Veteran Celebrates Nuclear Ban Treaty

As a veteran concerned about issues of war and peace, I am happy to celebrate the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the important new international peace initiative. The "Nuclear Ban Treaty," as it is also known, was approved 122-1 by the UN General Assembly in July 2017, a clear expression of the will of the world’s people. On October 24, 2020, Honduras became the 50th nation to ratify the TPNW, triggering a 90-day period before it goes into force, on January 22.

The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its leadership in promoting this vital treaty, which prohibits the financing, development, possession, or transporting of nuclear weapons, as well as the use or threat to use nuclear weapons.

None of the nine nuclear-armed nations have yet signed onto the Treaty. These nuclear powers are in violation of the 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires them to negotiate in good faith to reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. Instead, the U.S. and other nuclear powers are developing new generations of nuclear weapons, alarming many experts who believe the threat of nuclear war is greater than ever.

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Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism

I wrote another book, Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism.

Advance Praise for Enough Already

“If you only read one book this year on America’s unending ‘War on Terror,’ it should be this persuasive and devastatingly damning account of how the United States created the original al Qaeda terrorism threat by its own actions and then increased that threat by orders of magnitude by its wanton killings in one country after another in the name of ‘counter-terrorism.’ Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop!” — Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower and author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

“Nothing has fueled the abuse of government power in the last 20 years like the ‘War on Terrorism.’ Scott Horton’s essential new book, Enough Already, is the key to understanding why it’s not too late to end the wars and save our country. Three administrations in a row have promised us a more restrained foreign policy. It is time we insisted on it.” — Ron Paul, M.D., former congressman and author of Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity

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Maj. Danny Sjursen on Ethiopia, Mali, and the Chances Biden Starts a War

From the Conflicts of Interest Podcast:

On COI#58, Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (ret.) joins Kyle Anzalone to break down Ethiopia, Mali, and Biden’s foreign policy team. Danny gives a brief history of Ethiopia and explains how the country’s conflicts with its neighbors. Danny explains how the Ethiopian Prime Minister won the peace prize, then use the prize to further his war efforts. He also breaks down Ethiopia’s internal politics and the recent civil war (plus the ongoing insurgency.)

Danny and Kyle discuss the civil war in Mali and the French intervention. Post-Libyan War France has been fighting jihadists groups throughout the Sahel region. In recent weeks, five French soldiers have died. France is now looking to exit West Africa. Danny and Kyle examine the neocons and humanitarian interventionists that are coming to power in the Biden administration and how they could expand America’s War on Terror.

Combat Myths Matter to More Than Just Military Members. So Do Their Ramifications.

I don’t have any personal war stories to tell.  In my twenty years in the U.S. Air Force, I never saw combat.  I started as a developmental engineer, working mainly on computer software, and morphed into a historian of science and technology who taught for six years at the USAF Academy.  I worked on software projects that helped pilots plan their missions and helped the world to keep track of objects in Earth orbit.  I taught military cadets who did see combat and served as the dean of students at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, where I saw plenty of young troops cross the graduation stage with language skills in Arabic and Pashto and other languages as they prepared to deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.  But no combat for me.

I got lucky.  As one friend, an Army colonel, told me: any day you’re not being shot at is a good day in the Army.  The result, however, is that I can’t tell exciting war stories that begin: “There I was” in Baghdad, or Kandahar, or Fallujah, or the Korengal Valley.

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Pompeo’s Scorched Earth Campaign

From The American Conservative:

Paul Pillar comments on Mike Pompeo’s latest string of destructive acts and dishonest claims as Trump’s term comes to an end. Here he addresses Pompeo’s distortions and exaggerations of the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda in a speech delivered on Tuesday:

To achieve a trifecta of abuse of the terrorism issue, Pompeo has picked this same week to foment a misbelief that Iran and Al-Qaeda are, in Pompeo’s words, an “axis” and “partners in terrorism.” If this sounds a lot like an earlier supposed partnership between Al-Qaeda and another Middle Eastern state starting with the letter “I” – as well as an earlier “axis of evil” – it should. The Iranian regime, Shia and Persian, is no more of a partner with Al-Qaeda than was the secular regime of Saddam Hussein. Iran and al-Qaeda have been on opposite sides of almost every political, ideological, military, and sectarian divide, as manifested in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.

The presence of some Al-Qaeda types in Iran, mostly under a kind of house arrest, has been known for years and reflects a modus vivendi between enemies rather than anything approaching a partnership – see Michael Hirsh’s fine summary of the issue. Pompeo is presenting nothing new.

Describing the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda as an “axis,” as Pompeo did, is every bit as dishonest and ridiculous as it was when George W. Bush included Iraq and Iran as part of the so-called “axis of evil.” It is fitting that Pompeo’s description echoes that of Bush, because the claim Pompeo is making is little more than reheated Bush-era propaganda that Iran hawks have periodically tried to promote. Every time Iran hawks bring up this nonsense, it gets shot down very easily because their distortion of the evidence is so obvious. The New York Timesreports:

Mr. Pompeo spoke alternately about Al Qaeda’s “new home base” and a “new operational headquarters” in Tehran, bewildering counterterrorism officials, who said there was no evidence for his assertions. Some said his comments appeared to represent his own analytic conclusions, rather than those of the United States intelligence community.

Pompeo went so far as to declare that Iran is the “new Afghanistan” for the terrorist group, which is also nonsense. He is telling these lies in the hopes of throwing up more roadblocks to U.S. reentry into the JCPOA, but it isn’t going to work because his claims are false. Iran holds some members of Al Qaeda as hostages and bargaining chips in order to protect themselves against attack, but they do not work with them or sponsor them. They hold these people as an insurance policy for their own security. It takes willful ignorance or anti-Iranian fanaticism to interpret it as anything else. In Pompeo’s case, it is definitely the latter. As Matthew Petti pointed out in his report on the speech, relations between Iran and Al Qaeda are antagonistic and not the cozy partnership that Pompeo imagines:

But Lahoud, who studied the same documents, found just the opposite. She published a study in 2018 showing that al-Qaida “views Iran as a hostile entity,” and points out that members of the group were mistreated and even died in Iranian custody.

There are governments in the region that support and arm local Al Qaeda affiliates and other like-minded groups, but unfortunately for Pompeo they are US allies and clients.

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The FBI Claims Free Speech Prevented Warning of Capitol Violence

Since the incident at the US Capitol last week, Joe Biden, his fellow Democrats, and many Republicans have made it clear that they view those who stormed the building as “domestic terrorists.”

The label raises fears of new legislation that targets domestic terror or even a Patriot Act 2.0. And it seems that US intelligence agencies, along with their stenographers in the media, are priming us for just that.

A story published by NBC News on Tuesday cites anonymous FBI officials who say they were unable to share intelligence that violence was expected at the Capitol on January 6th due to one factor — that it would violate free speech.

The report reads: “FBI intelligence analysts gathered information about possible violence involving the US Capitol on Jan. 6., but the FBI never distributed a formal intelligence bulletin, in part because of concerns that doing so might have run afoul of free speech protections.”

The authors go on to explain: “Because Al Qaeda and ISIS are designated terrorist organizations under the law, the FBI feels more free to disseminate intelligence about Americans linked to them in any way. There are no designations for domestic terrorist groups.”

One nameless FBI official “confirmed” with NBC that they had indications violence would happen but “felt constrained from sharing some of the information because of First Amendment concerns.”

So the FBI wants us to believe that if it wasn’t for that pesky First Amendment, everything could have been avoided. Nothing a little legislation can’t fix.

The fearless adversarial journalists at NBC go on to say: “Some experts say the lack of a domestic terrorism statute constrains the FBI from treating far-right and far-left groups the same as Americans who are radicalized to violence by Al Qaeda or ISIS ideology.”

Notably, but not surprisingly, one of the co-authors of the NBC piece, Ken Dilanian, is a known CIA asset. FOIA documents published by The Intercept in 2014 show Dilanian communicating with one of his CIA handlers, making sure the agency is pleased with how he reports CIA drone strikes.

Domestic terrorism legislation has been introduced in Congress before. In 2019 and 2020 bills were introduced that would enable the creation of domestic terror offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) sponsored and introduced one of the bills and says he’s ready to do it again in the wake of the Capitol incident.

Joe Biden’s team is reportedly working on domestic terror laws. A bill from Biden, the author of the infamous 1994 Crime Bill who has taken credit for drafting the Patriot Act, would likely go much further than creating new offices in a few government agencies.

Now, the intelligence agencies are warning of impending political violence on January 20th. Any Trump supporters considering political violence that day will only be playing into the hands of the deep state they have learned to despise over these past four years. And the left-wingers calling for the “insurrectionists” to be locked up should be cautious. Any new Patriot Act will be turned right around on them.