Hunger Games: Hunting vs. Healing

by Joe Scarry

The Hunger Games is everywhere. (What is it good for?)

The kids are back in school, and my mind turns to the question of how we are preparing the next generation to create a better world.

In particular, I’m fascinated by The Hunger Games trilogy — with sales of something like 50 million copies of the book and global box office over $500 million for the first film, plus who-knows-how-many-dollars in tie-in merchandise sales — and I want to know: Is The Hunger Games laying the foundation that we want and need for resistance to war?

I’ve just finished Book I. It’s clear to me why so many people can’t stop turning the pages of these books, and it’s obvious that there is an enormous amount of material that addresses the real world problems of war in our 21st century world.

I’ll just mention two big themes here. Continue reading

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The danger of renewed Cold War with Iran

by Alan Gilbert

The 5+1 Treaty with Iran was a major victory – a step forward – for cooling down tensions in the Middle East and achieving world peace.  It was a break by Obama with past American belligerence and unilateralism toward Europe and others, a hope for less American carnage and destruction in the Middle East.  The agreement might also enable the US to work with Iran in fighting IS and in other matters of common interest, though Iran has allied with Russia in Syria.  Still the US and Russia have common interests against IS – but ones that will not be achieved by bombing.  Iran’s ground forces, along with the courageous Kurds – currently being attacked by the Turkish government – are the only ones in a position to go after IS…


This agreement would thus enable the US not to tie itself destructively, perhaps fatally to Saudi Arabia and Israel, the two most reactionary regimes in the region, belligerent aggressors, and the monstrous treatment of Palestinians by Israel.  It might encourage the US to move away from the Saudi aggression in Yemen which blew up 100 people at a wedding party last week (the US itself took out 19 people, including 3 children and 12 Doctors without Borders workers. in Northern Afghanistan two days ago…), and to begin to balance forces in the region diplomatically, to avoid further war.  It thus might also begin to limit US craziness with drones – murdering people, often children and bystanders in addition to “suspects” in countries the US is not at war with (along with making himself an accomplice to torturers, the worst – or most criminal – thing that Obama – as President of the Empire – has done).  The Treaty is thus  a great achievement in foreign policy weakening the intense threat of larger war in the Middle East and nuclear war likely to be spawned by the one nuclear power in the region, Israel…


But the forces of American militarism as well as Israel seek to undermine the agreement. In tight relationship with what is worst in the US, Israel tests new weapons in Gaza and provides them as well as  “training” American police forces.  The cause of Black Lives Matter, the Palestinians, the Iranian dissidents/most Iranians (a US bombing, avoided by this agreement, would have strengthened the regime politically as a belligerent and reactionary force) is linked.  Further, democracy in America for all ordinary people is strengthened by international negotiation/cooperation and moving away from further war.


The agreement is, in fact, harsh on Iran; nonetheless, it opens real possibilities of peaceful development.  Therefore the fight by AIPAC and Netanyahu, backed by those who want unending war in the Middle East – i.e. Republicans in the Senate and Republican Presidential candidates, baying, baying, baying (Scott Walker, Huckabee and Graham compete for who can say the stupidest thing, sock-puppets of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate/bankroller of Romney and Netanyahu, and more deeply, the war complex).  The US government officially spends nearly a trillion dollars a year on war  (Chris Hedges recently estimated $1.7 in real terms) which could go to medical care, reconstituting the impoverished South, canceling student debt and the like; it needs “enemies” and constant wars, and is a large instrument inside the United States of the strengthening of inequality…


But as Peter Beinart strikingly indicates below, Israel has already exacted a huge price in America for the agreement. AIPAC spent $40 million fighting the agreement, and Obama had to promise potentially belligerent Democrats to maintain restrictions on Iran in exchange for their vote.  He thus diminished the possibility of consolidating a move away from war in American politics, of pursuing joint purposes with Iran more explicitly (one may hope that he will do so, nonetheless).  In addition,  Obama’s increased military “aid” to Israel, $4.5 billion per year, an increase from the already unparalleled $3 billion  (and Clinton’s promise of even more) is even more dangerous.  It undermines the seriousness or straightforwardness  of the deal to Iranians and others.  Iran did not have to ally with Russia in Syria; the stupidity of the war complex instigated this.


As Rob Prince underlines in the second article, Obama at least rightly opposes selling Israel bunker-buster nuclear weapons which the Bennett-Cardin bill (two Democratic Senatorial monsters – it is not just the Republican crew…) originally contained.  And he can resist it.   But as yet another price exerted by the war lobby, Obama  still crazily provides the Israeli government – upping the “aid”, that is, sales by American weapons manufacturers subsidized with tax money taken from the American people  – with nearly everything else.  Bennett and Cardin are determined to douse any possibility of peace in the Middle East – and with Rand Paul having moved to the Right on Israel, Obama’s new opening is under deep threat in the 2016 election.

Continue reading

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At UN Syria Fails to Call for Nuremberg Prosecution of US and Allies Funding/Organizing Terrorist Invasion

by Jay Janson

“Assad Must Go, Obama Says,” Washington Post, August 18, 2011,
Four years later the United States is still openly funding various organizations committed to this purpose, most of which consists of armed invaders of Syria, all the while the CIA has been reported to be helping train various morphing groups, even before being reported to be behind, along with Pentagon, ISIS, the latest such anti Syrian government group to to have entered into Syria.  All this most certainly constitutes crimes against peace and crimes against humanity under Nuremberg Principles of International law.
THE DIPLOMATIC TRUTH (as spoken by Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid al Moualem during the UN General Debate)
 “Instead of settling regional and international conflicts by peaceful means, some known countries continue pursuing aggressive policies against certain nations. Political hypocrisy increases to intervene in the domestic affairs of States under the pretext of humanitarian intervention or the responsibility to protect.  And when those aggressive policies did not prove beneficial for some countries, like Syria, those well-known States reveal their true face and threaten with blatant military consensus. Those same countries were supporting terrorism in Syria.”
Note the absence of naming the US, Britain, France, NATO, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Instead:
“some known countries continue pursuing aggressive policies against certain nations”  
Since President Obama passed on the decision of the ruling financial element in the centers of power that have owned the US government since the early 1930’s, a quarter of a million Syrians have met violent death and millions made refugees.
QUESTION: With so many of his country’s people already dead and millions fleeing to Europe, why was Syria’s Foreign Minister unable to call a spade a spade. Is it fear? Will it make US leaders less likely to bomb and finish the job as they have threatened to do twice.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Moualem:
“The international community should act in accordance with the relevant resolutions on counter-terrorism and take measures to compel the countries financing, arming, training and providing safe havens and passage for terrorists.”
A quarter million dead, and no call for prosecution of what the Foreign Minister certainly described as crimes against peace and crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg Principles of international law in the UN Charter.
Also embarrassing, was the Foreign Minister’s use of the term “the international community,”  long used as a euphemism for ‘the Colonial Powers.’  These now ‘neocolonial powers’ still dictate to the rest of the world, which is the real international community of more than two hundred nations that make up the United Nations.
Syrian Foreign Minister continued:
“We were the ones targeted by poisonous gases in Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo,” he said. Syria had requested an investigation mission and demanded the inclusion in its mandate the ability to determine who had used chemical weapons, but the United States, France and the United Kingdom had limited the [UN] mission’s functions to deciding whether chemical weapons had been used. The mission had been awaited for more than five months and then withdrawn before completing its work.”
The Syrian delegate pointing out what appears to be a UN Secretariat insidious cooperation with the Syrian government’s self-announced enemies, might well have been expected to call for a criminal investigation of that mission’s impartiality, but none was called for though Syria had been put in great danger, being falsely condemned in corporate media and targeted for US air strikes while the UN mission’s stonewalled on releasing its findings.
Syrian Foreign Minister:
“There remains the challenge that is facing all of us whether those who are supplying terrorists with these types of weapon will abide by their legal commitments, since terrorists who used poisonous gases have received chemical agents from regional and Western countries that are well known to us,”
Perhaps for overly diplomatic language, there appears to be a confusion here. ‘Those supplying terrorists with weapons’ are prosecutable as criminals. What legal commitment could be expected from investors in terrorism? Moreover, what else but prosecution with lawsuits for indemnity could possibly dissuade profit intended investment?
The Foreign Minster clearly identified the US and it allies as having committed a crime against humanity in Syria. But when there is accusation of crime, usually and logically there follows a demand for prosecution and justice for victims. But illogically, the Foreign Minister’s statement contains no such demand, and what he said next was tantamount to a weak plea for Syria’s attackers US and EU to ‘refrain’ from breaking the law:
“The United States and the European Union should refrain from imposing immoral economic measures that contradicted the rules of international law and the principles of free trade, and accordingly lift the embargo on Cuba, as well as all unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria, Venezuela, Belarus, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Sadly, the Foreign Minister when speaking of support for the US-Iran ‘nuclear deal’ inexplicably used words that seemed to put another US victim, Iran, on a par with its deadly attacker:
“Syria looked positively upon efforts by the United States and Iran to bridge the gap of mistrust and hoped it would reflect constructively on the stability of international relations.“
The Foreign Minister citing a “A gap of mistrust” seemed to minimize the criminal sanctions and threats of nuclear attack of the US, as if the constantly popularized ‘mistrust’ of Iran was something other than an excuse for continuing US actions to dominate Iran as it has done since its CIA with British secret services organized the violent conditions for the bloody overthrow of Iran’s democratic government in 1953.
There has been for decades an atmosphere of appeasement in the UN General Assembly’s yearly General Debate.  Years from now when the East resumes it world leadership in political economy and the arts and sciences after five centuries of savage European racist domination and the United Nations is reconstituted and free of colonial powers control, people will look back in astonishment to UN General Debates in which nations bombed and invaded by the US and NATO merely complained at first and then were for years silent, unable for fear of more punishing sanctions, to logically call for justice under Nuremberg Principles international law.
Devastated Syria, allowing the US to get away with genocide again during the 2015 General Debate of the UN General Assembly, is just one example in a field, which Martin Luther King described as ‘atrocity wars and covert violence on three continents since 1945 meant to maintain unjust predatory investments that Americans refuse to give up the immense profits therefrom bringing privileges and pleasures.
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Iran and Appeasement at UN General Debate also No Call for Justice via Nuremberg Prosecution of US

by jay janson

This article is in regard to the address of  President Hassan Rouhani of Iran before the United Nations General Assembly during its 2015 General Debate (9/28/2015), the general atmosphere of appeasement during the debate, and an unwillingness, even by delegates of nations bombed and invaded by US or NATO, to uphold the UN Charter that contains the Nuremberg Principles of international law.

THE TRUTH (in regard to the history of the United State of America and Iran)

In 1953, US President Eisenhower ordered the CIA to cooperate with British M16 to covertly bring about the overthrow of Iran’s democratic government after it had nationalized its oil industry.  Kemit Roosevelt led the CIA team that successfully brought about the public violence and chaos that permitted the overthrow of Iran’s democratic government. [1][2]

During the 1979 Iranian revolution, the US caused the death of thousands of Iranians by supporting the Shah a US ally, the CIA having for years trained the murderous Savak secret police of the Shah.[3]

President Reagan supported, aided and abetted the criminal eight-year invasion war ordered by Saddam Hussain of Iraq.[4][5]

US Presidents Bush and Obama have continually threatened Iran with nuclear attack over many years.

THE APPEASEMENT (as perceived by one archival research peoples historian)

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, addressing the UN General Assembly, did not call for the prosecution of the US under Article Six of the Nuremberg Principles for the above described crimes against peace and crimes against humanity described above, nor did he even mention these US crimes against his country. [6] Continue reading

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What war is: Captain Dan Quinn stands up to American crimes

by Alan Gilbert

Against administration policy, Captain Dan Quinn stood up to the sexual abuse of boys by “allies” on an American military base in Afghanistan.  He cares about something, aside from getting home alive.  He could not stand the sick feeling in his stomach at looking the other way: what higher-ups had ordered him to do.  Quinn is an American hero.

He and Sergeant Charles Martland,  another special forces soldier, were forced out of the military.

Corporal Gregory Buckley was killed, his father suspects, for not going along with this program.


The three letters below from the  New York Times about the story capture the moral character of the American war effort.  The US abetting child abuse is, as Susan Altman writes, worse even than Mullah Omar, who, in this one respect, fought against the crime (The Taliban in Pakistan shot 14 year old  Malala Yousafzai who stands up for the education of women, and to this day, call for her murder…).

As Captain Quinn put it, in the article below:

    “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”

Here are Corporal Buckley’s words, remembered by his father:

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. ‘My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.’”


A former lance corporal who supported the official policy, nonetheless, describes what that policy, in plain sight even at the American base, was:

“Still, the former lance corporal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid offending fellow Marines, recalled feeling sickened the day he entered a room on a base and saw three or four men lying on the floor with children between them. ‘I’m not a hundred percent sure what was happening under the sheet, but I have a pretty good idea of what was going on,’  he said.” Continue reading

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#PeaceDay 2015 – Ten Thoughts on Peace

by Joe Scarry

Rainbow peace sign flag
(Image: @fieldsforever58)

Yesterday was the UN International Day of Peace.

The day nudged me to think about what — if anything — I feel I really know about peace and the movement for peace.

Here are 10 things that are true for me . . . .

(1) Nuclear abolition

The risk from nuclear weapons is so great, the only responsible course is total elimination now.

(See What’s YOUR “appetite for risk”? (Eliminate nuclear weapons NOW!) )

(2) Getting with the times

The means available to us today for eliminating war vary greatly from those available from those working to eliminate war in decades past.

(See Not Your Father’s Antiwar Movement )

Continue reading

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All I need to know about the state I learned in bootcamp

by Ben Jones

All I need to know about the state I learned in bootcamp

Joining the Marine Corps was probably the worst decision I ever made in my life. Although I’m sure most people who join a gang when they’re young and survive the experience have these regrets later on.  Thankfully a late night Ron Paul video spree spurned a radical philosophical change in me a few years after I left the Corps, and I’ve been free of the cognitive dissonance ever since.  The only good I that I can glean from my military days is the perspective and inside knowledge I have from languishing inside the belly of the beast and getting to know the stench all too well. I think that the experience of martial servitude, especially the initial training of Marine Corps bootcamp, has given me a unique understanding of the very nature of government as a whole.

You see, when you experience this kind of intense training and indoctrination, its like witnessing the big bang of authoritarianism, or watching the first government crawl its way out of the primordial soup of evil and manipulation.  Bootcamp is like a pristine laboratory where young people are packed into a petri dish and methodically transformed in to a glob of conformity and collectivism.  So while my contempt for authoritarianism remains, I do find it fascinating that I can look back on the experience and recount step by step how the state is formed, and what I can see or confirm about its nature. Continue reading

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