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US Plans Permanent Occupation of Iraq

January 17, 2020

Cyprus. January 1987. Demonstration Against U.S. Bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia, As I recall, there were 100,000 people protesting their presence on the island. 

Source: US Plans Permanent Occupation of Iraq

Stephen Lendman Global Research – January 12, 2020

The US plans permanent occupation of numerous nations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and other countries it attacked preemptively.

It’s up to officials of these countries and mass public opposition to end US occupation through the power of resistance

Pentagon bases are platforms for endless wars, including against host and neighboring countries.

So-called status of forces (SOFA) agreements establish the framework under which US forces operate abroad — serving its own interests at the expense of occupied nations and their people.

Chalmers Johnson explained SOFAs as follows, saying:

“America’s foreign military enclaves, though structurally, legally, and conceptually different from colonies, are themselves something like micro-colonies in that they are completely beyond the jurisdiction of the occupied nation,” adding:

“The US virtually always negotiates a ‘status of forces agreement’ (SOFA) with the ostensibly independent ‘host’ nation.”

They’re a modern day version of 19th century China’s “extraterritoriality” agreements. Read more…

Letter to University of Denver Korbel School of International Studies Dean, Graduates Ask for Debt Relief

January 14, 2020

University of Denver campus. Fall, 2013

(for more info: korbelalumforstudentdebtreform@gmail.com) 

Dear Dean Mayer,

We, the undersigned alumni, are writing to address the Korbel Administration’s recent decision to lower the number of credits required to graduate with a master’s degree, resulting in the school’s tuition being lowered from $53,000 per year to $38,000 per year per student.

We acknowledge and appreciate that the tuition reduction will help reduce barriers to entry within higher education and enable more aspiring and diverse students to pursue a career in international studies. However, we would be remiss not to mention that we, as recent Korbel graduates, are under the intense strain of student loan debt.

It is widely acknowledged that the United States is facing a crisis of student debt. Student debt is now at $1.5 trillion, and we are just a few of the 45 million people affected. While it receives less attention, graduate studies account for 40% of government debt, up from 32% in 2002, and data from 2016 indicate that 51% of student-loan carrying households have at least one member with an advanced degree.

In short, the burden of debt is unsustainable, and among other issues, is contributing to a growing inter-generational wealth gap that is affecting us both financially and emotionally.

Though we value our education and the opportunities that were available to us through Korbel, the burden of debt resulting from the loans we took out to cover the cost of our education is crippling, and, for some, may never be paid off. In light of the school’s decision to lower its tuition, we each respectfully request from Korbel a refund of $15,000 per year of enrollment.

Read more…

Stalingrad by Vasiliy Grossman

January 13, 2020

The well worn notion that  good – if not great – literature could not see the light of day in Soviet Union is just a bunch of hooey.

Just finished this wondrous book, Stalingrad, and am now reading the sequel – Life and Fate – both by Vasiliy Grossman. It held my attention for all of its 1053 pages. Together the two books are 1900 pages so reading them – and they should be read together – is not for the weak willed.

Why am I reading Grossman?

In part because I am tired and frustrated at the venom being spewed about Russia today – you know the stuff about the Russians supposedly being the reason that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest. The anti-Russian anti-Putin propaganda is so shrill now that it surpasses that which targeted the Soviet Union during the Cold War. That combines with a near total lack of appreciation of NATO’s on-going attempts to balkanize the former Soviet Union – now Russia – even further.

So this is one reason… but there are others. Two specifically come to mind

1. The role of the battle of Stalingrad in turning the tide against Nazi-ism in WW2
2. that whole trajectory of Soviet History. It rise – culminating in its victory over fascism in WW2 followed by its fall and ultimate collapse in 1991. Read more…

No to War with Iran! The Wounded Beast Syndrome…U.S. Assassinates Iranian General Qassim Suleimani in a Heliocopter Attack: Two Days After the Iranian Attack on U.S. Bases in Iraq: Just when we think Trump has “hit bottom” we learn, “there’s a bottom below.”

January 9, 2020

some of the five-to-seven million Iranians mourning the murder of General Qassem Suleimani. Teheran, Iran. January 6, 2020

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Main point where it comes to both the damages done to the base and U.S. personnel casualties: more and more it appears the damage was seriously understated by Trump at his press conference. There are several reasons why Trump would lie, exaggerate in the way he did.

– The first is simply but poignantly to save face. Say what you like, the United States just suffered a major strategic defeat in the Middle East which Trump is trying to cover it.  The Iranians demonstrated that they had both the technical means and the audacity to challenge Washington. It was the United States that has been first discredited and now humiliated by Iran and not visa-versa. 

– Then there is the more practical reason – the danger of follow up attacks on U.S. bases and personnel in the region. The Iranians showed that it is possible to stand up to Washington militarily. What conclusions will others draw from this? And now a region-wide campaign to shut down U.S. military bases in the Middle East and neighboring countries is underway.

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1.

So… This is the last of these brief updates in the series “No to War with Iran! The Wounded Beast Syndrome…U.S. Assassinates Iranian General Qassim Suleimani”. Now we are two days after the Iranian attack on two U.S. military bases in Iraq – Ain Assad, a tad northwest of Baghdad – and the Erbil base in the northern region of the country.

There is a certain amount of relief that the cycle of attacks – the U.S. murder of Iranian General Suleimani followed by the Iranian attack on the two U.S. military bases – has ended for the moment. Had it continued – and few knew if it would or not – the dangers – not just to regional peace, but to world peace cannot be overstated.

Having led us to the brink – first by trashing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran Nuclear Deal) and imposing increasingly punishing sanctions on Iran, then by the cold and calculating assassination – murder that is – of one of the most important political figures in Iran, Qassim Suleimani – the Trump Administration is responsible for this escalation of tensions and for the military tit-for-tat that it entailed. It has backfired politically.

The Trump Administration might get a point (well half a point) for pulling back from the brink but it cannot escape the fact that the entire crisis was “made in America.” Read more…

Project Rulison and Edward Teller’s Wet Dream: Nuking the Colorado Rockies for Natural Gas in the late 1960s, early 1970s

January 9, 2020

Nuclear Fracking in the Colorado Mountains in the early 1970s and the movement to prevent it.

 

No to War with Iran! The Wounded Beast Syndrome…U.S. Assassinates Iranian General Qassim Suleimani in a Heliocopter Attack: The Day After – The Iranian missile attacks on two U.S. bases in Iraq

January 8, 2020

Two US military bases targeted by Iranian missile attack – January 7, 2020

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Still, a bit of a retreat “from the brink”… temporarily.

What is missing is a turn in policy which would shift Washington’s emphasis from regime change in Iran to the normalizing of relations a la joint comprehensive plan of action… but then…we’re far from that. And then there is the question of an Iraqi response to the killing of one of its leading politicians, Abdul Mahdi al Muhandis.

That said from a broader perspective, the future of U.S. bases throughout the Middle East has just become increasingly precarious…

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Again, in the spirit of not-too-long responses to the day’s events but some main points to help folk understand what is unfolding.

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Did NOT have a very good night’s sleep worried about whether we’re headed for a major regional conflagration in the Middle East but decided it was useless to stay up all night getting updates and resisted the temptation to do so.

Will post on the consequences over the next few days. Am getting the sense that Trump greatly understated how damaging this Iranian missile attack was both militarily to the bases…and to U.S. political prestige. Let’s see what shakes out.

Bottom line: Trump blinked.

Last night – in response to a number of inquiries from friends and several others, I wrote the following on social media:

And we are committed to work for PEACE which now seems so far away. And in the end, that is what we have always done and will continue to do. But sometimes when it seems the furthest away, it is right around the corner. Maybe, maybe not.

Is it that “peace” is right around the corner? No, but…

But rather than a ratcheting up of tensions, both the Iranians and the Trump Administration are trying to cool down the situation.

  • As if to bring the point home, this morning, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, whom the Trump Administration has denied entry into the country to address the UN General Assemby , was quick to announce that “Iran says it has concluded its response to the U.S. strike and does not seek escalation.”
  • The more we learn about the missile strike, the more likely it was big on symbolism (ie – see, we can hit your military bases hundreds of miles away) but light on firepower. There are already initial reports that the actual bombs in the missiles purposely had no explosive power to minimize damage. Some of the missiles landed near and not in the U.S. bases. Consider that in September Iranian missile technology was accurate enough to bring down a major U.S. communication drone while avoiding a plane full of high level U.S. officers.

Considered what the Iranians could have done…this was from a military viewpoint a mild response, but  a highly political one.

It underlines the beginning of a political campaign to remove U.S. bases and military personnel from the Middle East. It focuses the world’s attention on the network of bases, the U.S. naval fleet in the region and makes it very clear that all this forward basing in the Middle East has a flip side to it as the bases and U.S. military personnel become easy targets not just for Iranian missiles but for the growing complex of anti-American movements throughout the region.

As for the Trump Administration response:

Surprisingly to me – President Trump did not turn to the air waves and issue some kind of bombastic statement. To the contrary, like his Iranian counterpart, Zarif, Trump simply tweeted “All is well.”

Then, surrounded by gang of Christian-Zionist, Neo-cons and Pentagon folks – add Netanyahu types and there, in a nutshell is his base – this morning Trump delivered disconnected response to the Iranian missile attack the main points of which were – after the usual chest beating and distortions of Iranian intentions:

– Well… it appears – no escalation. of course positive; maybe I’ll sleep better tonight

–  Trump intends to increase sanctions (what is left? has he found a way to cut off the air Iranians are breathing?) …

–  Through the bombast, or in spite of it, it appears that rather escalate the U.S. military role in the region that Trump is at least suggesting (at the same time he’s sending more troops and jet bombers to the region) that he wants to extricate the U.S. from Middle East – turn the mess – mostly U.S. manufactured – over to the Europeans (while still making the strategic decisions) through NATO… which as you know he’s kicked around quite a bit.

– Still, a bit of a retreat “from the brink”… temporarily.

What is missing is a turn in policy which would shift Washington’s emphasis from regime change in Iran to the normalizing of relations a la joint comprehensive plan of action… but then…we’re far from that. And then there is the question of an Iraqi response to the killing of one of its leading politicians, Abdul Mahdi al Muhandis.

That said from a broader perspective, the future of U.S. bases throughout the Middle East has just become increasingly precarious…

Film Showing – 1948: Creation and Catastrophe: A Documentary About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

January 8, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

3-5 pm

Augustina Lutheran Church

5000 E. Alameda at Fairfax, Denver

please use the Fairfax Street entrance

 

sponsored by Sabeel – Colorado. http://sabeelcolorado.org