davidswanson's blog

2017
Mar
15

The Problem With the CIA and Drones

Tag: Peace and War

Thanks to a recent Wall Street Journal article, I've been hearing from Democratic partisans that President Trump has done something brand new, and that it amounts to tearing up the War Powers Resolution by giving the CIA the power to make war.

Now, I am seeking to build support for abolishing the CIA, and for impeaching Donald Trump, and for banning weaponized drones. So I'm not exactly a fan of murder by robot or a partisan Republican. And I'm all in favor of any new reasons (fact-based or otherwise) people might find to try to put an end to government killings. But I think there's some confusion we'd be better off without.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to make war, a power it has relinquished since 1941. President George W. Bush went through certain vestigial formalities of lying to Congress and obtaining vague authorizations. President Barack Obama, in launching a war on Libya, intentionally avoided any appearance of Congress having any role whatsoever. He also radically expanded drone wars in several countries (and "special" operations in numerous countries) -- in the case of Yemen predictably escalating it into a wider air and ground war, again without Congress. In Syria and Iraq he used foreign troops, then U.S. "advisors" combined with bombings to inch his way into new wars.

Obama oversaw the creation of the CIA's drone war operations. And while he advertised in the New York Times his role in picking whom to murder, he did not actually give the order each time. He delegated that power to subordinates. The Wall Street Journal's article suggests that Obama never gave the CIA the role of deciding whom to murder. This is contradicted by numerous reports over the years suggesting otherwise, including those claiming that, late in his presidency, Obama took that power away. But even those reports admit that very little is known and nothing officially stated about the CIA's role, and that the CIA has remained closely involved. We also know from a former drone pilot turned whistleblower that the CIA's drone pilots have always actually been Air Force pilots anyway:

"The CIA might be the customer but the air force has always flown it. A CIA label is just an excuse to not have to give up any information. That is all it has ever been."

The one partial transcript we have of a drone murder, out of all the hundreds of transcripts and videos that likely exist, depicts blood thirsty sadists eager to kill. The many thousands of reports we have on specific drone murders have not identified a single one in which any of the criteria that President Obama established for them was met. We know of no victims who could not have been arrested instead, or who were "an imminent and continuing threat to the United States of America," or whose killing involved zero risk of killing civilians.

Supposedly, the greater the role of the military, and the lesser the role of the CIA, the greater the capacity of Congress for oversight. That's a great argument for abolishing the CIA. But, in reality, we have yet to see the vaguest hint of Congressional oversight. Congress has not informed the public of the nature of the drone wars. We've seen no additional transcripts and no videos. Congress has not made use of the Constitution or even the War Powers Resolution to halt or even limit the drone murders in any way. Congress has not objected to the failure of Presidents Obama or Trump to meet Obama's self-imposed criteria. Nor has it created its own criteria.

Trump and his subordinates are using drone missiles at a faster pace even than Obama did. Trump has moved weaponized drones to the border of North Korea. And the story that Trump is giving the CIA freer rein to murder people with drones could possibly be true and is as likely as not a story Trump intentionally promoted. But this is at most a return to a policy that Obama created and then claimed to have ended. And it is at most a fine distinction of roles in operations that involved and still involve both the CIA and the military, as well as the NSA. The question of which of those entities is making a key decision should end the pretense that the president is making all of the decisions. And not a single bit of it is in any way in compliance with the U.S. Constitution, the United Nations Charter, the War Powers Resolution, the Kellogg Briand Pact, the Hague Convention of 1899, or the laws against murder that are on the books in each nation where the U.S. government is murdering people.

2017
Mar
14

Talk Nation Radio: Ellen Schrecker on McCarthyism Then and Now

Tag: Political Ideas, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talknationradio-20170315

Ellen Schrecker is a retired professor of American history at Yeshiva University and a leading authority on McCarthyism. Her books include Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism in the Universities. We discuss the history of McCarthyism and its current manifestations.

See: https://www.ellenschrecker.com

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

2017
Mar
14

Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next — NYC Event April 3

Tag: Peace and War

Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

An event to mark 100 years since the United States entered World War I, and 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech against war. A new movement to end all war is growing.

Sign up on Facebook.

April 3rd, 2017, at NYU6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Vanderbilt Hall Rm 210NYU School of Law40 Washington Sq. S.

Speakers:

Joanne Sheehan, Coordinator of War Resisters League New England, former Chair of War Resisters’ International, and co-editor of Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns.

Glen Ford, activist, journalist, radio host, executive editor of the Black Agenda Report.

Alice Slater, New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, member of the Global Council of Abolition 2000, member of the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War.

Deborah Karpatkin, Co-General Counsel to the New York Civil Liberties Union, member of the NYC Bar Association, serving on its Military Affairs and Sex and Law Committees.

David Swanson, director of World Beyond War, author of books including War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War.

Maria Santelli, executive director of Center on Conscience and War, founding director of the New Mexico GI Rights Hotline.

Sponsored by World Beyond War, and Center on Conscience and War, with thanks to NYU.

Sign up on Facebook.

Print flyer PDF.

Website: http://worldbeyondwar.org/100NY

2017
Mar
14

Deep state & MSM hysteria

Tag: Media

2017
Mar
13

Peace and Democracy Conference Planned for August

Tag: Peace and War

World Beyond War and our allies are planning an incredible Peace and Democracy Conference for this August 2-6 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Even better, this will be one of ten overlapping and integrated conferences aimed at building a unified movement for change.

Check out the planning, get involved, and register with an earlybird discount to attend at https://www.DemocracyConvention.org

Send us ideas for the Peace and Democracy Conference. An initial outline of what we’re planning is below (subject to change, including based on your input).There will be time in this schedule to participate in the other nine conferences, and some of these events will be co-sponsored by two conferences. We are lining up the best speakers and workshop leaders on the following topics. Please let us know speakers and topics you think we should include.

Aug 2 evening: Peace Media.Aug 2 evening: Peace Education.Aug 3 morning: Peace Culture. Outgrowing nationalism, materialism, machismo, and exceptionalism.Aug 3 morning: The Case for War Abolition. Why we can and must end our greatest crime.Aug 3 afternoon: Peacenvironmentalism. One movement, indivisible.Aug 3 afternoon: Overcoming Racism and Militarism.Aug 3 evening: Military Spending Does Even More Damage Than Militaries.Aug 3 evening: Hole in the Ground, dramatic reading.Aug 3 evening, off-site: Flyering re Frank Kellogg on Kellogg Blvd.Aug 4 morning: Divestment from Weapons Dealers.Aug 4 morning: Replacing War Systems with Peace Systems.Aug 4 afternoon: Local Resistance to Militarized Police, Military Recruiters.Aug 4 afternoon: Building Local Power for Peace.Aug 4 evening: Building Alliances Across Borders.Aug 4 evening: Nonviolence Training.Aug 5 morning: Acting Through Local Governments.Aug 5 afternoon: Ending the Nuclear Nightmare.Aug 5 evening: Opposing the Latest Wars and Those to Come.Aug 5 tea ceremony.Aug 6 early morning Hiroshima event.Aug 6 morning: Lobbying Officials Who’ve Been Paid Not to Listen.Aug 6 morning: Law vs War.Aug 6 afternoon: What If the People Could Choose Peace?Aug 6 afternoon: Global Governance Beyond Nations.Aug 6 evening: Peace Honors, Celebrations, Holidays, and What the Nobel Peace Prize Was Supposed to Be.

Check out the planning, get involved, and register with an earlybird discount to attend at https://wwwDemocracyConvention.org

2017
Mar
13

War Abolition 101: How We Create a Peaceful World

Tag: Peace and War

Register for Online Course: How to Get to a World Beyond War

Sign up here.

How can we make the best argument for shifting from war to peace? How can we become more effective advocates and activists for ending particular wars, ending all wars, pursuing disarmament, and creating systems that maintain peace? Here’s a chance to learn from World Beyond War experts as part of a study group and to do so at your own schedule.

The course will be taught April 10 to June 5, 2017. Prior to the start date, you will be sent a link to a new website and means to access the course. Each week, an instructor will provide text and video, and interact with participants in a chat room. Each week, an instructor will assign an optional written assignment, and will return the assignment to the student with detailed feedback. Submissions and feedback can be shared with everyone taking the course or kept private between a student and the instructor, at the student’s choice.

The cost of the course is the same for someone completing all, some, or none of the assignments.

A certificate will be provided to those who complete all assignments.

Sign up here.

Course Outline and Instructors:

April 10 War can be ended — David Swanson

April 17 War is immoral — Bob Fantina

April 24 War destroys freedom — Barry Sweeney

May 1 War destroys nature — Leah Bolger

May 8 War endangers — Mary Dean

May 15 War impoverishes and wastes — Brian Terrell

May 22 There are alternatives to war / What is an Alternative Global Security System? — Tony Jenkins

May 29 War Will Not Go Away Unless We Make It / How to organize for Peace & Justice — David Swanson and Mary Dean

Sign up here.

2017
Mar
13

Vermont Event: Building A World Beyond War: What Will It Take?

Tag: Peace and War

Building A World Beyond War: What Will It Take?Sponsored by Vermont Stands for a World Beyond War CoalitionFunded by a Mercy Peace Initiative GrantSpeakers will include: David Swanson, Pat HynesClick here to register.Saturday, April 22, 20179 AM to 4 PMWinooski School District60 Normand StreetWinooski, VT 05404

2017
Mar
13

Cambridge event: U.S. Never-Ending War in the Time of Trump and How to Stop It

Tag: Peace and War
When: Thursday, April 13, 2017, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Where: Friends Meeting House • 5 Longfellow Park • Cambridge, MA 02138

Presentation by David Swanson followed by discussion and book signing.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

(Suggested donation $5.00)

Sponsor:  United for Justice with Peace

info@justicewithpeace.org    justicewithpeace.org

2017
Mar
13

Let's De-Weaponize Space and Earth

Tag: Peace and War

An important conference and protest are being planned for Huntsville, Alabama, April 7-9.

The events are called "Pivot Toward War: U.S. Missile Defense and the Weaponization of Space," and are the work of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.World Beyond War is helping to sponsor the conference. At least four of our coordinating committee members plan to be there, and our director will be MCing one of the plenaries. We'll have a table of materials there.

To learn more, go to:http://space4peace.org/actions/gnconf_2017.htm

To register, download the flyer that's on that page.

If you decide to attend and are willing to help World Beyond War with our table, please reply to this email. Thanks!

World Beyond War

RootsAction.org

War Is A Crime

Talk Nation Radio

There Is No Way To Peace

Peace is the way.

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