Originally posted at PopularResistance.org
Today on the Resistance Report, an interview with Kevin Gosztola of FireDokeLake.com.
Two recent stories that shed new light on how the Obama administration utilizes drones in the war on terror came to light yesterday. First, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, via their new venture First Look revealed that:
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A CHILD IS ON FIRE?
By Joy First, Mt. Horeb, WI
As a member of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), we have been working in a number of different ways to bring an end to the illegal drone assassination program being perpetrated by the White House, the CIA, and the Pentagon. We know that thousands of innocent people have been murdered, and that the program continues to kill families in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and other places around the world. So many people are suffering so greatly because of our government’s actions.
On Friday February 7, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, members of NCNR appealed our conviction from an arrest at a vigil against drones at the CIA on June 29, 2013 when about 50 people rallied at the gates in Langley, VA. After several speakers, six members of NCNR walked to the police line and attempted to deliver a letter to CIA Director John Brennan, trying to set up a meeting to talk about the drone assassination program. After being denied a meeting and engaging in street theater Malachy Kilbride, Max Obuszewski, Phil Runkel, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Cindy Sheehan, and myself were arrested and charged with trespass. Five of us went to trial on October 22, and were found guilty (Cindy was not able to join us and pled guilty). There were so many things that were not right about the trial and we decided to appeal.
We also decided that while we were at the courthouse for the appeal we would try to visit Assistant US Attorney Eugene Rossi since he is in the same courthouse building. Six activists from NCNR had a 40 minute meeting with Mr. Rossi on May 21, 2013. His office, the Eastern District of Virginia, has jurisdiction over the CIA. We delivered a criminal complaint against Obama, CIA Director Brennan, and others at the CIA who are involved in the killer drone program. During the meeting Mr. Rossi was over-the-top friendly in a very artificial way. He was good at his job and tried to placate us, while constantly trying to change the subject to friendly small talk. We left the criminal complaint with him and he said he would send it up to his boss. Over the last several months, we have followed up with him several times, but, as expected, they are not taking our complaint seriously. We can’t let this drop and so we decided to pay him a visit on February 7.
In preparing for our appeal, we were not able to obtain an attorney, and so we decided we would do the best we could as pro se appellants. Several days before the appeal, we filed a written brief that was authored by Max. There were six arguments made in the brief. In summary:
1) Our First Amendment right to free speech was infringed upon.
2) The government did not present sufficient evidence to show that the order to leave was lawful or that we were on CIA property.
3) The arrest and conviction violated our due process rights under the Fifth Amendment.
4) We were denied sufficient discovery to present an effective defense.
5) We were not allowed to present evidence regarding our First Amendment activities or intent during the trial.
6) The Nuremberg Tribunal charges us all to take action against war crimes, and we were not allowed to bring this up in our defense.
Just the day before the appeal hearing, Attorney Stacy Chaffin, on loan to the US Attorney’s office from the CIA and the prosecutor in our October trial, filed a written brief that was very weak and not supported by case law.
Feeling anxious about what would happen during the hearing, Malachy, Max, Phil, and I walked into the 9th floor courtroom a few minutes before 9:00 am. We were joined by several others who were there for support. Janice received a waiver to appear because of a family matter, but was allowed to join onto Max’s motion. Judge T.S. Ellis III would be hearing the case.
What really surprised us that morning was to see that Assistant US Attorney Rossi was in the courtroom along with his boss, Acting US Attorney Dana Boente. Rossi was the person we met with when we delivered the criminal complaint last June. I don’t suspect that their schedule often allows them to be sitting in on cases in a courtroom, and we wondered why they were there.
There were two other cases that were going to be heard before our case, and this gave us an opportunity to see how the judge operated. During the second case, a young man was before the judge for using cocaine three times while on probation. Judge Ellis went into a long lecture about how some people claim that a drug addiction is a disease. However, Ellis disagrees. He thinks it is a personal choice and that you always have a choice as to whether you take a drug or not. He told the story of his mother who was a smoker. She had surgery four times on her lungs, and it was only after the second surgery that she quit smoking. He said she was addicted to smoking, but the addiction was not a disease, it was a choice. To hear a judge sitting on the bench going against all the scientific medical research that has been done in the important area of addictions was simply astonishing.
Our case began at 10:00 and lasted for less than an hour. Stacy Chaffin represented the government and sitting beside her at the prosecutor’s table was Assistant US Attorney Eugene Rossi. Acting US Attorney Dana Boente was also sitting in the courtroom. It appears they are paying attention to what we are doing.
Judge Ellis began by saying that this was an appeal for an arrest for demonstrating to show opposition to drone attacks. He continued by saying that he doesn’t sit on the bench to determine whether drone attacks are good or bad. Someone at the CIA or in the White House does that. And then he chuckled. That was the first of many inappropriate laughs we heard from him throughout the trial.
Max spoke powerfully about why the responses to our arguments from the prosecutor’s brief did not hold water. The judge had a lot of questions and comments for Max.
One theme that Ellis kept went back to over and over was that we live in a democracy and obviously most people don’t agree with us or we wouldn’t have drone strikes. He also said that we should be going to Congress rather than to the CIA. Max responded that we have made many visits to Congress to talk about this issue.
The judge said if that is the case, then our voices have been heard and we need to just let it go then. He said that some people think drones are good and some people think they are bad. That’s just the way it is in a democracy and if we let our members of Congress know how we feel, then we have done what we can. It seemed very inappropriate for the judge to be arguing about whether drones are good or bad, and whether we should be protesting against them or not.
Max also talked about how we have written letters to various officials, including CIA Director Brennan, and we don’t get a response. The judge lectured about how government officials are not obligated to respond. We can write all the letters we want to, but they don’t have to respond to us.
In the government’s brief it said that our intention was to get arrested. Judge Ellis asked Max if we weren’t there to get arrested. Max responded that we were not. “Was this not an act of civil disobedience?” asked Judge Ellis. Max responded that it was not. Max explained that we were not breaking an unjust law for the purpose of changing it. Rather we were trying to stop our government from breaking the law through the drone assassination program that is responsible for killing thousands of innocent people.
Phil talked eloquently about the Nuremberg Principles and why our actions were an attempt to uphold international law and are binding upon all citizens under customary international law. He also stated that each of us has the duty to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring, even if domestic laws must be broken in the process.
After the government prosecutor made her arguments, the judge handed down his ruling.
Judge Ellis said that he said he did not doubt our sincerity and that we are all intelligent people. However, he said that you could get a group of people who thought drones were good and another group who thought they were bad, and asked who really knows whether they are good or bad. But he did think that probably more people approved of drones than disapproved because otherwise our country wouldn’t be using them. He talked about how there are laws that say our government can use drones. First of all, his arguments didn’t even make sense. It is not simply a matter of opinion about whether using drones to illegally kill innocent people is good or bad. It is bad. Second, there are many legal scholars who would argue that the CIA assassination program is illegal. Third, it is not his job to argue with us about drones, but rather to look at the previous case and determine if procedures were violated during our trial.
Even after Max told him we were not committing an act of civil disobedience, I don’t think the judge understood what Max was saying. He talked about a famous case of nonviolent civil disobedience when Henry David Thoreau did not pay his taxes during the War of 1812. However, the judge got it wrong; it was the Mexican-American war that Thoreau opposed. To me this shows that the judge is not careful in making sure that he knows the facts before he speaks out about something from the bench.
At one point during the hearing Judge Ellis said, “You say innocent people are dying. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. It doesn’t really matter.” This statement was followed by his inappropriate laugh. This was one of the many outrageous statements he made.
It was unclear whether he had really read and studied our brief. In his ruling, he briefly and inadequately addressed our first two arguments. He said again that we do not have the right to a meeting or a response from public officials. He said that the officer testified to the boundaries of the CIA and that was enough evidence to prove we were on CIA property.
Regarding our last argument, he said that Nuremberg does not have the force of law. What is it going to take for our courts to start upholding international law? As David Barrows pointed out after the trial, according to the constitution treaties are the highest law of the land.
We will be appealing this appalling ruling to the next level.
Once the hearing was over, Malachy walked over to US Assistant Attorney Rossi and asked if we could meet with him about the criminal complaint we had filed in May. He said he didn’t have time, though he and the Prosecutor Chaffin went into a room for several minutes, presumably to look up how many days we had to file for the next level of an appeal. Again, he acts like the nice guy in trying to help us, but he refuses to address why we are there. We waited for him in the hallway.
When Rossi came out of the room, he told us we had 14 days to appeal. We tried to talk to him about the criminal complaint and he said over and over like a broken record, “I gotta go. I gotta go.” He refused to listen to anything from us and within a minute or so, he was in the elevator. Jack McHale commented that this is who he really is. He acts like the nice guy, but this is who he is. Rude and controlling. Malachy commented that if he listened to us and didn’t do anything, he would be held accountable. Once you know a crime is being committed, you are responsible and therefore, he totally shut out everything we were trying to say by saying “I gotta go.” Max thinks he may be conflicted and if so, that is what we need to play to in the future.
We spent a couple of hours discussing what had happened and talking about what our next steps are. We have a lot of work to do in filing for an appeal, and continuing our follow up of the criminal complaint.
The next day, Saturday, was the regular monthly vigil against killer drones at the CIA. I was glad to be in town so that I could attend the vigil. It was a moving experience to be at the vigil after the stress and tension of the previous day in the courtroom. It is always wonderful to gather together with friends that I have made through this work and who I have come to know and love like family. We go through so much together and our experiences create strong bonds.
As I approached the CIA and saw the crime scene tape across the driveway, it brought back memories of the day last June when I was arrested there. Several people said a few words and I read a piece about the just war theory. I also shared that in Wisconsin we have five grandmothers who will be on trial soon for attempting to deliver a war crimes indictment to the head of Volk Field during our monthly vigil against drones there last May.
We read the names of children who have been killed by drone strikes and while each name was read we placed a stone on the driveway at the gates of the CIA. This was very moving and made it was important to slow down and really think about why we are really doing all of this with the arrests, going to court, monthly vigils etc. Jack McHale’s 5-year-old granddaughter was there and laid a stone on the driveway representing a child who died. It brought tears to my eyes to think that it is children just like her who we are killing with the drones.
Art Laffin led us in song, remembering our hero Pete Seeger by singing If I Had a Hammer at the beginning of the vigil and Step by Step at the end reminding us of the importance of all of us working together for a more peaceful and just world.
Afterwards many of us joined together for lunch at Malachy’s. It was such an enriching experience to spend time together and talk about stories from the resistance, what we learned, and discuss how we could move forward.
Later in the afternoon, Malachy, David, and I watched the movie The Camden 28 about a group of 28 non-violent activists who broke into a local draft board office in 1971. The movie started with one of the defendants asking, “What do you do when a child is on fire? Write a letter?” That statement hit me so hard because there are hundreds of children burning up from drone attacks and this is what compels me to continue working on this issue. What do you do when a child is on fire? Writing letters can be important, but it is a critical and an urgent situation. We have to act now and we have to do more. Children are dying. They are burning, and we must take immediate action. We don’t have time to write letters and wait for and hope others will respond.
I flew back to the sub-zero weather in Wisconsin on Sunday morning thinking about next steps. What is coming up and next is a nationwide Spring Days of Action Against Drones and it is something everyone can and should get involved with. We will be doing some organizing in Wisconsin, and NCNR will be organizing an action at the NSA in April as part of this. It is more important than ever to target the role of the NSA in the killer drone program. Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill have just written about the “shocking interplay between digital surveillance [from the NSA] and Obama’s assassination program.” In the fall Campaign Nonviolence and World Beyond War are working to bring people together and act in resistance. This can provide an opportunity to build towards actions against killer drones.
We will definitely be following up with our criminal complaint in Virginia. I feel like filing this criminal complaint with the proper authorities could be a very important path to continue on. I would like to encourage others to think about how you could file a criminal complaint with authorities in your area. This could be an organizing idea to use around the country during Spring Days of Action Against Drones. NCNR will be putting out more information with details on how this can be done. In the meantime, if you want more information or want to talk about how you might do this, please contact me.
What do you do when a child is on fire? This is the reality of life for too many families that are being attacked by drones overseas. We don’t have time to wait. It is NOW we must join together and take action.
On a personal note, my 7th grandbaby will be born in October. It is all the children of the world that we have to continue the resistance for.
To contact Bartolo email firstname.lastname@example.org
In a campaign reminiscent of Vietnam War days, military veterans and family members will travel to ten west coast cities promoting GI outreach centers in Texas, Washington state, and Germany. The GI Coffeehouse Tour will begin in San Diego on Thursday, February 13 and end in Seattle on Saturday, March 1.
Local communities will welcome the GI Coffeehouse Tour with special eventsfeaturing poets, artists and musicians.Participants at tour stops will learn about GI coffeehouse history, find out what current-day coffeehouses do to support the troops, and join in conversations about the current state of the military and what that means for service members and their families
The GI Coffeehouse Tour will feature the work of Under The Hood Cafeand Outreach Centernear Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, Coffee Strong near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Lakewood, Washington, and The Clearing Barrel GI Bar and Coffeehouse in Kaiserslautern, Germany, the center for U.S. military installations in Europe.
The tour will raise much needed funds for the three GI outreach centers, which provide counseling on military discharges, veterans benefits and conscientious objection to war, as well as safe spaces for soldiers to share their experiences and begin healing the psychological wounds of war.
Iraq veteran and artist Malachi Muncy will represent Under The HoodCafe & Outreach Center, along with Ryan Holleran, recently discharged from the Army at Ft. Hood. Coffee Strong will be represented by its coordinator, Alex Bacon, a Coast Guard veteran.
The Clearing Barrel GI Bar and Coffeehouse will be represented by German peace activist Meike Capps-Schubert, who is flying to California from Germany. Since 2003, Capps-Schubert has worked for the Military Counseling Network - the overseas branch of the GI Right Hotline.
“This unique tour reminds us of the key role GI's have played in ending wars,”said Iraq veteran Malachi Muncy. “It is critically important to address the complex needs of today's veterans, active duty GI's, and family members, who have suffered much from multiple deployments to the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Tour stops include San Diego (Feb. 13), Fountain Valley (Feb. 14), Los Angeles (Feb. 15), Oxnard (Feb. 16), San Jose (Feb.19), San Francisco (Feb. 21-22).; Talent, Oregon (Feb. 25), Portland (Feb. 28); Olympia, Washington (March 1) and Seattle (March 1).
Sponsors of the GI Coffeehouse Tour include Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, War Resisters League, Military Law Task Force, Center for Conscience and War, Courage To Resist, March Forward, Center for Conscience in Action, Catalyst Project, and GI Rights Network.
For a complete tour schedule, speaker bios and photos, along with information on the three GI coffeehouses, go to the website of the GI Coffeehouse Tour.
To arrange for interviews, please contact Alex Bacon, 206-604-2285, email@example.com
or Gerry Condon, 206-499-1220, firstname.lastname@example.org
INSIDE ISSUE 82: – Three big features this month, focussing on: 1. The shifting of wealth and power to the rich - articles by John W. Whitehead, Chris Hedges, Rowan Wolf, Bill Quigley and Sam Pizzigati; 2. The Death of Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beirut, marked by essays from David Edwards, Uri Avnery, Alan Hart and Ramzy Baroud; and 3. The Growth of Media Propaganda, with articles from David Cromwell, John Pilger and John Kozy.
When people sign the declaration of peace at WorldBeyondWar.org they have the opportunity to type in a brief statement in their own words. Thousands have done so, including those pasted below. (And a few great quotes from the past have been added here in graphic form.)
“I support this proposal and agree with this great and important initiative to abolish militarism and war. I will continue to speak out for an end to the institution of militarism and war and for institutions built on international law and human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution.” — Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
“As a 29 year veteran of the US Army/Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel and having served as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigning in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, I firmly believe war does not resolve political issues. We must work diligently to force the governments of our nations to use diplomacy, not weapons.” —Ann Wright
“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” — Noam Chomsky
“It is so inspiring to see a new group coming together not to focus on a particular war or weapons system, but on all war–everywhere. And it’s great to have such beautifully crafted arguments about why war is not inevitable and how war contributes to so many other global ills. This coalition is worthy of Martin Luther King’s call to end violence and instead put our energies and resources into ‘life-affirming activities.’ Bravo!” —Medea Benjamin
“We must work to end all war because: 1. In war there are no winners, only losers. 2. To thrive, humans need peace, which cannot be created by war. 3. We need all our ingenuity, creativity, technology and will to find a solution to runaway climate change. We cannot afford the military-industrial complex.” — Sally Reynolds, Abingdon Peace Group
“The abolition of war is an idea whose time has come. We are at a transformative moment in history. Our Mother Earth is under siege from destructive global warming and industrialization. It is essential that we mobilize to save our planet. War is a cruel and untenable distraction, draining trillions of dollars and incalculable losses of intellectual firepower away from the essential work that needs to be done to create a livable future for humanity.” — Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000
“War is a crime against humanity. When 90% of the casualties of war are civilians including children, its time to End ALL WARS! The world badly needs the resources to meet human and environmental needs. Wars are not making us more secure, but creating more enemies. There are more effective means of achieving security than war and killing other people’s children. As former President Eisenhower said, ‘I like to believe that the people of the world will want peace so much that governments will have to get out of the way and let them have it.’ When the people of the world decide to end war, we can end it. At least 99% of the world’s people do not benefit at all from all the wars our governments are waging. The time is NOW. Please join us.” —David Hartsough
“If anything can halt climate change it’s redirecting the unfathomable pile of money and energy now wasted on a war machine that kills for fossil fuels and consumes a good share of them in the process. The symptoms of militarism addressed by human rights and civil liberties groups would end if the disease were treated. Our culture of violence, our government of secrecy, our provocation of animosity around the world: these would end if we stopped slaughtering people under the banner of war. If a fraction of those damaged by war work to end war, it will quickly become a thing of the past — seen then as the unmitigated barbarism that many find it hard to recognize as long as war is accepted by those in positions of power.” — David Swanson, author of War No More: The Case for Abolition
“History has shown us that the institution of war created by humans is not only morally reprehensible, but utterly ineffective in resolving any kind of disputes. The human, social, environmental and economic costs of war are too high. We now know more about the reality of a global peace system built upon global collaboration, social change and constructive conflict transformation. It is time for a re-energized effort to build a world beyond war by challenging the war system and supporting the infrastructure of peace.” — Patrick Hiller, Peace Scientist and Director of War Prevention Initiative by the Jubitz Family Foundation
“War is a great destroyer. And human history has arrived at a pivotal moment. We can choose a path built on cooperation, where our caring and sharing side uplifts us, or we can continue to embrace a worldview where domination using violence imprisons us in cycles of killing and destruction. I’m a biologist, and war is not genetically fixed. War is a cultural invention. It’s time to end this abomination, and this World Beyond War movement is uniquely focused on unifying the human community to create one of the biggest revolutions in history. I’m in. Join us!” — Judith Hand, Founder: A Future Without War.org
“Change will not come from a President Gandhi. Rather, the initiate for change will come from the bottom up as citizens force politicians to act. We just need to put our voices together and get sufficiently organized. Ultimately change will come from the ingenuity, compassion and ability of the American people to self-correct and chart a more secure and sustainable course for the future.” — Russell Faure-Brac, author of Transition to Peace
“Our greatest enemy today is not a particular group of people in a far-off country. Our greatest enemy is war itself.” — Paul Chappell, author of The Art of Waging Peace
“We must work to end all war because the health, welfare, and safety of the children is the most important element of a society. The children can be the focus for mobilizing, conflict resolution, and uniting for the future of humanity. The children allow the people of the world to show kindness, generosity, and compassion.” — Andre Sheldon, Director of Global Strategy of Nonviolence
“We must end war because war is an abrogation of the inviolable bonds of connection between all people, all living things and the planet. To participate in it is a denial of the trust in continuity deeded to us by our forebears and expected of us by future generations. Every act of war and aggression diminishes the humanity of the individuals involved, destabilizes communities and nations; and scars the entire human family. We are committed not to ending wars but to ending war itself, and to addressing the fear, greed, misunderstanding and drive for power that lead to violent conflict and war.” — Rena Guay, Executive Director, Center for Conscience in Action
“Richard Wendell Fogg, Center for the Study of Conflict, years ago said rather than saying we need to abolish war, we should talk of REPLACING war. In the field of conflict analysis and transformation, there are creative strategies we can apply to solutions that can solve problems and make war unnecessary. With increasing lethality of weapons, evolving technology and communications, war is obsolete. It is a solution worse than any problem it presumes to solve. We can address conflicts constructively. Beyond diplomacy, we can use mediation, negotiation and problem-solving strategies to transcend war.” —Diane Perlman
“Humanity can no longer afford war for two reasons. 1) We need all our resources to deal with the consequences of climate change and peak oil, and 2) War is too wasteful of both human and physical resources to be further utilized or tolerated by the human species. Indeed, nuclear war, which remains a major threat to the world as we know it, would likely make our planet uninhabitable for our own species and many others.” —Peter Bergel
“War is at the heart of all global problems, impeding humanity from a full realization of just, equitable and sustainable communities.” —Kent D. Shifferd
“There is enough for everyone to have what they need without exploitation. Adequate distribution of resources, including education, without violence can lead to a sustainable system that doesn’t stress the ecosphere. Alternately, continued violence feeds population surges and hoarding the products of exploitative extraction, which endanger the survival of our species. In short, if we want a future with humans on Earth, we’ve got to stop war.” —Vernon Huffman
“Life on earth is not sustainable continuing down this path. War destroys people, the air, the ground, the water. It destroys history. It inhales money/resources literally taking food out of the mouths of the people. It takes generations to recover if that is even possible. Enough.” —Barbara Cummings
“War is the worst act of terrorism and among the greatest causes of human suffering and death and ecological degradation. Wars are declared by the rich and fought by the poor. There will be no real justice and protection of human rights and the rights of nature until a sustainable global peace has been achieved.” —Brian J. Trautman
“I know from my lengthy experience as a journalist, researcher, and human being working in various war-torn or recently war-battered countries that all wars inflict terrible, long-lasting damage on all the residents of the war-zone– with the weakest members of society always suffering the most. There is no such thing as a ‘humanitarian’ war. In cases of conflict or bitter oppression, the very best way to mend broken relationships while building a solid basis for a better situation going forward is to use all nonviolent means possible to de-escalate tensions and work for a better life going forward on the basis of the equality and equal worth of all human persons.” —Helena Cobban
“War murders our children and sickens the survivors. ‘Peace or Perish: Abolish War on Planet and Poor’ (Theme of the 2014 Veterans For Peace National Convention, Asheville, NC, July 2–27).” —John Heuer
“The main obstacle to disarmament is the general/common belief that it is impossible. And it is — just as impossible as ending slavery, apartheid, the Cold War, and tearing the Iron Curtain. Humanity suffers under poverty, unhealth, pollution, depletion of resources, climate change. Instead of being an extremely expensive and deadly risk on top of all those threats militarism is clearly the best option/chance/opportunity to do something substantial — if all countries would join in abolition of military force and forces (the idea that Nobel in his will for ‘the champions of peace’ called ‘creating the brotherhood of nations’).” —Fredrik S. Heffermehl
“Militarism is the world’s biggest problem…morally, socially, economically, and environmentally.” —Ward Reilly
“Creating a world beyond war may be the noblest endeavor we can work on. Can you imagine what future generations will think if we succeed? We will leave them a world where trillions of dollars are not wasted annually on weapons and war, where tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands are no longer slaughtered in unnecessary wars. Surely we can imagine solving conflicts between nations in a more mature way; we can imagine the human race evolving to a higher consciousness that no longer requires war. We can imagine a world without war, now we have to work toward such a world. It will be a global challenge, uniting the world to accomplish this great new reality.” —Kevin Zeese, PopularResistance.org
“War is a lie. War is a racket. War is hell. War is waste. War is a crime. War is terrorism. War is not the answer.” —Coleen Rowley
“War destroys. War obliterates. War is ruination. And war begets more war. After thousands of years of experience proving this, and reams of literature and countless works of art exposing it, when are people going to learn?” —Lisa Simeone
“War is a barbaric tool of the war profiteers and Empires who employ them. War pits young people from the working class against other similarly poor, or disadvantaged humans, for nothing but the greed of the few. Only we the people can make war obsolete by not participating in the profound crimes of the profiteers and other war mongers.” —Cindy Sheehan
“War causes pain, suffering, and gross violations to human needs and rights. War causes a violent domino effect for years to come. Humans have no business being involved in war. We are an evolved species that needs to focus on peace and justice in our world. We must honor and show respect for our planet and all living and nonliving entities. We need to shift away from violence and focus on the beauty of nonviolence. War and destructive violence are not solutions to any problem. War must be ended. When that happens we will lift the pain and suffering of our world and allow humanity to begin to heal. It is time we wake up and raise our thoughts to a higher consciousness. If we do not end war now, it will end us. Call on me. I am ready to help end all war!” —Joy Henry
“We need a movement if we are going to stop wars and this may be it. So many of us are working in small groups and we need to come together as one.” —JoAnne Lingle
“The future existence of our planet depends upon ending war. War and violence are not a solution to conflict. They contribute to more violence, more death, more poverty, more suffering physically and psychologically, more patriotism, more borders, more ignorance, and more stupidity. How tragic is all of that. The ecology of our planet is in jeopardy and the pollution of the war machine world wide is a huge contributor to climate change.” —Ann Tiffany
“As professor of global peace studies at the International Islamic University of Malaysia I am committed to the ending of war also through criminalization of war, an approach that has not been sufficiently used in spite of the UN Charter outlawing war — with too many loopholes used buy aggressive countries.” —Johan Galtung, Founder of TRANSCEND International
“I applaud the establishment of a global movement to end all war, but note that citizens of the United States have a special responsibility to make this happen. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has bombed more than 25 countries. In those 68 years, no other nation has killed and injured more people living outside of its borders. Most Americans remain silent while we spend more on war, and have more soldiers in other countries, than all other nations combined. War and soldiers are glorified in the U.S. Please recognize and honor those who have had the courage to take a public stand against one or more U.S. warswww.uspeacememorial.org/Registry.htm. We celebrate these role models in hopes of inspiring other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.” —Michael D. Knox, US Peace Memorial Foundation
“War is about nothing but violence. War is terrible! I have a first-hand war experience and I know what war is all about! I dream of peace!” —Fidaa Abuassi
“War, and preparation for war is draining resources that are life giving from countries, statesnd cities. The world we help create is the world we leave for those who come after us. I am committed to living non-violently in response to the violence in my neighborhood, my city, my state, my country, my hemisphere and my world because non-violent love in action is the most powerful force for change that exists.” —Joyce Ellwanger
“As Ernest Hemingway wrote, ‘Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead…’” —Christopher Flynn
“The biosphere can no longer tolerate the toxic affects of modern warfare, which threaten the continued existence of all humanity and many animals and plants on which we are dependent.” —Richard Ochs
“War benefits no one, with the exception of military contractors and their shareholders. It makes our communities poor, our nation less safe, and ourselves less fully human. We must commit to diplomacy, peacemaking and development!” —Diane Farsetta
“This atavistic practice has always been horrible, but technology makes it even more destructive and savage. it is time for humanity to become civilized.” —Sally-Alice Thompson
“We need to solve some of the world’s problems like climate change, world hunger, homelessness, income disparity, the influence of money ine lections, destruction of the environment, etc. and stop wasting our resources on killing people and destroying the environment.” —Jean Gordon
“The U.S. has become the most egregious war-monger and terrorist nation in the world, as well as the long-time leading purveyor of weapons of war throughout the world, and because here at home, we have 50 million of our citizens living in poverty, one in four children surviving on Food Stamps, a collapsing education system, poor health care, and many other disasters, none of which can be addressed as long as the country keeps pouring trillions of dollars into war and militarism. This madness and criminality must end!” —Dave Lindorff
“It’s obvious: war is a waste of human and earth resources that results only in suffering. There are other ways to disagree.” —Karen Malpede
“As John F. Kennedy said, it will end us instead. ‘If mankind does not put an end to war, then war will put an end to mankind.’ Modern war is ecocide, genocide and ethnocide and is not sustainable. The costs of war are enormous, not just financial but social, ecological and global. War must become obsolete if the world is to survive.” —John Judge
“We’re destroying life on earth in all its forms. By supporting war we are creating poverty that includes fear and anxiety about the future which leads to depression, poor health, food insecurity, and homelessnes. People all over the world are experiencing the destructive effects of investing most of our country’s resources in war resulting in the failure to create a healthy, well-educated and secure environment for humanity around the world.” —Nancy Schoerke
“We must shift from ‘war is a necessary evil’ to ‘peace is a necessary good.’” —Swami Beyondananda, Steve Bhaerman
“The myth that war creates justice, solves problems, improves security and enables peace is absurd. If we weren’t so bombarded with propaganda to the contrary, everyone would know that. We need to insist on a new story, the true story. We must forbid the few to profit from war so that we may all begin to profit from peace.” —Robert Shetterly
“We have seen enough of war to know that it doesn’t work to resolve conflicts. It only exacerbates them. It is time we find other solutions and dedicate ourselves to life–not death.” —Peter Kuznick
“To the extent that today’s world is civilized at all, it’s largely thanks to yesterday’s opponents of war and misery: the soldiers who refused to fight, the civilians who refused to accept war and occupation, and all those who worked for a global order based on peace and equity. Yet the institutions and forces that produce war have not been eradicated. Today we must build an international movement that will not only prevent future wars but transform the very structures on which war, militarism, and imperial domination are based. This struggle will not be won quickly, but in the process even small acts and partial victories can help save numerous lives.” —Kevin Young
“It is clear to me that war creates violence and does not solve problems. I have lived and worked in Iran. Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and have seen first hard the broken bodies of children and the anger at our impact as a nation on people’s lives. Thank you for putting this opportunity together. Peace” —Ann Huntwork
“I don’t believe there is such a thing as a ‘just war’. Murder is murder, whether sanctioned by a government or not. All people should have the right to life and liberty, so long as they do no harm to others, and war extinguishes both.” —Ethan Bell
“War promotes rascism all around the globe.” —Muhammad Ali Khan
“The greatest threat to humanity today is climate change. Militarism exacerbates that threat, and is in no way useful for addressing that threat. The resources invested in militarism must be redirected to combat climate change and global warming.” —Larry A. Unruh
“As a very young man I signed a declaration – ‘I renounce war and will never support another’. That was in 1939 and I have maintained this stand throughout the whole period, including WW2, as a Conscientious Objector.Worked to achieve Peace since. It is necessary for individuals to take this stand and maintain it. War never solves anything – it accentuates any problem, whatever it is, and makes matters worse. There is no moral or humanitarian justification for it.” —Donald Saunders
“Having survived WWII as a child I am TOTALLY against ALL wars, there is not excuse for killing and injuring humans, all innocent, for life. I am still traumatized from the war and the bombing and starvation.” —Ingrid Kepler-May
“We still carry ancient beliefs from thousands and thousands of years ago when war was the only thing known. We have options now. This organization will help shift the collective consciousness toward greater humanity and peace. War has indoctrinated the U.S. government as well as other countries. There is no integral intention that exists behind war. It is a contradiction and therefor useless. Its time to evolve greatly. ‘Love precious humanity’” —Leslie Naugle
“I want a world without war. War never works it just kills. I want my children to never have to have a close contact with war. I want my children and future generations to grow up free and in a peaceful world. War is not freedom it is a malignant force imposed by men in power. We must change the views of people in power now and let them know that in a diplomatic and peaceful way issues can be solved.” —Ana Martins
“I am working with the higher education system in Afghanistan. My work in this world is teaching and serving as a role model for peace, particularly in this environment that has been devastated by the ravages of 30+ years of horrific conflict. I have a number of close Afghan friends and they, probably more than any people I have ever met, want peace for themselves, their families and their country. I am privileged to know them and am inspired by their endurance and resilience. Endless war serves only to enrich those who champion it and it is long past time that it be stopped.” —James Stapp
“We know, deep down inside, it’s wrong! There’s nothing you can say to ever make it right! Killing is killing, no matter how you slice it! And the ones doing all the killing should be locked up, and be forced to watch the world transform from, This evil place they’ve created, To the wonderful place we should be creating!” —Ronald Richter
“Why must we work to end all war? War keeps us from progressing as a race. We can’t reach a point of sustainability with war taking up so much of our time. It attributes to the division of wealth providing greater conflict between classes and it hands over authority to the wealthy class. It makes them richer while the working class is left to die. War need to end because it’s a tool used to control the masses with fear. It distracts us from the problems within the social hierarchical systems that have been established. We must end all war because we’ll never have peace without it. War is expensive and destroys makes the economy unstable. War is a tool of capital gain, it’s marketable and from youth we are encouraged to take and defend our ruling authority without question. There are other ways to solve conflicts. Civilians are the ones who suffer the most damage. War and violence is terrible for you Psyche due to the traumatizing events. And Finally the main reason we should end all war is because it will kill us if we don’t.” —Jessica Gartner
“While I was always aware that there was a sickness that pervades every social institution I just could not make the connection to myself and this ‘sickness’ until my beautiful child was murdered in the ‘theater’ of ‘War’. This experience was eviscerating. I was disgorged of this ‘sickness’. I could see that ‘war’ is just goddamn MEAN. It bears no resemblance to what lives in my heart and mind so why was I able to accept it as a way of life? Why was I able to accept my son being part of a force for death…for entropy? I see it all clearly now, though. There is a deep sickness that pervades all social institutions and these sicknesses have made us mentally ‘disturbed’ – working out of balance with the gift of life. My granddaughter, Eva, is now four and has no father. She has no protector in this mean world where men prey upon life with a sense of entitlement that desires are to be quenched at all costs. Who will protect my granddaughter now? Through the physical death of my beloved son I have learned that misogyny is the root of warring behavior – and this thought process, this behavior is just goddamn mean.” —Jamie Santos
“Every person who dies is someone’s son, dad, mom, brother or sister.” —Gaston Locklear
“Nelson Mandela said: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ Peace is possible.” —John Bonifaz
“Every modern war has had its root in exploitation. The Civil War was fought to decide whether the slaveholders of the South or the capitalists of the North should exploit the West. The Spanish-American War decided that the United States should exploit Cuba.” —Larry Egly, Veterans For Peace Chapter 961 Codirector
“Another war will likely lead to the end of the human race.” —Lewis Patrie, WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility
“LAW opposes the illegal use of force supports the use of national and international law to settle disputes, prosecute offenders and protect rights.” —Gail Davidson, Lawyers against the War
“As a 70 year old woman, I have seen just what the destruction of war has done to my home country and also those we have invaded in the name of democracy! None of this has been done with my consent, so for the rest of my life I want to promote peace.” —Katherine Schock
“War takes people’s lives and destroys property, but it does not resolve the world’s problems. If anything is achieved through war, it is to plant the seeds for the next violent conflict as the vanquished and their children will usually not accept the outcome.” —Bruce Van Voorhis
“War is an irrational, counter-productive way to handle conflicts.” —Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History emeritus, SUNY/Albany
“Because we are being used as pawns in an endless game of bloodletting. One generation has to stop this. Please let it be ours.” —Lynne Thomas
“War traumatizes soldier and civilian alike; warfare is a profit-making racket; warfare resolves nothing that negotiations can’t resolve better; the weapons we have now make non-violence the only option to planetary annihilation.” —Madeline Taylor, Topanga Peace Alliance
“Those who exploit our susceptibility to the us-them fallacy to enlarge themselves are today no worse than those who have done the same down through the ages. But the world is different.” —Roger Arnold
“I know war. I was in one in 1991 in Bosnia. It is something that has to stop now. Noone should experience something like that ever again.” —Hatidza Isic
“War is the worst thing that human beings can do to each other, and the worst form of exploitation by the rich and the powerful.” —Nicolas J Sandy Davies
“As a geologist I have travelled the world and lived and worked amongst wonderful but disadvantaged peoples. I am emotionally moved to welcome this campaign.” —Kenneth Buckland
“It is time for the thinking man to realise that what we do to other living things and our environment we do to ourselves. As previous civilisations have learnt, the only way is to create harmony in our world and move beyond hypocrisy.” —Nozar Mossadeghi
“War must become obsolete in the 21st Century. Modern War is genocide, ecocide and ethnocide. Wars profit the few and destroy the many. ‘The hour is getting late,’ sang Bob Dylan. War is destroying the future of humanity.” —John Judge
“We owe it to our children and their children. The end of war is an end to poverty. War is a crime against humanity.” —Jean Andrew
“It’s time, at this 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I, for us all to join together to fight only war itself.” —Marie Reinsdorf
“War ain’t good for shit!” —Bryant White
Thanks to: Mayors for Peace, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the New Priorities Network.
The budget deal at the end of 2013 reduced the bite sequestration will take out of the military budget. But about $30 billion will still be coming out of Pentagon spending for 2014, and more the next year, as the nation begins its postwar military downsizing.
Communities across the country will be affected. For the most part we don’t know which ones. But economic development professionals agree on one thing: getting ahead of the curve is critical to a successful economic strategy.
Is as much as 2-3% of your city’s economy dependent on military contracts? Then you are eligible to get federal help to prepare an adjustment strategy.
Accessing these funds doesn’t mean you’re unconcerned about your existing jobs base. It just means you’re doing what you can to have a Plan B in place if that base takes a hit.
New Federal “Plan B” money available
The Office of Economic Adjustment in the Pentagon (oea.gov) has one mission: to help communities affected by military downsizings, either from base closings or military industry contract losses, with transition planning grants and technical assistance (see program guidelines at 1 and 2 and below).
The Obama administration is ramping up and fast tracking this assistance.
Who is eligible?
Military-dependent communities, regions and states. Dependency has a low threshold—only about 2-3% of a community’s workforce need be employed in the military industry to qualify.
How does the process work?
Mayors and other public officials take the lead in securing these funds and then involving economic development professionals and community, worker and business stakeholders in planning an economic transition.
Whereas before OEA couldn’t offer assistance until a contract cancellation had been announced, those rules have changed. Now OEA supports advance planning—before the job losses hit.
In addition to supporting transition planning—financially and with hands-on technical assistance—OEA will help connect communities to support from other federal agencies to implement the economic transition plans they construct using OEA planning funds.
Capitalizing on this challenge and opportunity
Adjusting to the military downsizing will be a challenge for communities across the country. State and community leaders need to seize the chance to turn this challenge into the proverbial opportunity: to help their communities chart a path to new economic activity not dependent on wartime levels of military spending.
Public officials can contact OEA directly to open a dialogue on getting the process started, at 703-697-2130. Miriam Pemberton at the Institute for Policy Studies is available to answer questions and offer suggestions. Contact Miriam@ips-dc.org or 202-787-5214.
OEA Defense Industry Adjustment program guidelines at:
A KPFA interview with Robin, aired 2/2/14 at 6pm (From 3:33 to 6:08 minutes):
They teach you to yearn to kill, says this U.S. soldier. We would have killed lots of innocent people if we could have gotten away with it, he says. Jump to 36:23.
By Clancy Sigal
Boys like me like to blow up things. I was trained to place Composition B plastic explosive in bridge struts and watch them explode sky high in the Texas sun. It's fun. Blam! That’s why there is no such thing as an “antiwar” movie if it shows us cannons shooting and guns blasting. ANY violence is a recruiting poster for the beast inside us.
We'll be seeing a lot more of this in the coming months that “celebrate” the 100th anniversary of the August 19l4 opening barrage of World War One.
Already there’s a flood of books, articles and TV specials focused on muddy trenches, corpses hanging on barbed wire, German Maschinengewehr spitting at a firing rate of up to 400 7.92mm rounds per minute at French, British, Canadian, Italian, Australian, colonial (Senegalese and Vietnamese) soldiers dying in insane assaults designed by generals most of whom slept soundly in their beds during battle.
While strolling or marching down London’s Whitehall I always had this terrible temptation to take some of that Composition B and place a sticky bomb under the arrogant horseback statue of Butcher Haig, the Great War commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France whose class-based stupidity was responsible for the two million casualties under his command 19l5-18. This isn’t simpleminded officer-prejudice since so many junior officers were slaughtered in abbatoirs like Haig’s Somme and Ypres.
I emigrated to England in time to talk to still-living Great War survivors. Hitchhiking one day this older gentleman picked me up in his three wheeler just outside Eastwood, Notts, birthplace of D.H. Lawrence. He chatted about his 45th Foot-Sherwood Foresters regiment in 1916. “Oh aye, hardly anyone from my lot got back. I was gassed. The mustard. After, went back down to (coal) pit. Imagine, with my lungs. You know, they killed us all, even ones like me made it out felt dead. Don’t let anyone tell you different. My wife knew. Daft kid I was. For a long time, I couldn’t stop shitting myself like I did before a Heinie attack. Not a bit ashamed to say it. It’s what I remember most. The bloody embarrassment.”
Triggered by a young Serbian’s assassination of Austria-Hungary’s Archduke Ferdinant and his wife at Sarajevo, it began as a minor family quarrel among cousins: King George V, his lookalike Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas 2d, all from Queen Victoria’s brood.
There was nothing at stake in this war except prestige and more African colonies.
Nobody wanted it except the decision makers and their generals and admirals. But oh boy did they love the prospect. As British admiral Jackie Fischer wrote of the atmosphere in his navy, “We prepared for war…talked war, thought war, and hoped for war.”
The French and German brass and their poodle politicians couldn’t wait for a short sharp war – like 19th century wars – that would result in quick medals for the boys and a glory parade – not to speak of profits to the “merchants of death”, the munitions makers like Krupp , Vickers Armstrong, Winchester, Browning and Remington, Westinghouse and DuPont. The generals had not reckoned on advances in weaponry like the tank, mustard gas, barbed wire and aeroplane.
Before shooting began there were energetic antiwar movements in France and especially Germany. Marxists, anarchists, and radical trade unionists were influential all over Europe, causing strikes and talking class struggle. The socialist Second International was a sort of think tank for antiwar resistance. Meetings were held, resolutions passed, members swore to heaven they would never raise a hand or bayonet against their fellow working classes of another country.
In July 1914 the Social Democrats, Germany’s strongest party polling the most votes, called for militant street demonstrations against impending war. A few days later it voted “war credits” to the Kaiser opening the way for 37 million people to be killed in four years of slugmatch trench warfare…and creating chaos exploitable for a future Hitler and Stalin. (Lenin thought the coming war a fine idea because, as he correctly predicted, it would cause revolution in Russia.)
General Haig was the military moron who caused the needless deaths of his men by frontal assault in the face of withering machinegun fire. But who today remembers the names of the German and French socialists who were pacifists on Sunday and warmongers Monday and as responsible for the catastrophe as any blundering field marshal?
A wave of militarism engineered and propagandized from the chancelleries swept Europe. It took extraordinary guts to stand out against the patriotic orgasm. Civilians who had no grudge against their fellows across the border suddenly jumped to join the colors and murder their brother workers. The “war against war”, except for a few lonely souls like Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht – both assassinated for their protest - was forgotten in a popular blood lust of we-versus-them. British women formed a White Feather League to shame men into fighting (“British Women Say – GO!”), and many once-radical Pankhurst suffragettes bought into the war in exchange for the promise of getting the vote.
Lessons for today? I just hope that the Democratic presidential front runner, the war hawk Hilary Clinton, who wanted to intervene in Syria and advocated U.S. bombing of Libya and was terribly keen on Afghanistan, has read her Barbara Tuchman and better yet a good biography of Rosa Luxemburg.
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Is U.S. foreign policy based on myths?
Public pressure has helped push back against a bill in Congress that would have torn up the negotiated agreement with Iran by imposing yet more sanctions on the people of that country. The people of this country are not eager for another war, and have not accepted that sanctions lead away from war rather than into it.
But supporters and opponents of that bill tend to agree that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and that this program must be stopped by one means or another. This underlying assumption is not supported by any evidence and never has been. We've heard it propounded for over thirty years, and the repetition has had its intended effect, but any evidence at all has always been lacking. A belief without evidence is a myth.
Iran has a nuclear energy program because the U.S. and European governments wanted Iran to have a nuclear energy program. The U.S. nuclear industry took out full-page ads in U.S. publications bragging about Iran's support for such an enlightened and progressive energy source. The U.S. was pushing for major expansion of Iran's nuclear program just before the Iranian revolution of 1979.
Since the Iranian revolution, the U.S. government has opposed Iran's nuclear energy program and misled the public about the existence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. This story is well-told in Gareth Porter's new book, Manufactured Crisis, and by Porter is his upcoming interview this week on Talk Nation Radio.
The U.S. assisted Saddam Hussein's Iraq in a war against Iran in the 1980s, in which Iraq attacked Iran with chemical weapons. Iran's religious leaders had declared that chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons must not be used, even in retaliation. And they were not. Iran could have responded to Iraqi chemical attacks with chemical attacks of its own and chose not to.
Iran is committed to not using or possessing weapons of mass destruction. The results of inspections bear that out. Iran's willingness to put restrictions on its legal nuclear energy program -- a willingness present both before and after sanctions -- bears that out. Inspections should continue. All steps should be taken to move the world toward safe and sustainable energy sources. But can we drop the idea that Iran wants to nuke us?
Selective Skepticism / Naiveté as National Duty
It's odd how quick we are to spot government deception or ill will when it comes to new health insurance programs, taxes, environmental regulations, or any domestic policy, and how trusting and naive we are when it comes to war. One would think we'd have learned our lessons. Eisenhower warned us that preparing for war would bring war. When the Soviet enemy disappeared, new ones were quickly found. According to both former NATO commander Wesley Clark and former UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Pentagon has a list of several nations' governments to be overthrown.
The vast stockpiles of weapons in Iraq weren't there. The claims about chemical weapons attacks in Syria have fallen apart. The evidence that the Libyan government was planning to slaughter civilians has not held up -- although plenty of civilians died under NATO's bombing and are dying now in the chaos left behind. Increased U.S. militarism in Asia is being followed by increased military spending by Asia (although we tend to reverse the chronology and the cause-and-effect in our minds).
We are supposed to learn from experience. It should matter to us that there was never any evidence that Mexico attacked the United States, that Spain blew up the Maine, that the Vietnamese fired in the Gulf of Tonkin, or that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. When you hear advocates for war and peace alike refer to "the Iranian nuclear weapons program," ask them for some evidence.
Myth is the Foundation of War
War gains support and acceptance from widespread belief in false information, and the accumulation of false information into generally false concepts or myths about war. This is good news, because it means we are not intractably divided by ideology or worldview. Rather, we will find more widespread agreement about war if we can just achieve more widespread awareness of accurate information.
WorldBeyondWar.org has grouped myths about war into the following categories:
WorldBeyondWar.org has also created a Prezi (kind of a cooler PowerPoint) to allow people to present to real-world groups the information that has been collected on the WorldBeyondWar website.
Use this tool to present at a public event:
Here's the same presentation as a PDF.
"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
From the Associated Press:
"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year."
Notice those words: "legally" and "policy." No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two. Under George W. Bush, detention without trial, torture, murder, warrantless spying, and secret missile strikes were illegal. Under Obama they are policy. And policy makes them "legal" under the modified Nixonian understanding that if the President does it as a policy then it is legal.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the nations in which drone murders take place, treaties to which the U.S. is party, international law, and U.S. statutory law, murdering people remains illegal, despite being policy, just as it was illegal under the less strict policy of some months back. The policy was made stricter in order to bring it into closer compliance with the law, of course -- though it comes nowhere close -- and yet the previous policy remains somehow "legal," too, despite having not been strict enough.
Under that previous policy, thousands of people, including at least four U.S. citizens, have been blown to bits with missiles. President Obama gave a speech last year in which he attempted to justify one of those four U.S. deaths on the basis of evidence he claimed to have but would not reveal. He made no attempt to justify the other three.
The new policy remains that the president can murder anyone, anywhere, along with whoever is near them, but must express angst if the person targeted is a U.S. citizen.
The idea that such lunacy can have anything to do with law is facilitated by human rights groups' and the United Nations' and international lawyers' deference to the White House, which has been carried to the extreme of establishing a consensus that we cannot know whether a drone murder was legal or not unless the president reveals his reasoning, intention, motivation, and the details of the particular murder.
No other possible criminal receives this treatment. When the police read you your rights, you are not entitled to object: "Put those handcuffs away, sir! I have a written policy justifying everything I did, and I refuse to show it to you. Therefore you have no grounds to know for certain that my justification is as insane and twisted as you might imagine it to be based merely on what I've done! Away with you, sir!"
The loss of a coherent conception of law is a grievous one, but that's not all that's at stake here.
Numerous top U.S. officials routinely admit that our drone wars in the Middle East and Africa are creating more enemies than they kill. General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said in June 2010 that "for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies." Veterans of U.S. kill teams in Iraq and Afghanistan interviewed in Jeremy Scahill’s book and film Dirty Wars said that whenever they worked their way through a list of people to kill, they were handed a larger list; the list grew as a result of working their way through it. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.
We are shredding the very concept of the rule of law in order to pursue a policy that endangers us, even as it helps to justify the erosion of our civil liberties, to damage the natural environment, and to impoverish us, as it kills many innocent people. Maybe they've secretly got drones doing the thinking as well as the killing.
I was setting out our trash when Ann Willard came up the street, walking their St. Bernard, Boris. “How’ya doing, Ann?” I said. “Have a good holiday?”
She looked a little red-faced, but that was probably the stiff, cold wind gusting up from the river. Or being a hundred pound woman being dragged by a two hundred pound dog. “I don’t want to sound like a complainer,” she said, “but we’ve had better.”
by Debra Sweet President Obama recently announced that the vast NSA spying will continue, with a few restrictions. Edward Snowden and the journalists who are still releasing stories from the files he made available are being called spies and being threatened with assasination by members of the US Congress. Once again, the role of those commiting crimes, and the victims, are reversed.
Report: US officials presented the Saudis with a huge dossier with irrefutable evidence proving the involvement of Saudi Arabia in terrorist activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and even Russia - Al Akhbar
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By Dave Lindorff
I never really knew Pete Seeger, but he taught me how to play the banjo.
Today Irish peace activists will protest against the use of Shannon Airport and the jailing of Margaretta D'Arcy. The peace Orgaisation AFRI (Action From Ireland, www.afri.ie) has also launched a petition 'Respect Ireland's constitution: end U.S military use of Shannon'. You can sign the petition by going to this link http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-respect-ireland-s-constitution-end-u-s-military-use-of-shannon.
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Hancock 17 Drone War Crimes Resisters' Verdict Is In
All found guilty of disorderly conduct but acquitted of trespassing; Order of Protection extended 2 years; Judge decides to send a message
On Friday, February 7, Town of DeWitt Court Judge David Gideon found twelve of the Hancock Drone War Crimes Resisters guilty of disorderly conduct, but acquitted them of trespassing.They had gone to Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, NY, on Oct. 25, 2012, to bring a Citizens War Crimes Indictment to the base and symbolically block the gates. Their nonviolent action had called for an end to drone warfare.
Saying, "At some point this has to stop," the judge gave the defendants the maximum sentence - 15 days in jail (starting immediately) and a $250 fine with a $125 court surcharge. He also imposed a two-year Order of Protection, prohibiting the defendants from going to the home, school, business or place of employment of Col. Earl A. Evans, Commander of Hancock's mission support group. Considering that the defendants had never met or knew of him before their arrest, it is clear the intent is to keep people away from the base. Defendant Rae Kramer stated, "No person on the base was intimidated by us, that is clear. But the end result is to deprive me of my 1st Amendment Rights."
In their sentencing statements, the defendants spoke from their hearts and minds. Some reaffirmed their legal duties as citizens to stop war crimes. Clare Grady said, "We went there to stop the war crimes. That was our intent." James Ricks hoped the judge would "sentence us to community service to investigate the war crimes they are committing at the base." Judy Bello said, "The people suffering are so significant. It requires a persistent response," and argued that the international law argument is indeed valid. Mark Scibilia-Carver quoted the Pope saying "violence is a lie," and "Faith and violence are incompatible." Mark Colville challenged the Court, stating, "This court has been found guilty of stopping it's ears to the laws that are in place to protect life. This court has been found guilty of stopping it's ears to the voices of the victims of the drones."
The defendants were prepared for whatever sentence the judge imposed. In the words of Ed Kinane, "Any penalty this court can impose on me is trivial compared to the death sentences imposed on the drone victims."
Of the five defendants not sentenced, one, Elliott Adams, is to be sentenced later. Two others had their cases dismissed on technical grounds, and the remaining two had plead guilty earlier.
The defendants are part of the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, which seeks to educate the public and Hancock Air Base personnel about the war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan with the MQ-9 Reaper Drone piloted from Hancock Air National Guard Base. See upstatedroneaction.org.
Video of the sentencing and sentencing statements will be available soon at www.peacecouncil.net.
Defendants who were sentenced:
- Judy Bello Rochester, NY
- Daniel Burgevin Trumansburg, NY
- Mark Colville New Haven, CT
- Clare Grady Ithaca, NY
- Mary Anne Grady Flores Ithaca, NY
- Martha Hennessy New York, NY
- Brian Hynes Bronx, NY
- Ed Kinane Syracuse, NY
- Rae Kramer Syracuse, NY
- James Ricks Ithaca, NY
- Mark Scibilia-Carver Trumansburg, NY
- Patricia Weiland Northampton, MA
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By Ira Helfand and Robert Dodge, MD
In March of last year the Norwegian government convened a gathering of 129 nations in Oslo for a two-day Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear War. This week there will be a follow up meeting in Mexico to further examine the scientific data now available documenting the devastating global impact of even a very limited use of these weapons.
The United States and the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council, who together possess 98% of the world’s nuclear weapons, boycotted the Oslo meeting and have not yet indicated if they will attend the meeting in Mexico. In a joint statement issued before the Oslo meeting, the P5, as they are called, said that a conference that examined what will actually happen if nuclear weapons are used would somehow “distract” them from their efforts to reduce the nuclear danger.
The administration has expressed particular concern that these conferences will somehow endanger the 1968 Non Proliferation Treaty, which makes it illegal for states which do not possess nuclear weapons to build them. But Article VI of the NPT also requires the existing nuclear powers to engage in good faith negotiations to eliminate their own nuclear arsenals.
A recent statement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sheds light on the real threat to the NPT. Speaking after a tour of nuclear weapons facilities in Albuquerque earlier this month, Hagel called for the US to 'upgrade' its nuclear warheads and the submarines, bombers and missiles that deliver them.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in late December these plans would cost $355 billion over the next decade. The Center for Nonproliferation Studies predicts the new weapons will cost $1 trillion over 30 years.
Meanwhile, the Russians are in the middle of a similar major upgrade of their nuclear forces.
So while asking the non-nuclear weapons states to respect the NPT and refrain from building nuclear weapons, the two main nuclear powers are ignoring their responsibilities under the treaty and expending vast sums of money they cannot afford to make sure they have thousands of nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future.
And this is the problem: the system of nuclear apartheid, where some nations possess nuclear weapons and others are forbidden to have them, is increasingly unacceptable to the non-nuclear weapons states. These nations do not want to build nuclear weapons of their own. They want the nuclear powers to stop holding them hostage and putting the safety of the whole world at risk with the weapons they already possess.
This concern has indeed been fueled by the growing understanding of the actual effects of nuclear weapons, particularly the recent reports that have shown that even a very limited, regional nuclear war would have catastrophic weather, contamination, crop loss, and famine consequences worldwide, likely killing billions of people. The weapons on a single US Trident submarine can produce this global catastrophe; we have 14 of them.
The US and Russia claim the world does not have to worry about their nuclear weapons—they will never be used. Around the world, it is an argument that persuades few. If there is no chance these weapons will ever be used, why would we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on them? Even if they are not used deliberately, there exists the very real threat of an accidental war. We know of at least five occasions in the last 35 years when either Moscow or Washington prepared to launch a nuclear war in the mistaken belief that it was itself under attack. And a terrorist cyber attack could lead to the unauthorized launch of these weapons.
We are at a fundamental decision point with respect to nuclear weapons. We can begin negotiations with the other nuclear powers to eliminate our nuclear arsenals and prevent the proliferation of these weapons across the planet. Or we can spend a trillion dollars to extend our nuclear arsenal and send a clear message to the rest of the world that they should build nuclear weapons, too.
The US should stop insisting that the non-nuclear nations trust us and do as we say and not do as we do. We need to lead by example and seek the security of a world without nuclear weapons. The US should attend the Mexico meeting and give leadership to the growing international movement to negotiate a treaty to eliminate these weapons once and for all.
Ira Helfand is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and a past president of the organization’s U.S.affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.psr.org). He is the author of the new report “Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk?”
Robert Dodge is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibilities Security Committee, is syndicated by PeaceVoice, and is on the Board of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org)
Originally published by the Times Record
Polls showed a large percentage of us in this country supporting the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and even — though somewhat reduced — the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But not long after, and ever since, a majority of us have said those were mistakes.
We’ve opposed attacking Iran whenever that idea has entered the news. We opposed bombing Libya in 2011 and were ignored, as was Congress. And, by the way, advocates of that happy little war are rather quiet about the chaos it created.
But last September, the word on our televisions was that missiles must be sent to strike Syria. President Barack Obama and the leaders of both big political parties said they favored it. Wall Street believed it would happen, judging by Raytheon’s stock. When U.S. intelligence agencies declined to make the president’s case, he released a “government” assessment without them.
Remarkably, we didn’t accept that choice. A majority of us favored humanitarian aid, but no missiles, and no arming of one side in the war. We had the benefit of many people within the government and the military agreeing with us. And when Congress was pressured to demand approval power, Obama granted it.
It helped more that members of Congress were in their districts with people getting in their faces. It was with Congress indicating its refusal to support a war that Obama and Kerry accepted the pre-existing Russian offer to negotiate. In fact, the day before they made that decision, the State Department had stressed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would never ever give up his chemical weapons, and Kerry’s remarks on that solution had been “rhetorical.”
The war in Syria goes on. Washington sent guns, but refrained from air strikes. Major humanitarian aid would cost far less than missiles and guns, but hasn’t materialized. The children we were supposed to care about enough to bomb their country are still suffering, and most of us still care.
But a U.S. war was prevented.
We’re seeing the same thing play out in Washington right now on the question of whether to impose yet more sanctions on Iran, shred a negotiated agreement with Iran, and commit the United States to joining in any war between Israel and Iran.
In January, a bill to do all of that looked likely to pass through the Senate. Public pressure has been one factor in, thus far, slowing it down.
Are we moving away from war?
The ongoing war in Afghanistan, and White House efforts to extend it beyond this year, might suggest otherwise. The military budget that still eats up, across various departments, roughly half of federal discretionary spending, and which is roughly the size of all other countries’ military spending combined, might suggest otherwise. The failure to repeal the authorizations for war from 2001 and 2003, and the establishment of permanent practices of surveillance and detention and secrecy justified by a permanent state of war, might suggest otherwise. As might the ongoing missile strikes from drones over a number of nations.
But you’ll notice that they don’t ask us before launching drone strikes, and that their assurances that no innocent people are harmed have proven highly misleading.
War may be becoming acceptable only as what its advocates have long claimed it was: a last resort. Of course if we can really make that true, we’ll never have a war again.
DAVID SWANSON will be speaking at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.
In a recent report titled ‘Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality’ Oxfam informs us that ‘Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population’. Their report goes on to recommend that the World Economic Forum, an elite gathering held annually in Davos, Switzerland, take economic and political measures to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth.
By Dave Lindorff
(This is Part III of a three-part series on climate change by Dave Lindorff that is running in WhoWhatWhy News)
Originally posted at PopularResistance.org
Michael Nigro produced this exclusive for the Resistance Report.
Last week, the State Department has released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed northern leg of the controversial and long-embattled TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
As Steve Horn, of DeSmog Blog notes: