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The Catalan Coup Chronicles 24 September 2017: The Catalans Keep On Keepin’ On

11 hours 42 min ago

The state crackdown on the Catalan drive to vote on their future on October 1st, coincides with what is perhaps Barcelona’s most important festival, that of the Mercé (the Feast of our Lady of Mercy), which signals the traditional end of the summer season.

It is celebrated with the parading of papier maché giants (gegants) through the streets and a breathtaking exhibition of human towers (castellers) in the rather small Saint James Plaza (La Plaça Sant Jaume) in the heart of the old city, where both Barcelona City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat (The seat of Catalan Government) are located.

If you have never seen an exhibition of castellers (human tower making) you should really go on YouTube and take a look.

Catalans see this practice as being deeply emblematic of who they are as people in that it places enormous emphasis on what they often refer to as their exaggerated bent toward associacionisme, which could be roughly translated as their compulsive need to join together in voluntary civic organizations of a decidedly multi-generational configure to celebrate their culture, and more simply, the art of living together in joy and solidarity.

There are casteller clubs or collas, located all around the country, where people practice all year round to perfect this physically grueling, technically demanding, patience-challenging, and at times, dangerous, form of collective art.

At last reports, all was going smoothly with the Mercé in the face of the enormous pressures being unleashed upon the city by the central government. Indeed, like the stoic and patient castellers they are gathering to watch, the people appear to be reveling in their ability to hold out with grace and smiles on their faces upon their faces in the face of this unwanted outside force from the centralist authoritarians.

As reported yesterday, the Spanish government sent representatives to Barcelona to convince the head of the Catalan police force (Els mossos d’Esquadra) to cede his command to the dictates of the central government. He has refused to do so.

The Spanish constitution has mechanisms for both the suspension of the Catalan Statue of Autonomy and the takeover of the mossos d’esquadra. Both actions, however, would require a vote of the Spanish Parliament.

That, of course, would expose the true intentions of the Rajoy in a way that even the most obtuse and legalistically minded professor of political science could detect.

In the face of this, they have opted for the skilled authoritarian’s preferred weapon of choice: overwhelming coercion by backdoor means. In the case of the Statute of Autonomy, they have simply used the ministry of economy to cult the flow of funds. Anticipating this eventuality, the Catalan government had their own computerized revenue collection system ready to go. In the interest of quelling anxieties among Catalan government workers about being left high and dry, they paid them several days before their usual end of month disbursement period.

Catalans 1, Central government 0

And yesterday, when the head of the Mossos Josep Lluis Trapero refused to cede to central government receivership the score was raised to 2-0 in favor of the Catalans.

The most important issue of all is the matter of not ceding to the temptation of engaging in violence. This is what the central government is counting on to justify further repression.

They no doubt have numerous agents provocateurs ready to spring into action. The key will be to let these poor souls do what they may and laugh, which won’t always be easy to do.

Meanwhile in Spain, the foolishness continues abated. The ridiculous article at El País about Putin being behind the goings on in Catalonia, that I addressed yesterday is still getting top billing at the paper.

Also yesterday, there was a meeting of the national committee of Podemos – which for a all of the of presumption goodness and love of liberty projected on them by half-informed progressives around the world has been decidedly cowardly about supporting the Catalan desire to vote – in in Zaragoza, a group of Spanish ultra-nationalist protested surrounded the hall where they were meeting overwhelming the police contingent there to protect them.

The events in Zaragoza followed the decision a Madrid-based judge the week before to prohibit the mayor of Madrid from ceding a publicly owned space for a meeting called by Podemos to discuss and debate the issue of the Catalan vote.

In yet another demonstration of the similarities between the authoritarian mind and poorly milled Soviet heavy machinery of the 1930s, the judge Yusty Bastarreche declared that the get-together to discuss how to precede on the matter was, “in essence” an act in favor of the recently passed “illegal” law of the Catalan parliament to separate themselves form Spain.

I guess it just goes to show that foreign liberals and nationalistic judges and goons both have similar problems when it comes to understanding the true positions of the much hyped and quite slippery Podemos, a group that that says it wants to see the Catalans vote, but that the Catalans should never disobey central government dictates in order to do so.

Finally, El País continues its march toward intellectual oblivion with a column today by a poor fellow named Carlos Yarnoz who uses various Jesuitical turns to attack the current use of the term pueblo by the Catalans in favor of voting on October 1.

He suggests the term “pueblo” is one fraught with ambiguity. This, of course is true, and every scholar of nationhood knows it.

But he then goes on to suggest that this ambiguous usage is the exclusive heritage of right wing movements who are inherently anti-democracy and anti-liberal in nature. Ergo, the Catalans now using the term must themselves be, under all their verbiage about democracy, essentially reactionary in nature.

This is one of the oldest and most enduring saws in the centralist playbook: to call Catalan nationalism a regressive creed being imposed by a regressive elite upon the poor and otherwise progressive Catalan people.

While it is indeed true that the revival of Catalan nationalism that took place at the beginning of the 20th was led in its initial phases by Catholic traditionalist elite, it was always shadowed by a highly progressive vision for the enhancement of local prerogatives.

By the 1930s, the movement’s center of gravity had shifted quite clearly to the left of the political spectrum. It has remained there ever since.

“But what about Jordi Pujol, the center-right politician that ruled the Catalonia uninterruptedly from 1981 to 2003?” they will say.

The answer is simple. Yes, Pujol was from the right side of the Catalan political spectrum, but his rightism was far to the left of his “rightist” counterparts in Spain. Putting aside his personal identification as Catholic, his policies were quite similar to those of the socialists in the rest of Spain, that is, before those socialist completely lost their souls about a decade back.

If your are looking for an American parallel, try this looking at the domestic policies championed by the Republican Richard Nixon and those pursued by the “liberal” Barack Obama. When we look at things coldly across time and space we can see that the much-hated “Tricky Dick” had much dedication to progressive values than did our most recent ex-president.

UPDATE:

There has been a gathering of support in Stockholm for the Catalan right to vote.

In a homily delivered at the Monastery of Monstserrat, one of traditional bastions and protects of the Catalan political identity, a prior condemned the state repression against Catalonia. The priest was applauded by the congregation.

Thousands of People have filled the Plaça Sant Jaume, where both the Barcelona city Hall and the seat Catalan autonomist government are located, to protest in favor of democracy

Carnations, the symbol of Portugal’s peaceful revolution of 1974 are being left on the windshields of parked patrol cars belong to the Mossos d’esquadra.

Earlier, the Casteller performance in the Paça Sant Jaume was accompanied by a “rain of ballots” as people tossed papers that had brought to simulate ballots in the air.

Jordi Sanchez once again reminds protesters to be peaceful so as to not fall into the trap of violence that the central government is setting for them.

Thomas S. Harrington is professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of Public Intellectuals and Nation Building in the Iberian Peninsula, 1900–1925: The Alchemy of Identity (Bucknell University Press, 2014).

Largest Newspaper in Spain Blames Russia and Antiwar.com for Catalonia Pro-Independence News

Sat, 2017-09-23 11:32

Providing still more graphic proof of its pathetic and truly cringeworthy descent from the status of a great liberal paper to that of a shameless corporatist rag dominated by baseless Atlanticist talking points, Madrid’s El País has recently suggested that behind the current drive for a vote on independence in Catalonia there there can be found the diabolical hand of Putin’s Russia. In a story that appeared yesterday on the El Pais website, David Alandete wrote:

“The same apparatus for the spreading of fake news that Russia has used to weaken the United States and the European Union, has been deployed in full force in Catalonia, according to a detailed analysis of Pro-Russian websites and Facebook profiles carried out by this newspaper with tools of digital analysis. In the wake of the covert campaigns in favor of Brexit, Marine Le Pen and the German Ultra-right, the Kremlin has come to see the Catalan independentist movement as yet another way to deepen European divisions and consolidate its international influence. They use webpages that publish rumors, activists like Julian Assange, a legion of bots, and millions of automatized pages on social media to insure that lies are shared millions of times on the web.”

But the brilliant journalist at Spain’s leading newspaper was not content to stop with this morsel of infantile thinking.

Casting his eyes across the Atlantic toward the libertarian website, Antiwar.com. One of the very few media outlets in the United States which has covered the Spanish government’s ongoing coup in Catalonia, Alandete suggested that the site and its most important writer, Justin Raimondo, were integral parts of Putin’s efforts to undermine the West’s hallowed democracies.

Working in deeply nuanced line of reasoning that holds that Julian Assange is per se bad, and that therefore anyone who sympathizes with him, or even coincides with his point of view, is either a dismissable idiot or a Russian dupe, they mock an article in which Raimondo raised the possibility that Spain could unleash a Tiananmen-style attack on the Catalan independentists.

I guess that for David Alandete, as the case for so many mainstream journalist, it is much easier (not to mention career-enhancing) to search for Russian phantoms, than to confront, and engage in debate with opinions that are not approved by his corporate bosses and that flout the group-think these bosses now demand in their news rooms.

In Alandete’s smug little Madrid/Liberal Interventionist world things like the arrest of government officials, the carrying off of millions of printed ballots, the attempts to place the long-independent Catalan police under Spanish control, the indictment for sedition of peaceful civic leaders have no weight, and certainly no resemblance to repressive behavior in other countries.

No in his Spain, that is the real Spain run from Madrid and ever-prisoner to its own endlessly repeated mythologies about self and other, none of this is real.

But what is real of course is Putin’s evil hand. After all, what other reason could the Catalans, whom centralists like Alandete have always treated with mocking condescension despite their demonstrably higher levels of civic democracy and culture, have any reason to break up their perfect marriage?

Thomas S. Harrington is professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of Public Intellectuals and Nation Building in the Iberian Peninsula, 1900–1925: The Alchemy of Identity (Bucknell University Press, 2014).

Happy Birthday to Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com’s News Editor

Sat, 2017-09-23 10:50

Jason Ditz is an integral part of Antiwar.com. As news editor, he writes up to 50 articles a week on the most important news stories.

Please join me in wishing him the best birthday possible.

The Only Thing You Need To Know About ‘The Vietnam War’

Sat, 2017-09-23 05:23

The Vietnam War” began airing on PBS this week.

But, besides the fact it was not legally a “war,” THIS – directly from the lips of Vietnam “War” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara – is the only thing you need to know about it…

Mr. McNamara, didn’t you ever read a history book?” – The Fog of War

The Vietnam War: A Tragic Mistake?

Fri, 2017-09-22 09:04

I’ve watched the first three episodes of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick series on the Vietnam War, which take us from the French colonial period beginning in the 19th century to the end of 1965 and a mushrooming U.S. military commitment. The narrative thread, it seems to me, is the notion of the war as a tragic mistake, most especially for the United States.

The series begins with a voice-over that suggests the war was begun in good faith by America, even as other American voices in the series suggest otherwise. I kept a notebook handy and jotted down the following notes and thoughts as the series progressed:

  1. There were divisions among the Vietnamese people, but they were more or less united by one idea: resist the foreign invaders/occupiers, whether that foreign presence was French, Japanese, the French again, American, or (both earlier and later) Chinese. And there’s no doubt Ho Chi Minh would have won a democratic election, as promised at Geneva. Which is exactly why that election never came.
  2. As one American admitted, the US totally misread the situation in Indochina after the French defeat in 1954. The Cold War and Falling Dominoes dominated the thoughts of Americans, obscuring the reality of a powerful and popular anti-colonial and nationalist revolt that tapped Vietnamese patriotism.
  3. When not fearing Falling Dominoes, US officials were far more concerned about their own prestige (or political fortunes) than they were with the Vietnamese people.
  4. US officials recognized South Vietnam was a fiction, a puppet government propped up by American money and power, and that they had “backed the wrong horse.” But they came to believe it was the only horse they had in the race against communism.
  5. US presidents, stuck with a losing horse of their own creation, began to lie. As president, Kennedy said he hadn’t sent combat troops; he had. As president, Johnson tried to obscure both the size and intent of the US military’s commitment. These lies were not done to deceive the enemy — they were done to deceive the American people.
  6. After backing the wrong horse (Diem and his family), American leaders conspired to eliminate him in a coup. When Diem was assassinated, matters only grew worse. Left with no horse in the race and a “turnstile” government in South Vietnam, the US began to bomb North Vietnam and committed combat units beginning in March of 1965.
  7. More duplicity by US officials: Battles such as Ap Bac and Binh Gia, which revealed the “miserable performance” of the South Vietnamese army (ARVN), were reinterpreted and sold as victories by senior US military leaders.
  8. Both JFK and LBJ had serious reservations about going to war in Vietnam. However, domestic political concerns, together with concerns about containing the spread of communism, always came up trumps. For example, the series quotes Kennedy as saying he believed America couldn’t win in Vietnam, but that he couldn’t win the 1964 presidential election if he withdrew US advisors from Vietnam. LBJ was similarly skeptical but took a tough line with the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which saw his approval rating on Vietnam soar from 42% to 72%, ensuring his electoral victory over Goldwater in 1964.

One of the more compelling sound bites comes from then-Major Charles Beckwith, who is at pains to praise the fighting quality of Viet Cong/NLF forces, their total commitment to the struggle. If only he had (Vietnamese) troops like them to work with, says Beckwith.

To summarize: the series provides evidence of US dishonesty and duplicity and showcases the mistakes generated by hubris when aggravated by ignorance. Yet, the overall message is one of sadness about a “tragic mistake” committed by decent men who were overwhelmed by fears of international communism.

Final points: As we watch the series, we follow individual Americans, and hear American commentators, far more than we hear Vietnamese voices. Also, while the series shows US bombing from afar and mentions Agent Orange, the effects of this destruction haven’t yet been shown in detail. (A telling exception: a young Vietnamese women joins the communist resistance after US bombing destroys a center for senior citizens near her home.)

In short, the Burns/Novick series privileges the American experience, suggesting that US troops of that era fought courageously as a new “greatest generation,” even as senior US leaders spoke privately of an unwinnable war.

Is killing millions of people in a lost cause merely a tragic mistake? Or is it something far worse? More to come as the series continues to air on PBS.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views. He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu. Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

Presidential Bomb Threats at the UN

Thu, 2017-09-21 18:13

Donald Trump denounced North Korea and its president Kim Jong-un as "depraved" before the United Nations Sept. 19, saying the nation "threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life." Of course North Korea can barely feed itself, and yet has to defend itself against an onslaught of Western hostility, UN sanctions, and ongoing US/South Korean war games which are rehearsals for an invasion of the North. It tests rockets and bombs to be sure, just as the US and its allies and adversaries do all year round. It’s big business.

Trump’s claim that North Korea is threatening is preposterous since it has no deliverable nuclear weapons at all. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last week that North Korea is no danger to the United States. In June 2016, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that Pyongyang may have between 13 and 21 warheads. The CIA, whose job it is find hostile weapons (even where they don’t exist) says Pyongyang has at most about 21. US intelligence agencies’ combined estimates are that while it may have miniaturized a nuclear warhead, North Korea has no missile that can drop them on the United States. The Federation of American Scientists is more skeptical and estimates it has "potentially produce[d] 10-20 nuclear warheads."

Like an 8th grade imbecile contradicting himself repeatedly, Trump claimed that North Korean President Kim Jong-un "is on a suicide mission." In April 2016 Trump had called him a "smart cookie." Kim appears quite the opposite of suicidal since Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs are aimed at preventing a repeat of the Korean War in which, according to US Air Force General Curtis LeMay, "we burned down every town in North Korea."

Trump asserted that, "[I]f the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." Here is Trump in a nutshell: Condemning threats of "unthinkable loss of life" in one sentence, then making precisely the same threat in the next. Perhaps Trump knows nothing about the Korean War, but the idea that the United States might "have no choice" but to totally destroy an entire country is not just a deliberate lie and an outrage, it is intended to prepare the population to get comfortable with bloodlust and atrocities, and intended to teach children to embrace them as well.

Governments always have a choice about whether to begin bombing, and since North Korea has done absolutely nothing against the United States or its allies, Trump’s hate-filled spittle about total war is all the more monstrous. Delivered before the world’s largest peace group, Trump’s ghastly threat was a barbaric embrace of genocidal violence.

Trump must have for a moment believed that to "totally destroy North Korea" is a "thinkable loss of life," as opposed to the "unthinkable" sort that he condemned. But if he did, a big "if," since Trump seems not to think that words have meaning, — then it is Trump himself who is depraved. He must be ostracized, stigmatized and shamed into resigning so his Administration of Hate can be replaced.

The United States’ destruction of North Korea from 1950 to ‘53, and today’s threats of more should, be considered in the context of the living memory of its older generation. Robert Neer’s 2013 book Napalm (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press), reports that Gen. LeMay, head of 21st Bomber Command, wrote, "We killed off over a million civilian Koreans and drove several million more from their homes…" Neer reports that more bombs were dropped on Korea than in the whole of the Pacific theater during World War II — 635,000 tons, versus 503,000 tons. "Pyongyang, a city of half a million people before 1950, was said to have had only two buildings left intact," according to "Napalm."

Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking "People’s History of the United States" says, "Perhaps 2 million Koreans, North and South, were killed in the Korean war, all in the name of opposing ‘the rule of force.’" Bruce Coming’s history "The Korean War" (Modern Library, 2010) says, "[O]f more than 4 million casualties … at least 2 million were civilians. … Estimated North Korean casualties numbered 2 million including about 1 million civilians… An estimated 900,000 Chinese soldiers lost their lives in combat."

According to Neer in "Napalm," Gen. Douglas MacArthur testified to Congress in May 1951: "The war in Korea has already almost destroyed that nation of 20 million people. I have never seen such devastation. I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach, the last time I was there. After I looked at that wreckage and those thousands of women and children … I vomited."

Trump used the word "sovereignty" 21 times in his speech. The United States is devoted so convincingly to national sovereignty that it has maintained military occupations and shooting wars inside Afghanistan and Iraq for a combined total of 30 years and counting, and is simultaneously making war on five other sovereign states in the region. Add to the recent (post-WW II) historical list of the attacked: Yugoslavia, Serbia, Iran, Bosnia, Somalia, Kuwait, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Lebanon, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Peru, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Guatemala, and of course Korea. (Sarcasm Alert): Not a single UN delegate was aware of the president’s deceit or hypocrisy, which explains the roaring applause in the General Assembly during Trump’s bomb threats.

John LaForge, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and is co-editor with Arianne Peterson of Nuclear Heartland, Revised: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the United States.

Defense Secretary Mattis: US Cannot Survive On ‘Puny’ Military Budget

Thu, 2017-09-21 14:57

Defense Secretary Mattis is worried about the military budget. No, he’s not worried that spending a total of more than a trillion dollars a year on the military might bankrupt the country and thus make us more vulnerable to outside forces with ill intent. He’s worried that our very survival depends on even more money for the military and no more yearly budget “fights” on funding the military. Even though Congress gave him even more than he requested, he’s worried. But what about the policy? What is the proper US role in the world a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War? Some “realists” are longing for the days of the Cold War, where America ruled the roost. Today in the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Ron Paul on Trump’s UN Speech: A Neocon Dream?

Wed, 2017-09-20 14:35

President Trump’s speech yesterday at the United Nations got rave reviews from neocons like John Bolton and Elliot Abrams. The US president threatened North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. At the same time he claimed that the US is the one country to lead by example rather than by violating the sovereignty of others. Are the neocons on a roll as they push for more war? Have they “won” Trump?

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Breaking: Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police Ahead of Oct. 1 Vote

Wed, 2017-09-20 09:15

I just got of the phone with Josep Maria Sole Sabaté, my friend and a leading Catalan historian and public intellectual. He was nothing short of breathless as he described the helicopters flying overhead stated flatly that he was in the the midst of a coup being carried out by the Spanish State.

He wanted to get in touch with me and others "out there" because he was not sure how much longer free communication would be available to him and other out in the street protesting against he Spanish central government’s arrest of members of the Catalan Autonomous government.

As of this writing at least six agencies of the Catalan Government have been the object of forced police searches and thirteen, mostly mid-level members of the Catalan government have been arrested.

The homes of two the leading architects of the incipient Catalan state, Carles Viver Pi i Sunyer and ex Spanish judge Santi Vidal, have been searched by police. The headquarters of the far-left CUP, part of the pro-vote coalition in the Catalan Parliament, has been surrounded by police.

The leader of the Catalan National Congress Jordi Sanchez and the head of Omnium, a major Catalan cultural organization, Jordi Cuixart, has called Catalans to come into the streets and they have responded with a massive presence.

The mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, who has been highly ambivalent regarding the referendum that is scheduled too take place on October 1st, has now come out firmly for the referendum and against the crackdown taking place. Albano Dante Fachin, head of the Podemos branch in Catalonia, which has been similarly ambivalent, is now off the fence fully supporting the right to decree and denouncing the aggression of the Spanish State

The Catalan President Puigdemont has called and extraordinary meeting of his government. The president of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell has gone there to join him. At this moment, Puigdemont is currently in the Generalitat Palace, home of the Government meeting with his ministers. Crowds are outside in the Saint James square in the very heart of the city of Barcelona where both the Gneralitat and City Hall are located. People are lying down in the Via Laietana, a short walk away, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, in order to impede the Civil Guard’s ability to march upon government buildings.

The Ex-president of Catalonia, Artur Mas has said flatly that the vote will go on. Joan Tarda, one of the representatives of the Catalan Left Republican Party in the Parliament in Madrid, has made a public appeal for calm.

The Catalanist have received messages and protest of support from the Basque Country, where people have also taken to the streets, and Madrid itself, where a pro-democracy demonstration is currently taking place.

The Barcelona Football Club has come out in favor of those seeking to vote on October 1st.

President Trump To Unleash the CIA Drones

Tue, 2017-09-19 13:55

It’s not only “the generals” that President Trump defers to when it comes to war overseas. He’s also planning to defer to Mike Pompeo and the CIA when it comes to operating killer drones in the “theaters” of military operations. Where President Obama toward the end of his term was phasing out the CIA drone program – partly because of the high civilian casualties – President Trump is seeking to ramp up the program and loosen the terms of engagement. Count on many more civilian casualties, which creates many more terrorists, which fuels the perceived need for US military action abroad, and so on…

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Scandal: The Pentagon’s $2 Billion Underground Syria Weapons Pipeline

Mon, 2017-09-18 14:54

Why is the Pentagon spending billions of dollars purchasing Soviet and east European weapons to ship to Syrian rebels? A blockbuster Bulgarian investigative report exposes the lies and illegality of the purchases and shipments; several mainstream investigations corroborate the Bulgarian report. Investigative Reporter Dilyana Gaytandzhieva joins the Ron Paul Liberty Report to explain her findings – and why they got her interrogated and fired:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

The Neocon Case Against The Iran Nuclear Deal – Ron Paul Says It’s One Big Lie!

Thu, 2017-09-14 13:52

Why does President Trump listen to Nikki Haley and the neocons when it comes to Iran? Doesn’t he know they are always wrong? Trump has been consistent in his animosity toward Iran and especially the Iran deal, but why? Haley claims that Iran gave up nothing for the deal, but that is just not true. Does Trump think the rest of the world is going to follow the US if the US pulls out of the agreement? Or if the US attacks Iran? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

‘Top German Politicians Want US Nuclear Weapons Out’ – Did Anti-Nuclear Actions Propel Issue Into National Elections?

Wed, 2017-09-13 23:06

A series of anti-nuclear weapons actions between March and August at Air Base Büchel in Germany brought widespread media attention to the 20 US nuclear weapons still deployed there. Surprising demands for the bombs’ removal soon came from high-ranking political leaders including Germany’s foreign minister. A timeline of events between July 12 and 18, involving a Nukewatch-organized delegation of 11 US peace activists, shows how the work may have moved the officials to speak out.

July 12 – Upon its arrival, four members of the US group held a press conference in Frankfurt accompanied by Marion Küpker, international coordinator for DFG-VK – Germany’s oldest antiwar group – and organizer of the five-month peace camp. News of the unprecedented US group was reported in the daily Frankfurt Journal ("Activists from the US land in Frankfurt: Campaign against US nuclear weapons"), the online magazine FOCUS ("Nuclear fighters receive support from the US") and picked up around the country.

July 15 – Headlines like "Today in Büchel: Action day against nuclear weapons," and "Konstantin Wecker sings for the peace," was news across southwest Germany when the well known singer-songwriter drew about 400 to his performance near base’s main gates. The US delegates all spoke briefly to the gathering through interpreters.

July 17 – Five activists including four from the US snuck deep into the air base at night, clipping four chain-link fences, and climbed to the top of a large nuclear weapons bunker. The five went undetected on base for more than two hours, before they themselves alerted guards. Detained by military and civilian police, the group was released around 3 a.m. without charges, and none have been leveled.

July 26 – News of the "go-in" action reaching a bunker was reported widely. The daily Rhein-Zeitung’s headline used Nukewatch’s moniker: "‘Prison Gang’ Inspects Büchel Air Force Base – Peace movement claims five activists succeeded in penetrating the inner security area." (The reference was to seven of the US delegates who have served a combined total of 36 years in jail and prison for antiwar actions.)

July 28 – Journalists asked experts and military officials in Berlin whether the go-in group got near the US "B61" thermo-nuclear bombs. Air Force headquarters in Berlin assured the press that "security had been maintained," and this news went nationwide. Yet the information center of the Air Force in Berlin did acknowledge the breach of security. One paper reported, "The Luftwaffe confirmed that on the night of 18 July, five persons were in the military security area of the airport, where they illegally gained access by cutting fences with cutting tools, RZ reported," referring to the regional daily Rhein-Zeitung. Another widely reported story quoted, "Military expert [Otfried] Nassauer: ‘Prison Gang’ was probably not in the sensitive area of the Büchel airfield."

July 29 – The daily paper of Nuremberg, with a circulation of 300,000, interviewed four of the US delegates and its article was headlined: "At night on the atom bunker" – Joint protest of peace activists from the region and the USA."

August 7 – Public criticism of lax security at Büchel went national when the Green Party Bundestag Deputy (Member of Congress) Tabea Rössner openly lambasted the base for not stopping the fence-cutting action. Rössner’s call for an investigation prompted the headline: "Is Air Base Büchel just as safe as an amusement park?"

Accounts of Rössner’s statement, circulated widely on social media, reported, "The Greens demanded information about the safety situation at Büchel air base. The reason is an action by activists who entered the inner security area of the airbase." Rössner’s statement said in part, "The federal government must fully explain the incident. If peace activists are in the inner security area of the Tactical Air Force squadron, Luftwaffe, Büchel, then that can mean only one thing: The security concept is more than bumbling."

"This is not a trifle," Rössner said, "even if those responsible would try to downplay the incident. It is more than frightening that at a time of significantly increased terror, the safety measures of such a site fall below the level of a theme park."

August 22 – The US H-bombs then burst into the national election campaign when Martin Schulz, the head of the Social Democrat Party (SDP) and candidate for Chancellor in this month’s elections, unexpectedly called for the ouster of the US nuclear weapons. Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Politico and major German media reported, "German rival of Chancellor [Angela] Merkel vows to remove US nuclear weapons from the country," "Searching for another point of difference, Schulz pledged on Aug. 22 to have US nuclear weapons withdrawn from German territory if, against the odds, he defeats Merkel," and "Germany’s Schulz says he would demand US withdraw nuclear arms." Schulz had said, "As chancellor, I’d push for the ejection of nuclear weapons stored in Germany."

August 29 – Conservative politicians and editors attacked Schulz as uninformed or naive, but the criticism was short-lived when Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel made a surprise endorsement of Schulz’s proposal. At a press conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, Gabrial joined Schulz’s call for withdrawal of the US weapons. The foreign minister’s surprise announcement included his blunt admission that, "I agreed with Mr. Schulz’s point that we need to get rid of the nuclear weapons that are in our country." The news startled media around the world, which reported: "Foreign Minister joins call to withdraw US nukes from Germany," and "German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has supported Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz’s pledge that he will push for the removal of US nuclear warheads from Germany if elected Chancellor."

The International Business Times and the Financial Tribune online declared on Aug. 31, "Top German Politicians Want US Nuclear Weapons Out." The papers noted that "Germany’s top diplomat has backed the suggestion of SPD leader and Chancellor hopeful Martin Schulz, who has pledged to rid his country of US nukes."

To help the Germans see the permanent elimination of US nukes, the movement here has to generate enough push-back to cancel Congress’s plan to replace – instead of retire – the US H-bombs in Europe. Nixing the B61-12 plan would save at least $12 billion.

John LaForge, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and is co-editor with Arianne Peterson of Nuclear Heartland, Revised: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the United States.

Ron Paul on Sen. Rand Paul Forcing Vote On 16-Year Undeclared War

Wed, 2017-09-13 14:13

Sen. Rand Paul has forced a vote on his amendment to repeal the 2001 Afghanistan war authorization and the 2002 Iraq war authorization. The vote is not on the amendment, but whether they can even have a vote on the repeal. This is the debate that terrifies both the House and Senate, as they don’t want the American people to stop and wonder why we are still in these endless no-win wars. Our take on Sen. Paul’s effort in today’s Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Antiwar Organizations Urge Congress to Protect Iran Nuclear Deal, Prevent Backslide to War Under Trump

Wed, 2017-09-13 09:41

From NIAC Action:

Trump Must Renew Waivers on Iran Sanctions on September 14th, Certify the Nuclear Deal to Congress on October 15th

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a new letter sent to members of the House of Representatives and Senate this morning, anti-war organizations representing tens of millions of Americans are urging Congress to do everything within their power as a co-equal branch of government to prevent Donald Trump from dismantling the Iran nuclear deal and putting the U.S. on a path to war with Iran.

The letter, signed by NIAC Action, Americans for Peace Now, Council for a Livable World, CREDO, Daily Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Indivisible, J Street, Just Foreign Policy, MoveOn.org, Peace Action, VoteVets, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) and Win Without War warns that, while the JCPOA has blocked Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon, the Trump Administration appears inclined to renege on U.S. commitments under the agreement, which could terminate the accord and plunge the U.S. into an eventual war with Iran. The letter reads, in part:

Americans are all too familiar with the consequences of a war of choice in the Middle East following the war in Iraq. Thousands of our brave men and women in uniform were killed, tens of thousands more were wounded, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives were lost and taxpaying families have shouldered trillions of dollars of debt. And still today, the fallout from the invasion is undermining U.S. national security.

A war against Iran, with more than twice Iraq’s population and nearly four times its size, would likely be more devastating. Abandoning a diplomatic success and launching another costly war of choice would be rightly seen as one of history’s great blunders, devastating America’s standing and security while destroying countless lives.

Iran engages in harmful non-nuclear behavior that poses challenges to the United States and the region. Yet the most successful effort to resolve challenges with Iran has been through diplomatic engagement, which produced the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The JCPOA is successfully blocking Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, re-obligating the Iranian government in perpetuity to never acquire a nuclear weapon and to permit intrusive inspections. Iran’s compliance has been repeatedly and consistently certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency and supported by the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community.

VIEW THE FULL LETTER HERE: https://www.niacaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/16-Orgs-Letter-Final.pdf

”Donald Trump is on the brink of provoking an international crisis that would pit the U.S. against our closest allies and put us on a path to war with Iran,” said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Action Executive Director. “The last thing Americans need is for Donald Trump to make himself a wartime president and Congress must do everything in its power to make sure that does not happen.”

The letter comes as President Trump has suggested the U.S. will unravel the nuclear agreement ahead of two key upcoming deadlines, even as international nuclear inspectors continue to confirm Iran’s full compliance with the accord. Trump must actively renew waivers on Iran sanctions to uphold U.S. commitments under the nuclear deal on September 14th. Trump must also certify the accord’s status to Congress on October 15. He has indicated he will not do so, which would trigger an expedited process in Congress to reinstate nuclear sanctions in violation of the JCPOA.

NIAC Action is the grassroots, civic action organization committed to advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community. We are a nonpartisan nonprofit and the 501(c)4 sister organization of the National Iranian American Council, which works to strengthen the Iranian-American community and promote greater understanding between the U.S. and Iran.

Plagues

Tue, 2017-09-12 18:32

One indicator of human development is the number of people who die from preventable diseases and epidemics.

For example, the plague, as “Black Death” one of the horrors of the Middle Ages, is extinct in Europe, but still occasionally occurs worldwide – in “underdeveloped” regions, of course. Insufficient hygienic conditions are the first prerequisite for the occurrence and spread of this disease. After all, at least there are effective drugs to treat it.

Smallpox was a very dangerous disease. This epidemic also claimed millions of lives, especially in areas where there was no immunity in the population. The American Indians are to be mentioned here, who were particularly numerous victims of smallpox.

Smallpox is my favorite disease, firstly because it has been eradicated – “only an eradicated epidemic is a good epidemic” – and secondly because I myself have been engaged in eradicating it, working in the Smallpox Eradication Program, the only successful project worldwide carried out by the World Health Organization in the 1970s. With our well-designed approach we quickly could bring even major outbreaks of this epidemic under control.

Cholera is a particularly serious disease. Cholera can spread practically unhindered if there is no clean drinking water and water is contaminated by contaminated waste water. Cholera, dysentery and typhus indicate a lack of clean drinking water and are life-threatening for malnourished people, primarily for children and the elderly.

Perhaps you remember the 500,000 children in Iraq who were killed by the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War – yes, those who according to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were “worth the price”?

I deliberately and intentionally write “were killed” and not “have died”, have “lost their lives” or as can be heard in the mendacious media in this country/in the West, if at all. A report by UNICEF has been slammed in the Security Council by the United States of America and the United Kingdom. In my opinion a mass murder has been carried out on a huge scale, with the greatest unscrupulousness and with the cooperation and agreement of the Western community, including the United Nations, this pathetic bureaucratic Moloch with its low life existence under the whip of the US State Department.

In Washington and London they certainly know that poor hygiene conditions promote the spread of epidemics. Well, what does this mean for the rulers and commanders of the most aggressive rogue states of our time?

They let destroy power stations, drinking water systems and sewage treatment plants by their own and by the war planes of their respective "coalitions".

And then?

Then they impose sanctions to block and prevent the necessary materials for repairs being brought into the country. Or prevent food or medicine from being brought into the country, or whatever evil the criminal brains in these command centers will devise to damage and harass people who do not obey. Sooner or later, the desired effect will appear, which can only be described as planned mass murder. This has happened in recent years in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and most recently in Yemen. Gaza can be counted as one of the places where this “policy” has also been practiced for years, interrupted only by further bombing of residential buildings and infrastructure. The fact that the Western media hardly ever report about these gigantic crimes against humanity makes these “free media” accomplices in the style of Nazi media.

The terrorist superpower, the United States of America, apparently is not mainly interested in conquering these countries – it is enough for them to have them rendered helpless and defenseless, at least not being able to stand in the way of the aggressive ambitions of those striving for world domination. It easily can be found out on any world map where they are heading to.

Many millions of people killed, crippled and displaced will have to continue to be worth the “prize” that the aspirations of the terrorist superpower and their criminal “community” will require, at least in case things are developing according to their intentions.

As already mentioned the management of preventable diseases is a benchmark for the development of mankind.

If certain states cause the death and unspeakable suffering of countless people with tremendous effort, this is directly directed against the development and the interests of humanity. The fight against such parasitic states and their criminal aspirations is justified in every respect.

The fact, that a terrorist superpower and its terrorist appendage are granted civilizing, cultural or even humanitarian competence in spite of their manifest crimes against peace and against humanity is obviously an outstanding feature – symptom – of a society whose spiritual state is situated deeply in the realm of pathology.

Obviously, we are dealing with an epidemic here, too. A plague that affects people’s brains. Just as cholera bacteria attack the organism by programming its functions to self-destruction.

Guess if there is an “immune system”, too? That can prevent mankind being led into self-destruction?

You may assume that there is one and that you too can be a potential/potent part of this immune system.

As always in such cases it starts at a small scale. The chances of a movement growing against the current madness, that ultimately will prevail, are intact. Mankind at first glance may not appear getting constantly smarter, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that this inevitably must be the case. I would be surprised if the organism of mankind will not, in the foreseeable future, discard the elements that cynically endanger and trample underfoot the fate of mankind as a whole out of selfish interests. So far we have made it anyway…

Klaus Madersbacher is editor of www.antikrieg.com, an antiwar website in German with mainly articles from antiwar.com which he translates into German.

Rep. Walter Jones Asks Speaker Ryan To Allow a Debate on Getting Out of Afghanistan

Mon, 2017-09-11 15:34

September 8, 2017

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan,

Mr. Speaker, members of Congress have written to Speaker Boehner and yourself over 13 times regarding the need for debate on the authorization of military force in Afghanistan. Despite repeated calls for action, nothing has happened. You, sir, are the leader of the House and you are responsible for bringing this debate to the floor.

This issue is more urgent now than ever. The president has not kept his campaign promises regarding Afghanistan, and is now increasing our military forces there. I, like many military families and taxpayers, am extremely frustrated!

I am angry because I have seen the waste, fraud, and abuse in that country for years. We are losing lives, and taxpayers are being taken advantage of. Here are a few recent headlines that show how:

  1. Afghanistan’s ‘ghost soldiers’ take scary toll on US taxpayers, says watchdog
  2. US cashmere plot: Pentagon’s $6m project to introduce rare goats to Afghanistan failed to stimulate economy
  3. And finally, the icing on the cake: US Pays $50 Mil for Luxury Cars, Weapons, Booze to Mentor Afghan Intel Officers

With all due respect, I believe that a Speaker of the House is complicit in the waste and abuse of taxpayers’ money when he or she denies a debate to the members who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. Item number three is one of the most telling examples I have seen of fraud and abuse, where a British firm, News Century Consulting, was awarded a $50 million contract to train Afghan intel officers, then instead used tax dollars to purchase Porsches, Aston Martins, and Bentleys. After 16 years, the waste, fraud, and corruption is more rampant today than ever. This is an insult to American taxpayers.

If the People’s House can afford 7 luxury cars for the executives of that firm, pay $6 million for 9 goats to boost the Afghan cashmere industry, and pay almost 100,000 Afghan ghost soldiers who don’t exist, how can we not hold a debate? At a time when hurricanes and wild fires are devastating this country, we need to use our tax dollars wisely. We must help out our own people first and foremost. For that reason, Mr. Speaker, I ask that you bring a debate on the war in Afghanistan to the House Floor NOW.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress (R-NC)

Watch: Special American Conservative Webcast on 9/11 Anniversary

Sun, 2017-09-10 21:39

From The American Conservative:

Watch the video of the webcast originally aired live on Monday, “Who Watches The Watchmen?: The Post 9/11 Security State From Then to Now,” on the 16th anniversary of the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Click here to watch and comment.

TAC Managing Editor Kelley Vlahos talked to three people who have unique experiences in the post-9/11 period and who can speak to how the promulgation of law enforcement, surveillance, pre-emptive war, and the expanding U.S. footprint abroad has completely changed who we are as a country.

John Kirakou is a former CIA agent in the so-called Global War on Terror who was charged and convicted with leaking classified information after speaking out against waterboarding, and sent to prison in 2013 for two years. Kiriakou is now a staunch advocate for other whistleblowers, and a vocal critic of U.S. war and intelligence policies.

Scott Horton is the managing director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio, and the foreign policy interview podcast, The Scott Horton Show. Horton has been interviewing journalists, politicians, pundits, lawyers and experts on foreign policy and war-time law since 2003, and last month released his new book: “Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan”

Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist whose work dates back to covering the Vietnam War, has been focusing on how 9/11 created a National Security Inc., in which self-interested bureaucracies within the government have worked hand-in-glove with Big Business to promote war agendas at home and abroad. He is the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (2014).

A Confession: Uri Avnery Turns 93

Fri, 2017-09-08 08:53

Today is the last day of the 93rd year of my life. Ridiculous.

Am I moderately satisfied with my life until now? Yes. I am.

If by a miracle I could be returned to, say, 14, and travel all this long way again, would I like that? No, I would not.

Enough is enough.

In these 93 years, the world has changed completely.

A few days after my birth in Germany, a ridiculous little demagogue called Adolf Hitler attempted a putsch in Munich. He was put in prison, where he wrote a tedious book called Mein Kampf. Nobody took any notice.

The World War (no one called it World War I yet) was still a recent memory. Almost every family had lost at least one member. I was told that a remote uncle of mine had frozen to death on the Austrian-Italian front.

On the day of my birth, inflation was raging in Germany. My birth cost many millions of marks. Many people lost all they had. My father, a young banker, got rich. He understood how money works. I did not inherit this talent, nor did I wish to.

We had a telephone at home, a rarity. My father loved new gadgets. When I was three or four years old, we got a new invention, a radio. No one even dreamed of television, not to mention the Internet.

We were not religious. We lit Hanukkah candles, fasted on Yom Kippur and ate Matzot on Passover. Giving this up looked like cowardice in the face of the antisemites. But it had no real meaning for us.

My father was a Zionist. When he married my mother, a pretty young secretary, one of the wedding presents was a printed document stating that a tree had been planted in the name of the couple in Palestine.

At the time, the Zionists were a tiny minority among the Jews in Germany (and elsewhere). Most Jews thought that they were a bit crazy. A current joke had it that a Zionist was a Jew who gave money to a second Jew in order to send a third Jew to Palestine.

Why did my father become a Zionist? He certainly did not dream of going to Palestine himself. His family had been living in Germany for many generations. Since he had learned Latin and Ancient Greek at school, he imagined that our family had arrived in Germany with Julius Caesar. That’s why our roots were in a small town (I have forgotten its name) on the banks of the Rhine.

So what about his Zionism? My father was a "Querkopf", a contrarian. He did not like to run with the herd. It suited him to belong to a lonely little group. The Zionists.

This quirk of my father’s personality probably saved my life. When the Nazis came to power – I was just nine years old – my father decided immediately to leave for Palestine. My mother told me much later that the trigger was a young German who told my father in court: "Herr Ostermann, we don’t need Jews like you anymore!"

My father was deeply insulted. At the time he was a highly respected court-appointed receiver, a person in charge of bankruptcies, famous for his honesty. For years a terrible economic crisis had ravaged Germany, and bankruptcies were plentiful. This helped the demagogue called Hitler, the same one, on his way to power, shouting "Down with the Jews".

I was an eyewitness to the Nazi victory. Brown shirts could be seen everywhere in the streets. They were not alone: every major party had a private army, wearing uniforms. There were the Red Front of the communists, the Black-Red-Gold Flag of the Social-Democrats, the Steel Helmet of the Conservatives, and more. When the time came, not one of them lifted a finger.

I never attended kindergarten and was sent to school when I was five and a half years old. At the age of nine and a half I was sent to the Gymnasium, where I started to learn Latin. I was in a Zionist youth movement. Half a year later I heaved a profound sigh of relief when the train carried us across the Rhine to France – some 2000 years after my forefathers had crossed the Rhine in the opposite direction, according to family legend.

For many years I suppressed the memory of these first years of my life. My life started when I stood on the deck of a ship and saw in the early daylight a thin brown strip appear in the east. I was ten years and two months old. It was the beginning of my new life.

Oh, the bliss! A large boat with a huge, dark boatman brought me from the ship to the shore of Jaffa. What a mysterious, magical place! Full of people who spoke a strange, guttural language, who gesticulated wildly! All around the wonderful smell of a market with exotic foods! Horse-drawn carriages in the streets.

I mention these first impressions because later I read the biography of David Ben-Gurion, who had arrived at the same place some years before me. What an awful place! What a guttural language! What barbaric gesticulation! What disgusting smells!

I loved this country on first sight, and I still love it, although it has changed beyond recognition. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

People keep asking me if I am a "Zionist". I answer that I don’t know what "Zionism" means these days. To my mind, Zionism died a natural death when the State of Israel was born. Now we have an Israeli nation, closely connected with the Jewish people everywhere – but a new nation nevertheless, with its own geopolitical surroundings, with its own problems. We are bound to world Jewry rather like, say, Australia or Canada are to Britain.

This is so clear to me, that I can hardly understand the endless debates about Zionism. To me, these debates are empty of real, honest content.

So are the endless debates about "the Arabs", debates neither real nor honest. The Arabs were here when we arrived. I have just described what I felt towards them. I still believe that the early Zionists made a terrible mistake when they did not try to combine their aspirations with the hopes of the Palestinian population. Realpolitik told them to embrace their Turkish oppressors instead. Sad.

The best description of the conflict was given by the historian Isaac Deutscher: a man lives in an upper floor of a house that catches fire. In desperation the man jumps out of the window and lands on a passer-by down below, who is grievously injured and becomes an invalid. Between the two, there erupts a deadly conflict. Who is right?

Not an exact parallel, but close enough to inspire thought.

Religion has nothing to do with it. Judaism and Islam are close relatives, much closer to each other than either of them is to Christianity. The catchphrase "Judeo-Christian" is bogus, an invention of ignoramuses. If our conflict turns into a religious one, that would be a tragic aberration.

I am a complete atheist. In principle I respect the religion of others, but, frankly, I cannot even start to understand their convictions. They look to me like anachronistic relics of a primitive age. Sorry.

I am an optimist by nature, even if my analytical mind tells me otherwise. I have seen in my life so many totally unexpected things, both good and bad, that I don’t believe that any thing "must" happen.

But looking at the daily news, I could waver. So many stupid wars all over the place, so much awful suffering inflicted on so many innocent people. Some in the name of God, some in the name of race, some in the name of democracy. So stupid! So needless! In the year 2017!

The future of my own country fills me with anxiety. The conflict seems endless, without a solution. Yet to me, the solution is completely obvious, indeed so obvious that it is hard for me to understand how anyone in their right mind can avoid seeing it.

We have here two nations – Israelis and Palestinians. Innumerable historical examples show us that they cannot live together in one state. So they must live together in two states – "together" because both nations need close cooperation, with open borders and some joint political superstructures. Perhaps some kind of a voluntary confederation. And later on, perhaps some kind of union of the entire region.

All this in a world that is compelled by modern realities to unite more and more, moving towards some kind of world government.

I won’t live long enough to see all this – but I am already seeing it in my mind’s eyes on the eve of my 94th (a nice number, all in all.)

I realize how lucky I have been throughout. I was born into a happy family, the youngest of four children. We left Nazi Germany in time. I was a member of an underground organization, but never caught and tortured like some of my comrades. I was severely wounded in the 1948 war, but fully recovered. I had an attempt on my life, but the assailant missed my heart by a few millimeters. I was for 40 years the chief editor of an important magazine. I was elected three times to the Knesset. I was the first Israeli to meet with Yasser Arafat. I have taken part in hundreds of peace demonstrations and never been arrested. I was married for 59 years to a wonderful woman. I am reasonably healthy. Thanks.

Uri Avnery is a peace activist, journalist, writer, and former member of the Israeli Knesset. Read other articles by Uri, or visit Uri’s website.

YOU ARE AMAZING!

Wed, 2017-09-06 09:58

When I started Antiwar.com in 1995, I had no idea what it was going to become. And here we are today, an indefatigable source for the news you need on US foreign policy.

The support of so many giving people is what has kept us alive, and I could never have dreamed of it. You. The readers, the writers, the re-tweeters, the social networkers, and the activists. And amazingly, the many thousands of you who make a huge financial effort, year after year, to keep Antiwar.com an uncompromising voice.

During our early days we were small like the Internet. In 1999 Antiwar.com went viral, with major media covering us and our content. Then a good friend agreed to get us started, funding us generously with the seed money we needed to build the site. It was an exciting experience, but I knew that in order to continue that we would need to make it self-sustaining.

We had no foundation grants, no billionaires, no special interests to sponsor us. What I first turned to you, I wasn’t sure what would happen. I didn’t know how you would respond, or what would become of Antiwar.com.

But you came through. You went above and beyond to show your support for peace. We started these quarterly fund drives, and you have never let us down. That was 14 years ago. And here we are today.

Because of you.

You are the heroes. You keep the voice of peace alive. And we still need you.

We are near the end of another drive. Please help finish this drive so we can get back to bringing you the quality of news that the world deserves. Be a hero, make your tax-deductible donation toward peace right now.

P.S. Have you told your other heroic friends about Antiwar.com? If you can’t make a donation today, you can be a hero by sending this to 10 or more people who love peace.

Thank you,

Eric Garris
Founder, Antiwar.com