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The CIA, JFK, Oliver Stone, and FOR

I've written previously on this site, and elsewhere, of my feelings that JFK and the Unspeakable was the most important book of 2008. Written by Jim Douglass, a long-time Catholic Worker anti-war and disarmament activist who along with his wife Shelley have been leaders in the Fellowship of Reconciliation for many years, the book is not only a look back at the amazing period of John F. Kennedy's transformation from a Cold War politician to an advocate for peace — it offers a framework for viewing the dangers and hopes we might foresee during the Obama years.

Iran's internal affairs: Keep the U.S. out

As Congress prepares to consider more Iran sanctions, it should also consider that confrontational U.S. policies have come nowhere close to changing Iran's behavior in the last 30 years. On the other hand, in reaction to a contested election, the Iranians have formed an unprecedented home-grown movement for political expression through their own resources, their own desire for democratic progress, and their own sacrifices.

No coercive American government policy — be it threat of force or punitive sanctions or negative broadcast propaganda — is responsible for the wave of mass public protest that has taken Tehran by storm and split its political and religious establishments over the last month.

The Korean War has not ended

In the minds of many of us in the West, the Korean War concluded decades ago — indeed, before I was even born. But that is not factually the case, as a permanent peace treaty was never signed by the United States to officially end the conflict. In recent months, despite the heightened rhetoric about North Korea's nuclear capabilities and bellicose attitude toward international agencies (including the United Nations), Korean and Korean-American activists have increased efforts to press for such a treaty.

Words from prison

Earlier this week, I shared words written by Mairead Corrigan Maguire while in prison in Israel. Now I just received a postcard from a friend in Sweden, Martin Smedjeback, who had just been released after four months in prison.

Martin and I met two years ago when he traveled through the United States, learning about civil disobedience tactics and various forms of spiritually-centered peace activism here — we attended the first U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta together (mark your calendars: the dates for the second U.S. Social Forum have just been announced: July 22-26, 2010 in Detroit, under the banner of "Another World Is Possible; Another U.S. Is Necessary!").

A Renewed Monroe Doctrine? Pentagon proposes 5 U.S. bases in Colombia

July 16, 2009: Oakland, CA: In a stunning development, the United States is negotiating for the use of five military facilities in Colombia in an agreement whose objectives include “filling the gaps left by the eventual cutting of [military] aid in Plan Colombia,” according to sources in Washington and Bogotá cited by an explosive article published in this week’s Cambio magazine.

The five bases, which replace a U.S. base in Manta, Ecuador, closing in September, would expand the U.S. military mission to include counter-narcotic operations, involvement in Colombia’s counterinsurgency war, and combating “other international crimes,” according to Colombia’s Foreign Minister.

U.S. & Colombia discuss major military bases agreement

A map locates Colombian military bases that may soon share space with U.S. military forcesEarlier today, the Fellowship of Reconciliation reported on negotiations between the Obama administration and Colombia President Álvaro Uribe's administration toward as many as five U.S. military bases in Colombia. This stunning proposal was confirmed later today in an Associated Press story authored by journalist Frank Bajak (The map at left locates Colombian military bases that may soon share space with U.S. military forces):

News: A U.S. Military "End Run"

  • U.S. Military Sites Set to Replace Plan Colombia
  • Letter from the Field: The View from San José
  • "Restrict or Neutralize": Offensive Intelligence Unveiled
  • Uribe Left Washington Chastened
  • U.S.-Funded Death Squad-Tied Unit
  • News Briefs: Afghan Lesson; New Colombia Resource

U.S. Military Sites Set to Replace Plan Colombia

By John Lindsay-Poland

The United States is negotiating for the use of five military facilities in Colombia, in an agreement whose objectives include "filling the gaps left by the eventual cutting of [military] aid in Plan Colombia," according to sources in Washington and Bogotá cited by an explosive article published July 1 in the weekly Cambio magazine.

Hope for returning veterans

Bill Scheurer, coordinator of the Peace Garden Project and a national council member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, had a great piece published this week on Truthout. His article, "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: Hope for Returning Veterans," profiled the growing number of cases of the "invisible wounds" of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The Sotomayor hearings

I was fascinated by many of the opening comments delivered today in the U.S. Senate hearings for the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. It seemed that one could quickly discern the tacts that many senators will take in their questioning and examination of the candidate for associate justice of the court — and indeed what their vote will ultimately be.

Jewish and other activists address Gaza blockade

Twelve days ago, Israeli authorities stopped a boat in the Mediterranean Sea carrying a group of international human rights activists who sought to deliver medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been suffering under an Israeli blockade for more than six months. The "Spirit of Humanity" ship included activists from eleven countries, including Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, cofounder of the Peace People movement based in Northern Ireland, and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was also a 2008 presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket.