A Voice from Down Under: The Last War Celebration

by nonentiti

In Australia and New Zealand next week is ANZAC day. Officially a memorial day for and in honour of the soldiers that died fighting in World War One and Two: the ANZAC soldiers. In reality, like the memorial days other countries have for their wars of the past, it is a celebration of nationalism and war heroes, with many families honouring members of their families they believe fought in those wars – although a recent news report said that many of those heroes never really existed – and politicians appearing on TV holding speeches.

November 11th, also named “Poppy Day”, is a more worldwide memorial day for those same wars, in which those who want to honour dead soldiers wear red poppies on their clothing and those who want to remember civilian victims wear white poppies. Of course, apart from the people of Darwin, Australia and New Zealand did not have many civilian casualties, and they also don’t have much of a history – other than colonialism, which is unpopular – so they put everything they have into these celebrations.

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Posted in The New Peace Movement | 9 Comments

So, How’s That Ukrainian “Revolution” Working Out?

More evidence that the Ukrainian “revolution” was really just a US-backed, US-funded coup d’etat:

Pro-Russian separatists hoisted the Russian flag on Ukrainian army armored vehicles in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, mocking the pro-Western Kiev government’s attempt to reassert control on the eve of crucial talks in Geneva on the country’s future. … A soldier guarding one of six troop carriers now under the control of the rebels told Reuters he was a member of Ukraine’s 25th paratrooper division from Dnipropetrovsk. “All the soldiers and the officers are here. We are all boys who won’t shoot our own people,” he said, adding that his men had had no food for four days until local residents fed them.

The US government has been funding and backing unsavory “color revolutionists” — including a rogue’s gallery of neo-Nazis and other thugs — in Ukraine for years, hoping to peel the region away from its close relationship with Russia. After the last elections failed to go its way, the Obama administration went with “the Pinochet option,” giving its operatives the green light for violent overthrow of the government and installation of a pro-US, pro-EU, anti-Russia junta.

But for a coup to work, certain prerequisites must be met. One of those prerequisites is the support of the military.

When the head of Chile’s armed forces, General Rene Schneider, declined to overthrow Allende, the CIA just had him murdered and the rest of the army’s command structure and troops fell into line.

The attitude of Ukraine’s armed forces toward pro-Russian separatists in Crimea and Ukraine’s eastern areas, though, has ranged from unwillingness to act at one end of the range to open support on the other. And it’s probably a safe bet that support for the junta is as superficial and artificial among the general population as it is in the military’s ranks, even in non-separatist areas.

Naturally, American War Party enthusiasts caricature those of us who oppose continued US meddling in this regional dust-up as “pro-Putin,” or at least as Neville Chamberlain circa 1938. But that dog just doesn’t bark. This is another case of silly plans blowing up in politicians’ faces. Hopefully it won’t also become a case of those plans blowing back on ordinary Americans.

Posted in End of the Empire, Russia, Ukraine | 1 Comment

April 15: Funding the Empire

guest post by Grant Mincy
originally published at the Center for a Stateless Society

Tax day, April 15th, is a day of celebration in the United States. On this day we citizens of the great republic take pride in the fact that we can come together in a democratic society and make decisions cooperatively with one another. The fruits of our labor, beholden to the IRS, will now be spread throughout society to build our collective vision of a more perfect union – one tax dollar at a time.

OK, OK – nothing could be further from the truth.

The sad fact about April 15th is that the overwhelming majority of tax dollars are collected for past, current and projected military spending. The War Resisters League has spent a lot of time researching federal tax revenue and the results are rather sobering.

Revenue collected for military spending includes the grossly bloated $584 billion budget for the Department of Defense. Additional military revenue, about $202 billion worth, is collected outside the DoD. This totals $786 billion for current military operations. Adding the Obama era “Overseas Contingency Operations” (a continuation of the Bush era “War on Terror”), roughly another $47 billion dollars, brings total revenue raised for ongoing operations up to $833 billion. Further tax revenue, $521 billion worth, is used to cover past military spending. This payment for war debt puts us over $1.4 trillion.

The tally doesn’t really stop there either. The Department of Homeland Security, made (in)famous for airport security, has militarized police departments around the nation since its inception. The war on drugs shows little sign of slowing down (though promising pockets of resistance are flourishing). Weapons production, drones, prisons, manufacturing the machines of war and upholding a nuclear payload that could end human civilization multiple times over (because destroying the Earth once isn’t mighty enough) … the list goes on and on.

Roughly 47% of tax revenue is spent on human resources – we finally get a place at the table! But don’t forget, when “too big to fail” big shots in the corporate/financial world get in trouble this revenue is sure to go to them instead of the general populace. Main street will shut down and families will lose their homes while the economic elite are bailed out. Instead of redistributing revenue back to individuals, taxpayer dollars are used to protect the economic interests of the state. The initial bailouts of the Bush Administration cost the American taxpayer $700 billion – and we’re still counting.

What most Americans hold as priority – clean, safe communities, a healthy environment, infrastructure, education, research, etc – all pale in importance to the military and economic strength of the US empire.

Tax day is not a day of cooperation; it is a day of disappointment. It is a day that reminds us that the state cripples human potential. It is a reminder that the state is a constant hurdle to the resurgent market. It is a day that reminds us of the horrors and costs of central planning.

Libertarianism offers a solution. Imagine a socio-economic system crafted by liberated human beings – alternative institutions created by self governance and free association. What are the possibilities of humanity? How would the products of self-directed, inclined labor progress and build society?

One thing is certain: It is not in the interests of liberated human beings to die for governments – the stateless society would not be wasting countless resources on war.

Posted in End of the Empire | 1 Comment

SUPPORT the “Come Clean on Drone Killings” Act: Schiff/Jones HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act

by Joe Scarry

Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have now submitted a bill calling for drone transparency. See Natasha Lennard, “New Bill Aims for Drone Transparency,” and Thomas Earnest, “Representatives Schiff and Jones Introduce Bill to Increase Transparency in U.S. Drone Program.”

See also Joint Statement in Support of The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act by Amnesty International, Arab American Institute, Center for Civilians in Conflict, Center for Constitutional Rights, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, National Security Network, Open Society Policy Center, Peace Action West, Reprieve, and Win Without War.
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Posted in Drone Warfare | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Heck, Why Not Just Make it the 51st State?

hubrisn. Overbearing pride or presumption

First the US government decides it gets to run Iran’s nuclear power program.

Now the US government claims veto power over Iran’s appointment of an ambassador to the United Nations.

Next week: US John Kerry flies to Iran to cut the meat on Ali Hosseini Khamenei’s plate and make sure he eats his vegetables.

Posted in Iran, United Nations | 1 Comment

Illinois, Write or Call Your Member of Congress Today: Make the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings

by Joe Scarry

Today, people in Illinois protesting drones are contacting their representatives to encourage support for H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act.

For example: see An Open Letter to Congressman Mike Quigley on H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act . Mike Quigley representatives the 5th Congressional district, on the north side of Chicago.

If passed, the bill will require the Obama administration to come clean about the killings it has carried out using drones — killings that, up until now, the administration has been able to pretend don’t exist.

So now’s the time: write or call your member of Congress today.  
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Wisconsin, Write or Call Your Member of Congress Today: Make the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings

by Joe Scarry

Wisconsin has been a hotbed of in-the-streets vigils, marchs, die-ins, and other protests against drone killings — as can clearly be seen in the posts on this blog.

Today, people protesting drones are contacting their representatives to encourage support for H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act. If passed, the bill will require the Obama administration to come clean about the killings it has carried out using drones — killings that, up until now, the administration has been able to pretend don’t exist.

So now’s the time: write or call your member of Congress today.  

To determine what district you live in, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

To see an example of a constituent letter, see An Open Letter to Congressman Mike Quigley on H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act 

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