News Releases

“Congress Welcomes an Actual Fascist as Nazi Violence Rages in Ukraine”

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MAX BLUMENTHAL, maxjblumenthal at gmail.com, @MaxBlumenthal
Blumenthal is senior editor of the Grayzone Project. He just wrote the piece “Congress welcomes an actual fascist as Nazi violence rages in Ukraine,” which includes video of his questioning and background information.

Blumenthal writes: “While racist violence raged through Ukraine, punctuated by a wave of attacks on Roma encampments by the state-funded C14 neo-Nazi militia, Congress played host to an actual Ukrainian fascist. He was Andriy Parubiy, and besides being the proud founder of two Nazi-like parties — the Social-National Party and the Patriot of Ukraine — he was the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament.

“During a meeting hosted by the American Foreign Policy Society inside the Senate, I seized the chance to ask Parubiy’s hosts why they were welcoming a figure who was so central to the extremism overtaking Ukrainian society. I also put the question to Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon official who helped deepen the U.S. relationship with post-coup Ukraine during the Obama administration.

“The responses I received reflected a semi-official policy of denying the very existence of Ukraine’s far-right plague in order to turn the heat up on Moscow.

“The Ukrainian lawmaker appeared on a panel alongside fellow speakers of Eastern European parliaments eager to join the U.S.-NATO crusade against Russia in exchange for handsome aid packages. At the top of the agenda was stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, a project viewed in Washington as an existential threat to U.S. economic leverage over Europe.

“Earlier in the day, Parubiy held private discussions with the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and enjoyed what Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thomson described as an ‘excellent meeting’ with a ‘proactive’ leader.”

Is NATO Obsolete? Does it Destabilize?

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DAVID GIBBS, dgibbs at  email.arizona.edu
Gibbs is professor of history at the University of Arizona, and author of the 2009 book First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, published by Vanderbilt University Press.

He writes: “Donald Trump is raising legitimate concerns about the security value of the NATO alliance, given the very high expense of maintaining this alliance, borne in part by the U.S. public. By any reasonable standard, NATO lost its function in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since then it has functioned as a make-work program for a series of vested interests, while it has generated global insecurity and destabilization. The NATO-directed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, for example, destabilized Libya and the whole of northern Africa, generating new sources of terrorism. While foreign policy specialists are rightly suspicious of anything Trump says, in this particular case, his statements have a measure of truth.”

 

If Catholic Anti-Nuclear Weapons Activists in North Korea or Iran Were Jailed

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On Monday, attorneys filed motions to dismiss all criminal charges against the Kings Bay Plowshares in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia. The seven Catholic defendants are “charged with three federal felonies and one misdemeanor for their actions in going onto the Naval Base at Kings Bay Georgia and symbolically disarming the massive amount of nuclear weapons at that base.” The group states that their actions are “to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares.’” The seven are: Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy, Jesuit Fr. Stephen Kelly, Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta and Elizabeth McAlister (the widow of Philip Berrigan). See legal update on the case: KingsBayPlowshares7.org/impact.

The request to dismiss ends the supporting memorandum with the following paragraph: “If the defendants took their actions in North Korea or Iran, the U.S. government would hail their actions. The same U.S. government cannot be allowed to criminally prosecute them at home. The charges should be dismissed.” …

The group states: “The Motion to Dismiss is supplemented by four important declarations…

“Professor Francis Boyle, a renowned Harvard Law graduate and professor of law at the Illinois College of Law, advised the court that nuclear weapons are flatly illegal and the actions of defendants are in full compliance with the law.

“Captain Thomas Rogers, a retired career Navy commander of nuclear armed submarines, told the court that nuclear weapons violate the principles of the laws of war and are both illegal and immoral.

“Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton declared that the actions of the Kings Bay Plowshares are totally consistent with and supported by Catholic social teaching that any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is totally immoral.

“Jeffery Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, explained to the court the fact that his organization and the American Medical Association condemn any use of nuclear weapons because of the horrific impact upon millions, perhaps even billions, of people.

“The Kings Bay Naval Station is home to at least six nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Each submarine carries 20 Trident II D 5 MIRV thermonuclear weapons. Each of these individual Trident thermonuclear weapons contains four or more individual nuclear weapons ranging in destructive power from a 100 kilotons to 475 kilotons. To understand the massive destructive power of these weapons remember that the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a 15 kiloton bomb.”

For interviews and more information, see KingsBayPlowshares7.org and contact:

JESSICA STEWART, (207) 266-0919, PAUL MAGNO, kingsbayplowshares at gmail.com

Also, see coverage of Plowshares movement in the National Catholic Reporter.

Left Populist Wins in Mexico

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Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, overwhelmingly won the Mexican presidential election Sunday.

GUADALUPE CORREA-CABRERA, gcorreac at gmu.edu, @gcorreacabrera
She is an associate professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Her newest book is titled Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico.

MARGARITA FAVELA, dfavelag at unam.mx
Favela is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

MARK WEISBROT, ALEXANDER MAIN, REBECCA WATTS, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net, @ceprdc
Weisbrot, Main and Watts are with the Center for Economic and Policy Research. See the group’s statement: “Mexico Votes Overwhelmingly for ‘Change’ by Electing López Obrador President,” which highlights problems of disinformation, low wages, inequality, crime and corruption.

CHRISTY THORNTON, christy.thornton at jhu.edu, @llchristyll
She is an assistant professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University. She was an election observer for the Scholar and Citizen Network for Democracy. She is currently writing a book about Mexican economic history. She appeared on “Democracy Now” today and among other things, traced the political history of López Obrador. Contrary to the comparisons between him and Trump, Thornton said he is a populist but “is really something more like a Bernie Sanders.”

MANUEL PÉREZ-ROCHA, manuel at ips-dc.org, @ManuelPerezIPS
Just back in the U.S. from Central America, Pérez-Rocha is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is from Mexico and has written extensively about U.S.-Mexican relations, especially regarding NAFTA. See his recent commentary “Failed U.S. Economic Policy Contributed to Asylum Seekers.”

Ocasio-Cortez Victory: * Socialism * Democratizing the Democratic Party

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory over Joe Crowley, who was high in the Democratic Party leadership, has drawn attention in part because she calls herself a democratic socialist. It has also highlighted the tensions within the Democratic Party, especially given the recent changes on superdelegates.

VICTOR WALLIS, zendive at aol.com
Wallis is author of the new book Red-Green Revolution: The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism. He was just recently on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release on ecosocialism.

Norman Solomon (who is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy) just wrote the piece “What Joe Crowley’s Defeat Has to Do With Democratic Party Superdelegates“: “In a simple and symbolic twist of fate, the stunning defeat of Crowley came a day before the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party voted on what to do about superdelegates. … [It] approved a proposal to prevent superdelegates from voting on the presidential nominee during the first ballot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.”

RICHARD ESKOW, rjeskow at gmail.com, @rjeskow
Eskow is senior advisor, health and economic justice, for Social Security Works and is the host of The Zero Hour on Free Speech TV. His previous pieces include “Democrats Need More Democracy, Not Less.”

He just wrote the piece “How to Cover a Political Revolution“: “Ocasio-Cortez’s defeat of Crowley shows that the organizer’s approach to electoral politics can work. While Crowley raked in money from deep corporate coffers — after years spent trimming his political opinions to optimize donor cash flow — Ocasio-Cortez eschewed the party establishment’s model of raising money for costly media buys and expensive consultants. Instead, she relied on small-dollar donors and an activist-based, community-centered ground game that carried the day. …

“Ocasio-Cortez’s candidacy puts the lie to the party establishment’s claim that there is a conflict between class and identity politics. A millennial Latina woman, she campaigned on a working-class platform of social — and socialist — change.”

Janus Decision: Why Does Labor Keep Losing?

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New York Times reports: “Supreme Court Ruling Delivers a Sharp Blow to Labor Unions.”

RICHARD D. WOLFF, rdwolff@att.net, @profwolff
Wolff is professor of economics emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and currently visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. His most recent book is Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown. He is a contributing author to Living in a Socialist USA.

He said today: “The Janus decision is the latest in a long 50-year series of blows against organized labor. Organized labor agreed after World War II to play by the rules of a capitalist system that gave lip service to the right of workers to organize to improve their bargaining position with capitalists. But beneath the lip service was an endless program to weaken and destroy organized labor by direct legislative attack and by a massive, ongoing program of celebrating capital and capitalists (‘entrepreneurship’ ‘job-givers’ etc.) while demonizing labor unions. Organized labor could have met and defeated that program, but that would have required a close, working alliance between labor and the left (as exists in other countries) and advocacy of basic social change toward an economic system that prioritizes labor. To date, and with few exceptions, organized labor in the U.S. has avoided such an alliance and such advocacy. That avoidance was and remains a losing strategy as the Janus decision illustrates yet again.”

Wolff is host of the program “Economic Update” and founder of Democracy at Work.

Pogroms in Ukraine

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LEV GOLINKIN
Golinkin is the author of A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, a memoir of Soviet Ukraine, which he left as a child refugee. Since the book’s release, he’s had pieces in the New York TimesWashington Post and numerous other outlets.

He just wrote the piece “Sorry, Howard Dean, Pogroms In Ukraine Are Not ‘Russian Propaganda’” for The Forward.

Golinkin writes: “It has reached the point where U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe — certainly not an arm of the Kremlin — is now filing regular reports about Roma pogroms and neo-Nazi street gangs, some of which are supported by the government — the very government we’re giving billions to. It’s reached the point where American Jewish organizations, which are some of Kiev’s strongest advocates, are starting to sound alarms. In fact, it’s reached the point where Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and U.S.-funded Freedom House issued a terrifying joint report warning that Kiev is in danger of losing control over monopoly of violence and rule of law.

“Most concerning, however, are the Roma pogroms. Last week, Ukraine had its sixth pogrom in two months. This time, they killed a man and stabbed a child.

“Have you seen the videos? They’re blood-chilling.

“I know what it’s like to run down Ukrainian streets chased by men screaming for the vermin to leave their country, so I guess I have a soft spot for the Roma predicament. And considering the U.S. is funding the Kiev government — which is allowing this to happen — I’d rather speak out than be silent and complicit.”

Last month, Golinkin wrote the piece “Violent Anti-Semitism Is Gripping Ukraine — And The Government Is Standing Idly By.”

Recent Pentagon Increases Exceed Russia’s Entire Military Budget

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WILLIAM HARTUNG, williamhartung55 at gmail.com, @WilliamHartung
Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at Center for International Policy. He is author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex. He recently wrote the paper “Ready to Profit: Corporate Beneficiaries of Congressional Add-Ons to the FY 2018 Pentagon Budget.”

He said today: “The House of Representatives’ $716 billion Fiscal Year 2019 Pentagon spending bill is one of the largest since World War II.  Spending at this level is both dangerous and unnecessary. It’s good news for Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other weapons contractors, but bad news for the rest of us.

“The increase in Pentagon spending in the last two years alone is greater than Russia’s entire military budget.

“The bill continues to waste billions of dollars on a new generation of nuclear weapons, part of the Pentagon’s planned $1 trillion-plus nuclear weapons buildup over the next three decades. Even many advocates of nuclear deterrence acknowledge that other countries could be prevented from attacking the United States with a fraction of its current arsenal of over 6,000 warheads. And the only true way to protect us from nuclear weapons is to get rid of them altogether by supporting the global ban that passed the United Nations General Assembly last year.

“The new Pentagon spending bill will also continue to underwrite America’s seven current wars, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Niger, and Yemen.  America’s post-9/11 wars have done more harm than good, resulting in over 370,000 deaths on all sides at a cost of $5.6 trillion and counting, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University. Congress should be acting to end these devastating conflicts, not continuing to fund them.”

Mattis Visits China While “Provocatively Encircling” It

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Pentagon head Jim Mattis is “set to begin a three-day visit to China on Tuesday at a time of rising military tensions between the two countries” reports the South China Morning Post.

MICHAEL KLARE, mklare at hampshire.edu, @mklare1
Klare is professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources. He will begin as senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association next week.

He just wrote the piece “Girding for Confrontation: The Pentagon’s Provocative Encirclement of China,” which states: “On May 30th, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a momentous shift in American global strategic policy. From now on, he decreed, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), which oversees all U.S. military forces in Asia, will be called the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). The name change, Mattis explained, reflects ‘the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans,’ as well as Washington’s determination to remain the dominant power in both. …

“Consider the backdrop to the name change: in recent months, the U.S. has stepped up its naval patrols in waters adjacent to Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea (as has China), raising the prospect of future clashes between the warships of the two countries. Such moves have been accompanied by ever more threatening language from the Department of Defense (DoD), indicating an intent to do nothing less than engage China militarily if that country’s build-up in the region continues. ‘When it comes down to introducing what they have done in the South China Sea, there are consequences,’ Mattis declared at the Shangri La Strategic Dialogue in Singapore on June 2nd. …

“In addition to its plans to heighten naval tensions in seas adjacent to China, the Pentagon has been laboring to strengthen its military ties with U.S.-friendly states on China’s perimeter, all clearly part of a long-term drive to — in Cold War fashion — ‘contain’ Chinese power in Asia. On June 8th, for example, the DoD launched Malabar 2018, a joint Pacific Ocean naval exercise involving forces from India, Japan, and the United States. Incorporating once neutral India into America’s anti-Chinese ‘Pacific’ alliance system in this and other ways has, in fact, become a major twenty-first-century goal of the Pentagon, posing a significant new threat to China.”

“No Way to Treat a Child”

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JENNIFER BING, jbing at afsc.org, @nwttac

BRAD PARKER, brad.parker at dcips.org
Parker is international advocacy officer and attorney for Defense for Children International – Palestine. Bing is director of the Palestine-Israel program for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group.They co-lead the No Way to Treat a Child campaign. See: NoWayToTreatAChild.org.

They will be hosting a congressional briefing on Monday.

The campaign states: “Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children each year in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections.

“Children within the Israeli military detention system commonly report physical and verbal abuse from the moment of their arrest, and coercion and threats during interrogations. Under Israeli military law, Palestinian children have no right to a lawyer during interrogation.

“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank has been widely documented. In 2013, UNICEF released a report titled ‘Children in Israeli military detention: Observations and recommendations.’ The report concluded that ‘ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.'”

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