NEW: GAZA: ON THE MORALITY OF SIEGE and CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
From Moral Theologian Professor Daniel Maguire, July 21, 2014
Maguire has taught ethics at the Marquette University (a Jesuit university) for several decades, and is still teaching there (despite strong efforts by the Catholic Archdiocese to get Marquette to fire him). He writes:
What better time to review the Catholic and Jewish ethics of war?
Gaza has been subjected to another brutal method of war: siege. Siege directly violates the "just-war" principle of "discrimination,” i.e. non-combatant immunity, since it targets all indiscriminately, innocent and guilty alike. Peaceful flotillas have attempted to break the siege of Gaza by bringing desperately needed medicine and food to Gaza and they have been repulsed by Israel; in one case Israelis shot and killed nine of those on a peace flotilla, one of them an American citizen.
Siege is the most devastating of weapons, condemned by both Jewish and Catholic ethics. As Michael Walzer says in his “War Against Civilians,” “more people died in the siege of Leningrad than in the infernos of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki taken together.” The health effects of the ever tightening siege on children and others in Gaza are devastating.
Maimonides in the twelfth century summed up the Talmudic view of siege, saying it could only be justified if it left one side open for citizens to escape. Of course, it would then no longer be a siege. Conclusion: a siege is immoral.
As for the “just war" theory principle regarding civilian casualties, the Jewish scholar Mark Ellis calls Gaza the largest prison in the world, and bombing and strafing that prison is, in “just war” terms, murder. John Ford, S.J. addressed this in a landmark article in Theological Studies in 1944. In Ford’s thinking you cannot shoot into a crowded room and say you only intended to kill the bad guy.
NEW: Ray Interviewed by RT International on Shoot-Down of Plane Over Ukraine, July 18, 2014 (from a MacDonald’s in Southwestern Virginia!)
It was barely 24 hours after the shoot-down. Ray’s emphasis on the need for calm statesmanship and restraint contrasts with the blacken-bad-Putin campaign launched almost immediately by the White House and its house organs in the “mainstream media.” It was reminiscent of the way the Reagan administration chose to exploit to the hilt the Soviet shoot-down of KAL007 on Sept. 1, 1983.
Horse’s-mouth type intelligence showed that the Russians were in the dark – literally as well as figuratively – about what kind of aircraft had intruded deep into Soviet territory. Intercepts showed, that they thought they were downing a U.S. spy plane of the kind that had been not far away just hours before the incident. Moscow eventually fessed up its terrible mistake, but the Reagan administration mantra remained, “The Soviet Union deliberately shot down a civilian airliner, murdering 269 people.”
Ray had a front seat for that incident and its aftermath. He also had learned to say, when ueberfragt (“over-asked” is the way the Germans put it), to respond, “I don’t have a clue,” as he did in disappointing the RT interviewer with this unusual response to his last question.
Kerry's Latest Reckless Rush to Judgment
By Robert Parry, July 21, 2014
Kerry’s Unenviable Record for Veracity
By Ray, July 21, 2014
Ray gives the kind of interview automatically banned from the US "blame Putin" media.
Subject: The shootdown over eastern Ukraine. Print version will be in "Evening Moscow" newspaper on July 21.
The audio, taped via telephone today (Sunday) at 1:30 AM, runs for 24 min (it is in English; click on the "play" arrow in the box)
Airline Horror Spurs Rush to Judgment
By Robert Parry, July 19, 2014
Facts Needed on Malaysian Plane Shoot-Down
by Ray McGovern
Ray in “mainstream media;” facts behind the civil war in Ukraine
U.S. Welched on Promise NATO Would Not “Leapfrog” Over Germany
The Ukraine crisis owes its roots to a deal America made and broke with the late Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
Baltimore Sun op-ed, July 16, 2014
Russia’s TV Channel 5 interviewed Ray on May 29 for 8-min news segment on the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014”
The bill, co-sponsored by more than 20 Republican Senators, was introduced on May 1 and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. It is cast as reaction to events in Ukraine and lists a variety of measures to punish Russia and others, including providing lethal military aid for Kiev. The Russian titles appearing on the screen can be translated as “Divorced from Reality” and “Revolution by Order.”
Unanticipated bonus: after the interview, Ray’s bumper sticker – “God Bless the Rest of the World Too” caught the eye of the interviewer, Nina Vishneva. She told the photographer to capture the bumper sticker – and there it is at minute 2:21. Who knows? Maybe that short aphorism, the thought it conveys, and perhaps even the sticker itself will catch on elsewhere.
Ray on RT’s Crosstalk with Mary Dejevsky & Mark Sleboda
Subject: “Ukraine: End of the Beginning,” July 8, 2014 (25 min.)
Kiev Chooses Bombs Over Talks: US Approves, Europe Suspicious
David Kerans who writes for “Voice of Russia,” compared notes with Ray on July 8 before posting this article, which begins: “The wedge between Ukraine and Russia over how to handle unrest in the eastern regions of Ukraine is on the verge of producing a serious wedge between the US and Western Europe. The immediate catalyst for both of these wedges is, of course, the escalating aggression Ukraine’s government is visiting on its own population in the eastern regions of the country.”
The Death of the Fourth Estate
Signs of rigor mortis include NYT suppression before 2004 election of James Risen’s findings re gross violation of Fourth Amendment by NSA; Michael Hayden’s “loose construction” of the Fourth Amendment (w/video clip); cover-up by former NSA director Bobby Ray Inman; Ray getting beat up a few yards from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (w/video clip). Ray addressed several of these topics at a dinner talk to the Sarah McClendon Group at the National Press Club, July 2, 2014.
Andrew Kreig, one of the participants, took some notes and wrote up Ray’s remarks for his blog: “Justice Integrity Project,” July 7, 2014
Aljazeera interviews Ray on the latest U.S.-German spy scandal involving a German intelligence officer caught spying on the Bundestag, apparently for U.S. intelligence
July 4, 2014 (3 and a half minutes)
Risk of Ukraine Bloodbath
By Ray McGovern
Who Violated Ukraine’s Sovereignty?
Actions in Ukraine Erode Guarantees of 1994 Budapest Agreement
By Ray McGovern
Ukraine: State-owned Russia TV Channel One reported promptly on VIPS May 4 Memo to the President: “Needed: Obama-Putin Summit on Ukraine.”
Channel One is one of three channels with nationwide reach in Russia, where most of the people get their news from national TV. Americans who depend on “mainstream media” for news, however, heard/read not a word about the VIPS Memorandum for the President:
Scott Horton interviews Ray on his June 23 article Iraqis are not ‘Abstractions’ (see below)
They focus on the human cost of war as still more awful bloodletting looms – the inevitable result of the U.S. decision in 2006-07 to “surge” rather than broker real power-sharing among Shia, Sunni, and Kurds.
June 23 (24 min)
At this point, a deus ex machina seems required to head off wider spread carnage.
Ray noted that in 1219 during the Crusades, Francis of Assisi sneaked into Cairo to talk with Saladin’s nephew Malik al-Kamil, then Sultan of Egypt, and emerged with the revolutionary idea that Christians can live harmoniously with Muslims.
Today’s Pope Francis, who has talked the talk about reaching out to Muslims, would do well to consider following in his namesake’s footsteps, getting on the Papal plane, and seeing if he might be instrumental in catalyzing the kind of Shia-Sunni-Kurd negotiations without which catastrophe in Iraq – and wider war – appear imminent.
(Sadly, there are all too few world leaders today with any plausible claim to moral authority.)
Because “attention must be paid,” special thanks to the BBC (via a faithful listener) for the below-linked sequence of 11 photos, which tell the story in a way words cannot. Do have a look.
Iraqis Are Not “Abstractions”
Moral Injury & the Killings of Tal Afar
By Ray McGovern
Recall Rumsfeld’s feigned horror: “Some people think they can lie and get away with it!”
How do you corrupt an agency like NSA? You give them malleable liars like Gen. Hayden and Gen. Alexander, and then get admirals to cover up for them.
Ray puts poor excuses for NSA “leadership” in context at Left Forum, NYC, May 31, 2014 (14 min)
Creating a World Without War
Ray talk at Schiller Institute, NYC, June 15, 2014
(20 min -- from 2:55 to 22:55)
Ray interviewed on AwakeRadio by Catherine Watters, who heard Ray speak at the Left Forum, May 31, in NYC. Topics: Hillary Clinton; 9/11; There is a “Too Late;” What to do now, before “Too Late”
On June 10, Watters found herself standing in line at Barnes & Noble, Union Square, facing the hard choice as to whether Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” was worth spending good money on. She (Catherine, not Hillary) talked to Ray on cell and ended up inviting him to be interviewed that evening.
Ray’s segment of the interview begins at minute 1:31:50. The first 23 min. focuses on what happened to Ray when he witnessed nonviolently three years ago at a Hillary Clinton speech, turning his back on her as she spoke passionately in defense of dissidents. For those who missed the democracynow 5-min report on this, please see:
The rest of the discursive interview (1:54:55 – 2:10:25) deals initially with 9/11, then moves to issues like what to do about the situation of tone-deaf fellow citizens (all too reminiscent of Germany of the Thirties) too busy/distracted to notice (or care about) what is being done to them. We ran out of time before I could quote Mario Savio at Berkeley 50 years ago:
"There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part; and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop, And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all."
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With Coleen Rowley, FBI (ret.)
Preparing to speak at rally before White House, June 16, 2014
"The Usual Suspects" after "Beyond Orwell -- Surveillance, Secrets, & Whistleblowing" event at Georgetown University, April 22, 2014