During the last 4 years the dispute over the implementation of Nobel´s prize for the “champions of peace” has come to a head. The Norwegian awarders seem to reinterpret Nobel´s wishes and award the prize for whatever in their judgment is good and valuable, based on “a broad concept of peace.” A Norwegian peace researcher and lawyer, Fredrik S. Heffermehl, in his book: The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted (Praeger 2010) claims to have proved that Nobel had specific recipients in mind, that Nobel wished to support what he called the “champions of peace,” meaning those who promote global law and demilitarization. His book led, in January 2012, the Swedish Foundations Authority to open an investigation into the mandate and whether Norwegian parliamentarians entrusted with the stewardship/management of the prize are misappropriating it for other purposes than Nobel had in mind.
The Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minnesota is an annual event proudly claiming to “inspire peacemaking…for students and other citizens to become active participants in peacemaking efforts around the world. For 23 years it has been the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway.”
Continue reading “Nothing “Purist”—Just Everything Hypocritical About Awarding Nobel “Peace” Prize to Promote Western Militarization”
Obama’s re-election campaign may be focusing almost exclusively on domestic economic issues but there are strong forces pushing him and the U.S to war again, this time with Iran. The dangerous brinkmanship with Iran could be alleviated if facts were not being misrepresented and distorted. Inasmuch as American politicians have failed miserably in the last decade on the issue of war, it would behoove concerned citizens to bring the facts in our memo to the attention of their respective congresspersons, as well as the president.
January 4, 2012
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Avoiding Another Long War
Continue reading “VIPS Memo to Obama: Avoid Another Long War”
Sad, isn’t it, that just two days before Christmas, we have to stand out in the cold and worry about getting another big lump of coal from our politicians?! But unfortunately it’s expected that Obama will sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law right after the holiday. Since that’s the same day the big sales start, few Americans will probably be paying attention to the police state being officially ushered in.
On December 23, however, we were still able to protest the despicable NDAA in front of Obama’s Minnesota Campaign Headquarters. At the end of the rally led by members of “Occupy Minnesota” and the “Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression”, everyone taped their signs to the front window of Obama’s campaign office, hoping he’d somehow get the message. Then we also made telephone calls to tell Obama’s volunteer receptionists to act as his better angels and plead for him to veto the NDAA.
But a veto would be quite the Christmas miracle. Obama’s expected signature will not only de-link the “war on terror” from its original justification, the 9-11 attacks of more than a decade ago, to ensure the “long war” does not end, but it will keep Guantanamo open indefinitely and turn the whole world into a battlefield, including our own backyards here in the U.S. where citizens will stand guilty until proven innocent.
(Signs at Obama’s Campaign Office in Minneapolis)
What’s the worst that could happen as a result of the congressional rubberstamp broadening the war and allowing indefinite military detention of American citizens as “enemy combatants”? Can it happen here? It’s interesting to see what Journalist Joshua Phillips learned from research for his new book: None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture, a harrowing description of the torture of prisoners in Iraq and the deep psychological scars it left on the members of one battalion who dispensed pain to their victims. When asked how this came about, the author says that almost all the soldiers he interviewed cite the main reason for the various torture abuses as the climate of “permissiveness” that began when they were told they did not need to follow the Geneva Conventions anymore. (It should be recalled that Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel lawyers Robert Delahunty and John Yoo had written their memo on Jan 9, 2002 stating that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to “non-state actors”, i.e. Al Qaeda, Taliban and other “terrorist” suspects. Bush consequently signed a directive the following month, implementing this OLC memo and the word went out that gave rise to the abusive conditions at Guantanamo and other military detention sites.)
The term I’ve personally used for this new culture of “permissiveness” is “the green light”. Unless you worked in the system, you might not recognize what the insidious “green light” is. I’ve tried to warn over and over that the green light will eventually go out and the people down the line who have gone along under its influence instead of resisting in accord with their previously ingrained sense of right and wrong are likely to pay a heavy price. Phillips’ book documents that soldiers are now taking their own lives years after having participated in the abuse occasioned by the culture of permissiveness under Bush.
Instead of extinguishing the green light, Obama’s signing of the NDAA could well signal an even worse one being turned on than occurred with Bush’s torture memos.
(Originally submitted to the Huffington Post.)
The political, military industrial, corporate class in Washington DC continues to re-make our constitutional republic into a powerful, unaccountable military empire. On Thursday, the US Senate voted 93 to 7 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 which allows the military to operate domestically within the borders of the United States and to possibly (or most probably) detain US citizens without trial. Forget that the ACLU called it “an historic threat to American citizens”, this bill is so dangerous not only to our rights but to our country’s security that it was criticized by the Directors of the FBI, the CIA, the National Intelligence Director and the US Defense Secretary! For the first time in our history, if this Act is not vetoed, American citizens may not be guaranteed their Article III right to trial.
Continue reading “Obama Should Veto NDAA to Save the Republic”
Justin Elliott had a good piece in Salon yesterday, which we featured here. But when I went to read it, the subtitle made me laugh out loud.
“The president promised early on to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. What changed?”
What changed? LOL. Nothing. Anything Obama said that didn’t involve escalating something — he shook his fist at Pakistan even when “bomb bomb Iran” McCain was cautious about bombing a nominal ally — was a total lie. Seriously, the man hasn’t kept any campaign promises. Even domestic stuff like Obamacare was a betrayal of his progressive base — it just duped the left into getting on board a plot to deliver all of us into the clutches of the corporate insurance oligarchy. How did we really think the wars would go?
I’m not saying I had good judgment myself; I thought he’d be marginally better than Bush on foreign policy. Instead, he is worse in every way. And yet there are still partisans who slaver over him as long as he’s still preceded by that magic D. Democrat, not Disgusting. He shot bin Laden in the f’n face! PROGRESSIVE!
Not to go on too long, as I can. Nothing changed, Justin Elliott. Obama was and is a liar, especially on Iraq. But hey, leaving a few troops in Iraq when he said he’d take them all out (well, aside from thousands upon thousands of contractors) gives him the opportunity to end the Iraq War three times! A true peacemaker.