War and Peace

Witnesses and Photos Sought of Ocean Beach’s ‘Most Violent Day’ in History

March 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB Collier-Pk-riot-2-edIt’s coming up on the 44th anniversary of the most violent day in the history of Ocean Beach – the March 28, 1971 Collier Park Riot. After San Diego police charged a peaceful gathering of hundreds of OBceans, young people and students, street fighting between cops and civilians broke out – and for hours a riot raged in north OB, from what today is Collier Park, all the way to the beach, about a mile.

It was the day that Ocean Beach was – in a real sense – like Ferguson, Missouri.

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The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories

February 10, 2015 by Source

By Christian Christensen /Common Dreams

chopper pilotThe news that NBC’s Brian Williams was not, in fact, on a helicopter in 2003 that came under fire from an Iraqi Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) should come as a surprise to no one.

Williams had repeated the lie on several occasions over the course of a decade until a veteran, who was on the actual helicopter that was attacked, had enough of Williams’ war porn and called the TV host out on Facebook. In a quite pathetic effort to cover his tracks, the anchor — who makes in excess of $10 million per year — claimed that his fairy tale was, in fact, “a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women” who had served in Iraq.

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The American Sniper As Hero

January 26, 2015 by Source

American SniperBy FDRDemocrat/ Daily Kos

The controversy over the movie American Sniper has predictably reopened the divide among many Americans over the Iraq War. What is more interesting is how the choice made by director Clint Eastwood to choose a sniper as a heroic archetype unravels classic notions of what is considered heroism.

The concept of heroism has been with humanity since the beginning. At it’s heart it contains a common thread where the hero (or heroine) risks themselves for the sake of others.

How then to adapt the heroic archetype to the profession of sniper? This is no easy task.

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Women’s Perspectives and Changing Roles In the US and Iraq War

November 17, 2014 by Source

By Lori SaldañaLeigh_Ann_Hester_-_high_res women in the military

In March 2010, Katherine Bigelow made history at the Academy Awards, by winning in the Best Director category. This was the first time a woman had done so in the Academy’s history. She won for her film “Hurt Locker,” about men who disarm IED’s (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq.

“Hurt Locker” was also was named Picture of the Year, and won for Best Sound Editing- so congratulations for all that, too, Ms. Bigelow. Well done.

If you haven’t seen it, “Hurt Locker” is an amazing and suspenseful film — with hardly a woman character in it.

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Veterans Day 2014

November 11, 2014 by Source
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In observance of Veterans Day 2014, we turn to a series of posts that our online media partner, San Diego Free Press, has been running this week, “War and Peace Week”.

War and Peace Week at the San Diego Free Press by Anna Daniels

Drill Team (a paean, not to the war machine) by Jay Powell


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Hold on to Freedom

November 11, 2014 by Source

War-on-TerrorSBy Bob Dorn

Freedom. A word we don’t hear lately, cheated of life by politicians who told us that’s what wars are for.

After all those wars fought in its name, did we lose the concept, freedom? What took its place? Hate? Maybe that’s what’s left. … We’ve been suffocated by war; our culture is dying from it.

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Twelve Years Ago Today OB Held Its Largest Peace Rally This Century

October 27, 2014 by Marc Snelling
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By Marc Snelling

Last month Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, who was elected to end two wars, addressed the nation to announce an open-ended bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. As the Afghanistan War (now the longest in American history) and the conflict in Iraq continue it is clear Obama has failed to live up to his election promises.

Not only has his administration failed to live up to it’s word to end two wars and close Guantanamo prison, he has even changed his tune about the initial invasion. The US “sought to work within the international system” he said earlier in March of this year at a speech in Brussels. Obama further declared the the US had “left Iraq to it’s people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about it’s own future.”

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Obama: Europe’s biggest disappointment

October 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Why Europeans fell out of love with Obama – and the United States

by Christian Christensen / Aljazeera America / October 2, 2014

As we approach the 2014 midterm elections in the United States — the unofficial start of Barack Obama’s lame duck presidency — it is worth considering how the once giddy European love affair with Obama will come to a close. It might not be in an acrimonious George W. Bush–style divorce, but it is likely to end in disappointment and regret.

Europe had great expectations when Obama became president. A few were met, but most were not.

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Marjorie Cohn: Obama Declares Perpetual War

September 23, 2014 by Source
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By Marjorie Cohn / Truthout / Sept. 15, 2014

President Barack Obama escalated the drone war he has conducted for the past five and a half years by declaring his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or ISIL. Since August 8, Obama has mounted at least 154 airstrikes in Iraq. He will send 475 additional US troops, increasing the total number in Iraq to about 1,600.

Obama announced he would conduct “a systematic campaign of airstrikes” in Iraq, and possibly in Syria. But, not limiting himself to those countries, Obama declared the whole world his battlefield, stating “We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are . . . if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

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What really happened at the Battle of San Pasqual? Come to OB Historical Society Presentation – Sept. 18th

September 18, 2014 by Staff
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Come to the OB Historical Society presentation, Thursday, September 18th for “the Battle of San Pasqual – Looking Through the Haze of Gunsmoke” – featuring local historian Richard L Carrico.

Ever wonder what really happened at the Battle of San Pasqual on Dec.6-7, 1846? Who really won the battle between Andres Pico and the Californios and General Kearny and the American forces?

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Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine

September 9, 2014 by Source
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Exclusive: With a new Amnesty International report on possible war crimes by a Ukrainian militia against ethnic Russians in the east, the evidence is mounting that the U.S.-backed Kiev regime knowingly deployed extremists, including neo-Nazis, as part of a conscious strategy, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry / Consortiumnews.com/September 8, 2014

In the Ukraine crisis, U.S. and European politicians and media have relentlessly condemned Russia for violations of international standards, particularly Moscow’s acceptance of Crimea’s hasty vote to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. But the West has gone nearly silent regarding Kiev’s violation of rules for controlling armed militias, including neo-Nazi forces.

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Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

August 12, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Robert Dodge, Ira Helfand / Common Dreams

As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues.

Nagasaki A-bombThat said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war. We have long known that the consequences of large scale nuclear war could effectively end human existence on the planet.

Yet there are more than 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world today with over 95% controlled by the U.S. and Russia.

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OB Historical Society: “World War II Comes to OB” – July 17th

July 15, 2014 by Source

Ocean Beach Historical Society Presents

“WWII Comes to O.B.”

Featuring Dedi Ridenour
Thursday, July 17, 7PM
at P.L. United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B.

Be transported back to the frightening start of WWII in O.B. by hearing an Ocean Beach native Dedi Ridenour tell of hearing “WAR IS DECLARED!”,

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Reshaping the Vietnam Narrative

June 18, 2014 by Source
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The Vietnam War was a turning point in U.S. history but not as many people may think. In defeat, the national security state changed the narrative into one that made American soldiers the victims and made anti-war activists into traitors who spat on returning soldiers, as Marjorie Cohn explains.

By Marjorie Cohn / Consortiumnews.com

We came dangerously close to nuclear war when the United States was fighting in Vietnam, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told a reunion of the Stanford Anti-Vietnam War Movement in May 2014. He said that in 1965, the Joint Chiefs assured President Lyndon B. Johnson that the war could be won, but it would take at least 500,000 to one million troops.

The Joint Chiefs recommended hitting targets up to the Chinese border. Ellsberg suspects their real aim was to provoke China into responding. If the Chinese came in, the Joint Chiefs took for granted we would cross into China and use nuclear weapons to demolish the communists.

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Don’t Walk Away from War : It’s Not the American Way

June 13, 2014 by Source

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch.com

thEYHT689LThe United States has been at war — major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions — nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face. … So here are five straightforward lessons —

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Who’s Really the Traitor Here? Thoughts about Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

June 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

By Ernie McCray

My goodness, a man, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, gets released from a 5 year imprisonment in Afghanistan, and there are those who want to condemn him, as a traitor, allegations that are no more than speculations based on shaky observations.

“He walked away from his duty! And people died looking for him!” people say as though in war it’s out of the ordinary for someone to freak out and want to flee and maybe say to his foe “I don’t want to shoot another one of y’all anymore! I can’t stand to see another child run in fear when I walk near them. I can no longer stand to see them shake in their pants, ever again” – aka “consorting” with the enemy. We’re human beings. We’re supposed to care. It’s in our nature somewhere.

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Memorial Day: Remembering 70 U.S. Wars, Big and Small

May 26, 2014 by Source

memorial day picBy Clancy Sigal / Alternet

Except for mourning family members and Boy Scouts loyally placing tiny flags on veterans’ gravestones, hardly anyone knows anything about Memorial Day except that it’s a day off. It’s the saddest of the military holidays, invented after the Civil War, supposed to help us honor, or at least pause to remember, all the American dead from all our wars. That’s a lot of men and some women to remember going back, well, how far?

Big and small, we’ve “done” about 70 wars starting with the mid-18th century so-called French and Indian wars where George Washington was bloodied and when we got our first taste of industrially massacring Native Americans, mainly Ojibwas and Algonquins who sided with the French against our British masters.

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Memory Against Forgetting: The May 1970 Peace Memorial at UCSD

May 15, 2014 by Source
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Editor: the following is based on a speech delivered by the author, Niall Twohig on last Friday, May 9th, in front of a group of fifty gathered in Revelle Plaza at UC San Diego to unveil The May 1970 Peace Memorial. The Memorial is dedicated to George Winne, who immolated himself and died as a protest against the Vietnam War in May of 1970, plus it’s dedicated to those students who carried on the May 1970 Student Strike.

By Niall Twohig

Why a memorial for May 1970? Why a memorial for peace? Why now?

To suggest some answers, I want to ask you, the reader, to take an imaginative leap back in time to May 1970.

In order to make this leap, we have to remember that the U.S. was waging an unpopular proxy war in Southeast Asia, made all the more unpopular after the invasion of Cambodia at the end of April.

If we found ourselves transported to May 1970, this would be all too apparent. We would see the images?the aerial views of bombs upon bombs pulverizing the Vietnamese countryside, images of GIs burning huts, footage of badly burnt villagers running from the firestorm of napalm, photos of rows upon rows of mutilated bodies scattered in the fields and anonymous soldiers packed away in coffins draped in stars and stripes.

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Diver Drowning in Navy Dolphin Program Should Never Have Happened

May 6, 2014 by Source
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Failed Program Has Drowned Dozens of Dolphins and Now San Diego Civilian

By Rick Trout / May 6, 2014

The recent drowning of Navy dolphin worker/Science Application International Corp. employee, 29 year old Coll Perske, during nighttime rehearsals for deployment of American dolphins into Black Sea waters near Ukraine’s turbulent coast is made even more tragic knowing that Congress tried to eliminate this ill-conceived program in 1992.

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NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

January 29, 2014 by Marc Snelling
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By Marc Snelling

In the ongoing international debate over NSA spying there are few voices of reason. The NSA would like you to think they are the eye on the pyramid of the great seal. An all-seeing all-knowing department of the most powerful government on earth. A division of James Bonds and Bondettes with the latest gadgetry spying on all manner of digital communication to protect the world from the scariest terrorist de jour.

On the other side of the same coin are the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden. He has now joined the ranks with Julian Assange and the Wikileaks hacktivists. They fancy themselves a gang of revolutionaries striking fear in the heart of evil government ‘leaders’, and corporate CEOs. Digital warriors, exercising their superior-hacking skills to bring nefarious secrets into the light of day. The truth is not nearly as sexy as the media, the NSA, or the hacktivists would have you believe.

In reality NSA spies are cubicle-dwelling keyboard jockeys not tuxedo-wearing international men of mystery.

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Indigenous People of Michoacán Organize to Defend Themselves Against Drug Cartel

January 28, 2014 by Source

First Statement from the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán


Written by The Self-Defense Council of Aquila, Michoacán
Translated by Scott Campbell of Upside Down World

Reposted from San Diego Free Press

Aquila, Michoacán?, January 18, 2014

From the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán to the general public:

Today, the residents of the municipal seat of Aquila, tired of the extortions, rapes, killings, kidnappings and all sorts of criminal acts committed by the Knights Templar; given the complete abandonment of the citizenry by the municipal and state governments who for 12 years did not provide the security needed for our people to have a peaceful and dignified life; …

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“Best of OB Rag” – 2008 – Part 1

December 21, 2013 by Staff
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Here’s the first part for “Best of OB Rag” in 2008 – a story of the disappearance of the “Peace Sign” off of Bird Rock, and more on the Iraq war, the peace movement, the 2008 elections, torture, nuclear power, video from an alien invasion of OB in the Seventies, San Diego foreclosures and health care reform :

Peace Sign Atop “Peace Rock” Disappears From Sunset Cliffs – Vandals? Thieves? Conservatives?

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50 Years of the Big Lie – the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination – Part 2

November 22, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Here’s Part 1.

By Frank Gormlie

It’s finally here, Friday, November 22nd – exactly 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Of course you’ve noticed it – you can’t help but … as everywhere you go there are signs that everybody in the media is commemorating the half century mark of the end of the Kennedy Era – an era that was terminated with bullets.

It’s been 50 years since the end of Camelot and we are told it was the end of the “idealism of the Sixties”.

Well, it has been fifty years, and it’s been fifty years of the Big Lie – …

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America’s Big Lie: Fifty Years of the Cover-Up of the John F Kennedy Assassination

November 21, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Fifty years ago this Friday, the 22nd of November, I walked out of my English class at Point Loma High School and full of disgust threw my brown bag full of lunch away in a trash can. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t bare to think ab0ut eating – we had just heard that the President had been shot by someone from an overpass while he was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Classes were cancelled and we all went home, …

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Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘As a Congressman, I need all the facts on Syria – and I’m not getting them.’

September 10, 2013 by Source
Thumbnail image for Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘As a Congressman, I need all the facts on Syria – and I’m not getting them.’

On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify

By Congressman Alan Grayson / The New York Times / Sept. 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

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Has Assad Crossed a Red Line In Syria?

September 5, 2013 by Source

Syria fighterby Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Is the Gassing of 1400 Syrians More of a Crime Against Humanity Than the Slaughter of 100,000 Syrians?

Frank Thomas’ take:

Russia’s ongoing multi-dollar sales of advanced massively destructive weapons to Assad’s government has exacerbated the killing fields in Syria. Yet Russia sanctimoniously thinks the rest of the world, namely the U.S., has no right of humanitarian intervention to protect the lives of innocents being slaughtered by chemical weapons and more so by Russia’s own prolific arms sales to Assad’s military forces.

Russia would remind us that for many years (1980-88) Saddam Hussein’s army blatantly used mustard and nerve gases at will against Iran and even the people of Iraq. Foreign Policy has just published CIA documents confirming Washington and other western nations knew of Iraq’s production and use of chemical gases and even delivered some raw materials.

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Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

August 29, 2013 by Source

by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer / Common Dreams

The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong.

Credit: Wikipedia

“What we are talking about here is a potential response . . . to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.

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5 Companies That Make Money By Keeping Americans Terrified of Terror Attacks

August 22, 2013 by Source

CounterTerrorismA massive industry profits off the government-induced fear of terrorism.

By Alex Kane/Alternet

Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, has invaded America’s television sets in recent weeks to warn about Edward Snowden’s leaks and the continuing terrorist threat to America.

But what often goes unmentioned, as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is that Hayden has a financial stake in keeping Americans scared and on a permanent war footing against Islamist militants.

And the private firm he works for, called the Chertoff Group, is not the only one making money by scaring Americans.

Post-9/11 America has witnessed a boom in private firms dedicated to the hyped-up threat of terrorism. The drive to privatize America’s national security apparatus accelerated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and it’s gotten to the point where 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on private contractors, as author Tim Shorrock reported.

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American Hero Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years

August 21, 2013 by Source

Bradley ManningComparisons between WikiLeaks and Pentagon Papers cases raise serious questions about government and judicial discretion.

By David Gespass/Military Law Task Force

Today, Bradley Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years for the “crime” of revealing the seamy underside of US diplomacy and war-making. The sentence is substantially less than sixty years the prosecution asked for, but greater than what the defense requested. It was predicated on alleged damage done to the US, though it remains unclear what actual damage, aside from embarrassment, occurred.

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Guantanamo, Drone Strikes and the Non-War Terror War: Obama Speaks

May 26, 2013 by Source
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By Marjorie Cohn / Truth-Out.org

As one of the 1,200-plus signatories to the full-page ad that appeared in The New York Times, calling for the closure of Guantanamo, I was disappointed in President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday on counterterrorism, drones and Guantanamo.

Torture and Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo

In a carefully crafted – at times defensive, discourse, Obama said, “In some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values – by using torture to interrogate our enemies and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law,” adding, “We unequivocally banned torture.” But Obama failed to note that the United Nations Human Rights Commission determined in 2006 that the violent force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo amounted to torture and that he has continued that policy.

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