High Court Judges Defy Reason to Protect Tony Blair
by Craig Murray
There were a number of errors (by me) in this original posting and therefore I have decided to remove it now I have seen the judgement itself. That these errors were in large part caused by erroneous mainstream media reports is a fact, but not an excuse for my being so outraged I rushed in without checking.
In fact, the judgement does accept there is a longstanding crime of waging aggressive war as part of international law, and does not (contrary to the Guardian’s report) argue at all that the international law only came into existence recently. It argues however that international law is only captured in UK Law when this is done specifically through an Act of Parliament.
Indeed the judgement goes so far as to state:
“the clear principle that it is for Parliament to make such conduct criminal under domestic law. Parliament deliberately chose not to do so.”
This surely is problematic. The judgement states that the UK, deliberately, does not follow international law in its domestic law.
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Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
by Diana Johnstone - CounterPunch
July 28, 2017
Do they know what they are doing? When the U.S. Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European “friends”?
Whether they know or not, they obviously don’t care. U.S. politicians view the rest of the world as America’s hinterland, to be exploited, abused and ignored with impunity. The Bill H.R. 3364 “Countering America’s Adversaries
Through Sanctions Act” was adopted on July 25 by all but three members of the House of Representatives. An earlier version was adopted by all but two Senators. Final passage at veto-overturning proportions is a certainty.
This congressional temper tantrum flails in all directions. The main casualties are likely to be America’s dear beloved European allies, notably Germany and France. Who also sometimes happen to be competitors, but such crass considerations don’t matter in the sacred halls of the U.S. Congress, totally devoted to upholding universal morality.
The Trump Revolution Devouring Its Own Children
by Gary Leupp - Dissident Voice
July 27th, 2017
Die Revolution ist wie Saturn, sie frißt ihre eignen Kinder. (Revolution is like Saturn, it devours its own children.) — Georg Büchner (1813–1837), German dramatist, revolutionary
This well known pronouncement occurs in the German dramatist’s play Dantons Tod (Danton’s Death), and refers to the rapid destruction of a succession of leaders of the French Revolution: Jean-Paul Marat, assassinated in his bath 1793; Georges Danton, guillotined April 1794; Robespierre, executed July 1794.
It's sometimes applied to the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, and destruction of Grigory Zinoviev (executed 1936), Lev Kamenev (executed 1936), Nikolai Bukharin (executed 1938), Leon Trotsky (assassinated in exile, 1940), etc.
Or it’s applied to the Chinese Revolution, and the political fates of Peng Dehuai, Liu Shaoqi, Lin Biao, Deng Xiaoping, etc. (These were not executed but merely purged; Lin was shot down over Mongolia in 1971 as he tried to flee to the Soviet Union.)
It’s too big and dramatic a concept to apply to the electoral triumph of Donald Trump (surely not a “revolution” in a world-historical sense but nevertheless a shock to the world) and its pathetic aftermath. Still, the passage keeps occurring to me as I observe the new president’s already conspicuous penchant for humiliating, insulting and dismissing his subordinates.
Having no party apparatus firmly behind him, he sees himself as the leader of a mass movement whose dreams are embodied in his person, empowering him to act recklessly.
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It was midday on Sunday, May 7th, when the U.S.-led coalition warplanes again began bombing the neighborhood of Wassim Abdo’s family. They lived in Tabqa, a small city on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Then occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known as Daesh), Tabqa was also under siege by U.S.-backed troops and being hit by daily artillery fire from U.S. Marines, as well as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.
The city, the second largest in Raqqa Province, was home to an airfield and the coveted Tabqa Dam. It was also the last place in the region the U.S.-backed forces needed to take before launching their much-anticipated offensive against the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.
His parents, Muhammed and Salam, had already fled their home once when the building adjacent to their house was bombed, Wassim Abdo told me in a recent interview.
ISIS had been arresting civilians from their neighborhood for trying to flee the city. So on that Sunday, the couple was taking shelter on the second floor of a four-story flat along with other family members when a U.S.-led airstrike reportedly struck the front half of the building.
Abdo’s sister-in-law Lama fled the structure with her two children and survived. But his parents and 12-year-old cousin were killed, along with dozens of their neighbors, as the concrete collapsed on them. As an exiled human rights activist, Wassim Abdo only learned of his parents’ death three days later, after Lama called him from the Syrian border town of Kobane, where she and her two children had been transported for medical treatment. Her daughter had been wounded in the bombing and although the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led troops had by then seized control of Tabqa, it was impossible for her daughter to be treated in their hometown, because weeks of U.S.-led coalition bombing had destroyed all the hospitals in the city.
The Democrats Are A Lost Cause
by Ted Rall - CounterPunch
July 26, 2017
There they go again. Hillary was a two time loser. Weirdly, her people are still in charge of the Democratic Party. Clintonista militant moderates haven’t learned a thing from Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump — so they’re trying to sell Democratic voters on more of the same.
Remember what happened when Hillary ran on “never mind your crappy low wage job, vote for me because ‘first woman president'”? Now we’re supposed to get excited about center-right California Senator Kamala Harris because she ticks off two boxes on the identity politics hit parade.
Remember how it well worked out when Hillary snubbed Bernie and insulted his progressive supporters, then ran a tack-to-the-right general-election campaign that targeted Republicans who were never going to vote for her? Here comes Kamala with rhetoric that makes her sound like a Rand Paul Republican:
“I agree we must be talking about wasteful spending in our country…we must be talking about tax reform.”
Also lots o’ tasty “tough on crime” (since she’s black it can’t possible be the racist dog whistle it sounds like).
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Philippines: Western Media is Distorting Reality - People and Army Unite to Battle ISIS
by Andre Vltchek - 21st Century Wire
July 25, 2017
At the beginning of July, I visited Mindanao as one of only a few foreigners allowed inside the besieged city of Marawi and to its surrounding area.
I spoke to local people, to the IDPs [internally displaced persons] – those who managed to escape the city taken over by the jihadists.
I also managed to discuss the situation with the highest commanders of the military in charge of the combat, including General Ramiro Rey and Lt. Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera.
Andre Vltchek with military leaders in Marawi, Philippines
I encountered many soldiers, civil servants, and relief workers. My contacts in the capital informed me via text messages that I had been “red-flagged,” clearly, by the pro-US faction in the Philippine military. So before my presence was finally cleared from Manila, I was detained and held in a provisional military base in the city of Saguiaran. Here I was “softly” interrogated by military intelligence. A few steps away, a howitzer was firing artillery toward ISIS positions in Marawi, some 10 kilometers distant.
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This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
July 26, 2017
Last month, as Spring's last day gave way to Summer, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast assiduously busied themselves with plans to avoid the mundanities of governance and governments, Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, along with Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould held a twilight press conference to announce, on Parliament's penultimate day, the birth of 'Bill C-59: An Act Respecting National Security Matters'.
And, on Parliament's last sitting day, Justin Trudeau answered opposition party questions about the long-promised undoing of Bill C-51, legislation roundly condemned by social libertarians as invasive to the point of draconian.
The Prime Minister then reminded the ousted Tories of duties incumbent upon leaders; patiently explaining the reasons for the erasure of their contentious, Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015, saying, "Canadians expect their government to do two things: to protect our rights and freedoms and keep our communities safe."
But is that all they expect, and does C-59 fit the billing?
Marie Aspiazu is the Social Media Specialist at Open Media, a civic engagement organization working to, "keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free." The Vancouver-based Aspiazu has worked within the environmental, conservation, and non-profit sectors, while her articles on those topics have appeared at Rabble, Common Ground, and Alternet.org.
Marie Aspiazu in the first half.
And; twenty years after Clayoquot Summer '93, arguably the peak of environmental activism not only in the Sound, but on Vancouver Island, kayak guides and naturalists Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck shifted oars and founded Clayoquot Action, an organization dedicated to keeping "Clayoquot Sound clean and green for future generations, to preserve the diversity and integrity of the ecosystems, and to maintain and develop community and cultural richness."
While they've been educating and activating people living in and visiting to Clayoquot for a long time, this Summer they launched Clayoquot 2.0, an "all-new weekly, multi-media journey through the visually stunning landscape, wildlife and culture of Clayoquot Sound."
Bonny Glambeck and Clayoquot 2.0 in the second half.
And; Victoria-based horticultural guru, Christina Nikolic will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Marie Aspiazu and Bill C-59; real National Security Act reform, or just an act?"
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/Add a comment
The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence
by Stephen Gowans - What's Left
July 11, 2017
A barbed criticism aimed at the International Socialist Organization, shown nearby, under the heading “If the ISO Existed in 1865” encompasses a truth about the orientation of large parts of the Western Left to the Arab nationalist government in Damascus.
The truth revealed in the graphic is that the ISO and its cognates will leave no stone unturned in their search for an indigenous Syrian force to support that has taken up arms against Damascus, even to the point of insisting that a group worthy of support must surely exist, even if it can’t be identified.
Of course, Washington lends a hand, helpfully denominating its proxies in the most laudatory terms. Islamist insurgents in Syria, mainly Al Qaeda, were not too many years ago celebrated as a pro-democracy movement, and when that deception proved no longer tenable, as moderates. Now that the so-called moderates have been exposed as the very opposite, many Leftists cling to the hope that amid the Islamist opponents of Syria’s secular, Arab socialist, government, can be found votaries of the enlightenment values Damascus already embraces.
Surely somewhere there exist armed anti-government secular Leftists to rally behind; for it appears that the goal is to find a reason, any reason, no matter how tenuous, to create a nimbus of moral excellence around some group that opposes with arms the government in Damascus; some group that can be made to appear to be non-sectarian, anti-imperialist, socialist, committed to the rights of women and minorities, and pro-Palestinian; in other words, a group just like Syria’s Ba’ath Arab Socialists, except not them.
Stepping forward to fulfill that hope is the PKK, an anarchist guerrilla group demonized as a terrorist organization when operating in Turkey against a US ally, but which goes by the name of the YPG in Syria, where it is the principal component of the lionized “Syrian Democratic Force.” So appealing is the YPG to many Western Leftists that some have gone so far as to volunteer to fight in its units. But is the YPG the great hope it’s believed it to be?
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At Every Door
by Kathy Kelly - Voices for Creative Nonviolence
July 21, 2017
"I come and stand at every door
But none shall hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen" -Nazim Hikmet
On July 18, 2017, at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing focused on “The Four Famines: Root Causes and a Multilateral Action Plan,” Republican Senator Todd Young, a former Marine, asked officials present if ongoing war in Yemen could fail to exacerbate the catastrophe developing there – one of four countries, along with Southern Sudan, Nigeria, and Somalia, set to collectively lose 20 million people this year, one third the death toll of WWII, from conflict-driven famine.
Yemen is being bombarded and blockaded, using US-supplied weapons and vehicles, by a local coalition marshaled by U.S. client state Saudi Arabia. Yemen's near-famine conditions, with attendant cholera outbreak, are so dire that in Yemen it is estimated a child dies every 10 minutes of preventable disease.
At the hearing, Senator Young held aloft a photo of a World Food Program warehouse in Yemen, which was destroyed in 2015. Senator Young asked David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, to name the country responsible for the airstrike that destroyed the food warehouse. Mr. Beasley said the Saudi-led coalition blockading Yemen had destroyed the warehouse, along with the relief supplies it contained.
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Empire of Destruction: Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh
by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch
July 20, 2017
You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on Earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science. Everything “networked.”
It was to be a glorious dream of limited destruction combined with unlimited power and success. In reality, it would prove to be a nightmare of the first order.
If you want a single word to summarize American war-making in this last decade and a half, I would suggest rubble. It's been a painfully apt term since September 11, 2001.
In addition, to catch the essence of such war in this century, two new words might be useful: rubblize and rubblization.
Let me explain what I mean.
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Netanyahu Pushes Trump Toward Wider Wars
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
July 18, 2017
Exclusive: Russia-gate is empowering Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to strong-arm President Trump into escalating the Syrian war by abandoning a recent cease-fire and challenging Iran and Russia, reports Robert Parry.
A weakened, even desperate President Donald Trump must decide whether to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or to repudiate the Syrian partial ceasefire, which Trump hammered out with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7.
Whether intentionally or not, this crossroads is where the months of Russia-gate hysteria have led the United States, making Trump even more vulnerable to Israeli and neoconservative pressure and making any cooperation with Russia more dangerous for him politically.
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by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Palestinenature.org
July 18, 2017
Some days we are overwhelmed (compassion fatigue?) with things to do to respond to the humanitarian catastrophes and the geopolitical challenges we humans face. We care about many things because of mass communication, globalization, and the fact that all struggles are connected (the elites are after all connected in our oppression).
Just this week, here in Palestine we think of those ongoing tragedies that are connected:
-The continuing siege and starvation of 2 million people in Gaza (most of them refugees) with no electricity, hardly any water (which can’t be running due to lack of electricity to pump it etc)
-The siege and destruction of Arabs in Jerusalem: Israel took the flimsy excuse of the killing of two of its soldiers in the city to accelerate its long term plan of getting rid of Palestinians in the city to make it a Jewish city. Electronic checkpoints manned by occupation soldiers put for entry of Muslims to their Holy Site is unacceptable to all decent Muslims around the world. Like Jewish colonies and walls in Jerusalem this is also contrary to International law (4th Geneva convention) to alter the status quo of occupied territories. Colonial Jewish settlers are rejoicing at the prospect of unfettered access sans Muslim worshippers into the Muslim Holy site.
-The attack on UNESCO for following International law and not Zionist dreams of conquest. We need to support UNESCO.
-The human misery in Mosul, Iraq following its liberation by the Iraqi army from the US/Israel created Daesh (ISIS).
- The human misery in Syria inflicted by fighting militias (mercenaries) whether backed by Turkey, US, or Israel. The geopolitical game being waged there with players also includes Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel. People pay the price.
-The human misery inflicted on Yemen by the Saudi and UAE governments (also backed by the US and Israel).
-The environmental catastrophe (Nakba) that is happening all around us with so little action to fix it as the rich get richer while keeping us busy with the conflicts, tribalism, nationalism etc (the above are examples of distractions while they get richer). Yes, some days it can be overwhelming to deal with these things. Negative vibes start to creep in (dwelling on the challenges, seeing the cup half empty etc). In such days, I am glad to be surrounded by many young volunteers and staff working hard to light candles in this darkness. But I am also inspired by dedication of those who preceded us. I got a chance to visit the cemetery today due to a death in the family and I paid tribute to many of my relatives and many of my heroes from my town while remembering others in distant lands who preceded us to become dust and memories (e.g. Edward Said). It helps us get centered and to see that challenges are also opportunities. That we need incremental work. That this is a marathon not a sprint.That we are only small parts of a large struggle (humility). That the viciousness of attack on us is actually a sign of desperation on behalf of the elites living in their nice villas in Ramallah, Tel Aviv, and Washington DC. That we must go on with optimism of the will.
Let die? Ft. George Khoury, country director for the OCHA in Yemen:
Most conflicts inflict similar kinds of hardship and despair on their victims, but even among this chronic suffering, the war in Yemen has its own distinct face. It is the face of a child emaciated by hunger. Does this child or the thousands of Yemeni children fighting off death stand a chance?
To discuss this, Oksana is joined by George Khoury, country director for the OCHA in Yemen:
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