13 December 2017
This video from the USA says about itself:
22 September 2017
A major new investigation by Amnesty International reveals a bomb that killed 16 civilians in Yemen’s capital last month was made in the U.S.A. Among the survivors was 5-year-old Buthaina, whose photograph went viral in the aftermath of the strike. She lost her entire family in the strike.
Amnesty International’s arms expert analyzed remnants of the weapon and found clear markings that matched U.S.-made components used in laser-guided, air-dropped bombs. Coalition airstrikes continue to be the leading cause of child casualties, as well as overall civilian casualties. The latest finding by Amnesty comes as some European Union countries recently tabled a motion at the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses committed by all sides in the conflict. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen an “entirely man-made catastrophe.” We speak with Raed Jarrar, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Wednesday 13th December 2017
YEMENI rights activists announced yesterday that they are applying to the Attorney General for states and officials involved in the Saudi-led coalition to be prosecuted for war crimes.
According to the UN, war-riven Yemen has been brought to the brink of starvation because of the coalition’s blockade, its infrastructure wrecked by a devastating air bombing campaign that has lasted more than two years.
Director Kim Sharif said: “The UK has a moral and legal duty to uphold the rule of law.
“The government has willingly ignored the atrocities that have been inflicted on the people of Yemen and has been totally complicit in the destruction.
“We believe that Saudi forces are committing war crimes and violating the Geneva Convention.
“We are calling for this to be investigated immediately and are confident that there is jurisdiction to bring such proceedings in UK courts.”
More than 2,000 schools and educational centres have suffered air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition according to evidence gathered by the Legal Centre for Rights & Development based in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. This amounts to thousands of war crimes, Human Rights for Yemen says.
More than 20 million people are dependent on aid, according to International Committee of the Red Cross, and Unicef figures show that 130 children die per day due to malnutrition and disease.
Nearly a million people have been affected by an ongoing cholera epidemic largely attributable to the destruction of the country’s infrastructure and schools, hospitals, homes, mosques, heritage sites and newsrooms have been destroyed in the bombardment and funerals, weddings and other civilian gatherings targeted.
Earlier this month an air strike on the building of the national TV station al-Yemen al-Yowm in Sanaa resulted in several journalists being killed according to Almasirah, Yemen’s Houthi rebels’ TV channel.
This video says about itself:
The Killing$ of Tony Blair | Trailer | Available Now
21 December 2016
Some people make a living, others make a killing.
Many believe Tony Blair should be charged for taking the UK to war in Iraq. Former Labour MP George Galloway has made a career out of challenging Blair: in this film he deftly makes his case. What emerges is a tale of Blair‘s malfeasance whilst in power and power-broking whilst not. Cosying up to dictators and media moguls, Blair has made a string of questionable friends in high places; In the process, he has also made a personal fortune.
“Tony Blair Associates is a very secretive operation that makes a very large amount of money from a large number of governments – some of them you might regard as less than respectable,” relates Francis Beckett, who investigated Tony Blair’s lucrative consultancy firm. One such ‘less than respectable’ government is Nazarbayev’s dictatorship in Kazakhstan, accused of many abuses, including the suppression of a miners’ strike in which sixty people were shot. Tony Blair, however, publicly defended this important and well-paying client. The hypocrisy of such relationships is not lost on critics; as Craig Murray, former British Ambassador, wryly states: “Blair was sustained by a coal-mining district throughout his parliamentary career and now he’s taking massive cheques from somebody who shoots miners if they go on strike.” However, it is not just since leaving office that Blair has turned to Machievellian means. Alleged scandals and counts of corruption plague his term, which was built on propensity for deceit and double-dealing. As he supposedly advised David Miliband on life in public office: “smile at everybody and get someone else to stab their back.”
By Callum Alexander Scott in Britain:
Since when did Tony Blair care about ‘the will of the people’?
Tuesday 12th December 2017
With Blair expostulating over Brexit again, CALLUM ALEXANDER SCOTT reminds us that the former PM had a very loose acquaintance with the concept of democracy
In a slight change of tone from earlier statements where he emphasised that “the will of the people should prevail,” this time around he emphasised that “the will of the people is not something immutable” and that “people can change their mind.”
Of course, there would be nothing wrong with this statement if it weren’t for the simple fact that Blair is not, and has never been, a supporter of “the will of the people.”
To the contrary, he and his centrist disciples have always preferred operating as Blair himself described in an article for the New York Times earlier this year, like self-entitled “managers of the status quo.”
Indeed, ever the champion of the “will of the people,” he even revealed in 2015 his belief that a “government taking effective decisions” is more important than democracy itself.
This no doubt explains his unwavering support for, and dodgy dealings with, numerous dictators around the globe and why he and corporate media dictator Rupert Murdoch always had good time for each other. Blair is, after all, godfather to Murdoch’s daughter.
Here we should recall how, as British prime minister, Blair had zero care for the will of millions of people — specifically Britons and Iraqis but also the international community — who opposed the Iraq war, which we now know he sold to the public on false pretences.
Likewise, he cared little for the will of his own Cabinet. As his former minister for international development Clare Short has said, “No decisions were made in the Cabinet. It didn’t operate in the way that constitutional theory says that it should … He [Blair] didn’t want any clashing or discussion of ideas.” See also Short’s testimony to the Iraq Inquiry Panel in 2010, where she explains this in greater detail.
Former mayor of London and longstanding Labour politician Ken Livingstone has also spoken of how Blair’s party was one in which “dissent really wasn’t tolerated,” while the writer and professor Will Self has said that Blair used “the kind of tactics that one associates with emperors or rulers … who are not democratic.”
It is in fact well documented by politicians, journalists and analysts that under Blair the traditional machinery of party democracy was sidelined. Key decision-making was centralised and representative democracy was effectively replaced by what has been described as government by a “technocratic, managerial elite” who formed policy based largely on information drawn from focus groups and polling.
As one professor of politics has written, the key role of MPs during the Blair era became “simply to secure formal consent from their constituents for the government’s legislative programme by winning elections, by appearing publicly and in the media to be as generically inoffensive as possible to a broad cross-section of the public and above all by appearing unthreatening to key media outlets.” For a good account of all this, see episode 4 of Adam Curtis’s 2002 documentary The Century of the Self.
Andrew Marr called Blair’s New Labour the “most media-obsessed government” of modern times, and there is by now a vast body of literature on the relationship between Blair, New Labour and the media, with many commentators and academics likening the extent of the information control and opinion management to a Gramscian project of unsettling proportions.
The effects of all this were to vastly reshape British politics and politicians, and indeed the media’s relationship to them, for decades.
Accordingly, David Cameron would later describe himself as the “heir to Blair”, while he and George Osborne would openly refer to Blair as “the master,” asking in times of difficulty: “What would the master have done?”
And as former Conservative MP Ken Clarke revealed in his memoirs last year, Cameron was a “PR-obsessed control freak.
“Media handling and public relations are now regarded as the key elements of governing,” he wrote, while “a small army of … PR experts … have far too big a role in policy-making … Next week’s headlines are given more priority than serious policy development and the long-term consequences.”
While Blair has many legacies, it is perhaps one of his most pernicious to have reduced Britain’s already limited form of representative democracy to what is effectively a centralised, “top-down” government of managerial elites who perpetually seek to maintain power by controlling information and public opinion.
Certainly Blair is no champion of the will of the people unless, of course, their will happens to align with his.
As the renowned US theologian Reinhold Neibhur wrote, “Rationality belongs to the cool observer, but because of the stupidity of the average man, he follows not reason but faith and the naive faith requires necessary illusion and emotionally potent oversimplifications which are provided by the myth-maker to keep [the] ordinary person on course.”
This is Blair’s political philosophy in a nutshell. He sees himself as the rational myth-maker, keeping the ordinary people in check, and his penchant for fostering “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent oversimplifications” is precisely why he’s acquired the nicknames “Tony Blur,” “Phoney Tony,” “Tony Bliar” and “Teflon Tony” (because dirt never sticks to him).
It’s also why he’s managed to convince the world for so long that he’s left-wing. With remarkable self-delusion he’s even managed to convince himself.
But he’s not left-wing. He is in many respects ultra right-wing, not least because of his disdain for the will of the people.
We should always remember that Margaret Thatcher was asked at a banquet in 2002 what she thought her greatest achievement was. She replied: “Tony Blair and New Labour. We forced our opponents to change their minds.”
As Blair himself put it, “On a personal level she [Thatcher] was immensely kind and generous to me when I was prime minister … I always thought my job was to build on some of the things she had done.”
Chief among these things was of course New Labour’s extension of the neoliberal economic model, which has not only done immense harm to the social and economic fabric of British society but has also led to the huge transfer of power from the public to the unaccountable private sphere.
Renowned British sociologist and political scientist Professor Colin Crouch has coined the term “post-democracy” to describe our current political situation.
He writes that, while elections are held, governments fall and a degree of free speech exists, the collective will of the population is mostly ignored by “small circles of a politico-economic elite” that overwhelmingly control the levers of power.
This is the way that Blair likes. It’s the system he’s helped to construct and, as a member of the super-rich, borderless global elite, it suits him just fine.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Hiroshima Survivor Setsuko Thurlow Recalls U.S. Bombing
27 May 2016
As President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city of Hiroshima, we look back at the devastation caused by the U.S. bombing on August 6, 1945. It was the first time a nuclear bomb had been dropped in history. At the time, Setsuko Thurlow was a 13-year-old student at the girls’ school. At 8 a.m. that morning, she was on the second floor of the school’s building, about one mile away from the site that was about to become ground zero. She recalls seeing a bluish white flash through the window. Moments later, she was falling through the air as the building was flattened by the blast. For the rest of her life, Setsuko has organized against nuclear weapons. We’re joined now by Setsuko herself.
By Peter Lazenby in Britain:
See the light: Ban nuclear weapons
Monday 11th November 2017
As Nobel Prize is handed to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Hiroshima surivor makes a plea to the powerful
Setsuko Thurlow, a leading activist with 2017 prizewinner the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), made her request as the award was handed over in Oslo, Norway.
She was 13 when the US launched the world’s first nuclear attack by bombing the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, killing tens of thousands of civilians.
Ms Thurlow said the blast left her buried under the rubble of a school, but she could see light and crawled to safety.
She said: “I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: ‘Don’t give up. Keep pushing. See the light? Crawl toward it.’ Our light now is the ban treaty.”
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN followed a United Nations vote in July to ban nuclear weapons.
There were 122 votes in favour and two against. Britain and the US did not attend and have previously released a joint statement that they do not intend “to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”
In London on Saturday activists marked the Nobel award by staging a “die in” outside the Ministry of Defence.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) vice-chair Bruce Kent said Britain could easily be the first nuclear power to abolish its nuclear weapons because its Trident nuclear system is totally dependent on the supply of missiles from the US to carry its warheads.
“We are well placed to be the first nuclear power to come off the fence,” he said.
Mr Kent said the £205 billion cost of building and running the system “could be spent on housing or hospitals, or social services, or overseas aid — that money does not get challenged.”
He condemned US President Donald Trump for his sabre-rattling over North Korea and said Trump was “volatile.”
“He is still living in a kind of cowboy world, where the one with the bigger gun somehow wins. Well, nobody wins with a nuclear war — there is no winning.”
Mr Kent said it is a possibility that the US president could get “into a [tantrum] and press the button.”
“The answer to the North Korea problem is to get rid of American nuclear weapons from that area and de-target North Korea — not to encourage them to copy us”, he said.
He hoped that there are enough people “with independent minds” to stop Trump.
Gatherings across Britain watched the Oslo presentation yesterday.
In Leeds peacemakers filled the city’s Unitarian church to watch the ceremony on a large screen.
Former Labour MEP for Leeds Michael McGowan told the Morning Star how the anti-nuclear movement had grown, including the international Mayors for Peace group, led by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and uniting more than 8,000 mayors worldwide.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER WARNS NUCLEAR WAR IS ONE ‘TANTRUM AWAY’ Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, cited the rise of nuclear-armed states, terrorists and cyberwarfare as pressing international threats. [HuffPost]
Is the United States on the brink of nuclear war? Here.
From Code Pink in the USA:
Let Yemen Live: Protest at the U.N.
On the Monday after Human Rights Day, December 11, we will be performing nonviolent civil disobedience at the U.S. and Saudi missions to demand an end to US support and assistance to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Meet at Ralph Bunche Park at 10:30AM, and then we will march towards the U.S. and Saudi missions at noon.
– Gather at Ralph Bunche Park, 43rd Street & 1st Avenue, Manhattan
– March up 1st Avenue to 45th Street
– Respectfully refuse to disperse from entrances to the US and Saudi Missions
— Lift the blockade and allow food and medical assistance to be delivered
— Cease all attacks on schools, hospitals, water treatment plants, and civilians
— End US military assistance, including refueling, to Saudi Arabia
— Urge all sides to refrain from war crimes and pursue a negotiated end to civil war
For questions, contact Felton Davis c/o Catholic Worker (DavisFelton3@Yahoo.com)
To join CODEPINK there, contact Ariel at email@example.com
Voices for Creative Nonviolence, World Beyond War, Pax Christi Metro NY, Peace Action NY, NYC Raging Grannies, Kairos Community, Granny Peace Brigade, Uptown Progressive Action, KnowDrones.com, Sander Hicks for Congress, Veterans For Peace – NYC Chap. 034, NYC War Resisters League.
The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen Is Very Much the Result of a US-Saudi War: here.
This video says about itself:
Okinawa Peace Protests October 2015
A compilation of video footage taken during a visit to Okinawa. The author of the video was invited by a monk in the Nipponzan Myohoji order. This trip was made possible by Voices for Creative Nonviolence (vcnv.org), a campaign based in Chicago.
From the International Peace Bureau, September 2017:
Press release: Séan MacBride Peace Prize 2017
This year the IPB Board has chosen the following three winners of the prize:
All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base – for its unflagging commitment to win the closure of the Futemna Marine Air Base, which is widely seen as one of the world’s most dangerous military bases, and for its unremitting nonviolent opposition to the construction of a massive new air, land and sea base in Henoko. The Council has assembled all Okinawan forces – grassroots, political, and intellectual – opposed to these bases, building on decades of democratic and nonviolent struggle for peace and opposing the social, environmental, political violations that accompany foreign military bases, never giving up. Engaging in a wide variety of actions. The Council’s steadfastness and exceptional range of nonviolent actions, the broad popular support it enjoys, and the spirit and dedication that characterize this exceptional anti-bases movement make it a model for peace and justice struggles and deserving of support and solidarity.
Noam Chomsky – for his tireless commitment to peace, his strong critiques to U.S. foreign policy, and his anti-imperialism. Professor Chomsky has been properly described as “a genuine people’s hero, an inspiration for struggles all over the world for that basic decency known as freedom”, as “one of the greatest and most radical public thinkers of our time”, “one of the most significant challengers of unjust power and delusions”, and as a ‘guru’ for the world’s anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement. In recent years, in addition to his continuing contributions to the fields of linguistics, philosophy and cognitive science, his critiques have focused on the U.S. post-9-11 “War on Terror” which has provided cover for a continuation of U.S. imperial policies, and the imperative of addressing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and climate change.
Jeremy Corbyn – for his sustained and powerful political work for disarmament and peace. As an active member, vice-chair and now vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK he has for many years worked to further the political message of nuclear disarmament. As the past chair of the Stop the War Campaign in the UK he has worked for peace and alternatives to war. As a member of parliament in the UK he has, for 34 years continually taken that work for justice, peace and disarmament to the political arena both in and outside of Parliament. He has ceaselessly stood by the principles, which he has held for so long, to ensure true security and well-being for all – for his constituents, for the citizens of the UK and for the people of the world. Now, as leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition he continues to carry his personal principles into his political life – stating openly that he could not press the nuclear button and arguing strongly for a re-orientation of priorities – to cut military spending and spend instead on health, welfare and education.
The prize ceremony will be held on Friday, 24th November in Barcelona. Please note that there will be a press conference on the same day at 11am.