Posts Tagged ‘peace’

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She doesn’t mention that “regime change” is a war crime, a clear breach of the UN Charter. But still, she’s the hottest member of Congress…

 

Her bill died with only 3 cosponsors. That is our criminal Congress in a nutshell.

 

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Only 99¢ Right Now

 

Repost of Kieran Kelly’s Review of Transfixion:


 

Fast-paced, thought-provoking and at times moving.

by K.R. Kelly


COVER-FINAL-texture - -3 copy.jpgTransfixion
is in the speculative fiction genre that has really come to dominate in the young adult market, and it is a good example of why the genre is popular.

Author J. Giambrone hits the ground running. The reader is not left with much time to draw breath as action piles on action. The pace never flags throughout the book which transitions from a place of surrealism and suspense through watershed moments of growing clarity. In time it reaches a climax in which concrete reality has been recovered – though only through the brave efforts of a protagonist who refuses to let go of her humanity when the entire world has turned dangerously insane.

Transfixion mines some of the same veins of disquiet that have fueled the success of the Hunger Games trilogy, but where Suzanne Collins aims for emotional effect and pathos Giambrone aims for something more elusive – a moral understanding of violent conflict. The result is a bit like what might have happened if Frantz Fanon had got hold of the script of 28 Days Later and insisted that denying the humanity of the zombies would only cause the normal people to become zombies: “There had to be a solution to win without becoming just like them.”

But the “dupes” in this book aren’t zombies – they are anti-zombies. Zombies have stood for many things in political allegory, but they almost always embody the epitome of the enemy “other”. They are implacably violent; they are usually mindless or, if not, they are utterly deranged; they are always incurable. In short, they are unquestionably legitimate targets for violence who are to be killed without compunction. In films zombies are killed for self-defence, but there is also a common tendency, first established in Dawn of the Dead, for protagonists to prolifically splatter zombie brains just in order to perform banal tasks like going from place to place.There is no reason too trivial to be worth taking the “life” of a zombie.

In short zombies are the human-shaped essence of life undeserving of life. Transfixion‘s “dupes” turn this notion on its head. These are every bit as implacably violent as any crazed zombie, but even more deadly for their ruthless and calculating rationality. For those embattled few survivors of the shock and awe of the initial onslaught of violence, the dupes are zombies. You kill them and you don’t think about it, or at least pretend not to. The dupes could literally be their brothers and sisters, but the shared humanity is forgotten by both and lost in both. One side is driven mad by a brain-altering signal, and the other side simply follows suit in many respects.

Young Kaylee Colton resists this amnesia and the disjuncture which creates a rift in humanity. In a brutal world she struggles to recreate a sense that she herself is a real person: “She was not herself, and she wasn’t sure which version of herself she wasn’t.” But, she never quite loses sight of the personhood of the other – even the knife-wielding maniac who will kill her without compunction. And she is right.

The reader is taken inside the mind of a dupe and find not the haze of hatred, but a different sense of reality. Now we are in the territory of Philip K. Dick – the science fiction author for whom reality was fragile and fungible not just in epistemological terms but in political, psychological and social terms. Under the guise of “out there” explorations of drugs and virtual reality, Dick made many astute political and social observations. He explored the significance of what academics would now refer to as a “subject position” decades before the term was coined. To put it another way, Dick’s writing and Transfixion have more in common with Battlestar Galactica than with The Matrix.

And that is the problem of the dupes. They are not different in nature. They are not inhuman. It is the mental landscape they inhabit that is different. That is not to say that their reality is somehow valid. The world they inhabit is not only ultimately senseless, it is extremely limited. The filters through which they see everything turn these human beings into remorseless killers who act like mindless zombies without the mindlessness. For this, Giambrone gleefully indicts the medium of television – the carrier signal of their derangement: “The sign on the door said “Editing,” and a sickly blue glow throbbed out from inside the dark chamber.”

Any young adult who has read this review this far should probably read Transfixion. The novel is a lot more accessible than my review and I really haven’t given any major spoilers. Despite all that I have written, it is still basically action driven and all of the political and philosophical considerations are delivered as subtext.

For adults the above also applies, but if you are thinking of acquiring it for a young person to read I have just one caution. Transfixion is very much in the soft science-fiction/speculative fiction allegorical idiom. The sense of suspense and mystery may lead more literally minded youngsters to think that the resolution will involve the standard denouement where the villain is unmasked and vanquished. This does not happen. Some will definitely find that unsatisfying, but then maybe it might cause them to reflect on the nature of such conventions.


TRANSFIXION e-book is available for 99¢ through Amazon, but this offer expires midnight on Friday 3/25.

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Pope Francis continues to pound away at the glaring criminality of the empire.

Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian

“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.

He also criticised those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.”

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Russia hosted an international conference to bring together the nations that oppose US and NATO warmongering. Nations included Russia, China, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Greece and others.

Did a Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition opposing NATO debut in Moscow?

All of them addressed Washington’s multispectral warfare that has utilized color revolutions, like EuroMaidan in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, for regime change. Shoigu cited Venezuela and China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as failed color revolutions.

Foreign Minister Lavrov reminded the attendees that the possibilities of a dangerous world conflict were increasing due to the lack of concern by the US and NATO for the security of others and a lack of constructive dialogue…

…it is only possible to meet common challenges and preserve the peace through collective, joint efforts based on respect for the legitimate interests of all partners,

…During a meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, [Russian Defense Minister] Shoigu emphasized that Moscow’s military ties with Beijing are its overriding priority.” In another bilateral meeting the defense honchos of Iran and Russia confirmed that their cooperation will be part of the cornerstones of a new multipolar order and that Moscow and Tehran were in harmony in their strategic approach to the US.

A direct challenge to the “New World Order”:

S-300S-300 Missile Launchers

[Chinese] Minister Wanquan flatly told the MCIS that a fair world order was needed.

The new arms race is touched upon also.

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A plan to stick the dogs of war back in their cages…

A Global Security System: An Alternative to War

The Work of World Beyond War

World Beyond War is helping build a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. We believe the time is right for a large-scale cooperation among existing peace and anti-war organizations and organizations seeking justice, human rights, sustainability and other benefits to humanity. We believe that the overwhelming majority of the world’s people are sick of war and ready to back a global movement to replace it with a system of conflict management that does not kill masses of people, exhaust resources, and degrade the planet.

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Executive Summary

Resting on a convincing body of evidence that violence is not a necessary component of conflict among states and between states and non-state actors, World Beyond War asserts that war itself can be ended. We humans have lived without war for most of our existence and most people live without war most of the time. Warfare arose about 6,000 years ago (less than .5% of our existence as Homo sapiens) and spawned a vicious cycle of warfare as peoples, fearing attack by militarized states found it necessary to imitate them and so began the cycle of violence that has culminated in the last 100 years in a condition of permawar. War now threatens to destroy civilization as weapons have become ever more destructive. However, in the last 150 years, revolutionary new knowledge and methods of nonviolent conflict management have been developing that lead us to assert that it is time to end warfare and that we can do so by mobilizing millions around a global effort.

Here you will find the pillars of war which must be taken down so that the whole edifice of the War System can collapse, and here are the foundations of peace, already being laid, on which we will build a world where everyone will be safe. This report presents a comprehensive blueprint for peace as the basis of an action plan to finally end war.

It begins with a provocative “Vision of Peace” which may seem to some to be utopian until one reads the rest of the report which comprises the means for achieving it. The first two parts of the report present an analysis of how the current war system works, the desirability and necessity of replacing it, and an analysis of why doing this is possible. The next part outlines the Alternative Global Security System, rejecting the failed system of national security and replacing it with the concept of common security (no one is safe until all are safe). This relies on three broad strategies for humanity to end war, including thirteen strategies for 1) demilitarizing security and twenty-one strategies for 2)managing conflicts without violence and 3) creating a culture of peace. The first two are the steps to dismantling the war machine and replacing it with a peace system that will provide a more assured common security. These two comprise the “hardware” of creating a peace system. The next section, eleven strategies for accelerating the already developing Culture of Peace, provides the “software,” that is, the values and concepts necessary to operate a peace system and the means to spread these globally. The remainder of the report addressesreasons for optimism and what the individual can do, and ends with a resource guide for further study.

While this report is based on the work of many experts in international relations and peace studies and on the experience of many activists, it is intended to be an evolving plan as we gain more and more experience. The historic end of war is now possible if we muster the will to act and so save ourselves and the planet from ever greater catastrophe. World Beyond War firmly believes that we can do this.

See full table of contents for A Global Security System: An Alternative to War

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US Nato chief called out by German sources for lying about situation in Ukraine:

Germany slams NATO European commander’s comments on Ukraine as ‘dangerous propaganda’ – Spiegel

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This is the third cease fire deal. The Kiev Nazis violated all previous agreements.

The Minsk ceasefire deal, point by point

Here is the breakdown of the deal:

1. A comprehensive ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. Comes into force at 00.00 (Kiev time) on February 15.

Reuters / Maxim Shemetov

Reuters / Maxim Shemetov

2. A pullout of heavy weapons. The parties agreed to a compromise disengagement line. Kiev is to pull artillery and other hardware from the current frontline while the rebels would do it from the frontline as it was in September, before they gained ground in a January counter-offensive. The OSCE-monitored safety zone would be 50 km to 150 km wide for weapons, depending on their range. The pullout is to be completed by March 1.

A Ukrainian army tank. Reuters / Maxim Shemetov

A Ukrainian army tank. Reuters / Maxim Shemetov

3. The OSCE will use its drone fleet and monitors on the ground, as well as satellite images and radar data to ensure that both parties stick to the deal.

Reuters / Nikolai Ryabchenko

Reuters / Nikolai Ryabchenko

4. Kiev and the rebels will negotiate the terms for future local elections in the rebel-held areas, which would bring them back into Ukraine’s legal framework. Kiev would adopt legislation on self-governance that would be acceptable for the self-proclaimed republics.

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

5. Kiev will declare a general amnesty for the rebels.

Fighters of the self-defense forces in Uglegorsk.(RIA Novosti / Nikolay Hizhnyak)

Fighters of the self-defense forces in Uglegorsk.(RIA Novosti / Nikolay Hizhnyak)

6. An exchange of all prisoners must be completed by the fifth day after full disengagement. That’s in 19 days, if the weapons pullback takes the full time provided for by the deal.

Prisoners of war who returned to the Donetsk People's Republic after the "all-for-all" prisoner exchange between the Donetsk People's Republic's people's militia and Ukrainian special forces, on December 26, near Konstantinovka, Donetsk suburb.(RIA Novosti / Igor Maslov)

Prisoners of war who returned to the Donetsk People’s Republic after the “all-for-all” prisoner exchange between the Donetsk People’s Republic’s people’s militia and Ukrainian special forces, on December 26, near Konstantinovka, Donetsk suburb.(RIA Novosti / Igor Maslov)

7. Humanitarian aid convoys will be allowed full access to the needy in the war-affected areas. An international monitoring mechanism will be provided.

A column of trucks with a Russian humanitarian aid during the formation of a thirteenth humanitarian convoy for Donbas in the settlement of Kovalevka in the Rostov Region.(RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov)

A column of trucks with a Russian humanitarian aid during the formation of a thirteenth humanitarian convoy for Donbas in the settlement of Kovalevka in the Rostov Region.(RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov)

8. Kiev will restore economic ties, social payments and banking services in the dissenting areas, which it cut earlier in response to the elections held by the self-proclaimed republics. Their respective governments will resume taxation and payment for utilities. This provision is subject for further negotiation.

Citizens of Donetsk queue up to the main office of Oschadbank (State Savings Bank of Ukraine) in the city's Universitetskaya Street, 11.17.2014.(RIA Novosti / Masha Ross)

Citizens of Donetsk queue up to the main office of Oschadbank (State Savings Bank of Ukraine) in the city’s Universitetskaya Street, 11.17.2014.(RIA Novosti / Masha Ross)

9. After the local elections are held in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Kiev is to restore control over their borders with Russia. The transition may take time, which would be needed for a comprehensive constitutional reform in Ukraine.

Line of vehicles at the Uspenka checkpoint in the Donetsk Region on the border between Ukraine and Russia.(RIA Novosti / John Trast)

Line of vehicles at the Uspenka checkpoint in the Donetsk Region on the border between Ukraine and Russia.(RIA Novosti / John Trast)

10. All foreign troops, heavy weapons and mercenaries are to be withdrawn from Ukraine. Illegal armed groups would be disarmed, but local authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk would be allowed to have legal militia units.

Victor Lenfa, commander of a French volunteer team fighting for the rebels in Eastern Ukraine.(Screenshot from RT video)

Victor Lenfa, commander of a French volunteer team fighting for the rebels in Eastern Ukraine.(Screenshot from RT video)

11. Keiv will implement comprehensive constitutional reform by the end of the year, which would decentralize the Ukrainian political system and give privileges to Donetsk and Lugansk. The privileges include language self-determination, the freedom to appoint prosecutors and judges, and to establish economic ties with Russia.

Verkhovna Rada meeting.(RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko)

Verkhovna Rada meeting.(RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko)

12. The OSCE’s election monitors are to see that local elections in the self-proclaimed republics are up to international standards. The exact procedure for the elections is subject to further negotiations.

RIA Novosti / John Trast

RIA Novosti / John Trast

13. Talks between the “contact group” will be intensified in various ways.