Dear World…Peace

Dear Peoples of The World,

The government of the United States does not represent the majority of Americans. To the citizens of Ukraine (and all others damaged by US foreign policy)…We, The People, wish you no harm and I sincerely apologize for the chaos our government interference has caused in your lives…

worldpeas

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US-instigated protests destabilizing Ukraine

Iraq: Security Forces Abusing Women in Detention

“The abuses of women we documented are in many ways at the heart of the current crisis in Iraq,” Stork said. “These abuses have caused a deep-seated anger and lack of trust between Iraq’s diverse communities and security forces, and all Iraqis are paying the price.” 

Truthloader- “A report released today reveals that Iraqi security forces have illegally detained thousands of women and subjected many of them to torture, ill-treatment and even sexual abuse in order to extract confessions from them. These confessions have then been used against them in court and resulted in the execution of at least one woman.

We spoke to Joe Stork from Human Rights Watch who explained that these women are being used as kind of “hostages” against male relatives wanted by the state, and that many of them face long-term stigma as a result of their ordeals.”

Read the report from Human Rights Watch Here

Human Rights Watch – The 105-page report, “‘No One Is Safe’: Abuses of Women in Iraq’s Criminal Justice System,”documents abuses of women in detention based on interviews with women and girls, Sunni and Shia, in prison; their families and lawyers; and medical service providers in the prisons at a time of escalating violence involving security forces and armed groups. Human Rights Watch also reviewed court documents and extensive information received in meetings with Iraqi authorities including Justice, Interior, Defense, and Human Rights ministry officials, and two deputy prime ministers.

“Iraqi security forces and officials act as if brutally abusing women will make the country safer,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “In fact, these women and their relatives have told us that as long as security forces abuse people with impunity, we can only expect security conditions to worsen.”

In January 2013, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised to reform the criminal justice system, beginning with releasing detained women who had judicial orders of release. A year later, the brutal tactics of security forces remain essentially the same and hundreds of women remain in detention illegally.” Full Article Here

Syrian Children Study While Bombs Fall Nearby

RT – “Russia’s foreign minister has urged the US to maintain contacts with all sides in the Syrian conflict, except for jihadist groups. Sergey Lavrov, speaking after talks in Moscow with Syria’s opposition leaders, also welcomed the rebels’ willingness to take part in the Geneva negotiations, set to resume next week. But while politicians push for a breakthrough – time is running out for people living in the warzone…”

Click to learn more. School Days: A lifeline for Syria’s young minds.

The Menace of the Military Mind

Excerpts, Truthdig (Emphasis, mine) – “…For the next 20 years I would go on from war zone to war zone as a foreign correspondent immersed in military culture. Repetitive rote learning and an insistence on blind obedience—similar to the approach used to train a dog—work on the battlefield. The military exerts nearly total control over the lives of its members. Its long-established hierarchy ensures that those who embrace the approved modes of behavior rise and those who do not are belittled, insulted and hazed. Many of the marks of civilian life are stripped away. Personal modes of dress, hairstyle, speech and behavior are heavily regulated. Individuality is physically and then psychologically crushed. Aggressiveness is rewarded. Compassion is demeaned. Violence is the favorite form of communication. These qualities are an asset in war; they are a disaster in civil society. 

!MLK

Homer in “The Iliad” showed his understanding of war. His heroes are not pleasant men. They are vain, imperial, filled with rage and violent. And Homer’s central character in “The Odyssey,” Odysseus, in his journey home from war must learn to shed his “hero’s heart,” to strip from himself the military attributes that served him in war but threaten to doom him off the battlefield. The qualities that serve us in war defeat us in peace.

Most institutions have a propensity to promote mediocrities, those whose primary strengths are knowing where power lies, being subservient and obsequious to the centers of power and never letting morality get in the way of one’s career. The military is the worst in this respect. In the military, whether at the Paris Island boot camp or West Point, you are trained not to think but to obey. What amazes me about the military is how stupid and bovine its senior officers are. Those with brains and the willingness to use them seem to be pushed out long before they can rise to the senior-officer ranks. The many Army generals I met over the years not only lacked the most rudimentary creativity and independence of thought but nearly always saw the press, as well as an informed public, as impinging on their love of order, regimentation, unwavering obedience to authority and single-minded use of force to solve complex problems.

So when I heard James R. Clapper Jr., a retired Air Force lieutenant general and currently the federal government’s director of national intelligence, denounce Edward Snowden and his “accomplices”—meaning journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras—before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week I was not surprised. Clapper charged, without offering any evidence, that the Snowden disclosures had caused “profound damage” and endangered American lives. And all who have aided Snowden are, it appears, guilty of treason in Clapper’s eyes…

…The U.S. military has won the ideological war. The nation sees human and social problems as military problems. To fight terrorists Americans have become terrorists. Peace is for the weak. War is for the strong. Hypermasculinity has triumphed over empathy. We Americans speak to the world exclusively in the language of force. And those who oversee our massive security and surveillance state seek to speak to us in the same demented language. All other viewpoints are to be shut out. “In the absence of contrasting views, the very highest form of propaganda warfare can be fought: the propaganda for a definition of reality within which only certain limited viewpoints are possible,” C. Wright Mills wrote. “What is being promulgated and reinforced is the military metaphysics—the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.”

This is why people like James Clapper and the bloated military and security and surveillance apparatus must not have unchecked power to conduct wholesale surveillance, to carry out extraordinary renditions and to imprison Americans indefinitely as terrorists. This is why the nation, as our political system remains mired in paralysis, must stop glorifying military values. In times of turmoil the military always seems to be a good alternative. It presents the facade of order. But order in the military, as the people of Egypt are now learning again, is akin to slavery. It is the order of a prison. And that is where Clapper and his fellow generals and intelligence chiefs would like to place any citizen who dares to question their unimpeded right to turn us all into mindless recruits. They have the power to make their demented dreams a reality. And it is our task to take this power from them.” Read The (Outstanding) Article In Full Here

 

Unveiling Afghanistan : The Unheard Voices of Progress

Just two months before Afghanistan elects a new President, Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA and FIDH launch the Campaign “Unveiling Afghanistan: The Unheard Voices of Progress”, which aims to spark discussion and debate about building a society that protects women’s rights and human rights. Over 50 days, 50 interviews with influential social, political, and cultural actors will be published in the Huffington Post and in the major Afghan daily newspaper, 8 Sobh. 

*FIDH - These elections are a critical step in the democratic transition Afghans have been demanding. Civil society is in the process of re-building itself. It is time for civil society actors to express their vision for the future of their country and have it heard by the world, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Crippled by war, poverty, social divisions, and devastating underdevelopment, Afghanistan’s governing institutions remain weak, and the rule of law almost non-existent. In the face of overwhelming obstacles, the population maintains hope for a peaceful future. Ordinary citizens, in particular women and a new young generation of civil society actors, have unfailingly demonstrated their faith in progress, justice and democratisation in Afghanistan. These actors for positive change in Afghanistan are making their voices heard through the “Unveiling Afghanistan” campaign.

Serious security concerns have not prevented citizens from continuing to exert their right to participate in the democratic process, nor parents from sending their daughters back to school. Universities are overflowing and teachers keep their doors open. The international actors engaged in shaping Afghanistan’s future must acknowledge this progress and act to preserve it,” Guissou Jahangiri, Executive Director of Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA, explained.

Women and girls in Afghanistan are defending their rights to attend school and universities. They are claiming their rights to the same employment opportunities as their fellow male citizens. They are exercising their political rights by voting and even standing as candidates in elections. New political parties and movements with pro-democracy agendas have been registered; educated and committed representatives have entered parliament. Sources of information have proliferated, with hundreds of successful radio stations, television channels and newspapers. Simultaneously, civil society has expanded, with new organizations, networks, cultural, artistic and sporting initiatives promoting civic participation and human rights, including women’s rights.

Unveiling Afghanistan gives voice to the demands of men and women for an open and inclusive society in Afghanistan. Critically, it will promote women’s participation in the electoral process, by building awareness and knowledge amongst women about their fundamental rights and electoral choices. In doing so, “Unveiling Afghanistan” seeks to contribute to the emergence of a culture of democracy, human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan.”

Read the first interview on the Huffington Post blog “Unveiling Afghanistan”

Dr Humaira Qaderi “When are you going to burn yourself?”

* FIDH is an international NGO federating 178 human rights organisations in more than 100 countries. FIDH defends all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of Human Rights and for their implementation. http://www.fidh.org

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Syria’s Children On The Frontline

 Truthloader- “The Syrian civil war has changed lives on both sides of the conflict irreversibly but while we often hear the stories about violence involving opposition fighters, the Syrian Arab Army and various extremist groups, one side of the story remains untold – the lives of Syria’s children. Marcel Mettelsiefen, the journalist and filmmaker behind Children On The Frontline, spoke to us about the kids he filmed in opposition held areas of Aleppo and the drastic changes the war has forced on their lives…”

The documentary will be broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK on 22/01/2014 at 10PM GMT. After that it will be available on 4oD.

Common Ground: Can We All Agree?

Common Ground – “Very few would disagree with the assertion that our current system has us headed for a disaster. However not everyone agrees on what that disaster will look like, and it’s virtually impossible to get people to agree on the solution. As a result forming a unified front to face these challenges has been next to impossible.

The Common Ground is an approach designed to deal with this issue.

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Autonomous ‘Killer Robots’ Could Replace Drones Soon

RT“What was science fiction a couple of decades ago is now everyday reality. But it’s not only computers and smartphones — the progress has brought us new war machines — unmanned drones striking from the skies are no surprise for anyone today. But what has the progress of warfare prepared for us in the coming years?” 

Jody Williams is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning woman, who has fought against landmines — and won. Now she is on a crusade against the new deadly threat — killer robots.

Is the State Department Trying to Silence Pakistani Drone Victims by Delaying Their Attorney’s Visa?

Rafiq ur-Rehman’s mother was working as his two children played near her in a field just outside his village of Tappi in the tribal region of North Waziristan in Pakistan when some of the CIA’s pilotless spy planes targeted their village and fired four missiles almost one year ago this month. 

TruthOut- “Rehman’s children, 13-year-old Nabila and 9-year-old Zubair, watched as the drone strike killed their 67-year-old grandmother, Mamana, instantly, and lodged shrapnel into their legs, hospitalizing them. Rehman returned from work to find the remains of his mother, his injured and bleeding children and a smoking field dotted with dead cattle.

A year later, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) has formally invited Rehman, who is a primary school teacher in North Waziristan, and his children to testify about their experience before a Congressional ad-hoc hearing. It would mark the first time survivors of military drone strikes have traveled to Capitol Hill to give a voice and face to the reality of the CIA’s covert drone program.

But the family can’t travel to the United States to tell lawmakers their story because their attorney’s visa has been delayed by the State Department. Rehman’s attorney and translator, Shahzad Akbar, is a fellow at the human rights organization Reprieve and represents more than 156 drone strike victims.

Akbar has accused the State Department of deliberately barring his entry to the United States to silence the voices of drone strike survivors after they have prepared for months to travel to Washington, D.C. The State Department already has granted Rehman’s and his children’s visas.

“I have been blacklisted for simply one reason, that is my drone work. Otherwise, if I am any kind of security threat, [the State Department] can simply say,” Akbar told Truthout in a telephone interview.

This is not the first time Akbar has had trouble gaining entry into the country. Before he began investigating drone strikes in 2010, he traveled frequently to the U.S. as a consultant for U.S. agencies. But when he was invited to speak at a human rights conference in May 2011 at Columbia University about his work on legal cases involving drone strikes, his visa was delayed by the State Department for 14 months…”

Click Here For Full Story on TruthOut

America’s Private Sector Army

Prior to the Iraq war, most people wouldn’t have heard of the private military companies (PMCs) that provide their services to the USA. Then came the the headlines, thick and fast, as the heavy involvement of PMCs such as Blackwater led to controversy. 

Excerpts, The Kernel - “The number of contractors used is staggering. In 2010 there were 94,413 contractors in Afghanistan, compared with 91,600 US troops.

MERCENARIES IN EVERYTHING BUT NAME

Most PMCs provide logistical support, but one stands out above all others: Blackwater. Described by some as a “private army”, they differ from modern day military units such as the British Army’s Brigade of Gurkhas and the French Foreign Legion, in that they are an autonomous company providing military services. Mercenaries in everything but name. Blackwater in particular stands out for their boots-on-the ground provision of “security guards” who look, smell and operate like any other combat soldier.

Blackwater, now called Academi, became known for a string of controversial incidents involving its personnel. Now that Middle Eastern occupations are winding down and court cases have been settled, Blackwater has managed to slip under the radar again. But it still exists, albeit with a new name, and is as influential as ever.

In the sixteen years of its existence, Blackwater has changed the face of modern warfare. How did they do it, what are they doing now and what does their continued existence mean for the future?

In explaining his vision for Blackwater, its founder Erik Prince famously stated:

“We are trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service.” 

Blackwater started out by offering training services to the military and landed a major contract to train Navy personnel following the 2000 bombing of USS Cole of the coast of Yemen.

With their reputation established, Blackwater began to hoover up government contracts as the War on Terror progressed. At first they provided security to secret CIA bases, then they became the default private security force for the raft of diplomats and State Department employees who found themselves involved in occupied Iraq. Blackwater proudly remind people that “not one State Department employee was killed while we were protecting them”. No officials may have been killed but a number of innocent Iraqis did, at the barrel of Blackwater guns.

The US military has long had a reputation for financial ineptitude when it come to hardware acquisition. It’s a reputation that has persisted with their procurement of contract services. At the height of the Iraq war, sergeants in the military were getting paid one-sixth of their counterparts from Blackwater. This problem of capitalism colliding with patriotism was so serious that Defense Secretary Robert Gates considered asking US troops to sign a non-compete clause…

…The largest incident branded on Blackwater’s reputation is what has become known as The Blackwater Baghdad shootings. On September sixteenth 2007, Blackwater military contractors shot and killed seventeen Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad…

“They became a symbol of what was seen as an occupying force. They are always heavily armed with machine-guns, and wear body armour and wraparound sunglasses. Usually they are beefy men with goatees, covered in tattoos. They swagger around like something out of a movie. Their presence here has been deeply damaging.”

Blackwater has become a destination of choice for ex-public servants looking for a cushy retirement, resulting in the company having even stronger ties to the centres of American power post-Iraq than pre-Iraq. The board of directors now includes Bobby Ray Inman, the former head of the National Security Agency and Jack Quinn, the former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton. 

Lessons have learned by both the Government and private companies from their flirtation over the last couple of decades and the legacy will have repercussions on future conflicts. The Government has found a way to patch up their military personnel shortcomings with off-the-shelf and adaptable solutions: no need for the tedium of training youngsters and paying out pension plans.

By buying up experienced Army personnel, Blackwater have made themselves indispensable as a training institution for America’s elite troops. And next time the US goes gung-ho into another country? The contractors will be ready. Academi have developed and manufactured their own infantry mobility vehicle called The Grizzly APC. They were too late to the military hardware party this time around but they have all the pieces in place to take an even greater role in the USA’s next major conflict.” Full Article on The Kernel

 

 

Unmanned F-16 Fighter Jet Completes First Flight

“The Air Force has maintained that QF-16s will only be used in training exercises when pilots are completing dogfight simulations in the air. The planes remain capable of being flown by an on board pilot though, and a bomb will be placed on board in the event that an unmanned plane needs to be destroyed.”

via RT- “The US Air Force and the Boeing aerospace and defense corporation announced they have successfully converted a retired F-16 into a drone. It is now possible for fighter jets to fly supersonic speeds, land, and operate normally without a pilot on board.

Boeing announced Tuesday that modified versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon will operate as a QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target for use in Air Force training practices. Last week, two Air Force pilots controlled the first successful flight from the ground station at Florida’s Tydall Air Force Base.

The maiden flight departed from the runway as normal and completed a series of simulated maneuvers in the air over the Gulf of Mexico, surpassing the speed of sound and landing safely.

It was a little different to see it without anyone in it, but it was a great flight all the way around,” said US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Inman, the commander of the 82nd Aerial targets Squadron. “It’s a replication of current, real world situations and aircraft platforms they can shoot as a target. Now we have a 9G capable, highly sustainable aerial target.” Full Story

Like A Phoenix: Power Beyond The Fall

So…you want a revolution, eh? Pissed off…fed up…you know bad things are going bump in the night but don’t know which way to turn for help when officers are murdering people – and pets – all over the place. Your government representatives have gone deaf and blind. Your online activity is not only not private, but can and will be used against you in court…doors are getting bashed in, your milk is no longer legal, your neighbors can vanish and be indefinitely detained & families are being terrorized by armed and masked SWAT men in the middle of the night…

It is time to do something…NOW!!

Enough is enough!! Our founding fathers would not have stood for this and neither should we!! 

The time for a revolution is at hand…!

Or is it..?

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DoD’s Active Denial System

“For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up. Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire…” 

The Active Denial System had its first demonstration of power aboard an Army vessel at Joint Base Langley-Eustis September 12, 2013.

Like all focused energy, the beam will irradiate all matter in the targeted area, including everything beyond/behind it that is not shielded, with no possible discrimination between individuals, objects or materials. Anyone incapable of leaving the target area (e.g., physically handicapped, infants, incapacitated, trapped, etc) would continue to receive radiation until the operator turned off the beam. Reflective materials such as aluminium cooking foil should reflect this radiation and could be used to make clothing that would be protective against this radiation.

The Active Denial System, from a presentation ...

The Active Denial System, from a presentation of the U.S. Department of defense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Wiki- The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military, designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control. Informally, the weapon is also called the heat ray since it works by heating the surface of targets, such as the skin of targeted human subjects. Raytheon is currently marketing a reduced-range version of this technology. The ADS was deployed in 2010 with the United States military in the Afghanistan War, but was withdrawn without seeing combat. On August 20, 2010, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced its intent to use this technology on prisoners in the Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles, stating its intent to use it in “operational evaluation” in situations such as breaking up prisoner fights. The ADS is currently only a vehicle-mounted weapon, though U.S. Marines and police are both working on portable versions. ADS was developed under the sponsorship of the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program with the Air Force Research Laboratory as the lead agency. There are reports that Russia is developing its own version of the Active Denial System…

…Many possible long-term effects have been studied, with the conclusion that no long-term effects are likely at the exposure levels studied. However, over-exposures of either operators or targets may cause long-term damage including cancer. According to an official military assessment, “In the event of an overexposure to a power density sufficient to produce thermal injury, there is an extremely low probability that scars derived from such injury might later become cancerous. Proper wound management further decreases this probability, as well as the probability of hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation.”
  • Cancer: A mouse cancer study was performed at two energy levels and exposures with a 94 GHz transmitter: a single 10 second, 1 W/cm exposure; and repeated 10 second exposures over 2 week period at 333 mW/cm. At both energy levels, no increase in skin cancers were observed. No studies of higher energy levels, or longer exposure times have been performed on millimeter wave systems.
  • Cornea damage: tests on non-human primate eyes have observed no short-term or long-term damage as the blink reflex protects the eye from damage within 0.25s.
  • Birth defects: millimeter waves only penetrate 0.4mm (1/64″) into the skin, making direct damage to the testes or ovaries impossible.
  • Blisters and scarring: pea-sized blistering due to second degree burns occurred in a very small (less than 0.1%) of tested exposures, which have a remote potential for scarring.

ADS operators would be exposed to more than the standard maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits for RF energy, and military use requires an exception to these exposure limits.”

The Council on Foreign Relations noted that ”wider integration of existing types of nonlethal weapons (NLW) into the U.S. Army and Marine Corps could have helped to reduce the damage done by widespread looting and sabotage after the cessation of major conflict in Iraq” Continue reading