stalking; libel; slander; invasion of privacy; intentional infliction of emotional distress; human trafficking; failure to pay minimum wage; exceeding maximum work hours and overtime, failure to provide days of rest and meal periods; violation of California labor codes; fraudulent inducement of employment; negligent misrepresentation; and negligence.

“Scientology for decades has sought to quash dissention, cover up its long history of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of its members, including its most vulnerable members, its children, and weaponize its doctrine against those who escape and find the courage to speak up,” said Attorney Brian Kent of Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP, which filed the lawsuit. “This is just the beginning and we are not going to stop until they do.”

LAWSUIT SEEKS TO BRING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTO THE ME TOO ERA An ex-Scientologist has filed a lawsuit against the church and its leader, David Miscavige ― alleging that it put her through years of “heinous abuse, human trafficking, and intimidation.” [HuffPost]

Entelodonts, prehistoric ‘hell pigs’


This 5 June 2019 video says about itself:

Despite the name, we don’t know where the so-called “hell pigs” belong in the mammalian family tree. They walked on hooves, like pigs do, but had longer legs, almost like deer. They had hunched backs, a bit like rhinos or bison. But as is often, if not always, the case, there is some evolutionary method to this anatomical madness.

Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the excellent Entelodont illustrations!

Trump’s Iran war, stop it, Sanders says


This 20 June 2019 video from United States congresswoman and Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

TrumpYour Iran strategy has been ill-advised and short-sighted. Change course now. Return to Iran nuclear agreement before it’s too late. Put aside your pride and political calculations for the good of our country. Do the right thing.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Trump escalates war threats after drone shootdown over Iran

21 June 2019

US President Donald Trump authorized military strikes against Iran Thursday before unexpectedly cancelling them, the New York Times reported. The abrupt move leaves open the imminent possibility of a major new war in the Middle East with the potential to kill millions and spark a global military conflict.

The Times reported on Thursday that “Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

There was big disagreement about whether the USA should attack, writes The New York Times. Secretary of State Pompeo, national security adviser Bolton and CIA director Haspel were in favor of a military response, but top Pentagon officials feared that an attack would lead to further escalation and would endanger US forces in the region.

The Bill Van Auken article continues:

The news came after Trump delivered a series of contradictory statements threatening retaliation over the Iranian downing of a unmanned drone spying on Iranian territory, while at the same time suggesting that the action may have been a “mistake” committed by a member of the Iranian military.

“It’s hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think it could have been somebody loose and stupid that day.”

The statement contrasted with his reaction earlier in the day, when he declared that “Iran made a very big mistake” and answered reporters’ questions about whether it would lead to war by declaring, “You’ll find out.”

The US administration’s real intentions remain opaque. Trump summoned top congressional leaders to the White House “situation room” late Thursday for a classified briefing on Iran. Those attending included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence and armed services committees.

Such a meeting could well be the prelude to US military action.

While Iran immediately acknowledged that it had shot down the drone because it had violated the country’s airspace in an “illegal and provocative” manner, the US military initially made no comment on the shootdown, beyond denying that any US aircraft were “operating in Iranian airspace today.”

The drone that was destroyed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile was an RQ-4B Global Hawk, used by the US Navy as a “Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System.” These aircraft, which have the wingspan of a 737 passenger jet, are stuffed with electronic surveillance equipment and cost the Pentagon upwards of $200 million apiece.

The drone is capable of flying at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet and has been used in the US military interventions in Iraq and Syria with no concern about it being vulnerable to attacks from the ground. The buildup to war against Iran, however, as the downing of the drone makes clear, is another matter.

The shooting down of the high-priced US drone has come as a shock to the Pentagon and another warning that the costs of an all-out US war against Iran will be far higher than US imperialism’s previous military interventions in the Middle East.

It marks the second time this month that a US drone has been shot down in the region. On June 6, a US MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down by Houthi rebels over Yemen as it was supporting the near-genocidal war being waged against that country by Saudi Arabia and its allies, which has killed over 80,000 civilians and driven millions to the brink of starvation.

Iran itself has claimed to have downed or taken possession of five other US drones before the latest shootdown. In December 2011, it captured a US Lockheed Martin RQ-170 stealth drone operated from a base in Afghanistan and flying over Iranian territory. It was able to reverse-engineer the drone to produce its own version of the aircraft.

Once the US Central Command (CENTCOM) responded to Thursday’s downing of the drone over Iran, it claimed that the missile strike was an “unprovoked attack” and that the aircraft had been flying over international waters.

As in the case of the claims of Iranian responsibility for the damage to tankers in the Gulf of Oman, no evidence has been provided to substantiate the latest US charges over the downing of the drone.

Both the Pentagon and the Iranian government have provided maps supporting their respective claims that the drone was flying over international versus Iranian territory.

The truth of the matter is that there is no agreement between Washington and Tehran over what constitutes Iranian territory. It was the US-backed dictatorship of the Shah that laid Iran’s claim to territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles from its shores, including into the Strait of Hormuz, which at its narrowest is only 21 nautical miles.

Whatever the flight path of the US spy drone, the claim that its downing by an Iranian missile was “unprovoked” is ludicrous on its face.

The unmanned aircraft was being used to spy on Iran under conditions in which Washington has steadily escalated military threats against the country, with the dispatch of a carrier battle group, a bomber strike force led by nuclear-capable B-52s and an amphibious landing group carrying US Marines. This has been followed by the dispatch to the region of first 1,500 and then another 1,000 US troops, all in the name of “deterring” unsubstantiated claims of Iranian threats to “US interests” in the region.

This military buildup has been carried out in the context of a US economic siege against Iran that is tantamount to a state of war. The Trump administration, having unilaterally ripped up the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement with the major powers, has carried out what it touts as a “maximum pressure” campaign. This act of economic strangulation is aimed at reducing Iranian energy exports to zero and starving the Iranian population into submission to the re-imposition of a US-backed puppet regime along the lines of the hated dictatorship of the Shah.

The strategic aim of this economic and military siege against Iran–pursued by Republican and Democratic administrations alike over the past 40 years–is to assert US hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East and thereby place Washington in a position to ration, or cut off, energy imports by the principal US global rival, China.

While there are indications of deep divisions within the US state apparatus over the drive toward war against Iran, the US provocations in the Persian Gulf are driving inexorably toward an armed conflict that could quickly claim the lives of tens of thousands.

At the same time, the tensions over the US siege against Iran with both Europe and China are an unmistakable warning that the eruption of a military confrontation could spill over into a new world war.

This 20 June 2019 video from the USA is called Trump Administration Wants War with Iran, Bolton Leads the Charge.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Sanders vows to stop Trump’s rush to war as Iran shoots down US drone

Friday, June 21, 2019

US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders warned against “another war based on lies” after Iran shot down a US spy drone in the Straits of Hormuz today.

The Democratic senator from Vermont

No, Sanders is an independent senator; though a Democratic party presidential candidate.

vowed to do all he can “to stop the US attacking Iran” as Washington ratchets up regional tensions.

In an interview with US broadcaster MSNBC last night Mr Sanders branded the Iraq and Vietnam wars as “the two worst foreign policy disasters … based on lies that came from the White House.

“I will do everything that I personally can as a United States senator to stop the United States attacking Iran,” he said.

“If we go into a war with Iran this will be an asymmetrical war … There will be never-ending wars in the Middle East. It will make the war in Iraq look like a cakewalk.”

He later tweeted: “The Vietnam War was based on a lie. The Iraq War was based on lies. We cannot allow Trump to drag us into war with Iran.”

TO DATE the UK is the only major diplomatic power to support the American accusations against Iran. As the British opposition Labour Party, in addition to independent British political observers, have noted, this begs the question as to why Britain is staking out such an extreme position at the risk of international isolation: here.