United for Peace of Pierce County, WA - We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy.

VIDEO: Donetsk Republic leaders say they want independence from Ukraine

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Below is a link to an under-reported 30-minute press conference given to announce the formation of "the armed forces of the Donetsk National Republic," which are now fighting Ukrainian forces with some success in eastern Ukraine, as well as an introduction by a sympathizer who arranged for its translation into several languages.[1,2]  --  The press conference was held on Aug. 24 (the anniversary of Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union, in 1991).  --  The goal is no longer an autonomous status within a federal Ukraine, but independence from Ukraine.  --  Federalization through referendum would have been possible three months ago but "[n]o federalization can be possible today" because "too much blood has been spilled" and the Ukrainian campaign against them represents "a nationalistic ideology that has no respect for human life."  -- Besides, "Ukraine of the East and the West is an artificially created conglomerate," they said.  --  "Unfortunately, dear journalists, the West tries to invade us with a regularity of 30-50 years," said 38-year-old Alexander V. Zakharchenko, chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic.  --  "The First World War [1914-1918], the Great Patriotic War [eastern campaign of World War II, 1941-1945, which they accuse the West of failing to report], the Crimean war [1853-1856] before that and so on well into the depths of history."  --  He spoke approvingly, however, of the "European ideals of equality, fraternity, and the French revolution."  --  The rebels said they are getting help from "volunteers," but made light of the charge that Russia has sent units to fight.  --  If that were the case, Zakharchenko said, "[w]e'd be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov."  --  "Of course, the Russian help would be very desirable, but from a political point of view it is impossible and unrealistic."  --  They refuted the charge that they are "terrorists."  --  The real goal of Kiev in the present campaign, they said, is the resources of the region, such as shale gas.  --  "Kiev and the West made a big mistake by awaking us."  --  They said that Kiev has concealed the number of casualties inflicted on Ukrainian forces.  --  "Let everybody know if you received a 'missing in action' letter, then most likely, your husband, brother, or son got killed." ...

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NEWS & VIDEO: Poroshenko appeals for help to West; Putin calls conflict 'immense tragedy'

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In reporting on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's urgent appeal to E.U. leaders for help against what he called a Russian campaign of "military aggression and terror," the New York Times failed to remind Poroshenko that it was he himself who, on the night of June 30-July 1, unleashed the campaign of military aggression and terror to which Russia is responding.  --  From the Ukrainian point of view, this is on Ukrainian territory, so by definition Ukraine is within its rights.  --  But this neglects the fact that Poroshenko's presidency is the culmination of a series of events that are difficult to justify and that weaken the legitimacy of his decision to wage a civil war against the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine.  --  The fact is that each side is clinging to a historical account it holds dear, that each side is invoking the dangerous passions of nationalism, and that it is hard to find any commentators who are not committed to one side or the other.  --  Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest comments on the situation, made at two-and-one-half-hour Q&A session at a summer camp of hundreds of young academics, can be viewed at the site below.[2]  --  Putin's remarks are dismissed as propaganda in Western media, but they deserve more attention than they are getting.  --  Putin told his listeners that "our Western partners with the support of fairly radically inclined and nationalist-leaning groups carried out a coup d'état [in Ukraine].  --  No matter what anyone says, we all understand what happened.  --  There are no fools among us. . . . This was a case of the United States and European countries getting fully involved in a change of power, an anti-constitutional change of power carried out by force, and the part of the country that does not accept this change is being suppressed with brute military force and the use of planes, artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, and tanks.  --  If this is what today's European values are about, then I am more than disappointed." ...

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NEWS: As Ukrainian forces fall back, NATO says it may consider Ukraine's application to join

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The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine were "gaining ground after weeks of losses."[1]  --  What the Wall Street Journal described as "a volunteer unit fighting for Kiev" was "forced to abandon two key villages on a road linking Luhansk to Russia," Gregory L. White said.  --  The Journal used the euphemism "Kiev's forces" to disguise the fact that Ukraine's military strategy has involved bombardment by regular army forces followed by urban fighting by supposedly patriotic but often neo-fascist militias.  --  The Journal used the passive voice in order not to identify who is doing the targeting and killing, but did not that "[c]ivilians trying to flee the conflict have been targeted and killed."  --  Also on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen "indicated NATO could consider Ukraine's application to join the alliance, shortly after Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced he was putting Ukraine on course for NATO membership," BBC reported.[2] ...

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TRANSLATION: New book sees capitalism conquering last frontier, sleep

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If you're reading this late at night or in the middle of the night, you're corroborating the thesis of a new book published by Verso:  Jonathan Crary's 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep.  --  Jacques Dubois discussed the Columbia professor's ideas on Thursday in an article posted on the French news website Mediapart and translated below.[1] ...

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 06:37 Read more...
 

NEWS & COMMENT: NATO charges 'severe escalation' by Russia in eastern Ukraine

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Russian officials continue to deny any presence in Ukraine, but NATO said Thursday that Moscow has "well over 1,000 troops" there, the Financial Times reported.[1]  --  A NATO commander said Russia was giving air defense systems, artillery, tanks, and armored personnel carriers to separatists and published satellite images that seemed to corroborate the claim, Peter Spiegel, Neil Buckley, Roman Olearchyk, and Geoff Dyer said.  --  Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an "address to the militia of Novorossiya [New Russia]," congratulated separatists on "intercepting Kiev’s military operation."  --  Putin's statement was issued about two hours before the Financial Times article dateline, at around 1:00 a.m. Moscow time (2:00 p.m. PDT), and seemed timed for Western news cycles.  --  U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, speaking to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, accused Russia of lying "outright."   --  But U.S. President Barack Obama did not describe the latest events as a Russian invasion.  --  "Despite the increased tensions, some analysts warned against calling the increased Russian presence in Ukraine an 'invasion,' as some Western leaders did, the Financial Times said.  --  "'If Russia was invading, you would know about it,' said one person familiar with the Kremlin’s thinking." --  This was not the view of the Washington Post, however.  --  Under the headline "Russian armored columns said to capture key Ukrainian towns," its Thursday evening report led with this sentence:  "Russian soldiers, tanks, and heavy artillery began rolling into southeastern Ukraine in earnest Thursday, the Ukrainian government said, as well-armed detachments captured key towns, burned buildings, and sent the under-equipped Ukrainian forces into full retreat -- a show of military force that the United States now considers an invasion in all but name."[2]  --  Annie Gowen and Anne Gearan cited unnamed "U.S. officials" who said "that they consider the escalation of recent days tantamount to a Russian invasion."  --  COMMENT:  These reports neglect to point out that the current fighting in eastern Ukraine was initiated by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and has included shelling Russian-speaking civilians in major cities; more than a thousand civilians have been killed inside Ukraine, according to Al Jazeera America (Aug. 4, 2014).  --  It is interesting to note that in accounts on Wikipedia, the fact is occluded that it was President Poroshenko who unleashed full-scale fighting on June 30-July 1, despite efforts of Russia to negotiate a cease-fire.  --  There was no need to consult regional experts to realize that there was little likelihood that Vladimir Putin would allow pro-Russian separatists to be crushed by Western-backed Ukrainian forces without some form of intervention.  --  Although Russia is being framed as an expansionist aggressor in Western corporate-owned media, Putin's actions, since a democratically elected government was violently overthrown by a Western-backed putsch in February, are in fact principally defensive and have so far been, considering the power of the Russian army, rather restrained....

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 17:42 Read more...
 

NEWS: Russia accused of 'stealth invasion' of Ukraine 50 miles south of Donetsk

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Western and Ukrainian officials are saying that for the third time this week, Russia has moved troops, weapons, and armored vehicles across the border into Ukraine at Novoazovsk, near Mariupol, near the Sea of Azov coast, about fifty miles south of Donetsk, the New York Times reported late Wednesday.[1]  --  While Russia has not acknowledged the movements, it has "signaled that they would not countenance a defeat of an insurgency in the heavily Russian eastern part of Ukraine," Andrew E. Kramer and Michael R. Gordon said.  --  Ukrainian troops are retreating from the region, and some Ukrainian soldiers refused to fight, Kramer and Gordon said.  --  "Exhausted, filthy, and dismayed, some Ukrainian soldiers staggering out of Novoazovsk for safer territory said they were cannon fodder for the attacking forces."  --  In the U.S., the State Department said that "a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway" in Ukraine.  --  "Some Western officials fear the move might even be a step in what they suspect is a broader Russian strategy to carve out a land link to Crimea."  --  Russian artillery "has the potential to alter the balance of power in the struggle for control of eastern Ukraine," according to Western military officials.  --  The Washington Post reported that Russia was also "sending new troops to the Crimean border," several hundred miles away.[2]  --  Fox News reported that "A senior U.S. defense official said Wednesday that Russian troops have fired missiles inside Ukraine at central government military positions."[3]  --  Fox reported "overnight deliveries of materiel" and attributed them to "separatists."  --  But it reported that "U.S. intelligence suggests that at least 1,000 Russian troops are now fighting inside Ukraine" and groused that the State Dept. spokesperson said only that "President Obama and European allies will discuss Ukraine at next week's NATO summit" and "didn't outline any imminent steps Washington was considering." ...

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NEWS: US assembling coalition to wage war on ISIS

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Unnamed "administration officials" told the New York Times on Tuesday that President Barack Obama "has begun to mobilize a broad coalition of allies" to wage war on the Islamic State (a term the Times still declines to use, in favor of "ISIS," a fact complicated still further by Obama's preference for "ISIL").[1]  --  In a speech to the American Legion (a venue Dick Cheney famously used in 2002 to announce to roll out the administration's intent to make war on Iraq -- a war then-Illinois State Senator Obama called "dumb"... does he really think this one is "smart"?), the American president again pronounced the group a "cancer" that must be "root[ed] out," Helene Cooper and Mark Landler reported.  --  "The countries likely to be enlisted include Australia, Britain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, officials said."  --  But this coalition, should it ever get off the ground, will be a fractious one, given the fact that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the one hand, and Turkey and Qatar, on the other, are backing different sides in the civil war in Libya, as the Times reported late Monday.[2]  --  Cooper and Landler outlined a number of other internal divisions the coalition will face, and also suggested the dubiousness of the Obama administration's claim that a new war does not need congressional authorization, given the fact that both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have expressed contrary views....

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:18 Read more...
 

NEWS: Second British MH17 victim formally identified

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The British Foreign Office has confirmed that Glenn Thomas's body has been identified among the remains recovered from the MH17 air disaster, the BBC reported Tuesday.[1]  --  The London Guardian said that the body of the esteemed WHO official was the second to be formally identified from among the ten Britons known to have been traveling on Flight MH17.[2]  --  The BBC and the Guardian attributed no blame for the Boeing 777 disaster that killed Thomas, but the London Independent said that Flight MH17 had been "downed by suspected pro-Russia rebels."[3]  --  The Blackpool Gazette said it was not known when his body would be flown back to Great Britain.[4]  --  COMMENT:  None of these articles even say where the victims of the MH17 downing are at present, so it's unsurprising they have no critical intelligence to spare to address the question of why Glenn Thomas died.  --  (On their location: the bodies from MH17 that were recovered on the ground in Ukraine have been flown to a Netherlands Army medical regiment training facility in Hilversum, about twenty miles southeast of Amsterdam, where an international team is conducting the investigation.)  --  FURTHER COMMENT:  These stories are a good example of what Nick Davies calls the "churnalism" that characterizes contemporary British journalism.  --  The careful reader will find various phrases and sentences repeated, indicating it's likely they were all produced from a Press Association version based on bland and probably unconfirmed press releases and official statements.  --  Where once there were hundreds of journalists at work in Britain, today a few dozen reporters are expected to cover "both houses of parliament, 410 local councils, the national network of criminal and civil courts, 43 police services and police authorities, the environment and transport, 151 primary care trusts, 150 local education authorities, consumer affairs, family finance, science and industry, sudden deaths, human interest, show business, religion, and the royal family," Davies laments.  --  To expect critical reporting from such a media system would be to expect a silk purse from a sow's ear.  --  In fact, Press Association reporters "say they would be breaking their own in-house rules if they started challenging speakers," Davies reported....

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NEWS: Worst Ebola epidemic and its socioeconomic & security impact underestimated, WHO says

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The worst Ebola outbreak on record (1,427 deaths among 2,615 known cases since March 2014) and the first to affect West African nations and their heavily populated capitals is worse than generally believed, because of "[f]amilies hiding infected loved ones and the existence of 'shadow zones' where medics cannot go . . . the World Health Organization said on Friday," Reuters reported.[1]  --  A WHO spokesman said it was believed that "six to nine months" would be needed to bring the epidemic under control, Stephanie Nebehay and Clair MacDougall said.  --  (For the epidemic to be considered over, two incubation periods, or 42 days in total, need to have passed without a confirmed case.)  --  The head of Médecins Sans Frontières complained Thursday "that the fight against Ebola was being undermined by a lack of international leadership and emergency management skills."  --  Countries near Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, where almost all of the epidemic's cases so far have been observed, are increasingly apprehensive.  --  Senegal blocked a U.N. aid plane from landing and is banning all further flightes from affected countries.  --  Gabon is also suspending air and sea links.  --  The WHO fears such restrictions may lead to food and supply shortages in the area of the epidemic.  --  The London Independent said that unreported cases were believed to be particularly significant in Sierra Leone and Liberia.[2]  --  "The WHO said that 'virtually all health services have shut down' in [Monrovia, the Liberian capital, a city of almost 1 million], leading to a healthcare crisis beyond the impact of Ebola itself, with people forced to go without basic medical care," Charlie Cooper said.  --  "Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the WHO, told the *Independent* it was not possible to estimate how many unrecorded Ebola cases and deaths had been caused.  --  'It is not just being underestimated in terms of figures, but also in terms of the social, economic and security impact,' he said."  --  The USFDA says that "Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public."[3]  --  Its latest update stated that the FDA hopes to in the future, but at present has no "medical products approved and manufactured for wide-scale use to address the Ebola outbreak."[4]  --  But it has authorized use of "an Ebola diagnostic test, developed by DoD," that may "help facilitate an effective response to the ongoing outbreak in West Africa by helping to rapidly identify patients infected." ...

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UFPPC statement: Tribute to James Wright Foley

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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

TRIBUTE TO JAMES WRIGHT FOLEY

August 21, 2014

In the face of the all-too-human horror of the journalist James Wright Foley's death this week at the hands of an Islamic State executioner, we are at a loss for words.  Yet something must be said.  We find that something in the words of one of the most original poets of her time, Marianne Moore (1887-1972).

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NEWS & COMMENT: Foreign reporters arrested in Ferguson

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On Monday veteran Die Welt reporter Ansgar Graw was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, for doing his job, Public Radio International reported Tuesday.  --  Because he paused to take some photographs after a police officer warned him to keep moving, he was arrested and handcuffed.  --  Graw said he has "been in several conflict zones . . . the civil war regions in Georgia, the Gaza strip, . . . the Kaliningrad region . . . , Iraq, Vietnam, and in China, I've met Cuba dissidents.  But to be arrested and yelled at and be rudely treated by police?  For that I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis in the United States of America."[1]  --  "At least eleven reporters have been arrested and detained since the protests began," Matthew Bell said.  --  Graw was one of three German journalists arrested, and their arrests have "sharpened international scrutiny of the the events in the small Missouri city, where protests continue over the fatal shooting by a white police officer of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown," the Hollywood Reporter said.[2]  --  But a Google News search suggests that U.S. media are downplaying the arrest of journalists.  --  The New York Times, for example, has only mentioned Ansgar Graw's arrest in a piece that sardonically frames foreign complaints about American police-state practices as hypocritical and extreme.[3]  --  COMMENT:  This matter deserves more than sarcasm from the Times about RT's "neo-Soviet zeal."  --  Academic works like Mary L. Dudziak's highly praised Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton UP, 2001) have shown that "the Cold War helped facilitate key social reforms, including desegregation.  --  Civil rights activists gained tremendous advantage as the government sought to polish its international image.  --  But improving the nation's reputation did not always require real change.  --  This focus on image rather than substance -- combined with constraints on McCarthy-era political activism and the triumph of law-and-order rhetoric -- limited the nature and extent of progress."  --  As we see in Ferguson....

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:25 Read more...
 

COMMENTARY: Is jihadism mostly 'adolescent strop'?

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The spectacle of eager recruits for the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS) reminds Guardian columnist Michael White of other fanaticized youths in history who were eager to fight and risk their lives for some cause:  "the British army's eager, naive volunteers [of] 100 Augusts ago," the Irish Republican Army, and "Catholic and Protestant zealots" of Europe's 16th-century wars of religion, in particular; for some reason White does not mention the French Revolution, though he does mention the Spanish Civil War.[1]  --  If White is to be believed, jihadism is mostly to be attributed to "adolescent strop."  --  (Strop is a Britishism that Cambridge defines as "a bad mood, especially one in which a person will not do what they are asked and is unpleasant to other people.")  --  Given "how utterly in thrall" these jihadists seem to be to "so-called 'Western' technology and behavior," the Guardian associate editor concluded, a year from now we will no longer be "talking about ISIS."  --  COMMENT:  If Michael White takes seriously his historical parallels, his conclusion is hard to justify....

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 23:38 Read more...
 

BACKGROUND: US police are so deeply militarized that more Fergusons are inevitable

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How feigned must be the shock of federal officials who, à propos of Ferguson, speak with surprise and dismay of something they have been fostering for decades:  the militarization of local police forces.  --  "[T]he federal government has been driving this trend for decades," said Robert Hennelly, who has observed the militarization of U.S. police up close as he reported on recent national political conventions.[1]  --  BACKGROUND:  The inquiring reader will find quite a bit of material on the militarization of American police on this website, since militarism is one of UFPPC's bêtes noires.  --  But police militarization in the U.S. goes far beyond equipment.  --  See, for example, UFPPC's critical synopsis of Dave Grossman's On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace (3rd ed., 2008), a text much used in U.S. police training, which seeks to persuade them that they are "warriors in blue," that "[i]t may well be that we are a turning point in history, a new era, a time for warriors," that this is a time of crisis that may lead to "a new ear of stability and civic order," and that "warriors may well be the 'midwife' of the crisis" (On Combat, pp. xix & 367-69).  --  Hennelly is right:  "more Fergusons are coming." ...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 05:55 Read more...
 

NEWS: Back to Iraq -- US expanding war aims, using land-based bombers, promising help in Anbar

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Surprise, surprise:  the return of the U.S. military to combat in Iraq was not only about (1) protecting U.S. personnel and (2) preventing genocide.  --  U.S. war aims have expanded to include pushing ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State forces from the Mosul Dam, and Reuters reported Sunday that President Obama "had informed Congress he authorized U.S. air strikes in Iraq to help retake control of the Mosul Dam."[1]  --  He declared that this was "consistent" with the aim of protecting U.S. personnel.  --  The Associated Press noted that "The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign."[2]  --  And so the expansion of aims in the Fourth Iraq War begins.  --  Last week, Anbar Provincial Governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi told Reuters that "Americans had promised to help" in Anbar with "air support against the militants," among other things.[3]  --  The promises seem to include boots on the ground there, since al-Dulaimi said that "it will be very soon and there will be a presence for the Americans in the western area."  --  Although "U.S. diplomats and a senior military officer" were involved in making the promises, the Pentagon seemed embarrassed by the story and said it had no comment, Reuters reported.[4]  --  The State Dept. claimed that U.S. officials are only "having conversations about what it (any security assistance) might look like in the future, but nothing concrete beyond that."  --  COMMENT:  If you believe that, we have a bridge to sell you....

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 00:53 Read more...
 

NEWS: US expands bombing campaign in Iraq

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U.S. bombing in Iraq expanded dramatically Saturday to include airstrikes near the Mosul dam in what the Los Angeles Times described as "the first joint operation with Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces attempting to retake the strategic northern facility from Islamist militants."[1]  --  The military denied that this represented an expansion of the war aims President Barack Obama articulated in early August, because, said one spokesman, "We've talked about protecting critical infrastructure before," and reporters Shashank Bengali, David S. Cloud, and Patrick J. McDonnell dutifully pretended to believe them.  --  "U.S. Central Command said in a statement that warplanes had conducted nine airstrikes Saturday near the dam and the city of Irbil, the heaviest day of attacks since the air campaign began, destroying or damaging 'four armored personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armored vehicle.'"  --  Meanwhile, an Islamic State massacre of Yazidis refusing to convert took about 80 men's lives; the women and children of the village of Kocho, about ten miles from Mt. Sinjar, were taken away by Islamic State fighters, the London Guardian reported.[2] ...

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NEWS & COMMENTARY: Confusion in eastern Ukraine typical of neo-Orwellian 21st century

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On Friday afternoon, after a day of conflicting reports about the situation in eastern Ukraine, "what we don't know" predominated in Vox's summary of "what we know and what we don't know."[1]  --  What we know is what various officials have said.  --  We know that NATO and Ukraine have declared that Russian military vehicles (NOT the 280-vehicle humanitarian aid convoy organized by Moscow, but some other vehicles) made a cross-border incursion Thursday night.  --  And we know that Russia has called that report a "canard."  --  But we don't know, Zack Beauchamp and Max Fisher said, whether Russian tanks have crossed into Ukraine, or whether (as Ukraine claims) it fired on Russian vehicles.  --  Above all, we don't know what Russia's plans and intentions are, and we don't know what NATO, the U.S., and Europe will do if Russia does send forces into Ukraine.  --  The Financial Times of London reported Friday evening that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the Ukrainian attack on Russian vehicles in a telephone call to British Prime Minister David Cameron, and speculation was mounting "that the attack would trigger a Russian invasion" as "dozens of Russian military vehicles, including columns of tanks, sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and armored personnel carriers were observed maneuvering in the hinterlands on Russia’s side of the border."[2]  --  But Russia's Defense Ministry said "that the convoy that allegedly crossed the border into Ukraine did not exist, and such statements based on fantasy and assumptions should not be seriously discussed."  --  "Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu in a telephone call to his U.S. opposite number Chuck Hagel 'guaranteed' there were no Russian military personnel involved in the humanitarian convoy, nor was the convoy being used as a pretext to further intervene in Ukraine," Sam Jones, Roman Olearchyk, and Courtney Weaver reported.  --  NATO "played down the risk of an imminent escalation of the crisis" and said that the Russian incursion it had observed "is just the continuation of what we have seen for some time."  --  AFP reported that "As the fallout snowballed, Ukraine's foreign minister announced he will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Berlin on Sunday for talks alongside the top diplomats from France and Germany."[3]  --  COMMENT:  The confused situation in eastern Ukraine is typical of 21st-century international crises.  --  In the 21st century, states do things while claiming they're not and deny they're doing what they are doing.  --  Official announcements are not statements of facts, but part of a pre-arranged plan.  --  They are Information Operations in a neo-Orwellian Bizarroworld whose information supersaturation creates broad zones of mystery and perplexity.  --  In the 21st century, Israel pretends to be seeking peace, a cease-fire, and a two-state solution while pursuing war, escalation, and Eretz Israel.  --  European Union leaders claim their top priority is jobs but adopt policies that ensure greater unemployment.  --  And the United States deplores the militarization of domestic police forces as it gives free military equipment to police....

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 23:55 Read more...
 

BACKGROUND: How Israel evaded White House & went directly to Pentagon, Congress (WSJ)

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During the conflict in Gaza Israel has "pushed the administration aside" and "secur[ed additional] supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without [the White House's and State Department's] approval," as a result "driv[ing] U.S.-Israeli relations to the lowest point since President Barack Obama took office," the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.[1]  --  Adam Enthous provided details of how Israel again and again outflanked the White House by going directly to the Pentagon, breaking protocol, and lying publicly about Secretary of State John Kerry's thinking.  --  "A senior U.S. official said the U.S. and Israel clashed mainly because the U.S. wanted a cease-fire before Mr. Netanyahu was ready to accept one. "  --  "The last straw for many U.S. diplomats came on Aug. 2 when they say Israeli officials leaked to the media that Mr. Netanyahu had told the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, that the Obama administration was 'not to ever second-guess me again' about how to deal with Hamas." ...

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 05:05 Read more...
 

BACKGROUND: 'Israel's real reasons for invading Gaza this time around'

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In this piece, posted Monday on The Pierce Progressive website, Linda Frank pulls together a large number of links to material useful for getting to the reality behind the pro-Israel propaganda that dominates American mainstream media.[1]  --  Linda Frank is a member of a chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace in Pierce County, WA.

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NEWS: Senator calls for congressional vote as Obama sends still more advisers to Iraq

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The Pentagon announced Tuesday it had sent 130 additional military personnel to Iraq, raising yet again the number of U.S. troops on the ground there, USA Today reported.[1]  --  "Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called on the White House to seek congressional approval for the airstrikes in Iraq," Tom Vanden Brook said.  --  "Kaine supports the humanitarian mission but emphasized that the administration needs congressional authority to continue the attacks." ...

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BACKGROUND: Shortage of supplies & enemy's ferocity caused early-August Kurdish setbacks

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Why did the peshmerga fail to hold back Islamic State jihadists in Kurdistan in early August?  --  Der Spiegel said Monday that the Kurdish fighters were overcome by their ferocity and hindered by their lack of supplies, but Katrin Kuntz and Christoph Reuter also suggested the the Islamic State's reputation for appalling cruelty also played a role.[1] ...

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NEWS: Putin forces Poroshenko to accept relief to eastern Ukraine under Red Cross auspices

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President Vladimir Putin had already made clear his intention to send "an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine," citing a document from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to buttress his case for intervention, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had called the chances of Russian military intervention "high," Reuters reported early Monday.[1]  --  A Russian force including tens of thousands of troops, scores of fighter jets, attack helicopters, tanks, and missile launchers, and hundreds of armored vehicles and artillery systems, was massed on the border.  --  This situation appears to have caused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to blink, and, after long resisting the idea, on Monday Poroshenko announced an agreement on a plan.  --  Its purpose:  to "get aid to civilians trapped in embattled eastern Ukraine after Moscow agreed to submit to International Committee of the Red Cross oversight and the participation of Western governments," including (according to Ukraine) the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported Monday afternoon.[2]  --  According to Ukraine, "there will be no Russian [military] forces, no soldiers," in the relief effort, USA Today reported.[3]  --  But many observers are convinced that a relief effort will lead to a forceful Russian intervention, which is why Ukraine has till now opposed it.  --  The devil is in the details, and the head of international Red Cross operations said that "The practical details of this operation need to be clarified before this initiative can move forward," the Financial Times of London said late Monday.  --  A Financial Times reader commented on the complex situation:  --  "VVP [i.e. Putin] has two unpalatable options:  to invade and incur even greater sanctions and international isolation; or allow the separatists to be defeated and lose face domestically.  --  Having raised ad pumped up the expectations of the people, it is going to be very difficult to manage down the rhetoric and return to some semblance of normality with Russia's neighbors.  --  The trouble is that even the former allied near abroad neighbors, Belarus and Kazakhstan, don't trust VVP an inch now either.  --  This leaves the EEU [the Eurasian Economic Union, created in 2014 by a treaty signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus and set to go into effect in 2015] a broken reed and leaves the door open for the Chinese 'March Westward.'" ...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 August 2014 00:53 Read more...
 
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Upcoming

2014 PEACE PICNIC! -- Sun., Aug. 31, 2pm-dusk @ Gig Harbor viewpoint on 5 Mile Drive in Point Defiance Park. -- Potluck; UFPPC provides charcoal fire, hot dogs, & hamburgers (meat or veg). -- Games (bring some!), Peaceful Pie Contest w/ ribbons to winners. -- Free door prizes and raffle tickets sold for prizes. -- See you there!

Meeting schedule

United for Peace of Pierce County meets 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (621 Tacoma Avenue South).

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